The Knox Family (L-R: Jerm, DJ B-Girl, Julie C)
In case you haven't heard, Seattle Weekly will be taking over downtown Ballard on October 4>"/>
The Knox Family (L-R: Jerm, DJ B-Girl, Julie C)
In case you haven't heard, Seattle Weekly will be taking over downtown Ballard on October 4 with REVERBfest. The only all-local music fest in the city, REVERBfest takes place in multiple venues around downtown Ballard and boasts over 60 bands from the world's of indie pop, stoner rock, hip-hop, electronic, roots, and more. Today's REVERBfest venue-of-the-day lineup: MARKET STREET ATHLETE (ALL AGES), 2232 NW Market St. Time to get excited, people!
Time to get excited, people!
Orbitron's first release, B-Boy Universal, did not receive nearly as much attention as it should have from the hip hop community here in Seattle. Whether he's holding the mic or spinning on his head, listening to Orbitron rhyme is almost as dizzying as watching him on the floor in b-boy mode (Orbitron's already world-famous for his skills as a member of the Circle of Fire breakdance crew). The abstract, metaphysical rhymes on B-Boy Universal introduce we Earthlings to a man who sees his future as an emcee written out in the stars. With all the talk about consciousness, Orb seems like he wants to be the next Gift of Gab in approach as well as delivery, and it's definitely possible. The man works hard. "I try and touch the sky every time I get on the mic," Orbitron rhymes in "Spirit Run," one of several tracks on B-Boy Universal in which Orbitron pledges his dedication to the craft. Meanwhile, Seattle vet DJ Tecumseh provides the scratchalicious beats, taking a lesson from hip hop's old guard. Overall, the record's a feel-good crowd pleaser, complete with a guest appearance from none other than the Blue Scholars' emcee Geologic to prove that Orbitron's not only got the skill, but the support to do this right. Plus, like all respectable Northwest hip hop, the whole record's dank with herb references. Who says stoners have to be unmotivated losers? SARA BRICKNER
Pitchfork made the bold statement that Truckasaurus was the “future of techno”. Yeah, Pitchfork makes a lot of grand claims (remember Clap Your Hands Say Yeah?), but it means something when it’s applied to one of our bands, right? Either way, if Truckasaurus is the future of techno, then the future is certainly rooted in the past. Using extremely outdated electronics, the group creates dance music for nostalgics. Drum machines clap and click like primitive video-game effects and their throbbing synths recall early 80s futurism. Somehow, Truckasaurus does it all without sounding like gimmicky. And though they traffic in hipster irony (their video for “Fak!!!” features Hulk Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior) Truckasaurus is at heart an accessible, playful electro-pop band that doesn’t take itself too seriously, which is probably why they sound so original. BRIAN BARR
7 p.m.—Canary Sing
Get excited, people: Hollis "Ispire" Wear and Madeleine "the Lioness" Clifford, Seattle's favorite poet-emcees, are finally making a full-length album. Well, they're working on it, at least: there's no concrete space for them to record in yet (would someone just hook them up, already?). And because they're working on that album, shows have been sparse. "Both of us have been performers for five or six years," Clifford explains, "but we've only been recording for a year. So we're focused on learning more about recording music right now." For those out there who aren't familiar with Canary Sing yet, they're the women who, even though they're unsigned with only a self-released EP to their names, earned themselves the privilege of performing with Saul Williams onstage at Bumbershoot this year. See, before Ispire and the Lioness were emcees, they were spoken word poets. Which is how they learned to spit such eloquent rhymes at speeds most emcees only dream about. Both full-time college seniors (Madeleine's an English major at University of Washington, Hollis a history major at Seattle University), the women write informed, mad-catchy rhymes about being biracial women in a male-dominated scene. But they also write more lighthearted stuff, and even when they get serious, they infuse difficult subjects with humor; they refer to themselves, Clifford tells me, as "playfully political" emcees. So watch out: if you're posturing, they will, as Hollis says in the song "Heroines," serve you like couscous. That's right. Couscous. Chew on that for a minute. SARA BRICKNER
“We bringing you something we call Music: The Soul of The Man,” says rapper Wizdom, referring to the title of his and his producer/collaborator Epidemmik’s summer ’08 release. He adds, “And it details a lot of different things going on with hip-hop—specifically, originality and lack thereof.” This declaration on the disc’s intro track was probably necessary, as Wizdom showed himself to be an artist unafraid of introspection on his debut disc, ’07’s Book of Wizdom. The danger here, of course, is that unless you’re gifted with a Proust-like eye for infinity, you’re gonna have to widen your scope beyond yourself. And so Wizdom did on his sophomore effort. Assisted by D.C.-based Epidemmik’s cosmopolitan production (Motown-style R&B, Spanish flamenco, traditional East Coast), Wizdom expanded his subject to include, among other things, the overblown perils of being a white rapper (“N.A.W.”, featuring Grynch) and outsized ego (“Hollywood”) in the age of MySpace. KEVIN CAPP
5 p.m.—The Knox Family
The Knox Family brands itself as a mix of “street and scholar”. While Seattle hip-hop is no stranger to that particular cultural mash-up, this trio is not just another group of scholars with blue collars. A collaboration between DJ B-Girl, Jerm, and Julie C—all of whom are righteous MCs and DJs on their own—The Knox Family is a hip-hop/activist powerhouse. But politics aside, they sound wholly original in the scene because of the way Jerm lays down his low-end, hard gangster vocals while Julie C weaves in and out sharply. It's proof that Seattle hip-hop could benefit from a lot more co-ed collabos like the Knox Family. BRIAN BARR
Kublakai's been busy this year. On January 3, he dropped his debut album, The Basics; then, eight months later, he dropped another album as part of The Let Go with Type and Captain Midnite as The Let Go. It's called Tomorrow Handles That, and that record is probably one of the best independent hip hop albums out of Seattle so far this year. From Sea-town anthems like "Sun Don't Shine" to party jams like "Booty Fiend," Tomorrow Handles That offers up a whole smorgasboard of absurd, funny rhymes that wink and nudge you in hopes that you'll get the unspoken message. Like "Live Life Like A Western," which features Symmetry: "Six shooter in my pants and I ain't talking 'bout a gun/Looking for the hussy with the freshest set of lungs." With Captain Midnite's proficient production skills and cameos from Louis Logic, Josh Martinez, Grieves and Mac Lethal, make sure to pick up this record when Kublakai gets onstage this weekend. SARA BRICKNER
The Everett-based MC Ripynt (pronounced “repent”) has been working, and working, and working some more on his new album, R.I.P.: Re-inventing Poetics. While he still doesn’t have a release date, he’s thinking January ’09 might be a good look. Of course, all this toil and waiting is to be expected from a guy who has recorded roughly 40 songs in the last year, and who has the kind of proclivity for perfection usually reserved for clergymen. With the help of his two primary producers—his younge r brother Aether and pal Sinic—Ripynt makes well-deep music about everyday struggle and strife. What’s it like to be a member of the working poor? Ripynt can tell you. What precipitates break ups? Ask Ripynt. Can music really save lives? Ripynt knows better than most. Witness talent in the raw. KEVIN CAPP