Sunday, February 28, 2010

Ben Meyercord's Live Music for Sunday, February 28th

Hello Dear Readers,

Last night I got home from work at like 10:30 in the pm. I could not bring myself to see any of the shows despite their inherent awesomeness. Instead I fell asleep watching Robocop. If you have not seen Robocop recently, it is crazy how not real some of the special effects are. Anyway, there are some good looking shows today:

Sunday, February 28th

Kennedy School is having a show with The Builders and The Butchers, Shelley Short, The Cardboard Songsters, and DJ Anjali. This is all part of the "You Who" monthly Children's variety rock show. This how the website describes You Who, "A monthly children's rock variety show created by Seann McKeel and Chris Funk in cooperation with McMenamins. It's a half hour-ish of variety entertainment featuring DJs and interactive dance parties with giant barn owls, musical guests, stories, skits, sing a longs, cartoons, artists, puppets, parades and performers. The second half hour features a live rock, hip-hop, or dance band!" So it kinda sounds like one of those fun for the whole family type deals. All of the hip parents will be there. I have played a show with the Builders & The Butchers. It was an all ages show. The kids went crazy. The kids today might be a little younger, so they might go even crazier. Plus I am deeply in like with the music of Shelley Short. The ALL AGES show is $10 for adults, $5 for walking age to 12 yrs old, and Free for non-walkers ( I assume they mean babies and such and not very lazy people). There is stuff happening starting at noon, but the show doesn't start until 1 PM.

The Wail is having a PA benefit for The Wail. It will feature Kathleen Keogh, Sustentacula, White Rainbow, Hammer of Hathor, Romancing, and Pete Swanson (of Yellow Swans). This show has several projects that I have written about before but have not seen. I have seen and liked White Rainbow before. He creates pretty and sometimes droney sometimes beat drivedn music created by layers of loops created by keyboards and pedals and samplers, and guitar and drums and a chaos pad and whatever else happens to be in his vicinity. Susentacula is a duo that makes "experimental" beat music. I do not know how best to describe it, but I do know that I like it. Hammer of Hathor play a a weird offspring of jazz. I am a fan of Jazz's weird spawns, so of course I like this. Romancing is a noisey project of Charlie Salas-Humara and Magge Vail. They are also both in a band called Leti Angel which is less noise based. You may recognize Charlie as formerly being in Panther and The Planet The before that. He does good work. I have not seen Pete Swanson solo yet. But his previous band Yellow Swans, was the loudest band I have ever seen. The ALL AGES show is by donation and starts at 6 PM.

Valentine's is having a show with Ages & Ages and AAN. I have seen Ages And Ages once and I liked it they had a lot of vocal stuff going on. But that was when they were just starting. Then I saw they more recently, a month ago?, and they were short a member but sounded pretty good. I think they will have every band member in attendance tonight, so I am planning on being there to see how it goes down. AAN is one of my favorite bands in Portland. They know how to rock the crap out of a song when it needs it, and how to barely be there and still maintain an effective intensity. I love it. It has been far too long since I have seen them. The show is FREE and starts at 9 PM.

Rontoms is having a show with Joe Manis Trio, Why I Must Be Careful, and Lindsey Stormo & Ben Darwish. Rontoms is pretty reliable in their Sunday Night shows. I am not familiar with most of the people tonight, but I freaking love Why I Must Be Careful. They do not have much music online to hear and it does not live up to their live show. It is a drums and rhodes combo. But both members are insanely good at their instruments and make kinda spazzy and yet totally awesome jazz rock or whatever. You will want to see them at some point. The show is FREE and starts at 9 PM.

If you see me at any of these shows say, "Hi".


Hammer of Hathor will be playing The Wail tonight.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Ben Meyercord's Live Music Picks for Saturday, February 27th

Hello Dear Readers,

Last night I had a great time at the Woods. Fences were good as they always are. Thanks again to Sam their bass player for letting me borrow his bass. Though to be fair I let him borrow my bass amp. Together we had the bass ends covered. The big event of the night though, was that Y La Bamba signed with Tender Loving Empire. We are so stoked. Anyway I counted nine shows I am interested in. That is too many shows. What is one to do? Here they are:

Saturday, February 27th

Portland Playhouse is having a No PA in NoPo show with Weinland and Justin Power. I played one of theses shows and it was pretty great. The no PA is no joke and it is awesome. Just straight up acoustic music. I ran into Matt Berger the other day and he let me know that he is drumming for both of these sets. Then later, they will all be heading over to Wonder Ballroom. The show is $12 and starts at 8 PM.

WonderBallroom is having an All-Star Country Covers show with Lewi Longmire, Darrin Craig (of Jackstraw), Bingo, Little Sue, Adam Shearer (of Weinland), and Justin Power. I love old country songs. Apparently so do these people. This is being put on by KUPL, the country radio station. The show is $9.87 to $10 and starts at 9 PM.

Work/sound is having a show with Wampire, Reporter, JonnyX & The Groadies, Fake Drugs, DJ Beyonda, and E*Rock. I really like Wampire, and Reporter. I have seen JonnyX before and it was awesome. They have their own light show and wireless guitars and fog. It is very rock. Fake Drugs is the newish dance band which is a side project of Guidance Counselor.. The show is $5 and starts at 8 PM.

Doug Fir is having a show with Boy Eats Drum Machine, Finn Riggins, and Brothers Young. Boy Eats Drum Machine is a one man pop musical spectacle. He mixes all of his influences and and a very unique set up that incorporates laptop, turntables, guitar, saxophone, and a distinct croon. This is his album release show for his latest out on Tender Loving Empire. Also on that label is Finn Riggins who you may remember from opening up for Built To Spill last time they played Portland. Those guys play progressive Indie rock music. Then there is Brothers Young which features some of the younger brothers of Loch Lomond's Ritchie Young. They all have voices that work very well together. Most of the time they sing in unison and create the doubling effect that many people use in recording in real life. Neat trick. The show is $8-$10 and starts at 9 PM.

Mississippi Studios is having a show with Damien Jurado, The Robinsons (of Viva Voce, and John Vecchiarelli. I have been a Damien Jurado fan for about ten years now. I think his stuff is kinda hit or miss but mostly hit. He does the narrative singer songwriter thing very well. The Robinsons is Kevin and Anita Robinson playing as a duo again (Viva Voce has been a four piece for a while now). I think this is my favorite incarnation of these two. It forces them to be inventive in their arrangements and shows off their musicianship. Plus I am a sucker for male female duos. I played with John Vecchiarelli just on Tuesday. I think his songs are pretty good. Check out "Cocoon" on his myspace page. It is good stuff. The show is $10-$12 and starts at 9 PM.

Ducketts Public House is having a show with White Fang, Shakes (Seattle), Fuck Mountain, and Guantanamo Baywatch. This looks like a high energy high stakes show. White Fang likes to party arty with their version of punk music. plus I am a fan of the surf rock elite that is Guatanamo Baywatch. One of these days aI will see them in all of their glory. The show is FREE and starts at 9 PM.

Laurelthirst is having a show with Kelly Blair Bauman, The Parson Red Heads, and Mike Coykendall Band. I thought The Parson Red Heads were out of here when their residency at the White Eagle finished. I was wrong. Tonight the country/folk rock peeps are playing with Kelly Blair Bauman another one of Portland's Americana talents that I have managed (much to my dismay) to have managed to not see. I plan on correcting this soon. Mike Coykendall played with The Parson Red Heads earlier this month as part of Peter Buck's band (or was it The Minus Five?). Anyway I think he released an album. I hear it is good. This show is $ and starts at 9:30 PM.

The Waypost is having a show with Michael The Blind, Leviticus Appleton, and Rivers Banks. I am a fan of Michael the Blind. I find him to be a very good guitarist and songwriter. If not a bit awkward. You may remember seeing him as the local cut of the day song he had a while back. Leviticus Appleton has a very unique and cool voice. Check him out. The ALL AGES show is FREE and starts at 8 PM.

Mudai Lounge is having a show with Wild Yaks (NY) and The Woolen Men. The Wild Yaks play rock music that involves most of the band screaming along with the lead singer. The band also uses some skronking sax to enrich their rock. I saw the Woolen Men once and liked what I saw and want to see them again to better form an opinion. As it is they seem like a very promising indie rock band. The show is FREE and starts at 8 PM.

The Ace Hotel the Cleaners is having a show as part of the Jazz Fest with Blue Cranes. Blue Cranes music is so beautiful. You must see it live. This a good opportunity as it is FREE. The show starts at 8 PM.

The Banana Stand is having a show with Dr. Something And The Pipin Hot Love Engines and Constantina. Blogger love! Dr. Something will be playing with her full band including a new drummer, named Sean. I don't recall their old drummer, but they seem pretty stoked on the guy. Her songs are very enjoyable if you are into the fantastical or the absurd. The ALL AGES is FREE and starts at 9 PM.

If you see me at any of these shows say, "Hi". Then we can talk about all the other shows we are currently missing.


Blue Cranes play tonight at The Ace Hotel Cleaners for FREE.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Ben Meyercord's Live Music Picks for Friday February 26th

Hello Dear Readers,

Last night I stayed in. I subsequently probably missed some shows. Such is life. There are a bunch of good shows tonight:

Friday, February 26th

The Woods is having a show with Y La Bamba and Fences (Seattle). I play bass and sing in Y La Bamba so I am biased, but I think we are a pretty great band. There are a lot of harmonies and Luzelena has a amazing voice. The we are going to be playing songs from our album that we be out later this year. We also have a very special announcement to make. Fences is a band that we have played with before. It is also fronted by a heavily tattooed person who plays music on an acoustic guitar. He has an album that is being produced by Tegan and Sara. The show is $10 and starts at 9 PM.

The Waypost is having a show with The Ocean Floor, Bird Announced Land, and Ah Holly Barbra (Jeremy of Ah Holly Fam'ly). The Ocean Floor is one of the best groups in Portland. You may not have seen them, but you are lucky if you have. It is a duo fronted by Lane Barrington also of Hosannas. He plays really intricate guitar parts and has a great voice. He is currently backed by Shannon Rose Steele on violin (Viola?), vocals, and glockenspiel. They make beautiful arrangements and are some of the nicest people around. Bird Announced Land is the musical project of a girl named Charley. Her voice is incredible. I fell in love with the music when I first heard it a while back. She made it onto last year's PDX Pop Now! compilation. She very rarely plays shows so this is very special. Jeremy is the leader of the Ah Holly Fam'ly who seemed to also kept a low profile recently. I always so impressed by the lush arrangements so I am sure it will be interesting to see how he fairs on his own. The ALL AGES show is FREE and starts at 8 PM.

Tea Chai Te is shaving a show with The Sarcastic Dharma Society, Padriac Finbar Haggerty-Hammond, and someone else. The Sarcastic Dharma Society and Padriac Finbar Haggerty-Hammond are two of my favorites songwriters in Portland. They also happen to play music together most of the time. I have heard that tonight they will be playing separately though. Mostly stuff they don't normally play which is pretty exciting. They also have a duet together called "I can't dance". If you go to the show you should should make them play it. The ALL AGES show is FREE and starts at 7 PM.

Backspace is having a show with DoublePlusGood, Quail Lungs, and Rock Friends. DoublePlusGood makes great dance pop music that sometimes sounds like a guy crooning over a video games system. Quail Lungs is a guy who makes lo-fi pop gems that are usually covered in layers of hiss. Sometimes there is treasure beneath the hiss. Rock Friends also make electronic based music. Sounds like fun. There will be some dancing going on tonight (probably at Backspace). The show is $5 and starts at 9 PM.

Stankhouse/Multiverse/Distantcolony Collective the show is having a moving party with Big Black Cloud, DMV, TIny Knives, Worlds Greatest Ghost, Hornet Leg, with special appearances with Gaydolf Shitler, Iraquasaurus, El Come Home Foot Ox and many more. Looks like a huge house show. I am not sure who is moving, but whoever it is, they sure know how to throw a party. I have only seen Big Black Cloud once and it was crazy. There were back up singers with Hulk hands and a lot of fake blood. I have on the other hand seen World's Greatest Ghost several times and they are great. They have several guitarmonies and matching key board parts The ALL AGES show starts at 7 PM.

If you see me at The Woods say, "Hi". I dedicate a song to you.


The Sarcastic Dharma Society and Padriac Haggerty-Hammond's duet. They will probably play this at Tea Chai Te

Musical Etiquette: The Fine Art of the Myspace Page

Dear Musical Etiquette:

My band has tasked me to get our Myspace page set up and get a million profile views. I've never set up one before but I've been on Myspace for a long time and I know how other bands do it. Is there any advice you can offer me?


Myspace remain relevant as a great resource for musicians to post and promote their recorded music and keep their fans appraised as to new shows and happenings within the band. Where else can I see blog posts about a bands crazy next door neighbors and house pets? As far as I can tell that is all that remains at Myspace, ten million bands all promoting the crap out of themselves to other bands, promoters and music bloggers. There is some competition to Myspace that I can recommend. provides good media management tools and purchasing links for the interested musician. Facebook has some rudimentary tools for musicians but as I've never used them, I cannot either recommend them or throw them into the flaming pits of hell. I digress.

Myspace is a pit of despair.

As previously mentioned by fellow blogger Amber Dawn, there is a dangerous tendency towards ocular mugging in the creation of a Myspace page and the hand of restraint is needed. Make sure that your page is simple, easy to read, easy to find the relevant information and that the color scheme doesn't cause your viewers vertigo or projectile vomiting. Here's a partial list of things that should never occur on a Myspace band page:

  • Fucking Animated Glitter
  • Blinking Logos
  • Autoplay
  • Webcam Bio Pictures
  • Pleading
  • Last Login January 15th, 1857

Please use it and respond

As to that last point above: If you are going to go through the trouble of creating a Myspace page use it. For fucks sake if I send you a message and it takes three months to get a reply I will never look at that page again. You don't need to hang out all day like a 12 year old with a crush but DO look at the thing at least once a week. As I've said the only possible use of Myspace is for music promotion and if you don't actually do any interaction..... well that's not really promotion is it?

Everyone is influenced by Radiohead

It's true. If you have touched an electric guitar at any point past February 1993 you are probably influenced by Radiohead. It's alright. Even you Utter Snobs who hold them in the lowest possible opinion have got a touch of it. You can't avoid it. Please don't bother to mention this. Everyone already knows.

So who are you influenced by?

If I like the "soulful aching harmonies of Elliot Smith" will I like your band? Maybe. Music is funny that way. Be honest about your influences (exception: Radiohead) and try to represent them honestly. If your Myspace page tells me that your primary influence is the Pixies and you sound like every other shitball radio friendly Disturbed clone I will laugh so hard you will hear it clear across the internet. On the other hand, tell me that Mudvayne is your fucking hero and I might believe you. In fact, you just won a little respect in my eyes. Not many people are willing to own up to this being their primary influence.

Update Your Music Please

If you are interested in repeat visits to your Myspace page, add new songs on occasion. Refresh the list and provide the visitor with something they can't get anywhere else. Upload your drunken practice from last night, a song your wrote on the front porch with some friends, it really doesn't matter. Remember that the entire point of social media is to make a real connection with people and if you don't break out of the traditional top-down media distribution methods then you aren't using these tools to their fullest extent. Give me something unique and I can guarantee I'll be back to listen.

Focus on the music

The tendency with these things is to go all out. You hire a PR firm to design a logo, pay an ITT graduate to build your profile and then get yourself 30,000 followers. All this cost you the entire sum of money you had earned from two years of shows, the 5 large your Mom lent you and every penny earned from part time jobs. On the other hand you have no gas money for the van, no money to cover beer and haven't recorded or written anything in the month since you decided to be "big time". You, my friend, have just made a very large mistake.

I listen to music. It's a thing I'm into. When I go to a bands Myspace page I load it in the background and listen while I work on something else. The music is the only thing I pay any attention to and if it fails to impress, the slick background image you've uploaded won't do anything to change that.

In summary:

  • Keep it simple
  • Use an eyeball friendly color scheme
  • Don't waste your money on crap
  • Respond to people
  • Rock on

Until next time sweet music fans,
Eriq Nelson

Do you have a burning question in your heart? I have Tums. Hit me.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Ben Meyercord's Live Music Picks for Thursday, February 25th

Hello Dear Readers,

Last night I played at Roadside Attraction in Sean Flinn's band. I usually play bass but last night Seth from Oh Captain My Captain and Jen Moon had it covered. Rachel Blumberg was on drums. I always thought she was a great drummer, so that was a treat when Sean asked me to play and she was there behind the kit. Luzelena and I sang back-ups and it was awesome. But I really want to tell you about Steve Hefter. He was great. He had gathered a band of his friends to back him, but his secret weapon was having Ezza Rose on board. I have seen her under her name and I want to say some other acts as well. I love her voice. She did a few duet type songs with Steve that worked really well. Anyway, I have a full day ahead of me so I will make this quick. Here is a show that look 'aight:

Thursday, February 25th

Holocene is having a show with White Fang, Pete Swanson, Mattress, Strategy, Hammer of Hathor, DJ Hostile Tapeover. This is TAPEFEST. There will be live sets from these artists and plenty of tapes for sale from Gnar Tapes, Eggy Records, Karamazov Tapes, UHU Tapes, Meandering Tapes, and Stunned Records. White Fang makes pARTy punk. Pete Swanson was half of Yellow Swan. Strategy makes advanced dance music. Hammer of Hathor makes jazz inflected experimental rock. DJ Hostile Tapeover is a DJ that uses tapes instead of records (gasp!). The show is FREE and starts at 8 PM.

If you see me at any of these shows please say, "Hi".


This is where I found out I liked White Fang. See them tonight at Holocene for FREE

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Ben Meyercord's Live Music Picks for Wendesday, February 24th

Hello Dear Readers,

Last night I played at The Woods as Part of The Portland Round along with Adrienne from Autopilot and John vecciarelli. I think Rounds in general are weird. There are at least three musicians and they only play one song and then switching off to the next. I made the analogy of the round like having an ipod shuffle with very few artists. but also like shuffling songs on an ipod your very rarely get a set of songs that has a flows. Luckily all three of us are not so different that anything was jarring. But is kinda weird to hang out on a stage while other people are performing. There were also some painters painting while we played too. That was kinda cool. Anyway i am super tired today. Here are the shows that look interesting though:

Wednesday, February 24th

Roadside Attraction is having a show with Sean Flinn and The Royal We and Steve Hefter. Or at least that is the rumour. I play in Sean Flinn's band (bass and vocals). I got a text last night asking if I could play it. I said yes. And then last night at The Woods Brian Rozendal told me that his friend Steve Hefter is playing. I recently got a copy of album of his and liked it a lot. Oh and Sean Flinn's songs are great. i was a fan before I was in the band as is the case with most of the bands I play in. you should come out and see how many members of Y La Bamba you can spot in Sean's band. I would say that the show is FREE and starts at 9 PM, though I have no way to confirm it.

Doug Fir is having a show with The Deep Dark Woods (Saskatoon), The Physical Hearts, and Kelly Blair Bauman. I have not seen any of these bands. I know that Saskatoon is in Canada. I also know that the Doug Fir website described Deep Dark Woods as "Timeless Folk Greatness". I think I have written about The Physical Hearts before. I know that I have written about Kelly Blair Bauman before. He even put something I wrote on his myspace page. That is always weird, because I never remember what I wrote. I always read a quote and I am like " I totally agree with that" and then I see that I wrote it. Then I feel silly. Whatever. Kelly's songs are great. you should check them out. The show is $7 and starts at 9 PM.

If you see me at Roadside say "Hi". If you do not see me at Roadside tonight that means that either a) you did not go to Roadside or b) something is very wrong.


Steve Hefter & Friends of Friends will play with some friends tonight at Roadside Attraction

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Nurses On Chat Roulette Tonight!

Nurses... No wait.


Have you heard of Chatroulette? It's a random video chat site that connects you to what in all probability is someone masturbating in a Batman mask while listening to Carmina Burana and eating grapes or just some random bored people. Seriously, spend some time on there. It's the Interwebs in its full glory. Even better, if you log on tonight at 7pm PST you might get to see Nurses playing a live show. For those of you unwilling to brave the Great Wankfest of Chatroulette, they're broadcasting on Ustream as well. Go catch some free and fantastic music! You heard me!


Ben Meyercord's Live Music Picks for Tuesday, February 23rd

Hello Dear Readers,

Last night I went to the Woods. I must admit I was a little sleepy and the music I heard was very soothing. It was one of those shows where I got in a very zoned out modes, but in a good way. Alina Hardin's voices and guitar playing is very gentle and quite beautiful. This was my first time to see her. I talked to her a little afterwards and found out that she has not played out in Portland very much (she just moved here in November). I bought her CD and the collaboration she did with her friend Alela Diane. I have not had a chance to listen to wither yet, but I think their voices would work together very nicely. Then the wonderful Musee Mecanique played their first time as a trio. It worked very well. They were were short a drummer and bassist. Sean and Mica split the drum duties by having the person playing guitar play a kick drum and the person playing key board playing the bass on the keys and a high hat with a tambourine on top. Meanwhile Brian covered the rest of the instruments including keys, samples, melodica, harmonica, accordion, slide guitar, glockenspiel,shaker, and backing vocals. There were a lot of instruments on stage but, I assure you ever thing was tasteful and also quite beautiful. By the time you read this the guys are on their way to their European tour. Oh and there are some good looking shows tonight as well:

Tuesday, February 23rd

Jackpot Records is having an in store with Quasi. This is because Quasi has a new album out. Now, I have not heard it but two of my best friends pre-ordered the crap out of it and have told me that is very good. I think I might break down and get a copy as well. Now I know that Quasi will ever put out another album like "Featuring Birds" (my favorite Quasi album) but Sam Coomes has been playing a lot of guitar the last few years and has turned Quasi into a kick ass rock band instead of a kick ass pop band. I saw Quasi at Jackpot last time they put out an album, so word of advice: get there early if you plan on seeing anything. But if you are not concerned and just want to hear it, then you are set. The event is ALL AGES and FREE and starts at 6 PM.

The Woods is having The Portland Round a sort of little sibling to The Seattle Round. Here is how the organizers of the Round describe what they do, "Three musicians share the stage with slam poets & live painters. It's a visually captivating show and a unique gathering of different mediums. It's about community and engagement. The Portland Round began in February, 2008 has now has a monthly showcase at The Woods, a beautiful new space in SE Sellwood". Sounds kinda cool. This time they have John Vecchiarell, Adrienne Hatkin (of Autopilot is for Lovers), and Ben Meyercord (Me!). Plus live painting from returning artist Michelle Tuffias, layered spray-painted art from Beth Myrick, and poetry from slam poet Melissa Rose. There will be a lot of stimuli going on, but do not fret. It will be in a good way. I have yet to see John play and I am very much looking forward to it. I am also really curious as to how Adrienne's songs will come of with out the big sound that Autopilot has been doing lately. And honestly myself too. I have been playing with other people so it has been awhile since I did anything this stripped down. The show is $8 and starts at 9 PM.

Backspace is having a show with Pepi Ginsberg (NY/LA/where ever), Pepper Rabbit (silver Lake, CA), and Secret Codes. I am not familiar with the majority of the bands ie the touring ones. I have heard a tiny bit of a Daytrotter session Pepi did. In the few seconds I listened to it seemed kinda crazy with some cool guitar stuff and high energy. Secret Codes on the other hand, I am very familiar with. David Kyle is the mastermind behind the group ie he wrote the music. It is mostly chill instrumental (they are working out some vocals) post rock with some Eastern and mathy flourishes added. It is awesome. There is rhodes, and trumpet and flute added to the traditional rock line up of guitars, bass, and drums. You really should check this band out. The ALL AGES show is $7 and starts at 9 PM.

Valentine's is having a show with Themes, Dyas, and Darren Hanlon (Aulstralia). Themes is a two piece that features piano and (baritone?) guitar and two vocals. This is not folk music despite what they tell you. It is rock music. Dyas is a guy who used to play under the name David Dyas. I guess he is going the Meyercord route now (just going by your last name; although I guess Morrissey beat me in that game). This is actual a CD release party for David's recently finished EP. David also plays in Carcrashlander with Cory Gray. I think that members of that band including will be backing David. Cory also usually backs Darren on tour. It's all family at this show. The show is FREE and starts at 9 PM.

If you see me at The Woods tonight please say, "Hi". But not when I'm singing. I get easily distracted.


Adrienne is the girl in this video. She will be solo tonight at The Woods.

Monday, February 22, 2010

thugs on the beach

Thuggage @ Dirty Dirty Street Records, Saturday Februrary 20th.

I like to think I know music but I do know I’m new to the scene. For me the scene means sharing the love of music. As of today, I simply listen a lot but am looking for ways to get outta the house... to experience all this with other folks. But before I get to last Saturday night's show I wanna mention something.

So its no news that traditional media are slipping. Reporters getting fired means less real reporting means more storytelling: invoking proven formulas full of cliches, exaggerated conflict – whatever hooks. Its bullshit. So then the nice thing about blogs is that in theory, passion powers them. You think I get paid for this shit?

Passion can be love, and I mention this because last night there was real love in the room at the Dirty Dirty Street Records show. Which of course is the case at a lot of shows but this was interesting. First the audience: I don’t know the specifics, but their were plenty of members past and present of a particular Oregon commune… and you could sure feel the community. A lot of smiles and kind conversations, and I even danced (with somebody else too!) for the first time in a long time. As an outsider to a rather intimate event I was impressed and somewhat touched.

It proved unfortunate that I was so late to the show. I lose track of time often, but this night I lost an additional hour walking around the hell-hole that is Jantzen Beach (though that link is worth a look, and Merry-Go-Rounds are nice). I couldn’t stay long and the only band I got to see start to finish was Thuggage.

I’m a few years from 40 but I remember being 12, frozen where i stood watching BET and witnessing Run DMC’s video, “King of Rock.” Rap then slammed my soul and has permanently affected not only the music I love most (rhythm driven) but also how I speak. Metaphors are so good at simplifying complex concepts and rap does that for me like nothing else.

Go see Thuggage - they may be young but they put in the work and thus make the end result look so sleepy easy. The front-man stood large the minute I walked in the room, and his backbone band mate appears to be a wizard. They hemorrhage style and grace.

That’s all I’m gonna say and if you’re a bit put off by my lack of description, check this photo. That's me and my good friend from college in our dorm room... all dressed up for Halloween. It was done in fun of course but does it look like we’re fucking around?

Look at his eyes - you can’t see mine through the Vuarnets (snap) but you can see his. To this day, whenever we talk we almost always start the conversation with a silly rap but its no joke. And so I have no problem slapping up this most cherished personal memory to endorse a band i just met. Just trust. Thuggage.

You can hear them here but again go find them. There's a decent rumor snoopDogg has knocked their door.

Thanks for the love Dirty Dirty Street and friends, and it’d be neat to see you at the next show dear reader. Unless you’re a dick.

Peace & here's to less grease and more love,


p.s. This is my first blog post so bear with me & if you would, send feedback… I’m a bit new to this type of writing and am certainly rusty.


Ben Meyercord's Live Music Picks for Monday, February 22nd

Hello Dear Readers,

Last Night Strange Holiday killed it at Rontoms. Just killed it. I love that band. I pick up hints of Beach House, The Beach Boys, Stereolab or Broadcast and probably others but it doesn't sound like it is ripping anything off. It sounds organic and more importantly, good. I got a copy of their ep which is out (digitally). I cannot wait to hear it. Oh and if you find happen upon a spare $30, you should probably go and see The Magnetic Fields at The Aladdin Theater. If not, then you should check out these shows:

Monday, February 22nd

The Woods is having Musee Mechanique with Alina Hardin. All right, Musee Mecanique is just straight up crazy good. The music created can be thrown in the indie folk ballpark, but they are a cut above the rest (probably more than one cut). Their songs seem cinematic and very delicate to me. They incorporate traditional acoustic folk instruments with synths that remind me of something Blonde Redhead would use. The group is based around Sean and Mica, but every one in the band is a great musician. Tonight they are playing a rare show as a trio. "But why?", you may ask. Well that is because their European label will only pay for three of them to go tour their continent so that is how they have been practicing. I have been told that it sounds just as good as with the full band and that it is even more impressive because there are less people. Alina Hardin is best known for the album she put out last year with Alela Diane. Like her friend Alela she makes very pretty very well made actual folk music. The show is $5 and starts at 9 PM.

The White Eagle Saloon is having the last of The Parson Red Heads residency in Portland. This time they are playing with Ezra Carey and Cabinessence. Everyone who I talk to that has seen any part of this residency has said that The Red Heads are pretty darn good. I do like me a good psychedelic country band. I do imagine the Graham Parsons factored into their band name. The other two acts somewhat fall in the same category especially Cabinessnce who I will keep my eye out for. Their music on the song "Grace" was instantly likable with Byrds-esque harmonies. The show is FREE and starts at 8:30 PM.

Valentine's is having a show with Prizm, Arohan, and DJ Maxx Bass. If you want a break from all that folk or country rock or whatever, I suggest you check out the techno and dance music that Valentine's will be providing. I I could 't find anything on PRIZM, but Arohan makes some sort of sub genre of house music. I think DJ Maxx Bass lists himself as a Disco DJ. As someone who has attended a dance function at Valentines before I assure you that despite how it looks, Valentine's makes for a good dance floor. The show is FREE and starts at 9 PM.

If you see me at any of these shows please say,"Hi".


Musee Mecanique will be playing this song as a trio tonight. Sweet video, right?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Ben Meyercord's Live Music Picks for Sunday February 21st

Hello Dear Readers,

I got back from the little baby Y La Bamba tour this morning at 5 am. It was a lot of fun, but I know I missed writing a bout a ton of shows. Did you guys hear that The Joggers played the freakin' Kenton Club? That is insane. Anyways here are the shows that look good to me tonight. Though there is a chance I might just cath up on sleep in an actual bed.

Sunday, February 21st

Prime Time Bar and Grill is having a Haiti Crisis Relief Music Fest with Adio Sequence, Cellar Door, Element 57, El Swampo, Delta Bravo, Prairie 4 Pm, Black Heart Moon 3 PM, Skyylar Pelous, and Over the Edge. Okay I will level with you. Most of these bands are not "good". Or maybe I mean to say they are not my cup of tea, because I like "good" music. Whatever. It is a good cause and there are two bands in this list that are good. Namely Black Heart Moon and Prairie. Black Heart Moon makes well arranged folk music based around the core of Catherine O'Dell and Perry Pfister on electric guitar and acoustic bass as well as foot drums respectively. They make music that sounds larger than the three piece appears it can make. Oh did I mention David Dyas. He plays the slide guitar and sometimes a regular guitar and adds some backing vocals which helps create the large sound that I mentioned. He effects laden slide just sounds so epic. Prairie is a band that I have been meaning to see live for a while now. I like what I have heard. And if you try it out, I think you might like it too. The show is by donation and is lasting from noon until 10 PM.

Doug Fir is having a show with System & Station, Swim Swam Swum, and Amber Voltaire. I don't know a whole lot about the other bands, I know that they are rock, but I really like Swim Swam Swum. To me, they are the epitome of lean guitar driven angular indie rock. I have been meaning to pick up their new album for months. The show is $7 and starts at 9 PM.

Rontoms is having a show with Strange Holiday, Jen Moon, and Sharpening Markers. The show is FREE and starts at 9 PM. Basically I think that Strange Holiday is one of the best new bands in Portland. The vaguely have a Beach Boys fronted by a woman sound. They have a lot of reverb and one of the most solid rhythm sections in town. Plus a heap of key boards. Does that make sense? I don't know. They have a digital ep available while they work on the full length. Jen Moon is also a female fronted band that I am very impressed with. Jen leads the band while playing keyboards and synths. It shares members with one of my favorite Portland bands, Oh Captain My Captain. This show will be good. In fact, I am pretty sure this is the show I will go to. It is FREE and starts at 9 PM.

If you see me at any of these shows please say "Hi". That would be cool. I might be a little out of it. It happens more often than not lately. Not that I am complaining. Not sleeping loosens me up.


Swim Swam Swum play the Doug Fir tonight. It will not look like this.

Friday, February 19, 2010


I think we all have a certain idea of what a bigtime producer is like- Dan Sachoff's portrayal of archvillain Gene Balboa on "Yacht Rock" encapsulates the archetype quite nicely. For the average person, the producer or engineer is not what you think of when you think of rock royalty. We chase the singers and guitarists- and these days the beatmakers. But who do they chase? Well, people like Ron Nevison, who I had the good fortune to interview the other day. It was a great experience- and Ron had a friendly, wise demeanor that made it seem like I was consulting an urbane wizard instead of the stereotypical producer. It was also a very long interview, so I'll be serializing it for a week or so.

But wait, you say- you've never heard of Ron Nevison? Have you ever heard of "Physical Graffiti," "Quadrophenia", or "Bad Co."? Then you've heard of Ron Nevison, whose work producing Zeppelin, The Who, Bad Company, KISS, Ozzy Osbourne, Heart, Jefferson Starship, Chicago, and more, have cemented him not only as a recording engineer responsible for some of the great great albums, but also a producer to be reckoned with.

I did feel some trepidation speaking with someone who in all likelihood has told Pete Townshend to "Turn it down!" Fellow blogger Eriq Nelson's response was to inquire whether Mr. Nevison required a wheelbarrow to cart around his gigantic balls. So, for now enjoy part 1 of the interview, where we discuss the making of a classic Who album, the work schedules of metal divas, and some advice for modern DAW users.

Well, first off I wanted to ask you what's happening on March 12th?

You know, a friend of mine, his name is Dan Caruthers, a local singer, a wonderful guy, wonderful performer and arranger, teaches music... he's got this idea to get local talent together take them up like one step from karaoke. You said it very well, actually, you saw the craigslist post that wasn't very clear. I called him and said “What exactly are you trying to do with this? You're using my name...” So I helped him out with it. Anyway, there's a Chinese restaurant...


That's right. He's gonna do somehting there where he's going to get a lot of local talent to play with his house band, I told him I'm going to help evaluate the talent. It's not a big deal, I'm trying to help him out.

Alright. (laughs)

I hope he can get something together, as far as giving people some lessons... I think a lot of his students will be coming. I told him I'd be there as long as I wasn't somewhere else. Anything I could do to help him out. He'd do anything for me.

I was trying to figure it out, whether a new series was starting, or a meet-and-greet...

It might be a little concert, the local talent, but who knows exactly!

I've left most of your pedigree for the intro to the interview...

Well, you contacted me so you saw the bio and discography, but there's actually a video I did for the Hollywood Walk of Fame Awards, so you can refer to that too.

I didn't want to go too far into sampling who you were before the interview beyond what I'd already read about you... I did end up reading an interview with Jake E. Lee and it was... hm, interesting. I thought I'd see what the deal was from the man himself.

What did he say?

He said that you guys butted heads on “The Ultimate Sin.” and that you had a very strong production style as far as wanting to do things a certain way, and get it done, and he didn't want to do it that way.

(laughs) Well, he would like to be his own producer. But what you don't know is that he wanted to come in at midnight.

Oh geez!

He wanted to work midnight to 8am. There's more than one person in a band, though. What about all the people at the front desk... and the second engineers, and maintenance people. So I said no. I'm all for working with people when the want to work, so we compromised and started at like 6 at night. I said that I can't do it... not even speaking for the rest of the band, but if I work for you at midnight to 8am, I have to take a couple of days off to turn my life around be able to work with someone else again. But he was a strange guy. He was... no drugs, he was into Zen stuff, martial arts...


I don't know what he was into. But he was a fantastic guitar player, I never had a problem with him. If he had a problem with me he never told me. Doesn't surprise me.

Well, it wasn't uncomplimentary by any means, but he obviously felt there was a conflict.

The only thing we really butted heads over was when to work. But it was 1985. You probably weren't even born yet.

Oh, Jake E. Lee... you're not Keith Richards. You can't change all world clocks!

When were you born?


Oh, so you were a good 7 or 8 years old. [Editorial note: While I was an avid music listener at this point in history, I was about a year away from hearing Metallica's “Kill 'Em All” and Iron Maiden's “The Trooper”, so my exposure to Ozzy albums was minimal.]

Well, I want to dip back into the past even further so I can orient myself with you a bit. Quadrophenia...


I read somewhere that a significant portion of that was a 'cut-up' job, that Pete Townshend and John Entwhistle recorded their parts in their home studios and brought it to you to be aligned, and cut up and placed in there. What was that like?

That actually isn't true.


Pete was on the cutting edge of technology in 1973 when we did that album. He was composing on the ARP 2500. The ARP was a modular- you're a musician, so... those modular synths had these big gigantic sections, connected with these mini cords and you had to tune up all the oscillators. It wasn't like there was a 'Tune' button. Then when you were done with a sound you had to tear it all down and start another sound. You'd never get it exactly the same. There were no presets for horns or strings... there were guidelines, but you had to manually set them all up yourself.

Or bring someone in to do it for you like the Doors did on “Strange Days.”

...or a programmer, but Pete was his own programmer. But it didn't travel well. What Pete did was, he laid down his own demo track with his synthesizer, then the scratch tracks, then on the 16 tracks, overdub the band on it. In other words, would have Keith and John play to that. We wouldn't have to cut anything up. We only had to do that on certain tracks where Keith had a program... Sometimes Entwhistle would record some horns in his own studio, but very few inside the song.


A lot of the songs we cut them just like a normal band would cut them. Some of the songs that had a significant amount of synthesizer on them, we'd use Pete's 16 tracks then cut the band on top of them. You know, he spent a lot of time on them. And there wasn't a lot of programming, it was real time playing. With some simple parts- he was real careful not to give anything to Keith or John- not to tell them what to play, just block it out and let them do their thing. Just have the scratch parts- I don't remember if there was a scratch vocal...

Seems like there probably would have been.

There were tracks like “The Rock” which was all synthesizer- it was called “Overture” originally, but it's called “The Rock”- it is an overture. Pete designed these motifs...

For each band member...

Right, Jimmy, wasn't schizophrenic, he was 'quadrophrenic,' in other words he had these four different personalities. Roger was the romantic guys, Keith was the crazy one, John the stoic one... I don't remember what Pete saved for himself. That was the big theme. The record company at the time, MCA Universal, wanted us to do it in quad... there was a big quadrophonic push in the '70s. It took your vinyl, and it took your vinyl and put your front channels out of phase with your real channels, made this mishmash. You couldn't really call it quality. But MCA thought Quadrophenia, Quadrophonic, oh wow.

Just because they had 'Quad' in the title.

So they sent us out this 'encoder,' to try to mix the mix, way way before digital, and we tried it and the front and back separation was like 5db. Not discrete quadrophonic. It was AWFUL. So Pete said I'm not doing a quad recording that's worse than the stereo. So he said forget it and they went nuts. Now, I was not party to that, I was just an engineer, and management was dealing with MCA after the fact. At the point The Who had their own label from MCA, so he could pretty much what he wanted.

He could afford to throw a fit.

Yeah, they couldn't really do much, even though they weren't happy about it. And he was right! There was no point in doing something on that scale that was worse than the original just to be on the cutting edge. Hey, I'd love to have done it in 5.1... but it wasn't invented yet!

It seems like hardly anyone was doing anything serious with quad. Pink Floyd was messing around with it, but...

Well, which quad? The Quad SQ from the mid '70s... or discrete quad... well, 5.1 is quad with the vocal channel in the center and then the sub. I don't see that as being really that popular.

Not as far as music.

Well, yeah, with videos and movies. I don't know that people want to be surrounded by music.


Anyway. I think we've, ha... any more questions on Quadrophenia?

Not that I want to... want to keep us here all afternoon with. Well, you did mention something with the ARP that I was going to ask about anyway. We're kind of an impatient society these days. You know we always figure that things are going to be fixed by a preset, the next plugin, the next piece of vintage gear. Are there any 'go-to' methods you have, gear or techniques that as a producer or engineer that you live by?

Well, there are things that have come along, like Autotune, that are fantastic. But the more technology gets advanced, the more people abuse it. You know, CDs came along in, I don't know, '83, and we went from 40 minute of vinyl rock and roll, 20 minutes a side- we had sides in those days- to 76 or 80 minute albums, then to nanoseconds- bang! Bang! People started doing these ridiculously long albums, just because some guy in the band wanted to get his crappy song on there. And there's no pun intended on 'Crappy Indie Music'.

Of course.

So... that was a drag. Not only does it drain resources, because you have a producer there, and it's another weeks recording. Maybe another month. What I'm getting to is, now we have virtual recording where we have as many tracks as we need, which is a real detriment. People have stopped making choices. People don't sit there and get rid of things, they don't have to. So at the end when you go to mix it's unbelievable, there's no end. When I started out with 8 tracks, I was mixing drums in stereo, and I had to print to reverb if I wanted it on the snare. Then it was done, it was finished. Now I have 10 or 12 tracks for drums. When I go through the recording process, every day every moment I make the decision: am I going to keep this. That's the biggest problem people recording these days have. They leave everything. If you work for 2 hours on a guitar part, the sound and everything else, you're finished with it, you're right there, with probably the best knowledge of it sonically of it, the timing and everything... now, whatever you're looking for in that part, you make that judgement right then. Now you might want to leave some in case you're wrong, and come back when you're mixing to say this part is the best one or that.


So I guess to sum up, the advice I'd give is to make choices as you go along and not wait til the end.

To treat the process as more important.

Make your decisions every day, not just at the end.

So you've been a producer and an engineer, I won't get too much into what a producer is, but what do you think the difference is...

You get paid more!

(laughs) There's a promotion for you. Well, since you've been both, how much of a difference for you is there. Do you think there's a big separation in the roles, as far as yourself?

Well, I'm a “producer/engineer.” When I started, I was just an engineer, with Led Zeppelin, The Who, and Bad Company. There was six albums right there. There was no producer- well, Pete was producer, and Jimmy Page in the case of Zeppelin, and the band produced Bad Company. But I wasn't dealing with a separate producer. A guy coming in from outside, I was working with the band members. So I gave my opinion when they asked me, and sometimes when they didn't ask me. When it felt appropriate, to remind them what they were doing, whenever I felt it added something to the session. Really I haven't changed much, except as far as getting credit. Once I got past doing those albums, I learned I had to demand production credit from the start. It didn't change anything except I became a royalty artist where I wasn't before. People say, “Ohh, you don't make any royalties from Led Zeppelin?” No, but I made a career off them.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Ben's Live Music Picks for Thursday Feb 18th to Saturday 20th

Hello Dear readers,

I know there are a lot of great shows this weekend. But I am out of town with Y La Bamba. If I were you I would check out pc-pdx for your show finding needs.



Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Starting a conversation: Women in the Music Industry


So here's the deal. I am angry. I can't go into it now. By posting this blog I am hoping to attract people who have an opinion about how women are treated differently than men in the music industry.

Point of contention:

Portland is a progressive city. Yeah. Not really when it come to women in the music community.

I am searching for more women bloggers to contribute to Crappy Indie Music. Your voice is valuable and much needed.



PDX Pop NOW 2010 is still accepting songs for the Comp

The people at PDX Pop Now! 2010 wanted me to tell you that they are still accepting songs for the 2010. you can read all about it here. You have until the 28th to submit.

Just Sayin'.


This what the artwork looked like last year. I have seen the new art work, but could not steal it and put it on this post.

Ben Meyercord's Live Music Picks for Wednesday 17th

Hello Dear Readers,

Last night I went to The Woods. I saw Winterhaven for the first time. Apparently I witnessed something of a special show as there were three additional members. Three female members Danielle, Jenny Wayne and Ezza Rose. They really fleshed out the harmonies. They also added additional percussion. It was good. But then my friend Danny Malone from Austin totally killed it. With just an acoustic guitar and harmonica. His songs are great. He reminded me a bit of good Damien Jurado. Then after a great set of those songs. Some music started playing and he busted into this Michael Jackson-esque Dance routine. The boy can move. It was very unexpected. Anyway hear are some shows that look good to me tonight:

Wednesday, February 17th

Holocene is having a show with YACHT & The Straight Gaze, Bobby Birdman(LA), Jeffrey Jerusalem, White Fang, Rob Walmart, and Juice Team DJs. This show looks awesome. YACHT makes pop music using electronic elements. Except that recently YACHT has assembled a band and named it The Straight Gaze. They made a video explaining the band. This is the tour practice show. They leave for tour in a few days. Jeffrey Jerusalem is now in the YACHT band (he is also in Inside Voices) but he also does his solo thing. A one man dance party. I yet to see him perform as Jeffrey Jerusalem and not dance like crazy. White Fang makes party punk music with a but more arty most party punk bands. Rob Walmart makes weird beat heavy music usually from their vehicle. The show is $5 and starts at 8:30 PM.

Mississippi Studios is having the CD release for Oh Captain My Captain, The Globes (Seattle), and Archeology. Oh Captain My Captain's EP is really good. I played it for my roommate and he noted that it was more poppy than the older stuff and that Jesse Bettis had become a better singer (I always liked Kesse's voice). It no longer sounds exactly like David Bazan. I do agree agree that the music is less rock, but there are still plenty of cool guitar leads. The songs do remind me of Dr. Dog but definitely distinct. The six songs make up the majority of the current set that the band plays. You should come out and pick up a copy for yourself. Seattle's Globes make well executed guitar driven indie pop. Archeology are a three piece that make very indie pop music too. The members are usually playing more than one instrument and trading off guitar and bass. I only saw them once, I would like to see them again so I have a better idea of what they actually sound like. You will not regret it. The show is $8 and starts at 9 PM.

Plan B is having a show with Guyve, The Athiarchists (Eugene), Rolling Through the Universe and The Jezebel Spirit. This is a louder heavier show than I normally list. But sometimes, y'know, I am in the mood. Guyve is somehow related to Smegma. But the main reason I am listing this show is because The Jezebel Spirit is pretty awesome. They play instrumental post rock music that is related to a collective called BroFam. To quote myself from their myspace page "These bands are all very good friends and therefore are extremely incestuous. Collectively they call themselves the BroFam Collective... They mostly play amazing music that is sometimes mathy, sometimes heavy, sometimes instrumental, sometimes jazzy, but always impressive. They are way cool." The show is at 8 PM.

Ella Street Social Club is having Rozendal and Leonard Mynx. This is a last minute show that I heard about last night at The Woods. Brian Rozendal was in attendance as was Leonard Mynx. I met Brian at a Meyercord show a while back and have not been able to catch one of his shows. He makes acoustic indie folk with a guy on piano and back ups, a gal on cello and back ups, and drums. That to me sounds like a pretty good combo. Leonard Mynx who usually assembles a band will be playing a solo set tomorrow. I think lately I have been getting Bob Dylan vibe from him. Listen for yourself. Tell me what you think. The show is FREE and starts at 9 PM.

If you see me at any of these shows please say, "Hi".


Okay, imagine this in the dark and you are surrounded by dancing people. That is kind of what it is like to see Jeffrey Jerusalem. He plays Holocene tonight.