I try to accentuate the positive in Data Breaker (no, really). But there's no denying that a lot of negative shit happens in any given year—even in the enchanted realm of electronic music. So let's review the last 12 months of bad things.
Data Breaker regrets Electric Tea Garden closing—a major setback for Seattle's electronic-music scene. This loft space on 14th and Madison had been the locus for loads of amazing shows, regular events, and after-hours parties for many years. In 2013, it hosted at least two of the best shows I've ever seen (Rrose's Decibel Fest after-party and the Pan Records showcase with Heatsick, NHK'Koyxen, and Lee Gamble). Other amazing gigs included Neue Deutsche Welle synth weirdo Im Namen Des Volkes and French psych-raga-drone guru High Wolf. That small, low-ceilinged venue will be missed.
Data Breaker regrets Capitol Hill nightclub Q abandoning its challenging nights, such as Cody Morrison and Jeremy Grant's Shelter weekly. But my griping was a bit premature, as the pendulum started to swing back toward more risk-taking late in 2013. A couple of douchebag-repelling weeklies have surfaced: Dial Up, which will feature juke, seapunk, Jersey club, vaporwave, and other new subgenres on Wednesdays, and Unscene Sundays, which recently hosted UK hotshot Girl Unit. Plus, Decibel director Sean Horton's booking marquee acts there. Kudos, Q. I'll eat that regret with relish.
Data Breaker regrets the closure of Easy Street Records' Queen Anne branch. That store served all music-consumer demographics very solidly, and it boasted one of the best electronic-music sections in the city.
Data Breaker regrets that so few people saw one of the greatest live performances of 2013: the Sun-Ra-meets-Conrad-Schnitzler house-music renovations of Hieroglyphic Being, who closed out the phenomenal Debacle Fest to about 20 people.
Data Breaker regrets people's inertia and apathy—the two biggest enemies of any city's cultural scene.
In an annual tradition, Data Breaker regrets the grueling duration of Decibel, the world-class electronic-music/digital-arts festival. At five days, it is literally too much of a good thing. If it were scaled back even one day, Decibel would be a much more enjoyable experience. But surely there are sound financial and aesthetic reasons to keep it as is.
Finally, Data Breaker regrets Daft Punk's Random Access Memories, one of the most-hyped albums of recent times. While it was bold of the French duo to take a "fuck computers, we're using real live musicians" approach to recording, the actual songs are largely anodyne and cringingly unctuous. It's a luxury yacht reeking of stale cologne and flat champagne.