The Spider Trio
Miro Tea 5405 Ballard Ave. N.W., 550-2242, www.mirotea.com.
Click here for directions and ticket information.
Click here for our reporting on REVERB acts.
Listen to a sample of Mike Dumovich's "Mesojunarian."
var so = new SWFObject("http://media.seattleweekly.com/players/vvmMiniPlayer.swf?audioFile=http://media.newtimes.com/id/1482882/&autoPlay=no", "theSWF", "91", "32", "8", "#FFFFFF" ); so.write( "player" );
I put saxophonist Wally Shoup in the same category as the Sun City Girls simply because of how blasé Seattle is to the fact that he lives here. Most local hipsters probably have no idea who he is, but he's part of that ever-growing network of free-improv cats who are operating outside the jazz power hubs of N.Y.C. and Chicago—the kind who wind up jamming with Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth (which Shoup did not long ago). Here, he performs with Jeffery Taylor (Wall of Sound records co-owner, also of Climax Golden Twins) and Dave Abramson (Diminished Men) as the Spider Trio. It's free garage skronk, in Shoup's words, which means it's perfect for anyone who digs Pharoah Sanders' Karma, the Stooges' Fun House, and Captain Beefheart's Safe as Milk with equal enthusiasm. Their music is stripped to the bone, spontaneous, and weird. Imagine the Spider Trio's performance as three guys standing before a bare canvas. Throughout the night, they splatter, they toss, they spray, they glob, they attack it with broad, slashing brush strokes. Sounds ferocious and wild, sure, but freedom and joy lie at the heart of it. BRIAN J. BARR
In the relatively short time that Kazutaka Nomura has been living in Seattle, as an exchange student and as PWRFL POWER, the charismatic Japanese singer-songwriter has adapted quite well into Seattle's music community (enough to win a coveted slot on the main stage at this year's Capitol Hill Block Party). His acoustic guitar-based songs are simple, pleasant, playful, and slightly self-deprecating, woven together with intangible, slightly broken lyrics about pretty girls, tomatoes, losing keys, how to hold chopsticks, and why "it's OK to be yourself," among other things. He's kind of like a neglected Sanrio character with a gap-toothed grin and guitar. Don't tell me you can't help but love him and want him in your life—I already know. TRAVIS RITTER
Just as River City, the fictional town from The Music Man, had trouble with a capital T, Seattle's got its own kind. But where River City's trouble was the game of pool, ours is Jenna Conrad, aka Troubletown, the alluring one-woman show whose music carries emotion like a feather on the wind. She captures the meandering thoughts that run through many an in-love or lovelorn mind and sets them free with a velvety voice. Somehow, she gives clarity to those often vague thoughts with her gentle acoustic strums and the deep, lonely cello accompanying her. While she lends much of her time and talents as a member of singer-songwriter Damien Jurado's band, this is a rare chance to see her solitary shine. AJA PECKNOLD
For years now, each time I see him at a Ballard bar, I remind Mike Dumovich that he's one of the most talented singer-songwriters in Seattle. Invariably, he grins, puts his head down like a sheep, and shakes it in denial. "I mean that, man," I insist. Then, he lifts his head a little and says, "Well, OK...thanks." I know that it puts him in an uncomfortable position, but I can't help it. From the night I first heard him, opening for Jesse Sykes at the Tractor about five years ago, his voice and songs have, for me, captured so much about the somber side of the Pacific Northwest. He has a clear, methodical finger-pluck style, a forlorn vocal timbre, and songs filled with stunning moments of silence that add emotional weight to them. Often, his performances are fleshed out by Vashon Island's mad genius Eyvind Kang, who caresses his viola to recall rain dripping from eaves or lazy waves lapping against the shores of Puget Sound. Lyrically, Dumovich strikes a balance between the abstract and the concrete. He deals in geography, weather, and the impact of those on human emotions. That he possesses a workingman's aura lends the songs even greater depth. You'd think he was one of those tender geniuses who wrestle with great illuminations at their day job, hoping that by the time they get home to their guitar, it will sound as great as it did in their head. But don't mistake him for another contrived woe-is-me songwriter. He's just deeply thoughtful, like all the best songwriters (Townes Van Zandt, Nick Drake) before him. BRIAN J. BARR