Eugene Weekly : Music : 5.8.08

KWVA Turns 15
Rising Portland stars The Shaky Hands help blow out the candles

From Willamette Week to SPIN magazine, the outpouring of love the press keeps lavishing on Stumptown sweethearts The Shaky Hands seems to have surprised the band as much as it hasn’t surprised its listeners. If SPIN wrote, “The Shaky Hands will have you dancing in your desk chair,” it’s because the band’s blissful blend of homey folk music and happy-go-lucky indie rock conjures blue skies and sunshine even in the dreariest of cubicles. And if Willamette Week‘s Casey Jarman shills for the band regularly, calling them “the best rock band in Portland,” it’s because The Shaky Hands have joined the unofficial ranks of Portland’s most popular in a negligible amount of time.

Ask bassist Mayhaw Hoons, and he’ll tell you that no one in the band had the slightest inkling about the belated but overwhelmingly positive response they would eventually receive for their debut album. Mayhaw recalls recording the album three years ago in a freezing basement, contemplating the transparent reasoning behind making an album as an unsigned, little-known band. “The first day we went to record it, I remember everyone scrounging up bus money to get there and bringing instruments on the bus to get the recording studio,” he says, “and annoying everybody else because we had too much stuff. There was no reason to be doing it.” At the time, he explains, there was no big fan base, nor were there record companies jockeying to get The Shaky Hands on their team. “There was no interest,” Hoones says. “We didn’t play many shows or anything.”

That was three years ago. Since then, Scott McLean and Matt Wright of Holocene Records have added The Shaky Hands to their label’s short but formidable list of charges and formally released the self-titled record the band actually recorded a year and a half earlier. The band also picked up two new members, guitarist Jeff Lehman and vocalist Nick Delffs’ brother, Nathan Delffs (a percussionist, pedal steel player and guitarist). And though you won’t hear the pedal steel on the self-titled record — Nathan joined after it was recorded — the band has already completed an EP, Break the Spell, and their second full-length, Lung Light, both of which will drop within the next six months. Break the Spell contains live performances as well as a few tracks that Mayhaw says “didn’t make it” onto the first record; it will be out sometime this summer, a teaser to preclude Lung Light‘s fall release. The Shaky Hands are blowing up big — once they play Sasquatch Music Festival over Memorial Day weekend, it’s all over for small venues and single-digit entry fees — and KWVA was kind enough to bring them down for $3 (or free, for UO students!) before all that happens. Thanks, KWVA! You guys are the cat’s pajamas. Don’t ever change!

KWVA 15th Birthday Bash with The Shaky Hands, The Blast Majesty,The Daveys, Muke. 7:30 pm Saturday, May 10. WOW Hall • $3 door, free for UO students