Sunday, March 28, 2010

Newish Music Roundup

I am so so sorry for not blogging more. Some of my excuses are cool- like having a couple of novels coming out- but most of them are not. At any rate, I will try to pick up the slack. There is so much music coming our way, it's spilling into our ears and out of our asses, and we will do our best to share it with you. Here are some standouts that I would like to talk about.

GREATS- untitled ep

Maximum enthusiasm. That's what these kids have. Also, talent. It's fun stuff, and honestly they could be singing Cannibal Corpse type lyrics, but it's in Indonesian. So you'd never know. Regardless, they seem to have missed the memo about how music should make you miserable. I wish they would have opened up at the Efterklang show I saw recently, instead of the shit nightmare of Portland bands that supported the gleeful Danish indie popsters. You should enjoy music! Not endure it, or try to stay awake through it. But here are the Greats in their own words:

Greats was formed in mid-November 2005, by a bunch of teenagers who passionately want to find a more aesthetic time immemorial music is unpretentious, with a simple instrument that is played outside the window at night. Behind the bombastic-sounding name, "Greats" are really just our way a little too far to read the tone: 6-1-2-3-4-7-5 (la-do-re-mi-fa-sol-si). This method we can from the typical fad of young people trying to put their identity on the car plates. But, a name will be an echo selallu not be easily lost when we call something, thus we, are inevitably tied in this name.



Deep apologies also to Rolla. He sent us a track, "Highway Patrol", that was one of the most beautiful tracks that's ever come our way. I ended up in conversation with the enigmatic Canadian, and got the rest of the album from him, and it's all just as good. Somehow it managed make its way onto regular rotation on my ipod and not into review on the blog. Well, let's rectify that. Here's what Rolla himself had to say about his debut, after I used some uncharacteristic threats of interviewer violence on him:

It's less a structured album, than a collection of songs. The tracks vary a lot. I didn't consider making an album that flows from start to finish but instead just focused on each song as individuals. I guess there's no right or wrong way. There may even be a thread that runs through it all that I haven't discovered yet.

He's right. This is a record that rewards multiple listens. Initial comparison to Neil Young is easy, and apt, but incomplete. There are a few songs here that seem slight, but everything ties into a series of deep spaces and mysteries. The production value is stellar, as well, serving to maintain the intensity over varying cascades of reverb and distortion and slide guitar, as well as Rolla's highly expressive voice.

ALAMEDA- "The Floating Hospital"

We all know that Portland only has 2 degrees of separation. That is just a stone fact, brothers and brotherettes. Alameda features Jessie on cello, which she also played in Tchotchkes, which I saw at the Langano when they opened up for my friend Anthony's band. Anthony grew up in Bellingham with David Kyle of Secret Codes, who has been known to play in some projects with Ben Meyercord of Crappy Indie Music fame... you see what I mean. Well, it doesn't stop there. But that's just a teaser, first the review of Alameda.

I stated at first that Alameda's music is clean and nice. I stand by that. Stirling Myle's vocals have a potential fluidity that is just begging to be let out- were the music a tad more dynamic and the lyrical range extended, I think Alameda would easily crowd out any well-known Portland bands named after failed Russian revolutions. It's not bad for a first go round.

Here's where it gets hairy, though. Stirling is also in Autopilot (Is For Lovers). They're working on their next disc "Not Now, Apocalypse", as he informs me, and he shared a rough version of the song "Workhorse" with me. It's going to be very good. So if we take the previous example, and work backwords from the blog, you've got me, Ben, David, Anthony, Jessie, Stirling, ADRIENNE HATKIN of Autopilot... and then, my lovely wife who was in her social scene back in the day and sang on a Builders and Butchers album. So then it's back to me. But of course, instead of a wheel, you can cross some spokes through... add Goldie at an Aristeia and Stabbity show and it's starting to look like macrame. Add my daughter and, ah hell. Then again, that's why Portland is awesome. Great music, great people.

So, to recap, have a listen to Greats, Rolla Olak, Alameda, keep an eye out for the new Autopilot disc, and our old friend Mike Kirkland just informed me that he'll be sending me the next New Evils disc hot off the presses next week, so expect a review of that. WOOT!!!


Dr. Something said...

Nice roundup! And congrats on the upcoming books, Jess. Just a note, though, it's Adrienne Hatkin* of Autopilot fame. Also, to add to the web of crazy interconnectedness, I played for a brief stint with both David Kyle and Ben Meyercord in Y La Bamba.

Jess Gulbranson said...

Thank you Dr., my mistake is corrected. I must have been confusing her with James Hetfield of Metallica. I hope she isn't mad at me.

Dr. Something said...

Lol. I was thinking maybe you had her confused with Juliana Hatfield, but I suppose James Hetfield makes more sense, as he does have that accordion-based side project, Squeezeboxica.