Thursday, February 24, 2011

Music Review: The Downer Party "Cities" EP

San Francisco band the Downer Party offers up a delicious serving of female-fronted indie rock in their forthcoming EP, "Cities". The band's singer, Sierra Frost (Who mentions that that IS her real name - and she hates it..) describes their sound as "mellow", but though not loud, they have a driving energy that refutes that description. Catchy riffs, fuzzy guitars, just a bit of synth, fun backup vocals, and clever, literate lyrics, sung with just a hint of country twang. The band name is misleading; The Downer Party definitely bring the fun. "Cities" will be released April 1st.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Books That Rock: Fools Rush In by Bill Carter

Some might call Bill Carter a madman.  Many might call him a hero of sorts.  No matter how you decide to decipher or explain the things he has done or seen as a man who had to place in a war zone, yet, went to a war zone, his amazing and aptly titled book Fools Rush In tells the tale of a lost young man who puts the tale of Alexander Supertramp and his magic bus to complete shame.

This a story of love, death, courage....and Bono.

In the early 90's, when there was a rebirth of some sort of independent spirit, recent college graduate Bill Carter had feared that he would be destined to simply "sit in a bath tub and read the classifieds".  So instead of following what he calls "a doomed life of mortgages, credit cards, and sitcom television", he began to roam the earth.  And to no real surprise, there was a girl behind his misadventures who appears as a sort of shadow following Bill around as he searches desperately to forget, forgive, and just learn how to live again.

Which becomes the set up for Bill Carter to join a batch of gypsy do gooders making there way into the heart of Bosnian war that was in full force.  And just as Bill had tried desperately to find his place in this world, he must decide what is place is in the third world.  He meets the people who have become shockingly accustomed to war and the physical and mental darkness that comes with such violence and tragedy.  He saw death.  He saw destruction.  He saw love.  He witnessed the bonds that tie families together, and the forces of evil beyond their control that would tear them apart.

 And then there's Bono.  As if it might be some sort of surprise, the notorious philanthropists found there way into the scenario.  But, it wasn't as though they were searching for a way to help.  They were successfully coerced by Carter to take an active part, and make aware of what has been happening in the bloody streets of Sarajevo.  For those over 30, you might actually remember the large satellite beamed jumbo screens that U2 had aired during their European tour.  From these giant screens the folks feeling the most pain from this terrible war were given a voice.  They had the chance to tell thousands of people about they were continuously a witness to.  The audiences were challenged to really think about what was going on in this not so far away land.  Even Bono and his merry men were criticized when one brave woman asked "What will you do?" and without even a chance of response, she would say "I think nothing". 

But, eventually some sort of peace was restored in Bosnia, and U2 would play a promised show in the heart of Sarajevo.  To the bands credit, they were long yearning to play while the fighting was going on as an even stronger sign of support, but were basically refused access.  But, as soon as it were possible, there they were.  And they would return several times over, and would eventually be the spokespersons for bringing awareness to the disaster that was the Bosnian war.  No matter how much fun we sometimes like to poke at Bono and what seems to be his own somewhat earned sense of self worth (sometimes being referred to as the Toby Keith of Rock N Roll), this is an occurrence when he and his group really reached out and made a difference

And none of this would have been made possible had it not been for the one and only Bill Carter.  Whether you think he was a madman or a hero for throwing himself into a war of which a boy of California had absolutely nothing to do with, it doesn't change the fact that what our man did made an impact in the lives thousands of Bosnian people.  And all over a girl?  Had the Internet reached the height it is at now, he might have created a social networking site.  Instead, he created a documentary from with the war zone (the award winning Miss Sarajevo), survived a war, personally touched the lives of so many people held hostage by their own nation, influenced the most influential rock band in the world to support the people of Bosnia, and retold his harrowing tale in the pages of Fools Rush In.  Now that is something to "like".

Bill Carter is a freelance writer and photographer who's articles have been found in Spin, Rolling Stone, Men's Journal, and more.  He is also the author of another inspiring novel about self discovery entitled Red Summer, another memoir of his times spent as a commercial fisherman in the Alaskan seas.


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Two Miles From POW!

Well, the Portland Women's Film Festival is right around the corner.  It will be happening on March 9th-13th 2011 at the Hollywood Theatre.  And at the risk of sounding like male chauvinstic pig, I will admit that I have heard not heard of any of the films to be showcased.  Except for one.  And it's a good one.  The irony is that it was a music video  made for one of the most manly mannest group of drunkards and good timers that Portland has to offer.  May I present to you....Temris Ridge's wonderfully animated video for "Two Miles From Home" by The Fenbi International Superstars.

If you only make it to POW for one day, please make it Saturday, March 12th at around 12:30 p.m. to support the both fantastic Temris Ridge and The Fenbi International Superstars (Although, I would love to hear what from anyone who attends the entire festival, because there looks to be some interesting full length films as well).

Check out the POW WEBSITE for details on where you need to go and how to get yourself into this lovely event 

And a big congratulations to Temris for creating such a fantastic video for such a deliciously fantastic group like Fenbi.  This is a true testament to the idea that "teamwork makes the dream work."

Also check out Fenbi on Facebook.
And Sketch Ridge, a blog by Temris Ridge showcasing her immense talent.


Music Review - Resident Scout

Resident Scout is the solo project of 17-year-old Hobey Kuhn from Nashville, TN. He recorded and mixed his entire album, My Greatest Sympathies, in a studio built by himself and his brother, playing all the instruments himself.
The music has a fairly straight-up instrumentation; drums, guitar, bass, and Kuhn's deep voice. The music is catchy, indie rock with a touch of grunge and 90's alternative influences. My favorite track was "The Ballad of the Girl and The Well" a catchy, twisted song with a happy tune and clapping supporting a tale of death and destruction.


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Alien Boy: The Death and Life of James Chasse

On September 17th, 2006, James Chasse got his ass beat.  Half of his ribs were broken.  Not just a couple ribs snapped through conflict.  No, police officers in Portland, Oregon literally beat this man to unconscious and left him lying on the street to die as an ambulance stood by, and several witnesses were becoming morally connected to the life of a man they knew nothing about before they saw him getting a freshly starched knee to the forehead.  And James Chasse died in the back of a squad car from the injuries he sustained.

That's the basic synopsis to an event that happened 5 years ago in Portland.  You might remember it.  Odds are that alot of you do not.  And if you remember hearing about it then, it's possible you haven't thought of it much since.  But, thankfully, documentary filmmaker Brian Lindstrom has never forgotten the story of James Chasse.  And he's spent the last 4 years researching and developing a film that is sure to bring some sort of real clarity and buoyancy to the story of Jim Jim and the strange, savage journey he called life.  All the details of this horrific event that absolutely need to be remembered are sure to be discovered and explained in detail in Lindstrom's forthcoming documentary, Alien Boy: The Death and Life of James Chasse

The story that Brian Lindstrom is trying to tell is not just a tell all expose on the events surrounding the 2006 event that took the life of Portland punk rocker and prisoner schizophrenia James Chasse.  He's doing all he can to make us all take another look at how we view police "interactions" with those who suffer from mental illnesses.  Or how we tend to view a story like this on our local news programs, simply say "that's fucked up", and flip the channel to our a syndicated episode of Seinfeld on the next channel.  He wants to show just how thick the line between what we hear and what we actually know about the brutality that exists in this country on a day to day basis.  Any junior college sociology major in America would be able to tell you that acknowledgement of an issue is only the beginning of the direction towards change, not the resolution.  And it is with that thought in mind that Lindstrom will definitely be creating a definitive film in regards to the discovery of human nature and our inability to actually understand the tragedy we see on the 6 o'clock news.

The story of James Chasse and his contributions to the world of independent punk music before and after his death might be far too complex to simply be described in one paragraph of a Blogspot hosted story.  It is suffice to say that Chasse jumped over more hurdles and dodged more obstacle in his life as a man of creative prose who also suffered from a terrible disease that seemed to involuntarily segregate himself from the rest of society.  Yet, his story before death could very well be a story of triumph.  He managed to gain a deserved sense of independence, and engraved himself in a crucial music scene in one of the greatest cities for the arts in the United States.  He had alot to be proud of.  Even has a was unrightfuly sentenced to die by the hands of some of Portland's worst members of the organized crime syndicate known as the police department.


A film of this magnitude is not entirely original, that has been to officially stated.  That is to say that a film about a troubled soul being harassed by the cops has been done before.  But, the story to be told in Alien Boy is definitely a new light in the world of documentary filmmaking.  Alot of it might have to do with the setting of the film.  Portland, Oregon has earned itself quite a reputation (and a sketch comedy show on IFC) as a place where it is okay to be a free thinking and individualistic sort of creature in a world consumed by greed.  But, there have been a few off putting events that might deprecate the idea that the city of roses is nothing more than a hippy commune, and the home of the guy who wrote Fight Club.  With several accounts of police brutality, as well as a very confusing "terrorist" plot during last year's holiday season, it is almost hard to believe that the city has continued to uphold such an image of peace and progressive prosperity.  It's also pretty cool.

James Chasse definitely serves as a model for the yearning of prosperity that we simply don't seem to give a shit about.  It's just to bad he had to sustain such a massive amount of pain and suffering that would eventually lead to his demise by the hands of those he was suppose to trust to protect him.  But, we are fortunate enough to know that a man such as Brian Lindstrom is around to tell Jim Jim's story, and make sure the man did not die in vein.

Director Brian Lindstrom has something beautiful in the works.  But since this is not the work of some celebrity dignitary and his pocketed batch of cronies with all the funds they can barely manage, he needs some help.  Even with legendary cinematographer John Cameron (right hand man to fellow Portland alum Gus Van Sant on his films Mala Noche and My Own Private Idaho) in tow, our man needs some help destroying the simplistic and unmotivated world of prime time journalism with a groundbreaking new film.  Hence the reason the team behind Alien Boy has jumped on the new revolutionary bandwagon and started a Kickstarter campaign to support the further production of this film.  And they are so freaking close they can almost taste the change coming at a rate so quick that even Barack Obama would be impressed.

But, that is not to say that your help isn't needed.  If think you can spare some change after donating to Ben's campaign to raise funds for the new Y La Bamba record (which is a beautiful thing as well!), maybe drop a few clams over to this project as well.  You definitely will not regret becoming a part of of something so spectacular and necessary in the takeover of the omnipresent and superficial falsities that the news world would like to you to believe is reality.


So, when we look beyond the corrupt media, the brutal police department, and the complete lack of of sentiment we tend to have towards those who suffer from mental illnesses....we might also just find a beautiful punk rock oriented film that shows us that humanity is only at it's best when the respect we hold for each other as beings of nature is actually upheld.  It's safe to say that what Brian Lindstrom has in store will definitely do just that.  And with an excellent crew in tow, and maybe a bit of support from fine folks such as yourself, the visual brain stimulant known as Alien Boy:  The Death And Life Of James Chasse can become a full fledged weapon to be used against the forces of hatred that try to hold us back from fighting through our challenges, and finding what it is that is inside of all of us that keeps us simple, kind, and spirited individuals.  No matter what the news might say our demographic really is.  Let's climb aboard that rainbow and fill our tummies with the sweet tasty clouds!

"Go and grab your gun
Got him on the run
Cause he's an alien 
 They hurt what they don't understand
So you had to turn away
There's no other way
You're an alien
They hurt what they don't understand"
- The Wipers, "Alien Boy" [1980]

Thom Yorke dances to 'All The Single Ladies'

I found this and other Thom dancing videos here: Dancing Thom Yorke Dances To Everything

In other Thom Yorke news:

Stream: Radiohead's 'The King Of Limbs': here.


Ben Meyercord's Live Music Picks for Saturday, February 19th

Hello Dear Readers,

I have been on the McMinaamen's Great North West Tour as Y La Bamba/Meyercord. It was kind of a last minute thing for Meyercord. I went on a Y La Bamba/ Meyercord tour years ago. It was pretty fun. Double duty. I am excited to be doing this. But it also means that I am unsure of my blogging time. I guess we will see how it goes. Anyways, here are the shows that look good tonight:

The Arlene Schnitzer aka the Schnitz is having a show with The Decemberists and Mountain Man. Personally I go back and forth on how I feel about probably the biggest band in Portland. I initially did not like them. Then I came around. Then I wanted to like them but wasn't 100% on board. I have not listened to their new album enough to make a judgement call on my current feelings towards the band. The main reason I am writing up the show is because of the opener. Mountain Man is beautiful music. I believe it is three women who sing together to make some of the loveliest harmonies you will ever hear. Check out this band. The show is about $40 and starts at 8 PM.

Backspace is having a show with Awol One, Ceschi Ramos (New Haven, CT), Cars & Trains, and Demune. With the exception of Dumune all of the artists are part of a west coast tour entitled the "Landmark Tour". I don't know much about the other artists. I do know that Cars & Trains is my jam. I really like the guy's music. It is somewhere between glitch-hop and indie folk. A weird place to be for sure. But a place that I love to visit. The ALL AGES show is $5 and starts at 8 PM.

Mississippi Pizza is having a show with Alex Arrowsmith, The We Shared Milk and Massive Moth (Salem). I remember writing up Alex Arrowsmith when I first started writing the blog. Way back when. He was one of the first people I took notice of. I was listening to a lot of pop music back then. He recently made a "not pop" album which you can download for free here, but it is not representative of what he plays live. It is however very pretty. The We Shared Milk is a band that I have written about a few times. I haven't seen them live. I have been listening to one track of theirs a lot. "Drag" is a song that is destined to make many playlists of mine. Car trip mixes, jogging mixes, riding my bike mixes. mix for the one I like. This could fit on any of those. The show is at 9 PM.

The Knife Shop is having a show with Friendly Skies, Armed with Legs (Seattle), Ports Will Call, and Design.Drift.Distance. Friendly Skies are a post rock duo that used to play shows with the post rock band that I used to be in, AristeiA. I was always impressed with the looping skills of John who plays a electric piano and a baritone guitar. I was always even more impressed with Jason who was able to keep the constant tempo required to pull off live looping all the while doing really cool stuff on the drums. Jason now drums with many other groups including one of my favorites Secret Codes. Design.Drift.Distance also has a Secret Codes member. You should check them out too. It is really good angular post-punk or whatever. Ports Will Call are pretty cool and mathy. The show is $5 and starts at 9 PM.

House of Preblon is having a show with Nucular Aminals, Orca Team, The Woolen Men, and Rico of All Time. Dang. This is a good line up. I have written very positive things about all the band except Rico of All Time. I am not familiar with them. If you like house show high energy house show pop, then you probably already know about this show and are going. If you don't then you should give all of these bands a listen. I am a sucker for Orca Team especially. But I also really like Nucular Aminals. Oh, I am not gonna get into who I like the best. Just click on the links already. The ALL show is FREE and starts at 9 PM.

If you see me at any of these shows, you would be mistaken as I will be in McMinnville.


Nucular Aminals play House of Preblon tonight for FREEE!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Ben Meyercord's Live Music Picks for Sunday, February 13th

Hello Dear Readers,

I had an Y La Bamba practice last night, so I did not go to any shows. But I will definitely will be out tonight. You will can read more about that in a second. But I want to say this next week is gonna be kinda crazy for me. I'm not sure how much blogging I will be able to do. So like always I suggest you check out Pc-pdx for any shows happening next week. Anyways, here are the shows that look good tonight:

Ella Street is having a show with Grey Anne, Michael Beach (San Francisco), and The Sarcastic Dharma Society. This bills some of my favorite Portland music peoples. I actually played a show with Grey Anne aka Anne Adams at this very place a long time ago (I believe it was called Towne Lounge back then). It was the first time I remember seeing her play. Up until that point I had only heard "Adelaide", a song that continues to impress me, on the 2004 PDX Now compilation. She is a great songwriter and possibly an even better performer. You can tell that she has put effort in details of her performance often including stories, sets, and sometimes little animal helpers. She mostly plays the guitar but often uses a looping pedal that makes her voice another integral part of her musical set up. Though she will occasionally throw in an accordion or uke for good measure. Michael Beach used to reside in Melbourne. That is a whole other continent yet, it seems he fits right in with what's going on here in the States. The Sarcastic Dharma Dharma is also a great songwriter. He also puts a lot of effort into his craft. The musical arrangements are really well planned out. But they need to be. His band is made up of him on guitar and vocals and Padriac Finbar Haggerty-Hammond on rhodes, glockenspiel, and drums. It is an impressive sight for sure. The show is $5 and starts at 9 PM.

Rontoms is having a Rock & Roll Prom with The Monarques, Dirty Mittens, and Rocky & The Proms. This is a Prom. I am totally going stag (my girlfriend does not live here). But I think having a date is encouraged. Also encouraged is dressing up in your "fancy" clothes. Maybe have a corsage or butineer or whatever. The Monarques already sound like they should be playing a sock hop, but they will be playing all oldies but goodies. I saw them do it last year. It was super fun. The Dirty Mittens will also be doing some covers. Tonight only, they will have some back up singers helping them out. I am included in that gout as well as Luzelena Mendoza (Y La Bamba), Sean Flinn, and Ezra Carey. We will also be doing some oldies and soul covers. This perfect because I always thought Chelsea the lead singer had some soul in her vocal delivery. I have never seen Rocky & The Proms, but recorded they sound like they were born for this sort of event. The show is FREE and starts at 9 PM.

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


The Sarcastic Dharma Society is playing at Ella Street. :)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Ben Meyercord's Live Music Picks for Saturday, February 12th

Hello Dear Readers,

I went to Mississippi Studios for the AgesandAges show. It was a lot of fun. Arch Cape opened up the show. I was surprised to See Adam Thompson in their ranks. He added some more keyboards, guitar, vocals, and additional drumming. There is a lot going on in their music. And even more so with the new member. Apparently there were four part harmonies worked out though, not all the vocals mics were up so I couldn't hear them. Hopefully next time I will get to hear those harmonies. Next up was Billygoat who played wonderfully. It was the first time that I had seen them with a drummer. It seemed so natural that I can't really imagine them not being there. They also let us know that they are having to change their name to Good Night Bilygoat. Apparently there is another Billygoat band. While the screen was still up there stage there was a surprise screening of the new Alicia Rose directed video of AgesandAges "Navy Parade". It was really well made. Then the band played an excellent set. At the end of the show several members of the audience, myself included, started singing along as part of an organized choir. We then went on the balcony above the stage to perform the singing and additional percussion. We also threw confetti. It was a lot of fun. Anyways, here are the shows that look good tonight:

The Artistery is having a show with Rollerball, Ghost to Flaco, and Mangled Bohemians. I have never seen Rollerball. They have done their thing for a while now and show no signs of stopping. I have had most people refer to it as art rock. All I know is that it is interesting. Ghost to Falco is similarly hard to describe. His music is dark and dramatic. He usually plays in a set of static TVs that are painted to read "Ghost to Falco". Mangled Bohemians like their sometimes tour mates Jackie O Mother Fucker have elements of experimental music and folk music that don't really fit into either category. I have their album "like this forever" on vinyl. I should break that out more often. It's good. The ALL AGES show is $7 and starts at 8 PM.

Holocene is having something called Studio 69 with Soft Metals, Ancient Heat, Miracles Club, and Purple N Green. This is what the Holocene's website said about the show: "With Valentine's Day right around the corner, we're pleased to present our newest dance party, an ultra-sexy retro night entitled "Studio 69"! Come shake that mess around to disco & R&B tunes by some of Portland's finest! We'll be showcasing two brand new live acts: Purple 'n' Green, the earnest and smooth-as-silk R&B collaboration between Justin Green and Adam Forkner (White Rainbow/We Like Cats), and Ancient Heat, an awesomely epic 9-piece classic disco band. A live set by Soft Metals, the beloved Italo disco-inspired charmers, plus a sure-to-be-stellar DJ set by house outfit The Miracles Club round out the bill. On a night this full of just might meet your valentine!". I wrote about the show mostly because I like what I have heard from Soft Metals. I The show is $3 and starts at 8:30 PM.

Backspace is having a show with Hey Marseilles (Seattle), Sean Flinn & The Royal We, and Joseph Giant (Seattle). I have played with Hey Marseilles before as part of Y La Bamba. They make huge sounding indie-pop. They employ strings (violin and cello), and they have a accordion player. I am pretty sure that is why they had Y La Bamba in the first place (we have an accordion player too). Sean Flinn & The Royal We is a band that I spent the better part of a year singing with. I think the songs are great. He crafts his songs like a pro. His album Write Me a Novel has a lot of my favorites by him. Joseph Giant is a guy who makes kinda folky music. It is good. I want to find out more about him. The show is $12 and starts at 9 PM.

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

Ghost to Falco is playing at Artistery tonight.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Ben Meyercord's Live Music Picks for Friday, February 11th

Hello Dear Readers,

I didn't go to any shows last night. I practiced with the Dirty Mittens who will be having some back up singers (including myself) join them at Rontoms on Sunday. I will get to that show on Sunday though. Anyways, here are the shows that look good tonight:

Mississippi Studios is having a show with AgesandAges, Billygoat, and Archcape. You do not want to miss this show. The bill is one that is worth getting excited about. Plus it is the AgesandAges album release show for their debut, Alright You Restless. I have seen them live several times now, I think they are great. I very vocal heavy band of great pop tunes. The album itself is really good. Kevin Robinson (Viva Voce) produced the thing and it sounds great. Tonight, I heard that there will be some surprises during their set. Billygoat is an audio visual experience/ band. They have animated several short films and written a score to accompany it perfectly. It is a beautiful pairing of sound and images. I have not seen them with a drummer yet. I heard that it takes the music to another level. Archcape is Rachel Blumberg's band. She is mostly known for her drumming, but this band is really good. It is percussive chill dream pop. I really like it. You have to see them play live, if only to see Michael Kitson doing his "singing, drumming, and bell playing all at once" trick. The show is $10 and starts at 9 PM.

Doug Fir is having a show with Oracle, Natasha Kmeto, and DoublePlusGood. Oracle makes music that reminds me of the late 90's when Trip Hop was a big thing but fronted my a Anthony and the Johnson's type vocal. Or down tempo music. It isn't bad, but not really my cup o tea. Natasha Kmeto is describes herself as "futuristic soul" music. I can totally hear that. Her voice is very soulful. Her music is electro with some nice beats and well.. it just sounds cool. Not generally my thing, but I think it is really good. I wrote about this show because I like DoublePlusGood. I really like their use of sweet synth lines and light beats and memorial melodies. There are a lot of nicely arranged vocal parts that a lot f electro-pop doesn't usually do. I can't get enough. The show is $7 and starts at 9 PM.

Langano Lounge is having a show with Szyslak and Team Evil. Szyslak is a rock band. This is their CD release show. They will be handing out CD's at the door. They sometimes have cool guitar parts. But sometimes it gets a little too Neu Metal for me. Team Evil doesn't like them at all> They also have cool guitar part but is pretty jazzy and indie rock and um…light sounding. That band is lead by Skyler Norwood (Point Junture, WA). I like it a lot. They are why I listed the show. The show is FREE and starts at 9 PM.

The Globe is a show with The We Spilled Milk and Spillway (Seattle). The We Spilled Milk is a band that I want to see. I first heard of them because they share a guitar player with World's Greatest Ghost. And honestly my favorite song of their's, "Drag", sounds like a cross of WGG and Voxtrot (the Austin band RIP). The rest of the songs are good, but none as good. That one song just "does it for me". I want more like that one. Anyway they are playing with Spillway Hey look! They both have "spill" in their name. Neat. Anyeays, Spillway was nice enough to send me their new album, PAM LADN. I like it. They will surely get a lot of Modest Mouse comparisons with the guitar playing. And the lead singers voice sounds a lot like that one dude in Wolf Parade. Who also got compared to Modest Mouse at first. Mostly because Issac Brock produced their first album. But all comparisons aside you should listen to this band. I am not crazy about their name, but I think they could get big. And with them getting song of the week on KEXP, it won't be long. Pay attention to them. They have a FREE DEMO of songs that appear on the new album available here. The show is at 9 PM.

If you see me at any of these shows please say, "Hi". That is how I like to greet people.

AesandAges release their album tonight at Mississippi Studios tonight. Nice!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Ben Meyercord's Live Music Picks for Thursday, February 10th

Hello Dear Readers,

I didn't go to any shows last night. Again. Looks like I am getting back to my winter habits. When I stepped outside this morning I remember why. It is cold out there. Not that it's an excuse, but that's my excuse. Anyways, here are the shows that look good tonight:

The Wonder Ballroom is having a show with Sebadoh and Quasi. Sebadoh is huge in my book. And hey, look what I just found on the Sebadoh website: a bunch of live shows available for FREE. Neat. I have listened to them for a long time. But I admit I kinda stopped paying attention for many years now. I bought their last album when it came out, but that was in 1999. Holy moly, I am getting old. Anyway their early self produced lo-fi albums helped inspire me to make music. I thank them for that. Quasi is a band that I have been into for a long time too. I used to listen to Featuring Birds all the time. It is still my favorite. At that point they had a perfect balance of accessible pop tendencies and really really pessimistic lyrics. I loved it and love it still. They have grown in recent years from a duo to a three piece and now they have the ability to rock out a bit. Which led to last years awesome album American Gong. You need to see this band. Oh and check out this funny video I found from ABC News with Quasi. Ha. The ALL AGES show is $20 and starts at 9 PM.

Nationale is having a show with Neal Morgan. I have not heard of Nationale before, but apparently it's a gallery/shop. They have lots of events with music and art and performances and talks and stuff. Definitely worth checking out. Tonight they have the incredible Neal Morgan performing. He is the drummer for Johanna Newsome and Bill Callahan. But his solo stuff is great. It is along the same lines of newer Dirty Projectors as far as ridiculously cool vocal parts and harmonies and arrangements. Except that it is all vocals and drums. Really cool stuff. Opening the show will be John Niekrasz, the drummer for Why I Must Be Careful, doing a poetry reading. There is a $3 suggested donation and the show starts at 7 PM.

Holocene is having a show called Carpet Culture. The bands playing are Boom, White Fang, and Hookers. Carpet Culture is "Another excellent installment of Carpet Culture, our recurring series of dirt-cheap shows in our front lounge room, showcasing some of Portland's finest young rock talent." I think that what Boom and White Fang have going is adorable. They are BFF bands and very rarely play shows with out each other. Boom are a rock band. I have not seen them yet, but I imagine that they would be fun to see. I mean I imagine that is why they and White Fang play together. I know that White Fang is fun to see. I have seen them a couple times. All they are about is good times. The White Fang kids have a new album coming out real soon on Marriage Records. They put out this clip for their new song Grateful to Shred recently which pretty much sums up their band. I couldn't find any info on Hookers (the band). The show is $3 and starts at 8:30 PM.

Mississippi Studios the show is Chris Marshall, Kelly Blair Bauman, and Leonard Mynx. This town has no shortage of what I think I will start to call Kinda-country bands. These bands are examples of that. Chris Marshall's recordings are equipped in what I think is pedal steel and shuffle beats. Well they are all shuffle beats. I actually think he marries kinda-country with a touch of epic indie rock in his track "Every Time The Wind Blows". Kelly Blair Bauman makes really good folk pop sounds. Again lots of pedal Steel and shuffle beats. But his hooks harmonies are great. I written about him several times before and will continue to do so. Leonard Mynx is a guy who makes great records. I believe he will be releasing two this year that already done. Live his a bit different every time. Sometimes its just him in a guitar. Sometimes three guitars which go a little solo crazy, sometimes he is backed by a very tasteful band. You never know what to expect. His songs however you can expect to be wordy and honestly quite depressing. Not in a bad way. The show is at 9 PM.

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


Neal Morgan will play tonight at Nationale on Burnside!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Ben Meyercord's Live Music Picks for Wednesday, February 9th

Hello Dear Readers,

I didn't go to any shows last night. Here in the light of a new day, I am not sure why. There were some really good ones last night. I don't even remember why I didn't go. Tonight there are some shows:

The Woods is having a show with Cowboy and Indian (Austin), Hello Mtn, and Ari Shine. Texas is known for country and roots music. Cowboy and Indian do a fine job of carrying on that tradition. There are male and female vocals that twist around each other other over guitars in a real nice way. I like their Duet that is posted on their Facebook page. I am a sucker for country duets and this is a good one. Hello Mtn is the newish project for Catherine O'Dell of Horse Feathers. This is her second band the she has led. I miss her previous project Black Heart Moon. Hello Mtn only has clips of songs on her myspace. There are breathy vocals and a lot more strings than her previous project. I am not sure what the other guy in the band does. I know that Cat sings and plays guitar. The sample/tease on myspace seems like there is some promising song ideas. For the band. I m writing because I am curious. Ari Shine is a slick pop act from LA. He is not really my thing, but it is slick. This show is $7 and starts at 9 PM.

Dante's is having a show with Marcy Playground, The Parson Red Heads, Mark Twain Indians, and Norman. Remember Marcy Playground? Sex and Candy? Yeah well they are still around. They make power pop music. Classic power pop with really good choruses. I honestly was not expecting to like it and yet here I am admitting that I might. I was mostly writing about the show because of Parson Red Heads. I enjoy their peppy country rock. They have all the elements of a country rock a it of twang, pedal steel and a whole lot of vocal harmonies. The Mark Twain Indians sound like a radio ready alternative e rock band. Norman is a roots rock band. I tend to like their softer songs more than their rock songs. I think they are really good at it. Not that they can't do otherwise. The show is $15 and starts at 9 PM.

Ella Street is having a show with Southpaw, The Shoguns, and John Vecchiarelli. Southpaw are an interesting band. I will tell you right now, there aren't many bands that sound like them. They are a guitar and drums duo creating minimal moody rock music. The singer has a voice in the same ballpark as Tom Waits. I imagine a voice like that is a deal breaker for a lot of folks. The Shoguns say on their myspace page that they sound like "a kick in the teeth". Hmm. John Vecchiarelli is a drummer who happens to write good songs on guitar and piano. I have played a few show with him. I am not let down ever. The show is FREE and starts at 9 PM.

If you see me at any of these shows please say, "Hi". Or whatever greeting you think the situation calls for.


Norman play Dante's tonight opening up for Marcy Playground. No Joke!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Ben Meyercord's Live Music Picks for Tuesday, February 8th

Hello Dear Readers,

Last night I finished recording a little song thing of Meyercord songs. It meant I skipped out on any show seeing. But I think it was worth it. I will keep you posted of what I am going to do with them if anything. But then again maybe not. This isn't a Meyercord blog. It's a music blog. I would never use this blog for my own gain. Oh by the way, have you seen this? Anyways, here are the shows that are happening tonight:

Bunk Bar is having a show with Archers and And And And. This, in my opinion, is a great pairing. First off, I really like both bands. Moving past that, I feel like they also both represent a freshness to the Portland Music Scene. Both are high energy and just absolutely bring it when they play live. Both have more than one songwriters in the band. That being said, they are not the same band. I am not sure if they do it anymore, but I know that it used to be if you sent And And And an email to "" they would basically send you all of their music for FREE. You should give it a shot. The music is great. Also, I am not sure if I mention is before, but I love Archer's 7". The show is FREE and starts at 10 PM.

Holocene is having The Rumble. This time it is with Harlowe & The Great North Woods, Pigeons, and Letting Up Despite Great Faults (LA). The Rumble is a series of Monthly parties in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, San Diego, Austin, Las Vegas and New York. It usually features one band that goes on touring playing all of these cities, while having a few up and coming local acts open. The best part about these parties is that they do not require you to pay a cover. They are free. Harlowe & The Great North Woods is a band that I heard via my friend Brittain Ashford. They she and some of the members H&TGNW formed a new group called Prairie Empire. She told me I had top check them out. You can listen the Harlowe & The Great North Woods EP online here. When I listened to it, I was very impressed. I love me some well arranged indie-folk. Pigeons is band that I have written about several times. They are good. I have yet to get their album, but the general concensus is that the thing is real good. Letting Up The Despite Great Faults is the touring band for The Rumble. They have been written about on Pitchfork and have been compared to The Postal Service and M83. I guess what people recognize is that it is pop music that has electronic elements, yet is firmly in the indie-pop world. The show is FREE and starts at 8:30 PM.

Valentine's is having a show with Pikara, The Double U, and Empty Seas. Pikara is band that I have written about before. They are always kind enough to send us their albums when they release them. Speaking of which, they are releasing a new album tonight. It is called Constellations. You can stream it online here The band is led by Danish/Swedish Sara Johanne and her violin. She has claimed her genre as "Headphone music for the lonely". She rarley plays out. Nor do The Double U, for that matter. That band plays it kinda quirky and have been since 1993. In that time they have put out five full length's. The last one was put out by local label Supermegacorporation in 2007. I bet they have some new stuff up their sleeves. Only one way to find out. The show is FREE and starts at 9 PM.

If you see me at any of theses shows please say, "Hi". Or a knowing stare. Perhaps a head nod.


Harlowe & The Great North Woods will be playing at Holocene tonight for FREE!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Ben Meyercord's Live Music Picks for Monday, February 7th

Hello Dear Readers,

Last night, I went to Rontoms. I have to work this morning at a place without a computer, so I am writing this on Sunday (yesterday). I assume that The Sarcastic Dharma Society was awesome. Remember the thing with thing and the other part that was really cool? Oh, who am I kidding*? Anyways, these are the shows that look good to me tonight:

The Cleaners at The Ace Hotel is having a Dill Pickle Club Fundraiser. The show is Marisa Anderson and Orca Team, and DJ Cuica. I thought maybe this was for a group pickle lovers. There are some people who really love pickles. But this is actually something much different. I ripped this from their website, "The Dill Pickle Club organizes educational projects that help us understand the place in which we live. Through tours, public programs and publications, we create nontraditional and interactive learning environments where all forms of knowledge are valued and made readily accessible. Founded in 2009, we are a volunteer-driven organization, with a shared belief in the vitality of community education and democracy." Pretty cool, right. Here is what is on the 2011 agenda. That being said there will be a Pickle Challenge. Marisa Anderson sometimes plays with Tara Jane O'Neal and the much missed Evolutionary Jass Band. Last month she put out The Golden Hour album which is "inspired by Delta blues, West African guitar, country and western radio from the 60′s and 70′s, gospel, noise, rhythms, cycles, mortality, and praise. The Golden Hour features 12 improvisations for guitar and lap steel." It instrumental and great. Orca Team is a band that I have been behind for a long time. I like their pop sensibilities. I like their songs. I like their style. You should check them out. The show is at 7 PM.

Doug Fir is having a show with We're from Japan!, Southerly, and Yeah Great Fine. This is part of the Tandem Hearts Screening series. Tandem Hearts is a movie that Jon Garcia made here in Portland. The movies features a soundtrack with several Portland bands including We're From Japan! and Southerly. This makes perfect sense because We're From Japan! is perfect soundtracking music. It is kind of like when Explosions in the Sky, another instrumental post-rock band, scored Friday Night Lights. The appropriate reaction is, "Duh". WFJ!'s music is so cinematic. And Southerly's Krist Krueger is a part of SNDTRKR which is a project that a live performence-based soundtracking. The band is called SNDTRKR for goodness sake. Yeah Great Fine was not a part of the soundtrack, but are awesome. You should check out their smooth pop math rock because it is brilliant. The show is $6 and starts at 9 PM.

If you see me at any of these shows please say, "Hi". It would be an honor. For me.


Orca Team will play at The Cleaners at The Ace Hotel!

* no one

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Ben Meyercord's Live Music Picks for Sunday, February 6th

Hello Dear Readers,

Yesterday, I cleaned my room instead of going to a show. I picked up the room. I did laundry. I did the dishes. Does that sound lame? Probably. But it was awesome. I feel great. But enough of all the boring details of my life. I wonder if anyone is gonna want to go see a show after the Superbowl. I will (I am not a football watching person). There is one show happening tonight. This is the show:

Rontoms is having a show with Birds & Batteries and The Sarcastic Dharma Society. AristeiA, the heavy instrumental band I used to play in once played with Birds & Batteries a while back in Oakland. I remember liking them. They mixed kinda countryish songs with some synth stuff. I thought it sounded cool. They released an album in October of last year. I have been listening to it this morning. It sounds really good. The guys voice vaguely reminds me of David Bazan. The music is pleasing to my ear. They mix all their collective influences very well. The Sarcastic Dharma Society is a last minute replacement for Yeah Great Fine (they play Doug Fr tomorrow). I could not be more pleased. Mat Vuksinich Not only is ne of my favorite songwriters, but he pays a ridiculous amount of attention to the details of his music. He plays with Padriac Finbar Hagerty-Hammond (a great songwriter in his own right) with a set that has Mr Hagerty-Hammond on drums, rhodes, glockenspiel, and some vocals (often at the same time). The songs are usually sad, but often beautifully so. It seems most times I see them play there is a new song or at least a new arrangement of a song. I am saying it is always a treat. I will be there for sure. You can get the majority of Mat's music for free here. The show is FREE and starts at 9 PM.

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


The Sarcastic Dharma Society play tonight at Rontoms for FREE!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Ben Meyercord's Live Music Picks for Saturday, February 5th

Hello Dear Readers,
Yesterday, I tried to be social. I went to two things. Then at about nine I was hit by tiredness. Hard. I was this close to going to a house show that I heard about last minute with Alameda, Mike Midlo, and Run On Sentence. But it didn't happen. Anyways, here are some shows that look good to me tonight:

Mississippi Studios is having a show with Finn Riggins (Boise), Apex Manor (Pasadena), and World's Greatest Ghost. I first heard of Finn Riggins because they were on Tender Loving Empire. This was a long time ago. I first saw them because one of TLE label owner's told me I had to check them out. I did and was really impressed. That is what they do. They play music that is impressive. Their buddies Built to Spill took them on tour last year. That's huge, right? Anyway, they have a strong Portland connection because of Tender Loving Empire and now are taking some TLE friends in the form of World's Greatest Ghost. I absolutely think the WGG is one of Portland's finest. I remember the CD release show as one of the most fun shows ever. It is synth heavy with guitar harmonies and amazing pop hooks. So good. I have not heard Apex Manor, but they are on Merge Records. I am pretty sure that label no longer puts out bad bands. They to me sound like a strong indie band. Really solid. The show is $10 and 9 PM.

Kenton Club is having a show with Why I Must Be Careful, Trawler Bycatch, and Breezin. I really like the energy and craziness that is Why I Must Be Careful. I will write about them whenever they play. The last time I saw them was some time ago, but it was a duo of Rhodes and drums. They absolutely destroyed. It was fearless. Tawler Bycatch sound like fuzzed out psych rock. It leans toward rock. I don't know anything about Breezin. The show is FREE and starts at 9:30 PM.

The Polo Haus is having a show with Summer Twins (Riverside), Naive Thieves, Orca Team, and Raised by Television. I really like what I have heard of Summer Twins. Female led pop that is not slick but is good. Naive Theives make easy going pop music. It is good. I can see people catching on to them. I just got their album for free right here. I found out about this show because I saw that one of my favorite pop bands in town, Orca Team, are playing. If you have not checked them out. You need to. They play all the time. It shouldn't hard. Raised by Television is a band that umm…well I have no idea what is going on. One song they are electro pop, then they are playing rock music on an acoustic guitar. I guess it is like flipping channels on a TV. The ALL AGES show is by donation for the touring bands and starts at 7 PM.

Sea Shanty is having a show with Lee Corey Oswald, Sleeping in The Aviary (Minneapolis), Archers, and Blandinia. Lee Corey Oswald are releasing a brand new tape. If I not mistaken it will be full of energy and guitars, drums and kinda punky vocals. They have grown a lot in just a few years. I have not seen them live in years, but honestly I bet I would recognize their music if I herd it. I remember them being acoustic guitars at harmonies. Though they always had energy. Sleeping in The Aviary are a pop band that I am not familiar with. They sound really good. I could see becoming a fan. Archers are a pop band from here that I have become a fan of. I got their 7" when I saw them play at Rontoms a while ago. I still listen to it quite regularly. Their song "Door to all Marvels" has become one of my got to jam for any occasion. I love it. The ALL AGES show is by donation and starts at 7 PM.

The Press Club is having a show with Ezza Rose, Boy & Bean, and Cabin Project. Ezza Rose is going to put out her second album soon. I love her voice so much. Check out her myspace which has the song "2%" from that album. It sounds great. Lots of cool instruments and arrangements on that number. She has the live band to back it up. I am not sure how she will be able to fit it in Press Club, but I am sure they will figure it out. Boy & Bean is a swing Jazz band. I you know about this genre, you probably will like this group. If you don't know the genre, it probably isn't your thing. Cabin Project is the new band of Katie Sawicki. I am pretty sure that she played Siren Nation last year. The show is FREE and starts at 8 PM.

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


Why I Must Be Careful is playing Kenton Club tonight!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Ben Meyercord's Live Music Picks for Thursday, February 3rd

Hello Dear Readers,

Yesterday was a long day for me. Wait. Isn't that how I started yesterday's post. Yes. I just checked. Yeah yesterday ended up being even longer than the previous day. I pretty much went to work from 5 am to 4 pm and then went home got my gear and went to band meeting/practice and got home at 9:30 pm. That is a long time of continuous activity. I was not feeling a show afterwards. But enough about my long and boring life. Here are the shows that look good to me tonight:

Holocene is having "A Few of My Favorite Things" with local film guy Lance Bangs. It is not entirely a music show. Though Mister Heavenly and Carrie Brownstein with both be playing. There will also me stand up by Human Giant's Paul Scheer, Brandon Johnson, Jon Daly, and Brett Gelman. Mister Heavenly is super group or Nick Diamond from Islands, Honus Honus from Man Man, and Joe Plumber from Modest Mouse. They make sad doo wop songs. apparently. To make them extra super they usually have Michael Cera as a bass player that's crazy. You can get a FREE digital Mister Heavenly single here Oh and Carrie Brownstein is actually only going to DJ. There will be some screening of some shorts by Lance and his friends too. There is also story telling and a live photo booth As with all of the "A Few of My Favorite Things" the money will go to a benefit. Lance is going to help out The Hollywood Theater. The show is $10 and starts at 8 PM.

Ella Street is having a show with Pwrfl Power, Aan, and Matt Carlson. Pwrfl Power is the sometimes Seattlite, sometimes Tokyo dwelling musical project of Kazutaka Nomura. His songs are often cute, funny, and sad all at once. They tell stories of social awkwardness or failed attmepts of love. Plus that dude can shred on guitar and often does. It is an interesting formula for sure. Aan is one of the coolest bands in Portland. I knew from the first time I saw them years ago that it was something special. Bud Wilson is the leader of the group and has mastered a blend of stark and honest lyrics that are placed over a very dynamic bed of music. I cannot get enough of it. Matt Carlson is in Oregon Painting Society, Parenthetical Girls, and Golden Retriever. I have written about all of those bands. Favorably. They are all kinda of experimental yet touch on pop. I have a CD-R of his that I bought sometime ago it was good. Kinda droney kinda not. I liked it. You can get a lot of his music here on his website. Also I heard a rumour that The Sarcastic Dharma Society will play a few songs before the show. That is awesome as Mat Vuksinich is one of my favorites. This is an awesome line up. The show is $6 and starts at 9 PM.

The Knife Shop is having a special show that features some band leaders playing solo. They have Krist Krueger of Southerly, Jared Mees of Jared Mees and The Grown Children, and Ryan Barber of Pony Village. I know all of these guys. I have written about all of their bands. That is because I think that all of those bands are good. I am trying to say that this is a good line up. I have seen Krist play solo before. His songs stand up pretty good on their own. Jared Mees is an interesting case. I think he started out playing mostly solo and then grew a lot with the benefit of a band. In the past year I have seen his band grow a lot musically. In fact it is so epic in nature now, that I have a hard time imagining the songs in a solo. That being said, his songs are great and should more than just stand on their own. Pony Village's Ryan Barber has been known to play his songs in different arrangement and configurations. This configuration of one makes total sense. The show is $6 and starts at 9 PM.

If you see me at any of these shows please say, "Hi". That would make me happy.


Aan plays tonight at Ella Street. I am stoked!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Ben Meyercord's Live Music Picks for Wednesday, February 2nd

Hello Dear Readers,

Yesterday was a long day for me. It started in Sacramento and ended in Portland. There was a period of about four hours where I was driving to Chehalis, WA and back in order to take care of a ticket. I got $450 off. Yay!. I then very very stupidly agreed to work a shift from 5 am to 4 pm today. It was 30 degrees this morning. I was outside. It was terrible. I am pretty tired right now. I have band meetings and a practice this evening. I am already throwing the towel in. But if I were to see a show, here are the ones that look good to me tonight:

Doug Fir is having a show with The Blow and Sonny Smith (San Francisco). The Blow aka Khaela Maricich was one of the first artists I took note of from Portland before I lived there. I recall seeing her play under the name, "Get The Hell Out of the Way of the Volcano". She was doing some acoustic guitar stuff, but she was also doing some near acapella stuff over really old drum machines. Her earnest song stories had me hooked immediately. I think she might have still lived in Oylmpia at the time. She was on tour with Microphones and Calvin Johnson. Then when I moved to Portland I saw her several times. I remember playing kickball with her once at my friends birthday party and how my mind was going crazy with a continual loop "I'm playing kickball with The Blow. Oh my god!". She got more into beats when she collaborated with Jona from Yacht. She got more interested in putting on a show. She treated every performance like a VH1 storytellers session. I loved it. Then she kinda disappeared for a bit. I guess she moved to New York. Technically I normally wouldn't be writing about her no longer living in Portland and all. Some artists will always be Portland to me. She is one of them. Sonny Smith puts the Sonny in Sonny & The Sunsets. I am not familiar with their music. But apparently Sonny is a playwright and author of books. I'll bet his songs are stories too. The show is $15 and starts at 9 PM.

Goodfoot is having a show with Autopilot is for Lovers, When the Broken Bow, and Jack O' The Clock (Oakland). I think that I have written about Autopilot is for Lovers several times without really knowing what to expect. Has anyone seen them lately? The last time I saw Autopilot it was Adrienne Hatkin solo. She was ambitious and played guitar, accordian, piano, drums, glockenspiel, and banjo. It was impressive. But it is nice to see her with other people. Her songs sound so good with lots of other voices coming in and out of the arrangements. When the Broken Bow is the project of Ali Ippolito. She plays the piano and sings her songs in a sort of swagger that is easy on the ears. I am not hip to Jack O' The Clock, but from what I can tell it would fall under the quirky Americana unbrella. Ths show is at 9 PM.

If you see me at any of these shows please say, "Hi". But you most likely won't as I will be sleepy Ben by 9 PM.


Autopilot is for Lovers will play tonight at Goodfoot.