I know I was only off for a couple of weeks, but it feels like a lot longer. I think I checked out mentally somewhere just before I headed out to Austin, so I've got some catching up to do. Speaking of that, some deserving local bands got appreciative ink in the SXSW recap in the latest issue of Rolling Stone--the one with the King's babe Lisa Marie Presley on the cover. Among the magazine's picks for bands to watch are KaitO (the first band I saw in Austin, before kicking off the Seattle-band lovefest); Kinski, who "blew the walls down" at Emo's with their "rolling thunder" (I couldn't agree more); and Pretty Girls Make Graves, whose "fist-pumping anthems," and singer Andrea Zollo, got them plenty of notice. Pretty Girls are currently out at Bear Creek Studio recording their first album for Matador, and they just returned home from a tour with Hint Hint and Cobra High, supporting Derek Fudesco's Cold Crush Records (which hosts the latter two up-and-coming bands). It's old news to some, but I still want to point out that Hint Hint captured the attention of everyone crowding their afternoon SXSW set, and as they played, many of the local fans in attendance could actually feel the moment when everyone else began to catch on that Seattle was alive with great music. Sure enough, that night, as I made the rounds of showcases featuring local bands and labels, every show was packed--and I'll say it again: fucking fantastic.
Back home, These Arms Are Snakes put a spell on Jade Tree Records co-owner Tim Owen, who signed the band even though they've only been together for like five minutes. Congratulations! In case you don't hang out with the kids, Jade Tree is or has been host to backpack bands such as Joan of Arc, the Promise Ring, Jets to Brazil, Milemarker, Kid Dynamite, and local act Pedro the Lion--so These Arms Are Snakes are in good, if not altogether like, company.
Some sad news: Modest Mouse drummer Jeremiah Green has resigned from the band he founded with Isaac Brock in 1993, purportedly to focus more intensely on his new band the Vells. Green, also a former member of Red Stars Theory, helped Modest Mouse become one of the country's most successful indie-rock bands, and his complicated drumming style will be hard to replace. On a happy note, the Vells' self-titled debut EP is out on the Luckyhorse Industries label, and it's as sweet and sunny as can be.
Okay--those of you who can't stand me blathering on and on about the Cha Cha should take this as a cue to curl your lip in derision and exasperation. But I'd let my mother down if I didn't thank my little neighborhood for making things happen when I couldn't. Recently, I was sick and then suddenly hospitalized, and all it took was one call to the bar to get help. Within a couple of minutes, my dog Mamie was happily taken care of (thanks to the boys of the New Mexicans, whose new record kicked my ass when I heard it in the bar last weekend), and I had books and magazines to read. After I was discharged, I had kindly prepared meals, along with several rock-star helpers who lent hands during my recovery. Say what you will about the scruffy little area that makes up lower Capitol Hill, but it's home to some damn fine people (who happen to make damn fine music), and I wouldn't live anywhere else.