We are all going to die. But while this is an unfortunate byproduct of still being alive, this fact has taken on a pervasive sense of doom over the last few years. It's not that we're going to die, it's that it's going to happen right now and in an incredibly painful way. Every day it's something new: Bird flu, global warming, terrorism, gun-toting school kids, crazy old Russians stockpiling newer nukes, poisonous Chinese toothpaste...
The list goes on and on. So why do most of us resist the urge to suck down a Vicodin Stoli and call it a day? The reasons are as elusive as they are myriad. American philosopher William James once asked, “Why should we think upon things that are lovely? Because thinking determines life. It is a common habit to blame life upon the environment. Environment modifies life but does not govern life. The soul is stronger than its surroundings.” » read more
Talkin' Guitar Shop with John Roderick of the Long Winters
Ever notice when you’re watching a band on TV, the camera never gives you a good look at the headstock of a guitar or the face of an amp? It never occurred to the cameraman that some people might want to see that. But I suspect there’s plenty of people in the audience wondering “Is that a lawsuit Ibanez or a vintage Les Paul?”
Likewise, most music critics just don’t think like musicians. I’m so weary of trite questions about emotional connection and literal interpretations of lyrics, a band’s interpersonal dynamics, blah, blah … I want to know what they use to make their sound. That’s the one and only thing you can pin down about a band: their gear, the actual hardware and why they use it. It’s as much a part of any band’s appeal as any poignant turn of phrase, yet it’s virtually ignored in the music media. » read more
Just try not to be a ‘Pushover’ for these guys
The Long Winters aren’t about gimmicks. They don’t have a full string orchestra up their sleeves, and they don’t use repeating loops of bird song percussively. They’re a straight-forward indie rock band, which in today’s short-attention-span world may not sound all that impressive, until you actually give them a listen.
You’ll discover yourself pleasantly surprised by a sound that singer John Roderick describes thusly: “Karrang! Tweedly-tweedly-tweedly! Boosh!” And if you think you can’t dance to that, think again.
The Long Winters’ latest CD, “Putting the Days to Bed” is their best yet. The band feels more cohesive, which may not be surprising considering that the ever-changing lineup has finally stabilized. Roderick and bassist Eric Corson are now joined by drummer Nabil Ayers and man of many instruments, Jonathan Rothman. » read more
In bed with the Long Winters
Masterfully eloquent longing -- of the drunken rapist kind.
It's become popular to characterize the Long Winters' John Roderick as an intellectual ronin of sorts: a librarian without master who travels the countryside lending his songs and wisdom to brainy 826 benefits. Others reject this stuffy veneer outright, preferring to embrace him as a lovable vaudevillian rogue of the "song, dance, seltzer down the pants" variety.
Still, Roderick is well aware of his reputation as a mysterious dude, explaining, "It's never been clear, even to the people close to me, whether or not I might actually be an emotionally abusive, exploitative, drunken rapist posing as a sensitive singer-songwriter, and that's an ambiguity that I cultivate." » read more
Pop on the rocks Former Western State Hurricanes and Harvey Danger player John Roderick knows all about cool – heck, he was born in Alaska, and he calls his current band Long Winters. Resplendent with pretty slide guitar, expansive orchestration, mild-mannered psychedelia, and offhand melodies that surge and retreat like a tide, The Worst You Can Do Is Harm, the Long Winters' Barsuk Records debut, found the connected Mr. Roderick tapping friends such as Death Cab for Cutie's Chris Walla and Ben Gibbard, the Posies' Ken Stringfellow, Sunny Day Real Estate's Joe Bass, and Built to Spill's Jim Roth for musical contributions. The world didn't exactly burst into flames when The Worst You Can Do Is Harm came out, but then again that doesn't really seem to be Roderick's modus operandi. Instead, he seems to have put together a low-key little album you might want to cozy up to after the embers die, the cocoa runs out, and the winter seems like it's never going to end. » read more
NOISE: Tarrying, tangling with Long Winters' John Roderick
Guardian contributor Kate Izquierdo recently spoke to Long Winters' John Roderick – and found him to be quite the eloquent, provocative wag. Chalk it up to his Welsh heritage? Here’s the rest of her talk with the man.
Bay Guardian: Rolling Stone recently described you as a “folkie.” Does this come as a surprise to you? How would you describe yourself at this point if you had to? » read more
There was plenty to do this past weekend in our beloved, still sort-of sunny Seattle: The Black Keys at the Paramount. Youth Rescue Mission, Kimo Muraki, and a slew of amazing mini-bands at Columbia City Theater. Kurt Reighley's reading over at Elliott Bay Bookstore. Wheedle's Groove, DUG -- the list goes on and on.
But the one place that had it all, not surprisingly, was the John Roderick / Eric Corson (as the Long Winters) show at the Triple Door. The bright lights, big-city feel of the venue, the good food and strong drink, the gathering of friends -- and most importantly, John and Eric's epic set -- were all present and accounted for. To sweeten the pot, Tacoma-based openers Goldfinch and spot-drummer Jason Finn (Presidents of the United States of America) rounded out a lovely, late, packed-house kind of vibey night this past Thursday, and there was nowhere else that the collective 'we' would rather have been.
John Roderick, Eric Corson and Jason Finn at the Triple Door: » read more
So Marlene and I headed to the Baltic Room to meet a few friends for a few glasses of wine. We got to the door, and lo and behold! It was a show! Seems the Imaginary Girls couldn't get away from their musical reviewing passions even for an evening. This particular show was a singer-showcase, and among the performers, John Roderick (Long Winters, Western State Hurricanes) and Jon Auer (Posies). Good heavens. We headed upstairs to enjoy some drinks before John (Roderick) took the stage.
But the lure of a new singer boy proved too strong, and I headed downstairs to hear singer #2, Aaron Sprinkle.
What's going on here tonight, I wondered? It's like Seattle's greatest open mic night. Who planned this?
Luckily, new Imaginary Girl friend Peter provided an answer of sort. Apparently, the event was organized by a cute girl in a cowboy hat named Michelle, for her birthday. » read more
The real music somehow survives Block Party buzz
The key lesson from Saturday's Capitol Hill Block Party show? Bands that draw buzz and bands that draw crowds aren't always the same thing.
The biggest buzz band at the fifth annual outdoor show at Pine Street and 11th Avenue was a female-fronted trio from Olympia (by way of Arkansas).
The Gossip plays original, down-and-dirty, hip-swinging rock 'n' roll; their show claims a place in the spotlight for a sexuality outside the mainstream, inclusive of lesbians and fat folks.
But the biggest crowd-drawing outfit was another female-fronted band. Seattle favorites Hell's Belles play nothing but AC/DC songs, dead-on down to the note-for-note virtuoso guitar solos. The premise of a mostly-female band
taking over the songs of the sex-crazed classic rockers is, of course, politically charged. » read more
The Long Winters
What can Three Imaginary Girls say about The Long Winters that hasn't already been said? They're wonderful.
When we saw them at the Crocodile, they were great. When we saw them at the Paradox a few weeks later, they were great. We saw them at the Block Party, and guess what? They sound great in the sunshine.
Even my Mom, who I dragged to the Capitol Hill Block Party when she flew in from out of town, said, "I actually really like these guys. Two thumbs up for the lead singer. He has a very mature voice."
I know I said this in my last review (and the one before that as well), but I just love their lyrics. In one of their new songs (which I am guessing will be called either "Nobody's Chasing Us" or "Sound of Coming Down") he sings, "Press your lips on the cool glass of my face." That imagery is just gorgeous. » read more