Iska Dhaaf

The Crocodile Presents:

Iska Dhaaf

Spirit Award, Kelli Schaefer

Wed, September 20, 2017

8:00 pm

The Crocodile

Seattle, WA

$10 Adv.

This event is all ages

Iska Dhaaf
Iska Dhaaf
ISKA DHAAF

taken from Somali, translated roughly to “let it go”

In 2011 Nathan Quiroga (Mad Rad, Buffalo Madonna) and Benjamin Verdoes (Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band) left their respective Seattle-based projects behind and began collaboration on Iska Dhaaf. The band was quickly embraced for their engaging live shows, and for creating the sound of a full band by way of two people. Together as songwriters they have steadily explored production, instrumentation, and an ever-expanding narrative voice.

After the release of their debut, Even the Sun Will Burn, they toured across North America, Western Europe, relocated to New York, and most recently wrote and performed in Paris and Berlin. Their upcoming album,The Wanting Creature, sees the duo emerging as producers, experimenters and genre-bending artists. The new songs show an ongoing devotion to lyrical depth and composition, and the album more fully utilizes their diverse musical backgrounds.

The Wanting Creature takes the complications of loss, depression, and instability from Nathan Quiroga’s & Benjamin Verdoes’ personal lives and uses it as fuel for these new songs. The new work revolves around the theme of desire and how it manifests in each area of our lives, even our biology.

True to the form of their first album, the lyrics on TWC are rich, nuanced and layered. Every word is carefully chosen and there is a precise subtlety that allows the lines to continually unfold new meaning and imagery. The band took their early methods of composition and pushed them into a new realm of production. This was due to the band’s desire to move forward but also the spatial constraints of New York City. The arrangements are bathed in digital textures and explore entirely new sonic territory. Much like Phantogram, Liars, and other contemporary innovators, Iska Dhaaf have pushed themselves to a wider spectrum of possibilities and experimentation.
Spirit Award
Spirit Award
Spirit Award’s debut full length, Neverending, out on October 6th, houses momentum and starkness. The Seattle three-piece pushes and pulls the ten songs with staggered bright darkness and a massive sound. Sprawling, stereo guitars puncture out from a driving bass/drum foundation. While Spirit Award is aptly capable of generating catchy psych moments, there seems to be no calculable formula to their writing style. Vocal sections dipped in effects shape them more like an instrument, putting the bass in the role of lead guitar. Moments of Neverending point to influences of early New Order and Can, baiting you with a hook then leaving you droning to a krautrock beat.

Spirit Award credit the death of a family member, anxiety, a robbery, and the ending of a relationship for the record’s pensive, yet hopeful look into the future. Through all this the band continued working on the record over the course of two years, which is why it garnered the name, Neverending.

Neverending was recorded with Jack Endino (Nirvana), and Eric Corson (Perfume Genius, Ceremony) and GG Reynolds (Sleater-Kinney).
Kelli Schaefer
Kelli Schaefer
In 2011, Kelli Schaefer released her first full length record Ghost of the Beast - a compilation of singles released throughout 2009 on the artist-run label Amigo Amiga Recordings. A surprising follow up to her 2008 Lasso the Moon EP, Ghost of the Beast is a haunting art-pop record with a backbone made of steel and distortion. Schaefer garnered praise and attention, sharing the stage with Damien Jurado, Wild Flag, and the Corin Tucker Band. Included in Willamette Week’s “Best New Band” poll, with a music video featured on Paste, tracks featured on NPR and KEXP, and multiple regional festival appearances, Schaefer’s debut was gaining momentum in the northwest.

But when Schaefer decided to step back from the whirlwind of live shows to focus on her follow up, she found that she wanted to go in a different direction. She kicked off this exploration with a self-produced, limited release EP titled 601 in May of 2013, debuting the beginnings of her new sound. Starting in 2014, she joined back up with Ghost of the Beast producer Drew Grow, and her bandmates Jeremiah Hayden and 601 guitarist Ryan Lynch, and found her vision had shifted to a more conceptual, unhinged rock and roll sound.

Schaefer found herself looking at her small-town upbringing, and finding that she could not see herself reflected there, but could not stop digging in deeper. During this time a few things happened that both shifted the focus of the album, and buoyed it: her father passed away unexpectedly in 2015, and the political landscape of the United States shifted to reflect those same small-town characters more than ever before. Driven to explore the darkest corners of her own origin, and also to step outside of herself, the record came into being after almost three years of writing and recording.

No Identity is darker than Ghost of the Beast, growling with confidence - but with a sense of humor. Confidence was hard-won, coming out of the passing of her father and dealing with the unavoidable ripples from it, the record was as much shaped by life and life was shaped around the record. The title track of No Identity kicks off with a beat as strong as a heart and a guitar line threatening to explode. She sings in clear, close range:
I am a bobcat
Trying to be a tiger
Trying to push through

Mirroring the expansive noise and incisive shadow of PJ Harvey, with the fearless abandon of Nick Cave, and vocal play of Bjork, No Identity travels at light speed through the American landscape so many of us left and forgot to examine. It is a genesis story marked with resolve and technical prowess - muscular guitar, rumbling bass, and vocals that bend over themselves and spring back to shape.

The melodies are pop with meat on their bones, robust and full, unafraid to stick in your head and to your ribs. It is art-pop with depth and vision, the product of an artist who not only carved out a space for herself, but has grown into a voice that has the potential to reshape a well-worn world.

No Identity earns Schaefer a reputation as one of Portland's strongest songwriters.
Venue Information:
The Crocodile
2200 2nd Ave
Seattle, WA, 98121
http://www.thecrocodile.com/