Light of the Stereo

Light of the Stereo

Monday, December 17, 2012

Cure for the Mondays:Supagroup "Hail! Hail!"

Supagroup - "Hail! Hail!"

We've all been that little kid in the basement playing a yard stick like a guitar.

This awesome group from New Orleans has been putting out some of the best rock'n'roll since the late 90's. In my opinion their 2004 self-titled album is one of the best rock albums of the new century. Last year saw the return of Supagroup with the release of their newest album Hail! Hail!. If you haven't discovered this band yet here is your chance to hear some of the best rock to bless your ears.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Living Room Performance: King Dude "Vision In Black"

King Dude - "Vision In Black"
Sargent House Glassroom
Echo Park, CA
November 14, 2012.

With elements of Johnny Cash and Roy Orbison, King Dude channels the sound of the those early Sun Studio Recordings that exist at the inception of rock'n'roll. This is the purest and most organic form of rock'n'roll to see life in a long time. Big in Europe it is well past time for him to gain recognition on his native soil here in the US. I'm certain that his latest album Burning Daylight is sure to be instrumental in reaching that goal.  

Thursday, December 13, 2012

From The Shelf: MS MR - Candy Bar Creepshow EP (2012)

Candy Bar Creep Show E.P.

Majestically grand songs fill MS MR’s debut Candy Bar Creep Show E.P. With a unique musical physics that is compellingly weighty without being oppressive this short and sweet collection of songs foreshadows greater things on the horizon. Lizzy’s hauntingly breathy vocals seem to be coming across some great expanse. Whether physical or spiritual in nature one can not discern. Disembodied and foreboding her voice is given lift, carried on the wings of Max’s musical arrangements. With a dreamy fluidity that’s nearly hypnotic in nature theses songs are understatedly powerful. Like the tides of the ocean or the tentative hold of the human mind on sanity, this music threatens to carry away its listener if they lose even the slightest measure of focus.

This four song E.P. is a must have and will wet your appetite for a full length album in the no to distant future. Catch this wave early because they are destined to be big.  

Living Room Performance:Paul McCartney and Nirvana -"Cut Me Some Slack"

Paul McCartney and former Nirvana members -"Cut Me Some Slack"
12-12-12 Concert
Madison Square Garden
New York,New York
December 12, 2012

I couldn't call myself a lover of music if I didn't pass on this amazing performance from lat night's 12-12-12 Concert in NYC. It has been a dream of so many that one day that the band Nirvana my reunite in one form or another. What no one could have imagined is that it would be with a Beatle at the helm. What came together last night was awesome as Paul McCartney, Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic,& Pat Smear joined forces to play an unforgettable one song set to benefit victims of storm Sandy.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tuesday Double Feature: Line & Circle "Roman Ruins" & Fiction "Museum"

This weeks Tuesday Double feature has two videos with a classic Eighties feel.
Songs ripe with the new wave post punk sound that you'll swear that your in a John Hughes Movie.

Line & Circle
- "Roman Ruins"

California transplants Line & Circle have taken to their sun-blessed environment with a vigor. Creating music filled with lively hooks and lovable melodies this band is just starting to gain strength.make sure to keep your eyes and ears peeled for this band because they are sure to be heading for great heights. 

Fiction - "Museum"

Like countless forfathers before them London based Fiction have adapted an 80's post-punk sound that sets them apart from the current musical trends. Making what was once old new again this band will release their debut album The Big Other will see light of day in early March.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Cure for the Mondays: The Knocks ft.Mandy Lee "Midnight City"

The Knocks (ft. Mandy Lee)- "Midnight City"

A little something to get the blood pumping and the feet moving. Here's hoping the days not too bad.

NYC based The Knocks have had an amazing year. Still riding the wave of last years release of their Magic EP. 2012 was peppered with the drop of numerous releases both original and collaborating remixes with some of today's hottest acts. 2013 should continue to see their rise starting with a gig as the house DJ's for MTV's Club NYE 2013 Celebration.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

From the Shelf: Pussycat and the Dirty Johnsons - Exercise Your Demons (2010)

Pussycat and the Dirty Johnsons
Exercise Your Demons
Self  Released

Not free-based smack; nor crystal meth have the additive properties of the crunchy guitar hooks of “Trouble With the Devil,” the opening track off Pussycat and the Dirty Johnsons’ debut LP Exercise Your Demons. Pairing aggressive guitar frenzied rock’n’roll with playful lyrics and a ball busting seductiveness Pussycat and the boys have created a viciously fun punk rock album.

The boldly tight energy of this album is unrelenting. With sultry rhythms that chug toward swilling madness only to pull back with one limb over the edge. The tracks of this CD are like musical orgasms that threaten to driver the listener insane. At the center of this storm, like a punk rock mistress, Pussycat’s dominating assault of lyrics drips with sex even through digitalized translation. If she can get you hot and bothered off a rotating piece of plastic I can only wonder what damage she dose live.

In addition, I'd be a fool not to mention the rest of the band and the animal like aggression of their playing. Without them Pussycat would just be a girl in a cat suit.  Executing  a guitar style that is complexly assertive without the pointless fill of lesser players Jake gives these songs their lively environs. While the energy and foundation is provided by the dynamic duo of Antz and Mike on drums and bass. Together they play a music both gritty and bold. Like all the best punk rock, this is music you NEED to play loud.

If you love punk rock or just enjoy great music you must pick up this album.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

10 Questions: The Last Bison

Virginia based The Last Bison mix traditional folk with elements of classical orchestral instrumentation to create their unique style of music. A seven piece, this large musical family is striving to expand the geographical stretch of their audience with the release of their latest Inheritance EP.   They took the time to talk to us about their music and what else lies ahead for the band.
BLS: Tell us a little about how The Last Bison got its start?

LB: Many of us in The Last Bison grew up together creating music as family and friends. We would create and play music at home and in church, so we were familiar with playing together. Ben started the group after returning home from a year of school in northern England. He began writing songs and we (Dan, Annah, and Andrew) started arranging and performing the music wherever we could get an audience. Teresa and Amos joined later adding the strings element and Jay, who was at all of our rehearsals, simply started playing things we didn’t have enough hands to play.
After making some connections with local bands, we were offered a spot at a local showcase at the NorVa (Norfolk, VA) which gave us exposure to local radio (WROX / 96X) It all happened very fast and very organically. We are amazed that what started in a very homegrown sort of way, in less than a year lead us to recording with Universal Republic and the larger opportunities we have today.

BLS: What is the significance of your band’s name?

LB: Ben came up with the name Bison while in high school even before he had a band. He loves the whole late 1800s vibe, and culture of the westward expansion. Later we took the name on, loving its strength and how it is an American icon. We think it captures the coupling of tradition and new frontiers in our music. Expanding the name to The Last Bison came after realizing there were a handful of other artists using Bison. We discussed various options including total name changes but landed on The Last Bison being what we thought was even a stronger symbol of heritage (another theme we love.)

BLS:  Your band has seven members in it. What is the hardest part of having so many members on tour and in the studio? Any benefits?

LB: It’s a tight fit when we squeeze 7 band members along with a few support people into a van for long periods of time. The close quarters with very little time away from each other can create tension. It certainly creates opportunity to live in community, practice patience, and learn to accept and live with personality differences and the various needs of each person. Opinions vary not only artistically but even when it comes to what to eat, where to sleep, how clean the van should be, and what music to listen to. It’s a continual process of learning to love and like each other!

BLS: It’s been a year since you released your debut album Quill. Has the band evolved or changed any during this time? How So?

LB: We have certainly developed a more cohesive sound in live settings. We’ve grown deeper in our understanding of one another on personal levels that translates into live performances musically being more creative and tight. There is a spiritual side of the band as well that we are trying to cultivate, though touring makes this difficult. We feel that the more spiritual community we share as a band the stronger our music will be.

BLS:  What does the rest of 2012 have in store for the band?

LB: Some tour dates, a few local Christmas shows to support the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia, and hopefully some time for creating and writing new material!

BLS: You have found success in your hometown region? As you focus on gaining attention on a more national level what are the greatest obstacles you face?

LB: Touring is rewarding in many ways. Meeting new people, performing in new cities, and sharing our music and art is exciting. However, touring is also very tiring, and we recognize the need for down time and ample opportunity to be home with friends and family. Keeping up with the pace is certainly an obstacle.
We also recognize that we are playing Indie Folk music which has seen a definite rise in popularity over the last several years. This is an opportunity and an obstacle. We do not want to simply be seen as riding the band wagon so to speak. We feel our music is unique enough to stand on its own and hope it will be embraced for its own merit.

BLS:  Recently, you had the honor of having your song preformed by Hickory Middle School in Chesapeake, Virginia. Was any of the band members involved in school music programs? How did it prepare you to be a commercial musician?

LB: Many of the band members were involved in piano, voice, and orchestra with lessons and recitals. Amos (Cello) and Teresa (violin) were both involved in Bay Youth Orchestra as well as regional and state orchestra and did side-by-sides with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra. Teresa says that having to play for Concerto competitions prepared her to play her best in front of audiences. She would add that practicing hard is important to performing well.

BLS: Having spent time in Virginia I know the ongoing argument of Northern Virginia versus Southern Virginia. How would you say this argument plays out in the area of song writing?

LB: We may be somewhat ignorant to the ongoing argument. We are deep in the southeast corner of Virginia and maybe have been sheltered from such discussion. We love Virginia however. We love its history and heritage and are proud to be from the Mother of States. We certainly draw inspiration from the land and history of the place we call home. And although the state we call home is blanketed with battlefields, both historic and political, we would say that our music is less about tension and argument and more about the wonder of life and the beauty of relationship within the context of love and faith.

BLS:  Virginia has a long standing tradition of folk music. How much does Last Bison draw on this tradition? From what other main sources do you gather material for your music?

LB: Though we do not play bluegrass standards (nor could we,) folk music and the simple, narrative style of Appalachian music certainly influences our song writing. Ben claims that hours of hearing Allison Kraus and the Carter Family along with southern influenced guitar styles strongly influenced his love for roots music. Another very strong influence is classical music. When Amos and Teresa joined The Last Bison we knew we did not want to add fiddle or folk influenced strings, but rather wanted to maintain the classical sensibility that they brought to the music. The end result was a blending of the folk tradition with classical sensibility, poured into a pop-rock container.

BLS:  Name 5 bands you love but who few people have heard of?


Django Reinhardt

Deep Sea Diver

The Soil And The Sun


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Tuesday Double Feature: Lana Del Rey "Born To Die" & Tristan Prettyman " My Oh My"

Beautiful women and exotic cats, is apparently the theme of this week's Tuesday Double Feature. I don't know that I planed it that way but we'll run with it now.

Lana Del Rey - "Born To Die"

The ache of Lana Del Rey's voice holds a beautiful sorrow. Combined with lush musical arrangements her music has a power and grace that is almost classic in nature. Like old Hollywood with it's lovely facades and dark secrets, Del Rey's music is unforgettable. Having released the Born to Die: The Paradise Edition in November. This deluxe edition collects all of her singles and packages it with originally unreleased material. It's a must have for fans and new converts alike.

Tristan Prettyman - "My Oh My"

The sultry blues of Tristan Prettyman is empowered with her bold vocals and a dynamic beat. Fresh on the heals of her latest release Cedar+Gold, Prettyman is in the midst of a North American tour. She'll blow through Portland in late January with a show at the Doug Fir Lounge on the 26th. I look forward to see how her musical energy translates to the stage.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Living Room Performance: The Mavericks "Come Unto Me"

The Mavericks - "Come Unto Me"
2012 Americana Music Festival
Ryman Auditorium, Austin TX

Nashville veterans The Mavericks have been making their unique style of Country-rock for over twenty years. This January the band will be releasing In Time, their first album seven years to coincide with the 20th anniversary of their first major label release. Enjoy this performance of "Come Unto Me", a track you'll find on the new album.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tuesday Double Feature: Alialujah Choir "A House A Home" & The Last Bison "Switzerland"

This week's Tuesday Double Feature includes two videos with Fantastical dream like imagery.

Alialujah Choir - "A House A Home"

This Portland Oregon side project is made up of some of the best folk artist this rain soaked city of ours has to offer. Their dreamy organic music is earthy and comforting. Spaciously sparse and boldly arresting the Alialujah Choir create songs that are beautifuly emotional. Celebrating the recent release of their dedut self-titled album we should expect to see more from this great band.  

The Last Bison - "Switzerland"

This Virginia based band combines elements of alternative rock, folk and chamber music to create wonderfully unique arrangements. With the recent release of their latest EP Inheritance on Republic Records The Last Bison are starting to build momentum. Having made an appearance at this years Musicfest NW, we can only hope that they won't be strangers to the Northwest.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

From The Shelf: Alabama Shakes - Boys & Girls (2012)

Alabama Shakes
Boys & Girls
ATO Records

Thank God for Brittany Howard and the Alabama Shakes. The soulful blues ache in her voice almost makes you want to cry. If you're like me and was raised on your parents Motown albums, then listening to their debut LP Boys & Girls is like a sweet memory you didn't even know you had. Occasionally affected by coffee shop impulse buying, this is the first album I've bought at a Starbucks that I didn't regret after three tracks. Filled with some of the most emotionally bold soul music to be played in over four decades this album is a must for anyone that loves Aretha Franklin, Carol King or Otis Redding.

From the aching groove of "Hold On" to the driving build of the closing  track this album is an audio time machine through the history of soul. There's the subtle rocking pew sway of the 50's in the title track "Boys & Girls."  "Rise to the Sun" on the other hand personifies the dancing shake of the heyday of 60's soul, while "I Found You" is the strutting gize and attitude rich flavor of Apollo nights of the politically charged 70's.

Stylistically and emotionally rich this album is amazing from start to finish. It has the three element that make all truly great soul music; Amazing instrumentation, a voice that can knock you to the grounds and faith. If the band can stay true to all three of these  facets then they are sure to be with us for a long while and will find the recognition that they truly deserve.   

Living Room Performance: Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit "Danko/Manuel"

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit - "Danko/Manuel"
WorkPlay Birmingham, Alabama
August 17th, 2012

Having launched his career as a songwriting member of the Drive-By Truckers, Jason Isbell has spent the last several years proving his individual greatness as the lead of his own band the 400 Unit. Isbell released his first full-length live album Live From Alabama  just yesterday. So in honor of the occasion we've posted this performance. Enjoy 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Tuesday Double Feature: Reckless Ones "Dead & Gone" & The Hillbilly Moon Explosion "My Love Evermore"

This week's Tuesday Double feature feels like it's right out of the Grindhouse Theaters of the 60's and 70's.

Reckless Ones - "Dead & Gone"

This post-apocalyptic video from Minneapolis rockabilly band the Reckless Ones plays like Lance Mungia's Six-String Samurai. This Midwest three piece personifies all that is holy in the rockabilly world: Tattoos, hot-rods and curvacious women worthy of a Petty pin-up calender. Denying the sterile sound of the present these boys wrap themselves in the warm tones of their retro goodness and the world is better for it.

The Hillbilly Moon Explosion - "My Love For Evermore"

Like a David Lynch film this video by Zurich based The Hillbilly Moon Explosion has an off putting high art feel that would make Tarantino jealous. With a brand new album Buy,Beg or Steal filled with the haunting vocals of Emanuela Hutter and the swinging top shelf Americana their known for. This band is expanding it's fan base with leaps and bounds.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Cure for the Mondays: Smoochknob "Meet Me Half The Way"

Smoochknob - "Meet Me Half The Way"

Clown-love In Portland, makes a cute video but a scarey internet search.

Home town favorites, Portland's Smoochknob are known for their fun antics. So this humorous little video for the upcoming single off their forthcoming album is no surprise. With any luck we'll be seeing the new album in spring of 2013. Until then, I hope that your Monday doesn't suck too much.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

About Last Night: Two Cow Garage @ Dante's 11/10/12

Last Night Two Cow Garage left everything but a severed limb and the kitchen sink on Dante's stage. For those of us who braved the cold, bore witness to one of the greatest rock shows to roll through Portland in months.

Starting off the night was the blue coller rock of Portland's Truckstop Darlin'. I love the work ethic of this band. There was no messing around. Using every second of their 45 minute slot John Phelan and the boys played every song they could fit. This is how every opening band should be.  Plowing through their set list with a systematic focus Truckstop Darlin' is sure to have please their fans and won some new ones. A perfect introduction into the night, there salt-of-the-earth set lead wonderfully into the aggressively raw performance of fellow Portland favorites I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch In The House. 

The boldly aggressive rock'n'Roll of Micheal Dean Dameron and the irreplaceable crew of SOB is some of the best damn music you will ever hear and this goes twice as true live at Dante's where they hold home court advantage.  Last night was a particularly amazing show even as short as an opening slot in a four band line-up. A perfect balance of the flesh pounding force and heartbreaking vulnerability that is SOB at its best, Dameron's gravel raw vocals seemed more poignant than ever. The band was also in rare form, as though re-energized from a long hiatus and chomping at the bit.  The concussive rhythm of Flapjack Texas's no nonsense drumming and the punctuating precision of Mole Harris's bass poured from the stage with a true physical presence. While the playful guitar flairs of Jon Burbank and harp mastery of David Lipkind gave even familiar songs new life.  As the minutes clicked away I have to admit that I felt a little cheated. I could listen to these guys all night but thankfully the best was yet to come.

Like a punk rock machine gun The Copyrights' followed with a rappid-fire delivery that was unrelenting. Undeniably this band has a hand on that great punk rock energy that can spill from a stage a excite an audience. What they don't have is songs that sound different. Their  performance on stage was powerful  and fit wonderfully in the mix of the bands. Unfortunately, half way through their set it felt as thought they were playing one song the whole time. The one redeeming factor of their show was that their no breaks delivery maintained the momentum of the show and spring-boarded the night in to the mind blowing performance of Two Cow Garge.     

And what a performance it was. Bounding across the stage with uncanny punk rock dexterity Shane Sweeney and Micah Schnabel flew about like balls of rock'n'roll fury. It's been a long time since I've seen a performance this unyieldingly powerful. Fueled with an energy formulated from one part small town frustration, one part artistic hunger and a good helping of pure joy to be on a stage in front of a crowd that loved them; there was no stopping these boys. Driving through one song to the next, the crowd howling along the red hewed walls of Dante's never felt this familiar. Near Primal, Two Cow Garage gave there all and we loved every moment of it.
Combined these bands gave one of the best concerts I've seen and reminded us beyond party lines what America is really about.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

From the Shelf: Bridgit Mendler- Hello My Name Is... (2012)

Bridgit Mendler
Hello My Name Is…
Hollywood Records

Bridgit Mendler's new cd Hello My Name Is…, Is great. The song “Postcard” is a tribute to all kids who want to do things that they are teased about, like a guy doing ballet or a girl who wants to play baseball. It is great. My favorite song is “5:15.” It talks about a girl who at 5:15 realizes that she like a guy a lot. The cd is a must have. Bridget Mendler is a great singer she has a spunky energy that comes through in her songs. I think she is a better singer than actress, even though she is a super great actress. You need to listen to some of these songs or even the whole cd.

*This CD Review was writen by my daughter Cassidy. She was very proud of  her first CD review and I am very proud of her for writing it.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Tuesday Double Feature: The Right Now "He Use To Be"& Leela James "Something's Got A Hold On Me"

I'm a fan of all kinds of eclectic styles of music, but having grown up on my father's Motown vinyl, soul holds a special place in my heart. So, this week's Tuesday Double Feature recognizes the rich new voices of the next generation of soul.    

The Right Now - "He Use To Be"

The warm grooving swing of The Right Now has all the heart filled power of 70's styled soul. Belting out her lyrics with a gigantic voice that can rattle you to the core, Stefanie Berecz will easily find her way into the pantheon of soul's matriarchal hierarchy someday very soon. Make sure you check out their dark new album Gets Over You and start praying that they make it to the west coast sometime next year.

Leela James -"Something's Got A Hold On Me"

Covering the likes of Etta James, you can be certain that this soul sister knows her stuff. Wielding lusciously bold vocals and the confidence of soul divas of old,  Leela James is the real deal and all business. It's her ability to harness the past and use it to create presently relevant music that makes this songstress and the art she's creating so poignant.  

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Living Room Performance: Two Cow Garage "American Static"

Two Cow Garage - "American Static"

Ohio based Two Cow Garage is, in my opinion, making some of the best working class rock'n'roll on the road today. Powerful in both delivery and content these boys are due for a breakout.

Luckily those of us in Portland get the opportunity to see them tonight at Dante's. So here's a little preview of what we have in store.

From the Shelf: Cory Branan - Mutt (2012)

Cory Branan
Bloodshot Records

Somewhere between the highway spirit of Bruce Springsteen and the drunken melancholy of Tom Waites the latest album by Cory Branan is rich with his tell-tail honesty and blatant creativity. It's been five years since his last album  and the time has left it's mark. Delivered in his raw smokey voice, these songs remind you why it's worth the wait. With moments of experimentation, Branan's 3rd full-length LP finds him expanding his instrumental canvas, revealing a broader array of musical influences.  Mutt showcases an evolved singer who has emerged from the chrysalis of a guitar wielding troubadour into a complex musical architect.
Lyrically, their is nothing subtle about these songs. From the opening "Croner" Branan peels back the ragged facade of life to reveal the tragic and wonderful. Thankfully though, not without the tongue-in-cheek wittiness he's known for. This album, like his others, is filled with some of the most ingenious lyricism and blatantly emotional honesty currently set to music. Effectively reaffirming his place as a king among songwriters, Mutt is another jewel to place securly in his crown.

Musically this album ranges from the tender country serenade of "Darken My Door" to the rocking power house of "Survivor Blues" while hitting all the tempos in-between. Some unique highlights include the Waits inspired gypsy jazz of "Snowman" and the contrasting translations of "Survivor Blues" that exist so independently of each other that it lacks the repetitiveness that you would usually expect. In all this album is a wonderfully fun ride on an auditory roller-coaster of tempo and instrumentation
Being a fan of Cory Branan is like being in a long distance relationship, you learn to appreciate the quality of his material verses the quantity. I should know, I've been writing about music for ten years and Branan's The Hell You Say was one of the first albums that I reviewedMutt certainly is the highest of quality.  Hopefully it won't have to hold us over for another 5 years, but I'm sure that, if need be, it most definitely will. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

10 Questions: Patterson Hood

Patterson Hood, the curly locked half of the Drive-By Truckers is known for his storytelling so it was no surprised when he sat down to write a book and ended up with his most personal album to date : Heat Lightning Rumbles In The Distance. Between his consummate touring and busy schedule he graciously took some time to answer some questions. 
BLS: Heat Lightning Rumbles in the Distance is your 3rd solo album. How does it differentiate musically from solo albums you’ve made in the past?

PH: It's the most personal and intimate album I've ever made.

BLS: Your father David Hood played Bass on the album. How did the family connections effect the creation of the album? What were you able to draw on from his years as a Muscle Shoals session ace?

PH: My dad is a consummate musician and a sweetheart of a guy. I'm very lucky in the Dad department. He definitely brought his A game to the studio for his sessions on this album. His playing on the title cut is one of my favorite things I've ever been a part of.

BLS: You have said that this is your most autobiographical album to date, with songs derived from two specific periods of your life. Did you find it was easier or harder to write more personal songs?

PH: I don't know generally. I just write what occurs to me and usually don't realize what it all is about until after the fact. These songs came really fast and easy, probably the fastest I've ever written an album so I must have been inspired, but I have no idea why this album occurred at this moment in time. I'm sure glad it did though.

BLS: I’ve read that this album developed out of a rerouted book writing project. Are there any writers that you admire and have inspired your writing whether in prose and songwriting?

PH: Way too many to list. I'm obsessed with great writing and always reading and listening. Right now I'm really loving the Father John Misty album (Fear Fun). I think his writing is fantastic. What a great wit. I'm reading "Reading My Father" by Alexandria Styron. She is a really fine writer and daughter of William Styron who wrote "Darkness Visible" and "Sophie's Choice".

BLS: On this album you co-wrote a song with Kelly Hogan. How was your experience working with her? What insights did her feminine view point lend to the songwriting process?

PH: Kelly is one of my favorite people and one of the greatest singers in the world today. She is also a very underrated writer. Her lyrics on "Come Back Little Star" are among my favorite lines on my album. I always love and welcome a feminine point of view. I just love smart and funny people, whether they happen to be male or female.

BLS: Like George Jones, you dabbled with a spoken word format for the song (Untitled Pretties). What was it about this song that made you decide to use this format?

PH: That was an accident. It was originally supposed to be an instrumental song but it was inspired by a very short chapter I had written for my aborted book project. At last minute, I had the idea to read the chapter over the music and it synched up like it was always meant to be that way. I guess it was. I always love and welcome the happy accident when making a record.

BLS: You have described DBT as a Noir band. Do you feel that your solo work is as emotionally dark or is it driven by a different emotional battery?

PH: There is obviously always a lot of darkness in my music, but I also consider it to be cathartic in the same way that the blues was considered cathartic to the people who played it, listened to it, danced and fucked to it. I actually think of this album as very uplifting, especially at the end. It may come from and visit some dark places, but I consider it very hopeful. It at least makes peace with it's demons and is a tale of survival and pushing though the darkness and finding joy in the things that are important.

BLS: With touring in support of Heat Lightning Rumbles in the Distance, how does the live experience differ from DBT shows?

PH: This is a very different type of show. I love the DBT show with it's wild abandon and cathartic uplift and big sweaty anthems, but this is a very beautiful and cathartic show, it just achieves it in a very different way. I love this band. The harmonies are beautiful and I love all of the piano and cello. I would very much like to continue doing both shows for a very long time.

BLS: Everyone likes to fantasize about the life of a rock star, but the reality is sure to be a whole different beast. In your experience what is the hardest thing about the day to day grind of being a professional musician?

PH: It's a very hard life and you get tired and homesick, but it's also wonderful. I get to see the world and meet all kinds of people and get to play the show, which I always look forward to and still love as much, all of these years later, as I did when I was a teenager.

BLS: What is the name of 5 bands you love but few people have heard of?

PH: As I mentioned earlier, I'm loving that Father John Misty album (Fear Fun).
The War on Drugs is one of my faves right now.
There'a a great band from Athens called Bloodkin, that has been together for over 25 years. They write great songs.
Centro-matic has long been my favorite band in the world. They should be selling out arenas.
The band I'm touring with right now, Hope For Agoldensummer is fantastic. Page and Claire Campbell sing those incredible sister harmonies, write great songs and have some of the best stage banter ever.

From The Shelf: Patterson Hood - Heat Lightning Rumbles In The Distance (2012)

Patterson Hood
Heat Lightning Rumbles In The Distance
ATO Records

With an album title like a Charles Bukowski poem, Patterson Hood has produced his most emotionally honest record to date in Heat Lightning Rumbles In The Distance. Using his amazing storytelling skills to finally share his own story, this record holds some of the most personal songs we've ever heard from Hood.  Melding together, the songs on this album reveals the uneven journey to manhood.  Told through lyrics that  hold the same detailed mastery that we have grown to expect from Patterson Hood. Heat Lightning is ripe with potent characters and vividly emotional moods. Coming off like the passages of a great novel, this record leaves you with a deeper respect and simpathy for Hood as an artist as well as a human being.

As usual, the musical soundness of this album is unquestionable. In addition to some of the usual contributors like Mike Cooley, Brad Morgan and David Barde this album features appearances by other talented artists including Kelly Hogan and Patterson's father and well known Muscle Shoals session bassist David Hood.  Ranging from the sparse George Jones styled "untold pretties' to the short but driving energy of "Better Off Without" the emotional landscape of this album mimics the ups and downs of it's subject mater.

Patterson Hood has truly topped himself with this album. Once again joining the best of lyrics and music to create an unforgettable album that you'll want to place in heavy rotation.  

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Quick Pick: Saturday, November 10th

Saturday, November 10th
Two Cow Garage
Truckstop Darlin' / The Copyrights / I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch in the House
350 W Burnside
Doors: 8PM /Show: 9PM
Adv.: $10 /Day Of: $10
21 & Over

With a line-up of some of the greatest working class rock bands in America, this might in fact be one of the best concerts of the fall, if not the year.
Topping the bill is the awesome talent of Ohio based Two Cow Garage. With the lyrical soul of Springsteen and the punk rock heart of Fugazi these boys have been making some of the most honest rock' n 'roll on the road today. What the Black Keys have done with electrified broken blues, these boys have done with Midwest blue-collar rock' n 'roll and deserve as much credit and attention. If this band isn't already on your radar than here's your chance to catch then at their best.
Filled out the rest of the bill is some of Portland's own amazing working class bands including the labor-worn lyricism of Turckstop Darlin' and the hard rocking power of  I Can Lick Any Sonfoabitch in the House which in my opinion is easily the greatest undiscovered talents in the US today.
Don't miss this show. It's been a long time since I've seen a lineup that paired bands this successfully and is sure to make the show unforgettable. So leave your post election worries at home and come out and see what the real America is all about.     

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Tuesday Double Feature: The Pierces "Sticks & Stones" & The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band "Devils Look Like Angels"

With the spirit of Halloween still in the air, this weeks Tuesday Double Feature is a little on the fun and creepy side. Enjoy, and I hope you had a chance to vote, cause there's nothing scarier than politics.

The Pierces - "Sticks & Stones"

This sister duo has the rich sound of the 70's coursing through their music. Somehow seeming to have mixed the class and country of June Carter Cash with the powerful rock to early Heart, The Pierces have revived the bold power of the era without the cheesiness of nostalgia. Having toured this last year with Coldplay this band is sure to be household name in no time.

The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band - "Devils Look Like Angels"

Heralding from southern Indiana, Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band plays a wonderfully rough delta style blues tinged with a spry hillbilly accent. Their latest album Between the Ditches is ripe with the lovely gravel vocals and the kind of crossroad blues that will make a honest man sin. We've been lucky to have the band swing through Portland twice in the past few months and I hope that trend continues.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Living Room Performance: JJAMZ "Heartbeat"

JJAMZ - "Heartbeat"
Jimmy Kimmel Live
August 15th, 2012

This Indie-collective is a super group of sorts with members Jason Boesel(Rilo Kiley, Bright Eyes),James Valentine(Maroon 5), Alex Greenwald (Phantom Planet), Z Berg (The Like) and solo artist Michael Runion.

If you like what you see, come out tonight and catch them at Portland's Mississippi Studios. They'll be helping to get Musicfest NW off to a great start.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

From The Shelf: JC Brooks And The Uptown Sound - Want More (2011)

JC Brooks and The Uptown Sound
Want More
Bloodshot Records

I haven't listened to a soul album this good since lying on my parent's living room floor, one of my father's Motown records spinning on the turntable and the world illuminated only by the dim light of the stereo.  Somewhere between James Brown and Otis Redding the music of JC Brook and the Uptown Sound is a fresh take on a classic sound. With moments of aggressive blues power and sweet soulful tenderness Want More is filled with songs that blessedly capture the feel of all three decades that defined Soul's musical supremacy. With the tender 50's croon of "To Love Someone (That Don't Love You)", the danceable 60's blues strut of "Everything Will Be Fine" and a groovy 70's funk in " Bad News" this album has all the bases covered. There's even a little gospel thrown in there, which has to make Momma Brooks proud.            

Having successfully captured a powerfully raw live sound this album is filled with amazing instrumentation and tremendously awesome vocals. Without a single bad track in the bunch you're going to find yourself listing to this album over and over. If it doesn't make you dance, please see someone because there might be something seriously wrong with you. Trust me when I say this: You Need This Album. So whether you pick up a CD or digital copy or get it on sweet sweet vinyl, don't let another day go by without it.

10 Questions: JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound

The amazing retro soul sound of Chicago's JC Brook and the Uptown Sound is some of the best music out there right now. Still gaining momentum from 2011's Want More this band is sure to be a household name in no time.  Guitarist Billy Bungeroth and bass player Ben Taylor took some time to sit down with BLS and answer our questions. Make sure you catch them at our own Mississippi Studios this Friday.

BLS: JC you have a love for acting and the stage. What dramatic elements have you been able to incorporate into the band's live show?

JCB:  Heightened sense of emotionalism or playing emotional extremes when it suits the build of the song. I also play JC as slightly mentally disturbed...

BLS: The rawness of your live show is one of your strongest selling points. Do you feel you were able to better capture that raw feeling in Want More compared to the Beat Your Own Drum Album?

JCB:  I feel that Beat is far rawer production-wise and content/performance-wise. We were just feeling our way through our sound at that point and we recorded it in 2 days.

BLS: What were some of the studio techniques used in the making of Want More that gives it that live feel?

 JCB:  We all played live in a room together for starters. Revolutionary concept, right? As far as studio trickery goes, we mic'd the drums through the heating duct for Sister Ray Charles.

BLS: Having grown up on my father's Motown LP's I can understand the power of soul. Can each of you remember the first soul album you ever heard?

 JCB:  I remember watching the Motown 25 special on TV, and later on, my high school jazz teacher teacher lent me James brown's greatest hits, which I taped on the other side of my Public Enemy "Nation of Millions" cassette

BLS: Chicago is a large part of your bands identity. Can you describe what it's like to be a band from Chicago and what is it about the town and specifically the Uptown neighborhood that has shaped your sound?

 JCB:  Curtis Mayfield and Wilco are both major influences. We have also had the pleasure of playing with Chicago Soul Men Syl Johnson and Renaldo Domino. Outside of that Chicago has great venues and a very encouraging music scene.

BLS: Your music has gained the attention of the blues audience, which is known for loyalty and passion. What has it meant to the band to gain this sort of attention?

 JCB:  The blues have the first and last word in all modern music. Being from Chicago the blues are incredibly important to many of us. If blues fans dig it were honored by the compliment.

BLS: If it was 1980 - who would win in a cage match between James Brown and Rick James? Would it make any difference if it was officiated by Prince and Bootsy Collins?

 JCB:  This is irrelevant both parties would be coked to the gills so the outcome would be erroneous.

BLS: Why did you choose to make Bloodshot records, a label more well know for Alt-country, your home?

JCB:  Good music transcends genre. So does a good label.

BLS: What can we expect from the band for the second half of 2012?

 JCB:  More touring, then recording in the fall/winter


BLS: Name 5 bands you love but who few people have heard of?


JD McPherson


Josh & Mer

Aaron Novik

Freddie T & the People

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Triple Crown: 08/20 - 09/02

Friday, August 24th 
Night Beats
Doug Fir Lounge
830 E Burnside
Doors: 8PM /Show: 9PM
Adv.: $10 / Day Of: $10
21 & Over

The Go-Go freak-a-delic groove of the Night Beats is a wonderfully sinful treat. Rich in fuzz coated guitars and a sultry pulsing rhythm that can make you ache this Seattle band will be tearing at the wall of the Doug Fir this Friday night. Like a dreamy trip of graphically vicious proportions their garage flavored rock is instantly addictive. A great way to start off your weekend and embark on an awesome Triple Crown.    

Saturday, August 25th
I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch In the House
Brothers of the Last Watch / Root Jack / Burn The Stage
350 W. Burnside St
Doors: 8PM / Show: 9:30PM
Adv.: $7 / Day Of: $7
21 & Over

What more can I say about this band but that they are one of the hardest rocking working class bands in America . Next to Otis Redding their one of my favorites and believe me when I tell you that they have earned it. With the songwriting mastery of Micheal Dean Damron translated the way God intended through the ensemble of Handsome John Burbank on guitar, Mole Harris on Bass, the drums of Flapjack Texas, and the sweet  harp of David Lipkind; SOB is truly one of the greats. Their recorded material is amazing but it's their live show that truly shines. Like a hard rock tent revival a night with this band is unforgettable. Word from the band is that this will be the last Portland show in a while so make sure you don't miss it.

Sunday, September 2nd
McMenamins' Edgefield
2126 SW Halsey St; Troutdale
Doors: 5PM / Show: 6PM
Adv.: $49.50 / Day Of: $52
All Ages

You would have to have lived in a very deep cave not to have heard Gotye's song "Someone That I Use to Know" sometime over the last year, but there is so much more to this artist. With diversely stylized and boldly imaginative music that's reminiscent of  Peter Gabriel and The Police era Sting, Gotye is a master of crafting the auditory medium. The way he sees sound and is able to form it is like Picasso and his paint brush. Having spent the last few years making a name for himself internationally, it's nice to see that here in the states we're coming around to see the light of his genius. This concert on the lawn at the wonderful Edgefield should be a perfect way to finish out the last few days of summer.  

Thursday, August 16, 2012

About Last Night:Thundering Asteroids! @ Kaite O Brien's 08/10

Last night I saw the Phoenix rise in the form of the Thundering Asteroids!. Having taken a hiatus to gather strength and to find a new drummer. Portland's funnest troupe of Punk rocking nerds has returned with a Wrath of Khan worthy vengeance.

With a revitalized energy and  a bonafide DC Punk Legend on the skins the Thundering Asteroids! took no quarter and tore with full force into their set at Katie O'Brien's.  Stacked with true believers elated to hear the band live once again, the small room almost vibrated with excitement. Like the rest of the crowd I found myself either chanting the lyrics or basking in the wonderful geek brilliance of songs like the Labyrinth inspired "I Have a Thing for the Goblin King." Playing as tight as I've ever seen them, it was as though they had never missed a step, blowing the crowd away with their signature fun loving energy. 

It's apparent, that the time off seems to have done the band well, their music sounded amazing as they plowed through one crowd pleasing song after another. Minn was a ball of hyper speed movement throwing herself into each song. It wasn't until after the show that she confessed to waking with a cold that morning, but you wouldn't have know it by the way she belted the lyrics and hopped about like Frogger on a speed level.
The addition of CS-DU3(Colin Sears of Dag Nasty fame) on the drum seems to be a perfect match, melding seamlessly with Scott Starkiller's bass and Dwight Solo's guitar. This amazing show straight  off the bench has got me excited about what we can expect next form the gang. Word from the band is that they're looking to catch up with their current catalog with official recordings and to then turn their attentions towards working on new materials. No matter the plan you can be certain that I'll be keeping a close watch on them with fingers crossed that their next musical tribute might be to The Monster Squad or the video game Rampage.
I unfortunately had to head home early for work the next day and didn't get to see The Anxieties play, but the the opening slot was a wonderfully emotional set by the 42 Ford Prefects(sorry guys that I miss spelled your name in the Preview). Powerfully abusive I love the drive of the band but admit that I think it would have been more powerful if I could have understood the lyrics more. This would have allowed me to become more invested in their songs. Over all though, it was a great night at Katie O'Brien's and I'm glad I was they to see the Thundering Asteroids! shake the ashes from their wings an sore once again..       

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tuesday Double Feature: Pony Boy "Not In This Town" & My Morning Jacket "Out of My System"

For the return of  the Tuesday Double Feature, I've collected some fairly odd videos for you viewing pleasure. Enjoy.

Pony Boy - "Not In This Town"

Pony Boy is the seductive Marchelle Bradanini who's music is a sensually smokey hybrid of blue hazed jazz joints and broken down honk-tonks.  The latest single,"Not In This Town" is sure to be the continued slow build to Bradanini's future success. Like a  mind blowing game of foreplay, she seems to be stoking the fires until we beg for the release of more material. Either she's a marketing genius or a sadist, either way it seems she's incomplete control. I just hope she'll tell us the safe word.   

My Morning Jacket - "Out of My System"

It's been a great summer for My Morning Jacket. Having returned from Europe to a string of great US dates, it seems that the band that's worked so hard for so many years finally gets to reap the rewards of their labor. Additionally, the band has release their Out of My System EP this last week and will be playing a a busy schedule of shows  to finish off the summer and start the Fall. Here in Portland, we'll be treated to a concert at our own wonderful Edgefield in early September. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Living Room Performance: Ms Mr "Hurricane"

For You busy people who might not be able to make it To concerts or just need a little fix of music BLS now brings you short shot of some great performances.

Ms Mr - "Hurricane"
Electric Lady Studio
New York New York
June 8th 2012

New York based Ms Mr have spent the summer supporting Marina & The Diamonds and will be making their first trip to Europe in the Fall. Enjoy this performance of their single "Hurricane" form a recent session at New York's famous Electric Lady Studio.

A special thanks to my Daughter Cassidy for her help choosing this video and launching of a new column.

A Cure for a Case of the Mondays

Here's a little something upbeat to get you through your Monday.

Mika - Celebrate

Having recently preformed at the Olympics and his latest album The Origin of Love out in October Mika is spreading some Pop-tastic tunes for the whole world to enjoy.
So I hope it can get you through your Monday.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Quick Pick: August 10th

Friday, August 10th
Thundering Asteroids!
The Anxieties / 42 Ford Perfect
Katie O'Brien's
2809 NE Sandy Blvd.
Show: 9PM
Cover: $3
21 & Over

I haven't anticipated something this much since 1983 with the original release of Return of the Jedi. Like the Empires Strikes Back, I've been  filled with unanswered questions since the unexpected hiatus of Portland's Nerd-puck outfit the Thundering Asteroids! earlier this year. Will the band return to continue their blessed Geek-core? Will the new drummer be able to fill the shoes of his predecessor and bring something of his own to the table? Me, I feel like The Six Million Dollar Man, this band has what it takes to rebuild themselves. They have the technology. They have the will. To be better, stronger, Faster than they were before and this show at Katie O'Brien's will be the first time for them to prove it. Fan boys of the world, prepare yourselves to once again to bow at the will of Minn and her warriors of 16-bits.
Filling out the rest of the bill is fellow Portland conspirators The Annxieties with their self-professed three cord sass and the 42 Ford Perfect, who will be celebrating the release of their album on, believe it or not, glow-in-the-dark vinyl. What ever the reason or obstacles you might have to over come, make sure you make it out for this great return show. It's the perfect chance to let your geek flag fly. You know you want to.     

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Triple Crown: 06/25-07/08

A little eclectic this Triple Crown should hold something for you.

Friday, June 29th
Sara Jackson Holman
Pt. Juncture WA / What Heart
Doug Fir Lounge
830 E Burnside
Doors: 8PM /Show: 9PM
Adv.:$8 /Day Of: $10
21 & Over

The simplistically seductive sound of Sara Jackson Holman is filled with sultry nuances that intertwine with her intimate piano in tenderly beautiful ways. Heralding from Bend Oregon you could swear that her brooding styled songs would be more at home in the rain soaked streets of Portland. Having found great acceptance, both locally and nationally, Holman has astutely rode the momentum since the release of her debut album When You Dream. We are honored to have her at our own Doug Fir Lounge celebrating the release of her latest album Cardiology. Joining her is the organically popish rock of Point Juncture, WA and Portland’s acoustically minded female quartet What Heart. Make sure that you catch this show before Holman gets any bigger.

Saturday, June 30th
Bad Habitat
One Movement/mighty misc/Buck Turtle/Eastern Sunz/Sammy Mack/BooSen /Soul Ill /Diction One
Ash Street Saloon
225 SW Ash Street
Doors: 8PM /Show: 9:30PM
Door: $5
21 & Over

Filled with some of the best hi-hop Portland has to offer, this showcase at the Ash Street Saloon will be great on the ears and at $5, easy on the wallet. Adding to the night is the release of Bad Habitat newest album Scissor Tree. Their wonderfully refreshing sound has the energy of classic hip-hop without relinquishing any street cred. With powerfully tight verse delivered with point blank precision this local trio is gaining well deserved attention. In addition to a new album, Bad Habitat has opening slots for DMX and Nos this summer. Certainly the cream that is rising to the top, this show is an opportunity to catch an amazing group in an intimate setting before they get big. So whether you're a hip-hop connoisseur or just a fan of local music, this show is going to fill your needs.           

Tuesday, July 3rd
Cory Branan
Audra Mae
Doug Fir Lounge
830 E Burnside
Doors: 8PM /Show: 9PM
Adv.:$8 /Day Of: $10
21 & Over

As a Nashville troubadour Cory Branan has a certain magic with words. His witty songs are ripe with the mysticism of highway white lines and truck stop diners. Few and far between Branan’s northwest shows are like the unexpected visits of a deadbeat dad. You cherish them with all your soul, but in the end it just makes you desire the experience that much more. Pop-psychology aside, make sure you don’t miss this rare performance at the rustic Doug Fir Lounge. Touring in support of his newest album Mutt, this opportunity to catch one of the South’s great modern song writers is a must. Opening the show is the dynamic energy of Audra Mae who’s smoky voice and bold stage presence is sure to make Branan bring his A-game.
So what if it’s a Tuesday night, with a show this good you have to throw responsibility out the window and wear your weariness, the following day at work, like a badge of honor. Believe me your co-workers will envy you.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Great Music for a Wonderful Cause: Hit Machine Concert and Art Show 06/28

Thursday, June 28th
Concert and Art show Benefit
330 SW Murray Blvd.
Beaverton, OR 97005
Show: 6:30PM
Cover: FREE! though donations are greatly appreciated.
Fun for the Whole Family!

Start your weekend off a little early, with some great music for a wonderful cause. Portland’s unstoppable Hit Machine will be playing two sets of some of the best music of the last three decades. From AC/DC to Prince, this fun and energetic band will be bringing their unforgettable  performance in support of Dinner & A Movie a local non-profit that works with impoverished families and homeless youth. Known for their dynamic stage show Hit Machine is the answer to a normally boring Thursday night. There’s no cover but donations will be greatly appreciated. Their first set starts at 6:30PM which gives you just enough time to get out of your work duds and into your dancing shoes.
Also featured will be art by local artists. There will be silent auction, coffee bar and deserts with proceeds benefiting Dinner & A Movie and their work changing lives of struggling families and youth. Come have some fun and feel good about it. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Tuesday Double Feature: Tom Stormy Trio feat.Rhythm Sophie "Finders Keepers" & The Hellfreaks "Boogie Man"

This weeks Tuesday Double Feature salutes the Outsider in us all. So whether you identify yourself with Sodapop or Ponyboy there's a kind of rockabilly in the world to suit anyone's  taste. In this case, here's two unique flavors from Budapest, Hungry just to wet your whistle.

Tom Stormy Trio feat. Rhythm Sophie - "Finders Keepers"

This swaying rockabilly of the Tom Stormy Trio is what might be considered a more traditional example of the genera. Joined by the beautiful vocals of Rhythm Sophie their songs will transport you back to the 1950's when Elvis and Sandra Dee ruled the world.  

The Hellfreaks - "Boogie Man"

This Psychobilly outfit mixes elements of Creepshow with the burlesque stage performance of Big John Bate's. With their last album released in 2010, we can only hope there's another one just around the corner.

Quick Pick: Friday, June 15th

Friday, June 15th
Rockabilly Rally Jam
(Go Ballistic / The Back Alley Barbers/ The Koozies/ The Hardcount)
Tiger Bar
317 NW Broadway
Show: 9PM
Cover: $7
21 & Over

Hollow bodied Gretsch guitars, pompadours, Lucky Strikes in rolled up sleeves and tattooed rockabilly girls dressed to the 9's. These are some of my favorite things. Which makes this show at Tiger Bar that much more appealing. Celebrating Portland International Raceway's Rose Cup, this evening is going to be filled with the speedway rock'n'roll that gets the blood going and makes you feel bad in all the right ways.
On the bill is some to the best dragster rock and psycho-billy the northwest has to offer. Headlining the show is the maddening guitar speed of Portland's own Go Ballistic. Full throttled and out to thrill this band is going to run you over with 2 tons of pure power.
Just as amazing is the supporting acts of the evening.  Serenading the crowd will be the soulful strut of Salem's The Back Alley Barbers with the haunting vocals and sexuality of Queen Pirate and the solid sound of her motley crew.While Seattle's The Hardcount's mix of one part Bon Scott, two parts Johnny Cash is going to shock and amaze. Though, I have to admit, the band I'm most excited to see is The Koozies. Very likely one of the best bands to see live these boys form Eugene are all about the fun and Tuan plays the Mandolin like it's a Gibson Les Paul and he's Jimmy Page.
So do yourself a favor.  Start your weekend off right and make your way down to the Tiger Bar. Like a race track wreck, you might feel it in the morning but it's going to be one thrilling ride.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Coolest Muisc Video You'll See All Day: Shake The Baron "Crazy Align"

Unfortunately I wasn't able to get this weeks Tuesday Double Feature together in time. But never fear, to make it up to you I give you this sweet jewel of a video. I have to say this is the best music video I've seen in years. So enjoy and I'll make sure next week the Tuesday Double Feature will return.

Shake The Baron - "Crazy Align"

Quick Pick: Saturday June 9th

Saturday, June 9th
Truck Stop Darlin' (CD Release Show!)
River Giant
Star Theater
13 NW Sixth Ave
Doors: 8PM/ Show: 9PM
21 & Over

Filled with heartbreak, bourbon, and the open road, the sound of the Truckstop Darlin's is an earthy country-rock too sweet to deny. Perpetuated upon the high-desert gravel voice of John Phelan, their music is the embodiment of the Northwest. It's rural honesty is a potent thing that finds fans in anyone that likes callused hands, hard work and good salt of the earth people. This is the music of mill hands working the green chain, of Eastern Oregon cattle ranchers and those of us city dwellers who seem to breath a little easier once the glare of the urban lights have faded in the rear view mirror.
Celebrating the success of their Kickstarter campaign and the release of their sophomore album Hope and the Heart it Breaks, this show at the Star Theater should be big enough to mark this awesome event.  Shearing the stage is the Neil Youngian styled organic rock of Seattle's River Giant. An awesome band of their own with a blue collar sound that will wonderfully compliment the Darlin's  There's no doubt this is where you need to be Saturday night. So whether you're already down town for the Rose Festival  or need a good fix of awesome music this it the show for you.        

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tuesday Double Feature: Eric Hutchinson "Watching You Watch Him" & Dragonette "Let It Go"

To the living room Lindy-hoppers, the shower Skankers, and sidewalk Swingers this Tuesday Double Feature is for you. If you're a closet dancer enslaved by any good rhythm, than this is a pass to set yourself free.

Eric Hutchinson - "Watching You Watch Him"

With moves like this, no wonder he's watching.

Having played the Hawthorn Theater just last week, Eric Hutchinson is busy rapping up his latest tour in support of the new album Moving Up Living Down

Dragonette - "Let It Go"

Who needs Prozac when you have dancing.

Let It Go is the latest single from Canada's Dragonette, is due a new album and will be touring the US later this year with September show in our in both California and Washington. There's still time, so hopefully we'll see them add a Portland show.  

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tuesday Double Feature: The Asteroids Galaxy Tour "Major" & IAMDYNAMITE "Stereo"

This weeks Tuesday Double Feature is all about getting the blood pumping so get out from behind that desk and dance.

The Asteroids Galaxy Tour - "Major"

A little retro-funk to get your groove on.

The unique sound of The Asteroids Galaxy Tour is an intriguing mix of funk, soul, psychedelic, jazz and rock. Having blown onto the forefront with use of their songs in international ad campaigns this Copenhagen band is building some great momentum. With the release of their sophomore album Out Of Frequency earlier this year they continue their climb into our collective consciousness.


High energy garage rock fun. 

The powerful grittiness of Garage rock duo IAMDYNAMITE has honed their skills in over the last year and a half in their hometown of Detroit. A fitting place to harness their bold beats and thick guitar sound. With the release of their upcoming LP SUPERMEGAFANTASTIC on June 5th, we can hope that their touring will bring us to our neck of the woods.

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Triple Crown: 05/21-06/03

I thought I'd make it easy on every one and so this Triple Crown showcases three shows at the awesome Doug Fir Lounge. With great food and drinks and a rustically beautiful performance space the Doug Fir is the perfect place to catch some music, so I tried to pick some great bands playing their the next two weeks.  

Tuesday, May 22nd
We Are Serenades
Doug Fir Lounge
830 E Burnside
Doors: 8PM/ Show: 9PM
Adv.: $10/ Day Of: $12
21 & Over

You can't help but to feel good listening to the music of Sweden's We Are Serenades. I don't know if I've heard such optimistic music since the synth drenched 80's of my childhood. With a wide range of styles you're sure to find something about this band and their music to love. With instrumental and vocal elements that gravitate with all sincerity towards bands like Big Country and Ah-ha, We are Serenades have chosen to focus on the silver lining. Fortunately the band dose so with an evolved artistic integrity that should provide this duo with a more lasting presence. Touring in support of their debut album Criminal Heaven this pair of highly-regarded Swedish songwriters should charm the masses. Joining them on stage is the sonic tidal-wave of the band Yards.This is certainly a wonderful start to another Triple Crown.    

Thursday, May 31st
Doug Fir Lounge
830 E Burnside
Doors: 8PM/ Show: 9PM
Adv.:$10 /Show:$12
21 & Over

The phasing atmospheric sound of Wintersleep is filled with misdirections and audio magic that leaves the listener entranced and amazed. Their heady style of alt-rock perfectly balances energy and artful subtleties that is sure to sound amazing off the earthy wood walls of the Doug Fir Lounge. With a danceable rhythm that is near infectious and vocal harmonies sweetly layered into music that  teeters towards psychedelic madness, this band has made a name for itself. Set to release their third album Hello Hum in early June this show should highlight some of the awesome material off the forthcoming album.       

Friday, June 1st
Redwood Son
Gavin Wahl-Stephens / Cody Beebe & The Crooks/ The Wheeler Brothers
Doug Fir Lounge
830 E Burnside
Doors:8PM/ Show: 8:30PM
Adv.: $8 /Day Of: $10
21 & Over

This evening of Progressive American should be amazing. From bluesy rock to acoustic storytelling there's a wide range of styles that fall under the the title of Americana and you'll get to see a little bit of them all. Headlined by the rich west coast American-soul of Redwood Son whose songs are ripe with musical emotions. Josh Malm plays music that lies somewhere between rusty blues and  groovy acoustic funk and has the ability to convey the ache of long months of rain and the joy of perfect Oregon summers.
Filling out the rest of the line up is an amazing collection of bands including fellow Pacific Notherwesterns Gavin Wahl-Stephens and Cody Beebe & The Crooks and The Wheeler Brothers all the way from Austin Texas. This should be an awesome night to take in some new music and to start off the new month so come on down and finish out The Triple Crown strong.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Tuesday Double Feature: Lovedrug "Anodyne" & "Wild Blood"

In this week's Tuesday Double Feature, we are presenting a double shot from Ohio based alt-rock outfit Lovedrug. When the band released their latest album Wild Blood in early March, the band took on the daunting task of creating a video for 8 of the ll album tracks. For their hard work we solute them.

Lovedrug - "Anodyne"

Lovedrug - "Wild Blood"

If you liked what you heard make sure you catch the band as they're here in Portland over the next two days.Tonight (May 15th) at 6PM they're playing a free in-store performance at our beloved Music Millenium. While Wednesday night they'll be headlining a show at Someday Lounge. With two opportunities, there's no excuse not to catch this awesome band.

Monday, May 14, 2012

About Last Night: Katie Herzig @ The Aladdin Theater 05/06

Last night I was reminded that part of the joy of live music is the total experience of it; the who's, the what and  the hows of it all. A lot of times I review shows alone, tucked into the crowd just a guy with a camera and a little black book jotting down notes. If  I'm lucky though, sometimes I get to share the experience. In the case of Katie Herzig at the Aladdin Theater my wife and, even more special, my 11 year old daughter. It was neat to experience the show through her eyes. I thought she'd explode when after finding out that we weren't stuck in the balcony, were able to find three seats in the second row. I have to say that a certain joy washed over me at her entranced expression as the house lights dimmed and Andrew Bell took the stage for his opening set.    

 Cheerfully playful with the audience, Andrew Bell had a wonderful performance demeanor. Like a mainland Jack Johnson; but instead of a tropical paradise, Bell's sound was clearly cultivated in a more realistic setting  Filled with songs that  though lyrically sad still express a very comfortable feel. His set started off the night perfectly. Bell's voice washing over the audience in soft waves, his lyrics mingling with our thoughts as all good stories do. Both solo and backed by members of Kaite Herzig's band,(Jordan Hamlin; guitar, Billy Brimblecom; drums, and Greg Lafollette; bass) .  Andrew Bell's opening performance was awesomely executed  leaving those of us unfamiliar with him pleasantly impressed.

In perfect Portland fashion the theater filled in significantly during the intermission, providing a fairly good showing for a Sunday night. A testament to the ground work Katie Herzig has laid in her fairly frequent visits to our city. More accustomed to the Doug Fir Lounge, the acoustics of the Aladdin Theater wonderfully embraced her music like an old friend. Aladdin is an odd venue at times so, it's a wonderful treat when an artists sound fits it perfectly.

Coming out of the gates with a untypical flurry, Herzig pushed through her first three songs with a focused conviction that amped up the energy of the room. It was almost as if she had a monkey to get off her back.

Once the initial burst subsided Herzig settled into a consistently relaxed pace that mixed a showing of her songs from the better part of her last two albums. From the soft ache of "I Hurt Too" to the playful energy of the crowd Favorite "Hey Na Na." the set list highlighted the multiple layers of Herzig's music and the amazing skills of the musicians she surrounds herself with. Jordan Hamlin in particular, who during the stent of their set played the better half of a music store. Not to be over looked, each of the band members displayed multiple instrumental skills which allowed for a uniquely flexible and polished performance. In addition to their remarkable skill, it was apparent that this group of people truly enjoyed each others company. Their genuine comradery was apparent in their on stage comfort and playfulness. From the Erythmics/White Stripes cover smash up, an impromptu rap from bassist Greg Lafollette, to Hamlin's NAMM worthy demonstration of her newest effects petal the play of the band showed that in addition to amazing musician these indiviules were wonderfully human as well.  

A truly awesome show that even my daughter ranks as her all time favorite concert; a big deal since Kaite Herzig rates higher than the Jonas Brothers.