Scene and Unheard: JK Pop!, Chemical Clock, Good Willsmith, Mega Bog, So Pitted, and Hotel Vignette!

Local Music, KEXP Suggests
Katherine Humphreys
Rose Windows' Rabia Qazi performs with Chris Cheveyo as Hotel Vignette on Tuesday
photo by Victoria Holt

On any given weekend in Seattle, there are a million amazing shows to see - from jazz sets at coffee shops and orchestras at theaters, to a grunge shows in DIY spaces and major touring acts at any of our larger venues. Maybe this weekend you want to try something new; maybe you heard one song by this small electronic, folk, grunge group that you heard on Audioasis or from a friend; or maybe you’re just tired of what you’ve been previously listening to. Luckily for you, the PNW is ripe with local acts who perform in our city every day. Because we love the amazing diversity of venues, art spaces, producers, bookers, musicians, and talent, we’re going to make a few suggestions. This week, we recommend JK Pop at Barboza; Ivan Arteaga/John Teske, Chemical Clock, and Motian Quartet at Heartland; Good Willsmith, Black Hat, and WHITE BOY SCREAM at Cairo; Dragons, Mega Bog, So Pitted and Warm Soda at Heartland; and Hotel Vignette and Mr. Elevator and The Brain Hotel at The Sunset Tavern.

Thursday August 1st: Barboza

What's the buzz about JK Pop? Why does everyone suddenly seem to be fixated on these pop sensations that are sweeping other nations? Frankly, I was skeptical of the oddly over-done pop music emanating from the East despite champions such as Grimes, but one night at Barboza while attempting to mimic the genius dance moves of the JK Pop icons, I was totally convinced this movement was worthwhile. Go for one or both of two reasons: you want to dance for at least a solid hour in a happy and eccentrically dressed crowd, or you want to discover just what a the hubbub is about. I would probably say in one night I saw as many innovative approaches to controversies like gender and power roles as I see walking through Capitol Hill in a whole day. A JK Pop show is worth checking out if you haven't already. With resident JK Pop academics and DJs Hojo and Bishi, as well as visuals by Sweat Jordan and a guest appearance by DJ Firedrill & THE RETURN of ATASHA MANILA!. More info here. Barboza, 9pm, 21+, 3$.


Friday, August 2: Heartland

I'm not gonna pretend I know anything about jazz or improv or least of all jazz improv, beyond that sometimes it sounds good and sometimes it sounds not as good to me. Sometimes, I'm not even sure about that, but I do trust Heartland to have picked out a good line-up of odd jazz for this Friday night's show. Chemical Clock sounds a bit like computer games, horror movie soundtracks, classic jazz, all whirred together in a affectingly-ly sensible arrangement. Motian Quartet's name is possibly a reference to Paul Motian the jazz drummer who died in 2011. Beyond that, I've got nothing. Then there is the Ivan Arteaga/John Teske duo - both of whom appear to be cerebral experimental composers and musicians. Either way, Heartland never disappoints with the selection of strange and obscure curiosities in the musical world of the PNW, so I'm gonna trust that this show is worth going to. More, or less, info here. Heartland, 8pm, all-ages, SD.

  • Chemical Clock:
  • Saturday, August 3: Cairo
  • The name Good Willsmith might make this band sound like a funny 90s rap group, but that is the last thing that might happen at their shows. Expect instead a night of expansive abstraction through drone music and mystic/futurism chanting, spaced with perfected geometrical precision. Expect notes your ears can barely hear but your body knows are happening - these are the young electronic explorations of disharmony. Along with Seattle's Black Hat and the project WHITE BOY SCREAM a.k.a. M. Tobin (one of few female voices in all this drone/industrial escapism) discomfort is not only a side-effect, but actually the desired result of listening in - for after the discomfort comes the calm respite of all the wandering. More info here. Cairo, 8pm, all-ages.
  • Good Willsmith:
  • Black Hat:
  • Tuesday, August 6th: Heartland
  • Mega Bog sounds kind of swampy, if the swamp is infested with delightful fairy-like vocals and buoyant lilting lyricism. They'll be with So Pitted, also of Seattle, who have gotten so good live it's painful to watch - and it's not because their sound is abrasively metal gone off-kilter punk, but because they are unafraid to let their cacophony be reflected in their alternately angry/apathetic glares and unstable stage antics. With visiting 3-piece headliner Dragons, of Arizona, and a band that's visited KEXP before, Warm Soda - great name and hopefully great "synth radio drama sans radio". More info here. Heartland, 8pm, all-ages, SD.
  • Mega Bog:
  • So Pitted:
  • Dragons:
  • Tuesday, August 6th: The Sunset Tavern
  • Something wonderfully psychedelic and joyous will be happening at The Sunset this Tuesday - the lovely Rabia (who loves Big Freedia) along with fellow Rose Window's bandmate Chris Cheveyo comprise Hotel Vignette, and will play with LA/Burger Records/Lollipop Records Mr. Elevator and The Brain Hotel. I'm not totally sure when psychedelic music crossed over to possess the snarkiness of garage rock, but I would say that's exactly what Mr Elevator and his Brain Hotel sound like - they've got the organs, the tambourines, the astrology references, the screechy faux-glamorous-mystic vocals of all things tripping, but with the punch, bang, and tongues-out grins of sweaty basement shows. Plus let's be real - Rabia's got a stage presence that definitely allows her to poke fun while still tearing it up with that voice of hers. More info here. The Sunset, 7:30, 21+, $6.
  • Mr. Elevator and The Brain Hotel:


Honorable Mentions:

This Thursday August 1st you can catch "an evening of sludge and fury" at Black Lodge with Aurora Bridge, Audrey Horne, Hollow Tongue and Numb. On Saturday also at Black Lodge is Lo' There Do I See My Brother, Cassiopeia, Gladiators Eat Fire and A Province of Thay. Sunday is this month's edition of ArtAche Market at Chop Suey, with drink specials, vintage clothing, and a great line-up of PENTAGLAM and DJ's TP Vegas and Ea$y Iri$.

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