I know the Stefon clip was the thing on SNL everybody wouldn't shut up about over the weekend, but, ah... you guys noticed Kanye West kind of killed it, right?
West performed two new tracks, both of which are generally and accurately being described as "intense" (here's the other one, "New Slaves"); they're presumably from his upcoming album, Yeezus (subtle, Kanye), which'll be out June 18. Considering West's last solo album, 2010's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, was his best and weirdest thus far (here we are three years later, and I'm still not sick of "Runaway"), and that even the relative let-down of his Jay-Z collaboration Watch the Throne still led to some astonishing live shows, it's safe to say Yeezus will be worth getting excited for.
Sigh. Everyone went to see Star Trek into Darkness and I'm stuck Googling the correct spellings of various dried Italian meats. I'm going to watch my own futuristic space opera with Janelle Monáe's new song "Q.U.E.E.N." from her upcoming album Electric Lady. That'll cheer me up. It'll work for you too, I bet. She has that effect.
David Bowie is back, but hopefully not for long. The switch-hitting, bisexual, senior citizen from London has resurfaced, this time playing a Jesus-like character who hangs out in a nightclub dump frequented by priests, cardinals and half-naked women.SOME THINGS OF NOTE:
The video is strewn with characteristic excess: one priest bashes a homeless man, while others are busy hitting on women; self-flagellation is depicted; a dancing gal with bleeding hands makes a stigmata statement; and a customer is served eyeballs on a plate. The lyrics refer to the “priest stiff in hate” and “women dressed as men for the pleasure of that priest.” The song concludes with, “They can work with Satan while they dress with the saints.” In short, the video reflects the artist—it is a mess.
...Not sure what he believes in today (anyone who is “not quite an atheist” is not an atheist), but it’s a sure bet he can’t stop thinking about the Cadillac of all religions, namely Roman Catholicism. There is hope for him yet.
James Brown was born on May 3, 1933 in Barnwell, South Carolina. He died in 2006. In between, the Godfather of Soul made the world a funkier place. Happy birthday, James Brown, and rest in peace.
From T.A.M.I. Show, 1964:
With Sammy Davis Jr. on Hollywood Palace, 1969:
[UPDATE: This contest is closed and the winner has been notified.]
This Saturday, May 5, the Portland Cello Project teams up with Portland School of Rock students to form a giant behemoth called Portlandportland Rockproject Celloschool. Okay, I just made that up, but the two groups are performing a special show together at the Aladdin Theater that they're calling "Beck, Brubeck and Bach"; the program naturally will comprise pieces by those three composers. (Somewhere, Burt Bacharach is taking a long hard look in the mirror.)
Actually, this is precisely why Portland Cello Project is so great: They've found the common thread between baroque composer Bach, jazz titan Dave Brubeck, and indie songwriter Beck—you know, as in Beck. They'll be performing new arrangements of tracks from Beck's latest "album," Song Reader, which is a collection of songs that was published in book form but not released on an album. So it's one of your only chances to hear those songs out loud, PLUS the Portland School of Rock will be there, too! The kids'll be playing rock instruments, as PCP has got the cello end of things all sewn up.
Above is the premiere of Beck's "Why Did You Make Me Care?" which Portland Cello Project performed at their Song Reader performance at the Aladdin in December, with special guest vocalist Jolie Holland.
But it gets better. We're giving away a pair of tickets to the show, so if you like great music and hate spending money, this is the blog post for you. Here's what you gotta do: Send an email to this address with "Beck, Brubeck and Bach" in the subject line (spelling counts). Please include your first and last name in the email. We'll select a winner at random and send him or her (and a guest) on their way to the show! This contest closes Friday at noon, so now is the time to do this. Good luck! (Tickets on sale here.)
We've been eagerly awaiting Sun Angle's first full-length album Diamond Junk, and hooray, there's a stream of the full album that you can listen to right now. The album, produced by Menonema's Danny Seim, comes out next week on New Moss Records, and captures the trio in all their explosive, brain-liquifying, orgiastic splendor. There's also a new Into the Woods video for album track "Time Snakes," which you can check out above. It involves a house party, animal masks, and a lot of weed. (Are you surprised?)
Mountain Sounds is a new Portland duo—well, half Portland. The Rose City's Tim Hoyt has teamed up with Guatemala's Franc Castillejos to form the group, and they're about to release their self-titled debut album (out March 26). Former bandmates from Castillejos' time in the States, the pair sent each other demos long distance, then recorded the album in a disused orphanage in the mountains west of Guatemala City, Hoyt quitting his insurance gig here in town to spend three months down there. Mountain Sounds is a lush, stately record of mellow pop and emotionally charged ballads; listen to a couple songs on Soundcloud.
We've got the exclusive premiere of the band's new video, a stark performance of their song "Tired Birds" captured in the woods near the Guatemalan orphanage where the duo recorded. Surrounded by rustling leaves and sunlight peering through the treetops, Castillejos' voice and guitar could be almost anonymous in those woods, but instead he effectively captures individual and interior emotions; the result is a plaintive cry in the wild. More about Mountain Sounds on their site.
You can also peep in on Into the Woods' site, which includes a writeup of the video shoot by Will Giardino.
Portugal. The Man has some festival dates coming up, including the Snowball Music Festival, Coachella, Bonnaroo, NYC's Governor's Ball, and a show at SXSW Interactive. No hometown show is schedules yet, but a couple TV appearances are: On April 22, they'll be on Jimmy Kimmel Live and on June 5, they're on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.
The album cover and tracklisting for Evil Friends appears after the jump.
Last June, Mike Midlo brought a group of musician friends out to the woods to record some songs. I don't know where they went, exactly, but the idea was to get out of town, camp, and record some tracks completely live—thanks to, in part, a grant from the Regional Arts and Culture Council. The result wasn't a Pancake Breakfast record (that's Midlo's other band), but a new project called MidLo. Today the 8-song recording comes out on cassette and digital download—here's the Bandcamp link (where you can also listen to the whole thing).
Take a listen and look to the opening track, the moody "Moonlight." The group includes John Whaley, Tyler Tornfelt, Annalisa Tornfelt, Paul Seely, Lewi Longmire and Pete Bosack. MidLo doesn't have a release show planned, as Midlo told me when I asked about the cassette release:
The label dubbed them a bit fast... so my voice is higher than its supposed to be and the songs kick along at a pretty good clip. I think it's funny. Put a year of your artistic life into making a record and then the last step colors the whole thing. The downloads sound good. They're right.The first one is up above; there's another on Vimeo. It's a great tape/EP/album/whatever, and an atmospheric change of pace from Pancake Breakfast. Still, it sounds that Midlo is not done thwarting expectations. He adds:
No shows for me in 2013. Stepping back to soak in the marinade for a spell. Plus, everyone in the band is on tour with other bands (Sallie Ford, PCP, Wooden Indian Burial Ground, etc). Instead, I'm making music videos.
The next MidLo record is a dance metal record. Yes sir you read right, a Dance Metal record (or at least that's my philosophy towards making it).
Over the next couple weeks, UMO make their way from Toronto down to SXSW in Austin, then up to Boise's Treefort Music Fest. They perform a hometown show at the Aladdin on April 5.
So new it doesn't officially come out until tomorrow, here's a sneak peek at the new video for "The Walls Want Communion" by trance-y, gothy Portland dark wavers Light House. (That pan up the lead singer's outfit is no accident, incidentally; Dawn Sharp is also a kickass apparel designer.)
We've got a special STRFKR giveaway for End Hits readers, too. You can win a copy of Miracle Mile on CD, along with a special STRFKR turntable slipmat and a poster as well. Just shoot an email to this address and include "STRFKR giveaway" in the headline. Include your name in the email. I'll select a winner at random and they'll receive the prize pack in the mail. It's a snap!
I'll close this contest on Thursday at noon, so do it to it. Whoops! Because I are unsmart, I forgot to include the email address. It's there now. I'll keep this giveaway open an extra day—until Friday at noon.
We're proud to premiere the new video from Portland singer/songwriter Adam Brock, who not only played and sang all the music you're hearing, but hand-drew this entire video himself. "Young Love" is, to my ears, a perfect Valentine's Day love song, celebrating all the great things about young love while dissecting the things that are kinda fucked up about it. It's about a 50/50 blend, right? Brock's marker drawings may seem for the first split-second like cutesy affectations, but there's a darkness to his images that, while not exactly paralleling the lyrics, augment it in a wry and intelligent fashion.
Brock tells us that he made the video from 609 still photos, using more than two full boxes of Crayola markers (and countless pots of coffee) to do all the drawings:
I honestly have no idea how long it took... I just opened up a new pack of markers, put my song on repeat and tried to come up with something that captured the mood of the music. For this video I taped a piece of paper to the wall, set up a camera, doodled a little, took a photo, doodled some more, and so on. I wanted to emphasize the pulse of the song, so I took a picture for every eighth-note. It's very time consuming work, but I think creating a visual representation of a song helps the listener/watcher (and me) understand what I'm trying to express. It definitely impacts my music writing, too. Sometimes thinking about how I'd illustrate a video helps me figure out transitions, and the overall shape of a song. That could just be the marker fumes speaking though.Adam Brock is a relatively new face on the Portland music scene (I posted one of his other videos on Video Vriday), but he's got a terrific three-track EP, Poplar Trees, over on Bandcamp—you can download it for free if you want. I can't find a single weak instant on Poplar Trees; Brock is definitely a talented songwriter to watch. Here's his website as well.
Adam Brock performs tonight at the Jade Lounge, 2342 SE Ankeny (7 pm, FREE) as part of his monthly shows at that venue. He also performs a Valentine's show tomorrow night, Thursday, February 14, at Shaker and Vine (2929 SE Powell) with Too Long Sparks and Laugh at Linus. That show is at 8 pm and is $3.
This has been making the rounds, but it's too good not to repost.
These live video performance blogs are all the rage nowadays, in which a band performs a tune or two in front of cameras and mics for an exclusive online video. You see them everywhere, but here's the inauguration of a very special site that looks to be bringing something quite new to the live-performance-video-blog game.
Up in the Branches did a session with Portland's own Black Prairie in a rustic, rural retreat, with excellent sound and picture to boot. Watch this enchanting performance above, but be sure to pop on over to the Up in the Branches site and take a look at some of the other stuff they've got on tap.
**BONUS! End Hits' favorite bar makes a cameo in this video at the 3:28 mark.**
Meanwhile, Black Prairie are performing at the "Rock for Pete" benefit show on on Thursday, February 21 at the Wonder Ballroom. It's an all-star concert to aid the medical bills of Portland music legend Pete Krebs, who has been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. Colin Meloy (who I think the guys in Black Prairie might know), Dharma Bums, Casey Neill, Lewi Longmire, Sean Croghan, and James Low will also perform. Tickets are available here and will unquestionably sell out.
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