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Monday, June 3, 2013

Music Monday! Fen Wik Ren, the Rivera, the Weather Machine, Big Black Cloud, the Memories, Old Light

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Mon, Jun 3, 2013 at 12:52 PM

Macheezmo Mouse, it's Music Monday!


Here's a new band called Fen Wik Ren, the new project of Ryan Barrett of Seattle band Pica Beats. Barrett moved down to Portland last year, and in his words, "sat around gloomily for awhile, then near the end of 2012 got excited about music again and put together this new project." Fen Wik Ren also includes Alexandra Geffel on drums and Andre Zapata on bass, and their album Holding Out for Something Good is available for free download on Bandcamp. Here's the opening track, "Face Down in the Fire," a speedy, fluid, danceable track driven by tasteful amounts of guitar delay.

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The Rivera is a band fronted by local musician Josh Rivera, and here's their sumptuous, terrific new single "Midnight Choir," which sounds like a backseat love story in the manner of Bruce Springsteen, with some Raspberries-y power-pop kicks thrown in for good measure. It's a taste from their upcoming full-length, which they recorded on tape at Jackpot! Studios over the winter with John Askew. The album is due out sometime this summer; in the meantime, the Rivera is playing the Goodfoot on Wednesday, June 12.
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Here's a track from the Weather Machine, a local band that's been playing a lot around town (not to be confused with Jason Ward's now defunct—and underappreciated—Portland-based band called the Weather Machines). Played by bassist Jack Martin, guitarist Colin Robson, drummer Corey Kintzi, and singer/guitarist Slater Smith, the perceptive folk-pop on their self-titled album is catchy, melancholy, slightly tarnished sunshine that begs repeat listens. The whole album is streaming on their site, but here's the shuffling, strolling "Little Surrender," an easygoing strummer in the vein of Ray Davies or Paul McCartney. The Weather Machine are next scheduled to play Portland on Friday, July 12 at the Secret Society.
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One of Portland's best and most active bands got some attention on the Brooklyn Vegan blog today: Big Black Cloud, that bastion of noisy, dirty, out-there punk-rock, has a new song called "Cities of the Red Night," which you can listen to here. Use caution. It's from their forthcoming album, Black Friday, which comes out July 2 on the now resurrected Eolian Empire label, who have come out of the gate swinging with lots of great, ferocious new releases. Does seeing Big Black Cloud on the likes of Brooklyn Vegan signify a mellowing of their swamp-dipped, feverish, caustic, messed-up sound? Judging by "Cities of the Red Night," I wouldn't count on it.
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The Memories' second album proper, Love Is the Law is coming out on vinyl via Burger Records on July 23. This album isn't exactly all brand-new stuff—it was recorded over the course of 2010 to 2012, with some of the tunes coming from the same sessions as their first album—and it's been available on tape for a little while (it's up on Gnar Tapes). But the Burger reissue will let this record get more of the spotlight it deserves. Here's a track, "En Espanol," a sloppy-fun upbeat number that's over quickly.
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We'll end today with the latest cassette from Old Light, the third in their series of five cassettes to be released in 2013. Yes was recorded over April and May and mixed by Matthew Morgan on a one-of-a-kind console built by Scott Hampton. I could bore you with technical talk about this quick 'n' dirty they did for tape release, which included boosting the dynamic range specifically for a cassette mix—the result is that the first two tracks bear some noticeable distortion. But there are other, fancier mixes that were done and Old Light is hoping at some point to release those on vinyl. In the meantime, Old Light is wrapping up a tour and will play Mississippi Studios this Thursday, June 6 to open for Mikal Cronin and Shannon and the Clams.

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