Aug 01 2007
Last Friday & Saturday, I went to the Capitol Hill Block Party in Seattle, and while there were several artists I was looking forward to seeing, John Vanderslice unquestionably topped the list. His 2005 release “Pixel Revolt” is still one of my favorite albums, and having missed his tour through Chicago, this was a big show for me. Vanderslice’s new album, Emerald City, released last week and after listening to an advance copy for about 6 weeks, I must say the album doesn’t do as much for me as Pixel Revolt did, however, I haven’t been able to stop listening to several tracks including Kookaburra, The Parade, White Dove, and the last track on the album, Central Booking. I’ve also been listening to Tablespoon of Codeine and Numbered Lithograph. Given there are only nine tracks on the album, and I liked a good portion of them, I consider this to be a good album.
Vanderslice wrote most of Emerald City while dealing with legal issues trying to get his French girlfriend a visa to come to the states. The flawed systems of our country filled him with frustration, and therefore, his songs revolve around this anger and alienation, and at the same time, the loss and loneliness he’s had to go through. His feelings towards the visa situation are most notable on Central Booking, as he surrenders to the idea that “September has won once again,” alluding back to September 11th. Unfortunately, the problem with his girlfriend has yet to be resolved.
John Vanderslice is from San Francisco, and has been performing with his own band ever since breaking up with mk Utlra in 1999. He has his own record studio in San Francisco called Tiny Telephone, where he not only records his own albums, but produces albums for other artists, such as Spoon (Gimme Fiction). Some other bands that recorded there include: Beulah, Death Cab, Deerhoof, Mates of State, and the Mountain Goats, who John has done a lot of collaboration with. John Vanderslice is a great guy; he interacts with his fans more than any other artist you will find. He is one of those guys who feels like a music fan first, musician second. He reads music blogs (he’ll find this one soon), and offers mp3’s on his site, including a full-length of his 2000 release, “Mass Suicide Occult Figurines.” I highly recommend you watch an interview John did on the Merlin Show to get a better idea of just how cool he is. I just saw on his site that he told everyone he was going to be at the Sonic Boom General Store in Seattle last Sunday cashiering—I’m so sad I didn’t read that when I was there, because John Vanderslice is one of those guys who I would really love to shake hands with. Some day. If you’ve heard Emerald City, what are your thoughts?
Emerald City (2007) Click HERE to stream full-length album:
Pixel Revolt (2005):
Cellar Door (2004):
Life and Death of An American Fourtracker (2002):