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Originally published June 15, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified June 26, 2007 at 2:20 PM

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Night Watch

Raise a frosty one to Amber Pacific

This from the City of Federal Way's Web site: "We are a dynamic and diverse community of over 86,530 residents ... We have a vibrant economy...

This from the City of Federal Way's Web site:

"We are a dynamic and diverse community of over 86,530 residents ... We have a vibrant economy, plenty of housing options, and an abundance of recreational and leisure time activities."

Maybe some day there will be this addition: "We're the home of Amber Pacific!"

It might sound like a microbrewed beer, but Amber Pacific is a rock band — emo-punk, more specifically. Four years ago, they started playing around Federal Way (south of SeaTac airport, and not a whole lot going on, although it did give the world "American Idol" finalist Sanjaya Malakar), and recently the band made a giant leap forward.

Two weeks ago, Amber Pacific — singer Matt Young, guitarist Will Nutter, one-name drummer Dango, bass player Greg Strong — released its second full-length, "Truth in Sincerity." The next week, there was Amber Pacific at No. 64 on the Billboard national albums sales chart — extremely impressive, for a band on a small, indie label.

Cracking the top 100 "was a goal," Young said earlier this week. He explained that Amber Pacific and its label, Hopeless Records, have been marketing the album for months, mainly through the band's Internet sites. They offered pre-sales at discounted rates, with bonuses such as phone calls from the band.

So how did he celebrate the big sales? "I made 150 phone calls last week, thanking fans."

Young and his Federal Way bandmates (Dango is an East Coast transplant) were freshmen in college but dropped out to sign to Hopeless Records and dedicate themselves to touring.

Amber Pacific built up its following with three consecutive Warped Tours and Internet promoting. They've had millions of plays on Myspace and Purevolume, and were savvy enough to spin the free-play sites into big album sales.

The band celebrates with a gig at the Showbox (8 p.m. Saturday, $12, all ages).

Next up: Another Warped Tour, stopping at the Gorge on Aug. 18.

Young credits producer Martin Feveyear (the Presidents, Mark Lanegan, Brandi Carlile) as "our fifth member ... He understood we were going to have pop-rock, verse-chorus-verse, cookie-cutter radio songs — and more punk-rock songs."

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The singer said Amber Pacific aims to be positive, and knows all about fighting through tough times.

"When we first started, we were wondering, 'Why did we drop out of school and pay money out of our wallets [to produce their first album] to play in front of two kids?' "

Now, the week in local clubs:

• Local art-rock legends Sky Cries Mary are back with their first new-material album in seven years. Roderick and Anisa Romero, the husband-and-wife dual vocalists of SCM, unveil songs from their new "Small Town" CD at Neumos (9 tonight, $12).

• Reunion week: Woodstock heroes Sweetwater play three nights at the Crocodile. Shows today and Saturday quickly sold out, so the third was added (7 p.m. Sunday, $10).

• When I graduated high school, I spent a glorious summer ... working in a restaurant. Pretty good busboy, if you don't count a few broken dishes here and there.

The Lonely H band members graduate from high school in Port Angeles this month. Summer job: touring rock band.

After shows at the Crocodile on Sunday (opening for the aforementioned Sweetwater) and Nectar on Thursday, the Lonely H sets off for Portland, Salt Lake City, Kansas City, Houston and New York City. The rockers will be pumping "Hair," a new CD fittingly named, for a bunch of young dudes sporting '70s rocker hair — and '70s rocker sound.

Mark Fredson, the gangly singer and potential star, is equally at ease shouting to Led Zep riffs or gearing down on mellow tunes.

• For the kids: Atlas Clothing has brought all-ages music to Capitol Hill. A grungy, converted warehouse is in the alley behind the clothing store (1515 Broadway), next to the disco Neighbours.

This is a very do-it-yourself place, as volunteers have been putting on shows at Atlas for the past couple months, on an increasingly regular basis. For complete schedule and more info: myspace.com/atlasclothing.

Olympia DIY veteran Calvin Johnson visits Atlas (7:30 p.m. Tuesday, $10).

• Time flies when you're having margaritas ... Havana turns 1 this week. The swank, Cuban-themed Capitol Hill nightspot celebrates (10 p.m. Wednesday, no cover) with local DJs DV One, N8 and Soul One.

Arthur & Yu, the debut band on Sub Pop spinoff Hardly Art, plays from "In Camera" at the Crocodile (9 p.m. Thursday, $9)

Arthur & Yu is the downtempo duo of Grant Olsen and Sonya Westcott, trading vocals. Groovy music, '60s pop style.

• Department of Stupidity: Last week, this column incorrectly identified Nick DeWitt as a member of the Cave Singers, one of the new Pretty Girls Make Graves spin-offs. The Cave Singers are Derek Fudesco's band, and will play at Neumos (8 p.m. Wednesday, $8). DeWitt's new bands are the Whalebones (playing June 23 at the Tractor Tavern) and Night Canopy, which plays the Triple Door (9 p.m. Thursday, $15, opening for Rocky Votolato).

Tom Scanlon: tscanlon@seattletimes.com

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