Le Beat: April 2013

It’s the middle of the night and my belly is still full on Shakedown falafel as I cry a little bit during the episode of the West Wing where president Bartlet is re-elected as the best fictional president we’ve ever had in the United States of America. I say that with integrity after considering a long list of contenders including John Travolta in Primary Colors and Morgan Freeman in Deep Impact. Those musings don’t lend much to music, and if I were to try to relate the soundtrack of the television series dominating my life at the moment it would consist of that opening theme that is impossible not to hum along to in a fashion that makes me hate myself to my core, and mostly tracks that could be found on “Drew’s Party Music” e.g. Kool & the Gang “Celebration” or Right Said Fred, “I’m Too Sexy.” I’ll stick with what’s playing on the local rotation.


Ear d’oeuvres

Editor’s note: chef d’oeuvre, French for a work of art, or a masterpiece. These are works of art for your ears, brand new local records.

By the time this issue is sitting on stands, almost exactly, VR Trainers new release “New Release” will be released and hopefully making dreams come true, with their title track “Dreams Coming True.” Two guys (seemingly from the 80s) with a song about dreams coming true, c’mon you guys, like you thought we wouldn’t see the whole Hall & Oates thing.

Biagio and the Argonauts new album is rumored to be pressed and out shortly on Clickpop Records. You can find sneak peaks of the material sprinkled on Biagio’s youtube freestyle skating videos, which is a two for one deal.

Don’t forget releases by those featured in this month’s issue, full-lengths from the Learning Team and The Ames and those that are now already out and ready for your listening pleasure including new Baltic Cousins, Heligoats, and Black Beast Revival.


Places to be

Record Store Day is kind of like Christmas, and this year it happens to be on 4/20, which for some people is also kind of like Christmas. If you haven’t stumbled upon this yearly occurrence in past years, it only happens at independent record stores where you can stock up on limited releases of CD’s, records, tapes, and live performances and give-aways unique to participating stores. Avalon and Everyday Music are both on the list, conveniently in very close proximity to each other. If you want the good stuff, get there early (Avalon has doors at 9:30am and Everyday at 9am). Outside of Avalon will be live music starting 1pm with Ben VonWildenhaus, The Shadies, The Christopher Nunn and Girl Guts.

Dust off your lawn chairs and fanny packs. Bellingham Festival season is here. Okay, maybe it’s a little early for bank sponsored sunglasses and a bladder of wine hiding in my undergarments, but either way Bellingham is looking to see a lot of live music in short periods of time. Check out our festival spreads in this issue for BEAF (April 25-28), Worthy Fest (April 19-20), and Yellingham (April 16-18). These line-ups are a healthy mix of local and visitors and we’re excited to see them all.

With festivals on the mind, a date to have on your radar is May 18th for the Blue Ocean Music Fest. Proceeds are going to the Blue Ocean Foundation. If you hate the ocean…you don’t hate the ocean. There will be a Kulshan Beer Garden and live music from Blue Helix, Science, The Vonvettas, Pickle Toss, Pawnbroker, The Mothership, Garrett Lamp, The Austerman File, Br’er Rabbit and Minor Plains. This will be going down at O’Donnell’s Flea Market all Saturday the 18th.

Some people have been confused about Aaron Carter performing on campus this month. I’ll lay it all out here for you, he was our Justin Bieber. “Our” is those of us who watched Lizzie McGuire and swooned over frosted tip hair while eating fruit by the foot. He may not have as many hits as Justin Bieber, but he’s the brother of a Backstreet Boy and at one time sang about beating Shaq and a girl named Candy. All I’m saying is April 9th in the VU MPR, he’ll play the hits.


Bands gettin’ busy

Signs of life recently showed up in my feed from The Mission Orange, vocalist and guitarist Marcus Nevitt posted an acoustic demo and promises of more in the works.

Bayside Recording Studio is busy with Paul Turpin working on projects with Acorn Project, Eagle Teeth, and the Offshoots, which will soon yield new discs. JB Quartet and My Dad Bruce are also in the studio hard at work.

Andrew Nickerson’s (Sunshine, Uh-Oh, Celebra, Crossfox) new solo project is up and running, Nauthiz. He’s doing a lot of things at the same time, and whisperings tell me he’s doing them all well—including guitar, drums, and singing. I haven’t gotten the chance to see him yet but he’ll be at Yellingham and opening for Helms Alee at the Shakedown on April 29. Both opportunities to see him are not worth missing.

Federation X are finished recording with Dale Crover & Toshi Kasai, the Deaf Nephews production team.

Work has begun on the new Dog Shredder record in California with the infamous Ross Robinson, who has produced an overwhelming roster including Korn, At the Drive-in, The Cure, Slipknot, Blood Brothers and so many more. I can’t imagine he won’t be able to do Dog Shredder justice. Also, lately their instagrams feel like celebrity status.


Small Screen Superstars

I always wonder when music videos will bite the dust for good. I hope with all my heart, never. On opposite ends of the content spectrum Bad Tenants and IG88 both released new music videos last month—also both straddling Bellingham and Seattle at the moment.

Bad Tenants released a video produced by Detooz Films, notorious for making videos with all the now Seattle names in hip-hop for “The Rundown.” The video’s got booze, blood, booty and bone (trombone). It’s uncomfortable and claustrophobic with resonating quality and leaves a lasting impression. Not to mention almost 6,000 views to date.

By opposite ends of the spectrum, I mean that “The Rundown” would not possibly be described as minimal, whereas IG88’s video, produced by the Knapp Bros. for “Trail of Breadcrumbs” off of his new release is just that, without reducing it down to anything other than black and white beautiful. We all know you are on youtube at work and these videos are almost as good as cats meowing under water.

Bellingham Soundcheck, a What’s Up! Affiliate, has been out and about filming and releasing new take-away shows and live footage of local bands. Check them out on facebook or vimeo to see this past month’s releases of Vervex in a shadowy corridor in Fairhaven on campus and Wyatt Parks & the Mute Choir (Juniper Stills) playing in their greenhouse. Up next is footage from the What’s Up Anniversary show at make.shift with Candysound.


Tour Tracking

Black Beast Revival has had a busy month. Not only did they release their Vol. 1 EP but they’ve been on a SXSW centered tour and are in their home stretch. I’ve been following their activity closely and it would appear the tour has been a perfect storm of sexy rock n’ roll, van breakdowns, and a lovely stock of Ninkasi. I, myself am thinking of hitting up Ninkasi for sponsoring my career largely conducted from my couch so stay tuned to see how that goes. That being said, touring is expensive and these guys are awesome. Buy some merch, a CD, whatever you can to keep these guys doing what they do.

Also at SXSW was Chandra Johnson, a lovely lady you’ll find primarily playing first fiddle in Juniper Stills (PSA about Wyatt Parks & the mute choir name change to Juniper Stills) and a number of other outfits around town, also was playing with Mary Lambert famed for vocals on Macklemore’s “Same Love,” with her own solo work well worth mentioning. Lambert is on the rise and will be a household name before long, we’re glad to know Chandra’s alongside.

Polecat have been claiming new territory with a tour spanning all of this past month in Washington, California, Nevada, Idaho, Utah, and virgin tour stops for the gang, Colorado and Nevada. With May as a projected release for the new album I’m excited to see what’s in store.


End Bits

A bit that didn’t seem to fit in any of my headings, but is well worth mentioning is a happy ten years to the Carnelian Agency. Bellingham’s got a lot of great shows and artists who appreciate all your services and support. Especially us at What’s Up! Happy two years to The Shakedown, so far there is no indication of the terrible twos, but we will put you on a kid leash if there are any indications in the future.

As confident as I am in my Facebook scrolling, cryptic texting, and late night bar yelling “wait, what is that new band called?” I would love to hear from you all. Shoot me an e-mail and let me know what’s going on around town, with your band, but please note that I’m not good with talking about feelings. I don’t want to skip a le beat, so a polite reminder that details are helpful! Shoot me a line at, megan@whatsup-magazine.com.