Under The Needle October 2014

Just to remind people:  Under The Needle was created as an outlet for us to share albums we have recently been listening to.  These albums are created by bands that deserve your support and money.  I mean, think about how big music is in your life.  We don’t have a style of music that we cover and not everyone will like what we post about.  If one person that didn’t know about one of these albums enjoys it and in turn supports that band…it is all worth it.

Rabbits Untoward

Rabbits — Untoward
Rabbits on Facebook
Lamb Unlimited

Rabbits are the best.  Two guitars and a set of drums are all this guy needs to be transported to heavy heaven.  The guys in Rabbits have been making music together for a long time now.  Releases have been spread across multiple labels and they like to play the dingy smaller club shows.  It almost seems like they want to stay relatively hidden from the masses but I like to think they just stay real.  They should be ruling the noise rock scene in my opinion.

Untoward is another shining example of why this Portland band is one of the best out there.  The album stretches 6 tracks over 28 minutes.  The first portion of the record feels more direct and to the point.  Their purpose seems to grab a hold of your head and shake it.  But instead of upside down margarita mixings you are swigging boiler makers.  Then you come to “Reek And Ye Shall Find”.  This might be one of my favorite Rabbits tracks that has been made to date. Shortly after hearing “YOU ARE WEAK AND WE ARE STRONG” they go on a two minute spree of gloriously trippy music leading into some seriously ferocious Doc Booze vocals.  Just epic and brutal head banging waves of sound.  The final 10 minutes come in the spaced out last track “Like You A Lot”.  I love that they included a lengthy drugged-out track at the end of the album.  Once it is over you flip it back to the start and your mushy face can get pummeled all over again.   Purchase your copy on 150g vinyl over here –> Rabbits – Untoward

They are currently on tour in Europe so I don’t see any local shows on the horizon.  However, when they get back and start playing shows in the PNW I will be keeping my eyes open.  If you haven’t seen them play live you are really screwing the pooch.

Caribou our love

Caribou — Our Love
Caribou on Facebook

Caribou’s newest release was definitely one of the most anticipated albums of 2014 over here at Grisl.  In June Dan Snaith gave us all a sneak peak with “Can’t Do Without You”.  It has been a long wait for the full album to be released but it was worth it.  Our Love is on the short list of our favorite records of the year so far.  Generally you see Caribou classified under the “electronic” section in record stores.  I get why they do that but if you ever have seen Caribou perform live they are so much more than that.  They reproduce their songs as a band with instruments in epic fashion.  Anywhere from 3 to 16 people may be on stage but the end result is always the same….incredible.  Our Love is more addicting than coffee.  A little bit of Daphni (Mr. Snaith’s DJ persona) seems to have had some influence on the sound.  You will find yourself dancing along to the sexy grooves.  Caribou never stays in the same spot which makes each album so special.

I can’t stop listening to this album.  It is great for every setting:  sexy time, running, cleaning, driving and whatever else you do in your day.  Purchase a copy over here –> Caribou – Our Love

As I mentioned, the live show that Caribou brings is outstanding.  The shows have been selling out so don’t sleep on getting tickets.  You will not be disappointed.

March 3 – Wonder Ballroom (Portland)
March 4 – Showbox Market (Seattle)


Hammerhead — Global Depression
Hammerhead on Facebook
Learning Curve Records

Minneapolis’ Learning Curve Records is crawling up my list of favorite labels.  So far I am batting 1.000 when it comes to purchasing killer records from them.  My first purchase was Hammerhead’s Global Depression.  I am admittedly a newcomer when it comes to this legendary band.  However, I don’t think that makes me any less believable when I say you need to own this EP.  In the course of 15 minutes my mindset went from “Excited to check out this band I have heard so much about” to “Holy shit, I want to hear all of their albums”.  Learning Curve says:

“Hammerhead emerged in the early nineties from Fargo, North Dakota, a remote outpost in the northern plains of the United States. In that cold and desolate city, drummer Jeff Mooridian, Jr., bassist Paul Erickson and guitarist Paul Sanders rejected eighties pop music and instead devoured vinyl records and mix tapes that spanned the range of early punk, hard rock and experimental music. Like an animal that evolved on a remote island, Hammerhead’s sound was unique, combining a relentless rhythmic attack, sub-octave bass lines and searing guitar riffs enveloped by a shared dystopian worldview that placed them even further off the map than their geographic location.”

What a mind trip this one is.  Absorbing bass lines and kick ass drumming pull one way while the clench-your-fist vocals and shredtastic guitar pull the other way.  They pull as far as they want and then just let go so both sides smash together at a high rate of speed.  Brain puddy.  It feels good.  Very good.  You can purchase a copy over here –> Hammerhead – Global Depression


Ngozi Family — Day Of Judgement
Info on Ngozi Family
Now-Again Records

Now-Again puts a lot of hard work into the releases they are offering.  This one caught my eye because of the write-up posted back on 7/21 on their website.  A short bit of it stated:

“We’ve been talking about an anthology centered around Zambian guitarist/vocalist Paul Ngozi for a while now. And – while we’re not there just yet, we’re announcing the issue of his masterwork. His debut album – issued under the name Ngozi Family – is important record: not just in the Zamrock genre, but in the global rock canon. Day of Judgement is an introduction to the most intense, raw and inimitable golden era Zamrock recorded, as it paved the way for a dozen Paul Ngozi and Ngozi Family releases (the most famous being drummer Chrissy Zebby Tembo’s My Ancestors) that straddled the line between funk and punk, of driving hard rock and Zambian folk melodies and rhythms.

Day of Judgement was released in 1976, the same year as other, now famous, Zamrock albums, from WITCH’s Lazy Bones!! to Rikki Ililonga’s Zambia to Musi-O-Tunya’s Give Love To Your Children, all reissued on Now-Again. But Day of Judgementsounds like none of its counterparts. Part of that stems from its frenzied primitivism, the Ngozi Family’s attempt to overcome a lack of musical acumen with sheer force of will.”

The full write-up can be found here -> Now-Again.  Those words plus the track posted below equaled must-have status.  Super good vibes are oozing out of this record.  Some tracks will seem familiar to you, like you’ve heard that song before.  Some songs are sung in the Ngozi’s native tongue.  Paul Ngozi’s guitar work will win you over, too.  Such a wicked style.  At times you feel that you are singing around a camp fire with friends.  While other times you feel that you are in the middle of Woodstock.  It is a beautiful record and has been on constant rotation over here.  Purchase a copy of this essential piece over here –>  Ngozi Family – Day Of Judgement

No Place Like Home With Tacos!

One of our initial intentions for Grisl was that it would be used as a travel guidebook filled with recommendations from people who have been outside and around the block. For many reasons, this portion of the site has been slow developing.  We’ve expanded on this concept to include recommendations from bands who would like to share guidance one getting around their own hometowns. After all, nothing makes a traveler more appreciative of where they hail from than being on the road.  The feature is called No Place Like Home.

The best part is that when one of our readers travels to a place that is foreign to them they will have some solid recommendations from an awesome source, one of their favorite bands!  I know I look forward to checking out some of these places and am sure that there are many others who would be interested.

*Photo credit to the incredible Matt Koroulis.  This is just one of many great concert pictures he has posted.  Check more of his rad pics over here –> http://www.flickr.com/photos/truth_in_noise/
For this installment of No Place Like Home we had an opportunity to ask our questions to vocalist/guitarist Donovan of the rambunctious duo Tacos!.
Where does Tacos!call their hometown and how long have you been there?


We are essentially based out of Seattle, but call Tacoma to Bellingham our home too.

If friends or family from out of town were visiting you where would you have to take them for must eat grub?  What sort of food does the place serve?  Any specific dish that you would recommend?  What do you like about this place?  Price range?

This is obvious, of course, tacos! With that said, our favorite spot is Rancho Bravo on Capital Hill. There are far too many other great sit-down and truck options to list. Can’t go wrong in this town.

Here at Grisl we are big into the craft beer scene, dive bar scene and regular bar scene (basically we love bars…).  Assuming you also enjoy grabbing some drinks with your pals, where are the can’t-miss spots that you would recommend?  What makes these places special to you?  Any specific drinks that you would recommend?  Price range? Vibe (i.e. bow tie or acid wash jeans?)?
Well, Lupe is a bartender at Hattie’s Hat in Ballard which is one of the best bars in Seattle. Great food, great beer selection, our favorite brunch spot, the all-around package.  I am an assistant brewer at Engine House 9,  and bar-back part time at the Valley in Tacoma, both of which have great food and drinks.
What is your favorite music venue in the area to catch some shows?  Any memorable shows you watched there off of the top of your head?

In Seattle there are a ton of options but we love playing the Sunset in Ballard, Chop Suey on Capital Hill, a DIY venue called the Black Lodge amongst others. There’s a great scene coming up in White Center (south Seattle) based around the Company Bar.  In Bellingham we love playing the Shakedown whenever we can.

After a night of drinking and/or live music where are the best places to get some late night munchies/more drinks?  What sort of food are we talking about?  Price range?

Well, the afore mentioned Rancho Bravo is a safe bet, and Mario’s Pizza is great too, both cheap, and open after the bars stop serving, which is 2AM in Washington.

After a night of drinking and/or live music where is the best place to get breakfast? What do you specifically recommend?

Hattie’s Hat is the best in Ballard, Bang Bang Cafe in Belltown, and Petrirosso on Capital Hill are amazing. In Tacoma Peterson Bros.1111, and Top of Tacoma are great brunch spots as well as great bars to boot.

We are always looking for great coffee while traveling.  What is your favorite spot to grab some joe?

You can’t turn left or right without running into a coffee shop here. Stand-outs include Stumptown and Cafe Vita in Seattle, Bluebeard and Valhalla in Tacoma, Batdorf and Bronson based in Olympia.

Do you have any lodging tips for people passing through (e.g. specific places or general areas)?

We are usually trying to be on the cheap and try to stay with friends whenever possible. I’ve heard there are great deals through air b-n-b.

What kind of day trips and/or outdoor activities in the surrounding areas would you recommend to our readers?
There are endless things to do around the Puget Sound. Summertime around the arboretum, the beach at Golden Gardens north of Ballard, day trips to the peninsula on a ferry, and of course winter fun in the surrounding mountains.
Travel/On Tour:
Favorite city the band has played a show:

We love playing anywhere really. We love to get on the road. Austin, Tucson, San Diego and Denver have been great spots for us.

City with the best live crowd:

That’s a hard one! We’ve had great shows some places, and come back to a not so great show. Really depends on a number of things. Luckily we have friends in a lot of these towns and so we get to see them regardless.

Best venue & why (e.g. acoustics, stiff drinks, etc.):

Bender’s in SF, great space, great drinks, awesome booking agent. Tower Bar in San Diego, again all around great people.

Weirdest thing you’ve seen on tour:

The mountains above Colorado Springs on fire.

Skuzziest place you’ve slept:
We’ve slept on a lot of floors. Let’s leave it at that…,

I want to thank Donovan for taking the time to answer our questions.  He and Lupe are essentially Bellebrities (Bellingham celebrities) and it is really cool that we had an opportunity to find a little more about them.  A lot of the spots they recommend I can vouch for as well.  Some of them are new to me and I can’t wait to check out!
Tacos! album cover
The self-titled full length debut from Tacos! is one hell of an asskicker.  Having seen them play multiple times it is nice to be able to own the songs that are frequently culprits of massive bangovers the morning after.  It is also nice to be able to put a song title to them.  I have lost my mind to “Wood Elf” on many occasions and never knew what it was called (perfect song title).  Lupe is a force to be reckoned with behind the drums both live and on recording. Donovan’s gravely vocals and mind melting guitar skills will grab a hold of you and shake you until your lunch money falls out.  The duo is a gem of the Pacific Northwest.  Tacos! have become better and better as a live show.  The last time we saw them at The Shakedown (Bellingham) they played like they should be headlining the larger venues in Seattle.  Don’t miss them next time you have the chance. Tacos! released their self-titled full length earlier this year in a digital format.  Now they have the physical record available for purchase.  You can pick up a copy of the insanely cool orange creamsicle vinyl over here –> Tacos! – S/T

A$AP ROCKY – Multiply


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