15 Favorite Live Shows of 2015

2015 brought some fantastic performances from newly discovered artists and a few old favorites. I’m always on the hunt for new sounds and several artists on this list have exactly that! My favorite part of this past year is finally seeing larger acts that I’ve been missing for decades… The Rentals, Social Distortion, Belle and Sebastian, The Decemberists, and GusGus. 2016 is going to be an even bigger year and I can’t wait for new discoveries.

2015 Breakdown: 271+ live artists // Loudest month: March (61) // Most quiet month(s): Feb (4) & Dec (4)

wackdelly_auroraAurora (NO) @ Reykjavík Art Museum for Iceland Airwaves: The incredible voice radiating from this tiny 19-year old absolutely blew me away.

wackdelly_axelflovent.jpgAxel Flóvent (IS) @ Iceland Airwaves: It’s just a matter of time until Axel becomes huge. I know this to be true.

wackdelly_balthazarBalthazar (BE) @ Tractor Tavern: I’ve been following these Belgians since 2011 and finally saw them for the first time in 2012. They did a mini west coast US tour that included several performances at CMJ. There was barely anyone at this Monday night Tractor Tavern show and I have no idea why as overseas shows are sold out.

BrianaMarelaBriana Marela @ Neumos: Captivating! This chick radiates talent. (Photo source: 107.7 The End)

BRNSBRNS (BE) @ Iðnó for Iceland Airwaves: Equally vibrant beats and haunting ambience. (Photo source: BRNS fb)

DIIVDIIV @ Neumos: I could not miss this show and dragged my sleepy self out on a Monday night with pajamas under my raincoat. Nothing I love more than zoning out to a band that can perfect that shoegaze/dream pop in my ears. (Photo source: AMBY)

wackdelly_hikesHikes @ Spider House: Folk, nature-inspired math rock from a bunch of Austin youngins. Tryin to get them up to Seattle soon!

wackdelly_jeffthebrotherhoodJEFF The Brotherhood @ Crocodile: Rad. That is all.

wackdelly_joycut JoyCut (IT) @ Gaukurinn for Iceland Airwaves: I scouted out this band prior to SXSW and loved them so much I had partake again at Airwaves. Nice guys too.

StrandofOaks  Strand of Oaks @ Sasquatch: I’ve been following Timothy Showalter for years. After every one of his shows, I reach in my bag for a cigarette only to realize I don’t even smoke. Incredible live. (Photo source: Brittany Bollay // KEXP Blog)

TheBotsThe Bots @ Bumbershoot: These brothers stole the whole festival for me! (Photo source: The Bots)

wackdelly_therentalsThe Rentals @ Crocodile: Matt Sharp forever! Guy still has so much energy.

wackdelly_victimmentalityVictim Mentality @ SXSW: Listening to Victim Mentality, you will wonder if it’s for real. Yup, Korean glam metal at it’s finest! Don’t miss them at SXSW 2016!

WevalWeval (NL) @ Iceland Airwaves: Trip-hop greatness. (Photo source: Weval Fb)

wackdelly_yellerkinYellerkin @ SXSW: Eric and Wild Honey Pie always curate the best SXSW shows and Yellerkin was the cherry on top for me.

**Photos by Annie unless otherwise noted**
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2015 list

AAN, Ab-Soul, Acapulco Lips, Acid Tongue, Action Bronson, Airplane + Spaceship, Alcest, Alki, Allelujah Choir, Amina, Arthur James, Asonat, Atmosphere, Audur, Aurora, Axel Flóvent, Balthazar, Battles, Beirut (2), Belle and Sebastian, Big Data, Big Phony, Big Scary, Big Wild, Black Pistol Fire, Black Whales, BØRNS (2), Boyfrndz, Brand New, Brenda Xu, Brian O’Brien, Briana Marela, BRNS (2), Calliope Musicals, Cardiknox, Cell7, Chimurenga Renaissance, Chris Staples, Classixx, Cloud Nothings (2), Colony House, Courtney Barnett, Crater, Cuff Lynx, Dad Rocks!, Daktyl, Dan Bejar, Dances!, Danielson & The Nine Fruit Tree, Dear Boy, Death Cab for Cutie, Devotchka, DIIV (2), Dotan, Dude York, East India Youth, Edmund Wayne, Eliot Sumner, Elle King, Emily Donohue, Emma Ruth Rundle, Eugene Munro, Ex-Cops, Ex-Cult, Fantastic Negrito, Father John Misty, Fauna Shade, Five Iron Frenzy, Flosstradamus, Flume, For A Minor Reflection, Foxing, French for Rabbits, Gabriel Wolfchild, Gardens & Villa, Gateway Drugs, Girl Pool, Grave Babies (2), Grayson Erhard, Great Caesar, Great Mountain Fire, Group of the Altos, Gruska Babuska, Gunnar Jonsson Collider, GusGus, Health, Heather Maloney, Helado Negro, Helka, Heo, Hey Marseilles, Hikes, HimeHime, Hooves and Beak, Hunter Hunted, Icky Blossoms, Iska Dhaaf, Jacco Gardner, Jack Garratt, Jared and The Mill, JEFF The Brotherhood, Jenny Lewis, Jesse Macht, Jose Gonzalez, JoyCut (2), Jungle, Junius Meyvant, Kate Tempest, Kiasmos, Kim & Ryan of Smokey Brights, Kite String Tangle, Kris Orlowski, La Luz, La Priest, Lady Lamb, Lana Del Rey, Las Rosas, Lighthouse and the Whaler, LITE, Lonesome Shack, Lucy Rose, Mammut, Manatee Commune (2), Mansionair, Metalachi, Mia Dyson, Michael Lind, Midday Veil, Milky Chance, Milkywhale, Milo Greene, Minus The Bear, Modest Mouse, Moon Hooch, Morning Bear (2), Mother Mother, Murder Vibes (2), MXPX, Nahko And Medicine for the People, Newaxeyes, No Joy, Of Monsters and Men (2), On An On, Orla Gartland, Ought, Phox, Pictureplane, Pink Street Boys, Plain White T’s, Positive Disturbance, Public Service Broadcasting, Punch Brothers, Purfume Genius, Radiation City, Ratatat, Real Estate, Rey Pila, Reykjavikurdaetur, Roger Sellers, Royal Blood, Runaway Symphony, Ryn Weaver, Said The Whale, Sam Slater, San Cisco, San Fermin, San Juan, Sassyblack, Sekouia, Shana Cleveland & The Sandcastles, Shannon & The Clams, Shovels and Rope, Sin Fang, Siomha Brock, Sisters, Skylar Spence, Sleep Over, Slow Bird, Small Pools, Smokey Brights, Snooze Infinity, SOAK, Social Distortion, Soft Sleep, Song Sparrow Research, Spencer Glenn, SSDD, Stafreann Hakon, Steve Taylor & The Perfect Foil, Strand of Oaks, Sufjan Stevens, Summer Heart, Swervedriver, Sylvan Esso, Talk in Tongues, Tallest Man on Earth, Teitur Magnusson, Temples, The Acorn, The Belle Game, The Bots, The Broods, The Cave Singers, The Decemberists, The DØ, The Ghosts, The Knocks, The Mighty Oaks, The Native Sibling, The Rentals, The Thoughts (3), The Velvet Teen, The White Buffalo, The World Is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die, The Zoltars, Thee Oh Sees, Thunderpussy, Timbre Barons, Tinnarose, Toe, Tomo Nakayama (2), Tonik Ensemble, Tracksuit Wedding, TTNG, Turbo Fruits, Twin Forks, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Until the Ribbon Breaks, Verite, Victim Mentality, Viet Cong, Vox Mod, Waxahatchee, We Are The Willows, Weaves, Wesen, Weval, Whitney Flinn (2), Wild Child, Will Butler, WMD, Wolf Alice, Woodpigeon, Woods, Yellerkin, Yolawolf, Young Buffalo, Yumi Zouma, Þórir Georg, Þórunn Antonía og Bjarni, other unknown artists (6)

Previous years: 2014 / 2013 / 2012 / 2011 / 2010

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SXSW 2015 Music Selections, part 3 :: Seattle

I love seeing Seattle bands make the trek down to Austin for SXSW. Here are a handful of my local favorites that you should check out!

Hey Marseilles, La Luz, Manatee Commune, Motopony, Odesza, THEESatisfaction

 

 

 

Q&A: Tomo Nakayama Talks New Solo Album and the Importance of Community in Seattle

A staple in the Seattle music scene, multi-instrumentalist Tomo Nakayama, emerges with a solo album after several successful years leading chamber pop band, Grand Hallway. I interviewed Tomo for a music writing class and decided to share it with the release of his first solo album, Fog On The Lens, out today! Buy it here or see him live at one (or more) of his 14 shows in one day.

tomo

How did your approach to the upcoming album, Fog On The Lens, differ from previous Grand Hallway recordings?

I played all the instruments myself and my friend, Yuuki Matthews of the Shins, added some keyboards and synthesizers and the mixing process so it’s mostly just me working by myself and engineering everything. I recorded it during my residency at Town Hall this Spring. I used the building as a recording studio and a lot of ways it’s like approaching it like a bedroom record.

Like a really big bedroom?

[Laughs] Yeah, like a really big bedroom. So it’s got that kind of intimacy and immediacy that I think you can get from a home demo with a bigger sound. It’s cool. I got to work a lot faster than collaborating with six other people, which is really fun but wanted to try something a little more raw and not as thought-out, I guess.

Is that why you went from releasing it under Grand Hallway and under your own name?

I already made the decision at that point that I wanted to do things on my own. We’ve been doing Grand Hallway for six years and I loved everybody. I’m still friends with everyone in the band. A couple of us had kids and I got married and we all just started living separate lives outside of the band. Also being in a band is fun but is like a small business. You have to operate like a business and it’s like being in a marriage with a lot of personal work and a lot of energy that isn’t necessarily spent on creative pursuits but more on maintaining your place in the scene and getting your name out there, marketing your work. That part wasn’t as fun to me.

Did you work with Yuuki Matthews prior to this new solo album?

No, I’ve always been a huge fan of his music. We actually went to the same middle school and high school but he was always a year ahead of me so we weren’t really friends. I kinda followed his career around and went to his shows and always thought he was like the cool kid. We talked for a long time about doing something together. Recently he thought about going into producing and mixing other people’s music so he reached out to me when he found out that I was doing this album on my own and offered help mixing the tracks. It was perfect timing and happened really organically and I think b/c we grew up listening to so much of the same music and had a lot of similar experiences, we’re both half Japanese and have the cultural reference points. It was like the easiest mixing process I’ve ever gone through.

What made you decide to do 14 shows in one day?

It’s 8am to 11pm. The first show is an in-studio at KEXP. It just started b/c I was really tired of the marketing and logistical aspects of being in a band and how to sell yourself, you know? The thought of putting on a show and worrying about selling tickets and putting a band together didn’t really appeal to me. I was thinking about the best musical experiences I’ve had the last couple years and they were all really small at places like cafes and house shows where either I knew everybody or I did a small show on the East Coast last fall and I was just playing these tiny shows in spaces like this and didn’t know the people in the audience but I could see their faces and them listening. There was back and forth between songs and people felt free to talk and want to create that intimacy at my shows so instead of putting on big show, maybe I’ll do a couple small ones.

So I booked an in-store at Sonic Boom and then Zach at Porchlight mentioned a party at Hilliard’s and they were really into it so that sounds fun. And b/c Porchlight is also a coffeehouse maybe we should do one in the morning. We had all these hours in between so then it became, what if we play four shows? Everyone I kept telling would have another place to suggest and then the more I started thinking about it, it made sense. I want to celebrate local businesses and people that are actually going to stores interacting with people who run the businesses. Human connections get lost when you’re just posting a link to bandcamp. I started thinking about music and the value and the role that it plays in people’s lives.

Are you playing the same set at each location?

No. It’s gonna be mixed up. The way I usually approach shows is that I never write a set list down. I play whatever comes to mind. If I see someone in the audience that reminds me of a song or if I hear a conversation that’s related to something I’m about to play, I’ll just switch it around.

Yuuki is cool with that too?

Yeah, that’s what’s cool about him. He’s just really go with the flow and into it and that’s hard to find. Some people like to be really structured and work really hard on their craft, which is a total valid way of doing things too but I’m just kinda manic [Laughs]. I think it will be fun. I’m trying to re-learn some older songs and covers and maybe throw that in there just to amuse ourselves.

When you were at the artist residency, you were there for 3 months. How was that experience?

Yes, but I wasn’t living there. They gave me the keys to the building and had events there almost every night but during the day and after the events I could use it. Often times, I treated it like a 9-to-5 job. I’d wake up in the morning and go there, hang out. I didn’t do too much writing during that time. I played a little piano, read some books, walked around the neighborhood a bunch, went to the library a lot, museums too. At night I would show up. I’m kind of a night owl. I was struggling with that. When I got married a couple years ago. My wife has two kids so there’s other people in the house so I can’t always wake up at 2 in the morning so it was kinda like relearning the creative process and this was a nice way to get back into it. If I felt creative in the middle of the night, I had a place to go.

How do you feel Seattle has influenced your music?

I was born in Japan and moved here when I was 8. I grew up in Bellevue. For a while there wasn’t any all ages music in Seattle. So a lot of the really cool all ages stuff was happening on the east side, the Redmond Firehouse and Ground Zero, late 90’s early 2000s. There was a lot of really creative outside the box musicians coming out where I grew up so that was really influential. The geography of the place, just being surrounded by water and trees. Everytime I go on tour, I come back and appreciate the Northwest a little bit more. It really is a beautiful place. I like the bay area but it’s different. We have seasons here and it comes out in the lyrics. I’ve heard people say that my music reminds them of Seattle. I talked to someone at a show in New York who had never heard my music before and she said she just moved there from Everett and my songs made her homesick for Everett. I don’t sing specifically about Seattle but something about it is interesting. I can sorta see that. It’s like a mellowness or just an openness to Seattle. The pace of life is a little different. But it’s also peaceful. And people are a lot more willing to collaborate on stuff. There’s a really nice community of musicians here that play on each other’s records. It’s the same that I’ve found with the film world. Even photography is like that too. It feels that way because everyone knows everyone’s work.

You have a new album coming out November 4th, but do you have plans for after that? Any more acting?

That was like a really weird. That was fun. Lynn basically wrote that part for me so I can’t see that particular set of circumstances happening again any time soon. But I’m working on scoring a film for a director out in Georgia and that’s supposed to shoot this Fall so I’ll be writing music for it next year. I’d like to do acting, I enjoyed it but I didn’t enjoy the other stuff that comes with it. I went to Sundance and got to do the whole press junket business with the rest of the cast [for Touchy Feely] which I wasn’t prepared for because I just went down there to watch the movie. They said “well you’re here, let’s go talk to Entertainment Weekly.” [Laughs] That’s a whole different world.

 

Music Monday: Chad Valley


CVtour Chad Valley

Local artist to: Oxford UK

RIYL: Beat Connection, Teen Daze, Jonquil, chillwave, lo-fi, synthpop

Chad Valley – the alias of Hugo Manuel – is part of the same Oxford collective Jonquil, Blessing Force, that Fixers belong to, and there is a similar feeling of 60s music being given a shimmery modern electronic makeover. But maybe because there’s just one of him he is able to give the project greater focus; there is no dilution, or sense of boxes being ticked, with Chad Valley – it’s just one idea, gloriously stretched out over four tracks on his sublime self-titled debut EP; one long wave of luxuriant sound after another. source
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CVrose

CValbum


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Music Monday: Skeleton$

Music Monday: Balthazar

Music Monday: Song Sparrow Research


Song Sparrow Research

Local artist to: Seattle, WA

RIYL: Beirut, Travis, Chamber pop

Song Sparrow Research incorporates elements of rock, jazz, classical, folk, and experimental with guitar, cello, upright bass, electric bass, glockenspiel, drums, synth, percussion and assorted instrumentation. source
Song Sparrow Research will be playing shows in Seattle in October and November.

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Music Monday: High Highs

Music Monday: Balthazar

Currently…

Drooling over: The cinder block planter bar and dining room transformation at Design*Sponge are swoon-worthy! I am gathering design ideas by the minute and these are total keepers!

Elsie’s delicious ways to mix up an Arnold Palmer over at A Beautiful Mess are brilliant! I love all kinds of tea, especially black tea.

Watching: Mad Men, Game of Thrones, Poker After Dark. We don’t watch shows live so we are catching up on our queue. This can be challenging with soooo many spoiler posts on the twits and fb.

Excited about: Our new rental house! We will be leaving the Greenlake/Ravenna area and moving 10 mins away to the Ballard/Phinney Ridge area of Seattle. While we will miss our favorite places like Atlantic Crossing, Pies & Pints, Cafe Racer and Latona Pub, we are stoked to try out some new bars and eateries within walking distance of the new house.

Also, my little sister is currently in Italy for a six week art program. I am super excited that she is able to have this experience with her friends. Traveling overseas does change a person a little bit, in a good way of course. I love that she’s the only one in the photo not sketching and just taking it all in.

Eating & Drinking: We have been eating our greens, as we normally do but they are from Michael’s garden! So far we have lettuce and spinach! It’s crazy how something that comes from your own backyard can taste way better than store bought produce.

I have been drinking lots of green tea lately. Even though it’s June, the weather in Seattle is a bit chilly (it was warmer in April!). Once the outside temp warms up, I will get on the iced tea bandwagon.

Music Monday (SXSW edition): Motopony

Motopony

Local artist to: Seattle Washington

RIYL: José González, Iron & Wine, indie pop, folk rock, acoustic

Often, the combination of two opposites makes for a harmony previously unknown, a sum greater than its parts. Motopony is the embodiment of this notion – a band built on a bedrock of contrasts and the gorgeous alchemy of seemingly conflicted sounds, and the feelings mapped over them. Guided by soulful machines Daniel Blue and Buddy Ross along with guitarist Brantley Cady and drummer Forrest Mauvais, there is a warm efficiency to the hard-soul/glitch-folk contained on the quartet’s self-titled debut. continued here..

Check back every monday for a new band to check out at SXSW 2012.

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