Seattle 21: Best Shows of July
What are the top 21 best shows to check out in July in Seattle? Besides the Capitol Hill Block Party (that's a separate list later this month), check out the list below to find out.
JULY 1 – Tangerine at Neumos
The pop-rock band comprised of Miro Justad, Toby Kuhn, and Marika Justad are packing their bags and heading south to Los Angeles, but not before one raucous going away party. Tangerine have already been hard at work on their next album in their new home, so the move won’t be a huge adjustment to the band (hopefully). Already receiving praise from Stereogum, Noisey, and more, Tangerine is not going to have a difficult time finding their place in the LA music scene, as well as setting their sun-soaked garage pop songs apart from the rest. Tangerine will be joined by Fauna Shade and Emma Lee Toyoda at their farewell show at Neumos on Saturday, July 1st. Click here for tickets.
JULY 2 – The Dead Ships at Barboza
A lot has happened for the Los Angeles-based soulful garage rock band The Dead Ships in the short time that they’ve been together. Within a couple of months after singer-guitarist Devin McCluskey and drummer Chris Spindelilus started jamming together, they were playing sold out shows opening for King Khan in L.A. and San Francisco, quickly becoming the most talked-about live show in L.A. and picking up airplay on KROQ with their song “Big Quiet,” spending five weeks in the number one slot on the station’s star-making Locals Only show. Since then, The Dead Ships have released their debut full-length album CITYCIDE, produced by Brendan Canning (Broken Social Scene); have added Alex Moore on bass; and have performed at Coachella in 2016. Catch The Dead Ships with Ian Crawford & the Famous Last Words, Alec Shaw, and Joe August at Barboza on Sunday, July 2nd. Click here for tickets.
JULY 7 – Tennis at Neumos
Denver-based Tennis is comprised of couple Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley, who began writing music together as a way to document their time living at sea on a small forty-year-old sailboat. The result was their first release, Cape Dory, which saw them quickly become one of the most alluring and blogged about bands of the new decade. Tennis followed up with Young and Old, which saw buzz from The New Yorker, Billboard's Heatseeker Chart, CMJ Top 200, and Soundscan. The Small Sound EP debuted in 2013, followed by thousands of miles on the road, and a support tour with Haim. In 2014, the duo released Ritual In Repeat, produced by super-team Patrick Carney (The Black Keys), Jim Eno (Spoon), and Richard Swift (The Shins). Now with a new release out into the world, the catchy and pop-R&B driven Yours Conditionally, Tennis are back on the road and performing at Red Bull Select’s Capitol Hill Pre-Party at Neumos with Chanti Darling and SassyBlack on Friday, July 7th. RSVP here.
JULY 7 – The Districts at Tractor Tavern
It’s not uncommon for musicians to grow and evolve between releases—but even by those standards, The Districts’ newest release, Popular Manipulations, is stunning. The Pennsylvania-born band’s third full-length represents an exponential leap in sound and cohesion, an impressive and impassioned burn with a wide scope that threatens to swallow everything else surrounding it. Perhaps it’s a cliché to say so, but while listening, you might find yourself wondering why people don’t make indie rock like this anymore. The total electric charge of Popular Manipulations is just the latest evolution for the young band, whose founding members have known each other since attending grade school together in the Lititz, Pennsylvania; including vocalist-guitarist Rob Grote, bassist Connor Jacobus, and drummer Braden Lawrence. After deciding to form a band in high school, The Districts released the rootsy 2012 debut Telephone, before eventually catching the eye of venerable indie Fat Possum. 2015’s A Flourish and a Spoil found the band refining their embryonic sound with veteran producer John Congleton (St. Vincent, Kurt Vile)—and looking back on that release, there are glimmers of Popular Manipulations in chrysalis form to be found on it, hints of the fence-swinging anthemic sound they’d soon make wholly their own. Here some of the album before its August 11th release-date at The Tractor Tavern on Friday, July 7th with The Spirit of the Beehive. Click here for tickets.
JULY 8 – Ecstatic Union at Chop Suey
The sounds of Ecstatic Union's self-titled album weave a sonic tapestry of serpentine psychedelia layered with magnetic guitar riffs, heart-pounding rhythms, and 1970's-esque bubblegum harmonies. Lyrically, the group paints a kaleidoscopic ocean of dreamlike musings and sensual interconnectivity, culminating in a luminous perspective of life, love, and learning. Their new self-titled album is out now via Lolipop Records, and it’s filled with hints of The Turtles and The Mamas & the Papas, while incorporating the sounds of new psych darlings Sugar Candy Mountain and Temples. Check them out with Bad Saint and Hello, I’m Sorry at Chop Suey on Saturday, July 8th. Click here for tickets.
JULY 10 – Froth at Barboza
Formed in 2013 in Los Angeles, Froth first garnered attention with their debut LP Patterns. Originally intended as a small-run cassette release, the album quickly became an underground sensation in the Southern California music scene, catapulting the band to local fame and prompting a vinyl re-release in 2014. 2015 saw the release of the band's sophomore album, Bleak. A more dynamic, adventurous effort, the record matches lush shoegaze soundscapes with driving krautrock beats. Froth toured extensively across the U.S. and Europe in support of the album, opening for acts such as The Drums, Tamaryn, Pond and Craft Spells. After signing with Wichita Records in 2016, Froth has released their third album, Outside (briefly), in February 2017. This time around, the band has dialed back the noise, revealing delicately beautiful melodies, intricately arranged instrumentals and some of their most experimental songwriting to date. Don’t miss Froth with Moaning on Monday, July 10th at Barboza. Click here for tickets.
JULY 11 – Beach Fossils at The Crocodile
Beach Fossils have released their new album, Somersault, on June 2nd on Bayonet Records. Somersault showcases a band in bloom. Charting into new musical territory with a refined songwriting style, it’s an album that captures flashes of life in New York grounded in personal experience. The band’s self-titled 2010 debut established a sound that was both minimal and enveloping. With Somersault, the group’s first release since 2013’s Clash the Truth, Beach Fossils have channeled years of experimentation into expansion and reinvention. Augmented with more complex instrumentation, including string arrangements, piano, harpsichord, flute, and sax, the new songs offer multi-layered pop guided by sharp, poignant, and honest lyrics. Flowing between shimmering compositions and immersive soundscapes, Somersault evokes the laid-back mood of a warm, breezy city night, the air crackling with humidity and excitement. These songs pulse and pull, capturing a blend of promise and heartache. It’s beautiful and layered, a refined, sweeping creation that threads together numerous styles, textures, and themes into a refreshing, singular vision. Catch Beach Fossils at The Crocodile on Tuesday, July 11th with She-Devils and Ablebody. Click here for tickets.
JULY 11 – Palm at Timbre Room
Palm formed around 2011, shortly after its members met in college in Upstate New York. The years they spent writing and playing when not in school culminated into the release of Trading Basics in 2015, around which time they relocated to Philadelphia. Since then they've been playing shows throughout the country while they continue to hammer out their sound to be as refined as it is outlandish. Lattices of guitar language (provided by Eve Alpert and Kasra Kurt) intersect the rhythmic organism characterized by the twitchy throb of Gerasimos Livitsanos' bass and the careless tumble of Hugo Stanley's drums, with a layer of disembodied vocals draped atop the whole thing. Emotional yet clinical, wild yet contained, the sounds they offer are equally bizarre as they are pleasantly pretty. Be sure to check out Palm when they perform at The Timbre Room with So Pitted and Palberta on Tuesday, July 11th. Click here for tickets.
JULY 14 – The Avalanches at Showbox
Initially as members of Melbourne-based punk outfit Alarm 115, Robbie Chater, Tony Di Blasi and Darren Seltmann bought instruments, recording gear and numerous old vinyl records by the crate at second-hand shops in 1995. When Alarm 115 disbanded, these records became the core of a new project: The Avalanches. It wasn’t long after when a new group consisting of Chater, Di Blasi, Seltmann, and Gordon McQuilten on keyboards was assembled to play the tracks live. From mid-1998, the Avalanches had been recording their debut album, titled Since I Left You, which was mixed at Sing Sing Studios in Melbourne. Chater estimated that Since I Left You was assembled from approximately 3,500 vinyl samples. Professional critics included Since I Left You on their "Best of 2000s" lists. The Avalanches had been working on their second album since at least 2005, and over ten years later Wildflower was released in 2016 to wide acclaim. The Avalanches will be performing on Friday, July 14th at The Showbox with the Double Sunrise Club. Click here for tickets.
JULY 16 – Temple Canyon at Chop Suey
Local indie-psych rockers Temple Canyon consider themselves “nostalgic rock,” with wild confessions of love and loneliness, lullabies of a dark and gritty reality, sunshiny pick me-ups and prairie songs. Somewhere between a Quentin Tarantino and a Cameron Crowe soundtrack, you can hear serious songs with a sense of humor before and after. Glimpses of Stevie Nicks and Grace Potter & the Nocturnals are sprinkled about this band, with its fiery vocal punches and sultry guitar licks. They are releasing their new EP, Thank You for Not Caring, on Sunday, July 16th at Chop Suey with Boots To The Moon and Tim McBride & the Divide. Click here for tickets.
JULY 16 – The Velveteins at The Funhouse
The Velveteins are a rock n' roll band consisting Spencer Morphy, Addison Hiller, and Dean Kheroufi originally from Edmonton, Canada. Their latest work A Hot Second With The Velveteins was produced by Lincoln Parish (Cage the Elephant) and described as "a collision of The Kinks and The Libertines, rollicking garage, moody surf and pop classicism with a rough edge" (EXCLAIM!). Their distinctive style of heavy guitar pop has translated into raucous and energetic shows opening for larger acts such as July Talk, Elephant Stone, Milo Greene, and Michael Rault and appearing across Canada, America, and the UK. Formed by front man Morphy, The Velveteins were officially realized in the summer of 2014, after his return from time vagabonding around Australia. The band recorded and self-released an EP and soon caught Parish’s ear. They flew down to Nashville and cut A Hot Second with The Velveteins and inked a deal with the Canadian expansion of UK label Fierce Panda in early 2016. The band followed the release with a 30-date tour across three countries. Now with a new release, Slow Wave, under their belt, The Velveteins have already proven to be gaining momentum with their vibrant captivating records and thrilling live performances. Catch The Velveteins at The Funhouse with Wongs on Sunday, July 16th. Click here for tickets.
JULY 17 – The Drums at Neumos
With The Drums’ new album Abysmal Thoughts, band founder Jonny Pierce is making the exact album he’s always held in his heart. Of course, this is The Drums, so that heart is broken—but there’s beauty and even bliss in this kind of heartbreak, as well as that special kind of glorious delirium that comes from taking everything life can throw at you and still walking away triumphant. If Abysmal Thoughts doesn’t sound at all abysmal, that’s because this is a story about how to figure out what happiness means once the worst has already happened. Across a year and three months of home recording—with the same guitar, synthesizer, drum machine and reverb unit he’s played since the beginning of The Drums—Pierce put together Abysmal Thoughts, first in that apartment in Los Angeles and then later in his cabin in upstate New York. With help from engineer Jonathan Schenke (Parquet Courts, Mannequin Pussy) he gave Abysmal Thoughts a pop sensibility that added color and contrast to an already vivid self-portrait alive. Catch The Drums at Neumos on Monday, July 17th with Stef Chura. Click here for tickets.
JULY 19 – Sports at Vera Project
Sports is a band of wizards from Oklahoma, conjuring pop music spells for ears just like yours. People Can’t Stop Chillin, Sports’ follow-up to their debut release Naked All The Time, is a collection of pure magic that insists you take a cruise in your uncle’s convertible at dusk with nothing more than enchanting melodies and crisp wind within your hair to keep you company. Hit single “You Are the Right One” will instantly get stuck in your head with its summer-tinged guitar licks, fist-pounding drum beat, and dynamic vocals. Sports will be bringing their lush pop bliss to the Vera Project with YEEK on Wednesday, July 19th. Click here for tickets.
JULY 20 – T-Rextasy at Chop Suey
T-Rextasy formed in 2013 during their senior year of high school in New York City. In May 2016, they released Jurassic Punk, their first LP on Father/Daughter Records and Miscreant Records. The colorful, garage-surf debut received praise from NPR, MTV, Stereogum, and a single, "Gap Yr Boiz," was featured on a Rolling Stone list as #13 on Rob Sheffield's Top 25 Songs of 2016. T-Rextasy will be performing their angsty femme-punk rock with Emma Lee Toyoda and Hardly Boys on Thursday, July 20th at Chop Suey. Click here for tickets.
JULY 20 – Portugal the Man at Neptune Theatre
Portugal. The Man has a new album out now called Woodstock. PTM’s last album came out over three years ago—a long gap for a band who have dropped roughly an album a year since 2006. And in true, prolific band fashion, they’ve spent almost every minute since 2013 working on an album originally called Gloomin + Doomin. They created a shit-ton of individual songs, but as a whole, none of them hung together in a way that felt right. Then John Gourley, PTM’s lead singer, made a trip home to Wasilla, Alaska, and two things happened that completely changed the album’s trajectory. First, Gourley got some parental tough love from his old man. “What’s taking so long to finish the album?” His dad said. “Isn’t that what bands do? Write songs and then put them out?” The whole thing started Gourley thinking about why the band seemed to be stuck on a musical elliptical machine from hell and, more importantly, about how to get off of it. Second, he found his dad’s ticket stub from the original 1969 Woodstock music festival. It seems like a small thing, but talking to his dad about Woodstock ’69 knocked something loose in his head. He realized that, in the same tradition of bands from that era, Portugal. The Man needed to speak out about the world crumbling around them. With these two ideas converging, the band made a seemingly bat-shit-crazy decision: they took all of the work they had done for the three years prior and they threw it out. It wasn’t easy, but the totally insane decision paid off. With newfound energy and excitement, the band went back to the studio—working with John Hill (In The Mountain In The Cloud), Danger Mouse (Evil Friends), Mike D (Everything Cool), and longtime collaborator Casey Bates. In this new-found creative territory, the album that became Woodstock rolled out naturally from there. Here Portugal. The Man play songs from their new album as well as hits from their previous releases at Paramount Theatre on Thursday, July 20th with special guest Crater. Click here for tickets.
JULY 21 – Motopony at Tractor Tavern
In 2006, Motopony’s Daniel Blue was living and working in Tacoma as a fashion designer when he decided to trade in his sewing supplies and teamed up with local hip-hop producer Buddy Ross (Frank Ocean) to pursue music. Together, the duo created a sound that merged Blue’s newfound knack for writing powerful songs with Ross’ music know-how and unusual style. The pair brought on a drummer and a guitar player and hit the road. In 2011 they released Motopony, a confident debut in which Blue's deft folk melodies and persistent fingerpicking were undergirded by Ross' future-pop production. By 2012, Ross had to leave the band to take to the road with Frank Ocean, the Tiny Ogre label that put out Motopony shut their doors, and Blue found himself alone with some 36 songs the band had prepared for their second record. But the songs kept coming, so in 2014, Blue assembled a band flush with top-shelf musicians that helped whittle down his 36 songs into a 5-song EP that announced a revitalized rock band with a new direction and a new sense of collaboration. Idle Beauty was a summary of where the band had been and a map of where it was going. On its surface, it's a collection of folk songs. But album-rock ambition and Blue's drive to transcend his own best work bubble just beneath the surface. The band then signed with Eone Music who released Idle Beauty, which set the stage for their next release. Welcome You sees Blue looking back at what he's been through, and, in some ways, taking time to savor his victories, sometimes blissfully -- he says he wants his music to give "a little bit of hope, and a little bit of light." In support of Welcome You, Motopony toured half way around the world to festivals in India and shows in the UK, as well as circling the US twice in the past 2 years. When in the UK, through some good fate, the band found themselves in Abbey Road Studios with producer Rob Cass and got to record an impromptu live EP called Naked at the Abbey, Live at Abbey Road. After spending not more than a day in the studio, Cass took to Blue's spirit and writing and immediately offered to record the next album. Just over a year after that chance meeting, Blue returned to Abbey Road to lay down the core tracks of what would be the next Motopony record. Upon his return to Seattle, Blue who was now over a year sober decided to take his new tracks and bring them to a new group of collaborators including Joseph DeNatale, Gabriel Molinaro, and Timothy Graham who all share the same aesthetic, lifestyle, and vision. Motopony will be performing at the Tractor Tavern on Friday, July 21st with General Mojo’s and Kelli Schaefer. Click here for tickets.
JULY 22 – Jared & the Mill at The Funhouse
Jared & The Mill is a southwestern indie rock band, formed in 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. A collection of five childhood friends who met up in college, Jared & The Mill has spent the past few years touring extensively through the dive bars, venues, theaters, music festivals, and even arenas of the U.S. and Canada, playing alongside burgeoning bands and established acts, and developing a strong and rooted fan base along the way. The band has multiple and successful independent releases, with the most recent 2016 release, Orme Dugas, being produced by Ryan Hewitt and recorded in Nashville, Tennessee, hitting #46 overall iTunes and #9 Billboard Heatseeker Mountain Region. As Jared & The Mill has stated, “Our music has been called, compared and regarded by a number of different names and genres, and we've been influenced and shaped by many different events and people, but more than anything, we'd like to think that some shred of the Southwest -- of our home -- can be found in the heart of our music.” It’s a blend of cultures that gives the southwest its identity, and it certainly does the same for Jared & The Mill. In their words: “From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for listening.” Jared & The Mill will be bringing their foot-stomping desert soul to The Funhouse on Saturday, July 22nd with KOLARS. Click here for tickets.
JULY 24 – Cayetana at Neptune Theatre
If Cayetana's newest album had a tagline it would be "how to stop self-sabotaging and accept love." Thematically, the Philadelphia indie rock three-piece - comprised of Augusta Koch, Allegra Anka, and Kelly Olsen - has been exploring the delicate interplay of mental illness and wellness, since they began releasing music in 2014, but never so gracefully and poignantly as on New Kind of Normal. Cayetana explore the concept of normality when living with mental illness, that what you know as normal can be self-destructive, and that finding a new way of living, a new kind of normal, where self-care and self-respect are the norm is an often painful and lifelong process that can feel foreign and undeserving. New Kind of Normal, however, reminds us that self-love is merited and palpable and delivers us a soundtrack for finding it. From the group's inception Cayetana has exemplified the beauty and spirit of perseverance and DIY. They started as three friends who had barely been acquainted with their instruments and in just three years have become one of the most promising bands in indie music. They prove on New Kind of Normal that growth takes self-responsibility, accepting the help of others, and resilience proving that the risk is worth the writhing. Evidently, there is a new kind of normal not only in the mind but also in music and Cayetana is determined to help us find it. Cayetana will be supporting Waxahatchee at the Neptune Theatre on Monday, July 24th. Click here for tickets.
JULY 28 – Fruit Juice at Neumos
Fruit Juice are a band of self-proclaimed “eccentric-pop” rockers from Olympia. Not only do their songs feel like a cool, tasty glass of fruit juice, but the band must spend more money on glitter than any group you’ve seen recently. Jake McCaffray and Quillian Fennessy have perfected their catchy and harmonic vocal pop hooks; Gabriel Stranahan’s bass lines are jaunty and infectious; and the arrangements are tight, fun and always get even the stuffiest Seattleite to tap their toes. Topping it all off, new drummer Ron Plaja glues the project together with a relaxed and inspired set of beats that have greater depth and fluidity than the band’s earlier incarnation. Blending the likes of the experimental Flaming Lips and glitter-psych rockers of Montreal, Fruit Juice will dip you into a trippy haze and send you into guitar-laden euphoria. They are releasing their new album at Neumos on Friday, July 28th with special guests Bod, Sleeping Lessons, and Sundae Crush. Click here for tickets.
JULY 29 – In the Valley Below at Crocodile
Seldom has a debut single seduced so many, for so long. Two years since its release, In The Valley Below’s “Peaches,” which was first picked up by European alternative radio, continues as an international airwaves staple - testament to the enduring viral power of its sunny yet smoldering songcraft and celebratory surrender to mutual attraction. In The Valley Below is Angela Gail and Jeffrey Jacob, who meld adventurous art rock, squelchy synth pop, harmony-laden Americana, and woozy blues into something altogether different: stylistically elusive, yet oddly inclusive. Her loaded purr cajoling his weathered inflections, they craft gauzily compelling music at once introverted and all-embracing. Though never intended as a gigging band, In The Valley Below’s genre-ambiguous, dreamily accessible expressions traveled well, inducing tireless touring. In The Valley Below’s debut album, The Belt, is a mysterious, mesmerized and relentlessly melodic record that bares powerful tales of lust, loss and faith like open wounds, while hinting at hidden meanings. Personified by “Peaches”’ sunlight-through-the-eyelids abandon and cult-ish caress, The Belt is that most elusive of records: arcane, authentic, and effortlessly resonant across cultures and eras. In The Valley Below will be performing at The Crocodile on Saturday, July 29th with Flagship and Marsalis. Click here for tickets.
JULY 30 – Post Animal at Sunset Tavern
Let’s just get it out of the way – Stranger Things’ Joe Keery (aka “Steve Harrington”) plays guitar in Post Animal, a psych-rock band from Chicago. Keery shares guitar responsibilities with Javi Reyes and Matt Williams, while Dalton Allison plays bass, Jake Hirshland plays both guitar and keys, and Wes Toledo plays drums. And just like all the greatest successful psych bands, everybody sings. While they’ve only been a six-piece band for about a year, their musicality and chemistry could fool you. Though Keery won't be touring with his psych-rock brothers, you can see Post Animal performing their harmony-heavy psychedelic bliss at the Sunset Tavern on Sunday, July 30th with Moon Darling and Colorworks. Click here for tickets.