The prolific, mercurial Portland band Soft Tags are celebrating the release of their new disc, the six-song Halloween, 1983—it sorta falls in between and EP and and LP—with a show at Ella Street Social Club on Halloween night, Monday, October 31. Also on the bill are the Prids, And And And, and Obvpc. The only thing? Soft Tags won't be performing at the show.
In an email from Tags frontman Richard Shirk, he explains that he moved to San Francisco a short time ago for a variety of reasons, some of them musical and many of them financial, and is now working for the San Francisco Symphony. Halloween, 1983 is going to be the final single from the ever-evolving Soft Tags project (an album is in the works, too; more on that in a second), and they'll be giving the release away at the Halloween show—along with all the band's remaining merch. Shirk says it's a bittersweet moment, but that it was time to move on: "We started as a cult band and never wanted anything more than that."
As mentioned, Soft Tags is still existing as a recording project (presumably long distance), as they are midway through recording what will be their last album, East Orange, due to come out sometime next year. Shirk also has a new group called Richard Shirk and the Blinking Lights. Here's the title song from the single, "Halloween, 1983," which you can download for free over on Bandcamp, where you can also get a glimpse of the wealth of material Soft Tags have recorded since the band's start in 2007. (According to Shirk, there are four full-lengths, four EPs, a tour record, three live tapes, a B-sides/demos compilation, and four hours of unreleased material.) It's kind of a perfect way to say goodbye to the band—an ostensible "single" that runs over 10 minutes long, a perfect encapsulation of the unflinching, somewhat perverse nature of a band who swallowed much of pop music's history of accessibility, but had a fiercely uncompromising DIY aesthetic. Shirk says it is probably his favorite Soft Tags song.
Tip for End Hits?
Email them here.
Get the best of the Mercury each week in your inbox!