Light of the Stereo

Light of the Stereo

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Civil Wars @ The Woods

Saturday, December 11
The Civil Wars
Great Wilderness/The River Empires
The Woods
6637 Milwaukie Avenue
Door: 8PM/Show:9PM
$10 Adv./$10Day of

Stark as a gray winter sky over the South Dakota Badlands the music of The Civil Wars is beautifully spars and lingers like the early morning ghosts of waking dreams. Tomorrow night this duo will bring their amazing music to the intimate setting of Portland's The Woods.

Built over a canvas of acoustic instrumentation with accents of Tennessee sunsets and the Blue Ridge Mountains, John Paul White and Joy Williams tell mournfully honest tales. Doing so with such a graceful manner, White's deeply rustic dirge dancing a slow waltz with the voice of Williams that is at times both sweet and sultry. This is the music of heartbreak and love lost brought to you by one of the rising stars of the music world.

The good press on the band is piling up and this is one of those amazing opportunities to see them before they get too big to play the smaller intimate venues. I foresee this show will be one of those you can tell your grand children about, so make sure that you get there early to secure a seat.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Ingrid Michaelson @ The Wonder Ballroom

Saturday, October 30th

Ingrid Michaelson
The Guggenheim Grotto
Wonder Ballroom
128 NE Russell Street
Door:8PM/ Show:9PM
$16 Adv./$18 Day Of
All Ages

Blending a vibrant energy with a song writer's craft the music of Ingrid Michaelson brims with a fresh youthful energy. With wide sweeping melodies, an exuberant beat and awkwardly honest lyrics her song have a way of nesting themselves in your head, overwhelming your central nervous system and making you dance at inappropriate moments.The wonderful mix of the sweet-hearted playfulness of a young girl and the worldly confidence of an old soul makes this music easily accessible to a broad audience both young and old. Lovely and fun Michaelsone is sure to set the Wonder ballroom to life this Saturday night and since the show is sold out the people of Portland know it.
Joined by the Irish based duo of The Guggenhein Grotto who's artistic styling have an appealingly diverse flavor, this concert should be a showcase of songwriting mastery. If you don't have tickets, there might just be one or two out there if you look hard enough, but if you do make sure you wear your dancing shoes because there's no doubt you'll need them.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A Special Night With Western Aerial

Friday, September 17
Western Aerial

Rogue Shot/Cellar Door

Berbati's Pan

231 SW Ankeny St

Doors: 8PM / Show: 9PM



Tonight at Berbati's, the walls will be shaking from the pure rock energy of Portland's own Western Aerial as they mark a changing of the guard. Having rocked venues here and abroad since 2004 Western Aerial will play their last show with long time drummer Anthony Tripp. Known for their powerhouse live shows and infectious music this three piece is one of the best rock band in the northwest. Tripp's abusive behavior behind his kit is one of the defining elements to Western Aerial's power. Like a king of pain he batters his drums so ferociously one can feel the aftershock blocks away. If you can make it to this show, do so because if you don't you'll just hate yourself in the morning.

I've been lucky and have followed Western Aerial nearly as long as they have been around and first met Anthony when I was pouring drinks at the Driftwood Room in the once great Mallory Hotel. I'd just escaped a cooperate job and was writing a zine called Audio Meatus covering mainly independent bands I found on My Space. Anthony dropped in one Sunday Morning and over a gin and tonic told me all about Western Aerial and their goals to conquer the world. Here it is six years later and every day they get closer their goals of world domination. The band promises to continue,and I'm sure they will but this is the last chance to see this awesome band in their natural form. So make sure your their and give Tripp a proper send off because he surely will be missed.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Triple Crown: 6/28 - 7/11

With three shows in three night and a total of 6 bucks out of your wallet this Triple Crown ain't no fuss. So make sure to tip your bartender and buy the merch 'cause there's no excuse at these prices.

Wednesday, July 7th
Cory Branan
Austin Lucas /Truckstop Darlin'

The White Eagle Saloon

836 North Russell Street
Show: 8:30PM



You won't want to miss the musical antics of this unsung Memphis troubadour. With the songwriting genius of a diner napkin philosopher and the heart of a loyal hound dog, Branan is the voice of the common man, though be it with a Southern drawl. Able to croon comforting ballads that feel like a hot Tennessee night or harness the speed of a mid-west twister his live performances are filled with energy, humor, and a heartfelt fascination that is sure to impress. Supporting Austin Lucas whose heart breaking bluegrass swoon is like the creeping dance of shadows across the Appalachians, while the opening southern rock of Truckstop Darlin' is sure to get the night started off right.

Thursday, July 8th
Sara Jackson-Holman (Free Show!)
Music Millennium
3158 East Burnside Street

Show: 6PM
All Ages

Early Thursday night, Sara Jackson- Holman will be stopping by Music Millennium for a free concert in thanks for their support of her debut album "When You Dream." Blessed with an angelically smokey voice, Sara Jackson-Holman weaves soft lovely tunes that dance with the grace of a ballerina. Quickly making a name for herself in the industry, she has been mentioned in the same breath as Feist and Nora Jones. So make sure you don't miss this opportunity to catch a rising star in the infancy of her growing success. One day you'll be able to talk of this intimate little show with honor, confident in the knowledge that you were one of the first to recognize the talents of this amazing artist.

Friday, July 9th
Derby (Free Show!)

The Blue Horns / Kelli Schaefer

The Woods

6637 Milwaukie Avenue




Finishing out this triple crown is a show case of some of Portland's greatest indi-bands hosted by the people of Rumblefish, our own hometown heroes of independent music licensing and sonic branding. Headlining the night is the living room pop of Derby, energetic and beautiful their organically rich tunes are easy on the ears and have just enough beat to them that you'll be hard pressed not to tap you foot. Opening the night is the bold atmospheric sounds of Kelli Schaefer who reveals a gallery of dynamic auditory landscapes that range from bustling city-scapes to hauntingly sparse deserts visages. In contrast the jangling excitement of The Blue Horns who will fill out the rest of the bill with fun danceable songs that will make you bounce about the room like the walls were made of rubber. Set in the intimate locale of The Woods this show will have the feel of the best house party you've ever been to.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Triple Crown 6/14 - 6/28

This installment of The Triple Crown serves up the CD release parties of 3 of Portland's greatest bands. In the mix is a little junkyard blues, some hard hitting radio rock and the return of the best band ever. Make sure you hit them all, because what's the point unless you can walk away with the crown.

Friday, June 18th
Hillstomp (CD Release Show)
Yogoman Burning Band/Sassparillia/DJ HWY 7
Wonder Ballroom
128 NE Russell Street
Door 8PM / Show 9PM
All Ages

Kicking with the power of copper coil moonshine the junkyard blues of this Portland duo will have the Wonder Ballroom shaking with the stomp of a hill country gig in no time flat. Built with the rawest of bare bone elements, mastered to the brink of perfection and charged with wild youthful energy, the music of Hillstomp is as rich as the Willamette Delta and sung from a soul as old as the river itself. Celebrating the release of their latest studio album "Darker the Night" the boys have planned a party that's sure to be the talk of the town. Joining them on stage by way of Bellingham, Washington is the Jamaican-style soul of the Yogoman Burning Band with danceable cuban beats and reggae like vocals to groove away any residual stress of the week. While the lively jug blues madness of Portland based Sassparillia rounds out the lineup and will get the crowd all limbered up and ready to go. Don't miss it and before the show swing into Russell Street BBQ for some to the best pulled pork in town.

Saturday, June 19th
I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch In the House
(CD Release Show)
Drag The River / Dry County Crooks
1 SW 3rd Ave
Door 8PM / Show 9PM
$11 Adv./ $12 Day of

Like a child of divorce, I've been waiting a long time for this reunion and finally it's here. After 5 years the boys of SOB are doing what God intended and making some of the best damn rock and roll music in the world. As for those of us familiar with the band, we can attest that every I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch in the House show has the power of a sonic Mack truck capable of altering the earth's rotation and draining the whiskey reserves of Lynchburg, Tennessee. Saturday night should be no different and marks the release of "The Sounds of Dying" an album some of us feared we would never see. Joining them will be their long time friends and new label mates, Drag the River whose world renowned country-rock is the music of beer drenched dive bars and the aching loneliness of the open road. Filling out the bill is Portland's own Dry County Crooks whose roadhouse cow-punk has more Johnny Cash to it than Clash and will start the night off on the right foot. Sure to be filled with a few surprises this show cannot be missed. After the show make sure you swing by Voodoo Doughnut, because it's not a night at Dante's without a bacon maple bar.

Saturday, June 26th
Western Aerial (CD Release Show)
Marv Ellis / Merrill / DJ Sexarkana
1 SW 3rd Ave
Door 8PM /Show 9PM

If there's one thing these boys know how to do, it's put on one hell of a rock show. Whether in a packed venue or in a prison yard they 'll make it fun and they'll make it loud. Portland's favored sons of hard driving radio rock, Western Aerial is making the down and dirty guitar screaming rock that drives the ladies crazy and makes all us men wish we were rock stars. They might be pretty, but don't be mistaken this is one of the hardest working bands in town, having honed their music into lean muscular things that run clean and punch hard. Saturday night the 26th their going to be lighting up the stage and tearing down the walls at Dante's in honor of their latest CD "Try to Keep Up." Make sure you get your tickets early, but the night has a very odd line up with the NW hip-hop of Marv Ellis and the self-described "Happy Hardcore" of Merrill; so if you just want a dose of rock'n'roll goodness you might want swing in a little later .

Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Dead Weather - Sea Of Cowards

The Dead Weather
Sea Of Cowards
Thirdman Records

When it comes to Jack White I can never tell what's truth and what's hype but I'll be damned if he doesn't make great music. Reminiscent of the early 70's soul rock of MC5; The Dead Weather's latest album is dead set proof.

Consisting of Alison Mosshart, Dean Fertite, Jack Lawrence and Jack White, this super group of sorts has more shimmer and shake to their sophomore album than a speed fueled go-go dancer. This album is a funky soulful creature. Filled with a roughly sexual guitar swagger and a bass strut that rumbles with the determination of a gangland murder squad. Keeping it all in line is the hard edged beats of Jack White's drumming while the bawdy aggressiveness of Mosshart's vocals top these musical gems. Gritty and raw, there is something of Detroit in this music; you can hear the ghost clatter of the factories and feel the cold of its winter streets. The overwhelming auditory stimuli of these songs are both powerful and eerie, leaving the audience waiting in anticipation for each new journey of sound.

Even if you don't bow at the altar of Jack White, this is an awesome album and is a must have for anyone with discerning taste in music. No doubt, Sea Of Cowards will become a new favorite to all that heads its call.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Triple Crown 5/31-6/13

Thursday, June 3rd
Pitchfork Motorway
The Interlopers / The Food
Plan B
Show: 9PM


The face melting garage punk
of Pitchfork Motorway is a rubber burning, fire breathing beast of a thing. With high octane guitars and a redlining drum tempo they’re sure to blow the doors off tonight at Plan B. Oozing with a hot rod sex appeal, this is one of the must catch, of rising Portland bands. Joining them is the low-end guttural punk of the Interlopers. Their aggressively thick music is sure to break away at the foundation so the pitchfork gang can bring the house down. There isn’t anything more age defying than a great punk show so get your weekend started a little bit early and make sure you bring a helmet because this is going to be one hell of a ride.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Samanth Crain

First Aid Kit / Brothers Young

Mississippi Studios

Doors: 8PM / Show: 9PM

GA $12+ Fees


With an aching resonance to her voice like a harmonica’s wail, Samantha Crain haunts her music like a restless spirit. Delivered in a soft spoken nature her beautifully scenic songs are breath taking. A natural storyteller, Crain weaves her lyrical tales so tightly to the instrumentation it is hard to imagine one existing without the other. Perfectly matched, Crain is supporting the Swedish duo First Aid Kit; whose eerily lovely music is ripe with rustic simplicity. The intimate locale of Mississippi Studios is a perfect venue for this stunning music and was made for artists such as these. Friday night should hold something magical so leave all your stress at home and let these luscious songstresses ease away your week.

Sunday, June 6th

Deadstring Brothers


Early Show



If Mick Jagger and Keith Richards had been raised on the honky-tonk jukeboxes of America, I’m sure they’d sound like the Deadstring Brothers. Like exiles of Main street Nashville, the bluesy rock of this Detroit band has just enough country swagger to drive a pickup truck and win a bar fight. Filled with the sounds of the factories and the ache of hard worked hands, this music digs deep. Fear not though, it also knows how to get the house a rockin’ and that’s just what’s going to happen Sunday night at Dante’s. Opening the Sinferno festivities, the Deadstring Brothers are sure to get the night started off right so bring your appetite for cold beer and strait whiskey because this band is going to throw it down and you don’t want to be the only person without a belly full of fuel for good ol’ rocking time.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Triple Crown: 5/24-5/31

Wednesday May 26th and Thursday May 27th

John Butler Trio

/State Radio

Crystal Ballroom

Doors: 7PM / Show: 8PM

$25 Adv. / $28 Day of

All Ages

For two nights, the John Butler Trio is going to set the Crystal Ballroom a jumping. Propelled by the near tribal rhythm of their revolution rock this Aussie native will bring the place to life with his tasty stew of politically minded lyrics and perfectly executed rock’n’roll. Able to open minds while moving bodies this music is something everyone can enjoy. Who knew you could dance your way to social conscientiousness.

Opening the show will be Boston’s State Radio; a killer band in their own right, with an infectiously danceable rasta-rock. State Radio’s music compliments Butler’s threesome like the perfect wine can increase the pleasure of the right meal. This is a definite must see show. So pick a night or hit them both because whether you’re coming for the music or the message, with the spring loaded dance floor they’ll be able to feel the bouncing all the way in the Hollywood District.

Friday May 28th

Laura Marling

With Patrick Watson /Smoke Fairies

Doug Fir Lounge

Door: 8PM / Show: 9PM

$11 Adv. / $13Day Of


As powerful as the winds that blow across the English Channel and as beautifully subtle as the purple of a thistle bloom, Laura Marling will bring her earthy folk Friday night to the Doug Fir lounge. Blessed with the aged and seasoned voice of a person twice her years, Marling sings from a soul deeper than a Welch coal mine. The complicated emotions of her music are more than mere sorrow or joy and are sure to take on a new potency echoed off the fir log walls of the Doug. Sharing the night with the breathlessly hypnotic balladry of MontrĂ©al’s Patrick Watson & the Wooden Arms’ and the eerie guitar blues of fellow Londoners the Smoke Fairies. This night of beautifully entrenching music is a perfect way to start the weekend.

Sunday May 30th

She & Him

With Band Of Horses / Dawes
Les Schwab Amphitheater

Gates- 05:00PM | show- 6:00pm

All Ages- Tickets available Ticketmaster

$35 GA advance ticket.

Sunday the Bend night air will be alive with the ethereal sound of three wonderful bands including the lovely lullaby of She & Him. Like a June and Johnny for the hipster age, this duo combines the beautifully soft spoken voice of Zoey Deschanel with the tranquil music of M.Ward. With a classically light heartedness to their songs, listening to them is as refreshing as driving through a warm summer night with the windows down. On tour in support their sophomore album Deschanel and Ward will be sharing the stage with the ghostly rock of Seattle’s Band of Horses who has been making a name for themselves since 2006 with their scenically expansive tunes. Opening the show is the southern Cali sun-baked rock of Dawes whose organic vocals and cleanly woven acoustic music is very much in the style of Neil Young.

If you don’t have plans for the long weekend yet, this show alone is worth the drive. While you’re their, why not make a weekend out of it and take in some of the wonderful things Bend has to offer.

Friday, March 19, 2010

"Dont' let 'em know I'm tired/ don't tell 'em this is all that's left"

It's 6:25AM on a Friday morning and it seems like this is the first time that I could sit down and write in over a month. Honestly, it's not exactly how it is but sometimes I'm so tired that it feels like it is.

Time. It's a commodity that I never seem to have enough of and one that no matter how much I try, I end up wasting. When I was younger and single I never realized how much time went by wasted. No wonder we all go gray. Thinking about all the time slipping through my fingers just made another patch of my hair to go white.

It's hard sometimes having all of these dreams because it takes so much time and energy to make even the slightest movement on them. No wonder so many of them die and the older you get the less you harbor them. Being a husband, a dad, working a poor retail job that can spread 20 hours over a whole week, looking for a second job to make up for the first, doing repairs on our small but mighty house, finding time to feed my faith and the list goes on and on. All of these responsibilities that eat away at my time. Some of them are so important and for which I can not slack, because in the end it won't matter what I said about a band or how many reviews I did if I was a shitty husband and a crappy dad. For most things in my life I can see the direct correlation of effort spent to the difference it makes. Not so though for writing about music and that's why it's hard to justify the time spent on it. I know I'll never be rich and pretty sure I'll never be famous but it would be nice to know that I made a difference even on the smallest level. Isn't that what we all want. Writing about music is mostly a one way relationship, you rarely get feed back and most times you're not even sure if the band knows you've reviewed their album.
So how do I find the time or organize the little time that I do have?

Any suggestions?


Monday, February 8, 2010

The Boonevilles - Good Suites and Fightin' Boots

The Bonnevilles
Good Suites and Fightin' Boots
Motor Sounds Records

The greasy gutter blues of the Boonevilles drives bold and assertive like a ’69 GTO. With the whiskey-drenched souls of crossroad blues men and the bruised knuckles of guitar beating thugs, the thunderous pair of Andrew McGibbon Jr. and Chris McMullan brings to life songs that bleed motor oil and sweat gasoline.

Like the blues duos of legend these boys play their music like the Devil is breathing down their necks. The strut of McGibbon’s gain heavy guitar has a diverse range of personalities. In the tune “Asylum Seekers of Love” the guitar has a wild nature that’s as aggressive and unpredictable as a barroom brawl. While the six-string persona of “No Government, No Country, No King” is meticulous and haunting as a murder’s footstep on your grave. Complementing the raw guitar work is McMullan’s beats, delivered with the lean exactness of a street fighter and the stopping force of a .45 caliber. Topped with the dirty wail of McGibbon’s vocals, the music of The Boonevilles’ is one smoky juke joint away from rocking blues heaven.

The album “Good Suites and Fightin’ Boots” is revved up and humping to eat up the white line and asphalt of any road you that you put in front of it. With a full tak of the sexiest garage blues I’ve heard in a long time, this CD is meant for dirty fighting, hard drinking, fast driving and a few other things that raise a good sweat.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Ettes - Do You Want Power.

The Ettes

Do You Want Power

Take Root Records

The Ettes latest album captures a band that has matured and found a rock solid confidence in their personal identity. They are a band sure enough of themselves, to take bold musical chances, thus demonstrating greater range and diversity then previous albums. Do You Want Power is a case for evolution strong enough to give Darwin wood.

No fear though, tracks like “Red In Tooth and Claw” and “It Can’t Be True” still hold the fuzztastic rambunctiousness, synonymous with this gypsy trio. Grabbing hold of you like a mugger in the night there is a new darkness to these songs driven by the lovely distortion of Coco’s guitar. While the groove of Jem’s bass and Poni’s dervish drum attack fuels a forceful stampede of sound with the weight and power of a drunken rhino. Long time fans will find more than enough of the bands familiar energy to make them happy and might be surprised by the artistic stretches the band has taken. Stretches as subtle as the dark side static blues of “Walk Out That Door” or bold as the unlikely country twang of “While Your Girl’s Away.”

A wonderful album Do You Want Power hints at a growing greatness and has secured The Ettes among one of my new favorites bands. I look forward to seeing them grow stronger and bolder in the years to come.

Monday, February 1, 2010

"We ain't nobody's darlings/ we never should've made it this far" Nobody's Darlings - Lucero"

Sunday night was the Grammy's and to say that it's a celebration of modern music is like saying to take a dump is a port-a-potty is a celebration of modern plumbing. I admit I didn't watch much as I couldn't stomach the audacity of it all, but I carried away 2 things from the little I did see.

1)Green Day on Broadway? Really? It's official then, the band should be formally stripped of their long dead punk mantel and their Cd's refiled under show-tuns.

2)Sir Elton John is a whore. It's not bad enough that you bastardize your own song to honor someone you supposedly cared for greatly but now you'll sing with anyone for the price of stage time at the Grammy's. I wasn 't even born and I miss the Elton of the late 60's early 70's.

I think the Gammy's bother me so much because it epitomizes how dysfunctional the industry of big label music is. Incestuous in nature and empty of substance the awards are merely an act of masturbation. The big name labels celebrating their success in an industry they manipulate through bribery and monopolization and thus further shadowing the struggle of independent music.

While all those celebrities sit listening to bad jokes and applauding the mediocre winners their are bands bleeding and starving to make music a hundred times better. The price of the ceremony alone could fund the recording and completion costs of over a thousand independent records or provide well needed Health care for a hundred artists. A single statuette could cover the cost of gas or lodging for a 4 state tour. More important though if you started giving the Grammy's to artist that actually earn them , say Katie Herzig, Lucero, Kleveland, and The Hard Lessons, maybe bands like U2 and Taylor Swift might make an album worth listening to.

But enough of my ranting. It's already gotten me in trouble with my 81/2 year-old daughter who is a an avid Swift fan.

As for the goals. I'll be posting my first review shortly and am actively reaching out to bands to obtain materials for review. I'm hoping to review the latest albums from Sex Slaves out of New York and local favorites The Builders and the Butchers new live recording.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

“There ain’t no shame in just giving up and walking a way…” No Shame - Two Cow Garage.

Here is the dilemma. I have been writing about music for the last 8 years and haven’t gotten anywhere. It’s not that I thought I’d get rich or famous; I just wonder if I should keep banging my head against this same wall or get a clue and walk away.

I entered in to the world of music with the feeling as though it was my calling. I didn’t find it, it found me and it seemed that all my interests and skills were colliding into one great destiny as though it was truly a mission from God. I guess I should have known then because as with all missions from God, though quite rewarding they are never easy.

I began this journey writing reviews for an on line publication, was able to pick up low paying work with a local weekly paper, launched my own webzine , and even had a good paying position writing a column about opening acts. Encouraged by the early success I left a job I despised to pursue my new calling. It was the best thing I ever did, but as the years pass, it seems to get tougher with each new fumble. From unpredictable editors, unreliable hosting servers, and even my own personal obstacles it grows harder and harder to feel like the time I spend is worth the effort. I truly love writing about music and people seem to respect it as evidenced by the hit’s I still get on Google. But Google does not a man make.

So here I am to make a decision: muster up the strength to keep writing whatever may come or give up and stop chasing this ghost. Here’s the challenge though, if the next 300 days are to be the last steps of this strange adventure, then I want to go out with a bang and have devised 5 goals that I’d like to complete before the clock runs out. This blog will be my proof and those who read it my witness.

My goals are as follows:

1) Produce and post one album review a week for the rest of 2010. That’s 49 reviews in all.

2) Go record shopping with the artist Biz Markie and have him educate this poor white boy about the history of good hip hop and rap in 30 albums or less. During this time talk to him about the difference between making music as an artist and performer and playing music as a DJ.

3) Collaborate with my 8 year old Daughter on interview questions and arrange an interview with her favorite artist.

4) Sit down with individuals who are heads of their fields in music licensing and sonic branding to gain a better understanding of the changed face of these fields in the light of a world altered by technology and the rise of independent music.

5) Plan, organize and pitch an idea of a multi-city concert series to a major shoe company.

These goals have some meat to them and carry with them their own obstacles and pit falls but as with all things they are obtainable. So let’s get started.