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NEW BAND CRUSH: THE DARTS (Southeast Tour Now)

November 20, 2017

I bought both albums (EP’s) on a whim at Easy Street Records, and have been obsessed ever since. Nope, never heard of them till that moment, but I loved the font for the band name, coupled with some cutesy suburban mom floral album covers, and it was a no-brainer.
Yeah I know I missed them at the Crocodile, but I’m yearning for The Darts to make a special trip back to Seattle, to entertain my inner Rrriot girl. You must check them the fuck out!….

Barely a year has flown by since Phoenix/LA garage-psych goddesses The Darts (US) wrapped up the final mixes of their phenomenal, self-titled debut EP, which was released on 10″ vinyl at the beginning of October 2016 off the back of a super-hot build-up buzz of local and national radio play, coupled with intense social media flattery and chatter before the band had even played their first gig.

Ever since that first fateful showing in Tucson, Nicole Laurenne (The Love Me Nots, Motobunny, Zero Zero), Rikki Styxx (The Two Tens, The Dollyrots, Thee Outta Sites), Christina Nunez (The Love Me Nots, Casual Encounters, The Madcaps) and Michelle Balderrama (Brainspoon) have blasted off like a guided missile, reaching speeds and heights over a global timeline that most new bands could never manage in the first year.

In summary, The Darts have self released two 10″ vinyl EPs, signed to an international record label, performed multiple tours of the US and Europe and have just completed their first full length album – which is now available and officially released at the end of September 2017. The album will then be showcased via more than a dozen gigs across two tours that month followed by another two weeks of shows in November.



September 28, 2017

Typically, it’s just another day of sifting through my ever growing email inbox (6700 and counting). It’s virtually impossible to keep up with the flood’s of requests, whether it be coverage for shows, interviews, previews, reviews, new album releases, shows etc.. all while trying to maintain, and grow the sister company called Cultnoize Media & PR (shameless plug). But Seismic-Sound allows me to find those bands that my soul yearns for, as well to connect with, and as you are reading …. gloat about.

Enter Happy Abandon … very few times, does a album get so far under my skin, that I can’t focus on the task at hand, but it did just that. I could not get things done without looking at the stereo and shaking my head in disbelief. It was so beautiful. Then as soon as I found out they were coming to Seattle, it was a no brainer … I must hear this live.

But first I wanted to find out a little bit about this band from North Carolina, and learn a bit about em.

PV: Peter Vance (vocals, guitar)
JW: Jake Waits (drums)
JE: Justin Ellis (Bass)

SS: So, I have already told the “Higher Ups”, that this new album of yours, is probably one of the 10 most beautiful albums I have heard this year, in the same category  as Mount Eerie, Vagabon, Folk Yore, Perfume Genius etc. Its absolutely the most beautiful complex piece of work I’ve heard in awhile. This album sounds like its coming from a very well seasoned band that’s been together for awhile.

With that said….I don’t think its easy finding musicians, as equally as talented all in the same band, especially younger bands. But I have to be honest, this band sounds like you were all hand picked studio musicians out of L.A. It all just seems perfect. I mean the cohesiveness is beautiful. Was this the first incarnation of Happy Abandon, and if so… was the chemistry amazing right out of the gate?


PV: The band initially formed as a two-piece between Jake and me. Our chemistry was absolutely immediate. As we started demoing out songs for our first EP, we knew we wanted soundscaping elements beyond just guitar, drums, and vocals.  Alex (Thompson, studio keyboards/pianos and arrangements) began working with us, initially to flesh out the recordings, but was soon playing live with us.  We added Justin as a full member a year later, right before we released the EP.  He had played a few shows with us in the past, so we thought he would be a good fit.

JE:  Alex doesn’t really play with us live anymore due to him purusing an awesome career in musical theater direction, but “Facepaint” was recorded with the four of us as equal partners.  But when we tour, it’s just Jake, Peter, myself, and some backing tracks.  We’ve all played in bands together and separately in college, so we’ve known how to play with and off of each other for a while, which really helped get the ball rolling. Thanks so much for the kind words – I LOVE that Perfume Genius record.


SS: It seems that in the industry now,  smaller bands in particular, need to be pumping out constant material to stay relevant and in the minds of people. How are you traversing the current state of the music industry?

JW: With a machete.

JE: I feel we’re an anomaly in that regard.  We just put out our first album out after 2 years of being “Happy Abandon”, and other than a non-publicized EP and single that we self-released last year, we haven’t really put out anything and instead focused on touring and honing in on the songs so we could make sure they were exactly what we wanted them to be before we recorded.  We have a music video coming out in November and will probably start demoing out some new stuff within the year, but what’s helped us grow more than anything else is touring and keeping ourselves open to any opportunities that come our way.


SS: What’s been the favorite part of this whole process of making the album? The final product? The touring? Or just being done.

PV: I think I can speak for all of us when I say that the recording process for “Facepaint” was incredible from start to finish.  If I were to pick a specific moment that touched me the most, it was hearing Alex and Camille’s (Faulkner, violinist and co-arranger on “Facepaint”) string arrangements played for the first time over the recordings. It affected me more than I expected, and made me appreciate the songs that much more.

JW: Busting out my classical percussion chops: gong, timpani, concert bass drum. Percussion is dynamic, and I strive to innovate the traditional techniques I’ve learned. Rhythmic or aesthetic inspiration comes from everywhere; the mountains we drive through–or the storms–the bands we’ve been playing with, their art, their performances, and in person have all been inspirational.

JE: My favorite thing about recording “Facepaint” was how efficient, yet relaxed it was.  We recorded the bulk of it at a house on Lake Gaston and lived there for a week with its’ owner, Jason Merritt, who produced the record, and Jamie Candiloro, who flew in from LA to help us record and later mix the record.  Just the five of us waking up, making eggs and coffee, recording all day and into the night in our pajamas, and sitting on the porch every night just hanging out and drinking.  It just felt really homey, and was definitely the most fun I’ve ever had recording something.


SS: So the west coast part of the tour starts here in Seattle (not counting Vancouver). For any of you, who haven’t been to Seattle, what do you think when you hear about Seattle? And is there anything you’d like to see while here, if time allowed?

PV: I hear that there’s a nonagressive drizzle that happens pretty much all the time. I hope I prepared for that. I’m a huge fan of the live session video series that KEXP does, so I would love to visit their studio. And I guess I plan on just following Justin around, who seems to want to live here.

JE:  I visited Seattle for the first time this past April to see Radiohead, and it met and exceeded every one of my expectations.  I’m so excited to see it again.  Totally gonna do KEXP and Discovery Park again.  I’d move there in a heartbeat.

JW: I forgot my raincoat!


SS: One thing each of  you must have with you on tour besides the obvious necessities?

PV:  Before every tour, I always get a handful of herbal remedies to keep me in tip-top condition.  I use a wellness tincture, slippery elm lozenges, and herbal throat spray. I also basic vitamins and teas.  I’m always very aware of  my stamina when encounter such constantly changing environments, and I want to make sure I can perform well every night – because that’s the whole point of touring.

JE:  Touring is my favorite thing in the world because it mixes travel, playing music, and hanging out with my friends.  But I bring my sleeping bag every time.  I’m not superstitious or anything, but having that constant – whether I’m in a bed or on a floor or a couch or in a tent – helps me establish whatever I sleep on or in as “home”, no matter where I am.  I’m also really tall, so having something that covers my feet is really great.

JW: Rings of Speed. On tour we sometimes have to run from Orcs, and a +2 to your speed can be crucial for surviving the road and getting to load-in on time.


SS: I’m a new fan of Schoolkids Records, can you tell me how this beautiful partnership began. Was it just geography?

JE:  I grew up in Raleigh, so I’ve been shopping at the namesake Schoolkids record stores my entire life as an avid music consumer.  I met Stephen (Judge, owner of the Schoolkids Records label and stores) years ago when I was trying to set up an in-store for my band at the time.  When I joined Happy Abandon and we decided to tour out to SXSW in 2016, we were hunting for any NC connections that could help get us a showcase or two.  Stephen’s friend Peter Blackstock, who championed our Peter’s old band back when he lived in Raleigh, recommended that we reach out to Stephen.  But it wasn’t until we played Stephen’s party twice at SXSW that he actually got to see and hear us.  We started talking about putting out a record with him a few months later, and he’s now as much a part of the nucleus of our band as Alex or our friend and advisor Missy.  The whole Schoolkids Raleigh staff are big fans of the band too, so it really feels like we have an adopted family supporting us and our ambitions.


SS: Lastly …. since there is so much bullshit going on in the world of ours today, can you tell me something you find that’s beautiful and puts a smile on your face, as you travel and interact with lot’s of different people?


PV: The breathtaking landscapes, coupled with the extreme hospitality of everyone we’ve met reminds me of how great this country is, even if it’s being run by the wrong people.  

JE: My faith in humanity gets restored every time we hit the road.  We’ve been so lucky to make friends of strangers who were willing to put us up for the night, feed us, our buy our music, and we see them every time we come back through their towns.

JW: I smile thinking about the determination that Peter, Justin and I have. Motivation is great. Inspiration is grand. But getting up every day and doing our band thing despite the world’s bullshit is the best.

Vermillion Gallery @ 8PM: Vacationeer/Happy Abandon/Eggshells/I Wish I Was A Punk Band


September 26, 2017

Within the songs of Laetitia Tamko there are infinite worlds: emotional spaces that grow wider with time, songs within songs that reveal themselves on each listen. Tamko is a multi-instrumentalist and a producer, recording since 2014 as Vagabon. On her Infinite Worlds debut (Father/Daughter Records), she hones her singular voice and vision with an unprecedented clarity.

“I feel so small / my feet can barely touch the floor / on the bus where everybody is tall,” she sings softly and with caution, as she begin the album with “The Embers.” Driving punk drums pry her song open, exploding it into an anthem that pushes back at entitled people who make others feel tiny. “I’m just a small fish / and you’re a shark that hates everything,” she sings, repeating that line and over and over with strength and power. “I’ve been hiding in the smallest space / I am dying to go / this is not my home,” Tamko starts carefully on “Fear & Force,” before her finger-picked guitar playing gives way to slow-building synth claps and ethereal harmonies. “Mal á L’aise” is one of the album’s focal points, a five-minute meditation of ambient dream pop, featuring Tamko’s usage of samples; some are samples from a Steve Sobs song on which Tamko was featured, enticing the one writing collaboration of the album. “Mal á L’aise” means “discomfort” in French, Tamko’s first language, and throughout the song she works through different meanings of that word: social, cultural, physical.

Infinite Worlds builds upon Tamko’s stripped-down demos that have been circulating online and throughout the independent music community for the past two years. Her Persian Garden cassette, released in 2014 via Miscreant Records, was a lo-fi collection where she embraced a first-thought best-thought approach, making songs that began with just her voice and guitar. But here, Tamko is the main performer of synths, keyboard, guitars, and drums, at times enlisting the work of session studio musicians. This had Tamko channeling the thoughtfulness of her lyricism into her arrangement and production as well. The result is a wide-ranging eight-song collection that’s pleasantly unclassifiable: hypnotic electronic collages, acoustic ballads, and bursts of bright punk sit side-by-side cohesively, all tied together by Tamko’s soaring voice.

“I write a lot about places, archiving my memories in spaces that I used to be in, spaces I am currently in, or spaces I will eventually be in” she says. “Archiving different moments that I’ve been thinking about, have gone through. It’s not always autobiographical though. It could be about different situations I’ve seen people I love in. Or people I don’t know in. I think that comes a lot from being in different environments.”

Infinite Worlds was recorded at Salvation Recording Co. in New Paltz, NY with engineer and co-producer Chris Daly. Tamko and Daly worked closely and tirelessly in his upstate NY studio through the winter into the spring of 2016. The album’s title references a book of poetry by Dana Ward called The Crisis of Infinite Worlds, a book Tamko found particularly inspiring during her recording process, but also very challenging to read: “I had to think critically while reading Dana Ward, it was exciting to be challenged in that way. While I was writing the album, it was a lot of me thinking critically about how to actualize my ideas, and the challenge of reaching proficiency in new instruments. It sort of mirrored my experience reading Dana Ward’s book. I found myself combing his writing over and over and over until I grabbed something from it.”

And as she sat with her songs, she found more and more.  “A lot of it is about finding a space for myself, whether it is physical, emotional, social” Tamko says. “It’s about finding that place where I feel most comfortable. And also finding that the confidence within myself can continue to grow. And finding what it takes for me to feel whole through making music.”


Tuesday September 26
Nnamdi Ogbonnaya
$10 adv / $12 dos
7:30 doors / 8pm show


August 16, 2017

Who Is She? is members of Tacocat, Chastity Belt, and Lisa Prank. Started as a friendship project writing songs based on the missed connection ads from Seattle newspaper the Stranger when Robin Edwards (Lisa Prank) and Bree McKenna (Tacocat) were living in bedrooms next door to each other at legendary Seattle punk house Spruce House, the two Seattle music celebs then enlisted another gal with a lot of free time on her hands, Julia Shapiro of Chastity Belt, to play the drums.

The songs then expanded from lonely ditties about admiring (but not talking to) strangers on the bus to other hard-hitting topics like the magical chemistry between Courteney Cox and David Arquette in the Scream franchise, 90s internet time traveler John Titor, fictional My So-Called Life dreamboat dud Jordan Catalano, and the brutal ranking system of friendship on Myspace. Inspired by Canadian cuddlecore sensation Cub and the silly inside joke holes you go down when you’re constantly hanging out with your pals, Who is She?’s Seattle Gossip is a star-studded, all-killer no filler addition to the booming Seattle music scene canon.

01 “Nervous Dufflebag Boy”
02 “Top 8″
03 “Seattle Freeze”
04 “Worst Girl At The 5 Point”
05 “I’m Getting Courtney Cox And David Arquette Back Together If It’s The Last Thing I Do”
06 “John Titor”
07 “Romcom”
08 “Blushin’ On The 44″
09 “Whatever”
10 “Jordan Catalano”
11 “Angry Bitches”

Pre-order here


August 4, 2017

Austrian born and raised Cornelia “Connie” Calcaterra and husband/guitarist, Frank Calcaterra, lead Tampa, FL’s DieAlps! (translated: The Alps!, pronounced dee-alps). Formed in 2012 and quickly becoming one of Central Florida’s more beloved acts, the band’s self-titled debut EP (fall 2014) gave us swaying waltzy baroque-pop with lyrics reflecting Connie’s growing up abroad and her life changes in the States.

Fast forward to 2017. The band, with Connie now splitting lead vocals duties with Frank, brings us their debut full-length Our City. Spending the better part of 2016 in the studio, these new songs show a band leaning heavily on 90’s inspired indie rock and alternative while digging deep, getting personal and moving beyond the twee nature of the three quarter time signature.

Self-recorded, engineered and produced by Frank at Tampa’s Atomic Audio, calling the album ‘more rock’ would simply be an understatement. Our City definitely lands subtle jabs with songs like the surfy hometown homage title track and the punchy murder ballad “Get Yours” while occasionally keeping their waltz-y roots planted with “Battles”. On producing the album, Frank says “We wanted the album to have a 90’s vibe… So when it came down to mixing, I found myself referencing everything from Pavement to Yuck, early Radiohead and The Shins.”

Our City is out Friday, August 4th on CD, digital, and limited yellow vinyl via New Granada Records.


July 20, 2017

                                                                                                                                    Photo By Erin Lynn
Once the opening band, Ruler, cleared their gear from the stage I realized this was going to be a Chris Mansfield acoustic set. This show was not billed as an acoustic set so it took me by surprise. It was a little misleading to show up ready for my senses to be consumed by the full ensemble of the band, Fences, only to be left as stripped and vulnerable as this front man and his guitar. This was going to be a different kind of show – I was not prepared for just how different it would be.

I’m trying to find the best way to compose my thoughts on what I witnessed from Fences at his curated Chop Suey show. I’m vacillating between disbelief & anger for the behavior I witnessed to sheer pity for a man (that I intuit based on said behavior is) fighting extreme demons in the public eye.

As Fences stood on the desolate stage and tuned his guitar he was commanding everyone in the bar area to, “Shut the fuck up so I can hear myself think.” This was an all-ages show so the not-really-that-loud yet chatty drinkers were confined to the back bar area while the underage crowd was in front ready to pay homage to the musician they find solace in.Before getting started he told everyone how tired he was because he was fresh off a flight from New York. He proceeded to go on a tangent about how he didn’t want to do this show, it was a waste of his time. How he didn’t need the $2500 that he was getting paid for this gig because he spends that in one night (cue collective eye roll). His fans love him for his honest, no bullshit, interactions but this was straight uncomfortable and disrespectful to those who paid their $12 to see him.

I snapped my pictures and recorded a video of his first song, about the time his stepdad shot a deer but let his mom think that she was the one who shot it and let her take all the glory. It was a truly a smart and melodic song about something gruesome yet sweet. Once he stops his anxiety filled diatribes, he’s an ingenious musician who can make the ugly and macabre sound delicate and delightful.This man has been gifted with a musical brilliance, an internal force that compels him to write songs; it’s not what he does it’s who he is. It’s the gift the universe bestowed upon him. Another gift that was bestowed upon him, which is extremely counterintuitive, is some sort of anxiety. Unfortunately, it was the anxiety that took center stage at his acoustic set that night. He became increasingly uncomfortable standing naked in front of a crowd that was clapping after every song. He likened himself to being a clown, “Everyone stare and clap for the clown,” he said at one point.

In between emotive songs, his demons took over and he continually berated everyone who was there supporting him, worshiping him. After his second song, third diatribe, I retreated to the back bar to get out of the line of fire. I approached a friend who had been in the bar area (and is known in the Seattle music industry), we gave each other the side-eye, raised eyebrow look and his words to me were:

“And this is how it ends.”

What we were witnessing is the fall of a musician in real time. Someone who had a high, rode it, allegedly exhausted himself, and now we are collectively witnessing his low – his self-induced rock bottom. The ugly diarrhea diatribes spewing from his mouth were despicable. They slayed any imaginary professional line that is drawn and it was a big fuck you to everyone there. In fact, he may have told the audience to fuck off but I didn’t record that one. I did record the fact that he mentioned his next song was about a friend that committed suicide, and stated, “If you blow your head off, I’ll write a song about it”. Probably not one of the most responsible things to say at an all-ages show.

I was beyond offended. In fact, I liken it to being in an abusive relationship. A classic case of a narcissist acting lovely, smart, and vulnerable to reel you in and then knocking you down for supporting and loving him. It’s confusing, he’s confusing. He continued to threaten to stop the set early because he was, “Over it.” “I just want to be done,” he would say. At one point he said he wanted to bring the meekest girl from the audience on stage so she could stand there mortified and embarrassed so we can all clap for her. I guess this was an effort to describe his level of embarrassment or maybe his deep disdain for his job, or himself? I don’t claim to know what type of demons he’s fighting, but the darkness is front and center and bubbling over.

Never have I ever seen a live show tank with such negativity. It completely overshadowed his brilliance, his years in the industry, his successes, and his natural God-given talents. All I can see now is his decline. It’s unfortunate and extremely disconcerting to watch. Above being a music lover, I’m an artist supporter and a fan first and foremost. Although I was comped a ticket (by his people I might add) and there to write a review, I was also there as a supporter. But I cannot and will not get behind anyone that spews hate to his supporters. This is also a job and it’s a job he continues to choose. It’s a job where ordinary people look up to him as a bigger than life creative being and I watched him shit all over those people.

The remainder of his set was a mix of him continually threatening the bar area to stop talking or he was going to set down his guitar and walk away and the bar bouncer running interference and shutting down any “loud talkers.” “I’m really not a prima-donna,” he said. I made my way to the furthest back seat in the venue in order to continue writing my review while the show droned on. The night ended with Fences stating, “This might be my last song; I feel over it. This is fucking stupid; stupid shit. Ah fuck me. No but don’t.” He announced that he was done before his planned set list was played out. He set down his guitar and left the stage leaving the small remainder of his paid fans out in the cold with zero regards. (YouTube)

I wish he would have given me some semblance of integrity to work with, something that resembles the vulnerability and depth of his songs. I have seen hundreds upon hundreds of shows but nothing has left me feeling this uncomfortable and turned off. I’ve never been able to say that I’ve watched the exact moment a musician imploded. I imagine this was a first for most of us in attendance.

Let’s end with a good thing from that night:
Ruler, the 2nd opener, was the highlight of the night. Matt Batey was dropping poppy Seattle indie rock jam after jam. His eclectic mash-up of bandmates were high energy and incredibly tight even though they’re all part of other focused musical projects. As local fixtures in the Seattle music scene, members include fellow Cataldo bandmate, Eric Anderson, on keys and Portugal the Man’s, Eric Howk, on guitar. Ruler was the saving grace of the evening as Fences was falling from grace. This is what rock professionalism looks like.
Written by: Erin Lynn

Corey Feldman & The Angels “Rock’s Your Face Off” at Studio 7 in Seattle.

June 23, 2017

                                                                                  Photos and video by Erin Lynn

Corey Feldman’s show was, in short, an homage to a child star’s life gone by.

As soon as security taped the set list to the stage, and I snapped a pic, I knew it was going to be a long night. The set list detailed the endless number of songs, costume changes, and each Angel’s solo act. With 5 Angel’s in tow I was wondering how he would fit their 15 minutes of fame into the seemingly endless production.

The stage set up was fraught with issues from the get-go. His last opener of 4, Poeina, had terrible feedback but managed to rock her acoustic set and smile with grace throughout the distractions. As the crew were setting up for Corey’s set they faced issues with the laser and smoke machines. The video that was supposed to sit dead center on a white screen was completely askew to the left. And that, my friends, is the theme of this show.


Completely askew and left of center. 


I pushed my way up to the front of the stage and camped out next to my photographer friend for the night which allowed me access to insanely close pics and vids of my own (my social media is on fleek rn btw @erinlynnseattle). I was surprised by how into it the crowd was; these were actual diehard music fans of his. After I showed a random drunk girl the set list pic on my phone she said, “Omg I can’t believe I’m going to get to hear blahblahblah song!!” (Not sure of the actual song name she was so excited about).

As the show began I vacillated between a feeling of shock and awe as to what I was witnessing to obsessively taking pics and vids so I could have this experience documented forever. Every now and again my photographer friend would whisper in my ear, “What in the fuck am I watching?!” And then we’d shrug our shoulders, shake our heads, and laugh.


Corey Feldman is dead serious about his art. He’s dead serious about supporting his Angel’s and their musical talents.  And he’s dead serious about performing his life history with songs, movie clips, and commentary.  He was there to entertain, and entertain he did. He continually ran from one side of the stage to the other sweating up a storm and shedding clothes. He was interactive with his self-obsessed narcissism and the crowd ate it up. He had a costume change for every “segment” of the show. Anytime he wore something from a movie he was sure to tell us about how famous the article of clothing was and exactly when it was worn. He paid a genuine tribute to his best friend, Corey Haim, with the song Remember 222. He is passionately intense which attracts his plentitude of fans, yet detracts so many others.

The set was long – very very long. I left before it ended because it was just going to be more of the same. I felt I had been there done that. Got the pics and vids and didn’t have the need to stay and see how the entire thing wrapped up. I heard he did a meet and greet, taking pics with the diehard fans that lasted that late into the night. My photographer friend got a pic with him at around 1:30 am after the fans finally dissipated.


Although the technical mishaps could have brought him down, he powered through and only made minor mention of them. He kept his show completely professional and for that I give him mad props. Although the entire spectacle left me in shock, I have respect for what he’s doing. He’s doing him – no matter how much shade is thrown his way. It’s like child stars stop evolving after a certain age and need to live in the reminiscent aspect of their glory days. That’s where he’s at and his fans eat it up. “Goonies never say die!”

Written by: Erin Lynn

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