Blood Red Dancers
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Blood Red Dancers

Seattle, Washington, United States | SELF

Seattle, Washington, United States | SELF
Band Rock Blues


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Blood Red Dancers are Devils in the Emerald City."

They’re an unconventional trio of bass, keyboards and rhythm with vocals primarily from Aaron Poppick that would be just as well suited for cursing the Gods from upon mountain high as they are for cracking the paint in the local venues. It teeters on the edge of self destruction - a cigarette ash 3 inches long, but still hot. Julian Thomas’ keyboards are from a psychedelic era your dad avoids talking about. Dripping with sweat and the foam of a rabid dog. The bass, again from Aaron Poppick, and drum of Kevin R. Lord create rhythmic drones that rattle the bones. They strike a primal chord in the soul, reverting it to a time when strength and teeth decided the ruling class. The songs themselves are deliberate as a steam engine. They evoke images of drafty candle lit rooms in an dilapidated inn where downstairs men obsess over broken dreams obscured by rivers of drink. The name, Blood Red Dancers is partially derived from the legends of aboriginals that would paint themselves in the blood of their enemies for celebratory dances. How’s that for imagery…Even their attire of cuffed shirts, slacks and suspenders casts them into a time before any of us can remember, right down to a dollop of palm-aide greasing back the hair.
This is not music to dance to, but it is music that will move you. You can download their free EP Let Him Fight, I’ll be in the Breadline, here. It’s broody, evocative and heavy hearted. To give it a sound, I’d say mix a little Doors, a little Tom Waits, and a little Elvis on a hella-fuggin-drug bender. Wham there you have it. Surprisingly though, the players themselves seem to dump all this out of their system while on stage. Out of the light, they’ve got a easy view of the world, contagious sense of humor and are interested in things you expect a group of fellas to be interested in; drinking, low cut blouses, listening to music, drinking and listening to music while looking above the low cut of a blouse. You know, the usual.
They have been friends since they were little, all playing and listening to music together since we were kids. Julian is both jazz and classically trained on piano. Aaron has been playing bass for ten years. Kevin’s primary instrument was not the drums but they came naturally to him. Lucky us.
Currently Blood Red Dancers are tearing up the local circuit and playing a ton of shows around Seattle. You can catch them at any or all of the shows listed below. I’d recommend grabbing their free EP here to whet the pallet. - Seattle Subsonic (Kevin LeDoux)

"CD Review: Let Him Fight, I'll Be in the Breadline by Blood Red Dancers"

I want to get this out of the way – Blood Red Dancers sound a lot like the Doors, one of my top bands ever. Would I still like this band, if say, I had never heard the Doors? Yes, yes, yes.

Their debut ep, Let Him Fight, I'll Be In The Breadline, starts with Sweetie's Gettin' Mobbed, and it sounds like an ode to a stripper: I like watching all those boys watching you/ Some might say I'm jealous, and yeah I guess it's true/ I find it amazing watching all that watching you go through/ I like watching all those boys watching you. It, as do the other six tracks, has a throbbing bass line that you would do well to pay close attention to. It's also got warm keyboards - it's sinister and it coordinates well with the rattling and brutal voice of singer Aaron Poppick.
1000 Times features a harmonica and organ. Strange? Damn right. Does it work though? Absolutely: Drinkin' that liquor gets me mean sometimes/ If I get that woman Lord I'll be fine. . . You take one look at her and she'll heal your eyes. It's no wonder the band lists drinking, pretty girls and pretty girls drinking as influences on their myspace. The vocal delivery is again so brutal you feel like the singer is right in the room with you. All For You is a hallucinogenic song and it's got lovely guitars carrying it.

Fur Skin Coat is a weird romantic piece: Gonna get my woman something real, real nice/ once I get those pennies off that dead guy's eyes. It's spooky with what sounds like jangling chains and ghosts singing in the background. The Lamb is again sleazy and dramatic – and bless it for that. It swirls out of control as sometimes you want rock to do: Come and take my hand/ as we burn down the land. . . if we do it in the name of God/ Then the blood will wash off. Muddy Water starts off Poppick's groan, then elaborates with a cool, cool bass line.

This Seattle band has made one of the best eps/cds of the year. I want more.
- Dagmar Patterson (SeattlePI music Blog)

"Seattle Weekly REVERBfest band reviews"

As Hannah Levin reported a few weeks ago, Seattle musicians might have their hearts set on Los Angeles, but L.A. musicians like Blood Red Dancers prove that Seattle is still seen as a fertile musical training ground. These dudes moved here not long ago and have already established themselves in the local scene with their weird brand of dark blues, psych-outs, whack-jazz, and fire-and-brimstone gospel-rock. Singer Kevin R. Lord sounds like Jim Morrison (or, rather Iggy Pop when he aped Morrison on the Stooges first record). With a heavy layer of organ and the occasional harmonica, their songs evoke images of fiery confession and brooding obsession and guilt. Imagine 16 Horsepower writing the soundtrack to Elvis’ private, teeth-grinding-haven’t-slept-in-weeks moments. BJB - Brian J. Barr (Music Editor, Seattle Weekly)

"Last Night: REVERBfest, Installment One"

I started the evening with Blood Red Dancers, a three-piece band that manages to create some really trippy, rough-around-the-edges rock and roll without the use of any guitar whatsoever. Just bass, keys and drums. This band deserves every last ounce of hype they've received...and probably more. I was pleased to see that they had a solid audience at the Sunset, even though it was early in the day. I bought their EP. You should too. - Sara Brickner (Clubs Editor, Seattle Weekly)

"Don't Lazy Saturday what you can't understand"

Why are we talking about all of this on a Saturday? Seattle’s Blood Red Dancers have a five-song EP coming out on November 14 that is (largely) about the failure of the American dream and the obvious consequences that failure has on the world. It’s a violent, angry collection of songs that serve as a loud reminder that we ought to be unsettled by the state of the world. The message of the music is important, in that it serves the same function that “Masters of War” does, acting as a piece of art that is not sugar-coated and stabs as harshly as possible at the corrupt underpinnings of society. In other news, every song absolutely rocks. Protest songs (probably) only work if they’re good. Set my rantings to music and nobody would listen. Blood Red Dancers are talented enough to make music that exists as an entity separate from its subtext. The tunes aren’t only important. They’re also good.

The harshest track on The Bikini Island EP (our early emails from Blood Red Dancers had the title of the EP as Swimming Near Bikini Island, which is a thousand time better, but we’re willing to forgive) is the closer, “American Dream.” Told from the perspective of a soldier in one of the desert-based wars, the song has some devastating lyrics. “I ain’t here for no government plan/No, I came to settle a score./Well now I realize I’m just here for war” comes on the heels of a description of a rape of a Muslim girl. Jesus. Blood Red Dancers sum up the dystopic American vision that both got folks enlisted and got them to places that make no sense. Tack on Aaron Poppick’s David Yow plus three more packs a day growl (dude has a truly distinctive voice that has to be heard to be understood) lurking in front of a militaristic drum cadence and creepily out of sync piano lines and you have a truly disturbing song that serves to remind us that we should be in the streets telling the government that we’re against the war.

The other four songs are less impactful intellectually, but just as solid. Take the Let Him Fight, I’ll Be in the Breadline EP together with this one and you’ve got an exceptionally strong ten song record. There’s more diversity in the keyboard sounds that Julian Thomas pushes on this collection; the previous EP was about what Kevin saw as a kind of Doors inspired organ hook. There’s more piano on this EP which works nicely to highlight the elemental destructiveness of Poppick’s vocals. The piano line in “All You Need is Money,” another straightahead attack on American hegemony, is oddly bouncy but still pitch perfect. (“All You Need is Money” is my favorite track, for the record. This connection makes no sense, but it has a tempo shift that makes me think of My Morning Jacket, which is a decidedly good thing.)

Bikini Island will be available on the band’s myspace in the immediate future. You need to listen to it because it is incredibly well done and thematically important. We don’t get those two things happening together all that often. To whet your appetite, we’ve got “The Shepherd,” which might make you want to write a letter to your congressman.

- Brian Citizendick

"Block-Party-at-The-Cha-Cha-Saturday-Blood Red Dancers"

Aaron Poppick, Julian Thomas, and Kevin Lord have been preaching their fire and brimstone whisky guilt for the past three years as Blood Red Dancers. Having been featured in numerous Seattle publications including being mentioned in the Seattle P-I’s blog as having “made one of the best EPs/CDs of the year,” for 2008's Let Him Fight, I’ll Be In The Breadline, this trio of drunken ghosts represents a pleasant breath of brine and blood soaked reality for the emerald city.

They’ve been playing music together for a decade, moving up to Seattle from California within months of each other. With Thomas’ piano and organ wails, Poppick’s coffin nail drum pounding and thundering bass backing up a voice stolen from a werewolf’s throat, the Dancers do a fantastic job of weaving methodical dark rock with the care of an angry funeral march. The support the instruments lend to Poppick’s vocals recall the atmospheres created by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds and Angels of Light with the basic yet augmented rock framework of The Animals.

“Feel Good Hate” is a two and a half minute rum soaked confession booth of a tune. The panels are supplied by Poppick’s bass and Lord’s percussion and the wavering guilt by Thomas’ chiming minor piano. None of these constructions do a very good job at holding in Poppick’s “confession” which reaches a fever pitch vehement enough to make any priest wonder whether this is genuine regret or if this man just wanted to share his deeds.

A new EP will be recorded this fall and should come out aptly this winter. Blood Red Dancers play The Cha Cha Lounge this Saturday at 5:45pm and the Sunset Tavern on August 27th. For the rest of The Cha Cha’s Block Party Schedule, go here.

- Daniel Ahrendt Seattle Showgal

"Blood Red Dancers at the Blue Moon"

Saturday night Blood Red Dancers celebrated the release of their EP Bikini Island with a gritty, brooding set of their brand of the blues at The Blue Moon. Blood Red Dancers specialize in dark, raw drinking songs delivered with powerful performances from each member of the trio. Singer and bassist Aaron Poppick growls and spits his words like a curse, while drummer Kevin T. Lord looks like he knows a hundred ways to kill a man with his sticks. It’s all bridged by the piano playing of Julian Thomas, who skillfully molds the mood from spooky psychedelic to dirty delta blues to Depression-era Southern gospel.
Blood Red Dancers by no means put on a flashy performance, but it is very much in your face. It’s rock’n'roll that still feels dangerous. It’s tunes you’re drinking whiskey to, but if the world was fair, and it never is, you would be drinking moonshine. It’s leering at you and is just as ready to fight you, as it is ready to sling an arm around you and whistle at passing pretty girls. It’s tormented and taut, and if you haven’t seen them yet — you should really remedy that. But do it at a dive, do it at a place like the Blue Moon or the Comet or the Funhouse, where you can stand toe-to-toe with the band and look the devil in the eye.
- Abbey Simmons at Sound on the Sound

"Red, Red Fine"

By Sara Brickner Wednesday, Nov 11 2009

Listening to the first track from Seattle trio Blood Red Dancers' 2008 debut EP, Let Them Fight, I'll Be in the Breadline, feels like watching the scene in Night of the Living Dead when Barbara gets attacked in the cemetery. In "Sweetie's Gettin' Mobbed," a shrill, cacophonous organ (generated by a decrepit Roland XP60 and a couple of distortion pedals) wails along with Aaron Poppick, whose acrid, gravelly howling comes partnered with a sinister bass line.

No guitar is needed to generate this ominous, percussive psychedelia, in which the lyrics are almost universally about dysfunctional sexual relationships, violence, and the hideous depths to which humans can sink. It's like taking a little too much acid right after reading The Destructors, then watching everything melt around you—but being too engrossed and powerlessin theface of your environment's collapse to tear yourself away. It's powerful stuff, but the band's dry sense of humor and irresistible pop hooks keep the music from becoming so heavy with gloom and bitter fury that it sinks altogether.

"I'm a really angry person," Poppick, who writes all the band's lyrics, says over a pint at the Stumbling Monk, a dim Capitol Hill bar that specializes in Belgian beers.When asked if his music is supposed to feel like watching a horror movie,Poppick nods in assent. "When you look at Holocaust pictures and footage, it moves you. It really hits you, and you're like, 'Wow, this is really ugly, and powerful, and necessary,'" he observes."I want to write songs that do that."

Poppick, with drummer Kevin Lord and pianist Julian Thomas, are here to discuss The Bikini Island EP,their follow-up to Breadline.The current effort issimilar toBreadline in that a vein of simmering fury runs throughboth, but the EP couldn't possibly sound more different. Here theorgan all but disappears, leaving a more ordered, precise piano in its place. Furthermore, drums are featured more prominently, while comparatively understated bass lines fade into the background. Poppick's vocals are more melodic as well.

Though Bikini Island sounds as if it could be the title of a '60s surf flick with an Elvis look-alike wielding a ukulele, the reality is much more chilling: Bikini Island is a real place in Micronesia that became a contaminated wasteland after the American government used it as a nuclear testing site. It is also the island after which the practically ubiquitous two-piece swimsuit was named in 1946. That juxtaposition of something as pleasant and sexually arousing as a bikini and as frightening as the possibility of nuclear war epitomizes the Blood Red Dancers' approach to songwriting.

"We actually sat down and watched Mondo Cane the other night," Lord says. "It's a 1960s film that shows a whole bunch of footage of the atrocities of mankind. Bikini Island is in it." Poppick jumps in to elaborate. "They show these sea turtles that are so plagued with nuclear radiation from all the testing that they lay their eggs and all the testing makes them so sick that they go inland instead of back out to sea," Poppick says. "So there's just all these dead sea turtles lying on their backs, and there are all these birds picking at their bones." "And then in front of all of that," Lord interjects, "just put a WASPy girl in a little bikini shakin' it a little bit and drinking a fuckin' mai tai."

The humor of the contrast causes him and his bandmates to howl with laughter, attracting the attention of the French conversation group chatting behind them. Poppick smirks and shakes his head a little. "Yeah, that's the Blood Red Dancers' idea of a fun night: Us sitting around in the dark in Kevin's apartment drinking and watching this horrible movie of all these sea turtles dying from radiation on this Bikini Island," he says. This exchange comes in what seems like one run-on sentence, each man interjecting halfway through the other's thought whileThomas, fresh off a 30-hour flight back from visiting family in New Zealand, blinks blearily and occasionally interjects with a surprisingly in-depth knowledge of Bikini Island's history.

It's the sort of dynamic you'd expect from people who've known each other most of their lives. Poppick was friends with Thomas and Lord as kids in Glendale, Calif., and introduced the pair to each other as adolescents. "We actually all met together to go to a Smog concert, back when we were 15," Poppick says.

Smog and the Smiths, Thomas adds, were formative musical influences. While the latter obsession is not so evident on Breadline, it is palpable on Bikini Island; there's something about the way Thomas plays that smacks of the piano sound employed on the Smiths' Louder Than Bombs, particularly during the instrumental track "Oscillate Wildly." Breadline, on the other hand, garnered a different comparison.

"Everyone started saying that we sounded like the Doors after our first EP, and we were like, 'That's fucking rad, we like the Doors, but that was not our intention,'" Poppick says. On Bikini Island, Poppick's vocals sound more like Tom Waits than Jim Morrison—though Poppick's gruff growl is more melodic than Waits' famously unpretty grumbling.

Though they're reluctant to admit it, the band's pop makeover is a bid to attract the attention of a larger audience: specifically, KEXP's audience.This is why the band decided to shell out to record Bikini Island at Avast, a studio that's been patronized by artists from Cat Power to Built to Spill, rather than in a home recording studio owned by Poppick's boss.

Problem is, while Bikini Island is poppier than its predecessor, it's also not as approachable. In its quest to differentiate itself from the '60s garage sound it started with, the band sacrificed the instant accessibility that is emblematic of most pop music. Whereas Breadline offers instantly catchy bass hooks that snare the ear in seconds, Bikini Island's jazz-influenced piano parts and moody Morrissey moments take longer to sink in; it's telling that the EP's best songs are those that don't stray quite as far from the formula the band used the first time. "Rainy Day Rag" retains some of that psychedelic cacophony, though a tinny piano takes the place of a humming bass guitar, and "Hold You Like a Gun" has drums, not bass, in the foreground.

If the band can strike a balance between the two EPs on a future release, only then will KEXP—and everyone else—start paying attention. Thankfully, then, it seems unlikely that the band will venture much further into shiny, upbeat pop territory. "Hookers and drugs and alienation and obsession, all of that shit captures my attention," Poppick says. "You know, that imagery that shows the ugliness of things." - Seattle Weekly


Self-Released: "With Diet and Exercise"
Coming out December 12th, 2010.

Self-Released: "The Bikini Island EP" (2009)

The following songs have had airplay on KEXP 90.3
Track 1: Feel Good Hate
Track 2: All You Need Is Money
Track 3: Rainy Day Rag
Track 5: The Shepherd

Self-Released: "Let Him Fight, I'll Be in the Breadline" EP (2008)

The following songs have had airplay on KEXP 90.3 and The End 107.7:
Track 1: Sweetie's Gettin' Mobbed
Track 5: The Lamb



the park is on fire and all the heroes are drunk,
there's just too many people to save.

blood red dancers...
julian, aaron and kevin live in seattle, washington.
they are blood red dancers.
listening to elvis during the end of days though a fuzzy radio with crackling government code sneaking in and out of the signal.
alcohol induced coma.
strippers dancing to james brown.
pharmaceutical companies.
billie holiday's smile.
pregnant teens.
do the twist.
friendly fire.

blood red dancers play a new kind of blues.