Tonight in Music: Meshell Ndegeocello, Hey Marseilles, I See Hawks in L.A., and more

Sam Boyd / June 29, 2010

Meshell Ndegeocello @ The Triple Door | 6/29 | 7:30 pm | $28/$32 | All ages

There are some artists whose sheer musical talent is so expansive that it makes every project they’re involved in golden.  I’ve always felt this way about the criminally underrated Meshell Ndegeocello (pronounced Mee-shell N-deh-gay-o-chel-o).  Whether it’s that oh-so-funky neo-soul or jazz for the hip-hop heads, it’s fresh and completely spell-binding.  She has Coltrane, Hendrix and George Clinton in her blood and her albums feature collaborations from forward-thinking artists like Pat Metheny, Talib Kweli, and Robert Glasper.  What makes tonight at the Triple Door more special than a “normal Meshell show” (as if there were such a thing), is that it will be a night of Gil Scott-Heron covers.  The connections between their work make for a great match.  Not only has she collaborated with him before, but his ever-experimental soulful poetry coupled with Meshell’s instrumental prowess (read: wicked slap-funk bass-lines) will be something not to miss.

Meshel Ndegeocello – “Crying In Your Beer” last year @ The Triple Door

Hey Marseilles @ Sonic Boom Records (Ballard) | 6/29 | 6 pm | Free | All ages

Hey Marseilles play folkestral pop with a buoyant infection that makes it hard not to smile just watching them play their instruments.  They’ve been staples at many Seattle venues for quite a while now, known for bringing up everyone (that includes Champagne Champagne) onto stage to help them play.  Their melodies are beautiful forays into a full pop sound reminiscent of another up-and-coming local group, The Head and the Heart.  Hey Marseilles play Bumbershoot in the fall, but tonight you can see them for free in Ballard!  This band is young and just now starting to get the national press they deserve.  They’re giving To Travel and Trunks an official release, so copies of the album in CD and vinyl form will be available for purchase.  You can download their single “Rio” below for the cost of an email address.

I See Hawks In L.A., Mars Arizona, Michael Oneill @ The Sunset | 6/29 | 9 pm | $8 | 21+

I read on I See Hawks In L.A.’s Myspace that they sing “of whales, hawks, distilled spirits, secondary highways, Klansman/Senators, gunnery ranges, weary love, preachers and housewives, herbs and herb growers, ferns and fern allies, Jackpot, Texarkanada, Caleximexico, Mexicalexico, Provo, and Vermont. We encourage home gardening, the coming generation of thin solar panels, and an escape route.”

That sounds about right.  I See Hawks In L.A. dip deep into the dusty folklore of the American tradition, complicating it with some mean psychedelic guitar work in the vein of Dave Alvin.  The three-part harmonies crackle with the texture their songs demand.  If you can’t make it to the show, their recent album Shoulda Been Gold is the perfect soundtrack for this weekend’s whiskey-soaked poker game.  Before forming I See Hawks In L.A., members played with Dwight Yoakam and a personal long-time mixtape favorite: Strawberry Alarm Clock.  In January, they recorded a tribute to the fast-fiddling straight-talking U.S. Senator Robert Byrd, who passed away yesterday in Fairfax, VA.  The song is available for a free download below.

(Right click, “Save Link As” to download) I See Hawks In L.A. – “Byrd From West Virgina”

I See Hawks In L.A. - Motorcycle Mama (Neil Young cover)

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