I guess when you come into the game having opened for the Flaming Lips, the Shins, and Mates of State, you're already holding a couple of aces up your sleeve, but that doesn't mean Aqueduct should neglect to build buzz here in their new hometown. The former Tulsa, Oklahoma, band (if you can call a one-man project a band) recently relocated to Seattle, and after hearing about the act from some local bookers, I finally got a copy of Aqueduct's disc, Power Ballads. Now, the name's a little misleading, as David Terry's synth and guitar project is more akin to the Postal Service than Pyromania, with minimal bleeps, feedback, and blips to buoy self-conscious lyrics like "You set the standard for being horribly rash/I'm just a guy who's looking for a place to crash." And though he does have a song called "Growing Up with GNR," you get the sense from his lyrics that Terry was the kind of fan who'd stand in the back of the arena when Axl came to town, looking longingly at some kohl-eyed rock chick rather than crushing the pipsqueaks in the pit. His songs are low-key, heart-on-the-sleeve pop ballads, along the lines of the Saddle Creek catalog. I've yet to see him perform live, but he's got two shows coming up--one with Nada Surf and Kind of Like Spitting on February 3 at the Crocodile and another on February 10 at Chop Suey.
Speaking of new Seattle bands, you've got exactly the opposite of Aqueduct's delicacy with the barbed-wire aesthetic of Bringers, a group that conjures images of early-'90s Amphetamine Reptile acts at their shows. They're definitely one of the better groups I've been able to catch lately, with a sinister, abrasive sound that comes damn close to the Jesus Lizard; frontman GiGi Cordova sounds like he's taped a teary mess of a nervous breakdown for the vocals. Their self-titled 2003 demo is packed with scratched-up, melted-down math rock, and it's fucking great. E-mail the band at firstname.lastname@example.org to get a copy.
Never one to pass up a smart-ass opportunity, Sub Pop changed the face of its website last week to Popdork, a spoof on snarky indie critic site Pitchfork (www.pitchforkmedia.com). Laid out to look exactly like the music site, Popdork offers news items like "Isaac Brock named Sub Pop Employee of the Year, despite logging a record 365 sick days" and "Touch and Go Records admits 'Internet' maybe not a fad." The centerpiece is "The Dean's List by Dean" Whitmore (a Sub Pop employee who's played in numerous Seattle bands), which lists 13 no-noes for musicians, including "If you wanna name your band something that will be mispronounced by everyone, don't get all pissy-pants about it when they do. Even your band thinks this is lame." Of course, the self-referential scribes at Pitchfork (who do produce a lot of great music news and reviews) loved it. Check it out at www.subpop.com.