MP3 Smoosh - She Like Electric
A sister duo who make up exceedingly endearing, piano-based indie pop and have shared the stage with Death Cab for Cutie, Cat Power, Sleater Kinney, The Presidents of the US, and Pearl Jam. Oh... and they''re 10 and 12 years old. Read the reviews to learn
14 MP3 Songs
ROCK: 90''s Rock, POP: 90''s Pop
Check out the quotes from some recent articles about Smoosh below. And come back soon to see upcoming articles in new issues of Jane, Modern Drummer, Vice, Alternative Press, and Devil in Woods (DIW).
"Their best quality, and the thing that has fans and fellow rock stars responding so intensely, is their fearlessness. Asy and Chloe aren''t waiting for permission from anyone."
- The Stranger (Sean Nelson)
"Sweet, perfect pop numbers sure to elicit a smile. "
- Rockrgirl (Chris Burlingame)
"...the youthful glow these two effortlessly bask in is exactly the sort of vibe that dozens of too-cool-for-school indie bands in the Northwest have attempted for years. Ironically, She Like Electric is much more accomplished and enjoyable... the duo''s straightforward and simple approach is deadly effective."
- The Orlando Weekly (Jason Furguson)
"Smoosh is awesome"
-The Stranger (Megan Seling)
"Darlings of the local music scene."
- Seattle PI (Gene Stout)
"This album blew me away. Ultimately, all descriptive words will fall short of the serene, just-plain-happy feeling you''ll get when you listen to this band."
- Playback St. Louis Culture (Anne Valente)
The Oregonian (MARTY HUGHLEY)
"The wonderful thing about their debut She Like Electric is that it''s an auditory manifestation of unselfconsciousness and unbridled creativity. Aysa sings with looseness to her melodies and she lets her voice fall on the often dingy keyboard. She isn''t trying to sound as sweet as she does - sweetness comes naturally to her."
- Flagpole Weekly - Athens, GA (Bunny Mcintosh)
"The preternaturally gifted duo spearheads a growing movement of young female independent bands with an ingenuous, instinctual wisdom that comes as naturally as their multifaceted, genre-tickling songwriting"
- KUOW 94.9 (Seattle NPR Station)
"First song is an instant hit. This record is a million shades of great."
-Kitty Magik (Adam Gnade)
"From the get go, it grabs your heart with a righteous, forward pushing courageousness. Grade A."
- Meanstreet Magazine (Adam Gnade)
"Young and adorable, yes, but these two sisters have one other important attribute: chops."
The following is the complete text from some of the articles:
It''s a glorious midsummer day in North Seattle, and thanks to a foolish navigational error on my part, I''m almost an hour late to interview Smoosh. But when I arrive at their house, Asy, 12, and Chloe, 10, aren''t too upset. What does Seattle''s youngest favorite band do to pass the time when they''re being rudely stood up by the press? I imagine the way other groups might answer that question: have a few beers, watch some TV, change guitar strings, whatever.
Chloe and Asy were out running through the sprinklers. You can hardly blame them. It''s hot out.
The house where Smoosh lives is small, and packed with energetic blond kids. Aside from the young ladies in the band, there are two younger sisters, Maya and Scout (who is still in diapers), and two very mellow, progressive parents, Mike and Maria. There are two pianos in the living room--a small console and a beautiful baby grand (on loan from an aunt). Chloe''s drums and Asy''s Roland synthesizer are set up in the playroom, which also doubles as the master bedroom, right in front of a huge Playmobil house and a white bureau covered in animal stickers. There''s a copy of Island of the Blue Dolphins on the table and a big Hilary Duff pillow on Asy''s bed. Outside, there''s a trampoline and a wading pool, as well as a big friendly black lab named Loni, and a white cat named Yoshen. All the doors are open, everyone''s barefoot, and the hot, late-afternoon sun floods the windows.
In short, the Smoosh house feels like the perfect summertime HQ for preteen kids--suburban enough that you don''t have to worry when neighbors drop by unannounced, but close enough to the city that you can see bits of skyline poking through the trees. It''s the kind of environment that encourages kids to find creative ways to fill their endless hours--the two eldest in this house responded to the stimulation of their surroundings by forming a rock band.
Smoosh got started about two years ago, when Chloe''s drum teacher, Jason McGerr--now the drummer of Death Cab for Cutie, then full-time at the Seattle Drum School--suggested that she start playing along with someone else, the better to understand the role of the instrument in a rock band. As it turned out, Asy had been "messing around" on her keyboard (having quit piano lessons), making up "little songs" in her spare time. Much to everyone''s surprise, Asy''s little songs were turning out to be fairly impressive pop compositions.
It wasn''t long before the Smoosh demo and website (https://www.tradebit.com) began attracting the attention of the Seattle music community and the band started getting show offers. After a relatively short while, the offers got a lot better, and Chloe and Asy found themselves performing live on KEXP and opening for the likes of Sleater-Kinney, Death Cab for Cutie, Cat Power, Nada Surf, and other indie rock big wheels, often in front of huge crowds, on their way to becoming staples of the all-ages music scene around town. It was only a matter of time before some label wised up and offered Smoosh a deal. Enter Pattern 25 Records, a local concern that has released excellent CDs by the likes of Sushirobo, Robert Roth, and Jon Auer, among others. They recently sent Asy and Chloe into Egg Studios with producer Johnny Sangster to record their debut full-length. The result, She Like Electric, will be released September 21.
"It was really fun," Asy says of their time in the studio. "Outside, there''s this big tree, and when we were waiting for Johnny to do the mixes and stuff, we went and climbed up it and stuff. It was really fun to be there."
How did they get hooked up with Pattern 25?
Asy begins. "Well they saw some of our shows, like at the Sunset Tavern and stuff--"
Chloe interjects. "Well, Asy, you don''t know..."
Asy retorts. "Well, he e-mailed us. Remember, he e-mailed us? And we thought about it and we waited a little bit, and we thought that since we were being so picky and stuff they would, like, drop us. But they didn''t...."
I''d been wondering about the dynamic between the sisters. Asy does most of the talking, but she''s not domineering, nor is she full of herself. And when Chloe interrupts, she never seems argumentative; she just wants to get it right. Like all siblings who grow up in close proximity of age and space, they''re able to finish each other''s thoughts, but seem eager to maintain some individuality. Sometimes they talk so quickly and quietly that I can''t understand a word they say. But they always understand each other perfectly.
"We only have two people in our band," Chloe says, "and sometimes it doesn''t sound as full as other bands. Before the show, sometimes the people who work there say, ''Okay, the band can come in,'' and we''re like, ''This is the band.''" She giggles.
One interesting aspect of She Like Electric is the minimal presence of overdubs; the songs aren''t stacked with studio tricks. Aside from the odd doubled vocal, some harmony singing, the occasional keyboard lead, it''s pretty close to the Smoosh live show. Though minimal, the added parts fill the songs out nicely, and showcase Asy''s impressive melodic knack. I wonder if she''s concerned that they won''t be able to play the new parts live.
"[The LP arrangements] don''t sound much different," she says, "''cause we didn''t do tons of new stuff. But it''d be cool if we could do it live. We think Chloe will be able to do some of the backing vocals soon. She''s working on it."
I ask Chloe if she''s looking forward to singing more harmony parts.
"Mm-hmm," she replies, then adds quickly, "I can''t believe that I used to get mixed up between Eddie Murphy and Eddie Vedder."
It''s fun to hang out with Smoosh, but asking them questions about their "process" soon begins to feel ridiculous. Not because they don''t have one, but because the less conscious they are of it, the better. Fascinated as I am by Asy, Chloe, and their family, it verges on the perverse to try and cram these girls into the standard rock band interview brackets. Smoosh''s best quality isn''t their youth. Nor is it their music, though their music is excellent. Their best quality, and the thing that has fans and fellow rock stars responding so intensely, is their fearlessness. Asy and Chloe aren''t waiting for permission from anyone--except maybe their mom and dad, both of whom are happy to see Smoosh thrive. ("As long as their perspective is good," Mike explains, "and I think they''re doing it for the right reasons--which usually, for them, means it''s because it sounds fun--I''ll generally just support what they decide.")
Like Asy''s best song, "Rad," says: "I can go anywhere I want, yo." On a day like this, it''s pretty clear that the best place Smoosh could possibly go is back outside, so that instead of sitting around talking about their band, they can take another run through the sprinklers.
Smoosh perform at the Capitol Hill Block Party on Saturday, July 24, on the Vera Stage at 1 pm. -- Sean Nelson
Flagpole Weekly - Athens, GA (Bunny Mcintosh)
Smoosh is what happens when two little girls unleash their musical instincts on an album; their instincts, fortunately, prove wild and lovely. The duo is 12-year-old Aysa on keyboards and 10-year-old Chloe on drums, who formed Smoosh after meeting Death Cab for Cutie''s Jason McGerr, a Seattle music store clerk at the time. McGerr gave Chloe drum lessons and suggested that she practice with her sister, so Aysa began writing songs on the keyboard.
The wonderful thing about their debut She Like Electric is that it''s an auditory manifestation of unselfconsciousness and unbridled creativity. Aysa sings with looseness to her melodies and she lets her voice fall on the often dingy keyboard. She isn''t trying to sound as sweet as she does - sweetness comes naturally to her, unlike the typical fake-sexy, posturing popbrats these days. Chloe''s drumming is also curious - she flies between a surprising Dave Grohl-wannabe darkness and then turns around and rocks the electric beats lightly and fluently.
Smoosh''s sisters aren''t jaded (or musically practiced) enough to be married to a specific style or format of song writing. They ride from soft and pretty on "Make It Through" to quirky electropop on "LA Pump" to rapping about soccer practice on "Rad" and just being little yelling spazzes on "The Quack." The element that keeps the album from becoming a disjointed hodgepodge is Aysa''s voice: she is so distinct and playful and vibrant, that it becomes thematic in and of itself. She Like Electric has made Smoosh indie rock''s favorite baby sisters; they deserve attention.
Playback St. Louis Culture (Anne Valente)
What can I say about this album that isn''t good? As straightforwardly as I can lay it down, this album blew me away. It bulldozed every prejudice I carried into my first listen, each of which centered on my certainty that kids can''t create decent music. When I first picked it up, I cringed to note that the band was composed of a 10- and 12-year-old sister duo. At 10, I was pouring Coke on bees I had collected in a jar to see if I could outrun the angry swarm once I unscrewed the lid. This is not the kind of maturity level I expect out of good music. With creeping thoughts of Hanson in mind, I forced the album into my CD player anyway...and was completely floored.
Smoosh is amazing, and not even in a "they''re good, for little girls" kind of way. Sure, at times it may be difficult to relate to preteens singing about playing soccer and being happy, but who cares? We were all children once. Somewhere, maybe buried deep beneath that grizzled, world-weary exterior, is a memory in everyone of what it was like to have no cares except what kind of sandwich you''ll find in your sack lunch. One reason among many to enjoy Smoosh is that there are no pretenses. A breath of fresh air from affected, malaise-driven bands, Smoosh just wants to have fun.
In the liner notes of the album as well as on their Web site, sisters Asya and Chloe offer these words of thanks: "We wouldn’t be a band if it wasn''t for Jason." This is Jason McGerr, current Death Cab for Cutie drummer and instructor at the Seattle Drum School. McGerr was working as a salesman at the Trading Musician, a music store in Seattle, when the girls and their parents came in to find a violin for the father. They left with a drum set instead, after McGerr said he would teach 10-year-old Chloe to play. Now a student at the Seattle Drum School, Chloe rocks out on drums while her older sister plays keyboard and sings. The girls have already opened for Death Cab, Dub Narcotic Sound System, and Sleater-Kinney, and Cat Power has even covered one of their songs during her own set.
With such hip connections you''d think Smoosh would be star-struck and dazed, but instead these girls are completely unaffected, creating music inside their own little world. And the music is astounding, so melodically complex that it will provide your ears and mind with endless stimulation; it''s impossible to grow bored listening to this album. The tremendous amount of contrast and texture, lent by a variety of rhythms and sounds, as well as Asya''s lovely vocal range, is quite amazing considering there are only two instruments present. Each song is distinct from the next, too. Chloe and Asya cover all of their bases, from goofy to subdued, and even throw in their own rap-before you judge, see first if you too don''t find yourself singing along.
Ultimately, all descriptive words will fall short of the serene, just-plain-happy feeling you''ll get when you listen to this band. If you appreciate startling talent, drop any preconceived notions and check them out. I guarantee you won''t be sorry. - Anne Valente
Seattle Weekly --
August 4 - 10, 2004
Best Schoolhouse Rock
Not enough rock-star interviews begin with the band being summoned from the backyard pool by their father. Such are the curious circumstances in which we have come to know and love SMOOSH, a haywire teacup ride of a rock machine comprising 12-year-old keyboardist/vocalist Asya (pronounced "Aussie") and 10-year-old drummer Chloe, who have already graduated from coffeehouse gigs to the Showbox. Their short, sweet Pattern 25 debut, She Like Electric, not only balances through-the- looking-glass hip-hop nods ("Rad," "Bottlenose") against lovably nonsensical, syncopated chant-alongs like "The Quack" ("That''s a song we used to do in the back of the car a lot," Asya explains tellingly), but does so with mind-blowing dexterity and an almost eerie, advanced indie-pop sensibility. When Asya''s 100 percent original, boisterous, jazzy Roland organ passages fall into step with Chloe''s precise skins-girl cut her percussive teeth with Death Cab for Cutie''s Jason McGerr at the Seattle Drum School-two killer points of reference spring to mind: think Mates of State fronted by a grounded Tori Amos. But the heck with that. Before junior high and grade school rear their ugly heads yet again, the girls have plenty of ideas about how to waste away those few precious remaining days of summer: soccer, swimming, and naturally, rocking out.
BEST ROCK AND ROLL COFFEEHOUSE: "I like Mr. Spot''s Chai House. It''s really cool. They have bands there a lot of times, almost every night. It''s kind of a distinctive place. A lot of cool people go there to eat lunch."
BEST BEACH: "It''s called the Beach Club, by Lake Washington. It has slides and diving boards and stuff, so it''s a really cool beach. I dive, but not very high."
BEST JAZZ CLUB: "We went to [Dimitriou''s] Jazz Alley once. I went there and saw Pinetop Perkins, and Chloe went there and saw Poncho Sanchez. They also have, like, actual other kinds of jazz, too. We haven''t gone there recently. We were there about a year ago. We mostly just go to venues around home, not usually jazz places, but they''re fun to go to also."
BEST WEEKEND HANGOUT: "We play soccer games a lot, then we''ll come home and there''s a candy store near us that we like to walk to with our friends and stuff. The University Village is cool, too. We usually just walk around places."
BEST LOCAL BAND: "I like the Long Winters. I like a lot of the bands that we''ve played with. I like Sleater-Kinney. We have their CDs and we listen to them a lot. And the Postal Service."
BEST SUMMERTIME LISTENING: "We have this hip-hop CD with a bunch of different people like Snoop Dogg on it. I don''t really know the names of the other [rappers]."
BEST LOCAL DRUMMER: "Jason [from Death Cab] is cool. He wasn''t in the band at that time. We bought a drum set from him at the Trading Musician, and he said I could get lessons from him. He''s one of them. I also like the girl from Sleater-Kinney, Janet [Weiss]."
BEST ROCK VENUE TO FREAK OUT AT: "Some places that are smaller places make me more nervous. Like the VERA Project made me more nervous than the other places we played. I don''t know why. Maybe because it was the first big show we played when we got done playing coffeehouses."
BEST PLACE TO HANG WITH THE OLDER SIS: "We go swimming at the Beach Club with my friends and stuff. They have this log and these little things where you can grab on and you walk on it." -- Andrew Bonazelli
Orlando Weekly -- July 8, 2004
Seattle indie pop duo Smoosh evinces a childlike charm that''s appropriate given that the vocalist/keyboardist is 12 and the drummer is 10. But the youthful glow these two effortlessly bask in is exactly the sort of vibe that dozens of too-cool-for-school indie bands in the Northwest have attempted for years. Ironically, She Like Electric is much more accomplished and enjoyable than, say, anything ever released by Calvin Johnson. Staking a middle ground between impish hipness and catchy pop hooks, the duo''s straightforward and simple approach is deadly effective, and will be that much more so once singer Asya figures out that she doesn''t have to sing every song in the same exact singsongy way.
ROCKRGRL -- Spring 2004
Smoosh: Rock''s Youngest Sister Act
From the Wilson Sisters to the Nields, siblings are hardly a new concept in music. Sibs who make great music before reaching their teens, however are rare. Meet Seattle-based sisters Cloe and Asya of Smoosh, who not only have DNA in common, but also talent far beyond their years.
Twelve-year-old Asya plays keyboards while Chloe, 9, plays drums. They write and sing their own songs. But it''s not just their age or that they write their own material that makes Smoosh worth a listen. It''s the songs -- sweet, perfect pop numbers sure to elicit a smile. Imagine a stripped-down version of the first side of Pet Sounds (before Brian Wilson gets cynical) and you have some clue to Smoosh''s sound. Musically they more than hold their own.
Asya''s keyboards and vocals are a perfect match for her sister''s steady, consistent drum beat. Live, Chloe invites comparisons to Charlie Watts and Meg White.
Although they couldn''t buy alcohol if they combined their ages, Smoosh has already shared the stage with such indie rock powerhouses as Death Cab for Cutie, the Presidents of the United States of America, Cat Power and Sleater-Kinney. Check them out at https://www.tradebit.com.
Well, they don''t call it youth culture for nothing.
But these days it seems that the average age of pop stars just keeps getting younger. And -- as anyone who has suffered through an Aaron Carter show can attest -- this isn''t necessarily a good thing. The rush to capitalize on budding talent (apparently fueled by a music-biz assumption that if you''re in the coveted youth demographic you can''t relate to any performer older than you are), has led to lots of kids making records simply because they can, not because they should.
But then there''s Smoosh.
The members of Smoosh, Seattle sisters Asya and Chloe (last name withheld, perhaps to thwart junior-high locker vandals), are 12 and 10, respectively. Asya sings, plays keyboards and writes lyrics, Chloe drums, and they create the music together. They''ve had some mentoring from Chloe''s percussion teacher, Death Cab for Cutie drummer Jason McGerr, and have opened shows for the likes of Sleater-Kinney, but there are no signs of any Svengali or stage parent driving this ship.
The usual evaluative conundrum applies -- how much credit or slack should be granted on age alone? And, from time to time, there is something slightly wobbly about the just-released Smoosh debut album, "She Like Electric," transitions taking an extra tick to click in, or (more often) Asya''s vocals rushing along in an indecipherable mumble.
But what makes Smoosh truly exciting is that it represents a reversal of the usual precocious-kid formula, wherein the technically gifted show off their early command of the obvious and the uninspired. Asya and Chloe, by contrast, revel in quirkiness and complexity. They have impressive chops, but seem intent on pushing their abilities more than polishing them. Rhythms and melodies are rich and surprising, and lyrics can turn up such nuggets of perspective as "you can get discovered, never find yourself."
The girls aren''t operating out of a vacuum, and the influences of Tori Amos, Nirvana and various manners of indie-pop are apparent. But there''s no paint-by-numbers feel to their music, whether they''re delivering an emotive ballad ("It''s Not Your Day to Shine"), rocking out ("La Pump") or even dabbling in rap ("Rad").
And however they grow from here, Asya and Chloe have made their own cool contribution to a true youth culture.
KUOW 94.9 (Featured Music 10/5/204 The Beat)
Music is nothing if it''s not conceived for the joy of it. "My favorite thing is how when I play out places, it makes me feel all happy. I like to watch my friends watching me," confesses Chloe, 1/2 of Seattle''s Smoosh. The preternaturally gifted duo spearheads a growing movement of young female independent bands with an ingenuous, instinctual wisdom that comes as naturally as their multifaceted, genre-tickling songwriting. Chloe''s older sister Asya, Smoosh''s vocalist and pianist/keyboardist, wails and croons like an old soul with her tiny, tremulous voice. The fearless confidence that often accompanies youth (Asya is twelve, Chloe is ten) runs through Smoosh''s pop-based quirk rock with strength and beauty, and people are listening in awe. We sample the duo''s latest album, She Like Electric.
Seattle Magazine -- Oct. 2003
Kid Rock -- The Next Generation
Teens and preteens in the music business are nothing new. Frankie Lymon and the teenagers had the hit "Why Do Fools Fall in Love" in 1955, when Lymon was only 15. Michael Jackson was a prodigy at 6, a star by 11. This year, there''s even the American Juniors talent show on TV, a program that dangles the carrot in front of every child singer who ever entertained at the in-laws'' knees.
Seattleites Asya and Chloe (they''ve asked us not to print their last name), 11 and 9 respectively, and remarkably unaffected, have been writing and playing original music as Smoosh (https://www.tradebit.com) for two years. Their light, melodious piano-and-drums-informed pop -- contemporary styles filtered through young girls'' ears -- is featured on the 2002 CD, Free to Stay.
Asya began playing at the family piano when she was barely able to stand tall enough to hit the keys. Younger sister Chloe became interested in the drums about four years ago. "We went...to look for a violin for my dad because he wanted to learn an instrument," says Asya. "Instead we found this cool little drum set." Jason McGerr, a salesman at The Trading Musician at the time, as well as a drum instructor at the Seattle Drum School and stickman for Seattle''s popular Death Cab for Cutie, told Chloe that if she bought the drums he would teach her to play. A deal was struck, although dad Michael -- who now acts as chauffeur to shows at the all-ages Vera Project, Mr. Spots Chai House and a host of coffee shops and clubs -- never did get his violin.
As for their influences, Chloe enjoys listening to her father''s CDs with him, bands like Nirvana, and Asya says Tori Amos influenced her music. Although both say they want to continue playing music -- Chloe has recently become fascinated with famed jazz percussionist Pancho Sanchez and wants to take to the congas -- they do have other interests.
I would love to become a professional soccer player," says Asya. But, she admits, there is a glut of ball kickers. So, "I''ll probably just stay with music," she says. "It''s easier."
AT THE VERA PROJECT
Megan Seling - The Stranger
Smoosh is awesome. Seriously. And I''m not just saying that because I''m a nice person who would never dis a band comprising a nine-year-old and an 11-year-old, because I''m actually not that nice and if a band wasn''t very good, I''d come out and say it despite the age of its members. (I''d sugarcoat it, absolutely, but I''d still say it.) So you can trust me when I say Smoosh is totally awesome.
But chances are you weren''t one of the 25 or so people at the Thursday, April 3, Vera Project show to witness Smoosh, so I should probably elaborate. Smoosh is two sisters, 11-year-old Asy and 9-year-old Chloe. Asy plays the drums while Chloe plays a keyboard and sings. It''s really hard to pigeonhole them into a genre because while they''re poppy (like you would expect a duo of pre pre-teens to be), they''re not unbearably childlike (like those strange four- and five-year-olds in frilly dresses that you always see on Star Search). Their age is part of their charm, for sure, but even without taking that into consideration, they still make good music. There was even a little rapping happening. ("Huh, huh. Yo, yo.")
The two girls have been playing shows for about a year, and they also have a CD available through their website, https://www.tradebit.com (there are also MP3s available for download). Keep an eye on these girls, because unless one of them takes off and goes solo, they''re definitely gonna be around for a while.
The Stranger Block Party Preview
Young and adorable, yes, but these two sisters have one other important attribute: chops. Smoosh are becoming a very solid pop duo, as their freshly minted LP, She Like Electric, can attest. They''re great live, too. Saturday, 1 pm.
No ID required at all-ages Free for All! music fest
By GENE STOUT
SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER POP MUSIC CRITIC
Asya, the keyboardist for Seattle sister duo Smoosh, is happy to be playing among her peers tomorrow at Seattle Center''s Free for All! festival.
Asya (pronounced "Aussie") is 12. Her sister, Chloe, is 10.
"I think it''s pretty cool," Asya said by phone from Whidbey Island, where she and Chloe were attending soccer camp this week.
"There are so many adult bands, so it''s really cool that there''s a crowd of young kids, young bands, too, that we can play with. It''s cool to know that there''s other people that have the same lifestyle as us."
Smoosh performs at the free, all-ages concert festival with The Red Light Sting, The Catch, Travis Morrison (of the Dismemberment Plan), Fankick and Infomatik. Music starts at 3:30 p.m.
Hosts of the festival are the Vera Project and YouthCare, an organization helping Seattle-area street kids. YouthCare is encouraging concertgoers to bring hygiene items to donate, such as toothbrushes, socks, deodorant, soap and other personal items. Individuals who donate three or more items will be entered in a raffle to win autographed merchandise from the musicians performing at Free for All!
The festival was created by a team of youths who attended the One Reel/Vera Project Seminar Series in January. The goal of Free for All! is to "enrich the Seattle community through unique, musical, all-ages events." Tomorrow''s event is the first concert.
"It''s not an age-specific showcase," said Shannon Stewart, co-founder and programming director for the Vera Project.
"The idea was to book bands that were lively and energetic and sort of dancey to make for a fun, upbeat afternoon."
Not since the 1990s, when the Mural Amphitheatre offered summertime "A Pain in the Grass" concerts, has there been a big outdoor music event for preteens and teens. Seattle offered the amphitheater to organizers free of charge for tomorrow''s event.
"I think it''s indicative of the newfound trust that city officials have for music and youth," Stewart said.
"They understand that it''s a positive thing and that it can be done in a positive environment. We have a really good relationship with (the city) and Vera gets a tiny bit of funding from them for youth programming. This is part of a partnership with them."
Youth centers, clubs and organizations in Seattle and the East Side have fostered a thriving all-ages scene. The Blood Brothers, now a national touring act, launched their careers at Redmond''s Old Firehouse, an all-ages club.
The bands seem to get younger and younger. In addition to Smoosh, the Northwest has produced a number of promising school-age bands, among them DEK, The Wild Hairs, Savage Lucy (of Ellensburg) and the Diskords (from Portland).
The Vera Project, in partnership with the East Side''s Rock School, is offering a full-time music program to instruct kids on playing instruments, recording, engineering, merchandising and "music business 101."
"I think younger and younger people are getting exposed to not only how to play instruments, but also the dynamics of how to form a group and how to take that group from a rehearsal space onto the stage and navigate the systems that are available," Stewart said.
Asya and Chloe W. (their parents -- a doctor and medical researcher -- wish to keep the family''s name private) played their first public show about two years ago at a local coffee shop. (Asya is the singer/keyboardist, Chloe the drummer.) Since then, they have played all-ages shows at the Sunset Tavern and Graceland.
The duo''s upbeat, poppy sound has won them many fans. The sisters have performed twice on eclectic/alternative station KEXP-FM and opened shows for The Presidents of the United States of America, Cat Power, Sleater-Kinney and Death Cab for Cutie.
They recently recorded their first studio album, "She Like Electric," due in September on Pattern 25 Records. The local indie label is home to Robert Roth, Sushirobo, Sanford Arms and Jon Auer of the Posies.
"She Like Electric" was produced and engineered by Johnny Sangster of the Dear John Letters. The album was recorded at Conrad Uno''s Egg Studio.
Songs include the "La Pump," "The Quack" and "It''s Not Your Day To Shine," which the girls performed on KEXP. "Bottlenose" is a fun, high-spirited song.
"It''s just kind of a little song to get people going," Asya said. "You kind of put your hands in the air and your ''bottlenose'' in the air. We have our own little characters that we draw and we call them bottlenoses."
"Pygmy Motorcycle" has nothing to do with Pygmies or motorcycles.
"It''s not about any particular person, but about somebody who has a lot of money and they''re afraid to do anything with it. They work every day and they don''t have a purpose and they don''t want to do anything in life. They don''t know what do and they''re afraid of trying anything new," Asya explained.
In the album jacket, Asya and Chloe thank a salesperson at a local instrument store for helping them form the band. When they accompanied their dad, Mike, to get his guitar restrung, "Jason" offered Chloe drum lessons if she bought a drum set she was admiring. He later showed the sisters how to play together, setting Smoosh in motion as a music duo.
Dad now serves as gofer, roadie and driver for the sisters, who are home-schooled. But the girls call their own shots and have their own Web site, https://www.tradebit.com.
"He like just tells us where the shows are and we mostly do all of them unless we''re taking a break or we can''t," Asya said.
Dad also has all the details about the Smoosh set at Free for All!
"I think we''re going to do nine or 10 songs, but our songs are pretty short," Chloe said.