Le Beat: December 2013

Well hello there my dear friends, how are you? I hope the holidays have been fun. I’m currently writing this month’s version of le beat from the home of my wife’s family in New York state. While traveling is always a good time and I do get to hit the city in a couple of days, I’ve gotta say… I miss you guys. Each and every one of you. New Yorkers are a tough bunch – I feel like everyone here needs a huge hug. Not just a three-second-nice-little-hug-your- relative-or-friend-might-give-you type of hug, but a James Hardesty (owner of the Green Frog) I-might-break-your-body-with-how-much-I-love-you kind of hug. Every single one of ‘em. Every time I come over here I’m struck with a single thought, almost a mantra that runs through my mind continuously – the west  coast, my friends, is the best coast. And the best in the west, well that’d be Whatcom County. Period. Ya’ll are doing something right, ‘cuz, wow, does the county feel good.
I’ve been threatening to have someone else write le beat since Megan left, and at this point I’ve kinda dropped that idea. I’m having too much fun back in the captain’s chair, so I’m just gonna let it roll for a bit.

Records & Releases

The Offshoots will have a release party for their latest String Theory at the Green Frog on Dec. 26. If you aren’t familiar with The Offshoots, they are old school before me – from way back in the 80s they kicked around in bands like The Ducks and Redux. To be making music and kicking that much ass into their 50s… welp, that’s pretty flipping awesome.
Have you heard the new double EP by Girl Guts? Oh… no? Well I have (one of the perks of being an editor). It rules (duh) and seriously hope the album will be ready to go in January. If not January, then February. It’s too good to not be consumed!
So, we were going to do an “under the radar” this month on Fictions and they went ahead and made themselves on the radar! The trio, comprised of Erik Wallace, Katie Weiss and Nick Thacker (three wonderful people, by the way) just released a two song single (which can’t be found on their bandcamp page) and it’s awesome. Let’s hope Fictions (hey look, I remembered the s) stick around for awhile ‘cuz they’ve got a lot to add to this little scene.
It appears Wild Throne (fyi, you have to say the name while putting your fist in the air, kind of like it’s a microphone and then say it like your Glen Danzig – so f’ing rock ‘n’ roll!) will be releasing a three song EP in early 2014, followed by lots and lots and lots and lots of touring. Having heard the EP, all I can say is “holy f’ing s***.” (I actually speak astericks, if you didn’t know). It’s amazing… less prog metal, more kick ass metal, get the goods when you can. Promise you, it’ll make you feel good and even a bit sexy.
Among the many new releases slated for 2014 is the latest by Manatee Commune. Grant (Mr. Manatee himself) has released a couple of new tracks and they are a slice of heaven. Can’t wait for the new record to come out and you’ll be able to read a story on the band in the January issue.
One of my favorite bands, VR Trainers, have released a new Christmas EP which is available for free on their bandcamp. It includes “Do you Hear What I Hear,” “Oh Holy Nite,” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” Good lord that’s awesome.
Pawnbroker are celebrating the release of their latest record, Dance at the End of the World with a CD release show at Tubb’s on Dec. 14 with Sarah in the Wild opening. How many releases is that locally? Damn Bellingham, you’re going crazy!

Comings & Goings

Karl Blau has utilized the might bandcamp and rereleased his first three eps. I know what yer thinking, “Karl Blau is so awesome, I hope he never leaves the Pacific Northwest.” Ummmm… Karl Blau is leaving the Pacific Northwest. Seems Mr. Blau and his wife are pulling up stakes and moving to Los Angeles, which seems a little dramatic, but I kinda like it. If yer gonna go somewhere, go bold! Plus, the food in Los Angeles… I often dream of spending a month in Los Angeles so I can find the best burrito and pho places. Where does this leave Lovers without Borders? Hopefully they’ll keep going, ‘cuz that band rules (see CD review in this issue).
Ya know when yer favorite band breaks up and you just aren’t sure how life is going to go on? That’s how I felt when I read that Dan “Birdman” Swan was leaving The Ames. This is serious music scene tragic – not real world tragic or anything, but a huge bummer non the less. The three piece will playing their final show on Dec. 7 at the Green Frog – it will sell out, so definitely get your tickets ASAP. As for the future of the band, that’s up in the air, so enjoy the boys while you can!
Kodiak is on hiatus for awhile as they finish their debut full length. Pretty amazing band, I’m really looking forward to hearing the full goods and see the metal domination when it’s released.
The Dr.x.s have changed their named to The Drxgs. And now you know!
We’re going to be resurrecting Bellingham Soundcheck with the debut video of 2.0 being released in January. Alex Ferrin, the man behind 1.0, has since moved to Seattle, but we’ll be revamping the show a bit and bringing it to you consistently every month thanks to Matt Curtis, Erik Wallace and myself (as well as others who will be brought on as we go). We’ve got some pretty cool plans for the show and if things work out as we hope, it’ll be very very very cool.

Ham Happenings

Toni and Guy will be hosting their second Make.Shift benefit at Make.Shift on Dec. 6 from 6-10 p.m. It is a collaborative evening of art and fashion with art by AK 27, music spun by Phil Tygret and a student fashion show at 7:30 p.m. It’s during art walk, so swing in and check out the goods.
The Paper Mill on Chestnut is opening for the month of December and is a one stop shop for quality, local, handmade goods for the holidays. The 6th Annual Holiday Handmade Bazaar is br  ought to you by the fine folks at Bison Printing and a place you’ll find us getting our gifts. So stoked, check it out!Did I mention Make.Shift made their fundraising goal of $20,000? HOW AWESOME IS THAT? I’m looking forward to all ages shows happening their again – now with the added safety! No official word on when shows will crank up again, but it’ll be sooner than later (early January 2014 isn’t unreasonable). Whatever you think of this organization (I personally love them to death), you have to be impressed with what they’ve done for the local music community and for “the kids.” Towns this size don’t normally have places like Make.Shift, so we should all take a second to a) enjoy it and b) thank the volunteer staff there for all their hard work. I can’t wait to bring my kids to a show their again! My seven year old needs to hear some rock!
Bill Bagdley (Federation X, The Documentary Center) is raising funds for his most recent film, Get Amongst It: The Story of the First Check Yo Ponytail Tour, via Kickstarter. If you aren’t familiar with the Check Yo Ponytail Tour and Frankie Chan (ex-Bellingham), it’s a great story well worth looking into. The great bonus with this film is students at the Documentary Center will be learning different phases of the documentary process while working on it. So, not only are you helping the film, you are helping the students at the center. If the trailer teaser is any indication, the film is going to be phenomenal (as to be expected – Bill’s first doc on KARP is one of my favorites).


We made a couple of big ol’ mistakes last month that we’d like to apologize for. Cuff Lynx didn’t just get home from a tour. The Shadies have been around since 2007, they aren’t necessarily a bluegrass band and the melody for the song “Tear It Down” didn’t come from the Old Crow Medicine Show but actually from the song “Hawkins Rag,” which was recorded in 1934 by The Skillet Lickers and written by Ted Hawkins. The song is a standard and, as is the norm for that style of music, The Shadies adapted the melody to their sound. The Shadies are old friends of mine, so letting that one slide really bums me out. We’re sorry guys and gals!
So so so so many things going on, I feel like we’ve just scratched the surface. If time permits, I’ll start posting updates on our website, facebook and twitter, so watch for it.
Finally, we’d like to offer our condolences to Chad Peterson, who lost his 18 year old son in November. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Chad and his family – if you see him, please give him a big hug. And, do the same for your kids as well. Peace be with you, Chad.
Happy holidays, ya’ll. Stay safe and enjoy.
Hugs and kisses, Brent