Stomping Grounds: Michael Lerner of Telekinesis (Seattle, WA)

telekinesis.soloshotMichael Lerner’s straightforward indie-pop project Telekinesis hails from Seattle. With his album Telekinesis! coming out in early April through Merge Records, Lerner revealed the mystique about Seattle that keeps him coming back for more.

1. What’s your town’s nickname?
Seattle’s nickname is the Emerald City.
2. What’s your nickname for your town?
I lived in a neighborhood in Seattle called Captiol Hill for a long while, and it was pretty overrun by hipsters. So, I used to call it “hipster central.”
3. Why do you live there?telekinesis.carkeekpart
Seattle is an amazing place. I’ve lived there my whole life, and every time I start to get sick of it and go away for a while (months, years), I always am lusting to come back. The place itself is absolutely gorgeous. It’s nestled on the Puget Sound, and Pike Place Market and Alki beach are some of my favorite spots to go to. There is also an amazingly picturesque park called Carkeek Park that is kind of a little secret, but it’s really incredible. And I love the smell of Evergreen trees as you drive out of the city. The climate is right up my alley too. I’m such a fan of the rainy, dismal, blustery days (which we have a lot of). I am truly happy to call Seattle my home.
4. What is your favorite local attraction (monument, park, etc)?
I really think that Pike Place Market is incredible. I lived within walking distance of that for a long while, and it’s such a fun place to go get some people watching in, and to also get some of the most killer seafood and produce you can imagine. It’s a total tourist spot, but being someone that is born and raised here, I still get excited every time I go there.
5. What is your favorite local event/festival?
We’ve got a festival called Bumbershoot that happens at the end of the summer. It’s three days (I think) of music and arts, and it gets absolutely mental. It is held in the Seattle Center, and you can hardly walk around it is so busy. They get some really incredible bands to play there, and it’s always a lot of fun, if not really overwhelming.
6. What is the best time of year to be there?
Fall, hands down. It is totally and completely cozy here in the fall. It sounds so cliché of Seattle, but it’s so perfect to go get an amazing cup of coffee on a cold, crisp fall day. It’s kind of perfect.

7. Who is your favorite local celebrity/personality?telekinesis.jeffrennerlocalceleb
King 5 meteorologist Jeff Renner. For sure.
8. Where is the best place to drink and what’s their specialty or happy hour?
The Redwood in Capitol Hill. It is amazing. The bar is owned by a fellow named Mat Brooke (who used to play in Carissa’s Weird, and now plays in Grand Archives). It’s got an amazing continuous special of Olympia Beer, and Old Crow Whiskey. Totally cheap, and totally rad. Plus, they give you free peanuts that you can throw all over the place. It is a total Seattle hipster hangout.
9. Who has the best jukebox (and what’s in it)?
That’s tough! I think that award still goes to the Redwood. They’ve got Paul McCartney’s Ram, and some Zombies records, and a whole slew of local records as well. It’s a rad jukebox.
10. What is your favorite place to see live music and what was your favorite show there?
I really think the Showbox in downtown Seattle is where it’s at for live shows. Recently, I saw Spoon there and it totally blew me away. The sound was really quite incredible.
11. What is your favorite local band?
There is a band in Seattle called BOAT. They have my heart completely.
12. What is your favorite diner or restaurant and what is their best dish?
Right now there is a taco truck right near where I work in North Seattle called El Camion. It is totally amazing. I eat there at least 3 times a week, and I always get their veggie burrito. It is cheap, and absolutely delicious.
13. What is your favorite record store and what was your best find there?
Sonic Boom Records in Ballard and Capitol Hill neighborhoods is the best. I’ve found some pretty amazing used vinyl there. My favorite two are the Bee Gee’s 1st and Emitt Rhodes self titled record. I was pretty happy about that.
14. What is your favorite local shop?
I think Sonic Boom Records wins this category as well!
15. What is your favorite local publication (alternative weekly, zine, website or blog)?
I’m partial to the Stranger over the Seattle Weekly. It is a joy to read every week.