REVERBfest at Lock and Keel

The Little Penguins, Red Jacket Mine, Trombone Cake ...

MIDNIGHTAt the SpineAt the Spine frontman Mike Toschi, a teacher at Alternative School 1 and proprietor of his own label, Global Seepej, established his band as a punk-rock outfit with a progressive message. In 2006, frustrated with America's baffling penchant for conservative politics, Toschi picked up a six-month UK work permit, moved to London, and taught school in a rundown part of the city affectionately known as Murder Mile. The result of that journey is Vita, At the Spine's fourth album and poppiest effort to date. Though this turn toward the melodic might be jarring for fans of the band's previous records—particularly of Sonic Resistance, an excellent DIY punk-rock record and Vita's predecessor—Vita marks a new shift in Toschi's songwriting. Instead of the loud riffage and short, potent punk-rock lyrics we're used to, Vita contains melodic songs with detailed pop lyrics; the one exception, "Transylvania," harkens back to At the Spine's louder days. Still, you can expect some of the band's old raucousness, since they're playing at midnight and will surely be compelled to keep us awake with some pounding drums and screaming guitar action. SARA BRICKNER11 p.m.The QuitI have to admit that no matter how many times it happens, I'm always thrilled when a jangly, elegant guitar-pop band hits the scene bringing together the sounds and moods of some of my favorite bands—Dream Syndicate, Luna, the Chills, the Bats, The Clientele, and the good ol' Velvet Underground—and fashioning that into something new. Local long-timers the Turn-ons do that for me, and so it also is with The Quit, the Seattle foursome led by singer-guitarist Scott Shoemaker. Theirs is an immediately appealing waterfall of melody that's sometimes bright, sometimes melancholy, and always deftly constructed. I'm really impressed with their recent debut disc, Minus Tide, the songs on which are fresh, yet feel as familiar and warm as a favorite old sweater. MICHAEL ALAN GOLDBERG10 p.m.Trombone CakeBands like this make writing about music an awesome, head-scratching challenge. Trombone Cake makes a driving-but-muddy urban folk. Traces of T. Rex's glammy haze are heard on their song "My Head Is Hummin," yet a song like "Phoenix" is a swampy, Kinks-ish romp. Sometimes they sound like some keyboard-heavy L.A. rockers ("Vicious Standards"), other times like the backwoods of the American south ("Candlewax"). It's a very strange, shapeshifty brew they cook up, but one that is familiar and bewitching. BRIAN J. BARR9 p.m.Red Jacket MineHaving lived in Seattle only since 2004, Lincoln Barr has already found a firm place in Seattle's pop scene. With his band, Red Jacket Mine, Barr has gigged relentlessly around town, perfecting what he calls "twilit pop," which really is a more poetic way of saying they sound like a mellow folk-informed pop band with a tinge of British psychedelia. Heavy on the layered harmonies and mournfully pretty melodies, comparisons have been made to that other local lite-pop concern, Grand Archives. I hear a lot more Downpilot in them, however, especially in Barr's whispery late-night vocals. Fitting then, that Downpilot's own Paul Hiraga is a guest on their most recent album, Hello, Old Cloud. Currently, Red Jacket Mine is at work on another album, being produced by none other than ex-Posie Ken Stringfellow. BJB8 p.m.Gatling GeesBefore you embarrass yourself in front of the band, it's pronounced "jeez." Gatling Jeez. Led by Daymon Mar and Otis McGurk, Gatling Gees is classic classic rock. Swingin' three-chord blues rockers, the band sounds like American rock inspired by the pre-Invasion British. Like early Beatles or Kinks, a primitive quality permeates their tunes, which are also drenched in echo, lending the whole affair a vintage vibe. Just imagine a young Mick and Keith, jamming out in their flat after learning their first Chuck Berry song. BJB7 p.m.The Little PenguinsBouncy pop concern the Little Penguins made an album, Welcome to the Celebration, last year, and it's exactly what they say it is: light but lush, and touched by the brilliant melancholy that turns a simple rock lineup into something special. Fronted by Turn-ons drummer Will Hallauer, with former Fleet Foxes drummer Garrett Croxon picking up the Penguins' sticks, rounded out by bassist Andrew Gaskin and guitarist/keyboardist Jerry Peerson, and produced by fellow Turn-on and on-again, off-again Penguin Erik Blood, the band's pop cred was already off the charts before they ever put out an album. But in defiance of its jovial title, the best tracks on Welcome to the Celebration aren't exactly bubblegum. They're plaintive admissions of shortcomings ("Breathless," "The Celebration") set to cloying melodies. The Little Penguins planned to self-release another album, Offer You This Cape, by summer's end. Unfortunately, the band's a little behind schedule. But according to Hallauer, the CD release party will happen sometime in November—basically, he says, as soon as the band books a show, something they're working on now. "I think the second record is a lot darker," Hallauer says of the upcoming release. "It's a lot more moody than the first one. It's not dramatically different, but I think it's definitely a change in mood." As for the fate of the Turn-ons, the band's not broken up, but singer Travis DeVries is currently in New York, and he's considering moving there. But nothing's certain yet, and Turn-ons fans shouldn't despair no matter what happens. Both projects offer up equally tasty gems on a consistent basis, and if Offer You This Cape achieves half the poignant pathos of its predecessor, the Little Penguins might just end up releasing their third record on an established label that can back them with the resources they deserve. SB6 p.m.The Braille TapesIf you didn't know better, you'd think the Braille Tapes used to gig around Seattle in the early '90s. Loud, grimy, angsty, driven by a wonky rhythm section that recalls the interplay of Modest Mouse's Jeremiah Green and Eric Judy, the Braille Tapes make a sort of indie rock informed by hardcore. Like cokeheads talking over one another, the songs veer off into wild tangents, and are sometimes about subjects as peevish as dudes who wear their collars up like James Dean. Sometimes the vocals sound like Mark Arm's higher-pitched moments, but when the chorus rages, the band sounds for all the world like At the Drive-In. BJB

 
comments powered by Disqus