In a special episode of The Local Music Show, John Richards checks in on the new direction of the Seattle music scene with Mayor Greg Nickels, our own James Keblas, David Endicott, Susie Tennant, and Ben London. A great look at what’s going on right now is Seattle and what the City of Music Initative is really about. Watch the entire episode here.
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Hip–hop is in trouble. Critics say commercialization, oppression, and false stereotypes have eroded the community–based art form. The locally inspired, politically charged medium now focuses mainly on glorified violence and sexuality. What is the future and value of the art form? Guest Professor Tricia Rose is a world leader on Hip–hop culture. Her latest book, “The Hip Hop Wars: What We Talk About When We Talk About Hip Hop — and Why it Matters,” calls on the Hip–hop Community to reincarnate its progressive and creative heart.
Also, The Seattle/NW Hip–Hop Leadership Conference is tomorrow, Saturday, at Seattle Central Community College from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.. The event is free and open to the public and features workshops and discussions about hip–hop and community.
For the past few years, Brent Amaker and the Rodeo have been branding Seattle clubs with their self-described “cowboy arena rock,” and, like a stubborn steer getting the flesh of its behind seared by a cowpoke, their music has a kick and puts up a fight. That kick hits hard when you’re slamming down shots while listening to “Bring Me the Whiskey” and the fight comes strong on “Knock You Out.” Those songs perfectly encapsulate what Amaker and the Rodeo — bassist Sugar McGuinn, drummer Mason Lowe and guitarists Steve Davis and Ben Strehle — are about. Their music is outlaw country that covers the traditional bases of lost loves, tears in beers and barroom brawls, with extra attitude. And while the music packs a wallop, it’s visual flair and showmanship that delivers the knockout punch and sells the essence of the Rodeo.
PopCap Games today is announcing the purchase of Gastronaut Studios, the 4-person Seattle game studio known for developing the Xbox Live Arcade game Small Arms. Gastroanuat has partnered with PopCap in the past, assisting in the development of PopCap’s Feeding Frenzy and Peggle for Xbox Live. Seattle-based PopCap has acquired the assets and employees of Gastronaut, though the Gastronaut founders will retain exclusive rights to Small Ams and the puzzle game Gel. PopCap said that the Gastronaut developers will work on “several undisclosed projects.”
The former First United Methodist Church on 5th Avenue and Madison Street is taking its second stab at a new life. Kevin Daniels saved it from the wrecking ball and humbly renamed it Daniels Recital Hall. He wants to maintain the space as a sort of hallowed musical location, in part, because the place has a 4,000-pipe organ. At noon today, the hall will host a free show: “Classical Music for Lovers.” Artist-in-residence Mark Andersen is on the organ along with help from Harper Tasche, a harpist, Emily Rostykus, an orchestral harpist from Bellingham, and Lynn Andersen, a handbell performer.
On Sol’s debut album, the University of Washington sophomore (double-majoring in American ethnic studies and communications) raps more like a tenured professor. Politics, racial identity, the state of hip-hop, and literature, plus aggressive battle raps, all crop up in varying degrees on The Ride, which feels like an adult piece of work. It’s clear at times that having a knack for words comes easy to Sol—the mixed-race son of a Haitian mother and a Russian-Jewish father. Over sandwiches at Flowers Bar & Restaurant in the U District, Sol explains that he started writing the album at 18 and finished just before his 20th birthday. Executive-produced by himself, Isaac Meek, and Captain Midnite, and recorded at Meek’s Undercaste studio, the disc’s title refers to the journey Sol took during its recording, as well as to the voyage he leads listeners on through the album’s 16 tracks.