SUNDAY MAY 31, 2009
doors at 7pm
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And the award for best name of the year for a pop or rock group goes to…Natalie Portman's Shaved Head, at least according to their fans. Now, the electro-pop foursome with the attention-grabbing name is about to go global in a big way with the release of their debut LP, Glistening Pleasure. The album, relentless in its musical pursuit of happiness, features songs about everything you love about that best time in your life! The tracks are energetic, immediately catchy, and irresistibly danceable. And, despite their own youth—they're 18-20 year olds—there's not a speck of bubble gum on the disc, with the possible exception of "Bedroom Costume," a tongue-in-cheek track about innocent, accidental window-peeking, that sparks a secret crush among the boy and girl next door.

Formed a few years ago by friends attending an arts-focused high school in downtown Seattle, Natalie Portman's Shaved Head is comprised of Luke Smith (vocals/guitar/bass/keys), Shaun Libman (vocals/percussion), Claire England (vocals/synth bass/keys), and David Price (vocals/keys/guitar). Smith and Libman started the NPSH phenomenon accidentally while tinkering with old-school synthesizers and drum machines. Because they weren't at all serious about starting a band at the time, they took the liberty of adding some naughty words to their electro-pop sound and took it public just for laughs. From those initial explorations came something profound and surprising that may quite possibly change the face of pop as we know it. Libman says that it was the facial expressions in the audience that convinced the two to expand the group. With the keys and guitar of the dashing David Price and the in-your-face synth bass of Claire England added to the mix, the line-up is both solid and, at times, inspiring.

Natalie Portman's Shaved Head has come a long way since those first attempts at technology. After winning the audience-favorite award at Soundoff!, the Northwest's largest battle of the bands, they went on to play at a variety of high profile venues including Bumbershoot 2007 where they were filmed and interviewed by Spin Magazine. Their shows are now packed with instant fans, one of whom was Lovefoxxx of CSS, who is often credited with discovering the band on their myspace. According to legend, she apparently saw something in the group and wanted to encourage it. She proved her devotion by wearing one of their t-shirts on stage and by eventually arranging to have NPSH appear on the bill with them at a sold-out Seattle show last year.

Since their first release, Secret Crush EP, last year, the band has continued to create songs out of Smith's comfortable and cozy home studio, and is preparing to release the Glistening Pleasure album on Team Swan Records in July 2008. More than a year in the making, the new record features tremendous variety in its 13 songs. Smith says, "I like examining how a successful pop song is so pleasurable to listen to. I think one of the key ingredients is surprise, and we tried to put a lot of that in this record." Certainly, the songs have a distinct flavor from every member of the band.

With all the sincerity and poise of Eddie Haskell, "Me + Yr Daughter" advises guys to get along with the parents if they want to get the girl. The song drives forward with a gritty synth bass that pulses relentlessly, and a humorous and ironically bright chorus. And "Confections" lives up to its sweet name. There are pleasant and unusual harmonies and twists and treats for all. The songs are filled with all the post-high-school energy, wonder, and catchy hooks you'll ever need. Natalie Portman's Shaved Head promises a humorous truth that everyone and anyone can recall. Glistening Pleasure will pump the beat right back into your heart.


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