Seattle hip-hop photography book release at Chop Suey on Thursday, Sept. 4. The book "Emerald City Hip Hop," features Blue Scholars, Blackalicious, the Boom Bap Project, E-40, Flavor Flav, Grandmaster Flash, Grayskul, Grynch, Humpty Hump, Jake One, Joe Budden, Lupe Fiasco, Tech N9ne, and Sir Mix-A-Lot.

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Tonight be sure to check out a Seattle hip-hop photography book release at Chop Suey. Besides book signings by the author Alexis Wolfe, there’ll be performances by Seattle artists DV One, Draze, the Stahi Bros, D.Black and the Parker Brothaz. The night will be hosted by Shock G, lead vocalist for Digital Underground Also, limited edition prints of the book will be available for purchase.

The book, “Emerald City Hip Hop,” is a compilation of photographs, lyrics and memorabilia of the Seattle hip-hop scene during the last seven years. Notable artists in the book include Blue Scholars, Blackalicious, the Boom Bap Project, E-40, Flavor Flav, Grandmaster Flash, Grayskul, Grynch, Humpty Hump, Jake One, Joe Budden, Lupe Fiasco, Tech N9ne, and Sir Mix-A-Lot.

Wolfe has been photographing professionally since 2000, working as the staff photographer for Neumo’s and having her work featured in publications like The Seattle Times, URB Magazine, Seattle Magazine, Seattle Sound Magazine, and on many album covers. For more on Wolfe, go to —

Her book release party starts at 8 p.m. at Chop Suey, 1325 E. Madison St. in Seattle, and is all ages and admission-free. More information:

Unlimited Digital Access. $1 for 4 weeks.

Sept. 3: Funny guy Patton Oswalt coming to the Moore

If you missed the Sub Pop 20th Anniversary Comedy Show, don’t worry — one of the popular stars from that lineup is back. Patton Oswalt will be bringing his schtick to the Moore Theatre on Saturday, Sept. 6.

The comedian has appeared in “Reno 911: Miami,” “Starsky & Hutch” and “Zoolander.” He also voiced Remy the rat in “Ratatouille,” and was a mainstay as Spencer on the sitcom “King of Queens.”

Tickets are $23 on For more information, go to —

Also coming to the Moore: The Decemberists, who just announced their 2008 tour. They’ll be at the Moore Theatre on Nov. 30. A limited number of presale tickets are available at General tickets go on sale Saturday, Sept 13.

They will be playing music from their upcoming material, “Always The Bridesmaid: A Singles Series,” which will be released this fall. Volume I is out Oct. 14, with Volumes II and III following on Nov. 4 and Dec. 2, respectively.

The series will be released digitally at DSPs on Capitol Records, with a 12-inch vinyl on the Decemberists’ own label, Y.A.B.B. Records/Jealous Butcher Records.

For more information, go to —

Sept. 3: Cornish College names new music chairman

Cornish College of the Arts announced that Kent Devereaux has been appointed the new chair of the music department.

Previously, the composer and stage director served as vice president and dean at Kaplan University, as well as the senior vice president in charge of editorial at Encyclopaedia Britannica. Devereaux has also taught at the California Institute of the Arts, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

His appointment coincides with the development of a new performing-arts complex for the college, which includes state-of-the-art music and dance facilities, as well as enhanced performance spaces. Devereaux has already begun his job at Cornish.

Sept. 2: Bumbershoot’s done — time now for PDX’s MFNW

Bumbershoot may be over, but another music festival begins Wednesday. The Musicfest Northwest (MFNW) in Portland features such popular bands as TV on the Radio, Vampire Weekend, Xavier Rudd and the Cool Kids. Portland bands include the Helio Sequence, Menomena and the Builders and the Butchers.

Artists like Del Tha Funky Homosapien, M. Ward and Xavier Rudd — all from the Bumbershoot lineup — will also be performing, so if you missed them this past weekend, you can catch them this time.

Along with performances, there will be panels on such topics as touring with soaring gas prices and building an audience online and off.

But if don’t have the chance to head down to PDX this weekend, Seattle radio station KEXP-FM (90.3) will be broadcasting live from Portland.

The festival goes Wednesday-Saturday at some 20 nightclubs and theaters in Portland, with tickets for all four days for $50 at For more information, go to —

Aug. 28: Pitchfork enjoys Truckasauras’ “Tea Parties”

Seattle club band Truckasauras was nervous about the Pitchfork review of its debut album, but the notoriously harsh online music publication gave “Tea Parties, Guns & Valor” a thumbs up.

The review said “the idea of this record as a mixtape actually strengthens it — too often, ‘heart’ or ‘human’ is lazily applied only to electronic records that feature vocals or acoustic guitars, but ‘Tea Parties,’ ever playful and ebullient just says, ‘here, hope you like it!’ Those that don’t might be trying too hard.”

“Tea Parties, Guns & Valor” has a videogame feel, crunk beats and a party passion. To have a listen, check out

The quartet plays tonight at the Sunset Tavern. Tickets are $8. For more information, go to

The band heads to Portland afterward, and returns Sept. 27 for Decibel In the Park at Volunteer Park in Seattle

Aug. 25: Rapper Dr. Dre’s oldest son found dead

Dr. Dre’s second oldest son, André Romelle Young, Jr., died at the age of 20 Saturday morning, MTV reported today.

He was found unresponsive in his bedroom of his Woodland Hills home that morning, after a night out with his friends. The cause of death is not yet determined.

A spokesperson for Dr. Dre released this comment:

“Dr. Dre is mourning the loss of his son André Young Jr. Please respect his family’s grief and privacy at this time.”

The super producer and rapper has four other children: Curtis, 26, Marcel, 17, and Truth, 11, and Truly, 7.

Fans have been leaving words of condolence on Dr. Dre’s site,

Aug. 25: Phantom Planet orbits Seattle

Phantom Planet will perform at El Corazón on Sept. 17. The Los Angeles alternative rock band just released critically praised record “Raise The Dead,” their first album with Fueled By Ramen Records.

The label was cofounded by Less Than Jake drummer/lyricist Vinnie Fiorello and includes an imprint, Decaydance Records, with Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz.

Phantom Planet recently wrapped up touring with label mate Panic At the Disco. Now, they are touring with Paramore. For more information on Phantom Planet, go to www.phantomplanet.comand for more information on the concert, go to coming our way is Rachael Yamagata. The lovely New York singer-songwriter is promoting her long awaited second album, “Elephants … Teeth Sinking Into Heart Elephants…Teeth Sinking Into Heart.” She performs at Chop Suey on Oct. 4 and her album comes out Oct. 7. For more information on Yamagata, go to and for more information on her Seattle show, go to

Aug. 21: Seeking NW talent

Do you have what it takes to be in spotlight? If so, here are some chances:

• If you’re a digital artist looking for a spot to showcase your pieces, submit your still, movie and 3-D images to the Redmond Digital Arts Festival. Deadline for submissions is August 31.

The Redmond Arts Commission is presenting its first Digital Arts Festival Oct. 4 and 5, with workshops, meet-and-greets with artists and presentations. Registration is required, but admission to presentations and workshops is free.

It all happens at the Redmond Performing Arts Center, the DigiPen Institute of Technology, and the Old Redmond Schoolhouse. For more information, go to

• And if you’re a burgeoning director, Nada Surf is looking for you. The New York band alternative rock band wants a video for their song “Weightless,” off their album “Lucky.”

All you have to do is check out their song on their site — — produce the video and upload it to this link — — by Sept. 19. A panel of judges will pick the winner.

First place gets $3,000 from the band’s label, Barsuk Records, while second and third get copies of the upcoming Nada Surf vinyl box set, along with Nada-Surf T-shirts and CDs.

Aug. 20: Dance parties, concerts to mark the Dead Science’s Villainaire Fest

As the Bumbershoot music and arts festival wraps up, there will be another fest — the Villainaire Festival of Culture, Sept. 1-7.

The event includes dance parties, concerts, visual-art installations, lectures and film screenings — all curated by Seattle experimental pop band the Dead Science. The festival is an expression of the band’s community of artists and further articulates their album, “Villainaire.”

Influenced by artists as far reaching as Prince, Coltrane, Deerhoof and the Wu-Tang Clan, the Dead Science is definitely mind expanding. Listen to their music at — And for more information on their festival, go to

Aug. 19: Indie fave Fleet Foxes to play the Moore

Did you miss Fleet Foxes at the Sub Pop 20th Anniversary Festival? The Capitol Hill Block Party, too? No worries — the hometown indie favorite is playing again, bringing their distinct brand of baroque harmonic pop to the Moore Theatre on Sunday, Oct. 19.

Tickets are really cheap — $15 at all Ticketmaster outlets (, or charge by phone to 206-628-0888) or service-charge free at the Moore box office (info, The day of the show, tickets cost $17. They go on sale 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 23.

Here’s more information about the Seattle band — And here’s a past interview with their frontman, Robin Pecknold —

Aug. 18: Neil Young and Death Cab tour coming to Everett

Patrick MacDonald with some Neil Young news:

Neil Young announced a North American tour today that includes an Oct. 21 show at Comcast Arena in Everett. Seattle favorites Death Cab for Cutie will open

The eight-week tour begins Oct. 14 in St. Paul, Minn., and concludes Dec. 15 in New York, at Madison Square Garden. Young will be backed by a five-piece band: Ben Keith, Rick Rosas, Chad Cromwell, Anthony Crawford and Pegi Young. Wilco will share opening duties throughout the tour with Death Cab.

Tickets, at $75 for general admission on the floor and $45-$250 for reserved seating in the stands, go on sale Sept. 12.

For complete tour and ticket information, visit or

Patrick MacDonald:

Aug. 18: Seattle’s Nine Lives Band reunites for Sept. 13 benefit concert

After 36 years apart, Nine Lives Band is back together again. Their reunion performance on Sept. 13 will benefit the Nisei Veterans Committee, at their newly remodeled facility at 1212 S. King St., Seattle. The Seattle soul-funk band will be playing songs from the early ’70s, including covers by War, Chicago, Santana, Tower of Power, Buddy Miles and Cold Blood.

Founding members — Arthur Kano, Leonard Berman and Ken Kubota — dreamed up a rock band in middle school. They were influenced by big band, jazz, funk, and soul music. And during their heyday between 1970 and 1972, they played at many Seattle high schools, the University of Washington, Central Washington University, Western Washington University and local dance taverns.

Local jazz pianist Deems Tsutakawa, whose younger brother bassist Marcus Tsutakawa is in the band, first suggested the idea of a reunion. He will also be playing a set of his jazz originals. For more information, go to

The show starts at 7 p.m. on Sept. 13. Tickets are $20 at

Aug. 15: DJ Afrika Bambaataa at Nectar Sept. 6 with Seattle guest crew

The godfather of hip-hop, Afrika Bambaataa, will be setting foot in Seattle Sept. 6. He performs at Nectar, on 412 N. 36th St. in Seattle, and will be joined by some of Seattle’s own — MC/DJ/beatboxer Silver Shadow D, hip-hop crew Alpha P, hip-hop soul group Waves of the Mind, rapper SPECSWIZARD, breakdancing group Fraggle Rock Crew, DJ Tecumseh, DJ Sean Malik, DJ Able and DJ WD4D.

Tickets are $10 on

And on the topic of hip-hop, here’s some free rap. Download Saturday Knights’ latest album, “Mingle,” at

Aug. 12: Metallica to play KeyArena Dec. 1

Metallica has announced North American tour dates. The heavy-metal band is slated to play the KeyArena Dec. 1, with Lamb of God and the Sword.

The first leg of the North American tour kicks off October and goes through January. Keep checking their site — — for ticket sale dates and times.

Kings of Leon also announced their North American tour, coming to Seattle on Oct. 20 to the Paramount Theatre. The alternative band’s new album, “Only By The Night” will be released Sept. 23. And, every day leading up to that release date, a new home movie, documenting the making of their album, will be featured on and the band’s MySpace page —

Aug. 8: “The Lion King” to return to Seattle

“The Lion King” is returning to the Paramount Theatre Feb. 11-March 15, 2009.

Tickets went on sale Aug. 7 for Broadway Across America season-ticket holders, by calling the season-ticket holder hotline at 888-451-4042. Groups of 20 or more can also buy tickets through the corporate and group sales department at 888-214-6856. Individual tickets go on sale in October.

“The Lion King” is now into its second decade on Broadway. It is winner of six Tony Awards, and a Grammy for Best Musical Show Album.

The musical is well known for its scores of masks and puppets, which bring a whole different life to the Disney animated film it was based on.

For more information, go to —

Aug. 7: Kurt Cobain memorial concert Sept. 13

In other news today, there’s a concert memorializing Kurt Cobain set for 7 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 13, at the historic 7th Street Theatre in Hoquiam, Washington.

The lineup features Harvey Danger and Schoolyard Heroes. Opening acts include Black Top Demon and Gebular, both chosen by a battle of the bands contest back in June. Each band will cover at least one Nirvana song.

Tickets are $20 at All proceeds go toward building an artistic youth center in Cobain’s name.

Aug. 6: Weezer bringing Red Album tour to the Key

Weezer will be touring North America in support of its self-titled album, known as “The Red Album” in the same fashion as Weezer’s other self-titled works (the so-called “Blue” and “Green” albums).

The eclectic alternative band comes to Seattle Oct. 11 to the KeyArena. Tickets — $25, $38, and $45 — go on sale Saturday, Aug. 23 at 10 a.m., at,, or by phone at 206-628-0888.

Weezer’s first single off their Red Album, “Pork and Beans,” peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Modern Tracks chart for weeks. And more than 10 million viewers checked out the song’s video on YouTube (

And Andrew Matson has some news today, too:

Past Lives on Suicide Squeeze

Ending a year of speculation, Seattle band Past Lives announced yesterday a new partnership with local label Suicide Squeeze Records. The debut EP “Strange Symmetry” comes out Nov. 4.

Download an MP3 of the title track for free by going to and clicking “media.”

Aug. 5: Live Aloha Hawaiian Cultural Festival set for Sept. 7

A free is coming up next month, and along with the no-cost admission, this one offers up a bit of aloha. Seattle Center’s Center House will be presenting a Live Aloha Hawaiian Cultural Festival on Sept. 7 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. There will be hula dancing, exhibits, films, workshops and lots of food.

Co-producer Angela Manke, who works for the Seattle Center, noticed that although the facility puts on all kinds of cultural shows, there were none for Hawaiians.

So she started working on a Hawaiian festival with the ideal of uniting all the movers and shakers in the Hawaiian Washington community.

Washington has one of the highest populations of Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders in the nation, following Hawaii and California, with much of the population concentrated in the Seattle metropolitan area. There are close to 50,000 in the area according to the Census Bureau.

For more on Hawaiians in Washington, go to —

Aug. 1: Alicia Keys, Jason Mraz set Seattle dates

Alicia Keys may have snubbed Seattle on her first lineup of concerts this summer, but thankfully, she didn’t forget about us. The R&B songstress is coming Sept. 20 to the WaMu Theater. Tickets cost $35 to $100 on

Also coming from the arena of soul and R&B is crooner Brian McKnight. He’ll be performing at the Emerald Queen Casino in Tacoma on Oct. 4. Tickets cost $30 to $60 on

And one more for your calendar: Jason Mraz plays the Paramount Theatre Nov. 9. Tickets are $27.50 to $37.50. They go on sale 10 a.m. Friday, Aug. 8, at and all Ticketmaster outlets — or charge by phone 206-628-0888.

July 25: Town Hall announced fall lineup

Town Hall has announced a preliminary list of scheduled fall events, as well as a limited change in its ticket purchasing policy.

On the lineup are dozens of lectures, comedy shows, concerts and literary events. Highlights include: “FAQ: Mike Daisey & Reggie Watts Explain the Meaning of Life,” a Sept. 3 performance where funny former Seattleites Mike Daisey and Reggie Watts ponder existential questions with improvisation and storytelling. And a Sept. 22 reading by French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy about fanaticism and why humans tolerate it, from his book “Left in Dark Times: A Stand Against the New Barbarism.”

Adding to what has been a “show up and throw down” approach, some tickets for Town Hall-produced lecture events (Center for Civic Life, Seattle Science Lectures, the Future of Health, and occasional literary programs) will now be sold online and over the phone through Brown Paper Tickets. A “substantial inventory” of tickets will still be available at events the day they happen, however. From a prepared statement: “This means that even when the website reflects that no more tickets are available online, there will still be tickets for sale at the venue on the night of the event. And as always — sales at Town Hall will be cash or check only.”

There is an event almost every day at Town Hall, and sometimes there’s more than one. Reach Town Hall at 206-652-4255 or see a full calendar and ticket information at

Andrew Matson, Seattle Times staff reporter

July 24: Earshot Jazz Festival announced

Earshot Jazz has announced the dates of its fall festival: Oct. 17-Nov. 8 in venues all over the city. Over 50 performances are planned; the lineup will be posted as it’s booked at

A few of the highlights are already set:

• Saxophonist and flute player James Moody in a four-day residency.

• Pianist Cecil Taylor at Town Hall.

• Saxophonist Ravi Coltrane at the Triple Door.

Local jazz lights Wayne Horvitz, Julian Priester and the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra will make appearances, as will the Garfield and Roosevelt high school bands.

Tickets will go on sale in late August through Earshot and local venues. Call 206-547-9787 or go to for details.

Lynn Jacobson, Seattle Times Arts & Life editor

July 18: So you think you can see “SYTYCD”?

The top 10 winners of the hit FOX reality talent show “So You Think You Can Dance” are hitting the road. They’ll share their moves with a live audience in our area during the tour, which comes to the Tacoma Dome Sept. 20.

Tickets go on sale 10 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 2. For more information on the tour, go to

And to check out the epidsodes of the show, go to —

Andrew Matson has this dispatch from the Opera:

This week the Seattle Opera announced its 2007-08 Artists of the Year, which traditionally go to one singer and a nonsinging member of the artistic staff.

This year’s singer is tenor Lawrence Brownlee, recognized for his performance as Arturo in “I Puritani” in May. Set designer Thomas Lynch, who did the sets for “The Flying Dutchman,” and “Iphigenia in Tauris” in 2007, was the other recipient.

The award winners — chosen by the board of trustees, some Seattle Opera donors, the Opera staff and some members of the local press — were announced Tuesday at the annual meeting, where the Opera also honored Gov. Christine Gregoire, Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels and the Seattle City Council with a new Chairman’s Award for exceptional support.

You can hear Brownlee in this season’s “I Puritani,” posted by a fan on YouTube —

Andrew Matson, Seattle Times staff reporter

July 15: Got $425,000? I’ve got a nightclub on Capitol Hill

Clubs seem to come and go these days.

After the much lauded opening of King Cobra nightclub end of February, the venue is up for sale. An e-mail from the co-owner Jamie Garza cited lots of reasons: personal finance issues, management mistakes, lack of experience and lack of marketing.

The e-mail goes on to state that the “current owners, and some citizens of Seattle, would like to sell King Cobra with its current format, including a great calendar of upcoming events, and an all-star cast of employees.”

Garza was a promoter from the all-ages music scene, and the other owner, Che Sabado, owned the punk rock bar Kincora Pub. Kincora Pub was located in Capitol Hill and closed due to condominium construction.

Before King Cobra, the club was named Sugar. It closed after a shooting that left three wounded. Former Seattle Times nightlife reporter Tom Scanlon reported that the venue went through three different clubs in five years. And, the owners of King Cobra had hoped to finally keep the place steady. Many had hoped the club would fill the hole left by the closing of Crocodile Cafe.

The 6,000-square-foot space at 916 E. Pike St., has a capacity of 475. Live music plays three to four days a week, with the rest of the week available for interactive activities, like karaoke. There is a fully equipped kitchen. The venue is also approved for all-ages concerts.

The asking price? $425,000. Stay tuned for more.

July 11: It’s a singing, yodeling, starring Broadway role for Federal Way actress

A local to root for on Broadway:

Yodeling her way across the New York stage is Federal Way native Kelly Sullivan. She plays female lead Inga in “The New Mel Brooks Musical Young Frankenstein” on Broadway, replacing role originator Sutton Foster. Foster, who appeared in Seattle when “Young Frank” was on its Broadway tryout last year, will be back in Seattle as Fiona, in the upcoming world premiere of “Shrek” at The 5th Avenue Theatre, playing Aug. 14 to Sept. 21 (

Sullivan grew up in Federal Way and Puyallup, and credits her choir teacher for kicking off her career.

“If not for him, I don’t know if be there today, if not for his encouragement,” Sullivan said about her teacher, Pat Michel, who retired from Puyallup’s Roger High School this year.

Michel encouraged Sullivan to practice and take voice lessons, predicting that she would make it to Broadway someday. With his motivation, as a junior in high school, Sullivan won the state contest for best soprano.

“That was a real big greenlight for me,” said Sullivan

One of the contest judges encouraged Sullivan to pursue her singing at Arizona State University, where she earned a full scholarship and started musical-theater studies.

And soon after graduating, she landed her first Broadway gig, “Bells Are Ringing.”

“It was really Puyallup that started it all — their love and passion for the arts,” said Sullivan, 30. “I’ll never forget that and forget where I’m from.”

For more on Sullivan, go to — And there’s more on “Young Frankenstein” here —

July 3: Ticket alert: Edmonds Center for the Arts

Hankering for Hawaiian music? It’s on the schedule — along with everything from kiddie rock to Native American flute — of the second season of the Edmonds Center for the Arts.

Former Men at Work frontman Colin Hay will kick off the season on Aug. 22. The lineup also includes:

• High energy children’s music with Ralph’s World on Sept. 27

• Día de los Muertos with Quetzal on Oct. 30

• Seattle kiddie rock band Recess Monkey on Nov. 1

• The Seattle International Comedy Competition on Nov. 18

• Native American flutist Mary Youngblood with local Grammy award winner Eric Tingstad on January 16

• A slack key and hula show with Keola and Moana Beamer on April 9.

• Indigo Girls on May 8 and 9.

For show information and tickets, go to Full season subscriptions are available by calling 425-275-9595. And, Indigo Girls tickets go on-sale Dec. 1.

July 1: D List? What D List?

This just in — Kathy Griffin has added a third show at the Paramount Theatre on Nov. 22. With such demand, she’s definitely lifted off the D-list.

Tickets are $45.50 to $75.50 and on sale at, all Ticketmaster outlets, or charge by phone 206-628-0888.

June 30: The Saturday Knights “Mingle” at a hot, sweaty Nectar

Music writer Andrew Matson reporting:

Local hip-hop heroes The Saturday Knights sold out Nectar last Friday night. The Fremont venue was packed downstairs, upstairs, and outside, and even though the club’s street-facing garage door wall was rolled up, things were sweaty. Dozens of fans who didn’t get tickets stayed and listened outside, communicating with luckier fans through the bars that fence Nectar’s front patio.

TSK played songs from “Mingle,” the group’s first full-length album out now on local label Light In The Attic Records. The rappers, Barfly and Tilson, ended with an improvised rhyme session after a high energy set featuring horn players from opening act and purveyors of “Staten Island Soul” the Budos Band.

June 25: Latin superstar Luis Miguel to play WaMu

Forget CD-selling machines like Mariah Carey, Nickelback and Kanye West. In the Latin music world, none of them can compete with Luis Miguel.

Miguel is a bona-fide international superstar (born in Puerto Rico, raised in Mexico), who has sold tens of millions albums worldwide (sources say anywhere from 50 to nearly 100 million). Miguel’s heartthrob looks and Latin-infused pop help him continually sell out arenas around the world.

The Grammy-winner will try to sell out a new venue on Friday, June 27, when tickets go on sale for his first-ever stop at WaMu Theater, where he’ll perform Sept. 3

Miguel is taking to the road to support his new album, “Cómplices” (which has already gone platinum in Mexico; watch the video to his 2005 song, “Tengo todo excepto a ti” (“I Have Everything But You” here —

Tickets cost $50-$110 and go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday, June 27, through the Qwest Field box office, all Ticketmaster locations, via phone at 206-628-0888 or through Tickets are also available at: La Sirena Rosa (Seattle), La Espanola (Bellevue) and El Mercado Latino (Tacoma).

And now for some news of a completely different stripe: Seattle now has its air-guitar champion.

That’s right. There is such a thing as the 2008 Cuervo Black U.S. Air Guitar Championship, and Monday night the Seattle regional was held at Chop Suey.

Air guitarist Chuck Mung finished first, with an air musician called The Fro coming in second. Fan favorite: Vaguely Ethnic.

From here, regional winner Mung goes on to compete in San Francisco on Aug. 8 for the U.S. Air Guitar Championship. And that winner will represent the United States at the 2008 Air Guitar World Championships, Aug. 20-22 in Oulu, Finland.


Good luck, Mung. How are you at Guitar Hero?

June 24: Arista says bye-bye Blake Lewis

Bad news for our pal Blake Lewis … unless you think — as Blake seems to — that getting dropped from your label is a good thing.

Blogs picked up the news late Sunday and on Monday the Web site reported that Arista had dropped the Seattle singer-beatboxer. Blake claims he never really wanted to be signed to a major label anyway, and that it was the label meddling that made his one release (last year’s “Audio Day Dream”) so terrible. (Hear a sample at his MySpace —; read the full Idolator entry here —

Well, sounds like the whimsical, uncategorizable guy is getting what he wants. Good luck, Blake.

And bad news of a very different sort for Boy George. The ’80s icon’s U.S. tour was canceled Tuesday when it was announced that his visa was denied. According to his publicists, this stems from George’s arrest last spring (something involving his male companion, some photos, and “wrongful imprisonment”). Said the statement, “This is… because he is facing a trial in November in London… George has not been convicted of anything in London and there is a presumption in the Western World of innocence until proven guilty… .”

Boy George was scheduled to appear at the Showbox at the Market on July 20.

June 19: Funky new music for funky old Seattle weather

Here’s some offbeat music for the funky weather:

• I love mashups because nothing is better than two funky styles mixed into one. And this group amplifies mashups to a new level, mixing cumbia — a sound fusing old and new music of Colombia — with hip-hop, dancehall, reggaeton and pop.

Here’s are the DJs in this revolving group. You’ll want to bookmark their sites, because their music is going to blow your mind.

Resident DJ Villa Diamante blends Argentine and Latin American music with Northern Hemisphere hip-hop, grime, electro and pop —

Newer on the scene, Chancha Vía Circuíto has been featured on mixtapes by DIPLO, M.I.A.’s producer —

And, Fauna mixes Latin elements with electronic beats and live hip-hop/ragga vocals —

Finally, co -owner of record label Bersa Discos, ORO11 blends cumbia with dancehall and Baltimore club beats. And being from the Bay, he mixes hyphy (hyper hip-hop) goodness with some Latin American flavors. You have to give it a listen at —

The group performs July 22 at the Nectar Lounge. Tickets are $10 on ticketweb.

… Check out some fun punk about stealing music by The Dirty Hearts. Here’s their video “Record Store” —

Shot at Friends of Sounds Records in Austin, Texas, the band used its own gear and posters for the set. And for the sake of the video, the Austin punk band even destroyed some vinyl in the store. Their album “Pigs” comes out July 22. Check out the rest of their music at

June 12: Pearl Jam’s “bootleg” recordings for sale

Now, you don’t have to secretly record the Pearl Jam show on your own — Pearl Jam will provide their “bootlegs” for you.

At the end of their live shows, the band will be selling high-quality digital downloads and burn-to-order CDs of the entire show through their fan club, Ten Club, at There will also be mobile bootlegs of three live tracks per show on V CAST Music phones and at These will be available as ringtones too.

Digital bootlegs will cost $9.99 (MP3) and $14.99 (FLAC) per show. There will also be hard copies available using recycled material, for $16.99 per show on

All of the bootlegs recordings will be professionally mixed in real time. Launched on the 2000 world tour, the bootleg program has since sold 3.5 million bootlegs.

Unfortunately Seattle fans may only hear the concerts by bootleg — the grunge band has not announced local dates. Here’s a link to their tour —

June 5: Rock the Bells to rock the Gorge

Lots of shows are getting announced this week:

• Hip-hop fest Rock the Bells — featuring A Tribe Called Quest, Nas and Mos Def — is coming to the Gorge Sept. 6. Tickets go on sale 10 a.m. Saturday, June 7.

Also on the lineup are: Seattle’s Blue Scholars, “Godfather of Hip-Hop” Afrika Bambaataa, MF Doom, Sage Francis, Just Blaze, Black Violin, Dirty Heads and DJ Green Lantern. South Los Angeles group the Pharcyde will be there with all four original members. And, rising hip-hoppers Spank Rock, the Cool Kids and Amanda Blank will be performing, along with hosts Scratch — from the Legendary Roots Crew — and the renowned freestyle rapper Supernatural.

Rock the Bells is traditionally the classic hip-hop show to catch. If you love hip-hop, or if you want to convince a nonbeliever, bring them to this show.

Tickets are $50 in advance and $60 the week of show. They will be available at, all Ticketmaster outlets, or charge by phone 206-628-0888.

June 4: Raconteurs to play WaMu Theater

If you missed their sold-out show at Neumo’s the last time they came around, the Raconteurs are returning to Seattle — and this time to a much bigger venue. Jack White’s “other band” will play the WaMu Theater on Sept. 19. Tickets go on sale 10 a.m. June 6, for $35, at, all Ticketmaster outlets, or by phone at 206-628-0888.

The Raconteurs are a collaboration between White, the lead singer of the White Stripes, and his old friend, Nashville-based songwriter Brendan Benson. Catch the video of their latest hit, “Salute Your Solution,” —

And not to be outdone by all the big albums coming out this week — Seattle’s Fleet Foxes debuted their self-titled full length album on Sub Pop Records. Download their song “White Winter Hymnal” on And listen to the rest of their music here —

Keep an eye out on this local folk-pop band. They were met with adoration at Sasquatch! when they played twice (subbing in for the National when that band was delayed), and they are quickly growing in popularity. You can check them out at Sub Pop 20th Anniversary Festival on July 12 at Marymoor Park in Redmond. Tickets are still available on

In other album news, Olympia singer-songwriter Kimya Dawson is releasing a collection of children’s songs with her friends and their children, called “ALPHABUTT,” out Sept. 9. Here’s a video of the title track —

Dawson was responsible for the very popular and very quirky soundtrack behind the indie hit “Juno.” She plays at the Capitol Hill Block Party July 25. For more on the Block Party, head here —

Alternative rap-rock band N.E.R.D. is also working on an album set to come out June 10 and titled “Seeing Sounds.” You can see their very cool and very raw video, “Everyone Nose (All The Girls Standing In Line For The Bathroom),” where Lindsay Lohan and Kanye West makes cameos — After watching it, you won’t be able to force that song out of your head.

And, garage punk band Yeah Yeah Yeahs are working on album Number 3. For inspiration — according to their blog — the band has been hopscotching from “a barn in the Northeast to a ranch in the Southwest on their journey for the next sound.” Check out their musings here —

May 20: The reviews are in: Death Cab for Cutie’s “Narrow Stairs”

Sasquatch favorite and beloved local band Death Cab For Cutie has been making headlines with their latest album, “Narrow Stairs.” The reviews have gone from the very positive — Rolling Stone Magazine’s 4-star critique of “a dark, strangely compelling record” — to the decidedly mixed — to the Village Voice proclaiming that it’s simply a “mediocre album.” But, most of the reviews agree that it’s an emotional record that aims to strike out at your heart.

Here’s a listing of reviews. Let me know your thoughts on “Narrow Stairs,” too.

Rolling Stone Magazine

Spin Magazine


The Associated Press



And here’s a site — if you’re too lazy to click through the above links — that aggregates all the reviews and gives them each a rating. Averaging the scores, the album gets a C+. one more thing before we leave Death Cab for the day: the Bellingham band played “No Sunlight,” off the new album, in the back of a London cab. Check it out: The ride must have been smooth, because the recording session is pretty sweet.

Fergie, Carrie Underwood, Kid Rock do the Puyallup

The upcoming Puyallup Fair will feature The Black Crowes, Kid Rock, Fergie and one of America’s “Idols,” Carrie Underwood.

Hard rockers The Black Crowes perform Sept. 8. Tickets are $25-$55. The band just released its first studio recording in seven years this past March, named “Warpaint.” All the songs, except for one, are written by the two original brothers in the band — Chris and Rich Robinson. To listen, go to

Rap rocker Kid Rock comes Sept. 10. Tickets cost $30 to $60. His latest album “Rock N Roll Jesus,” came out October of 2007. For more and to watch his videos, go to

Fergie, a Bumbershoot headliner last year, will join the Puyallup lineup on Sept. 16. Tickets are $29 to $79. Check out her latest at

Underwood — 2005’s “American Idol” winner — will follow on Sept. 19. Tickets are $50-$75.

Other concerts to take note of are Christian pop group Casting Crowns coming Sept. 9, for $17.50 to $37.50; vocal quartet Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons on Sept. 17 for $25 to $75.

Tickets include reserved seating and gate admission to the fair. They are available for sale 10 a.m. Saturday, May 3, at all Ticketmaster Ticket Centers, order by phone at 206-628-0888 or by logging onto For more on the Puyallup Fair, go to, if you’ll like to take up the mic instead, MySpace launched its karaoke site today. Upload your version of your favorite star’s song, or your own, at The most popular recordings are categorized at the top and include a Britney spoof, “Oops I Farted Again.”

Marian Liu: 206-464-3825 or

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