Thumbnail image for slowskate934.jpg
Colin J. Nelson
Slow Skate, whose second record comes out this Friday
Grand Hallway, Promenade (self-released)

A lush symphonic pop album that shows remarkable growth


New Local Music Out This Week: D. Black, Grand Hallway, Slow Skate, Black Whales, Grand Archives

Thumbnail image for slowskate934.jpg
Colin J. Nelson
Slow Skate, whose second record comes out this Friday
Grand Hallway, Promenade (self-released)

A lush symphonic pop album that shows remarkable growth for this band, Grand Hallway's CD release show, which takes place Thursday, September 17 at the Fremont Abbey Arts Center, is a must-see -- largely because the Seattle Rock Orchestra is accompanying them. I'm missing John Vanderslice to go see these guys (...but hopefully, not their penises).

Try before you buy: There's a media player on Grand Hallway's website -- and one track, "Blessed Be, Honeybee" is available for download -- in addition to the omnipresent convenience of MySpace.

Black Whales, Origins EP (Mt. Fuji)

These guys have put together a really solid collection of pop songs, particularly for a first (official) EP. I wrote about this band pretty recently, in which I said they sound like a pop band dabblnig in folk. They may or may not pursue that further on their first LP, but adding an organist, Mike Bayer (who appears first on "Young Blood," arguably the EP's best track), suggests that we can expect further adjustments to the band's sound.

Try before you buy: Where else but MySpace?

Visqueen, Message to Garcia (Local 638)

This record actually came out locally last week, but it's out all over the country today. I've had mixed feelings about Visqueen in the past, but no more: this album has converted me. It sounds a lot like what could've been if Neko Case had chosen to start a rock and roll band instead of a country band; frontwoman Rachel Flotard and Neko definitely share some traits, both in the way they sound and the way they write songs.

Maldives, Listen to the Thunder (Mt. Fuji)

The Maldives' second full-length album comes out nationally today, but it's been available locally for a while, and so far, it appears to be selling fairly well in our hometown record stores. Obviously, I think you should buy a copy if you haven't yet. In addition to joining Grand Hallway at their CD release show on Thursday, the band will be performing at Reverb (the festival) as well.

Try before you buy: You can hear "Tequila Sunday" from a previous post of mine, and there are also some tracks on MySpace, but if you want to listen to the old stuff and have your mind blown at how much better this band's gotten, the band's first release is streaming free on the band's website.

Slow Skate, Past the Whole Parade (self-released)

This is Slow Skate's second album, one that's full of surprises: one track will feature tinkly toy piano, and then the thing will switch gears completely and charge right into rock guitar and heavy, thudding percussion on the next. The binding thread is Caitlin Sherman's voice, which can be lilting and sweet or throaty and sensual, but is always mesmerizing. The record officially comes out this Friday at the band's CD release show at the Sunset Tavern.

Try before you buy: MySpace, and there are three tracks available for download on the band's website.

D. Black, Ali'yah (Sport'n Life )

Supposedly, this will be D. Black's last album, as he plans to devote his time to spiritual pursuits, which makes it all the more important that we all attend his last few shows before he starts ministering full-time. I hope he changes his mind and will consider that hip hop is a powerful way to be heard -- particularly by young people. If he's really serious about quitting music, it'll be an unfortunate loss for Seattle and hip hop at large, because this record is a really solid piece of work. His CD release show is September 16 at the Crocodile, but there will be an all ages CD release show at the Vera Project on October 3 as well.

Try before you buy: Here's a link to a free download of "The Return" from Ali'yah, which features revered producer Jake One. Also, MySpace will hook you up.

Grand Archives, Keep in Mind Frankenstein (Sub Pop)

The sophomore release from a folky pop band whose sumptuous self-titled debut knocked the socks off of most everyone who heard it, Keep in Mind Frankenstein's got some very big shoes to fill -- and has elicited very different opinions amongst music writers here at SW.

Try before you buy: Their Sub Pop artist page has two download-able mp3s from the new record, "Oslo Novelist" and "Silver Among the Gold."

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