My newest artist came to me through one of my favorite dudes/Band Mom family members out of DC: SARA CURTIN is a super-interesting DC songwriter. Her short (8-track) album moves through a pretty wild variety of genre shades with ease: from R&B-inflected sultry jams, to Americana singer-songwriter-y, to indie pop and more. That’s why my start-with track list is so long, there are best songs in each style but there are so many styles! Yet they somehow still cohere together through the strength of Curtin’s voice and personality. I realize the RIYL list of artists below reads like an idiot wrote it who really just means “recommended if you like ladies singing”, but that is not what I mean! This is a varied record with a huge diversity of sounds, and different tracks remind me more of each of those different artists (some of whom also share her sonic diversity). You’ve gotta hear it!!




Sara Curtin is a Washington D.C. musician and former Brooklyn fishmonger, noted by CMJ for her “romantic groove, gossamer weight of the melody, and libidinous lyrical invitations”. Sara made a name for herself in the folk scene with her duo The Sweater Set, but NPR’s WAMU Bandwidth describes her solo project as having more in common “with Sade or Sharon Van Etten than D.C.’s long folk tradition.”

Her first full-length solo album Fly Her And Keep Her came out in 2010, but Curtin has been singing since before she can remember. A family of professional musicians and rock & roll blasters, the Curtin house was always the loud one on the block, the one you could hear from down the street. Her brother Jeff Curtin is now an accomplished sound engineer (Pitchfork) and drummer (Small Black).

Raised on The Beatles, D.C.’s Go-Go music, Michael Jackson, and Joni Mitchell, the influences present in Curtin’s songwriting are eclectic. Classical training in voice and years of choral singing add a refined and complex sense of arrangement. Curtin recorded the majority of Michigan Lilium in her home studio in Washington, D.C. including all vocals, electric and acoustic guitars, percussion and synthesizers. Bass (Spencer Zahn of Twin Shadow and Empress Of) and drums (Ian Chang of Son Lux and Body Language) were recorded at GaluminumFoil Productions in Brooklyn, NY with Jeff Berner, who also mixed the album.

RIYL: St. Vincent, Sharon Van Etten, Neko Case, Sarah Jaffe, Natalie Prass, the bird and the bee

Start With: 8, 7, 2, 6, 4          FCC CLEAN

CHECK OUT all these premieres and features already!:

“V D A Y” premiere on CMJ

“Careless” premiere on AudioFemme

“Sweet Dreams” music video premiere on PopMatters

“Garden of Ghosts” premiere on Track Work with WAMU’s Bandwidth

Contact me for a download link if you’re a radio rep!


GUESS WHAT!! My next add is by a wonderful dude from New Zealand who I’ve been describing in rough shorthand as David Bowie meets Jens Lekman. His record is being put out as a co-release between Wild Kindness (who put out my Melaena Cadiz record from last year) and Misra (you know, the label who put out early Phosophorescent and Destroyer albums). If you’ve been following Band Mom bands closely over the last few years, you’ll remember his work from when I promoted his solo US tour in 2013, and also from his record I promoted in late 2012 back when he used the band name Tono and the Finance Company. But he’s since dropped the pseudonym and is going by his given name, ANTHONIE (spelled a little funny, but pronounced like every Anthony you know) TONNON (pronounced TAWN-uhn). OMG!!!

He’ll be touring the US for his third time this fall, so stay tuned for updates on that front. Til then, ADD AND SPIN THIS RECORD!



Misra/Wild Kindness Records

Anthonie Tonnon is a songwriter and performer originally from Dunedin, New Zealand, and currently based in his nation’s largest city, Auckland. He first came to attention in his home country with his band Tono and the Finance Company, which released two EPs—Love and Economics and Fragile Thing—and the fulllength Up Here For Dancing. With dry wit and observational lyrics that recalled Morrissey or Jarvis Cocker, Tonnon alluded to urban life in New Zealand’s cities. Antigentrification anthem “Marion Bates Realty” caught the attention of Beirut, who chose the band to support them on their 2012 New Zealand shows.

In 2013, Anthonie Tonnon began touring the USA and Australia under his own name, influenced by stage techniques from the comedy and theatre worlds as much as formative influences like Jonathan Richman and Jens Lekman. Working with coproducer and band member Jonathan Peace, Tonnon’s new recordings paid increasing focus to sonics, taking influence from David Bowie’s Berlin period, Kraftwerk, and Lou Reed’s early solo career.

In 2015, US labels Misra (Phosphorescent, Destroyer) and Wild Kindness (Melaena Cadiz, Holopaw) announced they would work together to release Tonnon’s first album under his own name, Successor, on June 30. The album would also come out through Flippin Yeah in Australia on the same date, following up a March release through Tonnon’s own Canapé King Records in New Zealand.

Successor is a collection of secondperson narratives around unnamed characters in cities—from the businessman who deals cocaine as a sideline in “A Friend From Argentina”, to the government minister engaged in a battle over irrigation rights in “Water Underground”. These are the kinds of flawed characters Randy Newman might have written about in first-person in the 1970s. Tonnon found unusual inspiration in the album from longform journalism, local politics, and Roman Polanski’s Chinatown.

Tonnon has brought his narrative lyrics and arresting live show recently to performances with Okkervil River, Paul Kelly and Yumi Zouma in New Zealand, and in the US with Sean Nelson, Shenandoah Davis and Nicholas Krgovich. He has performed on Daytrotter Sessions, and placed an album in the CMJ Top 200 Albums Chart as well as the Top 10 NZ Albums Chart. He was also recently named in Billboard‘s list of “New Zealand acts you need to know about”.

RIYL: Courtney Barnett, Jens Lekman, David Bowie, Okkervil River, Jonathan Richman, The Brunettes, Lou Reed, Laura Veirs

Start With: 5, 1, 4         FCC 7



Contact me for a download link if you’re a radio rep!


Also here’s a FULL ALBUM STREAM!! You’re welcome:







We’re teaming up with Polyvinyl Records to offer a select few shiny new VINYL copies of Fred Thomas‘ incredible, devastating, beautiful, perfect new album All Are Saved as prizes to a handful of lucky radio station reps! All you have to do to enter this contest is send me your answers to the three below questions (which should all be easy enough to figure out if you’ve been paying attention, hint hint) and include your name as well as your station’s name and mailing address in case you win. Answers must be submitted by the end of the day on Tuesday, May 26th.

1. Fred has lived in the Pacific Northwest and NYC, but which state does he proudly call his original (and current) home?

2. Track 4 on All Are Saved is entitled “Cops Don’t Care Pt. II”. Which of Fred’s previous projects released Pt I of this loose series?

3. What does Fred memorably imagine “everyone we know collectively vomited up a pile of” in “Bad Blood” (track 6)?

**bonus for extra credit in case of a tie: tell us which of Fred’s many previous bands or projects (excluding the current album, the obvious #1 answer) is your favorite, and why.

You must be a current/active representative of a college/non-commercial radio station and submit your answer via email by the end of the day on 5/26 to enter.


5/16 – Knoxville, TN – Pilot Light

5/17 – Louisville, KY – The New Vintage

5/19 – Chicago, IL – Empty Bottle

6/12 – Brooklyn, NY – Pitchfork’s Showcase @ Northside Festival – Saint Vitus

6/25 – Seattle, WA – Victory Lounge

6/26 – Portland, OR – Bunk Bar

6/27-28 – Guerneville, CA – Deathstock

6/29 – Oakland, CA – 1-2-3-4 Go! Records

6/30 – Los Angeles, CA – Pehrspace

All Are Saved is out now via Polyvinyl Records. It’s very FCC-unfriendly but has a complete set of downloadable clean edits, so make sure to contact me for a download link if you’re a radio rep!


Although Alex Guy (bandleader of Led to Sea) will most likely be new to you by name, you’ll know her work: this Seattle artist is really something special. She’s played (strings) as a member of/on recordings with Laura Veirs, Thao and the Get Down Stay Down, Mirah, Jherek Bischoff, Amanda Palmer, Xiu Xiu, and Parenthetical Girls (and also in a circus). WHAAA! This album absolutely fits in line with that list of artists, adding Alex’s own beautiful and smart sensibilities into the mix. It’s viola-based (instead of guitar-based) pop music, although it actually took me a couple listens to even realize that; it’ll fit right in to your indie rock airwaves (this isn’t a classical album by any stretch, don’t worry! Chamber pop!!), but it’ll also stand out. As something really special!



Scary Trophy

Led to Sea is the unusual and magnetic solo project from the Seattle-based violinist, violist and singer Alex Guy, who fuses classical, pop and experimental music. Her live show as a string player and vocalist has captivated audiences all over the U.S. and Europe, and draws comparisons to St. Vincent and Andrew Bird. She has opened for and shared the stage with a host of renowned artists, including Laura Veirs, Thao and the Get Down Stay Down, Mirah and Jherek Bischoff.  She has also contributed to albums from Amanda Palmer, Xiu Xiu, Laura Veirs, Mirah and Parenthetical Girls.

Led to Sea’s third album, The beautiful humming of ms. fortune, is the product of a two-year collaboration with engineer and co-producer Jherek Bischoff (David Byrne, Amanda Palmer). The album exemplifies a wide-range of Alex’s compositions, featuring lushly orchestrated songs with pop sensibilities, alongside stripped-down, bare arrangements with haunting melodies. At the core of each song is Alex’s enigmatic viola and voice.  

Alex uses her viola as a diverse vehicle for soaring string melodies, driving bass lines and guitar riffs, and ethereal atmospheric layers of sound.  She has taken the classical string instrument and turned it upside-down, creating unexpected compositions that transport the listener to ship-wrecking storms, dreamy nostalgic scenes, and fearless journeys.

After several years of touring with various bands in the U.S. and Europe, and eventually running away from Seattle to join the circus as a composer and violinist, Alex decided to dedicate herself to her own music, and thus, Led to Sea was born. Since then she has released three albums, and toured all over the world, transfixing audiences with her viola and voice.

When she’s not on the road, Alex continues to collaborate with a wide range of artists in Seattle. She’s composed for both dance groups and theater ensembles, and currently works with Wayne Horvitz (John Zorn, Bill Frisell) in the Electric Circus, an improvised jazz ensemble, and with the Seattle Rock Orchestra, amongst other ensembles. She is also currently working on a film score for the independent film With Wings and Roots, a documentary about immigration, identity and belonging.

RIYL: Andrew Bird, St. Vincent, Mirah, Amanda Palmer, Laura Veirs

Start With: 2, 6, 7, 1          FCC CLEAN

Contact me for a download link if you’re a radio rep!


FRED THOMAS – ALL ARE SAVED is killing it at Radio Now!!!

Guys. GUYS. I have a SERIOUSLY AMAZING CAN’T-BELIEVE-IT record right now. It’s FRED THOMAS!! You
should definitely already know this guy from Saturday Looks Good To Me; you might also know him from City Center or any number of other projects he’s been a part of (His Name Is Alive, Mighty Clouds, Swimsuit, Lovesick, Flashpapr, White Blue Yellow & Clouds). He’s had associations/put out releases with several notable record labels, including ones he’s run himself (most recently that’d be Life Like), as well as the inimitable K Records, plus there’s the label who’s putting out this newest incarnation of his solo project (along with many other past projects): POLYVINYL! This record is obviously a slam-dunk; we hit the Top 20 Adds chart in week 1 and already slammed onto the Top 200 Albums chart in week 2! I still wanna see some huge jumps up that chart though, so let’s push the crap out of it. Here come a bunch more words about this:

I’ve been a superfan of Fred’s for like at least a decade (since I discovered Saturday Looks Good To Me in college)(!), and when I met him when I first moved to New York back in 2007 I couldn’t believe that a dude that cool/musician I admired that much could possibly give me the time of day. I can’t believe these days that I get to brag that I know him, let alone that I’m actually PROMOTING HIS NEW RECORD ON POLYVINYL! And you guys, I’m not kidding about this, I honestly think this is the best album the guy has ever released. I see it as kind of like a culmination of everything else he’s put out thus far in his career. It’s like he’s been working toward making THIS record this whole time. It incorporates the pop sensibilities and sweet melancholy of Saturday Looks Good To Me, the specific, empathetic storytelling of his previous solo work, and the glitchy experimental production/atmospheric electronic instrumentals of City Center (and several of his other projects). He makes the kind of music that can overwhelm your heart with a flood of Sincere Emotions About Everything In The World, but still so seems so intensely, intimately personal and specific that you know these are stories that come from a person with a superbly keen eye, a warm heart and an obsessive attention to detail; a person you’d want to know IRL and kind of feel like you already do. The scope of these songs is tiny and huge all at once. They make me feel like if I listen hard enough I’ll learn something deep and real about what life is for. Everybody else seems to agree, seriously, like Stereogum gave it a full-album stream, Pitchfork gave it an 8.0, Impose did a particularly thoughtful interview (that’s with Liz Pelly, formerly of WTBU!), Paste also did a nice interview, Fader did an early track preview, BreakThru Radio did a session at SXSW (where btw I also caught a set of his that left my jaw on the floor)…you get the picture. This record is a BIG DEAL.

We did send out hard copies of this record (although a few less than usual), but especially if your radio station is one that broadcasts on actual airwaves and thus needs to adhere to those pesky FCC standards, I HIGHLY recommend grabbing the download as well, because most of the best tracks are also the ones with the dirtiest words (it’s def not a nasty/”explicit”/ugly-hearted record, but Fred just uses a lot of the standard F’s and S’s that pretty much everyone in this century uses in everyday conversation but our nanny state still prevents us from broadcasting), but the download has clean edits for ALL of them (except for a “damned” on track 8 if that word matters to you – that one stayed in). Get on it! Seriously. This is not a drill!!!!!



Polyvinyl Records

Though a small audience of ravenous music fans could cite Fred Thomas as the brains behind Michigan’s Saturday Looks Good To Me, even most of those obscurists might have blinked for long enough to miss portions of Thomas’ 15 year stretch of constant output with projects as diverse as his aforementioned pop band, experimental noise acts or his own softspoken solo material.

Never settling down for a second, he’s spent the last decade-and-a-half flying just beneath the radar of most listeners, but amassing a dedicated grassroots collection of fans, friends, collaborators, and admirers.

Those well acquainted with his anomalous approach to music and anti-networking are never surprised when Fred rolls through town unannounced playing drums in some random touring band (including Calvin Johnson‘s The Hive Dwellers or Ian Svenonius‘s Chain And The Gang) or they get an email that says he’s just released three new solo records in infinitesimally limited numbers.

So all of this brings us to All Are Saved, technically the eighth Fred Thomas solo album, but the first one many people will get a chance to hear.

The result of over a year of recording, refinement and long-labored sonic sculpting, these eleven tracks are the culmination of everything he’s done before, while being a decidedly bold move into brand new territory.

Heavy, poetic lyrics are more spoken than sung, recalling the urgency and straightforwardness of cult bands like The Van Pelt or Life Without Buildings, while each song builds on a patchwork of grainy samples, dreamlike guitar figures and deftly produced clashes of organic instrumentation with vintage synth textures.

Fred’s dabblings in melancholic chamber pop (SLGTM), ambient electronics (City Center), jangly but angular guitar playing (Failed Flowers), experimental production and jaw-droppingly confessional lyricism are all distilled into one unflinching statement.

These are the raw nerves of the friendliest guy at the party, spilling out shamelessly naked feelings. It’s there in full force on the stream of consciousness protest song from a dream “Cops Don’t Care Pt. II,” in the venomous bile of “Bad Blood” and in the heartbreaking grief that triggers a continuum of memories on “Every Song Sung To A Dog.”

No prior knowledge of Fred’s vast resume is necessary, and that’s kind of the point; All Are Saved is a singular document that requires no explanation and will immerse you in its strange, heavy beauty.

Painstakingly assembled between Detroit, Michigan and Athens, Georgia, the album features mixing assistance from Drew Vandenburg (of Montreal, Deerhunter) and guest spots from friends in bands like People Get Ready, Radiator Hospital, Known Moons and even a guest backing vocal cameo from Andrew W.K.

RIYL: Saturday Looks Good To Me, City Center, BARR, Mount Eerie, Jason Anderson, Yo La Tengo, Karl Blau

Start With: 1, 4, 6, 8 (dirty but use CLEAN EDITS in the download!) or 5, 2 (CLEAN on disc)

FCC 1, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9         CLEAN EDITS IN DOWNLOAD [edits only leave “damned” (8) remaining]

Contact me for a download link if you’re a radio rep!




5/6 – Detroit, MI – UFO Factory (album Release Party)

5/7 – Lakewood, OH – Mahall’s 20 Lanes

5/8 – Boston, MA – The Womb

5/9 – Providence, RI – The Parlour

5/10 – New York, NY – Elvis Guesthouse

5/11 – Brooklyn, NY – Palisades

5/12 – Philadelphia, PA – lava space

5/13 – Raleigh, NC – Neptunes

5/14 – Asheville, NC – Tiger Mountain

5/15 – Atlanta, GA – Drunken Unicorn

5/16 – Knoxville, TN – Pilot Light

5/17 – Louisville, KY – The New Vintage

5/19 – Chicago, IL – Empty Bottle

6/25 – Seattle, WA – Therapy

6/26 – Portland, OR – Bunk Bar

6/27-28 – Guerneville, CA – Deathstock

6/29 – Oakland, CA – 1-2-3-4 Go! Records

6/30 – Los Angeles, CA – Pehrspace





These guys are so great! Also whoa, they’re my third Seattle band in a row (this city has been really good to me lately!). This one is on the folk-rock side of things, heavy whiffs of Mumford & Sons for example. All the rest of the bands they remind me of, strangely, are Scottish: Snow Patrol, Frightened Rabbit, the Twilight Sad. Emotional, literate, orchestral indie rock. Do you like those things?? You should listen to this band! They’re also a super intelligent bunch (band leader Eric Herbig has a Ph.D. in molecular biology!!), so there’s a bunch of smart science stuff sprinkled in there too. The songs are real memorable, I’ve found myself waking up with a different one playing in my head every day this week. Something for (kind of?) everyone!




This Arrangement of Molecules, the new release from Seattle, WA’s Pocket Panda, throws entropy to the wind and shows us that random things can come together in beautiful ways. Their meticulously-crafted songs blend strings, synthesizers, driving beats, and dense harmonies into a rich and colorful musical landscape that is never predictable. Drawing from rock, folk, bluegrass, jazz, funk, and minimalism, their prismatic and multi-layered style often takes unexpected turns in the form of complex time changes, polyrhythms, and unconventional instrumentation. Yet this wonderful variety is all anchored to a foundation of joyful musicality and four-part harmonies.

Eric Herbig, the founder of Pocket Panda, was first immersed in art through the world of ballet at age 4. His mother dreamt of having her child become a world class dancer, but Herbig resisted and they settled on piano (which, given his infatuation with Seattle’s rock scene, soon segued into guitar). Tragically, Herbig’s mother would succumb to a rare, fatal neurological disorder. At her funeral a speech was read in which, as her dying wish, she commanded that he go to graduate school and study molecular biology.

In a tale of unexpected paths converging, Herbig honored his mother’s wishes, and strangely enough, this would provide the context for the formation of Pocket Panda. While Herbig pursued science by day, he played music by night, and after 6 years and over 2,000 Craigslist posts Herbig had reined in the talents of band members Jordan Cunningham (vocals/mandolin/guitar), Chris Allen (vocals/bass), Mike Waller (keys/accordion/harmonica/xylophone), and David Cho (violin). Amazingly, the Newtonian apple didn’t fall too far from the musical tree; called “the most educated band in Seattle” by many of their fans, Pocket Panda have a combined 11 degrees among them – including Herbig’s Ph.D. in molecular biology.

On This Arrangement of Molecules, the band explores the myriad forces that wrench people apart – from self-doubt to structural violence – if only to reaffirm how ultimately lucky we are to form the bonds we do, and how even luckier we are to carry our shared dreams to fruition.

This Arrangement of Molecules represents significant depth in both the spectrum of sounds used and the array of ideas presented in the lyrics. Songs such as “Garden” and “There You Go” use the melodic and structural modalities of indie-folk to frame the delivery of stories of lost love.  “Baghdad Ballet School” and “Setting Sun” shed the folk vibe in favor of a more edgy and hard hitting approach, befitting the songs’ contemplation of the ravages of war. “Riptide”, a social commentary on excessive materialism, combines multiple time signatures in the verse and chorus. Across the record, Pocket Panda show repeatedly that they are not afraid to deviate from conventional song structures in order to transport listeners into the narrative world they inhabit. This Arrangement of Molecules will take you on a journey that is sonically, thoughtfully and emotionally highly engaging. 

RIYL: Mumford & Sons, The National, The Twilight Sad, Frightened Rabbit, Snow Patrol

Start With: 1, 7, 4, 6     FCC 11

Contact me for a download link if you’re a radio rep!




I’ve got a new record to tell you all about: it’s the slammin’ EX’S WITH BENEFITS! If this music sounds extra familiar, it’s gonna be because you recognize the singer Dmitra Smith from her other band, Static People, whose album I sent you just last fall. She’s in two bands! They’re even based in two entirely different locations—Static People (and Dmitra) are based in northern California, but she travels to Seattle intermittently to play with this other rad band, Ex’s With Benefits (for the record, yep—they do spell it with that apostrophe)! The two bands have a lot in common—Dmitra has a pretty distinctive style and voice—but where Static People was a bit more of a fun poppy-punk band, Ex’s is a bit more of a serious Riot Grrl-ish punk-rawk band. The other particularly notable thing about this band’s members is that their drummer, Alex, used to be in the band Green River—that’s right, one of the first grunge bands ever. Green River members went on to form Pearl Jam and Mudhoney after they broke up. Which basically makes Alex Seattle royalty, and this is his newest project! (I first met Alex because he co-starred in a film recently featuring another Band Mom band, Tennis Pro—the movie is Big In Japan and you should check that out too!) You don’t want to skip this one. Dmitra’s voice also reminds me a bit of Marissa from Screaming Females (especially when it comes to that deep throaty tough-lady growl), and their lyrics can get pretty acerbic and political. Fans of Sleater-Kinney will find a lot to love here too. We already tied for #19 Most Added on CMJ last week; now it’s time to get serious about spinning the crap out of this thing!!



Stone Boat Records

Ex’s With Benefits formed in 2012 when Alex Vincent (founding drummer of the seminal Seattle grunge band Green River, other members of which went on to form Mudhoney and Pearl Jam) had written some music for possible future recordings by Green River that never materialized. Not wanting the music to go to waste, he held on to them hoping, at the very least, to hear what they sound like with vocals put to them.

He reconnected with a high school friend, Dmitra Smith, who was an amazingly powerful vocalist in San Francisco band Static People, and sent some of the songs her way to see if she’d be able to put something on top of them out of sheer curiosity. The “sheer curiosity” became a real collaboration almost immediately when everything just clicked. Her slasher/siren-song vocals on top of the power-pop/punk/rock riffs meshed together in perfect combination.

Soon to join afterwards was Frenchman extraordinaire Pascal Faivre on guitar, followed by rumbling Dave Place on bass.

Produced by Phillip Peterson (Tennis Pro) and recorded over four days at Jack Endino’s Soundhouse Recordings in Seattle, the album embodies the urgency and energy of its members, who live in two different states and share the bittersweet reality of coming together for precious time to make music.  As the cherry on top, they were thrilled to have legendary music giant Steve Fisk (Nirvana, Soundgarden, Harvey Danger, Beat Happening) mix the record.

Recorded mostly live with minimal overdubbing, Bad Hotel offers 12 tracks filled with angry satire, caustic wit, sex and hot headed critique of recurring themes that continue to perpetuate themselves in our 21st century world. 

Over the four days this album was recorded, the band bled, sweated, screamed and laughed a ton.  Nothing is promised in art or life.  We still believe in DIY, punk rock and truth by fire.  We can sleep when we’re dead.

“They’ve set the bar very high for Seattle album of the year.”  – Northwest Music Scene
“That’s rippin stuff!” – Mark Arm, Mudhoney

RIYL: Static People, Bikini Kill, L7, Screaming Females, Sleater-Kinney

Start With: 1, 4, 9     FCC 2, 8, 10, 3 for the very strict (“Goddamn”)

Contact me for a download link if you’re a radio rep!



SAN JUAN – HORIZONS is at Top 200 Radio NOW!!

My second add in 2015 is a really great one! They’re from Seattle, so the name is more closely related to the nearby San Juan Islands than Puerto Rico. Shout out to Rainy Dawg Radio for introducing us!! They’ve got a heavy whiff of that boy-girl folky love-song stuff you can’t get enough of via the likes of The Head and the Heart, Us the Duo, Angus & Julia Stone, The Civil Wars, The Swell Season…you get it. My favorite track is the last one on this six-track album, so if you want to jump to the really good stuff (or if you’re a hater and about to give up), skip to the end. And then get down to spinning and charting this thing!! We already made our Top 200 chart debut last week, at #145…this band is well on the way to greatness!




San Juan has what you might call a relaxed edge to them, and they enjoy being such a contradiction in terms. On the forefront are tight, resonating vocals and a keen sense of melody. Bluesy undertones alongside singer-songwriter influences create a basis for folk-rock love songs that you can’t help but sway along to. Dreamy male and female harmonies over an alt-Americana trio of guitar, bass, and drums build their translucent, moonlit sound.

It all started with Kyle R. Andrews’ deep cutting voice and alternative-folk guitar at the end of 2011. He expanded the work of his initial solo album with the addition of Amie Rippeteau’s fiercely enchanting voice: together, the two offered a vocal texture that their audience could not only hear, but feel. Soon after, Joel Hughes was added as bass player, bringing a meticulous ear for song development, which helped give the music an even flow. San Juan was complete with the addition of Jeff Muschett on drums, whose background in jazz drumming carried a groove that fit right in with the band’s growing sound. The quartet, having formed during their time together at the University of Washington, played more than a handful of shows within Seattle before the fall of 2012. Then their streak paused when frontman Kyle R. Andrews left for a West Coast bicycle trip full of house concerts (a touring style Andrews plans to expand upon starting in June 2015, when he’ll embark on a 4-month bicycle tour from Seattle to Maine). After his return from that trip, Andrews began writing music specifically to fit San Juan’s unique sound.

The 6 tracks of Horizons comprise San Juan’s first studio album, recorded with the help of Grammy winner & producer Justin Armstrong (Deathcab for Cutie’s Plans, Nirvana, Dave Matthews). Open up the CD packaging and lay it flat to see the disparate elements of its design come together in a surprising bonus display of beauty: a sly hint at the story of the music to be found inside.

RIYL: The Head and The Heart, Us the Duo, Angus & Julia Stone, The Civil Wars, The Swell Season

Start With: 6, 2, 4     FCC CLEAN

Contact me for a download link if you’re a radio rep!



KINGSBOROUGH has been RIPPING UP the Top 200!!

Now that I’ve finally put 2014 to rest, it’s time to start talking about my 2015 releases!! My first add this year was the ripping KINGSBOROUGH. I met these Napa Valley dudes via their producer Jason Carmer (who’d also worked with my Animal Hours record from last fall). These guys are a straight-ahead Real Authentic Rock And Roll band, with the kind of bluesy influences that fans of Alabama Shakes and Black Keys will appreciate. Make that DID and DO appreciate, I guess, because this band has already KILLED IT on the charts!! After clocking in at #16 Most Added on CMJ’s Top 20 Adds chart back in January, this album has already gone on to chart on the Top 200 for SEVEN WEEKS IN A ROW, including a peak at #73. One of the strongest showings I’ve seen in a while – you people love this band!! YES!!




Fresh off of their festival debut at BottleRock Napa Valley 2014, Kingsborough has been creating an electric buzz as a new modern classic, spinning out soulful rock n’ roll. BAM Magazine describes their BottleRock performance as “rocking it like the big boys used to…in the same way that Springsteen has always done.”

From stage to studio, this independent group of four Santa Rosa, CA musicians embodies the old school “working band” mentality with a heavy focus on raw performance. Their vast array of influences, ranging from Creedence Clearwater Revival and The Doobie Brothers to Jack White and The Kings of Leon, creates a sound that is familiar yet indefinable. Their debut full-length album, The Night, The Grind and The Woes, was produced by Grammy Award winner Jason Carmer (Third Eye Blind, Run-DMC, Kimya Dawson, Chuck Prophet, The Donnas).

RIYL: The Black Keys, Alabama Shakes, Cage The Elephant, Kings of Leon, Gary Clark Jr, Creedence Clearwater Revival

Start With: 3, 5, 7     FCC CLEAN

Contact me for a download link if you’re a radio rep!

My Top Stuff of 2014

HA, ha ha ha. 2014!! I’ve been working on this post since before the end of the year. Three months ago!! I was really trying to get this up by the time of the Oscars, since that broadcast seems like the definitive line of Last Chance To Care About Last Year, but with no real deadline actually threatening me I ended up just letting this go on…and on…forever. But hey! I finally finished this! Wanna talk about 2014 one more time?!

I’ve said this before, because I do always tend to do this much later than seems reasonable even if it’s not usually THIS late: I realize doing it this late means almost nobody could possibly care, but I do like to be able to fit in viewings of as many movies as possible before making my big judgments…and anyway I’m mostly just doing this for myself anyway, to make me feel like I’ve been doing something worthwhile and memorable with my time and sort it into a digestible time capsule, and to have something to show for myself around here. If I’m going to see every movie that ever comes out I might as well be able to prove it, right?

2014 was a pretty great year for me. I got myself situated into my new hometown of Seattle, and things just got progressively better and better. In March I traveled to Austin (and San Antonio) for my 8th SXSW in a row. May-June I worked in the box office for the Seattle International Film Festival, which was a super fun time in itself and opened up a few more doors for even more cool stuff to come. In July I started volunteering, and then in November got hired as a show manager, at an all-ages venue called the Vera Project, where I’m feeling super at home. I moved in November from my initial North Seattle neighborhood of Wallingford to an even better situation in my new South Seattle neighborhood of Columbia City. I also traveled back to NYC in October for CMJ, and Ohio in December for the holidays. I hosted or hung with friends visiting Seattle from all over the world, including NYC, LA, Philadelphia, Ohio, Australia and New Zealand. And through it all the Band Mom hummed along, doing better than ever before just like a six-year-old business should: the last couple weeks of the year even kicked off a CHARTING HOT STREAK that lasted into the new year where in all I went NINE STRAIGHT WEEKS where every single record I was working showed up on CMJ’s charts!!!

You’ll see my festival and venue work again reflected pretty heavily when we get down to my Top Shows lists, much as they were in my Top Stuff of 2013, 2012 and 2011 (I didn’t have such jobs in 2010 and 2009, but the venues I’d later work at were reflected pretty heavily in those lists as well). I’m maintaining the rule that Band Mom Bands are ineligible for the Top Albums list because I couldn’t possibly rank them against each other, but that I can’t rule out shows where I worked the door or box office or show managed or had a Band Mom Band play for my Top Shows lists, because then there would be almost no shows to consider.

As always, I never claim stuff on this list is the ‘best’ of the year. Art is impossible to grade on an objective scale, and it’s insulting and ugly to posture as though one could do so. These are just my favorites:

top 15 albums of 2014:

  1. angel olsen – burn your fire for no witness

  2. the casket girls – true love kills the fairy tale

  3. andrew jackson jihad – christmas island

  4. beck – morning phase
  5. sisyphus – sisyphus
  6. ryan adams – ryan adams
  7. stars – no one is lost
  8. mirah – changing light
  9. alvvays – alvvays
  10. tacocat – nvm
  11. divorcee – divorcee
  12. pattern is movement – pattern is movement
  13. kithkin – rituals, trances & ecstasies for humans in face of the collapse
  14. white sea – in cold blood
  15. yellow ostrich – cosmos

I kept my Top Albums list to a reasonable number this year because I listened to my 9 Band Mom albums (+2 singles) plus the ones that made the cut above a TON, then there were like 100 more that I listened to just a little bit, so the list was gonna be either 100 or 15 (although runner-up status to new pornographers – brill bruisers, Top 16 just felt like an awkwardly uneven number that would NOT BE OKAY). This time, like in 2013, I went with 15, but I can’t promise next year won’t be another 2010. As mentioned and as always, Band Mom artists are ineligible for this list because I wouldn’t even begin to know how to rank them: this means you, robby hecht, melaena cadiz, you me & apollo, scarves, static people, brenda xu, animal hours, tie these hands (plus their second single), sama dams, and tomo nakayama. That’s artists from Nashville, Brooklyn, Colorado, Seattle, San Francisco, Lincoln NE, and Portland OR. You all released FANTASTIC albums that are tied for number one in my heart, and I love you the most.

top 15 shows (concerts):

  1. neutral milk hotel w/elf power @ the neptune (april)

  2. the pizza underground w/toby goodshank, dj derek erdman @ chop suey (april)
  3. the hot ‘n’ readies three times: @ still liquor (feb and october) and @ bainbridge island grange hall (october)
  4. rose windows @ mcmenamins hotel in centralia (february)
  5. sxsw ’15 highlights: jason anderson, good field, tereu tereu, casket girls, courtesy tier (march)
  6. sean nelson 25th anniversary show w/anthonie tonnon @ columbia city theater (may)
  7. advance base, headphones, gordon ashworth (concern), scarves @ rendezvous (august)
  8. “margaret” show feat. eliza rickman, shenandoah davis, mts & tunnels, led to sea, lonesome leash, jherek bischoff, zac pennington, jason webley, chicken john @ historic everett theatre (april)
  9. la luz, craft spells, unknown mortal orchestra @ hilliard’s brewery (june)
  10. oh! pears, secretary, eidelons, sama dams @ heartland (january)
  11. “loves me not” show curated by marco collins feat. mike herrera (mxpx), matt batey (ruler), jenn ghetto (s), naomi wachira, jason dodson (the maldives) @ volterra drawing room (february)
  12. pattern is movement w/ yellow ostrich @ barboza (march) TIED WITH pattern is movement w/wye oak @ neumos (july)
  13. mountain goats @ showbox (june)
  14. tennis pro, aqueduct, the catch @ the crocodile (june)
  15. angel olsen @ capitol hill block party (july)

These were almost entirely in WA, except for the one obvious exception, and I know I cheated by tying a few together. Didn’t want to make the list any longer but couldn’t decide either! Also cut some really great ones out though, including great shows I worked. Don’t be offended if your show that I was at didn’t make this list, it was still great!

top 50 movies:

  1. i origins

  2. boyhood

  3. grand budapest hotel

  4. the skeleton twins

  5. the guest

  6. interstellar
  7. birdman
  8. dear white people
  9. nightcrawler
  10. veronica mars
  11. only lovers left alive
  12. obvious child
  13. inherent vice
  14. rosewater
  15. happy christmas
  16. the sacrament
  17. they came together
  18. calvary
  19. life partners
  20. amira & sam (previously titled sam & amira)
  21. whiplash
  22. the babadook
  23. particle fever
  24. under the skin
  25. guardians of the galaxy
  26. lucky them
  27. jodorowsky’s dune
  28. creep
  29. harmontown
  30. force majeure
  31. the lunchbox (dabba)
  32. locke
  33. laggies
  34. big in japan
  35. like father, like son
  36. the one I love
  37. citizenfour
  38. foxcatcher
  39. attila marcel
  40. unbroken
  41. snowpiercer
  42. the double
  43. blue ruin
  44. night moves
  45. fish & cat
  46. willow creek
  47. le week-end
  48. maleficent
  49. alan partridge
  50. the disappearance of eleanor rigby

honorable mentions (roughly in order; this whole list was initially a numbered top 150+ until I considered how completely insane that would be. but FYI I feel EXTRA strongly this time about the top 20 of the above list, and any of the top 5 really could have been interchangeable, but strongly enough about all of these to mention ’em. I did see 62 other 2014 movies that didn’t make any list at all!):

frank, joe, filth, mood indigo, finding vivian maier, the signal, virunga, selma, still alice, boys, the tale of the princess kaguya, if i stay, b.f.e., life after beth, big hero 6, the rover, ida, about alex, starred up, the imitation game, pride, the judge, a long way down, the normal heart, the zero theorem, wild, coherence, the foxy merkins, point b, the congress, the boxtrolls, hateship loveship, gone girl, cesar chavez, the missing picture, to be takei, dinosaur 13, x-men: days of future past, the homesman, housebound, the liberator, we are the best!, the theory of everything, edge of tomorrow, nymphomaniac (pt 1 & 2), tim’s vermeer, borgman, 20,000 days on earth, love is strange, young ones, a birder’s guide to everything, words and pictures, land ho!, the grand seduction, cake, the gambler, abuse of weakness, fight church, neighbors, the interview, razing the bar, two raging grannies, knights of badassdom, this is where i leave you, 22 jump street, kill the messenger, belle, a fantastic fear of everything, divergent, half of a yellow sun, how to train your dragon 2, venus in fur, regarding susan sontag, enemy, rob the mob, the fault in our stars, top five, breathe in, decoding annie parker, palo alto, cuban fury, alex of venice, american sniper, patema inverted, for no good reason, the hobbit: battle of the five armies, the drop, the hundred foot journey, the dance of reality, horrible bosses 2, big eyes, you must be joking, st vincent, hunger games: mockingjay pt 1, captain america: the winter soldier, transcendence, that awkward moment, lucy, tammy, begin again, dom hemingway, gloria, awful nice, lego movie, stranger by the lake, the heart machine, burt’s buzz, hellion, a walk among the tombstones, the book of life, ride along, a letter to momo, 13 sins, no good deed, sin city: a dame to kill for, proxy, muppets most wanted, the face of love, the monuments men, kelly & cal, listen up philip, into the woods, a most violent year, magic in the moonlight, healing, white bird in a blizzard, hector and the search for happiness, night at the museum: secret of the tomb, catch hell, sex tape, intramural, wetlands.

top NEW actors of the year (as in i’d never heard their names before/hadn’t noticed them in anything and now they seem like a big deal to me, were each in several things i loved): david oyelowo (selma, interstellar, a most violent year), dan stevens (the guest, a walk among the tombstones, high maintenance, night at the museum: secret of the tomb)

standout actors of the year (who were not new to me, but were in a bunch of stuff i loved and seemed to have a really big year): gaby hoffman (obvious child, veronica mars, wild, transparent, girls), randall park (the interview, neighbors, sex tape, they came together, the mindy project), jake lacy (obvious child, intramural), tessa thompson (dear white people, selma although she was sadly absent from the veronica mars movie), and scarlett johansson (under the skin, lucy, captain america: the winter soldier, chef, plus she was still riding that buzz from Her with its super-late 2013 release)

also as an aside, a few years ago I made up a ‘best sound design‘ category because I felt so strongly about black swan’s and then we need to talk about kevin’s and then upstream color’s, and was mad that they were slighted in oscar nominations, and this year I feel the same way about the sound in THE BABADOOK.

oh and I created a bunch more superlatives this year, like: best unexpected rocker cameo in a movie. j. mascis (dinosaur jr) in the double wins it, although art alexakis (eve 6) in wild is a close runner up.

also: most overused clips. baraka and samsara are all over the place!! noticed them specifically in both lucy and the giver this year, and I bet there were more. they’ve become the go-to library of “world images”. oook.

on a similar note, song most covered in films: radiohead’s “creep” (I noticed it in book of life, the gambler, and the zero theorem. give it a rest, guys)

how about, best score: absolutely goes to antonio sanchez for birdman, although james newton howard is a not-so-distant runner up for nightcrawler, that one was really remarkable and nobody’s talking about it. son lux takes bronze for the disappearance of eleanor rigby, that was a lovely and affecting piece of work as well.

I also really want to talk about this year’s best comedy special, because nick offerman’s american ham is the best comedy special I have seen in YEARS. I haven’t traditionally included rankings of those on these lists but I do watch a lot of comedy specials.

some stats notes on movies: in 2014 i saw 380 different movies (whoa, that’s over 140 more than last year, and the lateness of this post has nothing to do with that, those were movies i watched within that year!). 104 of them were in theaters, and to date i’ve seen 244 movies that came out in 2014 (that’s 50 more than last year! although I’m also publishing this like 2 weeks later than last year. this includes several that i watched after the year ended, so they’ll be among the total i report having watched in 2015, but they’re also part of the group of 2014 movies i’m counting as eligible for this best-of list).

as for movies with questionable release dates, the rule i made up is basically that if i saw it in like a festival or limited-engagement special event in 2014, even if it didn’t get even limited national release otherwise, it counts for my list, but if i did not see it in a festival before 2014 and its first limited release (a usa release that’s not a specific festival, even if it showed in fests pre-2014) was this year, then it counts. in other words it’s pretty subjective to my perspective, but it had to have its (limited or wide) release begin in 2014 OR be seen by me in a festival or special event (i saw movies at SXSW, SIFF and a few assorted micro fests and special screenings, and in theaters and homes in New York, Seattle, Ohio, and Austin) in 2014.

also of note, i saw 7 2014 movies in 3d (and only one in IMAX: interstellar, which was very worth it; i saw the hobbit in the HFR 3d at the cinerama, seattle’s best [and recently renovated to be even better] screen, and i’m still not sure that was worth it). i continue to think 3d is a stupid cash grab that almost never adds to the film, but I suffer from pretty severe fear of missing out so i keep getting suckered in. all the 3d movies i saw this year were either animated or action/adventure, which all did an ok job at throwing in fun moments (falls down cliffs, flying) to make use of the 3d, but i wouldn’t exactly go out of my way to recommend splurging on 3d for any of them. IMAX for interstellar though. yes.

I saw two movies more than once in theaters: big in japan got me 3x, and the guest got me 2x. not a coincidence that those were the two movies I caught during this year’s sxsw.

this is my longest movie list ever…there are just so many that I truly feel strongly about! also I keep seeing more and more movies every year in theaters, because of this service called Moviepass where I pay a monthly fee for nearly-unlimited movies so that it actually made financial sense to see MORE movies than less, and I was happy to oblige. I also continued to get paid for writing about movies last year for this obscure VOD website called cinecliq, but that gig’s finished now, because cinecliq has since “rethought their editorial strategy” and dismantled their critical portion of their blog, so I’m hoping to pick up a new film criticism gig in its wake this year.

here’s what an average of exactly 2 trips to the movie theater a week (plus a few extraneous otherwise tix) looks like, btw:

although i obviously saw a ton of movies this year, you’ll always miss a few; there are a few that i still intend to see. i do feel pretty good about the above list, but a few potentially serious contenders just didn’t have a wide enough seattle release for me to get to them (yet?), so, these might have had a chance at making the above lists had i been able to catch them: two days, one night; leviathan; tangerines; timbuktu; wild tales; last days in vietnam; the salt of the earth; song of the sea; beyond the lights; glen campbell…i’ll be me; mr turner; annie; goodbye to language; a girl walks home alone at night; hide your smiling faces; the dog; comet; rocks in my pockets; rudderless; v/h/s: viral; tracks; let’s be cops; god help the girl; mistaken for strangers; annabelle; two night stand; one chance; je t’aime, je t’aime; burkholder; jellyfish eyes; coming home; ardor; chinese puzzle; before i go to sleep; and life itself. pretty much everything else, if it had a theatrical release in 2014 and it’s not listed here, it’s on purpose. SO THERE.

saw filmmakers/actors in person promoting:

-big in japan (cast, crew, everyone ever associated with the film, all over the place throughout the year, but once particularly memorably at SXSW, march 14)

-obvious child (jenny slate & director gillian robespierre, SIFF fest @ the egyptian, may 20)

-the foxy merkins (director madeleine olnek, SIFF fest @ the harvard exit, may 25)

-amira & sam (then titled sam & amira – martin starr, dina shihabi, director sean mullin, other cast and crew, SIFF fest @ the harvard exit, may 28)

-bfe (director shawn telford and most of the cast, SIFF fest @ the harvard exit, june 2)

-alex of venice (director/star chris messina and other cast and crew, SIFF fest @ the harvard exit, june 6)

-creep (mark duplass & director/co-star patrick brice, SIFF fest @ the egyptian, june 6)

-lucky them (director megan griffiths & producer lacey leavitt hosted by lynn shelton, northwest film forum june 15)

-snowpiercer (director bong joon-ho with an interpreter, SIFF uptown, june 16)

-willow creek (stars bryce johnson and alexie gilmore, director bobcat goldthwait, a few others associated, SIFF uptown, june 26)

my 10 favorite comedy shows I saw (in chronological order):

-sxsw: the creek & the cave showcase hosted by james adomian ft andy haynes, kate berlant, jerrod carmichael (and big jay oakerson) @ esther’s follies 3/10

-hari kondabolu album release show ft. kimya dawson, elicia sanchez, ahamefule oluo @ the neptune 3/10

-greg barris, harry moroz, alex hooper, dan st germain @ the comedy underground 4/18

-josh gondelman, brian moote, derek sheen @ the comedy underground 8/20

-bumbershoot: paul f tompkins’ dead authors podcast 8/31

-wyatt cenac w elicia sanchez @ barboza 9/24

-mike birbiglia w kevin barnett and josh rabinowitz @ union hall (brooklyn ny) 10/20

-whiplash: hosted by aparna nancherla ft nick thune, josie long, jermaine fowler, julian mccullough and a weird walkout by chris rock @ ucb chelsea (manhattan ny) 10/20

-cmj: heart of darkness hosted by greg barris ft larry murphy, corn mo, jason saenz, shonali bhowmik and the i love you chair @ union hall (brooklyn ny) 10/24

-RISK! hosted by kevin allison, ft dan savage (and others) @ the vera project 12/12

2013’s comedy list was a top 25, but I feel pretty good about moving away from nyc and still having a top 10 that wasn’t just a list of EVERY single comedy show I saw. miss u tho, ny comedy.

favorite new tv shows:


broad city

bojack horseman


short poppies

the birthday boys

silicon valley

last week tonight with john oliver

a to z


jane the virgin

cosmos with neil degrasse tyson

mozart in the jungle

an honourable woman

peaky blinders

marry me

favorite non-new tv shows:


house of cards

adventure time

bob’s burgers

brooklyn nine-nine

high maintenance




new girl

parks and recreation

marvel’s agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

an idiot abroad

drunk history


the mindy project

(fell behind on current seasons of american horror story, downtown abbey, and louie that might’ve otherwise made the list, also planning on checking out halt and catch fire, garfunkel and oates, true detective, the knick, justified, parenthood, boardwalk empire, house of lies, veep, shameless, comedy bang bang, enlightened, episodes, masters of sex, the comeback, kroll show, key & peele, inside amy schumer, nathan for you…need more hours in the day)

and lastly, some stray cool stuff i did in 2014 that didn’t fit into any of the above categories:

-jerry springer: the opera featuring sean nelson as the devil @ the moore theater in january

-watched the hometown team win the superbowl with friends on vashon island in february (also spent a truly fantastic 4th of july on vashon)

-attended a minor league hockey game in san antonio (with my brother’s dog) in march, and two mariners baseball games in seattle in may and july

-ate dinner in the space needle with my parents in july

-saw john darnielle do a reading from his excellent new book wolf in white van @ barboza in september

-watched a panel of friends (including kelly mcclure, rachel brodsky, caroline shadood and others) speak about feminism in the music industry at cmj in october

-worked as a production assistant on a web series in july

-worked for gamer convention PAX at an event where we gave away free pancakes among people dressed up as SIMS characters

-saw my wonderful friend kayla get married in fort townsend state park; drank mead

I’ve capped off these posts the last few years with “celebrity encounters”, where I humblebrag (RIP harris) about meeting famous people then post my favorite photo, but all my “celebrity encounters” are really already detailed above…oh wait! I did go to Aberdeen to meet Kurt Cobain.

THE END! I love you.


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