Posts Tagged ‘Portland’

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The impossibly talented 19-year old Utah musician Sammy Brue has just shared the latest song from his forthcoming album, “Crash Test Kid”. “Megawatt” is the fourth track to be released from the already critically lauded young artist’s sophomore album, Crash Test Kid. (June 12 via New West Records) . Having just completed tours opening for Michael Kiwanuka and Marcus King before the Covid-19 crisis, Sammy was forced to cancel his trip to SXSW, and has spent the past several weeks at home in Utah, where he’s been performing live on his Instagram Stories and recently took part in Consequence Of Sound’s livestream tribute to one of his musical heroes, John Prine.

Since writing his first song (a fingerpicked, autobiographical tune titled “The Woody Guthrie Song”) at the age of 11, Brue has released three homespun EPs, his New West full-length debut, I Am Nice and a 2018 EP, Down with Desperation . In the process, the Ogden, Utah native has been hailed as an “Americana prodigy” by Rolling Stone , a “wunderkind” by American Songwriter and one of the “teenagers shaping pop” by The New Yorker . Alongside this, Brue has performed at the Newport Folk Festival and played shows with the likes of Lucinda Williams, Lukas Nelson and Hayes Carll; and toured alongside Justin Townes Earle, who has become a mentor of sorts.

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Brue recorded his debut full-length, I Am Nice , in Muscle Shoals with Ben Tanner of Alabama Shakes and John Paul White of The Civil Wars producing. But for his new album he took a different approach, collaborating with Irish producer, singer-songwriter Iain Archer , who has worked with the likes of Jake Bugg and Snow Patrol.

released June 12th, 2020
All songs written by Sammy Brue and Iain Archer

Moon Duo Escape album artwork

To celebrate the tenth anniversary of Moon Duo’s long-out-of-print debut LP “Escape”, Sacred Bones is proud to present a new deluxe version of the album.
The new reissue will include the original album in its entirety, plus three additional rare tracks taken from Moon Duo’s wild early days. Reflecting on the album in March 2020, the band shared the following statement: “We made this record in a rehearsal space in San Francisco in late 2009. It was kind of a classic band space, shared by a rangy assortment of musicians over months and years, behind one of several similar doors in a dark red hall. A windowless room lit by string lights and an odd assortment of lamps, the walls a palimpsest of posters and gig fliers.

The band shared the following statement on the 10th anniversary of the album: “We made this record in a rehearsal space in San Francisco in late 2009. It was kind of a classic band space, shared by a rangy assortment of musicians over months and years, behind one of several similar doors in a dark red hall. A windowless room lit by string lights and an odd assortment of lamps, the walls a palimpsest of posters and gig fliers. There was a grimy, burn-pocked rug, cluttered gear in various stages of use and abandonment, and the air seemed to hang in a permanent film of smoke residue and stale beer. We recorded to a 4-track tape machine over the course of a few nights – we’d just start the beats, hit ‘record’ and let fly. We had a vague sense of coalescence, or fomentation, like a glimpse of a thing in outline which you can’t yet see, but neither of us knew at the time that this was the record that would mark the beginning of our life as a touring band and would initiate our connections to so many (now long-time) friends, familiars and collaborators. Ten years feels like both a lifetime and the blink of an eye – measurable but impossible to quantify. These four tracks, and the others that join them here, are a snapshot of our earliest incarnation: flying blind, but high on the freedom of experimentation and filled with hope for things to come.”

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Moon Duo is Ripley Johnson and Sanae Yamada.

Very pleased to release our new singles club release “The Gold Room” for Bandcamp No-Fee Friday with cover art by painter Chris Johanson! All sales from today will also go directly to the Black Resilience Fund: The Woolen Men, songs were written by singer and guitarist Lawton Browning — a definite change of pace from the collaborative process the Portland lo-fi indie rock trio usually works with when writing new material.

Musically, The Woolen Men are brainy and loose post-punk indie rock, Browning’s self-taught guitar playing adding bursts of noise and angularity, with grooves both awkward and infectious. 

“I picked up a guitar like most disaffected, bored teenagers when I was about 13,” Browning says, but lessons didn’t stick. “I have a very weird style,” he says, but the gaps in his technique give Woolen Men’s sound a unique cast. In the studio, the band records live with no multi-tracking, applying the notion of “first thought, best thought” to their music.

“With a vocal take, if it’s not there in the first one to three takes you need to go back and rework what you’re doing,” Browning says. “More often the not it’s the first take that turns out to be the best one. We’re not interested in slaving over the songs. It’s more about them feeling right.”

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2nd Release in the Woolen Men singles club!
Released June 5th, 2020
Piano, Voice – Lawton Browning
Bass – Alex Geddes
Drums – Rafael Spielman

 

 

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The Helio Sequence is an American Indie Rock duo formed in Beaverton, OR in 1996. The band is composed of Brandon Summers (Vocals/Guitar) and Benjamin Weikel (Drums/Keyboards). Those who have been to a Helio Sequence show know what to expect: a sonic wall of electric guitar and synth, bombastic sub bass, and drum kit acrobatics accompanied by Benjamin’s many expressive faces.
But for one special night on March 31st, 2015 we rewrote the script. At a sold out show at Seattle’s beautiful Triple Door, we played a fully acoustic set.

The origins of our acoustic show lay in necessity. In spring of 2014, we were all set to play a benefit for our friends at the Children’s Book Bank at the Old Church in our hometown of Portland. Just a few days before the show, we got an understandably concerned call from the venue letting us know that the high decibel levels of a typical Helio show would quite probably cause structural damage to the fragile building. At first we thought we would just turn down for the event, but soon realized that we’d have to do something much more drastic. So, in a hectic couple of days of rehearsal, we put together our first-ever acoustic set. The show was a success and most importantly we didn’t knock down the Old Church!

In making the acoustic set we learned a new way of looking at our songs. We used different keys, new chord voicings, alternate tunings and a wide range of percussion. Songs that we had known and played for years took on a new life and we were excited about the prospect of sharing them with more people. In early 2015, when we finished up recording our new album, we jumped on the opportunity to put together a special acoustic eve at The Triple Door.

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The night was even more magical than we could have imagined. We were both pretty nervous before the show, as it was such new territory to play without the high volume and layers of synths that we’re used to. And we had never performed to a seated, dining audience before. (Listen closely and you’ll hear the gentle clanking of silverware on people’s plates during dinner service!) But everybody was so overwhelmingly supportive and enthusiastic that our apprehension soon melted away. The evening flowed with a wonderful, natural energy. For part of the show, we were joined by phenomenal cellist Samantha Kushnick, marking the unique occasion of Helio Sequence as a trio. And as the show went on, it was a joy to hear people singing along, clapping, and laughing.

We’re so glad we caught the show “on tape” and can now share “The Helio Sequence Acoustic Live at The Triple Door” with everyone. That night served as an uplifting reminder that there’s as much power in the quieter moments as a full bore rock show. And it was confirmation that at root, a song is a form of intimacy and music is the power of a shared experience.

Released June 5th, 2020

Cello on “Hall of Mirrors”, “Battle Lines”, “Broken Afternoon”, and “Hallelujah” by Samantha Kushnick

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On their debut, Portland’s The Bedrooms sound so claustrophobic you’d believe they formed in the early 80s. Sonically they fall somewhere between the post-punk of The Sound and the brooding complex guitar pop of the Chameleons without sacrificing any originality. Beware, this one grows on you. “This long awaited release by the Bedrooms completes the mythology of a band learned of in local circles of the like-minded and spoken in reverent tones by the passionate few. The Bedrooms have a classically rain-streaked Portland post punk sound that reflects the bleary winter of endless grey days and pitch-black nights. Their rhythms are charged with the desperation of driving in a storm while the guitar’s single note knife-edge glints against the vocal’s guiding light, crooning new romantic but not niave. Their songs speak to the private dramas and dreams that happen behind closed doors and while they herald of dystopias (which no doubt we’re in the timeslip of) they remind us to avoid becoming wearied or callous, for with every winter we can have a hope for spring.” (Corby Plumb, Totally Different Head zine). Out on January 31st on Domestic Departure Records.

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Grungy riffs and a very unique vocalist. Easily my favorite album released in the last year. Bought it on vinyl,

Released February 1st, 2020

sheana: guitar, vocals
danny: bass, vocals
jacyn: drums, synth, vocals
jen: vocals, synth, percussion

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I’ve been thinking of life as one big roleplaying game,” Johanna Warren offers when asked why she chose to title her new album after a Dungeons & Dragons reference. “There’s chance, there’s choice, and there’s alignment—what forces in the universe do I choose to align myself with?”

Chaotic Good is Warren’s fifth full-length album and first for Wax Nine/Carpark Records. It represents a moment of rupture in the singer-songwriter’s career as she transitions away from the quiet, folk-adjacent work that defined her early solo albums with a bold statement piece that demonstrates the breadth of her ambition. Here, Warren flits between crushing admissions set to spare piano solos and muscular declarations of independence that have more in common with grunge acts of bygone years than anything we’ve heard from Warren in the past. “The last few years I’ve had an urge to change my name, or create some alter-ego,” she says. “But I’ve come to realize that ‘Johanna’ is already just a character. We think we know who we are based on what’s already happened, but we’re allowed to make new choices.” The oceanic, soothing single “Bed of Nails” illustrates that realization perfectly when Warren sings: “I tried a little bit too hard to be myself/It turned me into something else.”

Recording Chaotic Good was an exercise in self-reinvention. Warren decided to produce the album on her own, borrowing recording equipment from a friend to do much of the preliminary tracking alone in a garage. She enlisted a few key collaborators to fully enliven her vision, most notably former Sticklips bandmates Chris St. Hilaire and Jim Bertini. On the raucously resilient “Part of It,” Warren is joined by her musical brethren as she addresses a noncommittal narcissist and—a trademark of Warren’s work—the narrator’s complicity in her own suffering: “Don’t look at me like I’m the one holding you back/and I won’t look at you like you have something I lack.” Adding to the album’s dynamism is the fact that it took shape over the course of four years in studios across the United States while Warren was touring her most recent albums Gemini I and II. Warren uses words like “patchwork” and “scrapbook” to describe Chaotic Good; it is a collection of sonic snapshots that transport her to specific places in time with each listen.

“This album is about learning how to be with myself after a lifetime of codependent relationships,” Warren says. You can hear that especially well on “Twisted,” which finds her confronting a former lover, and ultimately, letting them go. “I’m a warrior, but I give up,” Warren howls, the surrounding production warping and distorting as her raw vocal crests to an acidic scream. Though her lyrics are resigned, her delivery is anything but. It is a moment of total abandon, when the multitudinous aspects of a personality coalesce to form something at once dazzling and monstrous. “Chaotic Good is a metamorphosis,” Warren says. “It’s my phoenix moment. Everything I’ve done before was just building the funeral pyre.”

released May 1st, 2020

Music and lyrics by Johanna Warren
Produced by Johanna Warren

Johanna Warren – vocals, guitar, piano, flute, clarinet, synths
Chris St. Hilaire – electric guitar, drums, bass, percussion
Jim Bertini – drums, percussion, bass, synths
Eric Margan – bass, cello, flute, synth
David Rothon – pedal steel

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It is impossible to talk about modern psychedelic music without mentioning Ripley Johnson. As bandleader of Wooden Shjips and one half of Moon Duo, Johnson has continually charted new cosmic paths that expand on the language of the genre. With Rose City Band, Johnson’s songwriting and beautiful guitar lines take center stage, the veil of psychedelia notably drawn back. While his vocal treatment would be recognizable to any Wooden Shjips fan, the sparseness of the instrumentation lays bare the beauty of his writing. Shimmering guitar lines are free to shine, buoyed by driving rhythms. New to the mix are arrangements and instruments drawn directly from classic country, resulting in songs with more than a hint of twang.

Rose City Band started purely as a recording project, with Johnson’s role mostly obscured for the self-titled debut album. Released with no promotion, in the style of private press records, it was a liberating act, a focus on music without any expectations. Explaining it with a chuckle, Johnson elaborates, “I always would threaten to my friends that I’m gonna start a country rock band so I can retire and just play down at the pub every Thursday night during happy hour. I love being able to tour and travel, but I also like the idea of having a local band … more of a social music experience.” Freedom from expectation and obligation gave Johnson the space to experiment with new instrumentation and arrangements. The introduction of lap steel, mandolin, and jaw harp enhance Johnson’s lean guitar work with radiant overtones, Work on the album began at Johnson’s home studio in Portland during the summer, but, interrupted by touring.

The album is described this way by producer Ripley Johnson: “The band was aiming to capture a timeless, natural sound, not quite of the present, past, or future, but phasing in between the consciousness of now and the stoned dream-state of the eternal. Sort of a back porch jam just as the shrooms are starting to kick in. Handmade and human, but also cosmic and transcendental.
It’s psych rock, and difficult to describe without getting poetic; dreamy and insular, it’s easy to get lost in this album. Produced and recorded by Ripley Johnson (Moon Duo, Wooden Shjips), and mixed by Chris Cohen (Captured Tracks, Deerhoof), the album finds its niche in the hazy sonic landscape of private press country and psych records, and alongside artists like Relatively Clean Rivers, Jim Sullivan, Kenny Knight , and countless other explorers of the pastoral underground.

Buoyant and joyous, this is a captivating listen that leaves the listener yearning for more. The record is an ode to freedom, born of a musician stepping out of all routines and whose own liberation is communicated so completely in his music. in its entirety, is an emphatic statement on the songwriting power of Ripley Johnson. Johnson’s joy in every aspect of this album is delightfully infectious.

Releases May 15th, 2020

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Portland band Lithics are back with “Tower of Age”, their first record for Trouble In Mind which will be out June 5th. Excellent first single “Hands” stays tightly coiled for most of it’s existence, though it unleashes some serious noise when you least expect it. After introducing themselves to the world with 2016’s “Borrowed Floors” (Water Wing) and throwing down the gauntlet with 2018’s “Mating Surfaces” on Kill Rock Stars, Lithics make the jump to Trouble In Mind for “Tower of Age”.

“Tower of Age” bristles with invention, wedging lyrical Dadaism into right angles of rhythmic minimalism. This is music in ellipses. A circular communication and a fusion of decades worth of musical insight into a singular refraction of thought & sound. Guitars plunk and scratch, and rhythms pulse and syncopate tightly wound around an imagist’s philosophy to “use absolutely no word that does not contribute to the presentation.” The band’s austere approach to composition and wordplay elevates them above and beyond bands seeking similar sounds; it’s not that they use less; it’s How they use less.

Aubrey Hornor: Guitar, vocals Bob Desaulniers: Bass, guitar, tape loops Wiley Hickson: drums Mason Crumley: Guitar

Taken from the Portland band’s third album, “Tower of Age”, out June 5th, 2020 via Trouble In Mind Records (www.troubleinmindrecs.com)

New project from Ripley from Wooden Ships / Moon Duo. Jean Sandwich Records is pleased to announce the first, self-titled, album from Oregon’s Rose City Band. Born of the back roads, rivers, and quiet city streets of Oregon, the music captures the feeling of living and loving, riding and crashing and being, in the Pacific Northwest, circa 2019. It’s the sound of Sunday morning strums and Saturday night choogle.

Produced and recorded by Ripley Johnson in Portland, and mixed by Chris Cohen, the album finds its niche in the hazy sonic landscape of private press country and psych records, and alongside artists like Relatively Clean Rivers, Jim Sullivan, Kenny Knight, and countless other explorers of the pastoral underground

Rose City Band, led by Erik “Ripley” Johnson of Wooden Shjips, excels in reproducing for his own composition, seven wide open easy-going tracks as close to instrumental were it not for the whispering lyrics punctuated by Neil Young harmonica solos or downright ethereal guitar lines- cooing your mind to the waving lengths of ceiling textures and wallpaper patterns.

Jean Sandwich Records is pleased to announce the first, self-titled, album from Oregon’s Rose City Band, along with the album’s first single, “Rip City,”  Born of the back roads, rivers, and quiet city streets of Oregon, the music captures the feeling of living and loving, riding and crashing and being, in the Pacific Northwest, circa 2019. It’s the sound of Sunday morning strums and Saturday night choogle.

Ripley describes the album this way:
“The band was aiming to capture a timeless, natural sound, not quite of the present, past, or future, but phasing in between the consciousness of now and the stoned dream-state of the eternal. Sort of a back porch jam just as the shrooms are starting to kick in. Handmade and human, but also cosmic and transcendental. But the goal is to let the music speak for itself and hopefully find a weird and wonderful audience somewhere out there.”

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Released May 24th, 2019