Sunday, May 31, 2009

Wow & Flutter interview by Hiram Lucke

CIMTB reader and friend Hiram Lucke of The Harvey Girls did an interview of Portland, OR band Wow & Flutter. Hiram blogs at local label Circle Into Square. This interview is funny:

Hiram Lucke
I met Cord and Jack of Wow & Flutter in 2000 when a band I was in was touring the west coast. We've traded shows since then and have stayed in touch until I moved here and we contact each other more often. The newest incarnation of the band--Cord on guitar and vocals, Jack on drums, and Ryan on bass and keyboards--play rock and/or roll with an underlying current of lyrical moodiness and on-stage shenanigans. They're kind of an exception to the rule of "Everybody Knows You're Not from Here," because Cord is actually from the area. As the song says, two out of three ain't bad, though. It should also be noted that, in full disclosure, I played saxophone and sang and my wife, Melissa, sang on their newest album Golden Touch on Jealous Butcher, in case there are any cries of foul. Oh, and I blew up Cord's amp at their album release show in December. The one thing I will say about conversing with the band to you, as a reader, is that you should believe about half of what's said. The other half you can do with what you like. Oh, and one final note, they weren't named after the Stereolab song.

They were both on Circle Into Square, which is our friend Tom's record label/interesting writing place. My interviews are called "Everybody Knows You're Not from Here" because I wanted to interview people I knew in Portland and rarely is anyone actually from Portland.

HL: So you have to introduce yourselves.

Jack: I'm Carol.

Cord: Cord Jason Amato.

Ryan: Ryan.

Jack: What do you want to talk about?

HL: I don't know. How long have you been in Portland is my first
question. Are you from here, Cord?

Jack: Lake Oswego.

: Yes, I'm from here. Corvallis, Hillsboro, L.O., Milwaukie. I lived in Portland for a little bit. I like to stay outside of Portland.

HL: I think this is the first time I've been in Milwaukie when the sun was out and I saw there was water across the way.

: The sun's always out in Milwaukie.

HL: How long have you been here?

: 16 years.

: So, awhile.

: It's been awhile. I'm pretty acclimated.

: And Ryan, you've been here awhile.

Ryan: I moved up from Eugene 11 years ago.

: So, when you were 5 years old?

: Yeah.

: Talk about playing shows outside of Portland, or in Portland?

: We can play shows anywhere.

: We'll play anything that moves.

: We can play anywhere you want.

: Is there a difference in crowds.

: Sure.

HL: Do people seem to get into more when you're "on the road"? Does it matter anymore?

: I notice in Seattle that it doesn't matter how packed it is, there will always be a 5 to 10 yard radius no matter how many people. No matter how much they're enjoying it.

: They just don't want to get spit on. They've seen those Nirvana videos with lots of spitting at people.

: I've thrown a kick into someone's face before. Shit you not.

HL: Cord is a badass.

: Tell us about that.

Cord: It happened to be my mom. She was at the front of the stage and I told her I'm gonna throw some kicks.

: Maintain a five to 10 foot radius around the stage. It's the Seattle ring.

: I thought you told [Adam] Bartell you were going to try not to jump around as much.

: Why would you ever listen to anything Bartell ever said?

: Because he doesn't lie. He lives in Milwaukee [WI] now and people don't lie from Milwaukee.

Jack: No one lies in Milwaukee.

HL: It's hard to be ironic or lie in Milwaukee.

Jack: 'Cuz you know what happens?

: You freeze to death?

: You'll get your ass kicked. You lie to someone in Milwaukee and they find out about it they don't get mad, they just punch you
in the face.

: We decided to move toward focusing on our music craft rather than hijinks.

: No, the truth is I one time jumped off of Ryan's amp and never returned.
I got stuck in the rafters.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Music Marketing: Making money the new fashioned way!

Here is a great article about a new trend in making money in the music industry. This industry isn't going anywhere. Making money is still possible. Everyone from labels to unsigned musicians are figuring out a new way of doing it. This article was published in 2007. It's proving to be quite accurate:

Music's New Trickle Up Economics

by Jason Rosenbaum, The Seminal October 30th, 2007

For years, the music industry has operated using top-down economic structures. A&R men recruited bands for labels, who in turn asked artists to sign away the rights to their creations. The bands recorded albums using label money and these albums were promoted through mass media to the American public. Label executives played public taste-maker, deciding what kind of music was “in” and what wasn’t worth recording, let alone promoting. Labels controlled the means of record distribution and collected the vast majority of the profits. Bands were lucky if $1 or $2 of a CD’s purchase price made its way to their wallets. Money in the record industry flowed from the top and was collected at the top, while quality seemed to largely decline.

At one time, there was good reason for this structure. Creating and marketing an album was expensive. Recording studios, filled with esoteric gear operated by highly skilled professionals, were expensive to build and operate. Albums reproduced on vinyl, cassette, or CD were expensive to manufacture and package. Radio and television stations, as well as other mass media outlets, charged premium prices to promote musical products. Courtney Love put the cost to a label of recording and promoting an album at $4.4 million dollars. Steve Albini of Nirvana fame puts it at almost $1 million. No matter what numbers you use, that’s serious cash.

As Albini and Love point out, the artists themselves didn’t need to invest a lot (at least up front) to be signed to a label, but they didn’t realize the majority of the profits either. Love estimates that a band that sells a million records makes $45,000 a year, or about as much as they would have earned working at 7-11. Albini is more pessimistic, arguing that a band who sells 250,000 records (a more reasonable number) actually owes the record company $14,000 when all is said and done. Meanwhile, the label grossed $6.6 million or $710,000 respectively. read more...

Ben Meyercord's Live Music Picks for May 30th and 31st

Hello Dear Readers,

I almost went to a show. But I didn't because there was no parking cause there were too many people because of stupid Fleet Week. Here are some shows that I might make i to though.

Saturday, May 30th

East End is having a heavy rock show with Akimbo(Seattle), Helms Alee (Seattle), Prize Country, and With a Bullet. I am somewhat into heavy music. I mean I do not get all consumed as some people do with the genres of heavy music. But then again I don't get too consumed with any particular musical genres. I tend to become obsessed with certain songs or bands or artists or whatever. Anyway, I have been getting into heavier music and in doing so I have heard the names Helms Alee and Prize Country quite a few times. So, the show gets a mention. The show starts at 9 PM.

Hawthorne Theater (a place I generally hate) is having a show with Gavin Castleton (a musician I generally love). I have yet to see Mr. Castelton but I think his album is pretty great (and still stands as the only album I have bought off of itunes with out a gift card). The ALL AGES show is only $3 and starts at 9 PM.

The Waypost is having a show with Gregory Miles Harris, Rian O'Hara, Larry Yes, and Audie Darling. The ALL AGES show is FREE and starts at 8 PM

Roseland is having one of those shows that has a big National act with one of Portland's up an coming acts opening. In this case Jenny Lewis and The Sadies will be playing. Mimicking Birds, one of the few acts under Mr. Issac Brock's wing will be opening. The ALL AGES show is $17.50 and starts at 9 PM.

Kelly's Olympian is having a show with Les Flaneurs, Mr. Frederick, and Wizard Boots. I have been meaning to check out Les Flaneurs for a while. I have me the man behind the band (aka Nate Clark) on a few occasions and he seems like a really cool dude. THe funny thing was that I was always seeing him playing at these slower paced "folkish" shows with other people's bands. Then when I listened to his band, I was a little surprised. There is no folk at all but rather post-punk with really cool rhythms and cool guitar work. It is awesome. The show is $5 and starts at 9 PM.

Tiger Bar is having a show with Rollerball, The River Project and The Escapists. I am writing about this show because Rollerball is pretty great. They kind of remind me of 90 day men. Though I think they have been around longer (they have been around forever). I still have not seen them. This might be a FREE show? It starts at 10 PM.

Berbati's Pan is having a show with The Upsidedown and Carcrashlander. If you have not seen Carcrashlander, you are missing out. They are such a good live band. I have like pretty much anything Cory Gray has ever touched, from his days in Desert City Soundtrack to backing the likes of Graves or Laura Gibson, he has the Midas Touch. But Carcrashlander is more rock than most projects thanks in large part to the crazy guitar that Alexis Gideon adds. The show is $5 in advance and $8 at the door. The show starts at 10 PM.

Sunday, May 31st

Doug Fir is having a show with Y La Bamba, Auto Pilot is for Lovers, and St. Frankie Lee. AS you may or may not know by now, I play bass and sing in Y La Bamba. So of course I am a wee bit biased towards the band. But I was a fan before there was a band. You can look up my old music picks and see. Saint Frankie Lee are a blast to watch. They know that the show is supposed to be fun. They often have themes to their shows to help with the fun. Plus the two front people are in love (they recently got engaged, congrats guys!). It will be hella fun. The show is $8 and starts at 9 PM.

Holocene is having a show atBackspace featuring Her Space Holiday (San Mateo, CA), City Light, Hot Victory, and Ghost to Falco. I remember Her Space Holiday as being kinda wimpy electronic emo. Times have changed and now he is just kinda wimpy pop. He is on tour with City Light which is somewhat of a super group project including Matthew Shaw (Seattle) that Denver Daliey (dude from Desaparecidos that isn't Conor Oberst). Hot Victory is one of the many bands that has two drummers these days. Actually that is most of the band there. There is one other member who does a lot of knob twiddling and stuff to make noise for the drummers to go to town on. Ghost to Falco is a dude that is somewhat like Mt. Eerie if he used a lot more pedals. The ALL AGES show is $10 and starts at 8:30 PM.

So if you see me at these shows. Say "Hi". Cause that would be nice of you.


Ghost to Falco plays on Sunday at Backspace. There will a whole lot less weird camera cuts.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Sandpeople Redux

"trying to win an argument on the internet is like trying to lasso fire"
- iwilleatyourorigami @ the AV Club 

PS Won't somebody PLEASE think of the children? Ok, so first DARE said "Hugs not Drugs" and NOW they're trying to flip the script? Not cool Crime Dog McGruff. If that is your REAL name.

PPS After much deliberation (aka buying the new Sandpeople EP on itunes in part due to recent coverage by local media) I have decided to review said EP on this here site of which I am so very proud to be apart of.  Manyana. Or Saturday. Soon though.

Suffice to say I've listened to the EP on repeat all day/night in a way I haven't since Tha Carter 3 and will continue to do so until I report back track by track. Others have reviewed it already. And I respectfully disagree with a lot of them. 

Long Story Short....  I'll be back soon.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Ben Meyercord's Live Music Picks for May 28th to May 29th

Hello Dear Readers,

Last Night I hit up the Roadside Attraction and I am glad I did. I think Black Heart Moon are doing something good. They closed their set with a moving song that I don't know the name of. But seriously I had one of those moments where I am just so glad to be alive so that I can here such beautiful music. Plus there were many people to say "Hi" to, which is fun for me. Here are some shows that are happening the rest of the week. Maybe I will have another moment, maybe not. We'll see.

Thursday, May 28th

  • Kelly's Olympian is having Pigeons and Vellarest play a show. I saw aband that features some Pigeons members the other day and they were good, so it raised my interest in the Pigeons. There is a $4 and it starts at 10 PM.
  • The Know is having a show with The Pink Snowflakes and Harsh Sunshine. Hooray for psychedelia! I only saw The Pink Snowflakes but it was awesome. There were bubbles and it was a lot of fun. The FREE show starts at 9 PM.
  • Doug Fir is having a show with We're From Japan!, Child Bite, and The Hugs. Pretty much I think WFJ! is so great. They do the instrumental post rock thing. You know the common comparisons (Explosions in The Sky or whatever). But for real I think they are great. I Know not much about Child Bite, But I do know that the Hugs were big in Europe and went over there to record a big major label record and ended coming back severing all their major label ties (very indie rock). The show is $8 and starts at 9 PM.

Friday, May 29th

  • Berbati's Pan is having a show with Hide & Go Hustle, Ship to Ship (Bellingham), Halophile (Seattle), and Secret Codes (ex-David Kyle and The Invisibles). This show should appeal to those who like post rock or mathy rock or anything in that realm of rock. Hide & Go Hustle is pretty awesome and have not played in like forever. I have not seen Ship to Ship but I have been assured that they are "pretty cool". I love me some david Kyle, whoops! I meant, I love me some Secret Codes. He loops like there is no tomorrow. The show is $5 and starts at 9 PM.
  • Mississippi Studios is having Horse Feathers, The Boticellis (somewhere, CA), and Justin Power play. Horse Feathers just came back from a month long tour, so I am sure they are pretty tight. I mean every time I have seen them they have been pretty tight anyway, but I bet they are REALLY tight now. I still have yet to see Justin Power play, but I really love what I have heard on the interweb. Plus he is a super nice dude. The show is $13 and starts at 9 PM.
  • The Artistery is having a show with What's Up?, Neal Morgan, and Why I Must Be Careful. It is a CD release party for What's Up? The mathy band has a dude that was in that nintendo covers band The Advantage. These guys will probably be big. The ALL AGES show is $6 and starts at 8 PM.

So if you see me at any of these give me a "Hi". I will give you a "What up" in exchange.


Hide and Go Hustle look and sound, somewhat, like this.

EP Review- "L.A.B."- Lose the acronym, chegados.

No, seriously. I've never quite understood how successful and/or otherwise competent bands think that it's okay to have a name that is an acronym. I'm not talking about abbreviations- ELP and PIL are safe here. Really, though, there are enough ridiculous band names out there that there's not a single reason to think that it would be cool to make your band name the acronym of a ridiculous phrase. Therefore we have POD ("payable on death"), HIM ("his infernal majesty"), NERD ("noone ever really dies"), and the execrable local NIAYH ("now is all you have"). This last is a humbling example... my teenaged sister-in-law had a visit from NIAYH at her California school, and promptly became obsessed with them, to the point of naming her cat Niayh. What are they teaching in schools these days? I must admit I've experienced this thing too, though, my TAG camp getting not only a musical visit but also a later namecheck in song by Plunky Branch and the Oneness of Juju.

And don't think songs or albums are exempt either. Everyone loves Incubus, right? Your mom even likes Incubus. So why would they be so douche-y as to name an album "S.C.I.E.N.C.E"? Let's ask them! Or rather, let's let wikipedia do it for us:

S.C.I.E.N.C.E. was titled as such because the band felt like they were working on a science project whilst creating the album, as such the acronym has no real meaning. Instead the band has chosen to let people interpret the title as they see fit. The acronym S.C.I.E.N.C.E. is as enigmatic as the moustachioed man on the cover.

Anyway, I will give the benefit of the doubt to our review subject LAB ("Less A Bullshit") because they are from Brazil and that nation is full of surprises.

One such surprise is how despite the increasing production values on new or independent bands' demos, that a demo can still sound like a demo. This one certainly does, and I like the energy. Be warned- as good as it is, this is not anything you haven't heard before from other modern interpreters of New Order/Depeche Mode-influenced synth rock. Though there is something about the Portuguese lyrics that make them seem vastly less pretentious than English-speaking bands (T.H.E. K.I.L.L.E.R.S., I'm talking to you. Check your shit before you wreck your shit. Oops, too late.)

There is something about these kids... did I hear a little Joe Jackson in their song "Uma Vida em 8 bits"? It's good timing with this review because I've been delving into a little more of this style and can appreciate it. You should too. Check out L.A.B. before they get big.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

KISS and Slash shred!

Slash shreds:

Kiss shreds:


Monday, May 25, 2009

Ben Meyercord's Live Music Picks for May 25th to 27th: revised!

Hello Dear Readers,

I was superbummed out. Last night I wanted to see shows real bad. But the only time stuped band practice could happen is late at stupid night. seriously I fell asleep at practice. We didn't finish til midnight. So Dumb. Anyways, here are some shows happening this week.

Monday, May 25th

There are a lot of National shows going on tonight. Probably because that Sasquatch thing is happening. There are many Portland bands representing at that thing too. I know that Horse Feathers is playing today. I think Loch Lomond played at some point too.

One of the big National Acts playing tonight in Portland is Animal Collective. They are playing a SOLD OUT show at Roseland. The reason I am listing this is because local act Grouper is opening the show. Generally I find that Roseland is a weird place to see a show. I saw Animal Collective play there last time they came through. It is just weird, how much you feel diconnected from the band that is playing on stage. Even in other bigger venues like the Crystal Ballroom, you can go all the way up to the stage. Roseland has that big gap where security stands and looks ominous. This ALL AGES show was $20-23 prior to being SOLD OUT. I am sure the tickets are even more now. The show starts at 9 PM.

There is an all local show happening at Valentine's tonight. Dash!, Rob Walmart, and Hexlove are all playing. I have yet to see Dash! though I have heard good things about him. I am not familiar with Hexlove. But Rob Walmart is a specticle. Dudes make weird heavy electronic music while a dude makes up crazy stories and stuff. Oh and they do it out of the back of an old ice cream turck or something. I hear that they will be outside the cube. Forwhatever that means. The show is FREE and starts at 9 PM.

Tuesday, May 26th

There are two shows with "Black" bands (bands that have the word black in the title) and "Rainbow" bands (bands that have the word rainbow in the title). Nutz.

Backspace is having an amzing noise/experimental whatever show with Black Dice (Brooklyn), Wolf Eyes (Detroit), and White Rainbow. Black Dice make some of the weirdest music ever. Wolf Eyes makes some of the noisiest music ever.White Rainbow makes some of the droniest music ever? Anyway if you like weird loud and droney music, you cannot miss this show. I will probably be at this show. Fun fact, the first show I ever saw in Portland was Black Dice at Berbati's. The ALL AGES show is probably $5 and doors open at 8 PM.

Holocene is having somewhat of an experimental show with Black Moth Super Rainbow, School of Seven Bells, Gulls and DJ Selector Demonic (essentially Kevin of Talkdemonic). Black Moth Super Rainbow make weird kinda pop music. I have heard good things about School of Seven Bells. And I know I like the sample and loop heavy jazz whatever thing that locals Gulls perform. The show is $12 and starts at 9 PM.

Wednesday, May 27th

I almost forgot that Roadside Attraction has shows on Wednesday nights. They are starting off summer right with Black Heart Moon, and Sweet William's Ghost. I have had the distinct pleasure of playing a few shows with Black Heart Moon, and I think they are great (that is to say keep an eye on this one). I have not had the pleasure of hearing and or seeing Sweet William's Ghost, but I know for a fact that all members of all of these bands play ing other bands so they should know how to make good music, right? But for real Black Heart Moon has the sweet vocals and guitar styling of Catherine O'Dell (normally known for her cello skills in Hide & Go Hustle and Horse Feathers), acoustic bass of Perry Pfister (Ponyghost), and the amazing slide guitar of David Dyas. This thing is FREE and starts at 9 PM.

Laurelthirst is having Dolorean play again for FREE. This is the last time they are doing one of these shows. Apparently it was just a May thing. You didn't think it was going to last forever did you? The show is again FREE and starts ridiculously early at 6 PM.

Twilight Cafe and Bar is having a show with Wishyunu, Pill Thief, Curious Hands, and Tiger House. I am writing this mostly because at some time or another I have been to check out bot Curious Hands and Tiger House. I also have been meaning to check out Twilight for quite some time. The show is FREE, so I just might do it. The music is said to start at 9 PM.

So if you see me, punch me in the arm and say "Hi". Not too hard though as I am not as tough as I look (I look real tough).


DASH! live at the WAIL from Jordan Dykstra on Vimeo.
Dash! are all set to play tonight at Valentine's. Neat.


Friday, May 22, 2009

Ben Meyercord's Live Music Picks for May 22nd to 24th

Hello Dear Readers,

Last Night I went and saw Jesse Bettis (of Oh Captain, My Captain) and his friends play at the Matchbox. They were great. Matchbox is very small and doesn't have shows that often for a reason. But I do love to be in a crowded room to witness some music being made before my very eyes. Even if there is a lot of talking. Anyways, here are the shows I am interested in this weekend.

Friday, May 22nd

  • Backspace is having a show Oh Captain, My Captain, Brothers Young and The Skinnyz. Like I said I saw Jesse play last night. I like the Oh Captain songs acoustically. But I also like them all rocked out. I can never decide which I like more. But both are really good. Oh Captain, My Captain label-mates The Skinnyz ( Portland based Blanden County Records) play pretty good rock and roll that has a pop tinged feel to it. I have heard good things about Brothers Young. I saw them a loooong time ago and have no recollection of what they sounded like. Apparently they do really good vocal work. The show is $6 doors are at 8:30 PM.
  • Mississippi Studios is having a show with Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele (Taylor, Mississippi), Dirty Mittens and All Smiles. I first heard of Dent May when it was announced that Paw Tracks, The Animal Collective's label, was putting out his record. I think is good. There are not many bands that are built around the Uke. But don't worry it is an actual band, not just some guy and his tiny instrument. Plus being from Mississippi, this is the perfect venue. The Dirty Mittens are great. They make really really good pop music, sax solos and all. I recently played a show with them and pretty much danced their entire set. All Smiles is lead by former Grandaddy guitarist Jim Fairchild. Last time I checked, his band also had members of Menomena and Modest Mouse, if that means anything to you (whoa, I just did a lot of name dropping). The show is $10 and starts at 9 PM.
  • Crystal Ballroom is having a show with The Avett Brothers (Concord, NC), Jason Webley (Seattle) and Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside. I saw the Avett Brothers at SXSW earlier this year and thought they were pretty good. They are are on a major label and therefore may not technically be crappy indie music, but that is not why I am listing the show. I am listing this show because, I think that Sallie Ford is great. I have always known this since I first heard her sing. This is a very high profile show for her. I am super excited for her, as a lot of people are about to see how good she is. The ALL AGES show is $20-22 and starts at 9 PM.
  • The Waypost is having a show with Solyoni, Green Ladies and The Harvey Girls. I am mostly listing this show because I know that The Harvey Girls is a band that Goldie likes. Plus I have seen and enjoyed The Green Ladies Before (I don't recall any ladies in this band green or otherwise). The ALL AGES show is FREE and starts at 8 PM.

Saturday, May 23rd

  • Dante's is having a show with Big Business (Los Angeles), Tweak Bird (IL and CA) and Black Elk. This is a Rock show. In every since of the work Big Business and Tweak bird, who are on tour together, play riff-based almost stoner rock. Portland's Black Elk play Heavy rock that has metal tendencies all over it. The show is $10-12 and starts at 9:30 PM.
  • Someday Lounge is having a show with Copy, Atole, Jeffrey Jerusalem and E*Rock. This is a dance show. But not like disco dance. Well, kinda like disco (Jeremy Jerusalem is a one man disco band). All these people are really good dance/electronic based acts. I love Copy, but have not seen him play in ages. I saw Jeremy Jerusalem play the other week and was very impressed. If you do not have any, go get some dance shoes before attending this show. The show is $6 and starts at 9 PM.
  • Slabtown is having a show with Drew Grow, Michael Vermillion (Seattle) and Go Engine Now. This looks like it is the Portland stop on a baby tour theses three bands have planned with each other. I think it is cool when more than two bands go on tour together. I am sure it is a lot of fun. Plus all of these bands are really good if you like indie Americana type stuff. The show is $6 and starts at 9 PM.
  • Mississippi Studios is having a show with Little Pieces (Seattle), Sabertooth and Radiant Silvergun. I list this mostly because I think that Sabertooth is a very good Portland band. Their song "The Doctor" is awesome. It kinda reminds me of Papa M at times (if you know who that is, then you know what I mean). The other bands seem a little more in the same pop rock ballpark. The show is $8 and starts at 9 PM.
  • Laurelthirst is having a show with Lonesome Radio Heart and The Spindles (Santa Rosa, CA). Lonesome Radio Heart makes slower indie music that utilizes both male and female vocals and I think it is good. On their myspace player they have a bunch of live tracks. So if you want to know what they sound like, you can play those and have a very good idea of what to expect. The Spindles, also do the male/female vocals and are good but they tend to vary the tempo a little more (not a bad thing). It is $5 and starts at 9:30 PM.
  • Berbati's Pan is having a show with The High Strung (Detroit) and Yeah Great Fine. I saw Yeah Great Fine several months ago. It was very good. For real check out their song "O O O". It is so good. I suggest you check them out. It is FREE and starts at 10 PM.
  • The Know is having a Rose City Rollers Benefit. It will feature the punk stylings of The Mean Jeans. I have never been to a Rose City Roller Derby function, but I love the idea of my town having a roller derby team. I don't really want it to go away. Plus there will always be a part of me that loves punk rock (I think of The Mean Jeans as being punk rock, please correct me if I am wrong). There is a $5-7 cover and it starts at around 9 PM.

Sunday, May 24th

  • Rontom's i shaving a show with DoublePlusGood, Breakfast Mountain and Pep Assembly. DoublePlusGood and Breakfast Mountain both play electronic pop music with an DIY edge (oh my god, did I just say DIY Edge, what a tool I am). Pep Assembly play good ol' indie pop music. It is FREE, so why not check it out? The show starts at 9 PM.
  • Mississippi Studios is having a show with Shoeshine Blue, Leonard Mynx, Run On Sentence and Nick Jaina. This is a CD release show for Shoeshine Blue's new album "Howl at the Wooden Moon". I have been lucky enough to have heard it and it is great. It is folky bluesy and indie at the same time and features many contributors including Run On Sentence and Nick Jaina and from what I hear one of Blind Pilot's members. That being said I think that Leonard Mynx is equally as good and often plays with Shoeshine Blue. I would not be surprised if he is playing as part of the band on Saturday. And I didn't mention it but both Run On Sentence and Nick Jaina are very good in their on right (they are both on local Hush Records)The show is $8-10 and starts at 8 PM.
  • Holocene is having a show with Windy & Carl (Dear Borne, Michigan), White Rainbow, Christopher Willits (San Francisco) and Benoit Pioulard. This is mostly an ambient-ish show. It may boring to some, but I think it is beautiful. Though I think is a sitting down type show for sure. Unless of course you are looking at all the gear that is sure to be on stage. The show is $8-10 and starts at 9 PM.

So if you see me at any of these shows, it would be a perfect time to say "Hi". I hope you do.


Drew Grow will play Slabtown on Saturday. The band will probably be smaller (the venue surely will be), but you get the idea.

International Band Review - "Don't Wait, Animate"

A little while ago, I received a promotional email announcing that Don’t wait, Animate, a band from Britain, was pioneering a new genre, a fusion of Indie and Dubstep known as ‘strumstep’. A whole new genre? What anticipation! But I have to admit, I was thoroughly underwhelmed.

I was provided with two songs, "Screwface" and "Atlas moans". The first was all instrumental, with a strong beat, and combination of three simple repeating melodies. It was pleasant enough, but no ‘spark’ – didn’t do much for me. The second was shorter with sparse music and mumbled, incomprehensible words.

Since I had so little to base my opinions on, I investigated DWA’s myspace to hear what other offerings they had. In this case, I was pleasantly surprised. The recordings are better, with British-accented vocals clearly audible. The music is better, too. “6174” starts with a vibrato-drenched, surfy solo guitar riff and moves on to angular guitar melodies over a punchy, danceable beat and shouted vocals. “Noah Sparks”, my favourite of their current offerings, combines subdued, depressing verses with dancey choruses and a command to dance and enjoy life. Now that’s what I call music. The only disappointments were the formerly mentioned “Screwface” and “Signum”, apparently a cover, which is also more instrumentally based and resembles that electronic dance music those kids are listening to nowadays in a rather unremarkable fashion.

I do have one bone to pick with Don’t Wait, Animate – they did not, in fact, invent a new genre of music. Indie musicians have been influenced by dub and reggae before, in fact, even British ones. The Clash, or the Homosexuals, anyone? I’m not too up on my genres, but I think we maybe call this “post punk” or something like that. The premise of a “new” genre suggests extreme innovation, and while these guys have some good songs, their sound is not unique. They also seem to be at a bit of a crossroads between more lyric driven type rock songs and more instrumentally based dance songs. In my opinion, they should work on more vocal heavy songs – these got me feeling good and wanting to dance, while the instrumental ones made me think of when a person gets drunk or high in their basement and ‘jams’ for a while, then listens to the recording and thinks, “Man, that was way more epic when I was stoned.” DWA leaves me with mixed feelings as of now, but if they focus on what they’re good at, and provide reviewers with their best work rather than their worst, they could become a favourite in the future.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Ben Meyercord's Live Music Picks for May 21st

Hello Dear Readers,

I was unable to see any shows yesterday out of sheer exhaustion. But I rested up real nice and I think I will be able to hit up some shows tonight. This is what is playing.

Thursday, May 21st

  • Mississippi Studios is having a show with John Vanderslice (San Francisco) and Mimicking Bird. John Vanderslice makes pretty nice indie pop and had recorded many many bands. But the reason I list this show is Mimicking Birds. I really like what I have heard of their sound (mainly nice picking and good vocals). So did Issack Brock of Modest Mouse as he has taken them under his wing. The show is $12-14 and starts at 9 PM.
  • Doug Fir is having a show with Mike Watt & The Missingmen, Patterns and Krist Krueger. Mike Watt from Minute Men Mike Watt. Patterns makes good poprock music. I saw them a while back at Rontoms. It was cool. Krist Krueger sometimes fronts the band Southerly. He writes good songs and plays them on an acoustic guitar. The show is $13-15 and starts at 9 PM.
  • Jesse Bettis and company will play the stripped down more acoustic-y version of Oh Captain My Captain songs (Jesse usually fronts that band). It is cool to see songs in a different context and the people he play with Seth Mankoski and Mike Kitsen are both great musicians that arrange the the songs very tastefully. If you like Pedro the Lion, you will most likely like this. It is FREE and starts at 9 PM.

So if you see me out and about, please take the time to say "Hi". I will take the time to give some sort of greeting back.


Mimicking Birds will be playing the renewed Mississippi Studios tonight. Check it.

Monday, May 18, 2009

T-Shirt Etiquette

Much has been said on the topic of selecting t-shirts. The modern hipster finds themself awash in an endless sea of choices. Vintage or artificially aged? Is American Apparel still hip after more than ten years on the market? Does anyone else own this shirt? Should I wear a band shirt to a different bands show? Are V-necks sexy? Is it too soon to wear a "Eat My Shorts" t-shirt ironically? Will anyone notice that I bought this Count Chocula t-shirt at Target?

Calm, my loyal readers, calm. These are complex questions to be certain, but as we've learned, nothing is too complicated when armed with knowledge, logic and your parents credit card.

On The Subject Of Band Shirts.
Many an hipster has been made aware of the fundamental error in wearing a band shirt to that band's show. Somewhere in the depths of the collective unconscious, such a thing has been declared "lame". Scientists have yet to make a determination as to where this split in reasoning occurs, but most agree that it was sometime in the late 80's or early 90's. One segment of the population continued to treat their concerts like sporting events and "show the flag," whilst the other segment declared such activities "square" and began the Great War Of Who Could Care Less; this war has continued through this day, and bodies line the streets of our Great American Culture.

It should suffice to say that the selection of shirt for attending a concert carries with it a different set of guidelines than normal, day in, and day out wearing of shirts. Nothing carries more fear and indecision than this moment in a hipsters life. Well, perhaps making mixtapes. ...or vintage underwear. Whatever.

Hipsters! Be cautioned, the wearing of a bands t-shirt to their show may very well lead to your imminent social demise and an utterly horrifying set of insults from your PBR swilling peers. There is little else that can ruin your tenuous grasp on popularity faster, save being caught actually enjoying music.

As for the rest of the world, rest easy. The choice to wear or not to wear is really a personal decision and carries with it no real effect one way or the other. Do not concern yourself overmuch with the petty antics of small minded people. It's just a show, it's just a shirt, just enjoy the fucking show.

Concerning Irony.
In many ways, I find myself at odds with the concept of irony. It is a word much bandied about in the vaunted circles of culture, one I find lacking in relevance to the topic at hand; in the most literal of senses, comedic irony requires the knowledge of the viewer in order to have its intended effect. I would posit that the wearing of a Lucky Charms t-shirt does not qualify as any kind of irony. From the outside looking in, there is no way to tell if someone is not a life long aficionado of that vile chemical and agricultural byproduct stew. For all I know, the gentleman wearing that shirt may have neon blood and Type 2 diabetes.

Wikipedia gives a fairly succinct definition to work from:

"The simplest definition of irony is 'the use of words to convey a meaning that is the opposite of its literal meaning: the irony of her reply, “How nice!” when I said I had to work all weekend.'"

Without the knowledge that one band or another is currently residing in the "hip list" somewhere in the blogosphere, it is difficult to determine if someone is honestly into White Snake or is making some pedestrian and ill conceived attempt at irony (the recent ironic popularity of mullets further complicates this individual example). I tend to assume that people are fairly direct and if I find you wearing a NKOTB shirt, I will insult you promptly, viciously, and without cease. That is of course, my choice. Irony is an art best left to those capable of wielding the subtle knife of literary device.

High minded and vaguely elitist observations aside, I find it difficult to endorse ironic t-shirts as a whole. They fail as often as they succeed, and as such I consider them not worth pursuing. I find myself firmly on the side of authentic cultural expression and this obsession with "ironically" embracing a shitty pop culture as some vague attempt to point out its absurdity ends up just reintroducing it to a whole new generation of people. In essence, you end up supporting by advertisement what you claim to detest. This is irony defined- surreal, absurd, and true.

In The Interest Of Authenticity and Commerce.
I see the entire subject of one primarily of fashion. Appearances mean a lot to a great number of people; this may not be the most enlightened way to run a culture, but it's the the damning truth of this place in time. That with which people adorn themselves defines the first meeting to an extent that most people are not comfortable admitting. To this end I advise all of you dear people to be as honest with yourselves as possible whilst perusing your t-shirt collection one Saturday afternoon. We are defined in those first few moments by our appearance and no amount of enlightened reasoning will change centuries of cultural training and the inherent reliance on aesthetic sensibilities of the human animal, i.e., Me Like Pretty.

One of the biggest reasons that the t-shirt has so much prominence in culture is the financial support that it lends musicians and artists. The profit model constructed by the Dinosaur Labels dictated that band merchandise profits remained largely in the hands of the band direct while they consumed any album sales profits en masse. Strangely enough, the advent of the freely piratable MP3 has made this profit model hold through into the beginning of the 21st century. The only real difference is that Dinosaur Labels aren't sucking up nearly as much profit. Bands are still doing OK, and in a lot of instances are actually doing much better. So we music fans should continue to show love at live shows, buying stickers, vinyl and t-shirts direct from the musicians we appreciate. The best way to show your support, easily enough, is to give them money.

Full Disclosure.
I am a huge webcomics fan, music dork and utter geek. So I shop at TopatoCo. These folks are among the funniest and most honest people on the interwebs and I try to keep them making the funny by buying a bunch of t-shirts from them. There are a few other key resources out there but TopatoCo (based out of Northhampton, MA) has a perfect combination of characteristics for me. They're funny, printed locally on American Apparel, and the majority of the profits goes to the webcomic artists that design them. I've been looking for something similar for music shirts and I haven't really found anything that hits the same level of authenticity, responsibility and quality. There are a lot of really shitty merch companies out there and if anyone knows of a good Portland local shop I'd love to hear about it. If there isn't one, there's a market sitting out there for a TopatoCo of music.

In Closing.
T-shirts are really not that complicated. Find ones that are comfortable and speak truly of your proclivities. If the bullshit at Hot Topic really speaks deeply about the nature of your being, by all means, get on it. Who am I to stand in your way? Be honest folks, that's all anyone can really ask for in the end, and don't worry too much. Fretting over the choice of a shirt means that you've failed to be honest when buying, and honestly your worrying won't do you much good now. At the risk of sounding cheesy, just feel the vibe. If you can't throw that shirt on at any time and feel comfortable with it, don't buy it.

Now go out and make some local band happy, buy a t-shirt.

Stay classy internet.
Eriq Nelson

Queries? Questions? Quandries? Quench your thirst.

Ben Meyercord's Live Music Reviews

Hello Dear Readers,

Last night was super fun. I went and saw The Ocean Floor, Church, and Nurses at Rontoms. They held the show outside in the absolutely perfect temperatures that we had last night. It was the fist time I have seen a show on their back porch. And to be honest. I think they can doo better with the placement of the bands. Their is a huge planter blocking most of the view of the stage area and none of the tables were moved which left very little room for an actual audience. Luckily I worked my way up to the front were I anchored myself so as to not miss any of the music. I love all of those bands. Especially Church who are my current favorite Portland band. They just left on a big ol' tour. I wish them well. Anyways, here are some shows that are happening this week.

Monday, May 18th

Monday is my Thursday. Thursday is the new Friday. That means I'm gonna see a show tonight!

Mississippi Pizza is having a show that I would not miss for the world. Sarcastic Dharma Society is playing. He is really good. He writes songs that I find very hard to not "feel". I don't think he play out that much and if he does I never know about it (such is the nature of a lot of house shows). But tonight I know he is playing I know where he is playing (I already mentioned those facts). I also know that this will be the premeire of his new band (albeit, only on one or two songs). I am very looking forward to seeing his band. I know that Petoskey is playing. I have heard them and it sounds good. It is related to the band Pigeons who is also good. I don't see any cover listed but I am sure it is worth at least donated some cash to see. It all starts at 9 PM.

There is also a show at Worksound with Hammer of Hathor, Some Weird Sin and The Slaves. I have not really listened to any of these bands, but I saw that Hammer of Hathor has a couple of cassette tapes with hand made packaging at Mississippi Records that I find very appealing. They probably make artsy music. If you look on their myspace page you will see that there might be an element of jazz in there. It is just interesting enough for me to list. Also I am curious about Worksound as a venue. The show is ALL AGES and the cover is by donation. The doors open at 8:30 PM.

Tuesday, May 19th

It's Tuesday. My Friday. I might go and see me some local PDX -is so damn cool -indie music.

Mississippi Studios is having a Vive Voce party. Basically they are going to play the new album (I think live?) and a music video for the song "Octavio" from the new album. that Alica Rose directed (fitting since the new album is called Rose City). I am sure there will other fun things too. Cake? I hope there's cake. The show is FREE and starts at 8 PM.

Valentine's is having a show with Guidance Counselor, North America, and Chrome Wings.
Guidance Counselor is pretty fun. I imagine it will get pretty dancey in the small confines of Valentine's. Which actually will probably make it a really fun show. Also, a note to North America: Your name makes it impossible to google. Welcome to obscurity. The show is FREE(but donations are now and I guess always have been welcomed) and starts at 9 PM.

So if you find yourself at one of therse shows and spot me, please let me know by saying "Hi".


The Sarcastic Dharma Society - We Were from sarcasticdharma on Vimeo.

Sarchastic Dharma Society looks and sounds a lot like this. He plays tonight at Mississippi Pizza.


Album Review: Tortoise- "Beacons of Ancestorship"

As I get older and the engine that powers my raw cognitive skills goes into decline, I've noticed a certain mental artifact increase in frequency. I often immediately misread items to humorous effect. My Facebook friends will probably attest to this. So if you are like me, please be advised that Tortoise's new album is not called "Bacon of Ancestorship."

I have to preface this with the fact that I don't really know much about Tortoise, and have not kept up on them as a band. To the best of my recollection I had heard a few of their tracks years ago but could not remember that bit distinctly. Here and there, though, I kept coming across references to them. People mention them in craigslist musicians wanted ads, they are a supposedly meaningful benchmark in music reviews, and a friend of mine said that some of my band's instrumentals sounded like "Tortoise through a beat box." I've since learned that that was quite the compliment, and all in all I have been very excited to check the real deal out. So, after my review of "More" (by Thrill Jockey labelmates Double Dagger) when I was informed that the next release down the pike from TJ would be the new Tortoise, I had to snap it up.

Now, there is something to be said for caution in expecting too much. You don't want to get disappointed, and with Tortoise you're also dealing with a band that has been liberally tarred with the 'post-rock' brush. Gentleman blogger Eriq Nelson and I had a discussion on this very topic, and I can think of no better way to express the low-down than to quote his very own eloquence: "'s strange that any term so broad in it's scope has become familiar and formulaic as "post-rock". It defied conception. The term itself allows for limitless possibility, but ends up being applied more like post-Mogwai. It saddens me greatly." So with that in mind I jumped right in...

...and found to my great surprise that Tortoise was not even close to what I would describe as 'post-anything' at all, but rather, straight up PROG ROCK. Good old fashioned Weather Report meets Gabriel-era Genesis meets who knows. I don't believe this is just a result of the vintage synths present, either. It's the consummate musicianship, the rich variety of sound textures and dynamics, and the deep reverence for their source music, in this case rhythmic jazz. Then of course there is the esoteric, and it's right from the get-go. The title of the lead track "High Class Slim Came Floatin In" namechecks an obscure Billy Gibbons composition, which I was proud to be able to indentify sans Intarweb. Much like ZZ Top, a band vastly underrated for their progressive contributions to the blues rock genre, this song careens all over the place in a savage and exuberant manner, setting the tone for an album of great inventiveness. Again, the playing is top knotch, and that's good. Tortoise seems to be known for their experiments with rhythm, and for a band without any vocals to speak of, a listener might become bored hearing hackneyed attempts to 'experiment' where so many visionaries have already gone before. Tortoise has no such problem.

Indeed, with such captivating music, the average person's only complaint might be that the album passes too quickly, which is certainly no complaint at all. My one quibble was that there was a noticeable amount of distortion when all the instruments started really going for it at once. If this were an intentional insertion of some modern lo-fi, it really clashes with the prog aesthetic that seems to be the dominant one. If it's unintentional, well, that's a stumper with all the talent (and recording expertise) involved. This did nothing to decrease my enjoyment of the album as soon as I was out of reviewer mode, though, and I would highly recommend this album to anyone. It aspires to the same sort of genre-spanning tentacular greatness of albums like "Heavy Weather," "Aja," and "Selling England By The Pound." Whether Tortoise's modern spin lands their disc in with these, only time will tell.

"Beacons of Ancestorship" is out June 23rd on Thrill Jockey.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Ben Meyercord's Live Music Picks for May 15th to May 17th

Hello Dear Readers,

Guess what? I finally saw Church with their new line up (essentially with newish drummer Lane Barrington aka The Ocean Floor). I really liked them before, but now I REALLY like them. I talked to Lane after wards and he was saying that he has been making them play a little louder. It is true. It is also awesome. The fact that they were not on the recent Best New Band list is a crime. Anyways hear are some shows you can catch if you want.

Friday, May 15th

Friday! Woooo!

  • Artistery is having a Artistery Sound Equipment Fundraiser with the likes of: Panther, Hooliganship, White Fang and Pep Assembly. I think that Artistery is a great space. The only complaint has been that the sound isn't always that great. Well they are trying to fox that and they would like your help. Alls you need to do and go to a pretty cool show. I have seen all of these bands play (except Pep Assembly) and know for a fact that they are really fun to watch. So if you are down with it, the ALL AGES show is $7 and starts at 8 PM.
  • Someday Lounge is having Graves, Arizona (Ashville, NC) and $100 Jayhawks (Salem) play a show. I feel like Graves is one of the more underrated bands in Portland. Or at least I feel that I take the for granted. They are really good but I never seem to make it out to their shows. It is a good thing they play all the time. The show is $7 and starts at 9 PM.
  • The Know is having a heavier show with Samothrace (Seattle), Cull, Nanda Devi and Book of Belial. If you are a fan of heavier music, then hopefully you already know about this show. If you are pen to trying heavier music. I think this would be a good show to check out. I am really new to the heavier music, but I think a lot of these bands would be considered Doom. Anyway, it will be FREE and starts at 9 PM.
  • Kelly's Olympian is having a show with The Brightest Comet, Swim Swam Swum and , and The Friendly Skies. Okay, I like all of these bands. The Brightest Comet sounds like a mid to late 90's midwest female fronted indie rock band (think Rainer Maria). It is good. Swim Swam Swum sounds like a mid to late 90's midwest male fronted indie rock band (think Earlier a bit more angular Built to Spill). The Friendly Skies are an instrumental post-rock dou. They employ a lot of looping and really sweet live beats that one can groove on. The show will be $5 and starts at 10 PM.

Saturday, May 16th

Satudays are good day for shows. See.

  • There is an absolutely fantastic show at Backspace. It will feature: Tender Loving EmpireBirthday with musical talent: Jared Mees & The Grown Children, Reporter, Boy Eats Drum Machine, Gratitillium, Super XX Man, World's Greatest Ghosts, MEGA*CHURCH and DJ Nine Inch Nilina. I shouldn't have to say anything more but I will. Jared Mees & the Grown Children are hands down the nicest band in Portland. Plus they are one of most fun live bands. They have a good time and it spreads to the crowd. World's Greatest Ghosts are also suuuuuper good. I saw Gratatillium play at Berbati's last Sunday and they were the best that I have seen them, I bet the trend continues. Plus I hear that you receive a copy of the new Tender Loving Empire compilationThe Tender Loving Empire (a lot of the same folks) are the nicest label I know. So I can pretty much promise you a good time if you go to this. It is ALL AGES and costs $8 and starts 7 PM.
  • East End is having a show with Don Hellions, Hello Loneliness!, and Chores. I have not seen either of these bands despite my best efforts. I saw Hello Loneliness singer, Justin's old band Wooden Indian Burial Groud whom I thought were great. This bad boy is probably FREE and starts at 9 PM.

Sunday, 17th

The day of rest schemest. There are shows to see.

  • Rontom's is having a great show with Nurses, Church, and The Ocean Floor. It will be so good and so FREE. Seriously remember at the beginning of this post when I was saying how I saw them on Thursday. They are one of my favorite Portland bands. So are Nurses. And actually after finally getting a good listen to The Ocean Floor, they are right up there. This show also serves as a tour kick off for Church and The Ocean floor (which at this point are the same people). They are going to be each others backing bands. It should work out really nicely. It starts at 9 PM.
  • The Wail is having a show with Old Time Relijin and Scout Niblett. Both of these acts are local and are a bit off-kilter. They do their own thing and generally speaking do it well. This ALL AGES one is $7 and starts at 8 PM.
  • Valentine's is having Jef Brown, Doctor Nikaia, and Chick Korea. Jef Brown is probably best known for his role in the amazing Evolutionary Jass Band. It should be noted that he is pretty bad ass when performing solo too. If you don't believe me go check him out. The show is FREE, so why not? It all starts at 9 PM.

So come out and say "hi" to me. I will be at the show. It is the polite thing to do.


Scout Niblett plays at the Wail on Sunday.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Vote for your "Best PDX Bands 2009"

Yay! I love PC-PDX. These folks produce the one of the best music show guides in Portland. I can't wait to find out who are the Best PDX Bands of 2009!- goldie

The Willamette Week just did a survey on the same topic but we've heard from dozens that the results were disappointing to say the least… Here's your chance to make your voice heard on who's really the Jamm in pdx. -- PC-PDX Portland Show Guide

Vote for your favorite band --> here!

Ben Meyercord's Live Music Picks for May 13th and 14th

Hello Dear Readers,

I went to the dentist today. I cannot feel my face. I wish nothing other than to stay at home today. Maybe catch a show tonight. Oh? You want to know what's playing? I was just getting to that.

Wednesday, May 13th

  • Laurel Thirst Public House is having Dolorean play for FREE again. Is this a weekly occurrence? Crazy. I missed it last week, maybe you did too? Here is our second chance. It is FREE and starts at 6 PM.

Holocene is having a show with Jazz Blue Cranes, 3 Leg Torso, Todd Bishop (playing tonight as the leader of Pop Art 4) and DJ Drew Groove. Some people consider jazz classy. I think that it is kinda classy. So if you think you might want to add a little class in your life, check it out. It will be $10 (a classy price) and starts at 9 PM.

Local Lounge (3536 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd) is a place that I have never heard of. Inside Voices is a band that I have heard of and desperately want to see. The Whines I have not heard about, but I haven't heard of the Local Lounge and I might give it a shot. I am willing to try new things. It is a FREE show after all. It starts at 10 PM.

Thursday, May 14th

Doug Fir is having Lonely, Dear (Sweden), Headlights (Champaign,IL) and Church play. Lonely, Dear is Swedish and according to my roommate totally sucks. I have heard and think its pretty 'aight. I think Headlights is good pop music. In fact, I was somewhat obsessed with their song "Cherry Tulips" when it came out last year. But what I really want to write about is Church. They are so good. It is kinda moody with really good tones and keyboards and I have not seen them as a four piece. So I want to go see this show real bad. It is $10 and starts at 9 PM.

Holocene is having a all star all local lineup of Old Time Relijun, Explode into Colors, Evolutionary Jass Band and Bobby Dangerous. It is $7 and starts at 9 PM.

So if you see me out and about, Then please say "Hi". I am not a bad dude(once you get to know me).


Old Time Relijun will play Holocene on Thursday. No word on whether shirts will be involved.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Ben Meyercord's Live Music Picks for May 12th

Hello Dear Readers,

I was away from the computer most of yesterday? What did I miss? Did anyone go to any Monday night shows? All's I know is that I hate it when there is a computer guy at work fixing my computer instead of letting me use it. Anyways, here are someshows I think look pretty promising.

Tuesday, May 12th

I want to see every show I am about to list. It frustrates me to no end that I cannot possibly see them all. Really.

  • Backspace is having a show with The Ocean Floor, Boomsnake (San Diego), Themes and Snuffaluffagus. I have heard so much good stuff about the Ocean Floor and have made several plans to go and see him all of whcih have fallen through. I share a practice space with Themes and yet have still yet to hear them play. It is stupid. Boomsnake lived in Portland for like five minutes. During that time they left some CDs at Tender Loving Empire. I listened to it and then bought. Then I listened some more. A lot more because I think it is great. Looks like they are going on a baby tour of the NW with Themes. I know not of this Snufalufagus, but they will be playing some dates with Boomsnake in California. So it looks like these bands are friends and shows with friends are always the best. The ALL AGES show is $6 and starts at 8:30 PM.
  • Speaking of friends, Mississippi Pizza is having Annie Bethancourt and friends play a show tonight. Annie has an incredible voice and incredible songs to back it up. She is a sometimes Portland resident and this is her welcome back show. It is also her birthday so it should be a lot of fun. There will be a suggested $5 donation and start at 8 PM.
  • Valentine's is having Alan Singley, Quiet Countries and Gavin Castleton. Alan Singley is pretty sweet. I mean if you like sunny pop music (I do). And Gavin Castleton is so awesome. Listen to his song "Coffeelocks". This show is FREE and starts at 9 PM.
  • Plan B is having a show with Sourvein (North Carolina), Nanda Devi, Feedling and Tenspeed Warlock. This is a Doom show. If you like Doom as a genre I highly suggest that you go, if you do not like Doom. Go to one of the sissy pop shows I listed. It will start at 8 PM.

If you see me say "Hi".


Gavin Castleton for FREE tonight.

Musical Etiquette: Be Kind To Retail Drones

Dear Musical Etiquette:
I work at a local music store and I've got some problems with my customers. They come in and treat me like I have no idea what I'm talking about. I've been working here for ten years and I play in three different local bands. Please help me with these people. I can't take it any more.


I am a founding member of the Society For The Ethical Treatment of Retail Drones so I'm considered an expert in the field and I'm thrilled to have this opportunity to share some of my experiences with you. The SETRD was founded by a like minded group of ex-Retail Drones in the summer of 2004 and acts as an advocacy organization to promote the proper understanding and appreciation of the foundation of this capitalist nightmare. Though they are the lowest rank of Drone, they serve a vital purpose in the acquisition of Shiny New Things and the onus is upon us to treat them kindly.

Alright people it's time to learn how to treat your Retail Drones. Despite their appearances, they're people too. There's a whole lot you don't know about them and if you take to time to find out, it'll make you appreciate them a whole lot more. So let's start with that basic fact, and we'll work out from there.

They're People.
Sometimes we forget this, we pass our whole day treating people like ATMs and never really stop to see who they are. In general, this is a harmful and dissociative practice that can do a lot of harm to your world view. In particular treating your Music Retail Drone like this makes you miss out on one of the best resources there is. I don't know about you but I don't spend all day reading up on the latest pickups and amp heads out there. Even when I'm getting ready to buy new gear, I haven't hit every resource there is and it's nice to hear an informed opinion on what I'm buying.

On the balance, these folks are informed. You might find one or two slack jawed yokels drooling behind the counter of your local guitar shop but I can guarantee you, they wont last long. Managers and owners of music shops know that they have picky, self important customers who demand only the best of service. They will cater to you and these idiots won't last more than a week in a good shop. If they're still around after a couple weeks you're either dealing with a really dumb owner or flat out nepotism. I'd say avoid these shops, it'll just piss you off in the end. You can judge a music shop wholly by the quality of the counter staff.

Information Available Here.
Now that we've eliminated the true dross of the retail world, what we're left with are some incredibly well informed people and for the most part they're willing to share that information. The real key is respect. If you respect their knowledge, then they're more likely to help you out. Don't be condescending to them and don't act like you know more than they do unless you really do. On a similar note, don't be shy. If you hand built your own distortion pedal and you can keep up with that conversation, geek on my friend, geek on. Even if you're not deeply knowledgeable in the area of their expertise, it does you well to have some familiarity with the topic. Do some background research first, familiarize yourself with the topic and you'll get past the first layer of Retail Drone defenses.

Let's Be Friends.
There is nothing better than a friend at the music shop. They'll clue you in on choice used gear, tell you about sales and clearance items and occasionally sleep on your couch. The vast majority of people who sell instruments are musicians and they've often been doing it for a long time. You can pick up a lot of really valuable information from these folks. If you're just getting to town it's one of the best places to meet other musicians and get a feel for the place. Even if they're not going to be your best man at your fifth wedding, or help you bury a body, keeping a good relationship up with the people at the shop is key. Especially when you're in need of repairs.

Retail Drones are easy to understand if you think about how their day goes. The vast majority of retail life is spent in a mindless haze answering boring questions about prices so striking up a conversation about the relative merits of hum-bucking pickups really will brighten their day. If you can wake up a Retail Drone from their slumber you'll find that there's a human being under all that boredom and they are honestly willing to talk to you. So be kind to your Retail Drone and they'll be kind to you. Remember though, sometimes people are just having a shitty day and there is honestly nothing you can do to make them interested. Also, some people are just dicks. There's not much you can do about that one.

Eriq Nelson.

Keep 'em coming folks!