Results for Seattle

interviews

Melvins

Melvins The Melvins are hailed as progenitors of sludge metal, key influences on the Seattle grunge scene, and avant-garde pranksters – but their music has always been virtually unclassifiable. That's certainly the case on their new double-album A Walk With Love & Death, which veers from heavy rockers to pop songs to ambient film scores. The Melvins join Jim and Greg in the studio to talk about the new record and their long career, dating back to their 1984 formation in Washington.

Guitarist/vocalist Buzz Osborne (aka King Buzzo) and drummer Dale Crover form the core of the Melvins, alongside a rotating bassist slot that's currently filled by Steve McDonald of Redd Kross and OFF!. They discuss their ill-fated major label stint in the 1990s, the importance of playing the music that you want to play, and how they manage to survive as a band for over thirty years. They also dispel myths about Nirvana (of which Crover was an early member) and the rest of the storied Seattle scene.

Go to episode 613

Mudhoney

For almost 30 years, rock band Mudhoney has been a staple in the Seattle music scene. While contemporaries like Nirvana and Soundgarden earned more commercial success, Mudhoney always stayed true to themselves and Jim notes they're one of the few bands that“never sucked.”The group first garnered attention for the EP Superfuzz Bigmuff that pioneered the distorted sound big labels would later market as "grunge." Jim and Greg talked with the members of the Mudhoney: vocalist Mark Arm, guitarist Steve Turner, drummer Dan Peters and bassist Guy Maddison, at the Neptune Theatre in Seattle in front of a live audience. The hosts chatted with Mudhoney about their signature sound, musical collaborations and they also performed several songs from the span of their critically-loved career.

Go to episode 563

Feist

This week's guest is Leslie Feist, an up-and-coming singer/songwriter. Born in Calgary and bred in the Toronto music scene, Feist is one of many Canadian indie acts rising in popularity. It seems that our neighbor to the north is the next Seattle or Portland. Bands like Broken Social Scene and Peaches, who can both claim Feist as collaborators, plus The Arcade Fire, Wolf Parade, Metric, Stars, The Constantines, Hidden Cameras, and Death from Above 1979, are all coming out of Canada (and are all a far cry from Shania Twain or Bryan Adams). During her interview with Jim and Greg, Feist performs "Gatekeeper," "Mushaboom," and a cover of "Secret Heart" by Ron Sexsmith. There are a number of covers on her latest album, Let It Die, including "In and Out" by The Bee Gees and "Now at Last" by Blossom Dearie.

Go to episode 13

Anthony Bourdain

Many people know Anthony Bourdain from his many books, his TV show "No Reservations," and his successful restaurant Les Halles. But, you may not know that he's a die-hard rock and roll fan. In 2007 Bourdain chronicled his punk past in the Spin essay“Eat to the Beat,”and when he was in town on a book tour, Jim and Greg invited him into the studio to talk turkey (and rock).

Anthony, or Tony as he likes to be called, explained to Jim and Greg that there are a lot of connections between members of the food world and the music world, the first of which is simply the hours. Both subcultures are nocturnal pleasure-seekers who often frequent the same greasy spoons and the same dive bars. But on a more cerebral level, music geeks and foodies are both obsessed, both opinionated, and both hate Billy Joel. Tony explains that when he's serving up grub to guests he prefers the tunes of Edith Piaf, Serge Gainsbourg, and even Connie Francis.

During this episode we also hear from other music-loving chefs from around the country including:

  • Wesley Genovart of Degustation in New York
  • Doug Sohn of Hot Doug's in Chicago
  • Brenda Langton of Spoon River and Café Brenda in Minneapolis
  • Craig Serbousek of Crow and Bette in Seattle
  • Graham Elliot Bowles of Avenues in Chicago
Go to episode 187

Zola Jesus

Zola Jesus, the alter ego of electronic singer/songwriter Nika Roza Danilova, has already released five studio albums, despite being only 26-years-old. While her first album The Spoils was a lo-fi effort recorded in her bedroom in 2009, Zola Jesus has since developed an expansive, orchestrated sound featuring gloomy synthesizers and string arrangements. In creating her atmospheric songs, she draws equally on her love of classical music, industrial and mainstream pop. Her latest album Taiga is named after the Russian word for“forest,”appropriate as the music manages to evoke the feeling of the deep, dark woods. The woods are, in fact, close to her heart – though currently based in Seattle, Danilova grew up in a small town in northern Wisconsin. She joined Jim and Greg for a conversation and live performance at the Virgin Hotel in Chicago. Zola Jesus discusses the difficulty of seeking out transgressive music in an isolated community, her childhood love of opera, and taking inspiration from filmmaker David Lynch, who also remixed one of her songs.

Go to episode 497
specials

Sub Pop Records

Sub Pop Records, the label that made "grunge" a household word, is turning 20. Since its inception the small Seattle outfit has exploded internationally, giving music fans a dose of the Northwest punk sound with bands like Nirvana, Soundgarden and Mudhoney. Now Sub Pop is home to indie phenoms The Shins and The Postal Service, as well as comedy duo Flight of the Conchords. Jim and Greg speak with Jonathan Poneman, who started the label in 1988 with former fanziner Bruce Pavitt. Poneman explains that there was so much great rock in that area at the time that they were compelled to document it. But their ambitions didn‘t stop there. Poneman discusses Pavitt’s assertion that the most vital culture happens outside the big media centers. This kind of big thinking paved the way for the breakout of regional music scenes and the idea that indie bands can be as big as major label ones.

To celebrate Sub Pop's anniversary Jim and Greg both pick their favorite tracks from the label. Greg starts with a song by The Afghan Whigs. He explains that the tradition of signing non-Northwest bands began with the Whigs. They started out as a faux-grunge band but became more distinctive when they brought in elements of soul. You can hear that in the track "Miles Iz Dead" off the album Congregation.

Jim also wanted to pick a song that showcased the diversity of Sub Pop. It's more than just a grunge label. Jim looks to Cardinal, a band that represents much of what's happening in the indie world today. The duo gave birth to orchestral pop, and one of its members, Eric Matthews, put out a terrific debut on Sub Pop in 1995 called It's Heavy In Here. Jim chooses to play that album's opener, "Fanfare."

Go to episode 137

Culinary Music

During this episode we also hear from other music-loving chefs from around the country including:

  • Wesley Genovart of Degustation in New York
  • Doug Sohn of Hot Doug's in Chicago
  • Brenda Langton of Spoon River and Café Brenda in Minneapolis
  • Craig Serbousek of Crow and Bette in Seattle
  • Graham Elliot Bowles of Avenues in Chicago

To cap off this show, Jim and Greg run through their favorite culinary-inspired songs. All of them are either about food, inspired by food, or simply name foods, and all of them certainly rock.

Go to episode 113
reviews
BackspacerBackspacer available on iTunes

Pearl Jam Backspacer

Jim and Greg kick off their record review roundup with Backspacer, the ninth album from Pearl Jam. The band is back with producer Brendan O'Brien, but the mood has certainly changed. They are sounding a lot more optimistic, and, as Greg explains, more energized. They kick up the fast-paced punk more on this album, but still have a couple of noteworthy ballads. Greg gives Backspacer a Buy It. Jim wishes he heard something new from the Seattle rockers. He agrees that the slower songs are great, but feels he's heard the rest of the album before. He gives Pearl Jam a Try It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 200
Helplessness BluesHelplessness Blues available on iTunes

Fleet Foxes Helplessness Blues

The Fleet Foxes said they wanted this second album to be their version of Astral Weeks. It's hard to say if they did it, but easy for Jim and Greg to give Helplessness Blues a double Buy It rating. The Seattle sextet's 2008 debut was more immediate in terms of melody. This one takes longer to settle into, but the lyrics are more direct, personal and full of anxiety. The layering of sounds, instruments and harmonies sound effortless. Our critics say go out and get it.

JimGreg
Go to episode 285
dijs

Jim

“Up Front”Poison Idea,Poison Idea

Inspired by a recent trip to Portland, OR for a special taping of the show with Broken Bells (stay tuned to hear it!), Jim spends his latest trip to the Desert Island remembering The City of Roses's 1980's hardcore punk scene. Jim tells us that trailblazers like Greg Sage and his Wire-esque band The Wipers never quite get the credit they deserve for laying the groundwork for Seattle's grunge music explosion in the ‘90’s. (Nirvana actually covered a couple Wipers tunes.) Another prominent Portland-area hardcore band, Poison Idea, was also influenced by Sage. Specifically the band's guitarist, Tom Roberts, better known as Pig Champion. Jim recalls that what Roberts may have lacked in showmanship (he mostly sat on a folding chair while on stage), he made up for in sheer metal guitar prowess. Sadly, Roberts passed away in 2006 at the age of only 47. So this week, Jim pays tribute to both the Portland hardcore scene and Robert's indelible mark on it, by playing a live recording of Poison Idea's Wipers cover "Up Front," which features more than 12-minutes of Robert's virtuoso guitar.

Go to episode 455

Greg

“Seasons”Chris Cornell

This week, Greg pays tribute to the late Chris Cornell of Soundgarden. Cornell died recently at age 52, and Greg is bringing his song "Seasons" to the Desert Island Jukebox.“Seasons”was a track prominently included in the 1992 Cameron Crowe film Singles, about a group of friends living and working in Seattle during the emerging 1990's rock scene. Cornell, a talented writer and vocalist, was able to capture the atmosphere perfectly of the time with this rock ballad. While "Black Hole Sun" may be his signature hit, Greg thinks“Seasons”is the perfect song to remember Cornell by.

Go to episode 600
news

Music News

First up Jim and Greg do an update on a story discussed a few weeks ago. Despite pleas from a broad spectrum of internet radio broadcasters including National Public Radio and Yahoo, as well as some small scale mom and pop stations, the Copyright Royalty Board threw out requests to reconsider a ruling that hiked the royalties they must pay to record companies and artists. In addition, the judges declined to postpone a May 15 deadline by which the new royalties will have to be collected. While there is still one more chance to open the case with the court of appeals, it's likely that many webcasters are going to be put out of business by these new rulings. One thing that is for certain is that rulings like these and those to come down the line are certain to change the entire landscape of digital broadcasting.

Next up Jim and Greg talk to Doug Brod, Editor-in-Chief of Spin Magazine, about the upcoming season of“destination festivals.”While previously music fans would be treated to traveling music festivals like Lollapalooza coming to their neck of the woods, now there are large-scale, multi-day outdoor concerts dotted in different areas across the country. Often, these festivals have to compete for your attention by getting the biggest coup. This year it's the Rage Against the Machine reunion at Coachella, the Pearl Jam and Daft Punk performances at Lollapalooza, and a Police reunion at Bonnaroo.

Jim and Greg ask Doug to choose his favorite out of the many destination festivals this summer, and he goes with Coachella because of the line-up and the location. Greg agrees that the Coachella Valley is a spectacular place to experience a rock show, but he also urges music fans to travel two hours outside of Seattle, Washington to attend the Sasquatch Festival in the Gorge Amphitheater. It's another meeting of spectacular natural surroundings and an impressive bill of bands. Jim thinks that people will get the most bang for their buck at the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago, which features a number of indie bands, plus groups like Sonic Youth performing entire albums for a very reasonable price. But, being the sand and sun hater that he is, Jim won‘t pick his favorite summer festival. He’s actually ready for the entire phenomenon to die out and for rock to return to smoky clubs where it belongs.

Jim and Greg talk to Chicago Tribune Television Critic Maureen Ryan about the recent "Sanjaya phenomenon" on American Idol. Our hosts have long avoided talking about this popular TV show because, frankly, it has little to do with music. But, they were intrigued by the curious forces at work to keep the apparently talentless contestant Sanjaya Malakar on the show, and wanted to turn to Mo Ryan to find out why he became so popular, and why he couldn‘t survive. The only sense these critics can make out of Sanjaya’s reign is that for one brief moment the pop forces (pre-teens who love Sanjaya's androgynous, harmless sex appeal) and the punk forces (Vote for the Worst.com, Howard Stern, etc.) came together with one common goal: to save Sanjaya (and possibly take down the show). The convergence of these two sets was a rare occurence in popular culture, and it seems they weren‘t strong enough to prevent Sanjaya’s elimination. American Idol proved itself to be a more powerful“death star”than anyone expected.

For more information on music festivals, check out the footnotes below.

Go to episode 73

Music News

Europe is really setting the stage for how the U.S. will approach digital music in the next couple of years, so Jim and Greg take a look at news coming out of that region. In France, the government plans to subsidize legal music downloading to encourage young consumers not to illegally get songs. This is going to cost the French government some $35 million. But, this might sound like a better option than the“three strikes”law to one French ISP. Free has declined to send out warning letters to its users. Over in Ireland the three strikes approach got struck down entirely. The big four labels were unable to convince an Irish court that laws to identify and cut off internet users should be enforceable in that country like others in the EU. And finally, one U.K. music executive offers another solution entirely: £1 records for all!

If you‘ll only spend a dollar to support a band, how much would you pay to stop them? $10 million? That’s how much a former Seattle fan of Weezer intended to raise as part of a campaign to get the Rivers Cuomo-fronted band to stop playing. Jim and Greg like this idea, but think Weezer might be the wrong target. Who would you pay to (not) play?

Email Us at interact@soundopinions.org Contact Us on Facebook Send us a Tweet on Twitter

Go to episode 256

Music News

The digital music site eMusic has angered some listeners and labels in recent weeks. They moved from subscriptions to a tiered pricing model similar to iTunes that will include higher priced major label songs. After making this announcement, three of the biggest indie labels in the business decided to take their music elsewhere. Domino Records, Merge Records and the Beggars Group, which includes Matador, XL, Rough Trade and 4AD, have not elaborated on their decision to leave, but Jim and Greg suspect it's because of this new deal with major labels. In their statement, eMusic explained that this change was necessary for their long-term sustainability.

What's the best music town in the country? Some would say Chicago; some would say Seattle; but according to Songkick.com, it's Austin, Texas. Austin has always touted itself as the live music capital of the world, and now they've got this to back it up. In their survey of live shows per capita, Songkick also put Madison, New Orleans, Las Vegas and Denver in their Top 5. Some surprising winners, especially when you scan down to find that New York and L.A. didn‘t even make the cut. And it’s interesting to note that these cities had lower average ticket prices than bigger markets.

Go to episode 261