PHOTOS & SHOW REVIEW: THE PINIELLAS, THE TWO TENS, TURBULENT HEARTS, & THE HEELS @ THE FUNHOUSE, SEATTLE, WA 6/18/15 BY AJ DENT!

(Ed. note: I'm on vacation in Wisconsin now, so I have the fierce-fab writer and photographer AJ Dent sitting in today -- always an honor to host her work here! I send her a thousand thanks!)

Was the week of June 14th-20th extra difficult, or what? At first I thought it was just in my head,, but the news was full of utter awfulness. Social media feeds of my friends and colleagues were bleak as well, making my heart go out to them so frequently I thought it wouldn’t be able to find its way back.

By the time Thursday the 18th came around, I felt nigh on guilty for my plans to hit a show that night. How dare I try to have a good time with all the abysmal BS flying about?

Well, I soon remembered that places like the Funhouse exist for such times as these. For a few hours, my head was rattled by rock and roll rather than the world’s political, racial, and gender inequalities. It felt fantastic.




MISS TWELVE'S PHOTOS OF RURAL CENTRAL WISCONSIN

Hello from our annual family visit to Wisconsin! It's a lovely June here, and we are chillin' in the wooded wonderland with my mom right now. For this post, I am sharing some pretty and peaceful photographs from daughter Miss Twelve that she took during a drive through the country. Click on the photos to enlarge (spot the deer and wild turkeys!) and as always, please to enjoy.




I MADE YOU A CHILDREN'S BOOK NOT FOR CHILDREN: "THE THREE BILLY GOAT A**HOLES" (NSFW)

(Click on the pictures to enlarge if you need to, you old pottymouths.)


26 MORE WEIRD RECORD COVERS & KNICK-KNACKS FROM GOODWILL AND VALUE VILLAGE!

HEY, GUYS! GUYS! There's a brand-new Goodwill only a couple of miles from my house! Do you think the staff there will get to know the oddball mom with the goofy hair who pulls out her iPhone to take photos of weird dusty crap??? OH, I THINK SO! Let's continue with my rapidly-accelerating ascent into elder-quirkiness with these discarded albums and home decor items, shall we?

Here's the real beauty of this item: if I walked into a bathroom with this horror staring back at me, there would be no problem with me not hanging up the towel, for I would back out slowly and never use the bathroom nor the towel in the first place.


PHOTOS: WIMPS @ RUDY'S BARBERSHOP OPENING PARTY, WEST SEATTLE, WA. 5/8/15

Could YOU possibly resist, on a most pleasant spring evening in the Pacific Northwest, the opportunity to receive FREE food and beer, a FREE tattoo, a FREE bowl haircut, and FREE music from one of the niftiest local punk bands in town? Well, I could NOT resist whatsoever and launched myself across several bridges to attend the opening party for the new West Seattle location of Rudy's Barbershop, the coolest place around to get your locks chopped. OK, full disclosure, I did not get a bowl cut nor a tattoo and only drank a bottled water, but I sure was pleased to enjoy my pals wimps, who treated the crowd to a feisty and fun set featuring favorites old and new. I brought my camera device and made digital images for viewing. Click on the photos to enlarge and click on the Flickr link to see more! Thanks Rudy's, DJ King Midas, DJ Nick Fenton, Tasty Vibes, Big Al's, Blue Geisha, and wimps!


THE CURIOUS PHENOMENON OF YOUR FASHION SENSE STUCK IN TIME, OR, BLUE EYESHADOW 4 LIFE

I don't really know where or how one develops a sense of personal fashion exactly, but we all do, to differing degrees. Our immediate environment, of course, is first and foremost -- family, friends, neighbors, peers -- and there's the larger generational cultural influence that flows through the media to us. Why do I think mid-century mod fashion is still the best? Because that was my first and strongest influence. Do I still go out to dinner in a Mondrian-pattern paper dress and white go-go boots? Sadly, no. It's not because I don't think it's fab gear, boss, and groovy. It's that I am more or less subconsciously compelled to wear what is currently in fashion to fit in with the people around me. The punk person inside me rebels at any notion of conformity, but the truth is that I mostly do conform to social norms because my brain tells me that is safe. When you look like most of the rest of your group, you are more likely to be accepted, and people are more likely to treat you well, or at least not pick on you. Have I ever stepped outside the norm? OH YES. But outside of some crazy hair colors and dubious clothing choices, more or less I look like everyone, and no one, and blend in.

What has fascinated me since I was a kid was the phenomenon of women getting "stuck in time" in their fashion choices, hair, and makeup. You see it as well with men, but it's not so striking since men's fashion is not as varied and vivid. I bet you know exactly what I am talking about, because it's not uncommon to see women, middle-aged or older, who have steadfastly refused to change anything about their looks for a decade or two or more. Typically, they settle on makeup and clothing that were popular when they were in their late teens or twenties, as they transition from child to adult and face the judgment of attractiveness/worth that the world places upon them. But as time whizzes by, it seems that what they see in the mirror isn't what we see. Is it a difficulty in accepting aging? Is it a fear of change? Is it "if it ain't broke, don't fix it?" Or is it the most steadfast sense of personal style ever?

I think the first time I was aware of the "stuck" phenomenon was seeing a friend of my mother's in the mid-'70s who still was rocking the major beehive. I mean, the whole ratted-up, lacquered, Marge Simpson deal. And then, a decade later when giant poodle perms were the thing, you looked at the ladies with the '70s Dorothy Hamill bowl cut or long-straight-parted-in-the-middle hair like they were living at the granola factory. The tiny grandma wearing football-player-sized shoulder pads in her silk blazer in 2004 still may have thought she was power-suiting. And we must give a nod to the classic fashion-stick of all time, the swath of light blue eyeshadow from eyelashes to eyebrow, mandatory in the '70s, which now looks shocking on the Walmart clerk, does it not?

21 MORE WEIRD RECORD COVERS AND KNICK-KNACKS FROM THE VALUE VILLAGE THRIFT STORE!

I'm kind of a collector of stuff, but I gotta tell ya...when I go on my thrift store runs and see the monumental amounts of one-cherished crapola that people have dumped from their homes, it makes me want to return to my home, clear it all out, and live a streamlined, non-cluttered life. HA! Like that will happen! Anyway, look at this bunch of crapola and please to enjoy!

I am sincerely not at all sure what this is. A turkey? A penguin? A bear? Why does it have breasts? HELP.


A FAN'S GUIDE TO TALKING TO MUSICIANS AT SHOWS!

Over my many years, my intense love of music has led me out of the house to attend live concerts by my favorite artists -- hundreds, thousands of shows? I've utterly lost count. Anyway, it wasn't until I was 17 years old that a friend put the idea in my head that I could actually meet and talk to musicians. I had honestly never considered before that this was possible for an everyday person like myself. You can do that?? WOW! Being able to speak to artists is cool, because they are generally interesting people and I crave interesting experiences. You also might crave interesting experiences, so I have put together a little guide in how to talk to musicians at their shows. Please to enjoy!

1. BEFORE THE SHOW

Truthfully, this is not a good time to talk to most musicians. Most of them are really only thinking about THE SHOW coming up, even if they are veterans and have done hundreds or trillions of gigs. Artists get nervous like anyone else, even if they are on 3' tall platform boots and spitting fire onstage. They will often be getting their calming/sociable drink or smoke on, and this process should not be interrupted lest nerves lead to vomiting on the front row. Also, do not interrupt a musician if he or she is cramming down the free food provided backstage as it probably is terrible and getting interrupted by a stranger while eating your free terrible food is doubly irritating.

But if you have nothing of any import to impart, feel free to go ahead and politely tell him or her that you are a big fan, love their work, saw them in 'Nam, or just say HI and shake hands and ask for an autograph or selfie if you wish. Just remember that they will remember absolutely nothing of this meeting, not even 30 minutes later when you try to get your niece's butt signed.

2. DURING THE SHOW

I shouldn't have to tell you that this is by far the WORST time to talk to a musician. But it is inevitable at any show that some fan will feel that this is the BEST time to talk to a musician, particularly if there is a quiet musical passage occurring and said fan is wasted. Please understand: no musician wants you to try to have a conversation with them while onstage. Ever. THEY ARE BUSY. This is not the time to tell Johnny Americana that one of his songs really helped you get through your barium enema last week.

Keep in mind as well that most musicians are wearing in-ear monitors or earplugs and CANNOT HEAR YOU. When you feel the need to shout, "WE LOVE YOU, MAN!" the musician will generally look confused or alarmed, because what they heard might have been, "SHE GLOVED A VAN!" Do not confuse the musician. Do not startle the musician. No no.

3. AFTER THE SHOW

This is another iffy time to talk to musicians, as they are transitioning from performance mode back into regular mode, and will be reviewing their show in their minds and scoping out backstage for attractive people. They also will probably be very sweaty. Some musicians just want to grab the last of the free beer backstage, get it loaded in the van and get the hell out of Dodge; some, after toweling off, might be relaxed and ready to hang out and chat. Etiquette note: if the musician is sitting at the merch table after the show, do feel free to chat a little if the line isn't too long, but be sure to BUY SOMETHING. Chatting at merch without buying is gauche, so buy a badge or something, tightwad.

That's pretty much it. You can always hope (if you live in a major music city) that you might run into your favorite musician buying kitty litter at the supermarket (known as The Danzig Encounter™), and you will have this natural conversation over clumping vs. non-clumping litter that leads to a mutual and long-lasting connection between two creative souls, but for most of us, meeting a musician will be limited to the above parameters. So go forth with the information you now have and get your personal groove on to the next level of fandom, which, if all goes well, will last around 3.2 seconds.

Me and Kurt Vile, before the show, 2011.


PHOTOS & REVIEW: THE SONICS & SUPER SPECIAL FRIENDS @ EASY STREET RECORDS, SEATTLE, WA. 4/18/15 -- A RECORD STORE DAY BENEFIT FOR KEXP!

Well, I'm just calling it: April 2015 is OFFICIAL SONICS MONTH on Popthomology, as it should be everywhere! With the release of their SMOKING, BURNING HOT new album "This Is The Sonics," and equally-incendiary performances here in Seattle, my mind is officially blown, and my heart filled with the truest, most-euphoric musical joy. I didn't really think I could be any happier after their insanely-great show at the Moore, but then -- THEN!!! -- it was announced Friday that The Sonics and "really very very special guests...trust us, people" would be performing the next night at Easy Street Records to benefit the KEXP New Home Fund. OOOOOOOHHH, I said to myself or maybe even said it aloud, who knows, OOOOOOOOOHH!!! Only a very limited amount of tickets would be sold, and they were pricy. Of course, I'm already a fan and funder of KEXP, a radio station that gives back to the community and the world every day, and their new site at Seattle Center is going to be a real jewel for our city, so, great cause. Could I do it??? Would I do it???

I HAD TO DO IT!!! COME ON!!!



PHOTOS & SHOW REVIEW: THE SONICS, MUDHONEY, & THE INTELLIGENCE @ THE MOORE THEATER, SEATTLE, WA. 4/2/15

Ah, Springtime, the season of renewal and reawakening! Delicate new green grass appears through the muddy ground, tulips and daffodils and cherry blossoms pop into colorful life...and PUNKS return to rule the earth! Therefore, it could not be a better time for Tacoma, Washington's greatest export, The Sonics -- the best damn garage band in the world -- to return to victorious form. The band have just released an astonishingly-awesome album entitled "This Is The Sonics," their first new music in 48 years. Yes, that's F-O-R-T-Y - E-I-G-H-T, friends, and it is just as dynamic and powerful and fun as their original bash-'em-out records of the mid-'60s. How?? How is this possible? Are The Sonics magical warlocks who have discovered the eternal remote-control opener to the Golden Garage Door? Was it even possible that they could replicate this Sonic Tsunami live?? Well, I am here to answer these burning questions, having attended The Sonics' tour-opening show featuring Mudhoney and The Intelligence at Seattle's historic Moore Theater last Thursday night. READ ON!


PHOTOS & SHOW PREVIEW: THE SONICS RETURN TO BLOW YOUR MIND WITH "THIS IS THE SONICS" (2015)

“We feared that the music which had given us sustenance was in danger of spiritual starvation. We feared it losing its sense of purpose, we feared it falling into fattened hands, we feared it floundering in a mire of spectacle, finance, and vapid technical complexity. We would call forth in our minds the image of Paul Revere, riding through the American night, petitioning the people to wake up, to take up arms. We too would take up arms, the arms of our generation, the electric guitar and the microphone.” 
― Patti SmithJust Kids
If your heart is dedicated to rock n' roll, as mine is, you understand what Patti is talking about. Music isn't a passing fancy, a background noise, a throwaway thing...it is your passion, your best friend, the driving force, and the greatest joy throughout your life. You will support and defend it until the end, because music does more for you than it is possible to express with words. This is why The Sonics' slammin' new record "This Is The Sonics" is downright heroic to me: to return after nearly 50 years to record an album just as kickass, relevant, and damn punk as their very first release in 1964 and then go on tour is so beyond extraordinary as to be inspirational. The Sonics are the coolest there ever was and will ever be!

The Sonics really were the very first garage/punk band, blasting out of the happening Pacific Northwest rock scene in the early '60s with their unrelentingly and unapologetic hard-hitting rock, made from gritty guitars, cacophonous trash-can drums, surf sax, and bad boy vocals. Lay on top of that some spooky/creepy/fun lyrics in songs like "Psycho," "The Witch," and "Strychnine," and you had a band whose unique sound created a musical influence that strongly continues into today, into not only garage and punk, but grunge, alternative, and metal. But as is so common, even the coolest bands have lives to live, and after recording an album that they were unhappy with in 1967, the members dispersed to other pursuits like college, work, and the Vietnam War. There were a couple of one-off reformations of the band in later years, but it wasn't until now that The Sonics decided to deliver their full-on, take-no-prisoners, awesome auditory assault once again. What's a half-century, eh?

"This Is The Sonics," recorded in "earth-shaking mono," is a triumph and an affirmation of the spirit of the garage: nasty, aggressive, crazy and fun as hell. These guys beat back Father Time with what must be the devil's drumsticks, because the energy throughout the record is jaw-dropping, bettering bands with members 50 years younger. I cannot tell you how much I LOVE and admire that they just WENT FOR IT and gave it everything they had. It'll rip your face off, son. (Side note: when I was playing the album through for the first time and heard they covered The Kinks' "The Hard Way" from Schoolboys In Disgrace I about jumped out of my chair in delight and went "WHOOO YEAH!!) Buy this record immediately!

Yesterday, I had the great pleasure to attend the first record-signing event for "This Is The Sonics" at Silver Platters in Bellevue, WA. I was so excited to be there that I hardly knew what to do with myself. Seeing fans there that ranged from granddads to grandkids made my entire being smile. The Sonics have two more meet n' greets for the Seattle area -- TONIGHT at Easy Street Records in West Seattle, and Wednesday, April 1st at Sonic Boom Records in Ballard, so be sure to head out there and show your support!

FURTHERMORE and IMPORTANTLY, The Sonics headline the Show To Beat All Shows at Seattle's Moore Theater on Thursday, April 2nd with grunge supahstahz Mudhoney, and my very favorite post-punk princes, The Intelligence. Tickets are still available, and I just cannot stress enough that you NEED TO BE THERE. Seriously, do what you have to do, sell some blood, pawn your wife, whatever...GO!

The Sonics have indeed taken up arms once again. Join the revolution!

(As always, click on the photos to enlarge and click on the Flickr set link to see more!)

The Sonics, Silver Platters, Bellevue, WA. 3/30/15 Flickr set






















































Thank you Jen Stippich, Silver Platters, Kitty Page, and The Sonics!!

VIDEO: TEN OF THE "WORST" KARAOKE PARTICIPANTS!

I am super-new to the entire karaoke thing. I KNOW I KNOW, I'm the latest to the party EVER, but it was not in my universe until recently as I was busy brushing the dog and researching hot water heaters. Anyway, my birthday is coming up in a week and it so happens I am having a bit of a karaoke party at a local club. Will I actually get up the nerve to sing? Well, we shall see. If I do, I hope for the sake of everyone there and all humanity that I do a better job than these poor sods. If I don't...watch for me on YouTube. Please to enjoy!


NINE '60s/'70s-ERA PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENTS THAT TERRORIZED ME AS A CHILD!

Like nearly all of my age-cohorts, I spent great swaths of time watching TV. "Watching" really isn't the best way to describe it -- it was more like "immersed" in TV, wholly unavailable to the world outside the box, attending with the sponge-like nature known to young children. Everything was important, everything was real, everything was teaching me something, wildly inaccurate or not. To this very day some 50 years later, I can still recall the the jarring or creeping dread some well-intentioned and obviously powerful PSAs had upon my young psyche. They were micro-horror movies, crafted to to pack a wallop, and IT WORKED! Now, via our friend the Interhaps, I can share my ancient traumas with you, so please to enjoy these films that implore you not to do bad things!


HERE ARE FOURTEEN MORE WEIRD THRIFT STORE RECORD COVERS!

I'm thinking of returning to my high school days and plastering all my interior home walls with these oddities from the vinyl past. Maybe the exterior walls, too. There are certainly ENOUGH of these to complete the job! I think after doing this I would either be laughing all the time or lose my marbles. Walk with me again into Strangeville, won't you? Please to enjoy!

Oh, man. Just study this one for awhile. The orange skullet. The 1000-points-of-light trumpet. The celestial breaking of slave chains. SWOON!


PHOTOS & SHOW REVIEW: TWEEDY, THE MINUS 5 @ THE NEPTUNE THEATER, SEATTLE, WA. 3/12/15

I was so pleased to note that last Thursday was a truly glorious weather day here in Seattle: sunny skies, a warm 60+ degrees, with nary a drop of our infamous gloomy rain in sight. It was only fitting that the weather gods gave a kind greeting to Tweedy as their tour buses rolled in to park alongside the popcorn-scented Neptune Theater, because they bring an awful lot of good with them to us. Tweedy is the father-and-son musical team of Jeff and Spencer Tweedy, Jeff being best known for his 20-year leadership of the marvelous band Wilco, and for being a brilliant songwriter, swoon-worthy singer, and rather excellent musician. Spencer is also a impressively accomplished person, and at 19 years of age has already developed seriously exceptional skills as a published writer, photographer, and musician. I don't drop these big ol' positive descriptive adjectives around lightly, my friends, so heed my effusion: if you didn't know it, these two are the real creative deal. It was my great pleasure to see Tweedy LIVE IN CONCERT and to photograph said concert with my large camera device.

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