Fugazi percussionist and filmmaker Brendan Canty was in town this Friday shooting footage for the Seattle edition of his Burn to Shine documentary series (previous cities covered include Wash-ington, D.C., Chicago, Louisville, Ky., and Portland, Ore.). The series' premise involves a handful of locally curated bands playing one song each in a building that is slated for imminent demolition. In this case, the curator was Death Cab for Cutie's Ben Gibbard, who pulled together an impressive array of local talent, including Blue Scholars, Tiny Vipers, Eddie Vedder, the Long Winters, the Can't See, Triumph of Lethargy Skinned Alive to Death, the Cave Singers, and Kinski.
The beautiful, older Phinney Ridge home where the filming took place made for a bittersweet set, with everyone admiring the antique fixtures and lamenting the space's impending demise. Still, the passionate, purposeful nature of Canty, his crew, and the participating artists, combined with the fleeting nature of the moment, created a relaxed, reverent vibe that was downright magical. This was especially true when Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter performed the last song of the shoot, and insisted that the remaining musicians and audience members sing along on the song's final round of choruses. When I remarked to Canty that it felt like a highly appropriate benediction to the ceremony of the day, he agreed wholeheartedly. "That's true, and that's sort of the goal," he said. "The first film [in D.C.] happened because a friend of mine had a house that he had to demolish and he felt bad about it—he knew the woman that used to live there. It was a way to honor her life, the house itself, and to get a snapshot of where the bands are at that particular moment in time." No firm release date for the film is available, but I will cover it in this column when it's announced. DVDs of previous editions can be purchased at www.trixiedvd.com.
Aero Booking proprietor Kris Kierulff was also at the shoot, helping out with production. When he wasn't clicking the clapboard and reminding everyone to keep their cell phones turned off, he filled me in on his new gig as the locally focused booking agent for Chop Suey. "Colin [Johnson] is still handling the national stuff, and I'll be doing the local shows," he explained. "I love Chop Suey for its diversity and the ability I'll have to be creative with programming." Kierulff's first booking is a free Super Bowl party on Sunday, Feb. 4, with Bobcats, the Catch, and Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground.
Another local talent entering a new phase in his creative career is Curtis Hall, aka DJ Curtis. The freakishly popular dance-floor ambassador and former Jeunes drummer recently formed a new band called Archives, featuring Jeff Montano (New Mexicans), Mat Brooke (Band of Horses, Carissa's Wierd), and Ron Lewis (Fruit Bats, Ghost Stories, Joggers). The four friends plan to start playing out live after they finish up the demos they're currently recording at MRX Studio with the help of rising local producer Ben Kersten.
Iridescent local pop-rock quartet Lillydale are happy to be out of the studio and on to the task of celebrating the release of their ambitiously conceived and gorgeously produced debut, The Art of Becoming One's Own Shadow. Thanks to the impressive ears of producer Johnny Sangster and frontman Joe Markiewicz's sensuous knack for crafting startling lyrical detail, the band has assembled a very thoughtful and occasionally theatrical collection of harmony-saturated everyman anthems that gracefully tackle themes of grief, failure, redemption, and resolution, all while miraculously avoiding cliché or overt sentimentality. Built upon the remains of the band members' collectively difficult private lives over the last couple of years (littered with a shocking number of personal trials, splintered relationships, and unexpected deaths, all of which are alluded to within the album's artwork), the record should immediately appeal to Arcade Fire fans. Their live show is an elaborate affair as well, with the band bringing an eight-member choir and copious handfuls of glitter and confetti onto the stage with them. "The goal is to say, 'Let's all just become children for a second, dance, and forget that we're supposed to be cool,'" explains Markiewicz. The band's record release party is next Tuesday, Feb. 6, at the Crocodile with Little Brazil and Blue Checkered Record Player.