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Monday, June 23, 2014

Music Monday! Just Lions, Zouaves, Hook & Anchor, and More

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Mon, Jun 23, 2014 at 2:14 PM

Here is the new tune from Just Lions, the title track of their new EP, Great. Okay. It's a snappy, catchy rocker with sing-along (and whistle-along!) hooks, and Just Lions' trademark tinge of melancholy at the edges. The new, three-song EP is a worthwhile glimpse at the Portland band's growth over the past few months, rounded out by a jazzy foray ("Everything Goes Away") and a straight-ahead rocker with some rad guitar runs ("On the Road"). Great. Okay. comes out next week on Monday, June 30, at the band's Ear Candy show at Mississippi Studios—hey, that's produced in conjunction with us here at the Mercury! That one's a totally free show, and Just Lions will be joined by Animal Eyes and Bear & Moose. It's gonna be dope. Don't miss it.

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Check out this great new tune from Portland band Zouaves, who have a new record called Hydracast due out July 29 on ÅIÖ Soundings. "Stand Up" is a frantic, driven number with fiery guitar and a great vocal from bassist Sara Johanne. Zouaves (whose name I haven't once spelled right on the first try) shares two members with Night Mechanic, but their sound is darker, more swirling than that band's power-pop chops—yet just as intricate from a compositional standpoint. More word on a record release show when it's announced.
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Hook & Anchor's terrific debut album comes out July 22, but you won't have to wait that long to hear it. To begin with, here's the splendid, gorgeous opening track, "Famously Easy," which finds the band—made of Kati Claborn, Luke Ydstie, and Ryan Dobrowski of Blind Pilot, plus Gabrielle Macrae and Erik Clampitt—sounding assured and confident in an urgent but easygoing country-rock groove. Secondly, the band is playing a local record-release show this Friday, June 27, at Mississippi Studios, during which they'll plow through tunes from the self-titled record (and you should be able to score a copy at the merch table).

Lots more Music Monday after the jump, including tunes from EDJ, Double-Talk, Nature Thief, and an aperitif from Denver's new album.

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Here's the sultry new one from EDJ—that's Eric D. Johnson, formerly of Fruit Bats, displaying a wealth of influences that only peeked out at the corners from Fruit Bats jams. "A West Country Girl" is roughly about, according to Johnson, "rebuilding a life," and it's an involving, unique mixture of smooth, synthy AC pop and dustier acoustic strums, with some psychedelic vibrations rumbling underneath. EDJ will perform at this year's Pickathon, with performances in the Galaxy Barn and on the new (cafe) stage.
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Double-Talk is the local duo of Jon Shadel and Sam Cordes, who take the primary influence of old Motown singles and marry it to the sound of modern radio pop. They describe "Stay Tonight" as "a melancholic pop anthem that's the polar opposite of 'Get Lucky'"—an apt description of the yearning, incessantly danceable track that makes good use of Shadel's falsetto. It'll be on Double-Talk's upcoming EP, Evenings & Weekends, which was recorded in the back of a skate shop. Live shows from Double-Talk will follow later this summer.
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Here's the debut single from a new group called Nature Thief. The Portland band shares members Emma Browne and Justin Chase with the band Tigerface, but "Docks" betrays a sound all Nature Thief's own: a flowing, chimerical embrace of harmony-laden dream-pop and the proggier elements of British-Isles-informed folk. They're playing Friday, July 25 at Alberta Street Pub as part of Broken Arm's release show for their Banana Stand live album, and at Habesha on Monday, August 11 with 100 Watt Horse and Cowboy Crisis.
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Let's end today with a fine first taste of the new Denver album: "Carry On" will appear on Rowdy Love, which comes out on Mama Bird Recording Co. on July 15. As expected, it's a twangin', heart-twingin' shotglass of moonshine country music, featuring the band's stacked harmonies and production from Eric Earley (of Blitzen Trapper and sometimes Denver, too). The band plays their record release show for Rowdy Love at Mississippi Studios on Saturday, July 19, with Michael Hurley also on the bill.

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