Sarah Blanchard

I'm totally biased because I live in the Central (and Best) District, but catching a show at neighborhood bike shop 20/20 Cycle is magical. Owner Alex Kostelnik hosts a handful of all-ages music events every year, temporarily moving piles of bikes, bike parts, and accessories to create an intimate venue—the low ceilings and overall DIY appeal of 20/20 are always a welcome change from the bar/venue grind.

On February 9, local garage punks Unnatural Helpers will be sharing a bill with the tears-surfing lady group wonders La Luz and stripped-down, ghostly blues-makers Lonesome Shack. Just this lineup alone at this venue is A+, but the sparkling cherry on top is that Ruben Mendez and Lacey Swain's Gold Van Records—a mobile record shopping experience full of hand-picked vinyl—will be open for business outside the show.

You know and love the Helpers, but let's get acquainted with these other folks in a triple interview party with La Luz, Lonesome Shack, and Gold Van Records!

Lonesome Shack

Who are Lonesome Shack?

Ben Todd (guitar, vocals, songwriting), Kristian Garrard (drums), Luke Bergman (bass), and occasionally Andrew Swanson (saxophone).

Tell me about Lonesome Shack!

Ben: Haunted boogie blues. The first Lonesome Shack tape came out in 2002. I made tapes for years when I lived in a lonesome shack in Alma, New Mexico, but the beginning of the band, as it is now, was when I started to play with Kristian in '08. Luke joined a couple years back, and that really filled the band out. Our new record, City Man, was recorded live to tape in one night at Cafe Racer and features Andrew Swanson on sax. We have three records out: Bound to Die (Owl Head Records), Slidin Boa (Owl Head Records), and City Man (Owl Head/Knick Knack Records).

What do you know about Gold Van Records?

Ben: Gold Van Records is a mobile record vendor in a mini Ark II van painted gold. I've always wanted one of those vans, but haven't been able to find one that wasn't too thrashed. If you haven't seen Ark II, I recommend it. I haven't bought anything from Gold Van Records yet, but I plan on it! I'm stoked to see what treasures it contains.

Please describe the sound of La Luz.

Ben: Good-time surf and doo-wop from the shadowy side of the green room.

Kristian: Sixties surf 'n' soul for dreamers, mirror ball and silver streamers.

What is your favorite La Luz song?

Ben: "Sure as Spring"—it has a hopeful and uplifting feel despite its melancholy. I love the line "Now I kinda wanna die/And that's the truest way to know that I'm alive."

Have you ever played a show at 20/20 Cycle before?

Ben: No, but I've attended many shows there.

Luke: My other band Heatwarmer played there with Lake last year.

Any plans to tour soon?

Ben: We're playing a festival in Pennsylvania at the end of June, and we'll be booking a tour around that. Probably a few weeks on the road.

Banana seats: yes or no?

Luke: Fuck 'em.

Ben: Sure.

Kristian: Mega yes! The longer and sparklier the better. The same can be said about all appliances.

Do you have any free advice or hot tips you would like to share?

Ben: Dancing makes it fun!

Luke: Man o' War in the third round.

La Luz

Who are La Luz?

Shana Cleveland (guitar), Abbey Blackwell (bass), Katie Jacobson (keyboard), and Marian Li Pino (drums). We all sing, and most of the band has some pretty wicked dance moves. Except Marian, because she's rooted to the ground.

Tell me about La Luz!

Shana: La Luz play surf rock and rock 'n' roll with girl-group doo-wop sounds. We started playing together in July and played our first show at the Funhouse in October. We have an EP called Damp Face that we self-released on cassette and ran out of. Burger Records is reissuing it on February 5—just in time for the show! In a few months, we'll also have a 7-inch out on Water Wing Records (an offshoot of Portland's Mississippi Records).

What are some of your past projects?

La Luz: Shana and Marian played in the Curious Mystery together, and before that Marian was in the Pica Beats. Shana also has a folk group called Shana and the Sandcastles. Katie and Abbey play in Katie's group Honey Noble, which is folk and bluegrass influenced. Abbey also plays in Wand, a synth-drenched band.

Please describe the sound of Lonesome Shack.

Marian: Sexy.

Shana: Lonesome Shack is one of the best blues bands there is, and I have seen (what feels like) a million blues bands before because both my parents are blues musicians.

Abbey: So, so tasty.

What is your favorite Lonesome Shack song?

Shana: My personal favorite is probably the one they did about having a tapeworm. Best lyric: "I could eat a barrel of meat." But they don't play that one anymore, no matter how many times I request it! "The Switcher" is also really great.

Marian: I like the sexy-sounding ones. Which, to reiterate, is basically all of them. This band is seriously one of my favorites in town.

Abbey: I can't pick just one! I'll have to refresh my ears on Saturday.

Shana: I had no idea Marian thought they were so sexy!

Have you shopped at Gold Van Records yet?

Shana: I haven't bought anything from them yet, but Ruben recently gave us a bunch of records, and my favorites so far are Lost Animal, Deep Time, and SHE. Lost Animal is this guy who sounds vulnerable and kind of sleazy. If you like rock 'n' roll, you could probably buy anything that Ruben and Lacey recommend and be really happy.

Marian: I've been enjoying Black Marble and La Sera so far, but I have a lot left to listen to—he gave us a pretty hefty amount. Music education?

Have you ever played a show at 20/20 Cycle before?

Shana: I've played there a bunch of times with my group the Sandcastles. Once with Michael Hurley, that was really great. It's a rad space to see shows, and Alex does a great job with sound.

Marian: I played there once with the Pica Beats many moons ago—20/20 has a comfy and open vibe. I dig it.

Abbey: I haven't played there, but all the shows I've seen there were fantastic! It's a very welcoming environment.

Any plans to tour soon?

We have a West Coast tour planned at the end of March, which is in part to celebrate and support our Burger and Water Wing releases.

Banana seats: yes or no?

Shana: Duh.

Marian: Super comfy. Yes.

Abbey: Well, sure.

Do you have any free advice or hot tips you would like to share?

Marian: Quit Facebook and floss more. I've found that my general mood has greatly improved by doing those things.

Abbey: Eat as many green leafy vegetables as you can. And beets. Drink tea with fennel and dandelion root and peppermint and delicious things like that! Your stomach will love you.

Shana: Wow, you guys are good at this. I find that dancing is good for your general well-being. And watching Soul Train videos from the '70s is always life-affirming.

Gold Van Records

Please Describe Gold Van Records.

Ruben: Gold Van is a van that is gold in color—a rare Mitsubishi Delica (delivery van plus car equals Delica). The interior is decorated with lights along the ceiling, a disco ball, shiny streamers, and golden music notes. There's white shag carpet for people to lounge about on and a gold lamé bench seat for browsing, listening, and talking about the records. A sparkly shelf holds the top nine featured new LPs; a golden crate houses used LPs and singles. And there's a wall that separates the back of the van from the front—the two front seats are "the office." Oh, and there's a little stereo hooked up to an iPod that plays music available in the van, usually on the top nine wall. We are hoping to get a PA cone, a turntable, and a card table to set up outside on non-rain, non-cold days.

Lacey: GV is like a garage sale on wheels specializing in records. There are new records in limited quantities, and they are most likely records that you won't find at a lot of brick-and-mortar record shops. Also, I am ordained and can and will marry you and your partner—with purchase, of course.

Ruben: Right now, it's a hobby and art experiment. The weather hasn't been the best and the stock needs to build, so we're out only once or twice a month. In the spring/summer months, we will be out a lot more, hopefully twice a week.

What is your record stock like?

Ruben: Our stock is limited to space. I would say on average there are about 50 new LPs, 50 used LPs, a couple cassettes, and about 50 7-inches. Genres are all over the place—country, new wave, cold wave, punk, glam, weirdo pop, outsider, ugly. It's to educate myself and others. It's for people like me/us, the "gross sexual idiots and intellectuals" of the world.

What's the best record in the van?

Ruben: There are many wonderful records in the van. There's Charlie Tweddle—beer-soaked wobbly poetry by a legend and an artist. Also, the SHE Outta Reach record—a '60s garage group of ladies who could play better than the Shaggs and wrote songs about not wanting to do what everyone says to do. Oh, and Protomartyr's two 7-inch singles. That band is the best. I have some really cool Australian stuff on the way, too.

Lacey: My favorite new things for sale are the La Luz cassette, David Arvedon, and Lost Animal. I am also a fan of a bunch of old pop punk, mostly Bay Area stuff, but it's time to let go, so I'll be throwing a ton of my original press Lookout! and Very Small World stuff in the used bin soon.

Have you considered an airbrushed mural on the side of Gold Van?

Ruben: We have considered painting a guitar on the side. We have ideas, but we want it to look cheap and hand-painted with house paint.

What does La Luz sound like?

Ruben: La Luz sound like old-school girl doo-wop band meets surf music.

Lacey: La Luz sound like exactly like what you want going inside yer earballs whether you're happy or sad, male or female, dog- or cat-person. Shana's dance moves while she plays are the product of sheer joy, and to watch her play is to see the power of music on the soul.

What does Lonesome Shack sound like?

Lacey: It's been a very long time since we've seen Lonesome Shack, and that's just because we are lame. The last time we saw 'em, it was really just the one-man band of Ben Todd, luthier to the stars. It's a full band now, and I can't wait to see them play!

What records would you recommend for each band playing tonight? Ruben: For La Luz, SHE (I already gave it to them); for Lonesome Shack, Charlie Tweddle; for Unnatural Helpers, the new Ooga Boogas LP.

Where can a person find Gold Van?

Ruben: The best way to find us is by joining the e-mail list at goldvanrecords@gmail. The e-mail blasts will mention new stock with a link/description to what it sounds like and include our upcoming plans, shows, and even days we are willing to do house calls. House calls coming soon!

Lacey: Look for us outside shows of all kinds in all the boroughs of Seattle, as well as outside bars, art shows, parks, house parties, and anywhere else we're invited.

Banana seats: yes or no?

Ruben: YES.

Lacey: Yes, but they have been and always will be semi-sexual, no matter the age of the riders.

Do you have any free advice or hot tips you would like to share?

Ruben: Invest in the band Protomartyr.

Lacey: Try not to use credit, try to save, even if it's just a little, and try to focus on the present as much as you can. recommended