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Most scandalously, Your Enemies Friends, who have been on tour most of the past two months, moved back to Los Angeles, from whence they emigrated after keyboard player Aska Matsumyia married Pretty Girls Make Graves guitarist Nathen Johnson. The reason for moving back, according to YEF singer/frontman Ronnie Washburn, is that he needs to be in his home state in order to be a productive songwriter. (More than one person was overheard to wonder aloud whether the real reason might be that the handsome and charismatic singer might have burned his way through the barflies and his job at the Cha Cha a little too quickly to comfortably remain in Seattle much longer.) Second, guitarist/singer Dana James--former wife of Ronnie--blames it on Aska, who, as Dana put it quite bluntly to me last Friday on the eve of their departure, called up the band and said something to the tune of, "I quit. I'm going to be a mother." That would lend credence to the rumor that she and Nathen are expecting. Bassist Allen Watke, originally from Spokane, was near tears as he said goodbye to me at Double Trouble's dance party that tumultuous Friday, December 14, siding with Ronnie's official statement as to why the band has to go home, but not hiding the fact that he'd rather stay in Seattle forever. Drummer Luis-Carlos Contreas seems to go wherever the wind takes him, and outside of a very sweet goodbye, I never got a feeling one way or the other about how he feels about leaving. The band left as a trio (Pretty Girls Make Graves' Jay filled in temporarily on keyboards when the band played in the U.K. the previous couple of weeks, hopping a plane the day Aska decided to literally call it quits), piling into a Greyhound headed south the next day. I'd say We Hardly Knew Ye, but when they were here such a short time, what's the use? Come back to visit real soon and don't let the door hit you where the good Lord split you.
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What else? Oh yeah, members of the band formerly known to Sub Pop as the Yo-Yo's have taken up residence in Seattle, and are fixtures at late-night parties. Their ribald humor and fine manners were a nice addition to the otherwise tawdry gathering on Friday, and the slap contest they got in was nothing short of hilarious--as are all good slap contests so long as the whacks remain limited to the facial cheek. As he was awaiting his next slap from his opponent, one of the heavily pierced and accented guys not only offered me a cigarette but also lit it, too. Such nice lads, as they were when I met them the first time years ago at the Las Vegas Shakedown, a music festival that I despised for its unrelenting sameness of look and sound. I can only take so much of the identical imagery before my eyeballs hit the ceiling with a thud. Anyway, these new chaps about town add a little bit of the old authentic to the local scene.... Speaking of the old authentic, did anyone catch the "Punk to Present" special on MTV2 on December 15? I nearly laughed myself sick when one brilliant programmer played the Jam's "In the City" back-to-back with the Hives' "Hate to Say I Told You So." Brilliant.