The Royal Basement


The Royal Basement is a blog/podcast focusing on music, art, baseball, cats, and other wonders of life, based in Seattle, Washington, USA.

The Royal Basement is a division of Kentucky Chrome Industries.

Filtering by Tag: tractor tavern

The Royal Pick for October 20, 2014: SLOAN at the Tractor Tavern

It's easy to use the term "Beatle-esque" to compare any group with multiple songwriters and a decent grasp of vocal harmonies to the Fab Four, but it's definitely not an unfair comparison with Toronto's Sloan. Having just celebrated their twenty year anniversary as a band, Sloan has a surplus of gems in their catalog that they could easily rest on; they've been around long enough to know their strengths and define their sound, but they're still ambitious enough to push at those boundaries and continue to re-define their own rich legacy in the pop universe.  

Take, for example, Sloan's new double LP (Commonwealth). Taking a conceptual nod from Kiss' solo albums, each member of the band takes on a side of the LP, with results ranging from pristine, baroque pop to gauzy shoegaze to the expansive 18 minute long "Fourty-Eight Portraits", which builds from the clanging clatter of machine shop parts up into a rolling, spacy boil and glides along through multiple mini-movements that form together seamlessly. While a lot of power pop artists have dedicated their careers to being fantastic at one particular trick, Sloan is a four-headed monster of songwriters. Those four distinct voices and approaches to pop songcraft compliment and conflict with each other, but hearing a band 22 years into their career embrace that struggle (especially with the segmented nature of Commonwealth) is a rare and beautiful thing indeed.

Basically, if you miss this show, you're a knucklehead. 

Also, please tune in next month for an episode of the Royal Basement podcast featuring Sloan!

Sloan plays at the Tractor Tavern in Seattle, WA on October 20, 2014. Tickets are $15. 

The Royal Pick for October 17, 2014: Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. at The Tractor Tavern

I've never been a giant fan of bands who rely on laptops and synths as their musical foundation. Coming of age in a post-Nirvana world, it's been engrained in me to feel a great sense of distrust with any band who may have backing tracks or just a little too much polish. However,  put some incredibly tasteful songwriters at the head of the project (who also manage to produce giant, complex sounding songs whose layers compliment rather than compete), that red warning light in the back of my head flips off and it's a lot of fun. 

Detroit's Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. happen to be that exact beautiful combination, creating perfect plastic pop with legitimately moving/clever songs hidden beneath the sheen. On record, it's a giant, whirring machine that spits out post-millennial Pet Sounds harmonies atop glitchy loops. In a live setting, the band has an incredible polished live show with flashing "JR JR" lights across the stage and giant synchronized video projections, but they aren't afraid to light the fuse and let their songs blow up into bombastic rock and roll. The world of Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. truly is a beautiful dream, melding progressive electronica with indie pop in wonderfully unpredictable, anthemic fashion. 

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. and Miniature Tigers play tonight, October 17, 2014, at the Tractor Tavern in Seattle. Tickets are $16.

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