Three Criminally Slept-On Shows

Even Thom Yorke is caning Seattle ambient producer the Sight Below these days (check out the January 6 entry on radiohead.com/deadairspace), so despite Rainpocalypse 2009, I thought there'd be a decent turnout to last Thursday night's showcase of local talent at Nectar, starring the Sight Below, Lusine, and electro-funk engineer Caro. It ended up being a small but highly energetic crowd, with a dedicated dance floor going strong through Caro's typically winning one-man show, Lusine's beat-heavy set of much new material, and on until last call and lights on. The Sight Below was dreamy and distant as always, washes of processed guitar tone fading in and out, muffled pulse beating as though from within a womb full of amniotic fluid. He played in front of the same projections—slow-motion, monochromatic film loops—as he did at Decibel 2008, and in fact he may have played the exact same set, but it sounded just fine.

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I didn't think Chop Suey would be super packed for Free Blood on Sunday, and I was right, though again it was a good group that did show up. Sunday night is a tough night for a dance party, and Free Blood, despite the DFA affiliation, the touring with Hot Chip, and the ex-member of !!!, just aren't getting a ton of shine out here (maybe KEXP could start playing them...). Too bad, because they put on a fantastic live show. For this show, they played as a four-piece, with John Pugh on guitar and keys as well as vocals, him and totally arresting singer Madeline Davy backed up by live drums and another guitarist. This arrangement reached a freaked-out peak on "Grumpy," which just erupted into feedback and searing noise after its bridge, band members low to the floor, banging on whatever they happened to have in their hands.

Linda and Ron's Dad's set that same night at Neumos—a release party for the latest Journal of Popular Noise, the second or third time I've seen the band—just completely blew me away. Tyler Swan and Derek Bourcier rocked the 808 drum machine and samplers and turntable as always, but tonight they were playing along to digital video Swan had shot on a recent trip to Vietnam, where he was hunting for records and finding tons of GI-era Vietnamese soul 45s. The video was projected on a screen behind them, and the audio was amplified into their set—the high-pitched, clipping digital audio of moped traffic jams, karaoke, and chance musical encounters giving the show a sort of Madlib/Beat Konducta musical-tourism vibe. The superdeep bass from the 808 made the video skip on one song. Bourcier played along on a homemade dan bau, a traditional Vietnamese instrument with a single string attached to a long, flat base and a vertical pole, which can be pulled to bend the notes plucked out on the string, like the tremolo arm of a guitar. Specs One joined them for a couple songs, and it's kind of surprising that every MC in Seattle isn't trying to get on Linda and Ron's Dad's beats, because they are on to some seriously hot shit here. recommended