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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.

Seattle Deli's Artist of the Month: Charms

 Our shared reality knows some things to be true; when it’s raining you get wet, the sun is hot, and guitar sounds like a guitar. But the abhorrence of traditional values and exploration outside this shared reality will show that musical timbres aren’t always what they seem to be, and things that may be obvious on the outside can often reveal new secret tonalities.

It’s the lines between where Charms straddle their success as neither a pop band nor a noise group.  When you look at them on a stage you’ll see keys, guitar, drums and a mic, and for a while you may effectively be duped into thinking that this is just another rock band. But when Eleazer spins on his heals and engages his rainbow machine pedal, things suddenly turn into a baffling display of sonic mastery. Josh oscillates his synths into a noisy rhythmic beat and Ray commands a small avalanche behind the drums, enforcing a sonic mood that is reminiscent of Mission of Burma’s noisy brand of post punk.

But it’s not all chaos and noise; underneath the obscured and effected timbres lays the pop tones of Metal Box, or even The Wipers. Eleazer and the boys have harnessed a knack for writing indelible hooks that are bent on the political climates and dystopian love affairs that only a synth could describe. Using volume as a great uniter to push forward Eleazer’s Johnny rotten-esque croons, Charms will certainly put the hex on you and your ears as you are helplessly overcome in a freakish post punk fantasy.


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