The Redwood Plan leader Lesli Wood is tucked into a booth at the Ballard Smoke Shop in Ballard, sidled up to former Iceage Cobra bassist Ben Harwood. “We’re starting with coffee; we’ll get to the whiskey later,” she says. “We’re cold and tired at the moment.”
Seattle temperatures are hovering around the 17-degree mark on this frigid Tuesday night. But despite her declaration, Wood and Harwood are in characteristically ribald and passionate form, trading stories about the hilarities and hazards of low-budget touring itineraries and live performance.
Between stories about Harwood and his bandmates’ efforts to put out fires in overheated engine compartments through collaborative urination and glowing tales of Wood’s recent engagement to Redwood Plan bassist Larry Brady, the pair of longtime friends expound upon their enthusiasm for playing the holiday party of forward-thinking Webzine backbeatseattle.com this Friday, Dec. 18, at the Blue Moon.
Referring affectionately to current co-editor Amelia Gydé, who runs the site with freelance photographer and periodic scribe Dagmar Patterson, Wood says, “She’s just got such great taste in music. She was the first one to turn me on to THEESatisfaction,” citing the feminist-minded hip-hop duo.
Patterson started backbeatseattle.com this past March as a fanzine-styled site, and brought Gydé aboard as co-editor shortly thereafter. “We’re made up of photographers and writerswho cover the bands we love,” explains Gydé. “And as we’ve grown, so has the diversity of what we cover.”
Friday’s bill includes singer/songwriter Gabriel Mintz, a virtual unknown who’s been handpicked by Gydé. “Mintz is one of my favorite artists [right now],” says Gydé. “He is part of the GIVE Seattle compilation [recently released via ambitious local coffee chain Caffé Vita]. Live, his music is impeccable, complex, and passionate. I’m not typically drawn to singer/songwriters, but there is something very compelling about Gabe’s performances. Once I had Ben and Lesli booked for our show, I knew Gabe would be the perfect final act.”
Last Thursday night, local label Barsuk Records threw a holiday party at the Salmon Bay Eagles Club. While Rocky Votolato, members of Nada Surf, and Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter mingled with Long Winters leader John Roderick in the charmingly arcane Ballard hall, local pop savants the Globes basked in the glow of their recent fruitful studio time with legendary producer John Goodmanson (Sleater-Kinney, Death Cab for Cutie, the Blood Brothers). The band is in talks with Barsuk about releasing the record next year, though nothing’s been formally finalized. They play tonight, Wed., Dec. 16, at the Comet.
Also in the studio incubator are alt-country darlings the Moondoggies, in the midst of completing their sophomore effort for Hardly Art at Mysterious Red X studios in Georgetown with producer Erik Blood. Anyone who fell in love with their 2008 Don’t Be a Stranger is probably going to be enthralled by their next chapter. Blood is toiling patiently over their meticulous, multitracked second coming, which thus far exhibits their trademark: seamless harmonies and mournful balladry with a bright undercurrent of harder-rocking, hand-clapping good times.
“I don’t think I can make a record without handclaps,” quips Blood, who has recently completed records for a genre-surfing cache of local artists, including the Britpop-embracing Coulter and dub punks Telepathic Liberation Army. Much of the forthcoming Moondoggies material is gleaned from a wellspring of material conjured during frontman Kevin Murphy‘s time in Alaska in 2005. Mixing wraps this week, and a planned (though still flexible) May release date is on the docket.
Finally, hearty congrats to local music impresario Dave Meinert, who is embracing his new role as father with the same vigorous commitment he brings to music-related politics and promotion. Meinert and longtime girlfriend Mandy Park welcomed daughter Olympia Opal Meinert this past Friday. Considering that the couple recently undertook ownership of Belltown’s iconic 5 Point Cafe, here’s wishing them the best in juggling what will undoubtedly be a very busy schedule in 2010.