For the 10 songs of Imperium, as the press release says, "the Portland trio discarded the synths and unplugged their instruments, translating into a more upfront and assertive Blouse." You can hear that new approach in the strumming of the new single, "No Shelter," which starts off sounding like a casual demo before building into an intriguing, if slightly unsettling production, bearing a sense of tensely potential freedom, like a tethered hot air balloon pulling forcefully against creaking ropes. Unlike the first Blouse album, there are no drum machines or "instruments that plug into the wall" on Imperium. Apparently there was construction going on next door to the studio while they were recording, and while we're spared the 34-minute sonic experimental track "Excruciating Sound of Power Drill through a Muffled Wall," it does seem like that element of flux and transformation lent itself to the record.
Listen to "No Shelter," why don't you?
But back to the music—watch the video above to look at all the artists' names on a bunch of delicious cupcakes. I'll also post the full list after the jump, and it includes many familiar names, plus some excitingly unfamiliar ones. Among many others, I'm excited for Hausu, Orquestra Pacific Tropicale, Shy Girls, Sons of Huns, Richmond Fontaine, Luck One, and LOTS more. Take your clicky mouse to the jump and look at all that'll be going down.
PDX Pop Now! takes place on Friday, July 19 through Sunday, July 21, and is free and all ages. Miss it at your peril.
The Portland event kicks off the series on Sunday, August 4, and it'll be hosted by PDX film director Gus Van Sant, who of course is partly responsible for bringing Smith to the mainstream by including his music in Good Will Hunting. It hasn't been announced who's playing—the press release I received simply says "Members of Grandaddy, plus very special guests." Proceeds from the Portland show will go to benefit Outside In (the other events will benefit local charities in those areas). Participants in other cities include Jon Brion, David Garza, Chris Thile, Rhett Miller, and others.
Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside, Sun Aug 4, 8 pm, $30-35, tickets here
Perhaps they're taking their cue from Coachella, which expanded to incorporate two weekends last year, or perhaps Sasquatch is capitalizing on the spectacular success of this year's festival, which sold out completely in 90 minutes. Unlike Coachella, the two weekends of Sasquatch next year will have entirely different lineups from each other, with no acts repeating from one to the next.
This is a boon to the Pacific Northwest concert calendar, I think, although the idea of actually going to Sasquatch twice in one year is a little daunting. On the surface, it does sound like the opportunity to see more bands, especially big ones from overseas that don't always get to the Northwest. Here's hoping the mammoth fest doesn't affect other summer festivals in the area, and doesn't take anything away from the Portland live music calendar. (Sasquatch often cuts both ways, with many acts unable to contractually play both Portland and Sasquatch, while others are able to use the opportunity to do a Portland show before or after their Sasquatch slot.)
Case spent several months out of the past year here in Portland, recording tracks for the album with Tucker Martine at his Flora Recording & Playback. The Worse Things Get... was also recorded in Tucson, Brooklyn, and LA, and includes guest appearances by Portland musicians like M. Ward (his guitar graces "Man"), Steve Turner, and "members of Los Lobos," which probably includes Steve Berlin. The album also includes a cover of "Afraid" by the other Nico.
Neko Case plays Pioneer Courthouse Square as part of MusicfestNW on Sunday, September 8. Meanwhile, take a listen to "Man" below, a quick-paced rocker with a bridge that reminds me of late '60s Kinks, followed immediately by a guitar solo that reminds me of early '60s Kinks. It also includes a few words that you won't hear on the radio.
Ecotrust has announced the lineup for their summer event series, Sundown, which is a sort of street-fair/concert to celebrate and raise awareness for green living. These are always great events, free outdoor concerts that take place at the peak of Portland summer. For four Wednesdays in July, the lot next to the Ecotrust building will be the place to go after work, with good music and a "farmers market of ideas." Take a look at the lineup, which has some very good things indeed:
Wednesday, July 10: Onuinu, Adventure GalleyI don't know for sure who the secret headliner is for July 31, but I have a pretty good guess (hint: take a look for any Portland bands that are playing a big show on June 28, the day before the announcement).
Wednesday, July 17: Portland Cello Project, Adam Shearer
Wednesday, July 24: Crystal Bowersox, Wayward Vessel
Wednesday, July 31: "Super Secret Special Guest" (announced 6/29), Genders
Wednesdays in July; Ecotrust Building, 721 NW 9th, FREE, all ages
This year, PPN will be at the ODOT Eastside Lot at SE Water and Salmon, which is that vacant lot right by Bunk Bar. The festival will be entirely outdoors, with two outdoor stages, a food court that will be under shade, a Rigsketball tournament, plus an activity area with games and a street fair. It sounds like PDX Pop's 10th year will be its biggest, and will also capitalize on Portland's perfect summer weather by having all bands play outside.
Thurs Sept 5: Young the Giant, Youth Lagoon, Pacific AirThe Sunday show is notable as it will be Neko Case's first Portland show following the release of her yet-to-be-released new album, which she recorded here in town over the past year or so.
Fri Sept 6: Animal Collective, Dan Deacon
Sat Sept 7: The Head and the Heart, Thao and the Get Down Stay Down, Deep Sea Diver
Sun Sept 8: Neko Case, Pickwick, The Moondoggies
Other notable gets: Superchunk, who you've loved since the '90s! Shuggie Otis, who you've loved since Luaka Bop reissued his amazing Inspiration Information album in 2001! And he's sharing a bill with Charles Bradley, who you've loved for a couple years now! Glass Candy and Chromatics, who you just love! Fred Armisen doing something! Bonnie 'Prince' Billy! Deerhunter! I'm also personally excited to see Angel Olsen, Sonny and the Sunsets, and Titus Andronicus.
In addition to Armisen, comedian Brian Posehn will perform, and there are lots of excellent Oregon bands as well: Typhoon, the Helio Sequence, the Thermals, Horse Feathers, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, the Baseball Project, YOB, Fred and Toody Cole, Onuinu, the Mean Jeans, Old Light, Hausu, 1939 Ensemble, Wooden Indian Burial Ground, TxE, Morning Ritual, Sun Angle, the Woolen Men, Priory, Like a Villain, Neal Morgan, the Chicharones, Bison Bison, Gaytheist, Minden, Vice Device, Lord Dying, Youthbitch, and more.
Tickets for this thing go on sale Friday, May 31 at 10 am. There are two tiers: A $90 wristband gets you into all the club shows, plus one of the Pioneer Courthouse Square deals, and a $150 wristband gets you into all four Square shows, plus the club shows of course. The event runs concurrently with TechfestNW, an interactive conference that runs September 6-8.
Hit the jump to see all the bands performing.
That's the album cover up there, and here's the album's first single, "Curse Over Me," a bouncing, midtempo dazzler that meshes the band's many elements: synth-laden electro-pop, laidback R&B, forceful post-punk via a growling bass, and a tweeish sweater-pop element as well. The result is a tropically tinged track that's a great introduction to the new album. (You can check out the previously posted video for Keep It Safe's opening track, "Golden Twin," over here.)
Here's a bit more about the album, from Party Damage's press release:
Dream-pop outfit Wild Ones, one of the most talked-about acts in their native Portland, OR, have completed their debut album Keep It Safe after over a year of intense recording and mixing sessions. The band, which faced lineup changes, hospital visits and financial drama en route to finishing its debut, took a deeply collaborative approach to crafting the record. Keep It Safe was largely self-recorded and produced, and each sonic puzzle piece has been carefully selected by the band. (Even the album artwork was created by the band’s Thomas Himes.) The resulting record is staggering: A swirling, deep concoction of electronic and analog elements that features both huge pop hooks and obsessive attention to detail. Keep It Safe is a Rubik’s Cube of a record that will appeal to fans of everything from Can to Beach House to Brian Eno.The new album can be pre-ordered on Bandcamp, and Wild Ones play a record release show on July 5 at Mississippi Studios. They're also playing the "Cancer Sucks!" benefit with Typhoon on Saturday, June 1, also at Mississippi Studios, which I am certain is gonna hella sell out.
The week kicks off excitingly with news about Pure Bathing Culture's forthcoming album, Moon Tides. It's their first full-length, following up their splendid 2012 self-titled EP, and it's due on August 20 on Partisan Records (in the UK, August 19 on Memphis Industries).
There's also a new track to listen to—"Pendulum" just premiered this morning on Gorilla vs. Bear, but you can listen to it here. The track graced many of PBC's hometown live shows last year, so it should sound pretty familiar. With Dan Hindman's immaculately clean electric guitar and Sarah Versprille's airy but distinct vocals, the track will also open the new album, which—like the self-titled EP—was recorded with Richard Swift at his Cottage Grove, Oregon, studio.
Here's the tracklisting for Moon Tides; amazingly, it will not duplicate any of the incredible tracks from the EP:
2. Dream the Dare
5. Only Lonely Lovers
7. Seven 2 One
8. Golden Girl
9. Temples of the Moon
Pure Bathing Culture plays the Wonder Ballroom this Saturday, May 25, opening for Father John Misty—AKA Josh Tillman, whose brother Zach plays bass in Pure Bathing Culture.
When does their first full-length album come out?
July 9, 2013 in the year of our dark lord.
What is it called?
Summon the Faithless.
What does the cover look like?
Cast your eyes upward to the top of this post.
What are the titles of the eight tracks contained within?
1) In a Frightened State of Gnawed Dismemberment
2) Summoning the Faithless
3) Greed Is Your Horse
4) Descend Into External
5) Dreams of Mercy
6) Perverse Osmosis
7) Water Under a Burning Bridge
8) What Is Not... Is
What formats will the album take?
Long-playing vinyl record, compact disc, and digital download.
Is there a very short album trailer I can watch?
Will this album destroy us all?
XRAY.FM, named after the influential X-Ray Cafe venue from Portland's past, has been a long work in progress for the folks at the Cascade Educational Broadcast Service (CEBS). The station is hoping to offer true, listenable free-form radio, much in the manner of the influential New York-area WFMU station. The self-proclaimed mission is "to advance a new radio outlet focusing on the exposure of innovative recording artists, presented by music anoraks heavy-into collecting vinyl." So yeah, you'll be wanting to free up one of those preset buttons on your car stereo.
In the meantime, XRAY Fest has a lot to offer, including DJ sets from Mudhoney's Steve Turner, Voodoo Doughnuts' Tres Shannon, and former mayor Sam Adams, plus live shows from the Bats, Kelli Schaefer, and lots more—plus some cool film screenings as well. Check out all the goings-on after the jump, and hop over to XRAY Fest's site for more info.
The 10 tracks on Ride Out the Dark also include favorites like "Francis" and "Bee Keeper," and while it doesn't include any 20-minute freakout jams, contains plenty of band fireworks from the ensemble of local all-stars: Katie Bernstein, John Gnorski, Courtney Sheedy, Mike Yun, and Graeme Gibson.
Houndstooth plays June 7 at the Doug Fir with Eyelids and Denim Wedding.
Which is why it's only fair to post this wonderful video of Beth Ditto, offering advice via the website Rookie, an online publication for teen girls. This is part of their "Ask a Grown Woman" advice series, kind of like Amy Poehler's "Ask Amy" video series, in which grownup ladies answer questions from the site's young readers.
In this lengthy and thoughtful video (
sorry, I don't know how to adjust the aspect ratio fixed!), Ditto answers questions like "Why do people ruin good things?"—in particular, a young girl's questions about coming out to her parents. What Ditto has to say is beautiful, and well worth a listen.
Typhoon singer Kyle Morton has a little bit to say about the new song, "Dreams of Cannibalism," over on WSJ, and the album, which was recorded at Pendarvis Farm (site of Pickathon) and other locations with longtime Typhoon collaborator Paul Laxer has a full track listing posted on Typhoon's site. (Interestingly, one of the 13 tracks is named "Hunger and Thirst," which was the title of Typhoon's 2010 full-length—shades of "Houses of the Holy.")
August 20 cannot get here soon enough, but in the meantime, take a listen to "Dreams of Cannibalism" above, and download it on Soundcloud.
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