Manfred Mann, it's Music Monday!
We'll start today with the first publicly available track from Marriage + Cancer. You might recognize the "pissed pop" band (their words) from their former incarnation as the band Nucular Aminals. That name—meddlesome for spelling purists—is now behind them, but the band's aptitude for crooked, anxious, punk-flecked rock is not. "No Sum" is a lengthy but exciting track with haunted, funeral-parlor organ, tempo shifts, an expansive, sweeping scope and a stunning climax. Nucular Aminals are dead; long live Marriage + Cancer! The freshly renamed band performs Friday, December 20 at Club 21 with Wounds and Big Eyes, which will be awesome.
Here's Our First Brains covering the Nerves' power-pop gem "Hanging on the Telephone (made famous by Blondie, of course). It's a squealing, squalling, nervy take on the power-pop gem, and the Portland quartet blast through this excellent rendition with energy to spare. Their 2013 album Feelings and How to Destroy Them is about to be sold out forever, so jump over to their Bandcamp page and give it a listen.
Well, this is incredible. It's another cover, this time of the Velvet Underground's spoken-word piece of unsettling brilliance "The Gift," and it's done by none other than Portland's weed-lovin' love-jammers the Memories. At over eight minutes long, this is roughly five times longer than anything else the Memories have laid to tape, and the narrator (Memories singer Erik Gage, I think?) nails John Cale's Welsh accent perfectly. This comes out tomorrow via cassette as part of Burger Records' new album-length tribute to VU's White Light/White Heat album. I guarantee this blows Macaulay Culkin's new pizza-themed Velvet Underground cover band the Pizza Underground out of the water.
More Monday after the jump!
Miriam Margolyes, it's Music Monday!
Souvenir Driver continue their series of preview tracks from their upcoming full-length, Living Water, which is due out in April. Once a month, they're making a new single available—the catch being that these tracks disappear after 30 days (they'll, of course, be on the album when it's released). Tomorrow, Souvenir Driver releases "I Touch You Honey," and we've got the exclusive advance stream of it. It's a brash, frizzy pebble of pop that's in and out in under two minutes. In the words of SD's Nate Wey, "It's the shortest song on the record—much surfier, lighter, and maybe less post-punk-y than most of our other tracks." This one breezes by quickly enough to demand repeat plays, especially with those schoolboy harmonies that kick in during the second verse, and that terrific chorus that's over way too soon. "I Touch You Honey" will be available on Bandcamp starting tomorrow (head over to Bandcamp right now for your last chance to grab the album's first preview track, "Kiss You Quick), and will be available until Tuesday, January 7. They'll also have a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for a vinyl pressing of Living Water.
Nobody owns sweater weather like the Portland Cello Project. To that end, they've got a new EP of winter-themed songs, titled Winter (The Best Nine Months of the Year), and it includes inventive arrangements of wintry songs like "Carol of the Bells," "Riu Chiu," and selections from Benjamin Britten's A Ceremony of Carols. Here's the EP's opening track, a tango-ish cover of Fleet Foxes' "White Winter Hymnal," which sounds very much like a walk through a snow-covered forest. Portland Cello Project perform their annual Holiday Sweater Spectacular—one of the Portland holiday season's essential events—at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall on Friday, December 20 (tix on sale here). The Winter EP is available for purchase here.
Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside's new EP is ready to take on Portland Cello Project in a battle of the seasons: It's titled Summer, and it was recorded over a four-day weekend in October 2012 with Mike Coykendall at his Blue Rooms Studio, all recorded live in the same room with vintage mics. Ford says the EP was influenced by Portland surf band Satan's Pilgrims, and the songs reflect a rawer, punkier vibe of the band, evoking memories of summer (hence its release at the start of winter, when we need it most). Of this great new track—which premiered last week on The Current—Ford says, "'Lips N’ Hips' is about one-night stands or summer flings, and that romantic hope they instill, even though most of the time you don't ever see the person again—or at least that's what my friends tell me! I guess the secret irrational hope is that you'll run away together even though you don't truly know each other." Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside play two shows at the Doug Fir later this month, on Friday, December 20 and Saturday, December 21.
Maureen McCormick, it's Music Monday!
The Memories could be called lots of things: weed-addled, retro, catchy, silly, funny, tuneful. Add "prolific" to that list, as they've got yet another tape on the way. The five-song Ripple EP explores the band's gentler, folkier side. Take a listen to "Knock on That Door" and hear the softer side of the Memories. Ripple comes out tomorrow on Gnar Tapes.
Mario Manningham, it's Music Monday!
A Happy Death have their first full-length album coming out early next year. It's titled Factory Life, and the lead single "Wet Dreams" is a tangled bedsheet of sound. With singer Ryan Lella hoarsely screaming the verses and a sugar-sweet, tousled chorus of "I think I'll go back to sleep," A Happy Death rounds it out with a pummeling instrumental coda with guitars and organs brandishing the song's major chords like sails. It's a song of unrequited love, where the narrator watches the object of his affections like prey, and where everyone will be better off if the love affair stays confined to his dreams. It's a creepy, terrific song, worthy of several repeat plays. A Happy Death play Wednesday night (November 19) at Kelly's Olympian with Cadaver Dogs.
More Music Monday after the jump!
Michael McDonald, it's Music Monday!
Cellist Ashia Grzesik spent a year in Europe, but she's back in Portland with a new album, released on German label JARO Median. Ashia and the Bison Rouge's Diesel vs. Lungs combines folk, classical, klezmer, and all kinds of other music for a remarkable sound that defies easy categorization. Take a listen to the beautiful epic "Spirit Dances Evermore," a haunting waltz that sounds like it's not reeling through the years, but reeling through them, tumbling and lurching and dancing through centuries (and languages—that's Grzesik singing in Polish during the chorus). Ashia and the Bison Rouge perform this Thursday, November 14, at the Alberta Rose Theatre, accompanied by guests including Classical Revolution, for an evening dubbed "Polish Immigrant Songs."
More Music Monday after the jump—including Black Is Bright, Vikesh Kapoor, Norman, and new Stephen Malkmus!
St. Even—the nom de record of Steve Hefter—has an astonishing second album coming out this week. The self titled St. Even surpasses already high expectations, coming after St. Even's first remarkable Spirit Animal album; this new one is gorgeous and thoughtful and inventive and rare, one of the best albums Portland's spit out this year. Take a listen to advance track "Home Is Where You Hang Your Head," a bit of fluttering bluegrass that's anchored to something far more grounded, as saloon piano, a glowing synth pad, and a chorus of voices drives this one home. Read more about St. Even in this week's Mercury; he'll play a record release show this Friday, November 8, at the Secret Society Ballroom. Following a limited edition release via Gorbie International, St. Even will be given a wider release in a few weeks by Party Damage.
More Music Monday, with tracks from Broken Bells, Wooden Indian Burial Ground, Fire Nuns, Adventure Galley, and Shy Girls, after the jump!
Mork and Mindy, it's Music Monday! A short but sweet one today.
I can't explain the title of Grandhorse's first album, Portraiturefolio, but I can vouch for its excellence. The local band—made up of members of Aristeia, Diesto, and Fathers and Sons—have turned out a collection of completely lovable, catchy, full-volume pop tunes that turn simple ideas into tangled, ambitious rock. Here's the album's opening track and lead single, "Short Drive with a Kidnapper," and there's lots more where that came from. It's a uniformly good album that, to me, seemed to come out of nowhere, but it's great. Grandhorse are playing a record release show this Saturday night (November 2) at the cozy Press Club on Clinton Street. I don't expect those walls to contain them for long.
Stewart Villain and Tope team up for "Beautiful Struggle," from Stewart's new No Manners, which you can check out in full on Bandcamp. Boasting a hard-hitting, many-spinning-plates production, this track finds the shared area between a club-ready groove and martial street beat. Tope and Stewart each turn in solid verses that propel the track into high definition—this is no laidback jam.
Power-poppers the Zags are not the only band keeping alive the flame of '60s pop in their guitar-and-organ jangle and vocal harmonies, but they're doing a fine job. Their latest single "Red-Eyed Dawn" might be about the morning after following a big night, but it contains a sense of innocence and wonder, much like the best sunshine pop from those bygone years. The Zags played the Firkin Tavern this past Friday night to celebrate the new single, but we'll try to keep you in the loop for any future shows.
Miss Misery, it's Music Monday.
Let's start things on a romantically wistful note: Here is the Maliblue Moons, a band that sort of does not actually exist, sort of. It's actually Eric D. Johnson of the Fruit Bats and Oregon-based producer extraordinaire Richard Swift tumbling backward through time and space by way of the recording studio. The vintage-sounding track is a contribution to the soundtrack for the short film It's Not You, It's Me, directed by Matt Spicer and starring Gillian Jacobs and Rob Huebel. Check out another ghostly Maliblue Moons jam here.
More Music Monday after the jump, including Nick Delffs, Lord Dying, Those Willows, Wild Ones remixed by DoublePlusGood, and Shy Girls remixed by Elysian Field!
Much more Music Monday after the jump!
Malcolm McDowell, it's Music Monday!
Let's start with a band that won't be around for much longer. The Dancing Hats, who are not super brilliant at timing, will go on hiatus immediately following the release of their debut album this week. Appropriately, it's called We Are All Still Friends—glean from that what you will—and the local eight-piece will cram in one last show this Saturday, October 5, at Backspace. Here's a track from the album called "I Can," and it's a wonderfully blustery bit of folk-punk-polka-funk (scratch those last two).
Vikesh Kapoor's new album is coming out incredibly soon: The Ballad of Willy Robbins hits the ground on October 15 via Mama Bird Recording Co. Check out the Portland singer/songwriter's latest track, the chilling yet uplifting "Carry Me, Home," a jaunty bit of American folk given Kapoor's ghostly treatment. (You can also check out the spellbinding "I Dreamt Blues" here.) Kapoor plays an album release show on Sunday, October 13 at Portland Playhouse.
Here's the latest from Red Fang, in case you haven't heard it yet. "No Hope" is a bruiser, a full-throttle monster that's a vivid, bloody example of why these guys are our town's heaviest and finest. Red Fang's new one, Whales and Leeches, comes out on Relapse on October 15, and Red Fang plays a Red Bull party thingy at the Doug Fir tomorrow night (Tuesday, October 1—you can RSVP to it here). They'll also play the Wonder Ballroom on December 27.
Songs from Toxic Holocaust, Red Yarn, the Parson Red Heads, and Wild Ones after the jump!
Maggie May, it's Music Monday!
Here's "Paper Cage," the fine new title track from Just Lions' new EP. (That means the EP is also called Paper Cage. See how this works?) A sparkly, gummy, catchy bit of classic-style indie rock—whatever that mean s—it's a fine introduction to the EP, which comes out October 2. It's Just Lions' second release of 2013, following their equally fine Monsters EP, and will be available as a pay-what-you-want download on Bandcamp and in handmade, very limited, one-of-a-kind physical editions as well. Just Lions celebrate the EP's release with a show at Mississippi Studios on October 2.
Let's continue our musical journey with Dramady, the Portland duo of Amanda Mason Wiles and Zacery Quintin Stanley. I'm pretty sure I'm not spelling those names wrong—and they're names I should know, as they have both been parts of many other bands like Rollerball, Narwhal vs. Narwhal, and Six Foot Sloth. In Dramady, they're approaching something a little more conventional but no less arresting. "Keep It Up" comes from Dramady's second album, the forthcoming Answer Only to the Sea, which comes out on November 12 via Cochon Records. You won't be getting this one out of your head anytime soon.
After the jump: Casey Neill and the Norway Rats, Butt 2 Butt, Grails, Blitzen Trapper, and Unknown Mortal Orchestra covering Dirty Projectors!
Molly Malone, it's Music Monday!
The Parson Red Heads' new album Orb Weaver comes out October 1 on Fiesta Red Records, and here's the lead single, "To the Sky." It's nearly six minutes long, featuring a plethora of vocal harmonies and guitar interplay—its second half is an arc-welding instrumental jam that sheds sparks every step of the way, a worthy representation of the Red Heads' excellent live show. The band is playing a record release show at the Aladdin Theater on Saturday, November 2, and they're also performing at the White Eagle on September 26 to perform their last album, Yearling, in full.
We'll hop into the Way-Back Machine for this next tune, a track from the Neo Boys that appears on Sooner or Later, an upcoming compilation of the seminal Portland band's recorded works. It'll be on double LP via Mississippi Records on October 15, and K Records will issue a double-disc CD of the anthology as well. The all-girl group flourished from 1978 to 1983, leaving behind a slender but hugely influential legacy, one of Portland's most important punk bands.
Screw a Labor Day, it's Music Monday!
As we wait impatiently for the upcoming Whales and Leeches, Red Fang have seen fit to bestow the album's first single "Blood Like Cream" upon us. It is a blaring, full-steam scorcher that gets better as it progresses. Churn it up!
This new Blouse track premiered last week, another taster from their upcoming sophomore album Imperium, which comes out on Captured Tracks on September 17. "A Feeling Like This" follows up "No Shelter" with an unassuming guitar riff and straightforward drumbeat, as singer Charlie Hilton rides a single note for the opening couplet, finding a jagged chasm in between the song's two primary chords back. A droning, siren-like guitar and the sound of water drops are later introduced, and what is initially Blouse's most immediate-sounding song to date becomes a layered production of depth and mystery.
Oregon-based singer/songwriter Vikesh Kapoor has a new one: a stark, stunning track from his upcoming album The Ballad of Willy Robbins, due out on October 15 on Portland label Mama Bird Recording Co. If "I Dreamt Blues" tips the scales more toward "dreamt" and less "blues" from a musical perspective, it remains a florid, fluid song that has one foot in the grinding reality of workaday existence—informed by Kapoor's own experience growing up with first-generation immigrant parents in rural Pennsylvania—and the other foot in the dizzy, tumbling, interior world of escapism. Its seeming fragility belies the strong, steady heart beating beneath its fluttering wings—Kapoor has made an extraordinary piece of music here.
Get the best of the Mercury each week in your inbox!