“Help….I need a lede!”
(Editor’s Note: Peter is apparently suffering from Lede Block, a common affliction for writers. While I feel for him, my lack of musical “lingo” prevents me from helping him out. Please enjoy the rest of his lovely Music column, and “Rock On!”)
Wednesday, April 1
Pete Rock, along with RZA, Premier, and a few others created the sound of ’90s East Coast hiphop. Pete Rock’s prime coincides with the genre’s artistic and commercial primes, and he was tremendously influential on the Soulquarians and other neo-soul* artists. He kept putting out good quality during the party rap era, which thankfully seems to be coming to a close. His work has come back into fashion, if it ever went away—ironically, LA crews like Black Hippy and Odd Future borrow heavily from his painstaking sampling style and a boom bap that belies intricate polyrhythm. Indeed, he did some work on To Pimp a Butterfly, the hiphop record of the year—if not the record of the year, period. Oh, and he’s a great MC, too.
*About as useful or categorical genre of a tag as “alternative rock,” but I digress.
Thursday, April 2
Blk Ldg, 8:30 PM, All Ages
White dudes; guitar noise; and gross, dark rooms: it’s a Northwest tradition. Meet the progenitors, The Sonics—there were plenty of bands playing around here in the ’50s and early ’60s, but The Sonics and fellow Tacoma heroes the Ventures were by far the most influential. The Sonics are one of the first bands to play like a hardcore band; their versions of pop standards like “Do You Love Me” are deranged, as are the originals about cars n girls n shit. They were tremendously influential on Mudhoney, whom you’ve probably heard of. The tradition continues to this day, as noisy as fuck bands like Bad Future hopscotch the line between thrash and hardcore in disgusting places like Blk Ldg (albeit with faster, punchier riffage and super tight metal style breaks.) If rock and Seattle are dead, how come I crushed a Rainier on my forehead there a couple weeks ago?
Saturday, April 4
The guitar style here and in the rest of the Northwest isn’t really about shredding. There’s heavy riffage here, sure, but it’s not often all that stressed out. It makes sense—we’re a reefer and beer town, not a coke and Red Bull vodka town (though that seems to be changing on Capitol Hill recently, as everyone you know has pointed out recently.) Lead guitar here is pretty melodic and surfy. Things are teased out, stretched into essays. La Luz’s Shana Cleveland is the latest guitar hero in that vein; her solos have heavy Doug Martsch and Ventures vibes, and the rhythm section, particularly drummer Marian Li Pino, are pocket and punchy.
*Other than the Beach Boys