Light of the Stereo

Light of the Stereo

Monday, April 30, 2012

About Last Night: The Pierces @ The Rose Garden Arena 04/24

Last night has easily become one of the top five greatest rock moments in my life and it's all thanks to the band The Pierces.
You have to understand, I've been writing about music for nine years now. No one taught me how, no one showed me how to photograph a concert, I had to learn it all on my own. So as the tour manager of Coldplay lead me from the back stage and onto the Rose Garden floor I could barely catch my breath. Weaving through the endless rows of floor seats until we reached the far side of the stage, I realized I've never been this close to the stage at a show this big. Finally, ushered to the other side of the barricade and given the permission to shoot mere feet from the artists, I have to admit my first few photos were for shit cause I was so nervous. Luckily, the Pierce sisters were so wonderful to behold and their music so arresting that soon I forgot my nerves and set to capturing as many shots as I could in the three song limit I was given. 

From backstage I had heard The Pierces start the set and even without seeing them I was amazed that they sounded as good, if not better then the recordings on their latest album You and I.These sister are truly a powerhouse able to push their voices to fill the great expanse of the Rose Garden arena, not a simple feet. I can only imagine this is what it was like to see the Wilson sisters in the heyday of Heart. The awesome might these ladies have at their command was amplified by an amazing touring band who gave each song their bold rich texture. Each song radiated from the stage like a wall of sound that even Phil Spector could admire. Truly playing to the late 60's, early 70's vibe that is part of their mystic, their set, though short, channeled that wildly vibrant energy of an era that saw the likes of The Mammas & the Papas and that first amazing Monterey Pop Festival.
Watching them on stage it was apparent, like most sisters,  Allison and Catherine have their own distinct personalities. Allison has a multifaceted dignity like a young June Carter before she took the Cash name. While Catherine, like all younger siblings,  has the dramatic flare that thrives in the spotlight. Her graceful  gesturing dance could have easily been choreographed by Stevie Nicks herself. Together though, these women are simply awesome and seeing them live was a true pleasure.
I'm quite certain that The Pierces have made a slew of new fans here in Portland, myself included.  I can only hope that it won't be too long before we see them again. As for me, there are moments in your life where you get a chance to see all your hard work bare fruit and last night, like a small gift from God, was one of those moments. Thank you ladies.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Sound Art: Dolorean / The Parson Red Heads @ Mississippi Studios

Created by Tyler Stout, this amazing poster for the Dolorean / The Parson Red Heads show, April 28th at Mississippi Studios is definitely Sound Art. Stout's done some amazing work for the likes of The Black Keys and Phish, check out his work at
Make sure you catch this show because with these two Portland bands on the bill, it's sure to make for an awesome concert. While you're there don't forget to pick up a copy of the poster for yourself. It would be a shame to miss it, but if you can't make the show, no worries. You might still be able to get your hands on a copy of the poster if you sign up for the mailing list at his website. This will also put you first in line to get your hands on his other great posters.

The Triple Crown: 04/23 -05/06

I know April is all about the environment, but I'd like to petition that the latter part of the month and the first part of May should be dedicated to the amazing women of  rock'n'roll. So this Triple Crown is has three concretes that showcase some outstanding female acts gracing Portland.

Saturday, April 28th
Thundering Asteroids!
48 Thrills / The Food / The Vacillators
Club 21
2035 NE Glisan
21 & Over

If you are anything like me you have those moments where you realize that an unfair amount of your brain is filled with unprofitable pop culture trivia rather than rocket science. If that's the case, then you're going to love the Thundering Asteroids!. Littered with enough TV, movie and video game references to make your head spin this Portland band has a unique style they have affectionately dubbed:  geek-core.   Lead by the skater vixen Minn this band is having a blast putting the fun back in punk rock.Whether you're already a fan or just curious, make sure you don't miss this show as the band says goodbye to their drummer and will be taking the next few months off. Populated with a line-up of bands that all love playing with each other this is certain to be a night to remember. Heck it doesn't cost a thing, so how can you say no. 

Friday, May 4th
Girl In A Coma
Pinata Protest/ Sara Radle
1 SW 3rd Ave.
Doors: 8PM /Show: 9PM
21 & Over

Darkly brooding and viciously wild at times the band Girl in a Coma seems like a wounded beast; ready to bite at anyone who ventures too close. If you've ever caught them live, it's no mystery why Joan Jett, signed them to her Blackhearts Records label. I'm sure they reminded her of her younger self, all spit and vinegar and hell bent to take on the world. It's a treat to see three women as talented as these rocking the crap out of their instruments and leaving the bloody wreckage of their hearts on the stage. Playing at Dante's, I can't think of a better venue to see this band. I caught them one of the last times they were in town and they were truly worth the money.
Join them on stage is the one woman tour de force Sara Radle and the Mexicali boarder punk of fellow Texans Pinata Protest. With music like this you got to shake off those working blues and get your weekend started right.       

Sunday, May 6th
Katie Herzig
Andrew Belle
Aladdin Theater
3017 SE Milwaukie Ave
Doors:7PM/ Show:8PM
Adv.:$15 / Day Of:$15
Minors Accompanied By Parents

Katie Herzig is a sweet souled songwriter of the highest caliber, and any time you can catch her wonderfully honest live show is a must. Finding the perfect balance between compelling song writing and pop-playfulness Herzig's music is mature enough for a more discerning audience and yet ripe with a child like wonderment potent enough to put a smile on any ones face. Blessed with a beautiful voice and a job she loves. it's apparent she loves to me on stage as much to sing as connecting with the people in the crowd. I can't think of an artist that seems to be as genuinely as nice when performing. It's that kindness and human quality that makes it such a joy to see her live. I can't wait to see her soar in the wonderful settings of the Aladdin Theater, not to mention this all ages show will allow my 12 year-old daughter, a huge fan, the opportunity to see her live. So bring the family and take in this terrific artist.    

Quick Pick: Friday, April 27th

The Deep Sea Vents
Ritual Healing/Foal/Starforged
2366 SE 82nd Ave
21& Over

If you're looking for something to do tonight, check out this local metal line-up at Agenda. Featuring some of Portland's best underground metal acts, this show should be fist pumping and freak flying fun. One of the bands I'm most interested in seeing is The Deep Sea Vents. Their dark, murky metal has a blitzkrieg viciousness that's powerfully appealing and with the a fair helping of geek chic clout they should be a joy to watch.
What's that you say? Not a metal fan. Well the great the secret is that you don't have to be to enjoy it.  Metal is all about the experience. Come let the music roll over you like a tank and head-bang away that collage degree you're not using. It's going to be fun. so come on out, because Friday is the perfect night for an adventure. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

10 Questions: The Pierces: Catherine Pierce

Catherine Pierce: the blonde half of the dynamic sister act The Pierces sat down and answered a few questions.  Tonight The Pierces are opening for Coldpaly at the Rose Garden Arena.

BLS: Your new album, You and I, has a bolder more instrumental sound to it than your last album Thirteen Tales of Love and Revenge. What inspired the more filled out sound?

CP: I think the new songs called for a bigger sound and we try to always follow the voice of the song.

BLS: Most bands learn new skills with each consecutive album that they make. With You and I, what were some of the pitfalls you were able to avoid and new challenged you were presented with this time around?

CP: I think we wanted this album to sound more like a complete piece.  The last album was very eclectic, and we love that about it, but I think it left some people confused as to what our sound was.  We wanted something that would define us.  That being said, we may do something different with the next one!

BLS: Both musically and visually your style draws heavily upon elements of the late 60’s and early 70’s.What is it about this era that it exacts such influence?

CP: There was a lot of magic in those times and we are both drawn to elements of that.  We are influenced by so many different things, but again, these songs kind of called for that vibe so we went with it.

BLS: You’ve had several of your songs licensed for television over the last few years. What is it like to see your song used in a television show that’s being viewed by millions of people? Are there times that you feel that the way they used a song was not in the same emotional intent that you originally wrote the song?

CS: It’s hard to really absorb it when you see that happening.  It’s surreal and maybe not exactly the perfect emotional match every time, but it brings in so many new fans it’s hard to knock it.

BLS: The new album was produced by Guy Berryman, the bassist of Coldplay and Rik Simpson, Coldplay’s Producer. How did they become involved in this project?

CP: We met Guy years ago and he really loved our last album and it just evolved over time into this collaboration.  He brought in Rik and we all shared a vision for what the record should be. We were very fortunate to get to work with them...they are both so talented.

BLS: You worked in the studio with Berryman and now are on tour supporting Coldplay. Having experienced both environments, have there been elements to that relationship that have crossed over and how dose it differ?

CP: Guy whipped us into shape in the studio...Allie and I are both kind of day-dreamy and Guy is really driven.  I think he taught us how to work hard and I think that carried over into our touring and live shows.  He watched from the side of the stage the other night and he was like a proud papa, grinning ear to ear.  He said how cool it was to see how we’ve grown and of course we are so thankful that he took us under his wing.  It really changed our lives.

BLS: Speaking of touring, what are some of the benefits and drawbacks to touring as a sister act?

CP: Benefit: Sharing clothes. Drawback: Wondering where your clothes are that your sister borrowed.

BLS: Natives of Alabama, do you find that there’s still elements of your southern up bringing that present themselves in your music?

CP: They creep up here and there, but we’ve lived out of the South almost as much as we lived in it, so it’s an interesting mix I suppose.

BLS: Your label is in the UK and you have a bigger following in Europe. What is it about European versus American audiences that’s made it easier to gain notoriety abroad rather than here in the States?

CP: The US is just so massive, so it takes longer to conquer, but we are getting there!

BLS: Is there any new music you love but few people have heard of?

CP:I haven’t had any time to listen to new music lately!  The last thing I heard that I really loved was another sister band named Haim.  They are amazing live.

Tuesday Double Feature: The Spring Standards "Here We Go" & Hills Like Elephants "Invisible Ink"

This week's Tuesday Double Feature has two wonderfully quirky videos for your viewing pleasure. If you watch close enough you'll catch some great little tidbits, so enjoy.

The Spring Standard - "Here We Go"

Like a hipster version of Weird Science.

With their latest album yellow//gold set to releases May 1st and a spring tour with Rhett Miller planned to follow quickly, the New York based The Spring Standards have a lot on their plate. Fun and energetic, I can't wait tell their show here at the wonderful Doug Fir Lounge on June 21. It might be a few months out but be sure to mark your calenders, because the show is certain to sell out.

Hills Like Elephants - "Invisible Ink"

Musicians working at a restaurant; is this a music video or a documentary?

Like a David Bowie soul experiment, Hills Like Elephants' lyrics of romantic train wrecks hide among danceable pop beats and playful key and guitar melodies. Lead by former Gun Runner frontman Sean Davenport this band seems to be having a ball with the recent release of their debut LP The Endless Charade on Requiemme Records/BMG Chrysalis. If you want a laugh, when you watch the video, keep a close eye on the drummer.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

About Last Night: NW CD Release Concert @ Jimmy Mak's 04/21

Last night I nearly avoided asphyxiation on over priced perfume and an air of pretension. Jimmy Mak's is a clean, very finished venue and that's why I'm certain that I felt so out of place. The people were too pretty, the drinks pricey, and unfortunately too many of the audience were there to been seen rather than see the artists on the bill. Thankfully the music made it all worth it.

Starting the show, local singer song-writer Jackson Jackson had a sufficiently adequate opening set. Playing mainly as an acoustic duo with Anthony Powell, Jackson set list consisted of a mix of covers and original material. Unfortunately, Jackson's performance was unfairly hindered, having to battle with an audience more interested in their food and friends than the music coming from the stage. A good singer and musician, my only problem with the performance was an inability of to tell the difference between original songs and covers. Except for the clearly stated exceptions, I was confused when what I thought was an original song about Canada suddenly had clearly recognizable lyrics from a Wallfowers' song. I could have blacked out from lack of oxygen, missing a song transition, but I think that's highly unlikely. Whatever the case, it threw me off enough that with the already distracting audience, it made it hard to enjoy the rest of his show.
Up next was the stunning Debra Arlyn, and all I can say is that she is a boldly powerful singer that thrives in front of an audience. From the first amazing note, Arlyn's voice pushed out over the crowd and captivated the formally restless room. At times through out her set she belted out her songs with such force you could see the energy of it vibrating out through her finger tips. An amazing show, she certainly made a fan out of me. As for her admission that she hadn't played in front of an audience in a while, you wouldn't have known it by the way she mastered the stage. Highlighting material from her new album Heartbeat, she broke the night up with the occasional song from her first album and a wonderfully fun fan picked cover of Jason Mraz, that made me re-thing my dislike of the man. Personally, I thought it was an awesome performance who's only distraction was the running commentary detailing the creation of the new album we had come to celebrate. I would have loved to have seen what heights her performance might have reached if only she had ridden the momentum. It's understandable though, because like a new mother Arlyn was excited to talk all about her new baby.
Polishing off the night was a performance by recent  Portland transplant Naomi Hooley. By the way the crowd thinned it was clear that most had come to see Arlyn. Lucky for those of us that stayed, it only made for a more amazing and intimate show with an awesome artist.  Stepping on to the stage, I could see how easy it would be to underestimate Hooley by her petite appearance. It's not until she begins to sing that you realize that she has so many facets. From a playful folk darling, a beautifully melodic songstress, and finally a 250 pond blues-belting-sister that she somehow hides in her demur little form. A true golden nugget. Alaska's loss is our gain. Switching between an acoustic duo and a full band Hooley played just as powerful, no matte how many people were on stage. Truly having brought her passion, she seemed to gain more and more energy with each song. Even as the crowd trickled down to just us few faithfuls, Hooley would not be daunted. As for myself, I'm glad I stayed even though the thought of being to work at 6:30 the next morning linger just around the corner. I'm certain that like myself, the rest of those that stayed count themselves lucky to have finished the night with such a wonderful musician. I'd also have to say that once all the scenesters left Jimmy Mak's was quite enjoyable and better matched the friendly personality of its staff.  

Monday, April 16, 2012

Tuesday Double Feature: Debra Arlyn "La La La" & The Pierces "Glorious"

Debra Arlyn - "La La La"

Like a spring day in Portland's Hollywood district.

Portland native by way of Nashville, Debra Arlyn has a lot to be happy about. With her new album Heartbeat on the way and a show this Saturday at Jimmy Mak's to celebrate,no wonder she has such a big smile on her face. Check out the show preview in the latest installment of our The Triple Crown.

The Pierces - "Glorious"

Hollywood parties haven't been this swinging since the 60's.

These sisters have the mystique of 70's Hammer Horror film sirens and the musical presence that mixes the folk elements of June Carter with the showmanship of Heart. With their highly acclaimed fourth album You & I now out in the states The Pierces are living the high life. Lucky for us, they'll be swinging through Portland Tuesday April 24th in support of Coldplay's show at the Rose Quarter.

Friday, April 13, 2012

From the Shelf : Morgan Grace - The Sound of Something Breaking (2005)

Morgan Grace
The Sound of Something Breaking
Lady Lush Records (2005)

This album is pure rock magic. Plugged in and turned up, the subtle rage boiling below the surface of Grace’s music has finally erupted,and man dose she sound pissed off. Bolstered by the aggressive growl of electric guitar and the backing of the rock solid rhythm section of Sam Henry's drums and Jeff Williams' bass, these songs force themselves upon you without diluting the ripe lyrical wit.

From the primal rock howl of “Just A Little Crush” to the jazzy sway of “The Story of Three Weeks,” The Sound of Something Breaking plays as a fully fleshed album that reveals Grace's wide stylistic range. It’s clear that she is evolving musically, growing new limbs of expression while strengthening her preexisting talents.Even her playful personality peaks its head in a Def Leopard style ode to 80's rock guitar on “Make Me Happy.” She seems to acknowledge and embraces this evolution, re-imagining “It’s Only You,” to reshape the song with a true reevaluation of its emotional worth.

Even without the attitude of a gain heavy guitar,Grace’s emotions read as raw and painfully honest as in the building ache of “Final Words,” marking Grace as an emotionally potent song writer of the first order. With this album Grace seems to have awakened to full musical consciousness. You can find it on CD Baby or iTunes so go over and pick up a copy.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Triple Crown: 04/09 - 04/22

It's a Triple Crown, pick one or pick them all it no mater what you're going to love the music.

Saturday, April 14th
I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch in the House
Arliss Nancy / Power of Country
Ted's Berbati Pan
231 SW Ankeny
Doors: 9PM/Show: 9PM
Day Of: $6
21 & Over

Micheal Dean Damron and the boys of I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch in the House play some of the rawest and best rock n roll in the world. There's no hiding the fact that this is one of my all time favorite bands. They are the reason I write about music. Eleven years ago I walked into a local record store and bought their debut CD Creepy Little Noises.What I heard on that disc blew away and I've been hooked ever sense. Like a mix of Lynyrd Skynryd, The Clash and enough Blues harp to be looking for a devil at the cross roads this band punches with the power of a Mack Truck and yet never skimps on meaningful well crafted lyrics.From Flapjack Texas on drums, the stick thin Mole Harris on bass, the guitar genius of Handsome Jon Burbank and finally harp man extraordinaire David Lipkind this band forms one of the most powerful and tightly bonded bands to come out of Portland let alone take a stage. Live there is no equal, believe me I've seen them over 30 times and every show is more jaw dropping then the one before. If you haven't seen this band live you're doing yourself a disservices.
Joining them on stage is the gravel voiced troubadours and new label mates Arliss Nancy and the outlaw honky tonk twang of Power of Country. This hard hitting show could be one of the best thing going on in town this Saturday night and is perfect for Whiskey and a beer or two. So whether your a long time fan or just curious because of the name make sure you get there early cause the show starts at 9.

Saturday April 21st
Debra Arlyn (CD Release)
Jackson Jackson /Naomi Hooley Band
Jimmy Mak's
221 NW 10th
Show: 8PM
All Ages Till 9:30

The boldly lush voice of Debra Arlyn is a lovely thing that is both tenderly soft and deliciously sensual. With a soulful pop that's playful and filled with a youthful energy. Her songs have the light breezy feel of spring. Celebrating the release of her new album Heartbeat at Portland's Jazz hang out Jimmy Mak's, Arlyn is sure to be at the top of her game. Joining her is Portland transplant by way of Alaska Namoi Hooley. An outstanding songstress herself, Hooley weaves her beautiful lyrics over a canvas of masterful piano. Like a bluesy Bonnie Raitt, Hooley sings her life in a soulful honesty that is wonderfully refreshing. Seeing these two women perform is alone, worth the price of admission, but add to it a set by Jackson Jackson and you'll come out ahead no matter what. The venue suggests that you call ahead for reservations and if you want to make it a family event, kids are welcome until 9:30. So grab the family, order a nice glass of wine and sit back and enjoy a night of lovely music.

Sunday April 22nd
Aan/Pure Bathing Culture
Mississippi Studios
3939 N Mississippi
Adv.:$10 / Day Of: $12
21 & Over

The atmospheric dream pop of New York native band the Caveman is a wildly dynamic thing that threatens to spill over into chaos, yet always seems to be able to pull back at the last moment. Rolling with an instrumental energy that's majestically beautiful. This band's music is always building and crashing only to build again. As a listener you find yourself wonderfully confused as though tossed from a boat in the midst of a stage four rapid. In contrast the haunting vocals of Matt Iwanusa are a calming presence leading you through the storm like the ghost of Obi One on the planet Hoth. Join them on the bill is Aan and Portland's own Pure Bathing Culture. This show be a great night to get out catch a show and have a few beers. See If you can earn your own Triple Crown by finishing strong with this show at Mississippi Studios. You won't regret it.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Tuesday Double Feature: Hollis Brown "Ride On The Train" & Caveman "Thankful"

From train riders to wrestlers, this weeks videos give soundtracks to lifestyles that exist on the peripheral edge of this wonderful country of ours. It's these unique individuals that typify the American Spirit.  

Hollis Brown - "Ride On The Train"

 Having just digitally released their Nothing & The Famous No One EP on the 3rd of April. To capture a rich and warm sound Hollis Brown worked with producer Adam Landry the Nashville summer of 2011 recording directly to analog tape. Write now they're playing close to home but we can hope that they might hit the road later this spring or summer.   
Caveman - "Thankful"

These boys from New York are still celebrating the wide release of their debut album CoCo Beware on the Fat Possum label. Lucky for us the Cavemen will be swinging through Portland on the 22nd on this month. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Tuesday Double Feature: Tilly & the Wall "Alligator Skin"& Out Like Pluto "Bridge"l

I've been laid out with a crappy cold for the last few days, so this weeks Tuesday Double Feature includes two feel good videos from two wonderfully fun bands.

Tilly & The Wall - "Alligator Skin"

Who needs Crocodile Rock when you got Alligator Skin?

I've loved this Omaha Nebraska band since the release of 2004's Wild Like Children LP. Energetic and fun this band is filled with merriment and play. Known for having a tap dancer for percussion Tilly & The Wall certainly are a unique band worth a listen. You might even be able to catch them on Sesame Street singing the ABC's.

LinkOut Like Pluto - "Bridge"

Aw, Let Pluto Be a Planet!

A Little Geek chic and all fun this Seattle based band and their party tune is just what the doctor ordered. Having just released their LP Take Cover earlier this year, we can only hope Out Like Pluto will make the trek to a city near you. Until then enjoy to video and check out the band's website.