Best of the Month: June 2017
June was a really exciting month at Distinction. We restructured our company to provide services to a larger group of artists, brought Mikayla and Kate on board, and launched this very website you're on right now. What keeps us going is a focus on the future and consistently looking forward but, for just a second, we want to take a look back at some of our favorite moments in music this past month.
Favorite album: Big Thief - Capacity
In the past couple of years I've spent the majority of my time listening to hip hop, in an effort to catch up with the rest of the community who had been listening far longer. I fell in love with so many artists and gained an appreciation of the genre that will never subside, but in the past month I found myself going back to my indie roots. Maybe it was the change in seasons or perhaps it was just because there was so much great indie music coming out - Alex G, Fleet Foxes, Chastity Belt -, it's tough to say, but the album that really stuck with me this month was Big Thief's sophomore album Capacity. Last year's debut Masterpiece was also a favorite of mine but the stripped down emotionality of Capacity has really resonated with me. I've probably told just about every person close to me to listen to it and the first time I heard it I listened to it four (!!) times in a row (which is not something I often do). My favorite albums tend to be the sad, intimate ones, and Capacity will likely be one that I'll return to over and over again.
Favorite show: White Reaper / Ron Gallo / Weep Wave at the Tractor Tavern
So this night actually very much did not go as planned for me. Exactly 2 minutes before my Uber dropped me off at the Tractor Tavern from my house all the way in South Seattle, I realized I forgot my wallet. This was especially troubling since I was supposed to work the merch table for openers Weep Wave and the door guy wouldn't let me in whether my name was on the list or not. So I spent the entirety of Weep Wave's set loitering outside the venue and watching through the door. Turns out I actually had a semi-decent view and Weep Wave put on a tight, rousing set for a packed, diverse crowd. The show was put on by 107.7 The End and KEXP which brought out everyone from cool dads, not-so-cool dads, patient wives watching their not-so-cool husbands act like they're 21, and enthusiastic 20-somethings. I missed Ron Gallo because I went ALL the way back to South Seattle for my wallet (thank Based God for Uber flat fares) but got back in time for White Reaper who made a strong case for their claim of being The World's Best American Band. The crowd was fully absorbed as White Reaper played jam after jam. I forgot how many good songs the band has in their catalog! Plus there's nothing more entertaining to me than watching dads in Tommy Bahama shirts losing their goddamn minds.
Favorite album: Vince Staples - Big Fish Theory
Honestly Vince made this album for me. His experimental take on infusing UK electronics (mainly UK Garage and PC Music) with his "Long Beach" rap bars is the fresh take hip hop needs. An album that is so influenced by underground beat scenes that it doesn't need to be remixed by said scenes to be enjoyable. The producer list on this album pretty much speaks for itself with tracks by Justin Vernon, Flume, Sophie, and more as well as features from Kendrick Lamar and A$AP Rocky, it's easy to think that Vince Staples is losing what he once had with Summertime '06, but I think he's focusing more on what LA is becoming through some of the biggest beat scene producers. Also "Big Fish" is a fucking banger and I will be blasting it from my car all summer.
Favorite show: Anime Creek / Demon Cassette Cult / Princess Dewclaw at the Substation
I went into this show with the perception of seeing a pretty calm punk show and was completely surprised. This was the most authentic and enjoyable show I've seen in a while. Anime Creek was amazing and it was like watching your friends play a show just for you. Demon Cassette Cult caught me completely off guard with his experimental industrial sound that transported you to an underground Brooklyn warehouse show. Princess Dewclaw wrapped it all together with a gothic nu-metal reminiscent set that something I really hadn't heard in a while. Overall, this show was extremely enjoyable because everyone who was there was there for the bands, which is something I really enjoy.
Favorite album: 2 Chainz - Pretty Girls Like Trap Music
Pretty Girls like Trap Music is defintely the best album of June based on the production alone, 2 Chainz was not messing around when he hired heavey hitters like Mike WiLL Made-It, MANO, Murda and Buddah-Bless to name a few. This diverse range of production takes you on a journey of congratualtions. The track "Poor Fool" hits heavy but you do get a range of sounds with more vibey tonal tracks like "Saturday Nights." When I listen to Pretty Girls like Trap Music I feel this overwhelming sense of confidence. Make no mistake 2 Chainz left his mark with this one.
Favorite show: Worshiprr / Blotterz / Die Nasty / Michete at Candy Mountain
This is probably cheating...but my favorite show of the month was seeing Worshiprr perform at Candy Mountain. Listening to Kadence was beyond! Creating unapologetically raw lyricism against psychedelic electronic beats Worshiprr stops you arming her listeners with thought provoking questions. As the crowd stomped and beamed through her set. It was refreshing to see everyone connected with a performer who lays it all out on stage.
Favorite album: DJ Khaled - Grateful
Imagine the most lit festival line up you could possibly think of: Beyoncé, Nicki Minaj, Jay-Z, Drake, Rihanna, Bryson Tiller, Alicia Keys, Lil Wayne, Calvin Harris, Migos, Rick Ross and even some old school players like Nas, Jadakiss, Pusha T and Fat Joe. Now put all these names, plus many more on one album you know what you get? One banger after ANOTHER ONE. Grateful was a perfectly planned release, right at the beginning of summer to give us a song for every mood. From "Shining" (Jay-Z and Beyoncé) to "Wild Thoughts" (Rihanna and Bryson Tiller) to make you dance and "Iced Out My Arms" (21 Savage, Future and Migos) and "On Everything" (Travis Scott, Rick Ross and Big Sean) to stunt. DJ Khaled essentially made the party playlist we need for our BBQs and beach days. For that I thank him.
Favorite show: Taylar Elizza Beth / DoNormaal / Guayaba / PSA at the Timbre Room
I think this one may be a little obvious, this is an epic line up and I had been looking forward to this show since it was announced. I also had the honor of writing the review for our first installment of Drunk At a Show. If you want to read more of my thoughts on this show, check that out here.
Favorite album: The Babe Rainbow - The Babe Rainbow LP Hailing from Byron Bay, Australia, the psych-pop group supplies all the groovy hits of the summer, reminiscent of the 60’s in the best possible way. Often flitting back and forth between English and French, tracks like “Sunflower Sutra” feels like what I can only imagine wearing a pair of velvet bellbottoms is like. Coming in for all your summertime boogies, “Monky Disco” and “Johny Says Stay Cool” offer all the sun-drenched, body-moving motivation that you need.
Favorite show: Meatbodies / Wild Powwers / Steal Shit Do Drugs at the Tractor Tavern
A mix of garage, punk and noise, Meatbodies delivered a raucous performance at Tractor Tavern. Playing a mix of old favorites and newer offerings, Meatbodies made sure the mosh pit kept moving all night.
#bigthief #whitereaper #rongallo #weepwave #vincestaples #animecreek #demoncassettecult #princessdewclaw #worshiprr #blotterz #dienasty #michete #djkhaled #taylarelizzabeth #guayaba #donormaal #psa #2chainz