Ghosts, goblins and pumpkin people be praised, it’s officially fall! Ah fall, the season of apple cider, decorative gourds and always regrettable scarf trends. There’s a hint of a chill in the air these days, which of course triggers gay men’s primordial instinct to watch Hocus Pocus a hundred times on repeat. It’s part of the natural cycle, like birds migrating or the changing leaves.
But autumn also means a whole slew of new music, both releases and live performances, for all the queers to enjoy. Summer and its attendant festivals are behind us, and now we can swath ourselves in flannel and raincoats like the goddamn Seattleites we are and get on with it.
In anticipation of the new season, I’ve put together some recommendations for your autumnal musical well-being, from albums by local and less-local artists, to concerts and non-festival festivals. So put on a sweater, deeply inhale the steam coming off your PSL and let’s get going.
Disco Christ – Raven Matthews
Earlier this year, I talked to local musician Raven Matthews about life, art and his upcoming third full-length album Disco Christ. After taking a few finalizing months, Matthews released Disco Christ earlier this month via The Seattle Weekly. The album is Matthews most obviously personal to date, featuring songs that examine depression, low self-esteem, relationship struggles and drug use with both candor and nuance. Though the subject matter is often dark, or at least deeply introspective, the album manages to avoid being sunk by its own emotional weight (thanks in part to lush, polished production throughout). Instead, Disco Christ thrums with the greatest musical immediacy Matthews has captured yet.
Birth/Decay – Nightspace
Nightspace, the moniker of local artist Bailey Skye, crafts eerie crystalline dreamscapes that feel at once joyous and deeply spooky. Their title of their latest album, Birth/Decay, seems to allude to this duality. Birth/Decay’s six songs could be the soundtrack to the greatest warehouse party ever, or a sonic exploration of some glimmering underworld over which Skye presides. Album standout “Breastfed” satisfyingly recalls the distorted witchy-ness of early Grimes, featuring throbbing guitar lines, screaming and vocals that dance in and out of focus over an irrepressible, looming beat.
blisters – serpentwithfeet
Everything you need to know about serpentwithfeet is expressed in the name. Like their name, the music of serpentwithfeet (real name, Josiah Wise) evokes a symbology at once ancient and futuristic, heavenly and demonic, poignant and needlessly complex. blisters is all that and more, compacting queer experience into a miniature opera. Wise, a classically trained singer who has trafficked in neo-soul, R&B and gospel, enlists producer Haxen Cloak to craft a sweeping orchestral backdrop against which he zigzags from the esoteric to the specific. “Pain is about as easy to feel as the four ethers, and who can do without the four ethers?” he muses at one point over a swell of strings and brass. But when the orchestra evaporates, he gets more direct: “Babe, I know you learned some fucked up shit from your mother.” Magnificent.
Trans Day of Vengeance & Demo 2015 G.L.O.S.S
G.L.O.S.S., the transcendent queer, hardcore outfit based in Olympia, announced this week that they’ll be disbanding for their own well-being following their sudden coverage by mainstream media and the accompanying personal stress. The announcement is fairly vague on the details, but I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that transphobic assholes and internet trolls have again conspired to make sure that nobody can ever have nice things, including groundbreaking, badass queer punk groups. Ah well. Let’s all send G.L.O.S.S. some extra love, bask in the glory of their two, far-too-brief releases, and redouble our efforts to topple the fucking patriarchy. I think it’s what they’d want.
Sep 30 / 9pm
$20.50 Adv, $23.50 Door
If you’re the kind of person that needs to be sold on why you should go to see Peaches, then I don’t feel I should have to waste my word count on you.
Oct 1 / 8pm
Manatee Commune (nee Grant Eadie) is a kaleidoscopic one-man band of the internet age. The producer/ multi-instrumentalist crafts a distinctive brand of electro-drenched pop music that manages to sound both intentionally crafted and deeply romantic. In person, he zips about onstage, flitting from drum machines to viola to snares without missing a beat (when I saw him last, he lost three drumsticks and never once stopped). This particular show is being put on to celebrate the release of Eadie’s debut full-length LP, which was released digitally earlier this month, and which heralds the arrival of Manatee commune as one of the most exciting new acts in the Northwest. Swing by to see for yourself.
Tegan and Sara
October 4, 7:30pm
The Moore Theatre
$32.50 Adv / $34.50 Door
What’s not to love about Tegan and Sara? They’re beautiful Canadian twins who craft delightful, sleek pop songs and are, by all accounts, kind and charming. They also have some serious DIY cred, having gotten their start by writing and recording demos at home and in their school’s recording studio. They’ve since gone on to craft bulletproof pop music that plays subtly with gender and sexuality without ever losing a shred of bump-ability and they’ve even been nominated for a Grammy award (though we know what I think of those). Their latest album, the very solid Love You to Death, peddles a slicker, less deliberately quirky brand of synth-pop than some of their earlier records, but when it hits, as on the single “Boyfriend”, it hits hard.
The Julie Ruin
Oct 8, 7pm
Showbox at the Market
Kathleen Hanna has worn a lot of hats–original riot grrrl, frontwoman of Bikini Kill and Le Tigre, activist, poet, zine writer–but after a severe battle with Lyme disease, nobody, perhaps Hanna least of all, was sure if she would continue. While recovering from her illness, Hanna created a one-off record that she’d created and recorded at home by herself using a drum machine. The album was called Julie Ruin and it detailed the pain and experience of her isolation in recovery. After fully recovering, Hanna began assembling a full band (which includes Bikini Kill bassist Kathi Wilcox, a badass in her own right) to continue working on the project, this time calling it The Julie Ruin. They released their debut in 2013, and this spring their sophomore effort, Hit Reset, was released by Seattle’s own Hardly Art. Kathleen Hanna is one of the most important rock and roll musicians currently working, and any excuse to see her is a good one.
$10 per night
For those not in the know, Nada Mucho is a long-running local music webzine that features live concert reviews, album reviews, interviews and all of the other stuff that music webzines tend to traffic in. Full disclosure, I have written for them myself. But even fuller disclosure, that doesn’t matter because it’s still really great. Sensing the post-summer music festival burnout, NadaFest is very explicitly billing itself as “not a music festival,” and features a lineup of some of the best musicians and bands around- Lilac, WILD Powwers, Snuff Redux, DoNormaal, and Screens, to name a few. At ten dollars a night, it’s the suitably cheap. Plus, all of the door money goes directly to the artists, so pony up and PAY YOUR LOCAL MUSICIANS DAMMIT.
Mo-Wave Presents: Pansy Division
Nov 9 / 9pm
I’m sorry, what? You mean to tell me that Pansy Division, the groundbreaking, trailblazing, iconic queercore punk band is going to be playing a show in Seattle? Like the ones that opened for Green Day in the 90s and wrote songs like “Fem in a Black Leather Jacket,” and “The Cocksucker Club?” And it’s being presented by Seattle’s homegrown queer art/ music festival Mo-Wave??? Ok, just tell me where and when and I’ll be there. Oh you already did? Now I feel stupid.