The concept behind 2013’s The Clear Blue Pearl from Portland band Morning Ritual sounds more like a sci-fi-fantasy movie than a pop record, complete with a devastating drought, an epic journey and a mysterious “blue pearl.”
There are a lot of captivating things about Kathryn Claire. She’s a classically trained violinist (picking it up at age 7), a self-taught guitarist, and she teaches songwriting to kids. But most captivating and surprising is when she opens her mouth to share her deep, emotive voice.
New Year’s Eve has always been my least favorite holiday, with the commercially contrived Valentine’s Day a close second. Instead of celebrating gratitude or sacrifice or renewal or even zombies, it’s become pretty much an excuse to go out and get hammered and maybe ruin someone else’s life by driving intoxicated for a nightcap.
Gypsy acts are known for their rowdiness; their raw, cigarette-smoky, patched-clothing, dented-brass impurities. Above all, gypsy acts are known for their stage presence. Seattle-born folker Jason Webley is no different.
Band names don’t usually refer to the art of songwriting itself, but that’s exactly what Hook & Anchor does. “It kind of refers to the things a good song needs,” says Kati Claborn, singer and guitarist for the band (she also plays banjo and uke).
“KMRIA stands for: Kiss My Royal Irish Ass,” says Casey Neill of Portland-based Pogues tribute band KMRIA. “The reference is from James Joyce’s Ulysses,” Neill says, explaining KMRIA is also referenced in Pogues’ song “Transmetropolitan.”
SHOW CANCELED. What would legendary Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr —now in his fifties — say to his 19-year-old self, just about to embark on a career that would lead him to become one of the most widely acclaimed and respected rock musicians of his generation?
Seattle in the ’90s was the kingdom of super fuzz and big muff, as greasy-haired white boys in skinny jeans crunched out Neanderthalic riffs like The Kinks on horse ludes. And through all that nevermind noise, this beardy old dude with a froggy voice and clangy guitar continued to ply his strange old-timey stylings, laying down this wonky-doodle groove that was like a surreal vaudeville patter horned through the swordfish trombone.
Much has changed since we last caught up with Portland darling Sallie Ford a year ago. Most notably, she’s no longer with The Sound Outside, her all-dude backing band (they broke up amicably). Ford simplified her band moniker to just Sallie Ford and pulled in a team of PNW musicians — Cristina Cano on drums, Anita Lee Elliott on bass and Amanda Spring on drums.
Metallica, Slayer, Iron Maiden, Motorhead. Amidst the club of hardcore metal band names, Asking Alexandria doesn’t seem to fit. But don’t let their name fool you. Listen to “Don’t Pray For Me,” the first song on their latest album From Death to Destiny, and it’s clear the British band is a force of its own.
Canadian electronica producer Ryan Hemsworth describes his most recent single, “Snow in Newark,” as something he made to “get back to my first love, emo music.” This may come as a shocking change of pace to those accustomed to hearing Hemsworth either throw down thick, hawkish hip-hop remixes or candy-coated, J-poppy originals.
“We have some great friends from Eugene,” says Sam Owens of Brooklyn-based indie-rock trio Celestial Shore. “All of them are wonderful people and talented musicians. There must be something in the water.”
There’s a certain bump that comes from being featured on the soundtrack for HBO cult favorite Girls. The show, about four twentysomethings stumbling through their lives in New York City, has featured new music by established pros like Belle and Sebastian, Santigold and Angel Haze, while also helping launch the careers of acts on the cusp of fame, such as Swedish duo Icona Pop, whose song “I Love It” became a smash hit after it was featured during a coke-fueled bender on the dramedy.
If you’ve been thrilled by the images of the NASA comet rendezvous, check out First Methodist Church at 13th & Olive this Friday, Nov. 21, at 7 pm for a harmonic convergence of eight local organists and one famous astronomer, Bernie Bopp. Bopp will narrate a performance that includes electronic sounds derived from signals from space, projected visuals of the moon, Earth, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, as well as organ music related to the solar system including Mars Aeliptica by Rafael Ferreyra, Saturn by Bent Lorentzen, Neptune (from The Planets) by Gustav Holst, Hymn To The Moon byGloria Hodges, Missa Gaia by James Scott and more.
Award-winning British human machine, or rather the musician and beatboxer known as THePETEBOX, is touring the U.S. for the first time, producing sounds and rhythms using only his mouth, lips, tongue and voice.
In the world of bluegrass music, tradition is king. This makes Grammy-winning mandolin player John Reischman’s 2013 release Walk Along John something unique: an album of twelve Reischman originals, two covers and a collection of neo-traditional tunes.
What better way to celebrate the passing of Measure 91 than warmly welcoming the chart-topping roots-reggae band Fortunate Youth, whose sponsors include RAW Rolling Papers and Cannabliss Clothing and whose merch includes T-shirts emblazoned with “Love is the Most High.”
The music oozed by Radiation City is so warm and romantic that it’s a bit tedious to see the Portland band categorized time and again as indie rock, a genre that at times feels like it’s been hijacked by aloof, sullen drones.
“Everyone loved The Milkmen in the early ’80s — the blues-ers, the punkers” says Dan Schmid, bass player for legendary Eugene band the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies. On Nov. 15, The Milkmen are reuniting for a one-night-only performance at Mac’s Restaurant at the Vet’s Club in Eugene. “It’d be nostalgic for sure,” Schmid continues. “[The Milkmen] were great. They rocked!”
Jake Smith, the singer-songwriter and mastermind behind L.A.-based trio The White Buffalo, sings in a rich, oatmeal baritone. And White Buffalo’s 2014 release, Shadows, Greys & Evil Ways — a loose concept record based around the characters Joe and Jolene — is a fitting backdrop for Smith, who looks like a Viking from Texas.
Before discussing indie-rock siren Frankie Rose, one must ask: Which Frankie Rose are we talking about? The founding member of garage-rock acts Crystal Stilts, Dum Dum Girls or Vivian Girls? Or the Brooklyn-based songwriter rumored to be related to legendary hard rocker and mouthpiece for Guns ‘n’ Roses, Axl Rose?
People who worry about classical music’s future point to its aging, dwindling audiences; stale, predictable repertoire (the same old pieces by the same old long-dead European composers); stuffy atmosphere (tuxedos! No unauthorized clapping!); dull, rote performances. Then come glimmers of hope like PROJECT Trio.