PEOPLE LIKE LISTS: MY FAVORITE 15 ALBUMS & EPS OF 2016

I'll give it to ya straight, my friends...I've been staring down this list for days, not sure where to begin. In a year of exceptional sadness as 2016 was, I don't gravitate towards music. I withdraw from it, not wanting to infuse my greatest pleasure with heavyhearted memories. Despite this and despite everything, the music that makes life so much better rolls on and through, whispering in my weary ear, "We got you, sister. We're not going to let you down. We're here when you are ready." And that is how it is, and how it will always be.

This year was filled with wonderful new releases from artists young and old, fresh or seasoned a f. Here are my 15 favorites.



LIKE THERE WOULDN'T BE SOMETHING FROM TY SEGALL ON THIS LIST

Ty Segall: Emotional Mugger (Drag City)

I am pretty sure Ty has made my list every year since I've been making this end-of-year best, which means three things: 1. He's a perpetually busy guy; 2. He's a endlessly talented guy, and; 3. I have good taste. I think the general music press thinks of young master Ty as mainly a frenetic garage rocker, but that does him a disservice, even though I in particular think there is zero wrong with being a frenetic garage rocker. You can hear it in everything he does, if you listen -- he has strong ideas of what he wants to produce, a vision, even... some fever dream of a Vanilla Fudge record covered in a spilled sticky can of Coke, the record player needle covered in sugary dust, vibrating madly in the grooves. There's a complexity there, from lyrical themes to layers of sound, that deserves your attention.

I can say without doubt the tour behind this record was one of the weirdest shows I've ever seen, and it was brilliant. Damn, if you're not on the Ty train by now, toot toot, get ON already.




LOS TWEEDY

Wilco: Schmilco (dBpm Records)

Spencer Tweedy: Geezer Love (self-released)

Speaking of prolific sorts, we have the father-and-son dynamic duo of Jeff and Spencer Tweedy. These guys made my last year's list with their album "Sukierae" under the name of TWEEDY, a rather Captain Obvious choice of band name, but I digress. This year, Father went back to his day job with Wilco and came up with "Schmilco," an aching little sweetheart of a record, Wilco at their warmest. Son went back to college and on his free time, wrote and recorded a 4-song EP, "Geezer Love," released on his 21st birthday, that sounds like a very gifted young man that's been paying very close attention for 21 years on to how to write, perform, and produce quality music, and then just does it as easily as normal college kids effortlessly barf Miller Lite on a foosball table. Kudos, you genetic wonders.





GEEZER LOVE

Iggy Pop: Pop Pop Depression (Loma Vista Records)

The Monkees: Good Times! (Rhino Records)

The Rolling Stones: Blue and Lonesome (Interscope)

David Bowie: Blackstar (Columbia Records)

This year, I taught my 11-year-old Newfoundland dog to balance a bone on her nose. Also this year, some of my other favorite olds surprised me with new tricks, or old tricks that were so old as to be new tricks again, or tricks that I won't be able to fathom in ten lifetimes. More power to ye, merry gentlemen.

It's been a great Iggy year: the "Gimme Danger" Stooges documentary, finding out about Iggy's pet bird Biggy Pop on Instagram, the release of "Post Pop Depression," and getting to see the album performed live at Seattle's Paramount Theater. "Post Pop Depression" teams alt-superstars Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age, Matt Helders from Arctic Monkeys, and the Dead Weather's Dean Fertita with the Ig, resulting in a lush, confident, thoughtful pre-MTV Bowie funk. Not punk, but plenty tough. Iggy Pop for President, Every Year.



I'm sure I'm far from the last fan or critic to expect a new album from the three surviving Monkees (Michael Nesmith, Mickey Dolenz, and Peter Tork, RIP Davy Jones) to end up on this kind of list. But "Good Times!" is such a wonderful surprise, varied and so solid throughout, with contributions from songwriters like Andy Partridge of XTC and Ben Gibbard from Death Cab for Cutie. The supporting 50th Anniversary Tour was a similar delight, and had me re-appreciating the Pre-Fab Four, who had the stone-cold balls to become a real band in the face of very determined opposition.



Nor did I AT ALL expect the latest release from the Rolling Stones to wow me. I am a giant Stones fan and have been since my earliest days, but let's be honest: they've been writing the same-sounding material for a verrrrrry long time now, autopilot recording artists. All musicians, should they last so long, face this problem. How does a band remain innovative, fresh, interesting, and cool? For the Stones, the answer in 2016 was in rehearsals for their extensive tours. When they started warming up by playing some of the old blues that was the foundation of the band in 1962, ears perked up and tape started rolling. It is so much FUN to hear the band having FUN with the music they love most of all.



I haven't been able to listen to David Bowie's "Blackstar" more than a few times. Its themes of violence and mortality are so emotionally provocative in light of his death this year that I can only absorb it in small doses and end up crying every time. I am utterly awestruck that he was able to write and complete this complex, difficult work when terminally ill. How? How?? Stronger, better, smarter, braver, and more talented than us all, now and forever.



WHY I LIVE IN SEATTLE

Acapulco Lips: S/T (Killroom Records)

Gazebos: Die Alone (Hardly Art)

Happy Times Sad Times: New Album (Jigsaw Records/Den Tapes) 

Steal Shit Do Drugs: S/T (Annibale Records)

Anyone who loves music would live happily in Seattle forever. There is what seems to be an endless supply of amazing new music, great live shows every night of the week, and an artistic community that is generous and supportive. Now we just have to do something about the cripplingly high housing costs and that pesky rain. Nah, scratch that last thought -- the rain might save us from the constant hellfires that will consume our planet soon enough! Cheers! Anyway, here are some of my favorites that just so fortunately happen to be in my Pac NW vicinity.

Something I really appreciate about Acapulco Lips is they appreciate VINTAGE SOUNDS. I am highly fussy about authenticity when it comes to this topic, and this band always gets it so right. Walk right back to 1966 with a little surf style, girl group sweetness, and frug-dancin' garage beat. YEAH!



I fully expect Gazebos to take over the world someday. Until then, we have "Die Alone," which I think just hints at what they can musically accomplish with such talented people on board. They don't sound like anyone else, don't look like anyone else, vocal power for days, and hooks that worm into your brain so bad you might need to see the doctor.



There is just something about Happy Times Sad Times that turns me into a slobbering, head-banging nut, which happens with only select bands like the Gories, whom I revere. If you can turn this battered middle-aged music fan into a 16-year-old pogo princess, you've got POWER. HTST not only rocks out, though -- downtempo songs are just as compelling. This band deserves a lot more attention in Seattle -- get 'em on the bill, Capitol Hill!

Extra-mega-special thank you to the band for featuring my daughter Cameron's art (tiny practice drawings of mouths that I found in her garbage can!) on the cover of "New Album!"




I'm a yuuuuge fan of Steal Shit Do Drugs and was highly damn stoked when their self-titled full-length album arrived on my porch all the way from Italy just a few weeks ago. I'm just as stoked that they will be doing their first European tour in the early part of 2017 and may hide myself in a drum case just to go along. This is the sound of modern punk music. Get it.



DELIGHTFUL ODDBALLS WHOM I LOVE

Jacuzzi Boys: Ping Pong (Mag Mag Records)

Tim Presley: The Wink (Drag City Records)

Puberty: S/T (Born Bad Records)

I played these three albums the most this year, which is not a huge surprise to anyone who keeps track of my favorites, which I believe is only me, but you never know. Each artist raised their personal bar here, and that's exciting for me, and maybe them, and maybe you reading this. I'd be personally very pleased if you purchased these for yourself, not me, because I already own them, and not them because they are busy. Thank you.

My Miami sweethearts Jacuzzi Boys make records that make me smile. I always feel better after listening to them. I think "Ping Pong" is their best album yet, with shining, strong, split-stereo production, tight performances, and great songs throughout. My dream is for them to have their own animated Saturday morning cartoon show. I AM NOT KIDDING.



Tim Presley, like his friend Ty Segall, also makes my list every time he puts out a record because I love every record he makes. Stepping out from the White Fence moniker, plain ol' Mr. Tim on "The Wink" also steps away from his own multi-layered home production and into the studio with producer Cate Le Bon. Le Bon's instincts prove perfect, as we have superb, clean sound and crystal clear vocals, while the arrangements and instrumentation remain familiarly weird and a bit more sparse, to good effect. This is the kind of record that bears repeated listening, for you will hear it differently each time, sonic details popping here and there, lyrics veering from opaque and obscure to stunningly direct.

Why does Presley sing with a muted British accent? The world may never know.



If you think Puberty sounds a lot, I mean A LOT, like my favorite post-punk performers, The Intelligence, OH GUESS WHAT? That's because Puberty is a Lars Finberg project, and the band is loaded with current and former members of The Intelligence! Aren't you glad to know this? It pains my little heart that more people haven't heard this record, because it is fantastic. Born out of "Trainwreck," a crazy monthly performance event at The Orient Express karaoke in Seattle, it took years to reunite the Puberty band to make this album, and another year before it was released. Finberg doubles his vocal lines with Susanna Welbourne (better-known internationally as burlesque star Kitten LaRue), wrote all the songs, but sits out on playing. Oh, but these songs are SO LARS. Grim, funny, spooky, strange, and charming, it may not be for everybody, but I will never stop insisting that it SHOULD BE. Make 2017 Semi-Tolerable Again and buy this album.

I made this video a couple nights ago and am proud of several edit points. Check out the wicked guitar work on this by Dave Hernandez!



THE FUTURE IS FEMALE

Tacocat: Lost Time (Hardly Art)

It's a genuine thrill to see Tacocat gain popularity this year with the excellent "Lost Time," although that means more time on the road away from Seattle. We miss them when they are gone, because the three women and one man who make up Tacocat bring so much to our town. They are musicians, artists, DJs, writers, hosts of fun creative events, and light up the town with ever-changing hair and clothes and makeup. Most importantly, they are advocates for those who are in need -- our homeless population, PoC, the LGTBQ community, reproductive rights organizations, and more.

You can hear this advocacy on "Lost Time" but it never comes across as preachy or trite. Instead, there is a sly humor and head-bopping pop punk that delivers messages with hilarious accuracy and an awful lot of fun.

Because this was exactly what was needed in 2016, and brought me smiles and strength, "Lost Time" is my album of the year.

 

I MADE YOU SOME CHRISTMAS CARDS (2016)

(Click to enlarge, please to enjoy.)


PHOTOS & REVIEW: TACOCAT, BOYFRIENDS, DANCER AND PRANCER, & CONNIE AND THE PRECIOUS MOMENTS @ SHOWBOX, SEATTLE, WA. 12/15/16

If calendar years were actual humans, it is sure that the Rapidly-Aging Jerk 2016 would be getting a hefty sleighful of filthy hunks of planet-destroying coal from Santa. This is why we so needed a chance to put on our holiday spangles and get together last Thursday night at Seattle's Showbox Market with local awesome musical combos Connie and the Precious Moments, Dancer and Prancer, Boyfriends, and Tacocat. If, just for a night, we could set aside our past, present, and future Scroogescapes and celebrate with our funky, punky community, inclusive and crazy and fun and kind, it would be a little seasonal magic to soothe our worried minds, yes? Well, yes! I wore my $5.00 kittens-in-Santa-hats leggings and took some photos for you, and had the best time doing so. Please to enjoy! (Click on the photos to enlarge in glorious detail and click on each Flickr link for more!)

"GALLMART" 2016 POST-ELECTION HOLIDAY SHOPPING FLYER!

(Click to enlarge for DEALS, TREMENDOUS, TREMENDOUS DEALS!)


I MADE YOU A CHILDREN'S BOOK NOT FOR CHILDREN: "DONNIE J. AND THE DEMOCRACY TURKEY" (NSFW)

(Click the pages to enlarge.)


PHOTOS: JACUZZI BOYS, BOYFRIENDS, & STALLION @ CHOP SUEY, SEATTLE, WA. 10/20/16

People of the sodden gray Pacific Northwest, rejoice! Miami's sun punks Jacuzzi Boys have returned after a three-year absence to beam their sonic goodness upon us. Tonight's show (October 22) gifts Vancouver, B.C. (@ The Cobalt), and October 23 will find them back in Portland at Mississippi Studios, so if you are in the area whatsoever, drink up another double latte and scoot yourself over to one of the shows! Make SURE to pick up their super-fine new album "Ping Pong" on their very own Mag Mag Records. Listen NOW to "Boys Like Blood" on Soundcloud!



PHOTOS & REVIEW: MACEFIELD MUSIC FESTIVAL, SEATTLE, WA. 10/1/16 W. REIGNING SOUND, SELENE VIGIL, WILD POWWERS, WIMPS, GAZEBOS, BOYFRIENDS, & STALLION

As I sit here contemplating the imminent arrival of the worst windstorm to hit the PacNW in 50+ years, I think, MAN, I HATE FALL, and then I think OH WAIT, I can't hate ALL FALL because fall is when we are gifted with the weekend of glorious entertainment that is the Macefield Music Festival! Located in the Ballard 'hood in NW Seattle and run by some of the swellest cats in town, Macefield's lineup really hit it out of the park this year -- an eclectic mix of some of the most interesting local and touring acts around (including a comedy stage), spread out over three days and five venues. I was so very excited about Day Two's lineup at the Tractor Tavern that I stood in one spot in front the of stage for seven-and-a-half hours as to not lose my prime photo-shooting and music-enjoying place, much in the spirit of festival namesake Edith Macefield, who steadfastly refused to sell her tiny Ballard house to developers. She stood her ground and kept her house; I stood my ground and got you some pictures. This is how we do, in our tiny ways. Please to enjoy!

(Click on the photos to enlarge and click on the Flickr set links for more!)


PHOTOS: A BENEFIT FOR JIM ANDERSON W. THE SONICS, GIRL TROUBLE, THE BOSS MARTIANS @ SLIM'S LAST CHANCE, SEATTLE, WA. 8/7/16

I frequently reflect on the very good luck that I am a small part of one of the best music communities in the world. I don't hesitate for a moment to claim that Seattle is not only bursting with excellent bands, but fosters a climate of mutual artistic support and acceptance. This support remarkably and graciously extends to the visual artists who make rad gig posters or album covers, music photographers (like me), and sound men like Jim Anderson. Jim began working in Seattle in 1981, spending many years as the in-house audio guy at the Crocodile. He quickly became known for his dedication to excellence as well as his kindness to all, touring pros or absolute beginners.

When Jim fell ill with liver cancer earlier this year, Seattle rallied to help him, including a benefit show by Northwest garage rock legends The Sonics, Girl Trouble, and The Boss Martians at Slim's Last Chance in Georgetown. Jim being Jim, he worked his own benefit show, and of course, it sounded fantastic. I was so happy to be there to help contribute and document the night. If you would like to send a few bucks Jim's way and learn more about what a cool guy he is, please visit the GoFundMe page that has been set up for him. Keep rockin', Jim, you are loved.

(Click on the photos to enlarge and click on the Flickr links for more)


VIDEOS & REVIEW: THE MONKEES 50TH ANNIVERSARY TOUR, MOORE THEATER, SEATTLE, WA. 9/25/16 (FEATURING BEN GIBBARD OF DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE)!

True life story: I was a very devoted tiny fan of "The Monkees" TV show, and never missed an episode. When NBC cancelled the series in the spring of 1968, I was crushed, and decided to join in the protest letter-writing campaign suggested by 16 Magazine at the time. My problem was that while I was an excellent reader, I could not yet write much more than my own name, so I dictated my heartfelt missive to my older brother, who wrote down my pleas that the network must save the show! Sadly, NBC ignored the wishes of an almost-six-year-old girl and axed it anyway, dammit. It felt like it was over so quickly.

Another true life story: If you had told me then that in the fall of 2016, at the age of 54 that I would be seeing The Monkees in concert for the first time, singing along to all the songs I learned from the show 50 years previously, I doubt I could have even comprehended that, much less believed it. In the brief time the band was active, they made a real impact and a real difference. TAKE THAT, NBC!

The Monkees 50th Anniversary Tour indeed came to Seattle's Moore Theater last night, and I had near-perfect seats to enjoy a most entertaining evening. The mood was sweet and fun, with original members Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork in very fine voice, interacting playfully with the crowd. Mike Nesmith sat this one out, working on his autobiography, and of course Davy Jones, who died several years ago, was missed. Footage from the old TV series kept Mike and Davy integrated into the show, with Davy virtually singing a few lines at times assisted by the "Way Back Machine."

It was all a little dream-like, really -- lyrics forming on my lips, singing along to songs I didn't remember I knew but I surely did, seeing the backdrop playing scenes of The Monkees as young men goofing around as they did on the show, playing with tow-headed little California kids during a clip "Saturday's Child" that would now in 2016 look like me, middle-aged and heading senior. How really lovely it was to be there, connecting to days past.

BUT! This was not a nostalgia wallow, no, no, and no! Listen up: The Monkees this year released "Good Times!," an album you need to own, as it's one of the very best releases of 2016. It is absolutely delightful, bursting with extremely good songs, written by such diverse hepcats as Rivers Cuomo of Weezer, Harry Nilsson, Noel Gallagher and Paul Weller, Boyce & Hart, XTC's Andy Partridge, and beloved local Ben Gibbard of Death Cab For Cutie. OH, SPEAKING OF THAT LAST GUY, he turned up onstage last night, along with some sweet ladies doing a line dance! I got these things on video for you, so please to enjoy! Please also to pay special attention to the first song on the first video, "Me & Magdalena," written by Gibbard for "Good Times!" and the standout performance of the night with stellar vocals from Dolenz.


POEM & PHOTOS: "DOUBLE EXPOSURE" BY AJ DENT

(I am honored today to be able to feature the beautiful creative work of AJ Dent, a writer/photographer who hails from the Upper Midwest, as I do, and ended up in Seattle, like I did. Please to enjoy. - Marianne)

Since June of this year, I have been living in my homeland of north central Minnesota. These past three months mark the longest I have stayed here in over six years, having fallen face-first in love with Seattle. Though I knew I’d miss the Emerald City, and enjoy reconnecting with nature here, I wasn’t ready for the gut-punch of being homesick for both places at once -- especially while trying to decide if I should move somewhere new yet again this fall. This poem is dedicated to both my raft of ducks out in Seattle right now, and to the Land of Lakes explorers who have taken me under their wing this summer. -- AJ

Double Exposure

This summer demanded to meet me
in the population: 3,000 town
where I was born. For tea. To tell me
to grind myself with dirty wheels,
dirty windshields, dirty boots and
dirty fingernails again
for four grass-stained months.
This season was my first love;
I couldn't resist the rendezvous.
​​
But Minnesota moves as if a garter snake,
​eyes spiraling like Northern Lights.
Sill Lake hypnotizes my lens.
Whitetails are snort-wheezing
You can never leave again.
Red pines replace skyscrapers and muskies
make the newspaper. Lady’s slippers whisper
What is this supposed West Coast matter
to which you must tend? I admit it dims
as fireflies spin and meteor streaks grin.





















25 MORE EXCELLENT ODDITIES FROM WISCONSIN AND WASHINGTON THRIFT STORES!

OH YES, it's that time again when I share with you the strange old crap I find on my thrift excursions! As long as there are people, there will be these things, and as long as there is me, I will keep showing them to you. Click on the photos to enlarge, and please to enjoy!

Surely this children's activity must've coincided with the popular TV appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show of Señor Wences, but honestly. "hours of play and fun?" We weren't THAT bored.




PHOTOS, VIDEOS, & REVIEW: PIZZA FEST 7, DAY THREE, EL CORAZON/FUNHOUSE, SEATTLE, WA. 8/6/16 (W. PERSONAL & THE PIZZAS, BREAD AND BUTTER, THE TRASHIES, ROCK AND ROLL ADVENTURE KIDS, STALLION, VHS, GEM, TALK SICK BRATS, & THE PIZZA EATING CONTEST!

Here we are at last, you damn punks, at the third and final day of Pizza Fest 7 coverage! After rocking out very, very hard on Day One and Day Two, those hardy souls who make it to Day Three were heartily rewarded with more incredible performances by beloved locals and national touring fiends/friends, and the infamous and highly-anticipated Pizza Eating Contest! That we all survived the Pizza Eating Contest, even as viewers, is something to be commended. Anyway, hold on to your pepperoni-pep-pep-perroni and let's GO! (Remember, kids, click on the photos to see them in their enlarged full glory, and click on the Flickr set links for that and more!)




PHOTOS, VIDEOS, & REVIEW: PIZZA FEST 7, DAY TWO, EL CORAZON/FUNHOUSE, SEATTLE, WA. 8/5/16 (W. SASHAY, GOLDEN PELICANS, SEX CRIME, SSDD, LIFE STINKS, MANIAC, OMNI, VIOLENCE CREEPS, & NIGHT BOSS)

WEE WOO WEE WOO WEE WOO WEE WOO!!! Do you hear that?? That's the FIRE ALARM warning you that HOT HOT HOT coverage is coming forthwith from Day Two of Seattle' very own punk pizza party, Pizza Fest 7! Spray yourself with fire retardant and read on as we bravely dive back into the El Corazon and Funhouse after the shenanigans of Day One! (Click on the photos to enlarge or click on the Flickr links for more!)

There was no better choice to open Day Two than our friends, Night Boss, who improvised pizza-themed stagewear to stunning effect. Gentle melodicist Dan Enders went the extra mile and turned himself into a pizza-fixings canvas by the end of their set. Pancake Party, pizza party, all good.

Night Boss, Pizza Fest 7, Funhouse, Seattle, WA. 8/5/16 Flickr set





PHOTOS, VIDEOS, & REVIEW: PIZZA FEST 7, DAY ONE, FUNHOUSE, SEATTLE, WA. 8/4/16 (W. BOYFRIENDS, PISS TEST, HAIR POLICE, TOPLESS, THE CRUSH, & EX LICKS)

Oh, the glories that are a summer in Seattle: blue skies, sunshine on sparkling water, and PIZZA FEST!! Yes, Pizza Fest, that annual event that dares to ask the question: What happens when you combine some of the finest local and national punk/noise/garage/powpop/no wave bands around with delicious Sizzle Pie PIZZA for three days? If you'd like to find out, READ ON, starting NOW with Pizza Fest 7's Day One all-local lineup at the Funhouse. Please to enjoy, ya filthy animals!

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


SORRY NOT SORRY: YES, I WILL JUDGE YOU IF YOU VOTE FOR DONALD TRUMP

Like a good citizen, I dutifully watched every prime-time minute of both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions these past two weeks, and many more hours of pre-prime and various network commentary. I take my role as a voter seriously, and this year, I'm not just serious: I'm dead serious. So are other folks. The glut of horrified, hand-wringing articles from every form and faction of media have battered us all like word tornadoes. Election years are doozies, we know, and emotions run high. But the stakes have never been this high. I've seen 50+ years of American politics, friends (and not friends), and Houston (and everywhere else), we have a problem.

You know what it is. Oh, you know, even if you are willing to put every shred of your own humanity aside to ignore it. But you know the problem, and you might even know the gravity of it.

You know what a truly bad person is. You know what they do and don't do. You know from your own life experience, you know from the values you got from your parents or religious upbringing or just the good old "Golden Rule." You know the kind of person who seems to have no limit to the amount of cruelty they dish out, and you do everything you can to make sure this person isn't your boss, or your "friend," or your spouse. When you've encountered a truly bad person, you speak in hushed tones as to not draw attention to yourself and his or her ire, or you are pushed to fury into a fight you never win, because you have a filter, a stopping point. You know better than to engage someone like that, right?

But maybe not. What has it cost you, when you've put your trust in a sociopath? Did you lose your job? Get a divorce? Go to jail? Or did it just embitter you? Did you follow the rules and get shafted anyway? Did you believe, and get that belief shredded into dust? Did you get left behind while a lot of people you think didn't deserve anything made some gains?

And then...did you do it again? Because we are taught to follow leaders, taught to honor "strength," did you go right ahead and trust a truly bad person again, even though all your experience and your gut told you not to? Did you allow fear to make your choices for you again?

None of us are perfect. We all have, at times, put our faith into people who have betrayed us. The best we can do is learn from that and decide how to proceed differently in the future. The worst we can do is repeat the same mistakes with where we put our lot...or allow the bitterness, cruelty, fear, and ignorance to spread inside us like a cancer, until the day comes when we ourselves are truly bad people.

We face a presidential election which has confounded most of the world. WHY, they say, HOW? We know why and how; it was a trainwreck some saw coming down the track decades ago. We aren't getting the principled elder with an unparalleled track record of political integrity. Nope. We are getting a career politician with some excellent qualities and some not-so-great, and...a truly bad person. This should be, for anyone who is clear-headed, adult, informed, and reasonable, a slam-dunk choice in November.

But it is not, pollsters tell us. And I swear, if you vote for goddamned Donald Trump, I will judge you. I will judge you all the rest of your days, even if we grew up together, are family, or have other redeeming qualities as a human being. I will judge you for saddling me and my family with the single worst presidential candidate our country has ever seen, on every single objective measure anyone could imagine, and a danger to our nation and our world's safety and survival.

I will absolutely go right ahead and assume you are A-OK with blatant bigotry and racism, hate speech, misogyny, disrespect of grieving military families, the disabled, the poor, and anyone who dares stand up to bad people. I'll know you feel good about short-tempered billionaires who cannot control their mouths nor actions no matter what, even claiming he could shoot someone dead and his dedicated followers would still love him. I'll expect that you are fine with thinking a businessman who has shafted countless people and provoked large, ugly lawsuits is the kind of man you like to represent you. I'll know you are totally cool with someone lying more far more than any candidate in United States history has, right to your face, over and over, because he knows all he has to do is justify the worst feelings inside you that you just can't cope with.

And if you even whisper the words, "Bengazi" or "emails" to me, I will send you off to read Politifact and come back with the stench of decades of Fox News washed off you. There is only one competent human being that can run the country in this election. One. Any third-party candidate does NOTHING but pull votes away from the one competent candidate who can win and strengthens the truly bad person's chances of winning. Please re-read that sentence until you understand that it is a fact in the numbers game. The electoral college doesn't give a rat's ass about your principled alt vote, so you might as well start wearing your "Make America Great Again" hat, Greens and Independents and Libertarians. That will be your reality, so get cozy with it now, and all that it means.

My guy didn't get his chance. So now I will vote for Clinton. Judge me all day long for supporting her faults, for following Bernie Sanders lead, for having the audacity to question your character for not doing the same. I love my country, and it won't survive a Trump presidency. I would be a lousy citizen, a lousy mother, and a lousy person if I didn't do everything I could to stop a nightmare from happening. All I have is my vote, and yes, the ability to write another horrified, hand-wringing article.

The things that threaten world stability the most aren't ISIS and whatever brown-skinned people you think are ruining everything. It's income inequality, educational inequality, and the horror of climate change. Don't take my word for it; it's in every accounting of human history there is, from every credible scientist and scholar, people who have dedicated their lives to study and critical analysis. Look at the big picture. If you want a fully radicalized world, drowning in salt water, vote Trump.

And yes, I know you don't care. We all know. It's damn sure Trump knows. Do what you're going to do. Let your god sort you out.








POEM & PHOTOGRAPHS: "MINNESOTA MOURNS" BY AJ DENT

(I am proud to have hosted work by my friend and colleague AJ Dent in the past, and am very excited to continue to feature her writing and photographs here on Popthomology as she continues her travels. Thank you, AJ. -- Marianne)

From June through September of this year, I am staying in my homeland of north central Minnesota. While I’ve been writing a bit about my current adventures over on AtelierAJ.org and DigitalAJ, the recent racism-fueled murders of black people across the country has taken precedence. Since the death of Philando Castile, Minnesota has experienced significant storms almost every single day, alongside protests all across the state. This poem, which touches on the tragedy of his death, is dedicated to him, all others wrongfully killed by police, and the Black Lives Matter movement.

CURIOUS FACIAL EXPRESSION CATEGORIES OF THRIFT STORE TOYS, ART, AND KNICK-KNACKS

As a regular stalker of thrift shops for the unusual and amusing, I have come to a conclusion: the expressions on many, if not most, animal, human, or inanimate object vintage knick-knacks, toys, and mass-market art are straight-up bizarre. I am fascinated by the original intent from whatever labor slave created them in some sad factory line...did they mean for them to look that way, or were they unskilled in facial representation art, or unaware or...? I don't know. I do know these make me laugh. I've grouped a few for you from my latest forays here in Washington State. Please to enjoy!

1. ANGRY

Grey cat is not having it from the Siamese. Not at all.






PHOTOS & REVIEW: AESTHETIC MESS 1 YR ANNIVERSARY & OVER THE HILL BDAY BASH WITH SSDD & DREAMSALON @ CHOP SUEY, SEATTLE, WA. 6/22/16

Do you know what I was doing on my 40th birthday? Retching into a bucket, about 4 months pregnant with my daughter! Do you know a more pleasant way to spend your 40th birthday? Pete Capponi of Steal Shit Do Drugs and Craig Chambers of Dreamsalon knew what to do! These Seattle punk superstahz did it up right, teaming with DJ Jermaine (who's also in SSDD) and DJ Goo Goo of Aesthetic Mess to celebrate the DJ's team's 1st anniversary and Pete and Craig's 40th year hoo-hah boo-yah by PLAYING IN THEIR OWN BANDS! We all win, and...no morning sickness! YAY! I attended this funky fresh lovefest ear dessert and brought my large camera device.



PHOTOS, VIDEOS, & REVIEW: THE KIDNAPPING AND RETURN OF LUSCIOUS LUKE! PLUS STALLION @ SISTERS & BROTHERS, SEATTLE 6/11/16!!

WELL LEMME TELL YOU WHUT!


EXPIRED FILM PHOTOS & TINY VIDEOS: PONY TIME, WIMPS, & NIGHT BOSS @ CHOP SUEY, SEATTLE, WA. 4/24/16

I recently acquired an early-'90s Leica Mini point-and-shoot 35mm film camera that used to belong to my dad, along with several unused rolls of Kodak Gold 200 film, which also expired in the early '90s, like my dad. What does one do with such things? One takes them to a fine Seattle punk rock show at Chop Suey, that's what! An experiment in imaging, to be sure -- I didn't really know if the camera would work or how well, and of course expired film is a complete crapshoot: you know there will be changes, as film degrades over time, but you don't know exactly what they might be. The answers are below! You may click on the photos to enlarge or view them in Flickr.

I would mention that the show was utterly awesome and filled with mirth and mayhem, and that you would be very happy to find yourself in the possession of any or all of the new releases by Pony Time (Rumours Two: The Rumours Are True), wimps (Suitcase), and Night Boss (S/T).

Night Boss, Chop Suey, Seattle WA 4/24/16 Flickr set



30 YES 30 MORE WEIRD RECORD COVERS FROM THE THRIFT STORES!

It's been a few months since I've done one of these posts, mined from my frequent visits to thrift stores in Washington State and South Florida. You'd think there just wouldn't be any more funny to find, BUT NO! IT NEVER ENDS. Please to enjoy!

EVERYTHING. The disembodied head floating in darkness, the look of stunned horror, the scary cross overlay, the bizarre mix of capital and lower case letters, and "Stereo Phonic Sound."



PHOTOS, VIDEO, & REVIEW: COURTNEY BARNETT & ALVVAYS @ THE MOORE THEATER, SEATTLE, WA. 4/21/16

It always pleases me to attend a sold-out show for the friendly realization that HEY YOU ALL FOLKS LIKE WHAT I LIKE and, more importantly, the knowledge that it is an extra-nice feeling for artists themselves to put a butt in every seat. Last Thursday night, an excellent bill of Musicians From Foreign Lands -- Courtney Barnett from Australia and Alvvays from Canada -- packed Seattle's Moore Theater to it's rather steep rafters, and provided us with two very different interpretations of fine modern pop.




PHOTOS, VIDEO, & REVIEW: MY BIRTHDAY THROWDOWN WITH STALLION & DJ RUBEN MZ @ THE DEN, CHOP SUEY, SEATTLE, WA. 4/14/16 BY VICTORIA HOLT!

(I am totally delighted to bring you now the groovy words and photographs of ace Seattle rock n' roll chronicler Victoria Holt, who graciously agreed to cover my SWEET birthday celebration at Chop Suey last Thursday night, featuring the platter power of DJ Ruben MZ and the audacious awesomeness of rock 'n wrestling maniacs, STALLION! I even got to SING a bit! I cannot thank everyone enough -- so much fun, so many lovely faces, so much love. THE BEST! Scroll down to view video of the whole Stallion performance, including a jaw-dropping entrance! -- Marianne)



PHOTOS: TACOCAT, HARDLY BOYS, & LISA PRANK, "LOST TIME" RECORD RELEASE SHOW, CHOP SUEY, SEATTLE, WA. 3/31/16

Sometimes things come together so fatefully, do they not? This last Thursday in Seattle was shimmering, sunny spring kind of thing, flowers in riotous bloom, everything new and fresh and nary a drop of that pesky gloom moisture we are so well known for. What could be, in a just and good world, the best activity for such a glorious day? It would be surfing over to the good ol' Chop Suey club to help our dear pop punks Tacocat celebrate the release of their brand-newie Hardly Art rekkid, "Lost Time," oh yes! Demand was such that the band scheduled two shows; an early one for the all-ages folks, and a later one for the 21+ people. Yours truly arrived early to help as I could with set-up and such, which included inflatable aliens and ice cream cones, and REAL ice cream from Bluebird Ice Cream made especially for the day: ChocoTacocat! And don't forget the custom lipsticks from Yé yé Cosmetics! (As always, click on any photo to enlarge, or click on the Flickr set links for more!)



MORE VILE MID-CENTURY FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY: WOMAN'S WEEKLY DAIRY COOKBOOK (1966)

"Foodie" culture in 2016 is ubiquitous. Everywhere you look -- on Instagram, Pinterest, Pinstagram, Instainterest, whatever -- there are beautiful photos of scrumptious-looking cuisine, making us feel awed, intrigued, hungry, and complete domestic failures for not plating such edible elegance in our own homes. The bar was not set so high when I was a youth, I might add. Sure, every so often Mom might get inspired to copy the standing rib roast from the local supper club, but in general we ate a lot of casseroles with Campbell's cream-of-something soup dumped in, and cheap ground meat concoctions. Home cooks of the mid-20th Century were encouraged to take full advantage of "time-saving" pre-packaged processed foods. Presentation of a meal, to judge now in hindsight, was designed and implemented by drunk marmosets.

This brings me to share these images from a 1966 pamphlet called, "Woman's Weekly Dairy Cookbook," offered to us by The National Dairy Council. You can see already what we're in for, with a cover dessert featuring so much whipped cream that we might assume the berries were instead layered with fire extinguisher blasts or fluffy attic insulation. How does one begin to eat that?

I MADE YOU 11 EASTER CARDS (2016)




 (click to enlarge)


POPTHOMOLOGY IS 8, EVERYONE CALL CNN!

In the blogosphere -- a term I hate, by the way, but am too lazy to not use -- eight years is a lifetime. Blogs are rather like diaries, even if the topic has nothing to do with anything personal. People start a diary or personal journal with the best of intentions of content and maintenance, and usually run out of steam pretty quickly, because life is busy and you start forgetting to make time to update and then you forget many more times, and then you are all, "eh, whatever," and you are done. Your heartfelt blog about "My Cat And Everything She Does That Is Adorable" or "Rants About Things I Get Mad About But That No One Else Cares About" starts with a bang, and ends up abandoned, mostly because you are human and things are happening elsewhere.

I began Popthomology on February 28, 2008 mainly on something of a dare, and a need to have a place to focus my creative and emotional energy. I didn't expect much from it, because I didn't have any plans or ambitions for it. It was just a place in the universe that was mine, made virtually real by purchasing the domain name of "Diarrhea Island" (Pop's original name, ha) and just heading forth into my brain and seeing what came out. For many years I posted every day -- really, seriously, every single day -- and the thing that came back to me, the thing I didn't recognize whatsoever that I needed, was connection. Whether  I was being silly or serious, a diverse group of people that kept coming back to read a few times or thousands of times started reaching out to me every so often, which was a shock to me. To hear that someone enjoyed what you wrote, thought about something in a different way, got mad about your sense of humor, loved your photography, delighted to a piece of child art or a screaming goat video...I just never thought anything like that would happen, but it did. I have a large group of beloved friends now that I never would have had if I hadn't started the blog, and kept at it. This is still so surprising to me, and my gratitude is profound.

My pace has slowed considerably here over the past 14 months. Personal challenges and losses have forced the changes, and I have to roll with them and accept that I can't and shouldn't keep up a sprinter's pace carrying what is right now a heavy load. But I'm not stopping, just bringing you content I think you will enjoy in more of a stroll, as it were. Your patience and continued attention is a marvel, and I thank you. Thank you for everything, every opportunity that's come my way, every time you've taken the time to tell me HEY IT COOL, every time you've told me about spelling mistakes, every time you let me know that this tiny, tiny place in the big, big world did something to make your day a little better.

We will end this reflective essay with a very short video starring one Loretta Jenkins, who possibly has inflated her breasts with beer. 





PREVIEW: POPTHOMOLOGY PRESENTS KITSCH FLICKS: VINTAGE ANTI-DRUG FILMS & SONGS @ CHOP SUEY, 2/3/16, 7PM

Seattle-area cats and kitties, I am SO VERY EXCITED to be presenting my very first video night at my go-to joint for music, mirth, and mayhem, Chop Suey, this Wednesday night, February 3rd, beginning at 7PM and running until close! The evening's theme is the (mainly) mid-century anti-drug/alcohol/smoking public service announcements, songs, kids' programming, and short films that infused my childhood and yours with a lot of freaky and unintentional hilarity, and nightmares that lasted well into adulthood. I've selected over three hours of clips ranging from the 1920s (whoa!) through the early 1990s, including songs by Michael Jackson and Bill Cosby, a groovy gold-satin-suited Sonny Bono urging us to think for ourselves about the dangers of marijuana, singing blue pills warning us that they are not candy, and culminating in the infamous 1967 acid-soaked "Blue Boy" episode of TV's "Dragnet!" It's fun, funny, and a cultural time-warp -- think of it as your opportunity to soak up some sociology while marveling at the many media attempts to "get you kids on the right path."



PHOTOS, VIDEO, & REVIEW: TY SEGALL & THE MUGGERS, CFM @ NEPTUNE THEATER, SEATTLE, WA. 1/21/16

Well. It's time to write about this show. I think I will begin with the time-tested Adjective Toss while I gather my sentence-forming abilities.

Unsettling. Massive. Fun! Weird. Heavy. Insane. Jaw-dropping. Repellent! Endearing.

I've seen Ty Segall play many times over the years. I am a yuuuuge fan, and admire so much about our young blond friend: his relentless and top-quality musical output, ultra-fun, dynamic live shows, and willingness to leave the garage every so often to give us work that is quiet and reflective all the way over to sledge-hammer heavy metal. Every so often, I think MAN AM I LUCKY that I get to be able to be a part of that talent tsunami, even in my very small way as a photographer, writer, and fan.

And of course, I am not the only one who thinks this way. Everyone at the sold-out Neptune Theater did, I'm sure, as well as all those poor sodden souls who hovered outside the venue in the rain hoping to score a spare ticket. Having a raincoat might have been helpful inside the venue, as it turned out, but you'll have to wait a few paragraphs to get the explanation.


SOUND & VISION: I DID A COVER OF DAVID BOWIE'S "SCARY MONSTERS (AND SUPER CREEPS), YUP

Wow, OK, the start to 2016 has been rough for us earth folk, right? Too many irreplaceable losses, too many threats of irreplaceable losses, grief casting deep shadows over what should be a time of renewal and hopefulness. The world will get its mojo back -- it always does. For us sensitive critters, we just have to find our own ways to cope such that we make things better, and not worse.

Years ago, I came across a live acoustic version of David Bowie's "Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)," from his 1980 album of the same name, that I absolutely adored. It was simple as could be, the song stripped down to two D-tuned acoustic guitars and Bowie's vocals and a harmony. He jokingly told the story of "being in penitentiary with Johnny Cash back in the late '50s" and how, he said, he and Johnny came up with the song there. Funny, and a delightful example of Bowie's fine sense of humor. Taking his own fairly avant-garde rock song and turning it into a Sun Records-style rockabilly jaunt underlines something I love to repeat: a great song can be done in infinite ways and musical genres and still will be a great song.

I had immediately upon hearing it wanted to have a go at recording this version myself, and for some reason put it off long enough that I forgot about it. It landed in the ever-increasing mountain of "Things I'd Like To Do Someday," along with traveling to Europe, living in New York City, joining a bowling league, and drinking adequate amounts of water. With David Bowie's passing and all the waves of tributes and songs and articles, I came across the track again, and smiled. This would be a good time to finish what I started, I thought: a tiny, tiny, tiny, tiny little throw of something creative to the cosmos can't hurt.

So I did it, very minimally, yes, but I'm glad to kick one pebble off Someday Mountain and am glad to share it with you. I did a silly video to go along with it because who doesn't want to see SMPTE code leader girls and '70s space dinosaurs?

If you like, you can very much for free download the track HERE. Thank you very much for listening, and thank you David Bowie, for everything.


DAVID BOWIE 1947-2016

1969: It is summer, July to be exact, that magical season of sweet green grass, warm sunshine, endless hours of play, no school. Yet I am inside, crouched next to our ashy beige TV console, tuning in the solitary rock station on the FM band that I could receive in my rural area. My cheek is so close to the speaker that I feel the scratch of the tweedy fabric. The song that I am listening to is "Space Oddity," by David Bowie. The lines of reality blur in my mind between the story in the lyrics and the ubiquitous, surreal TV coverage of the Apollo 11 moon landing -- "Can you hear me Major Tom, can you hear me Major Tom, can you hear me Major Tom?" -- and wait with a strange and awful nervousness to hear of his rescue and reunion with his wife, whom he he loves very much. I know it's just a song...or is it? I'm compelled to listen to it each time I hear it played, which was only a handful of times that I recall, hoping there was something, anything Major Tom could do to return to Earth. I am seven years old.


PICTURE BOOK: MY FAVORITE CONCERT PHOTOGRAPHS OF 2015

At the end of each year since I started this site and got back into the world of music photography, I like to pick my favorite shots that I took that year and do a little post. Now, as I prepare to look at my 2015 work, I am filled with emotion. Due to unexpected serious illness, I wasn't able take any photos -- or do much of anything with my eyes at all, other than walk around in a blur -- for the first two months of the year. It wasn't clear (black-humored PUN there) if my eyes were permanently damaged or not, or whether I'd ever be able to photograph anything again. Music photography is so much of my core, my identity, how I relate to the music I love, that the thought of losing the ability to do it decades before I expected to was profoundly worrisome.

BUT HEY GUESS WHAT? My eyes settled the eff down, I got stable sight back, and got back to shooting in March! Woo hoo! So, my two criteria as always for selecting the shots for this post remain the same: 1. Do I love it?, and; 2. Is it beautiful? This is what I strive for, no matter the conditions or challenges: to make something beautiful that you will please to enjoy. Thank you for viewing my efforts, very especially for 2015. (You may click on the photos to see them all large and in charge on Flickr, and can peruse all my photos there should you be so inclined!)

Tweedy, Neptune Theater, Seattle, WA, March 12, 2015

What makes this lovely for me is that here we have a picture of father Jeff Tweedy (Wilco) and his son Spencer on drums, and that this image sums up the tone of this show: the relaxed, funny, experienced frontman who spent a lot of time interacting with the crowd, and the son who was performing on his first major tour and kept a very close eye on his Dad. Sweet.

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

Pacific Northwest garage rock legends The Sonics were my heroes of the year, snagging my Album of the Year nod with "This Is The Sonics." Here at Silver Platters, I got to see them holding the vinyl press of the record for the very first time as they arrived for a signing session for fans. What a moment.

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The Sonics, Moore Theater, Seattle, WA. 4/2/15

That time when Krist Novoselic of Nirvana joined The Sonics onstage and drummer Dusty Watson shook his hand.

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Steal Shit Do Drugs, The Sunset, Seattle, WA. 4/8/15

The post-processing choice for this explosive new punk band was the centered double exposure. You can look at this photo and hear and feel the music, no?

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The Sonics, Easy Street Records, Seattle, WA. 4/18/15

That time when Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam and Freddie Dennis of The Sonics were so close to you that your camera lens hood got bumped off.

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Steal Shit Do Drugs, Spin Cycle Records, Seattle, WA. 7/15/15

Moody red light theirs, post-processing double exposure mine.

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wimps, The Center for Wooden Boats, Seattle, WA. 7/14/15

When your fun friends play on a pier in sailor gear and you decide to porthole them.

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Stallion, Chop Suey, Seattle, WA. 7/30/15

When your other fun friends form a band dedicated to pro wrestling, arrive in a white Mercedes wearing your own silver leggings and a full-length fur in summer, and you paparazzi them.

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The Gooch Palms, Pizza Fest IV, Chop Suey, Seattle, WA. 8/7/15

Beer on me and my camera? CHECK. Worth it? OF COURSE.

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Gazebos, Pizza Fest IV, Chop Suey, Seattle, WA. 8/7/15

For a split second, lead singer Shannon Perry turned into a marvelous platinum poofy creature on tattooed stems.

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wimps, Bill and Melinda Gates Amphitheater, Olympic Sculpture Park, Seattle, WA. 8/27/15

"Preschool punks party in park; proud parents psyched."

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Thee Oh Sees, The Crocodile, Seattle, WA. 8/30/15

Shooting Energizer Bunny frontman John Dwyer is the best. This time, I shot from behind the stage; interesting perspective, very challenging task. What I like about this one is that the silver of light outlining Dwyer is so minimal, but so effective.

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Partman Parthorse, The Highline, Seattle, WA. 10/28/15

Now there's a true fan of PMPH lead singer Gary Smith! (P.S. The twirling little boy with the Cupid curls in the wimps photo above is Perseus Smith, son of our minimally-attired fake-bloody friend here and Lisa Smith on the orange drums.)

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Steal Shit Do Drugs, Chop Suey, Seattle, WA. 11/4/15

Their red lighting, my contrast and color boost, Kennedy Carda's big shout.

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The Intelligence, Frye Art Museum, Seattle, WA. 11/15/15

That time when one of your very favorite bands play a local art museum on a Sunday afternoon and gives you lighting + performance that gives you a photograph that's pretty art-y.

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Dancer and Prancer, The Funhouse, Seattle, WA. 12/19/15

And to close it out for 2015, your friends who play in a Christmas surf rock band bringing goodwill to all.

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