Posts Tagged ‘Portland’

We’re releasing a brand new song today to celebrate the announcement of a brand new record called “Me You They We”, out on April 5th! This album is the culmination of an 18 month process of releasing singles as we’ve written them. Please enjoy “Just My Luck”.

It’s the band’s fourth studio album since debut Alright You Restless in 2011, which was followed by Divisionary in 2014 and Something to Ruin in 2016. As with the last two albums, Me You They We is on Partisan Records.

A “statement of purpose” from the band, Me You They We promises to pull no punches and not shy away from confronting our modern state of ennui. The album was recorded largely at Oberdorfer’s home studio, with occasional guest vocals and appearances, including from the band’s newest member, Lizzy Rose Allen. Perry and Oberdorfer describe their latest effort as one benefiting from slow, methodical work and “complete control over the sessions,” free from the chaos of the street. In the end, they hope the album sparks a sense of resilience and hope.

“We just want to make good music,” Oberdorfer says. “And we want to be real with other people who want to be real. We want to challenge ourselves and our friends to break down barriers as much as we can to lead each other back to sanity.”

To that end, we present “Just My Luck,” is a bouncy but slightly macabre sounding track that fills the room with nuanced, ethereal harmonies, spacey keys and the tiniest bit of irresistible xylophone. Perry’s delicate vocal is front and center, but it gets some key support from his compatriots as the song swells to its big conclusion, where crashing cymbals put an exclamation point on the proceedings. Oberdorfer notes that the song proved to be something of a bear in the studio, being “discarded and reinvented” 14 times before the final version came together.

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Band Members
Tim Perry,
Rob Oberdorfer,
Sarah Riddle,
Colin Jenkins,
Annie Bethancourt,
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When faced with the cover art of BIG WILD‘s highly anticipated debut long-player “Superdream”, you’re immediately transported deep into the sublime. The cover is simultaneously inviting and ambiguous. It’s conceptually not overly complicated, but the delivery is sleek, refined and something totally ‘other’. It’s the perfect cover for a record like this, because the record could be described in exactly the same way.

The record takes the most euphoric moments of psychedelic rock, extrapolates them out of an analogue context and instead takes it in a digital direction, bringing the highs of psychedelia into the electronic realm. You wouldn’t be wrong in saying that this isn’t exactly a new concept – Tame Impala and Jagwar Ma have definitely already nailed a sound of this descriptor already. The difference is Big Wild is first and foremost a producer of electronic music. Rather than using electronic sounds to accentuate the psychedelic rock of artists like Tame Impala and Jagwar MaBig Wild‘s using his skills as an electronic musician to borrow elements of psychedelic rock and inject that into his music instead.

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The album is dotted with these specifically electronic moments, namely the glitchy trap of ‘Pale Blue Dot’ and the warped ‘Joypunks’, but it never specifically becomes an electronic album. ‘Maker’ pairs staccatoed, arpeggiated synths with harsh signal static and soaring vocals, whilst tracks like ‘She Makes Magic’ transform vocal lines into malleable electronic instruments that have been sequenced rather than sung.

The electronic elements of the record are juxtaposed with these tender guitar moments, like the delicate electric symphony of ‘Mopsy’s Interlude’, the half-time blues of ‘Awaken’ and the soft, plucked moments in ‘City Of Sound’. He’s enlisted a stellar cast of features to lend their hand for the record too, including Rationale and iDA HAWK, both notably exciting inclusions.

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M. Ward is a singer-songwriter and guitarist who rose to prominence in the Portland, Oregon music scene.

2019 release from the acclaimed singer/songwriter, his first studio album since 2016’s More Rain. “What A Wonderful Industry” takes on a subtler shade of music industry beef, writing about the heroes and villains he’s encountered over 20 years.

M. Ward: “This album is a reminder to keep your friends close, your enemies closer and don’t let the ones that just need an extra couple hours of therapy bring you down.” M. Ward’s solo work is a mixture of folk and blues-inspired Americana analog recordings; he has released nine albums since 1999, primarily through independent label Merge Records. In addition to his solo work, he is a member of pop duo She & Him and folk-rock supergroup Monsters of Folk, and also participates in recording, producing, and playing with multiple other artists.

Over the last decade Ward has released a string of acclaimed solo albums, as well as six LPs with Zooey Deschanel in the duo She and Him. Ward is also a member of the group Monsters of Folk alongside My Morning Jacket’s Jim James, Bright Eyes’ Conor Oberst, and Mike Mogis, as well as a producer on albums for
Mavis Staples, Jenny Lewis, and Carlos Forster.

Via Ward: “This is a record inspired by people in the industry I have known – heroes and villains in equal measure. There’s some beautiful moments when you travel for a living, and I’m grateful for being part of an industry that’s taken me around the world so many times – but you quickly learn there’s a perfectly imperfect balance of cold-blooded and warm-blooded animals in the zoo. This record visits the most memorable characters. There’s a lot of very inspirational people I’ve had the pleasure to work with but there are also a few I wish I’d never met. It all tragically ends with an imaginary Griffin Mill-
inspired murder ballad. This album is a reminder to keep your friends close, your enemies closer and don’t let the ones that just need an extra couple hours of therapy bring you down. Anyway I hope you like it. All names have been changed to protect the innocent”.

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Strange Ranger (fka Sioux Falls) is a band from Montana, now based out of Philadelphia, PA. in the spirit of the new year, here’s a lil EP comprised of stuff that’s been floating around for a while. we’re trying to tour a lot and do a bunch of cool stuff but our van won’t start (amongst other issues) so basically if you’ve got a bit of change to spare,  It seems Strange Ranger change their sound every year now, it shows how talented Isaac and Fred are that they can write such different music all the time.

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Released December 30th, 2018

Band Members:
Isaac Eiger- Vocals, Guitar, Melodica
Fred Nixon- Bass, Keyboard, Synths
Nathan Tucker- Drums

Portland, Maine’s Weakened Friends deliver the kind of grungy, power-pop not often heard on the radio this side of 1996, and on their full-length debut, they firmly establish themselves with standouts like “Aches,” “Blue Again,” “Early” and the J Mascis-assisted “Junk Mail.” Perhaps the secret of their sound cementing itself in your brain is singer Sonia Sturino’s unusual vocal delivery, full of raspy twists and turns. In any case, “Common Blah” is a near-perfect nineties “buzz-bin” record even in 2018.

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Common Blah is the debut full-length by Weakened Friends. Founded by songwriter Sonia Sturino, bassist Annie Hoffman, and drummer Cam Jones in 2015, the trio is a low pressure outlet for emotionally volatile music. Engineered and produced by Hoffman and perfected over the last year, the record broadcasts heavy feelings amid screech and feedback with little more than a distortion pedal to clog up the signal chain.
For Sturino, writing in Weakened Friends is more of a physical process than a mental one. “I have to feel the vibration or sound coming out of my body. I need the physicality to do it, to enjoy singing it,” she says. “People probably hear the vocals and think, ‘she just puts on that weird voice,’ but it’s really just what comes out. It’s my body making that sound.”

More superb psychedelic groove rock from Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Sex & Food explores compositional variety and evolving style; from songs that swing and smack to those that simmer and sooth.

Ever since they burst on the scene with blog-favourite ‘Ffunny FFriends’, Unknown Mortal Orchestra have wilfully proved themselves ready to wrong-foot all of us at each turn. Led by New Zealand’s Ruban Nielson, they followed up on that buzzy single with a fully-formed, self-titled debut in 2011 that proved the hype was well placed. Next, ‘II‘, saw them dabble with a mainstream sound while keeping their sound firmly rooted in their scuzzy origins, and 2015’s ‘Multi-Love’ was a glorious psychedelic romp through Prince-tinged pop. It seemed only natural for them to continue boogie-ing towards the dancefloor and build on ‘Multi-Love”s dancier elements.

On their fourth album, ‘Sex & Food’, you’ll be relieved to know that they’re thrown themselves into another bold new direction for a set of fuzzy, funky and fun set of songs that’ll be rattling around your head all summer long. Most notably, on the comforting ‘Honeybee’, Nielson croons a groovy ode to his daughter amid stellar production: “Careful like an orchid / love survives forever / age of paranoia / don’t be such a modern stranger / oh angel.” It may well be the best song they’ve ever done – crafting a tune that’s tender in the right places and a mightily fun summer jam in all the others.

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While that song is as soothing a pair of fresh sheets, ‘Sex & Food’ features some of their trickiest and devilishly heavy work to date elsewhere. ‘Major League Chemicals’ squeals and squirms like Jimi Hendrix conquering Woodstock, and ‘American Guilt’ is a riff-heavy delight, as highly charged as anything by T-Rex or Black Sabbath. ‘Chronos Feasts On His Children’, meanwhile, conjures up images as grizzly as Francisco Goya’s 19th century painting of the ancient figure doing just that – “Chronos feasts on his children / like turning mango flesh.” This album is as lurid and unmissable as the title suggests.

‘Sex & Food’ comes with a handful of missteps, like the forgettable ‘Not In Love Were Just High’ and ‘This Doomsday’ in the album’s final third. But by and large, it sees UMO pushing their sound impressively, bending the rule book as crudely as they can before the spine breaks.

Mimicking Birds have a sound that covers all sorts of genres, ranging from anywhere between stripped down serenades to subtle synth soundscapes. Through these elements, the Portland folk-pop quintet creates something that works for both the coffee shop next door and a movie soundtrack.

In 2014, Mimicking Birds released debut album Eons and proved to the music world that it was an interesting and formidable contender to wrestle with. Through simple strums of a guitar, eloquently woven with singer Nate Lacy’s velvety rasp, the band showed a phenomenal ability to form a beautifully crafted story, both lyrically and sonically. Lacy’s vocals also created an angelic, yet haunting atmosphere comparable to the likes of Bon Iver and James Vincent McMorrow.

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Band Members
Nate Lacy, Aaron Hanson, Adam Trachsel

Released November 22nd, 2018

Floating Room’s sophomore album is stunning at every turn, in both it’s shimmering atmospheres, gentle moments of reflection, and it’s nuance for swarming, muscular, shoegaze done-to-perfection. The Portland quartet navigate heart yearning sentimentality and brawny noise pop in simultaneous bursts, the force of their blanketing guitars only aiding Maya Stoner’s beautiful lyrics and floating melodies. False Baptism is a testament to everything they do so well, balancing blistering leads with dreamy haze, an approach that manages to retain aggression without compromising any of it’s delicate emotional heft. Layering guitars, synths, vibraphones, and beyond, Floating Room’s wall of sound is lush and dense, but light and accessible, the perfect come down to get lost in.

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False Baptism is full of epiphanies: Maybe love shouldn’t make you weak. Maybe the bravest love doesn’t ask you to surrender your whole self. Learning to float is always more difficult than letting yourself fall, but—as Floating Room proves here—there’s tremendous power in doing so.

Released June 22nd, 2018
The Band
Maya Stoner – electric and acoustic guitars, vocals, synths, samples
Kyle Bates – guitar, vocals, synth, sound manipulation, vibraphone
Alec van Staveren – bass, vibraphone
Sonia Weber – drums, percussion

NEW-Hooray-For-Tuesday-Audio-CD

Portland-based popsters The Minders began their existence two decades ago in Denver, aided in the studio by Apples In Stereo leader Robert Schneider and skirting the outer rings of The Elephant 6 Collective that begat Neutral Milk Hotel. While lead Minder Martyn Leaper shared a lot of the same ‘60s loving DNA with those groups, he had a firmer grasp on the particulars that most with the help of his perfectly tart vocals and knack for an instant earworm hook. With the rights to the first Minders album back in his control, Leaper is re-releasing Hooray For Tuesday for the first time on vinyl with the addition two unheard versions of the title track: a re-recording by the current iteration of the band and a demo from 1996. The woozy, candyfloss spirit of this music still sounds like lost broadcasts from the bubblegum pop era, a sensation amplified through it being pressed to wax. The bonus cuts suffer a bit as the second side of my copy was cut a little off-center so they sound too warped to really enjoy. Until that point, the music offers nothing but pure delight.

Early critical success and productivity from the band, who relocated to Portland in the late ‘90s, would give way to an eight-year dry spell that almost signaled the end of the project. Unfazed, Leaper eventually pushed through that dark period and has continued to write and record vital music, with 2016’s “Into The River” re-establishing the band as one of Portland’s most influential acts

From HOORAY FOR TUESDAY © 1998 spinART records

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It was on September 23rd, 2008 that Blitzen Trapper, after putting out three albums on its own label, released its fourth full-length album, ‘Furr’, via Sub Pop. At that time, it was a record that captured exactly where the band’s frontman, Eric Earley, found himself, both literally and metaphorically, geographically and existentially. Not that the Portland-based musician actually remembers much about the creation of the record’s 13 intriguing, spellbinding songs. Or, more specifically, what its songs actually mean, either now or then. Instead, ‘Furr’, stands as a kind of tribute and elegy to the city that inspired it, but that, a decade later, no longer exists.

“What I was trying to do with those recordings,” explains Earley, “was capture this kind of atmosphere that I was feeling and which pervaded the city at that time. I think I was attempting to capture what Portland was at the time and what it felt like to me. That city is gone now. Old Portland, we call it, but Old Portland has disappeared. But this record gives me the feeling of those times and this city when it was poor and dumpy and really drug-addled. And it also captures the magic of the outlying rural areas that has slowly changed as well.”

That magic can be heard in each of these songs, and while the city may have vanished from sight – replaced by a newer, richer, shinier and bigger version of itself – its elegance and fractured beauty is preserved within the bones of this record. These songs exist as vivid snapshots of that time, ones that recall the city as it was. At the same time – and while Earley insists he was only trying to capture what Portland was at the time – there’s a mythology within the lyrics and the music, an imagined, semi-fictional vision of Portland and the Pacific Northwest, a kind of parallel universe to the one that actually exists. 

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Furr is still my favorite Blitzen Trapper album. The sound they developed for this one was a game changer for them.

released September 14, 2018