Tag Archives: Angel Olsen

KXUA Abroad: Rocking the block at Capital Hill Block Party 2014

This year’s Block Party was a genuinely cool fest, and a buzzing success—to a ratable, visible extent. As can be anticipated in any large music festival, some acts fell short (A$AP Rocky), while others exceed expectations and fucking kill (Angel Olsen). The sun was out, water guns streaming from balconies over the streets, all degrees and ages of stoners present, and tons of great food and handy booze within eyesight—the party was well prepared.

The crowd was a mix of UW student—lots of mom shorts and cute little girls, fun parents with ear-budded babies; probably 45% hipster (that’s a rough estimate). Apparently the festival was never sold out over the three-day weekend; however, each day North Pike St. filled around the main stage for the day’s biggest name; while off-center acts’ crowds remained manageable and pretty dope.

Café Vita Coffee Roasters put on a badass showcase – Café Vita’s Endsessions – with acts like Spoon, Duke Evers, and Iska Dhaaf, and War On Drugs each day, usually featuring two or three shows, often fit in before the group’s show at a festival stage. So, good work, Café Vita –way to be cool.

Matt and Kim. Coming from a non-fan of the pair, Matt and Kim had a pretty rad party. Both members of the act make a point to interact, and to a pretty cheesy extent, entertain the audience, rather than engross them in music. Matt jokes and Kim danced and shakes her ass for the crowd—not to be misogynistic, this actually happens. Lots of tiny girls ran through the crowds naturally, forced like veins moving oxygen toward the front of the stage, to feed the band’s energy. And acts like Matt and Kim do well to get people moving and give off a “fuck-it” fun vibe—girls move, guys move; it’s a party.

A$AP Rocky was the festival finale, and unfortunately so. He spent the majority of the show jumping up and down to other artists’ songs, rarely spitting out any verses; instead, yelling out the hooks of songs. The streets filled and walking became the sort of annoying game it becomes when more people dancing than standing still or walking. Some people still looked excited when the show was over, while most rubbed their ears and probably shrugged, “A damn shame – maybe A$AP’s just better at home.”

Angel Olsen rocked out, hitting strings slightly harder than much of the material from her album. The band seemed to have a good time playing, although it could be said that Angel wasn’t as engrossed a host as she could have been, limiting the small talk and joking with the crowd. Can’t complain though, Angel Olsen rules and she backed up her music by not skipping a beat live.

War on Drugs put on a big-feeling show. Lit up from an overhead sun, the hot street filled with hands-in-pocket hipsters and some late-arrival attendees who most likely meandered to the first, biggest sound on the street. Like a Tom Petty or Neil Young show, War on Drugs played and dressed the part—hitting long, country-tinged notes and rolling drum beats like any good driving song has. The band played late afternoon and as the sun set, continued until dark, playing for nearly two and a half hours. Sadly, the sun and the Saturday drunk-kid crowd dampened the attitude in the audience—as I had to do the “proud shoulders” move to keep a few kids from falling over, through me. Finally a few fading teenagers left, to be replaced by a couple of guys who clearly didn’t listen to War on Drugs, and clearly didn’t come to the show to begin. They just started talking and dancing to some far away DJ set in the middle of the street. Fuckers.

Spoon was the biggest name at the festival, no doubt. Their show was a nice mix of old hits (“The Way We Get By”) with some newer stuff from Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga like “Underdog” and ish, then some new sounds from their alum—which was released today, August 4th. The new album seems to be mostly praised for it’s Spoon-ish style, sort of bumpy-pop with some wrenching singing.

Lots of local bands and other national indie groups played pretty awesome shows, many in smaller venues with great areas and bars. Gaythiest was a metal triplet from Portland, nearly all of their songs coming in under two minutes, fast and screaming. They played a quick fun set at Nuemos on Saturday. As The Stranger put it, the band won the Best Band Name award. Duke Evers, another triplet—though from Seattle—played for Café Vita’s Endsessions Saturday. Duke Evers seems somehow like a West Coast version of Smith Westerns, maybe loosened up a little.

See also: Dum Dum Girls, Iska Dhaaf, Katie Kate, Country Lips.

- Drew Tully and Cole Fite | Contributing Bloggers


KXUA Abroad: Prepping for Capitol Hill Block Party

Capitol Hill Block Party seems to be a true indie music festival. Maybe like a smaller Pitchfork Music Festival (maybe not so silently self-contented?). Basically CHBP seeks to generate a small congregation, or concentration, of the Seattle vibe—progress and community. Running annually since 1997—a fundamental period in Seattle’s music scene—the CHBP has bolstered its foundation in the Capitol Hill neighborhood.

Our ethics and esthetic are liberal and DIY. CHBP is the only independently owned festival of its size, and we strive to break out, propel and inspire new talent. We are a community-conscious organization and also run a non-profit called Sound Culture. (capitolhillblockparty.com)

CHBP’s 2014 line-up appears to be pretty on the level. There are the generally underground local artists; some dope small (but emerging) artists; and the indie-ish headliners (not a derogatory distinction). Of course there are then the dozens of artists who comprise the “more than 100 local and national artists” lineup.

Headliners include household names such as Spoon, A$AP Rocky, Chromeo, Matt and Kim; cool lesser-known acts like Angel Olsen, War On Drugs, RAC, Dum Dum Girls, and A$AP Ferg.

For the weekend of July 25, 26, and 27, I plan on taking off the from West Lake Union, taking a walk around the water, and climbing the hill to the 6-block area of the CHBP Festival. Over the course of the festival I’m going to want to see a long list of acts.

My short list:

Angel Olsen

Angel Olsen at NPR
Angel Olsen at NPR

Sunday 2:45 | Main Stage

Indie/Folk/ Pop singer from St. Missouri, MO, Angel Olsen is a ghostly, transient voice. Before signing to Jagjaguwar Records, Olsen backed up artists like Bonnie “Prince” Billy, and Wilco’s Leroy Bach on guitar. On her first full-length album with Jagjaguwar, Olsen’s lyrics divulge some trace of folky, plainspoken sentimentality; meanwhile her pacing, droning, and soft wailing guitar riffs exceed humaneness. Olsen sings of love and loss of love with a beachy angst and bleakness. The singer belongs to a small number of female acts whose attitude and temperament seem entirely apart of every sung word.

The War On Drugs

Lost In The Dream album cover art
Lost In The Dream album cover art

Sunday 6:30, Main Stage

The War on Drugs is an American indie rock band from Philadelphia, PA. The band puts out cuts with smooth, slowly rounded drums, guitar and piano riffs like they were Journey or Genesis. Not in a bad or cheesy way (maybe sometimes cheesy, but good-cheesy). Lost in the Dream (released December 2013 from Secretly Canadian) is the bands second studio album since Kurt Vile left the band. The band definitely has a sound that reflects Vile’s influence, or at least is comparable to Vile’s blunt, often brash nature. Lost in the Dream is a nearly perfect end-of-summer album—nostalgic and hypnotizing with its echoing, tinged descriptions of moon-lit nights.


Chromeo kicking it with youredm.com
Chromeo kicking it with youredm.com

Saturday 11:00, Main Stage

Electronic-funk outfit Chromeo are a keyboard-heavy, Montreal-based pair comprised by David Macklovitch and Patrick Gemayel. Macklovitch, who is the soulful singer of the two, is Jewish and Gemayel is Arab—a fact that both members joke about, remarking that they are “the first successful Arab/Jewish partnership since the dawn of human culture.” Active since 2002, Chromeo is a fairly common name in indie music fests and electro-funk line-ups. The group’s hardcore treatment of bass and synth lends itself to Daft Punk-type dance tunes. However, the humor of Chromeo is hard to miss—lines about girls’ small breasts, sexualized female legs for keyboard stands. Chromeo is like a friendly middle finger to ballads and lonely singer-songwriter music, poking you to jump and dance. Get down.

-Drew Tully | Contributing Blogger