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Smokey Brights

SXSW Presents: Smokey Brights

 *photo by Yunkin Keophoma

The 70s was a good era for music. To today's generation, much of that decade is considered to have produced nothing but solid gold oldies. But for matrimonial duo Smokey Brights, it's the era they've used as channelled inspiration for their sonic release. They're like a sift through milk crates full of records, each one touching on a different aspect of rock history. 

With a psychedelic flair that encompasses both funky and groovy notes, Smokey Brights have used their new EP, Come to Terms (Freakout Records), to express a list of grievances to come to terms with. Of them, heartbreak, shady politics and empty conversations are all examined within the four tracks on Come to Terms, softened by rousing crystalline rock sounds. It's entirely too easily to get caught up in Smokey Brights' textures and whether you're fervently listening to the lyrics or dazedly zoning out to their resonance, it's an all around enlivening experience.

The 5th Annual Freakout! Fest comes back tonight

Triple city-based indie label Freakout Records has been churning out some pretty fine electronic, psych and lively rock from three out of the four corners of the states. Operating out of Seattle, Los Angeles and New York, Freakout has taken to occupying various venues in Ballard for its festival since 2012, with artists of their own catalog, as well as other artists scattered around the Northwest and the country. Freakout! Festival returns again tonight, and its bill is as stacked as ever.

Co-presented by The Stranger, Audioasis on KEXP and supported by Killroom Records, Treefort Music Fest and Artist Home Record Club, Freakout! Fest will be hitting up its usual Ballard staples like Conor Byrne and Tractor Tavern, with Sarah Gerritsen and Roadkill Ghost Choir kicking things off with some early sets. Tonight's hip hop will be fulfilled by up and coming lyricist Taylar Elizza Beth, with some dark stoner psych coming from Blackwater Holy Light. Energetically folky blues comes from Battleme, who are out on tour supporting their new Cult Psychotica release, while Charms and FKL bring more of a dancey feel to a couple of the headlining spots.

Much of Saturday's bill recalls a warmer, more carefree season thanks to some surf-drenched sets from Baywitch, The Shivas and Guantanamo Baywatch, The White Tears and Pearl Dragon is Dead are collaborating on their performance at the Conor Byrne, Porter Ray and Jus Moni killing it in the rhythm and rhymes department, and Kelli Schaefer and Maiah Manser representing for solo noir pop.

There's so many more acts to see, thank goodness they're all playing on the same street. You can find more information about the artists, venues and tickets over at the Freakout Records site.

Rio Grands Release A-Z

Use the Internet to your advantage while perusing new music and things get weird. Type in "Rio Grands" to find mostly extraneous information. Learn about that 1950s movie and the long river nowhere near the Pacific Northwest. After browsing menus from steakhouses and Mexican restaurants, the light at the end of the tunnel is gleaming so close you can feel it. That light translates well once the music starts. Rio Grands have already found a way to channel sunny and approachable vibes despite the conflicting surroundings. Close your eyes and imagine thriving beach parties. This Sunday, that party will take the form of the record release for A-Z at Rontoms, which has been two years in the making. Consider the build up and understand this is not something to be missed. - Colette Pomerleau


Motopony Play Neumo's July 7th

Seattle quintet Motopony, who just released their self-titled debut last month, will headline a show at Neumo’s on July 7th. They will play with two other Emerald City locals, Smokey Brights and Cumulus. Motopony’s sound is a winning combination of Grateful Dead-esque folk music and the funky and soulful voice of frontman Daniel Blue. Listen to one of the album’s highlights, “Seer,” below. - Josh Johnson



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