Tonight, the Croc is hosting the Seattle leg of Craig Finn‘s tour. The frontman of indy-rock heavyweights The Hold Steady (and former frontman of the punkier Lifter Puller) recently released his first solo album, Clear Heart Full Eyes, and is currently in the middle of a whirlwind one-month national tour in support of it before heading to Europe to play as a support act with The Felice Brothers. This performance and album provide the listener with a a chance to enjoy his songwriting ability isolated from the bombastic power chords and raucous bar-band sound of the Hold Steady. These songs explore the same kinds of characters and situations as his Hold Steady efforts, with interconnections between the songs alluding to a larger story.
Preview by Kelly Alexander
History will be made this Friday when Blue Sky Black Death, Nacho Picasso & Raised By Wolves take the stage together at Neumos for the first time. Be there so you can tell your grandchildren about it (they’ll care, but more about that in the future). The group, as we will refer to them, have been very active lately both collectively and individually. BSBD (Kingston & Young God) released Noir in May to a positive review on Pitchfork among others. Cloud Nice MC Nacho Picasso released For the Glory, also to a positive review by Pitchfork (among others and produced by BSBD) and producer extraordinaire Raised by Wolves is the glue that holds the hip to the hop resulting in two CD’s from the collection; For The Glory released in September and Lord Of The Fly, released last month. (listen!) Also playing this evening are Kirkland’s reigning Hip-Hop duo Kung Foo Grip, Seattle rapper Jarv Dee (also Cloud Nice), Bruce Leroy and DJ Swervewon. You should probably buy tickets in advance.
Get out your neon floral leotards and barbie pink lipstick, Leslie & the Ly’s are back! This time, she’s bringing with her a slew of fellow Iowan musicians who comprise openers Pennyhawk and Ramona & the Swimsuits.
Mastermind Leslie Hall has been performing with Leslie and the Lys since 2004. Over the course of that 7-year period, her aesthetic has changed very little. Decked out in her signature pink lipstick and too-tight gold lame jumpsuit, Hall offers campy pop rap on topics ranging from the joys of crafting to the undeniable sexual appeal of tight pants, with an overblown confidence greater than most mainstream popstars. Given the lyrical content of her songs, joke music videos, and her whole persona, it seems fair to conclude that Hall intends her music to be ironically comedic, similar to an artist she has been compared to in the past: Har Mar Superstar. In the seven years the band have been active, Leslie and the Lys have released five albums. This year, they are touring in support of their December 2011 release, Destination Friendship. Sample their sound on the group’s bandcamp:
Like Leslie and the Lys, openers Pennyhawk are from Iowa and incorporate comedy into their music. Unlike their headliners, Pennyhawk play low key songs which tend to focus on more serious themes like love and coming of age. The group’s lead singer and founder, Kate Kennedy, weaves together witty rhymes to accompany her casual guitar strumming. A highlight is the hilariously well-executed track, “Change your Garden Change Your Life.” Somehow, she manages to weave verbose statements into workable rhyme schemes directed toward an ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend: “Can she quote Pride and Prejudice from memory/and did she once get an A in Organic Chemistry/and is she naively moved by early American history?” On “Shelby,” Kennedy mourns the loss of an adopted pet dog, via Country-style sing-talking in the vein of Johnny Cash on “the Ballad of Ira Hayes.” Kate Kennedy also contributes to Leslie and the Lys and Ramona and the Swimsuits, so she’ll pull triple duty on Friday night. Pennyhawk are touring in support of their self-released album, “Sister Bones,” which you can preview here:
Rounding out the evening’s entertainment will be newcomers Ramona and the Swimsuits. The group is named after Lead Singer, Ramona Muse, who in addition to being a former “Ly,” has also been a long time friend of Leslie Hall’s. Performing as a quartet, Ramona and the Swimsuits look like something out of Napolean Dynamite, with each of the four band members wearing leotards and most in side ponytails. The group play songs with title’s like “Karen’s Dad”–a true story of when a friend’s dad taped over her “first grade talent show with cops,” and “Clean my Room,” the content of which is self-explanatory. To preview their music and get wardrobe ideas, enjoy the following footage of Ramona and the Swimsuits: