Sometimes I forget that Crappy Indie Music not only has bloody Portland roots, but also a local focus. Hey, since I live here and love it here it might as well be time to celebrate.
XUOSOUX- "Under Sun" EP
You know, it's almost a family theme tonight. Almost. Xuosoux is a metal trio, and their bassist/vocalist/mastermind Bob Azevedo is the little brother of a high school girlfriend. "Under Sun" is a pretty straightforward hearken back to those mythical '90s that I periodically wax nostalgic for, and of course comparisons to Fugazi or Freemasonry on a set of songs like these are inevitable. The thing that is troubling about Xuosoux's entry is that it is a bit underwhelming for me soundwise. It's very tape-y, as befitting the decade it would fit in thematically, and has a real basement vibe, which is surprising given how studio-focused and driven I know Bob to be. So perhaps it's an aesthetic choice. Check it out yourself.
CONGRATULATIONS, LAKE, OLD BELIEVERS, RED RIVER- "Brave Recs Sampler"
So, family. Brave Recordings is the record label my little bro helped start, and this sampler- a double 7" with a song from each band kicks it off in style. Now, I have to say this for the thing- it's a fucking great package. Golden vinyl, each band gets a full surface of art, and there's a sweet faux little league card inside with the download code. All the songs are top-notch. Lake, from Oly, throws in an upbeat pop tune reminiscent of the Juno soundtrack only without any hint of cloying shittiness like that film or its music. The Old Believers represent very mellow, but in this track, as well as in their live performance, dude singer Nelson seems to be going for some '70s soul frontman jive that doesn't really convince. With as powerful a chick singer as Keely in house, why ever step up with less than full game? But that's just me. Congratulations' "Juice And Syrup" is probably the strongest track here, but this band used to be named Eskimo & Sons, and I guess I don't have to say much more. Overall, though, based on their song here and a truly solid live performance, I would overall say that Red River is the band to watch out of this group of talented musicians. My one worry, though. With a fab release and epic tour out of the way, follow-up is the name of the game, and Brave Recs seems to be all but invisible on the web front. Avoid the sophomore slump, y'all.
SPAZZTIC BLURR- "Befo Da Awbum"So yeah. In high school I found one of the most badest-assest compilations ever, GRINDCRUSHER. On said compilation, amidst all the grindcore and death metal and such, was a particularly goofy but nevertheless blistering speed metal song called "He Not A Home(Me Marko)". Due to a reference to buying a tape at Second Avenue, I was convinced that this was a Portland band, and in those pre-internet days I didn't have any way to check. Of course, the internet is our god and our magic wand and our milk-laden breast these days, so I managed to not only confirm that Spazztic Blurr are from Rip City, but managed to get hold of their only album. It's more of the same- and a surprisingly good album. They predated John Zorn's experimental blastbeat eclectica in Naked City by a number of years, and are not only faster but considerably funnier and more listenable. My only problem is that as with any metal of this bpm, the vocals become ridiculous when attempting to keep up, and Tito's vocals were already pretty much ridiculous to start. A hell of a lot of fun nevertheless.