By Matt Crowley/The AS Review
The AS Productions Underground Coffeehouse Concert Series will be hosting only one show this week due to Wednesday’s observance of Veteran’s Day. In place of our usual two band review, The AS Review sat down with Nick Duncan, coordinator of the Concert Series.
As coordinator, a position Duncan’s held since September, his job is to not only book shows and contact bands, but also to manage the series’ budget and decide what they can and can’t afford.
When booking bands, Duncan, along with Assistant Coordinator Lora Mednick, tend to look for local talent. Their goal is to make the Coffeehouse a “microcosm of the Bellingham music scene,” Duncan said, noting that they are one of the few all-ages venues in the area.
“Beyond that, for me, I want to change the Coffeehouse from a singer-songwriter vibe and bring in some new stuff,” Duncan said. “We want it to be a fun year.”
Duncan and Mednick will also be releasing a concert calendar soon, detailing the shows for the rest of fall quarter. They plan to release similar calendars for winter and spring quarters as well.
One of the bands on the calendar is Thimble vs. Needle, who will be playing the Coffeehouse at 8 p.m. on Nov. 13. Thimble vs. Needle is the new project of Bellingham native Kat Bula. Bula previously played in local bands Feed and Seed and Pirates ‘R Us, and has received positive reviews from publications around the area, such as What’s Up! Magazine and Cascadia Weekly.
“They fell in our lap, which has happened from time to time. It just comes together,” Duncan said.
Thimble vs. Needle is fully folk, but not in the same way that bands like Fleet Foxes or Blitzen Trapper are folk. The sound isn’t as full, with usually only one or two instruments accompanying Bula’s dominant vocals. Bula’s voice is beautiful and natural. Sometimes it doesn’t even feel like she is trying, while in other songs, like “Laptop Noooooo,” she shows her range, straining to hit the highest of notes.
Outside of Bula’s vocals, the songs are simple and straightforward: guitar-picking, some string arrangements here and there, an accordion and sparse percussion.
It would be easy to compare Bula to fellow folkster Kimya Dawson. Both are experts at telling stories of youth and love through silly anecdotes and analogies, but Bula’s music is much slower and in some ways more diverse than Dawson’s. While their voices may sound similar at times, Bula seems to be more willing to push the limits of her vocal chords.
Bula is backed by Mara Fields (cello), Anna Arvan (cello and vocals), Chris Stanback (ukulele, bass and percussion) and Peter Woiwod (drums). Thimble vs. Needle will also be playing at the Western Gallery at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 18.
Thimble vs. Needle released their self-titled debut on May 18. Listeners can either download the album for free or pay whatever amount they want for higher quality files, à la Radiohead in 2007 with their “In Rainbows” album. Physical copies can be purchased at Everyday Music on Railroad Avenue or at one of their shows.
As always, the shows are free and open to everyone.