Anytime Whitney Ballen launches a new project, it's worth paying attention. For one thing, Ballen is a thoughtful songwriter with a beguiling singing voice that finds good company in Mirah, CocoRosie, or even Joanna Newsom. She also does watercolor paintings, and for her senior project last year, she curated and released the Pop 425 compilation, featuring over a dozen up-and-coming Eastside bands.
Her newest project takes place in a tent. This Friday, January 15, she's hosting the Gentle Show, a cassette tape release party and art event taking place in a giant tent inside the Old Fire House in Redmond, a fittingly soft space for the kind of intimate moments Ballen creates in her songs.
Ballen is releasing gentle tape—a cassette of songs she says are about "dreams, anxious habits, closeness, and other things have been creating a home for themselves in my head lately"—as a preview of her forthcoming full-length debut, White Feather, White Linens, due out in the next couple of months. She says the roughly recorded songs are best heard on cassette "because of the way tapes make music sound," but even listening to them on my computer, the songs are still striking in their sparseness.
Ballen's art will also be on display at the Gentle Show, and the lineup features musical guests U.S.F., Hoquiam (featuring Damien Jurado), Cumulus, Naomi Punk, and A Locket. It'll cost $5 to get in the tent, but it'll be $5 well spent.
Thurs Jan 14: Brothers from Another, 10th & Commerce, State of the Artist at the Vera Project, 7:30 pm, free.
Fri Jan 15: Jaguar Love, Slender Means, Nazca Lines, Blood Cells at the Vera Project, $5–$6 adv/$8–$9 DOS.
Sat Jan 16: The School of Rock Presents: SST vs. Dischord at El Corazón, 6:30 pm, $10 adv/$12 DOS.
Wed Jan 20: Anti-Flag, Aiden, Cancer Bats, Broadway Calls, Trash Talk at El Corazón, 7 pm, $16.