Friday, September 28, 2012

Get a band banner, NOW

I was trying to find a picture of someone who had put their band logo on a bedsheet like we did back in the day... damn you Google image search!
Just a quick one here.  I've been notified that is offering a pretty sweet deal: 3'X6' vinyl band logo banners for... wait for it... free.  You just pay shipping.  Their sister site Printopia does the whole digital-art-on-canvas thing, which I am going to take advantage of post haste, what with me trying to paint recently.

My main comment (other than "Who is going to turn down free stuff?") is "Where was this when I was 17 and in a really cool band?  I guess I was lucky to have been in a band with a good artist, who made us great posters and stickers, but... seriously.  What bands are out there saying to themselves "No, we don't need a sweet banner."  Come on.

So check it out!  This offer doesn't have a specific end date, but I'd snap it up while you can.

Canvas prints!

Subterranean Kickstarter Blues, Part 1- Korbl Klemecki


As I write this, the artist has just crowd surfed in roughly a swimming pool sized draping of fabric. She tried to do the same while rehearsing, but the audience was just 18 random college students. Last night, at her concert in Philadelphia, she tried again, but the energy of the crowd must have just not been quite right. Back on stage, she jokes about it, and from that happy moment of “finally, we got it to work,” launches into possibly the saddest song, “The Bedroom Song,” on the new album, “Theatre is Evil,” a song from one lover to another whose distanced themselves as the romance has died, but they continue to share the same bed. The mood whiplash works. This is the second time in the concert they've performed the song. After the first time, she read accounts tweeted from her fans with the prompt “quick, I need this for experiment! tell me in one tweet something sad/bad that happened in your bedroom. (no humor, won’t work) GO#InMyRoom.” As she read, she spoke both into a microphone, and an unexplained phone. Now she plays the audio that she recorded into the mike as she sings and talks, turning an already intense song and moment into a haunting experience of sorrow, loss
and cathartic oneness.

This all started four months and 11 days ago, on April 30, 2012 with a Kickstarter, a crowdfunding site. In the description, Amanda Palmer said “this is my first BIG, LEGIT studio album undertaking since breaking from a major label.” Well, for us, the fans, it started then. She'd already spent four years putting together a new band, the Grand Theft Orchestra, and laying out the songs for the album. She cast up on the web an appeal, or rather, a call to action, exhorting her fans “THIS IS THE FUTURE OF MUSIC-THIS IS HOW WE FUCKING DO IT-WE ARE THE MEDIA” with marker on cardstock in a video where she held up sign cards, channeling Bob Dylan in Subterranean Homesick Blues.

She's just led the crowd in singing Happy Birthday for the bassist, Jherek Bischoff and brought out a cake and champagne for him, as the entire management team joined the band. The office manager just moved, and apparently is now going to be rooming with someone in the crowd. Any other band, that might seem sketchy, but Palmer's fans are almost like a vast family of people who just haven't all met each other yet.

Now someone in the management team is singing Call Me Maybe.

Like I said, it works.

Palmer set a goal of $100,000 to handle all of the production of the album, with a May 30, 2012 deadline. Pledge rewards ranged from a digital copy of the album for $1, to the crazy, random mystery “Summer Mailbox Invasion!” reward for $250, which included special vinyl LPs of the album and surprise gifts on top of the album in digital and CD form, to custom painted turntables for $500 pledgers, all the way up to house parties at the pledgers' houses, art sittings and dinners with the artist, and even what was called the “THE GRAND THEFT MAKEOVER/PHOTOSHOOT FULL BAND
INVASION” where the band would show up with costumes and makeup and wigs and glitter, and party and mess around with the pledger culminating in a photo shoot ($5,000, $10,000 and $10,000 respectively). This reporter, who did pledge what he could, is sad that no one claimed that last one, as he sorely wished he could have. Or one of the turntables, for that matter. What? No I don't have any records, it would have just been amazing.

And amazing is exactly what I would call both this album and the whole journey. Within six days, the Kickstarter had 10,000 backers. More than 4,000 of those backers were in the first day. Collectively, those 4,000 funded the project twice over in that time. On a facebook post asking if anyone could remember how quickly it funded, Palmer replied “I think it was between 3-6 hours…” Because Kickstarters go for the full time allotted, rather than just until they're fully funded, the project went on to raise $1,192,793, or almost 12 times over. Palmer was the first musician to raise over $1 million on Kickstarter.

This project, that started as a hopeful, but unpredictable, dream, may also mark a new era in music. Indie albums get made all the time. This may, however, be the first time that a fan base has come together in such huge support, and funded an album, being sold in digital form for $1, twice over in 24 hours. It helps that, by doing the album independently, Palmer can cut through and forgo paying a lot of the middlemen that a traditional album has to pay. In her Kickstarter video, Palmer states that making the album through a major label was scheduled to cost $500,000 between recording, promotion and distribution. She goes on to say that she's “happy she let label.” She'd “much rather stand here, with Jim, holding up signs to ask you for the money to run [her] business. ...this way,” she continues, she'll “actually see a profit from her music.”

For a long time, the music industry has been a necessary evil for artists. But now, with the internet, things are changing, and musicians can reach all over the world, to connect directly with their fans, to make them feel like they're actually at concerts even when they can't be (at the celebration of the project being funded, Palmer wrote the names of every backer in sharpie on New York Yellow Pages, and filled a giant aquarium with them), to feel like the musician is a friend, or even a member of a weird, strange, hyper-random family, rather than an unapproachable monolith of a being on some stage somewhere, who couldn't care less about an individual fan.

--Korbl Klemecki

EDITOR'S NOTE:  Palmer's use of her Kickstarter funds has naturally attracted some controversy.  I'll be tackling that issue in a forthcoming piece, along with some commentary on my own misadventures as a lightly crowdfunded musician.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

"On Shuffle" with Geoff Norman: Writing Mood Music

This is a cliché to confess, but I need bittersweet background music when I write. Said soundtrack is especially necessary when I’m trying ever-so-desperately to be deep. (I’m not, so a little added “oomph” is required.) Where most people would simply turn to iTunes for their melodic fix, I didn’t. Instead, I opted to carry an ever-devolving playlist on Youtube. If a video and/or song were shiny, they went on the list.

What became clear after thirty-plus songs, though, was the complete lack of coherence to the selections I made. No single theme dominated the choices. If anything, a complete lack of pattern (and taste) resonated throughout the playlist. So, I figured, what better way to invoke ridicule than to display five songs from it. These are from my Youtube “Writing Mood Music” playlist, put on random play, giving me no choice on what to feature.

“Poison & Wine” – The Civil Wars
Yes, this is a country song. I know, shut up. The group might be familiar to any ‘tweens reading this post because of a song they did with Taylor Swift…for The Hunger Games. (And that sentence totally took away what little street cred I possessed.) What may not be known is that they made their first sing-songy spash back in ’09.

“Poison & Wine” is country to the core. It’s a song about a married couple living unhappily ever after.  No divorce, no booze, just complacency. And I know of several older couples that fall well within this category – some young ones, too. The song illustrates subsistence so poetically that there was no way I couldn’t have it frontlining my moody playlist.

“Summer of ‘09” – ALL CAPS

This isn’t just a hipster boast, you’ve really never heard of this. And unless you’re a fourteen-year-old nerd girl that spends hours-upon-hours watching YouTube vlogs, you probably never will. This duo – Luke Conard and Kristina Horner, respectively – came to my attention via The Vlog Brothers YouTube channel. They were a real-life couple that met on the Internet and decided, “OMG, letz make songz!”

Conard and Horner were no strangers to music. Both were separately part of wizard rock (or “wrock”) bands. Never heard of this sub-genre? Count your blessings. It’s Harry Potter fanfiction…put to music. I’ll let that sink in for a moment.

“Summer of ‘09” was originally written by Alan Lastufka – a musician, fellow YouTube vlogger, and co-founder of DFTBA Records. Originally, he offered the song to the ALL CAPS couple as a present, since it almost illustrated verbatim how they met (I think?). Alas, the couple did eventually break up, and only Luke Conard is still producing music. That said, I like the little electro-tweeny song – autotune and all. I break it out whenever I have to write something romantic.

“SomeDay” – Sarah Gregory

The songstress may sound familiar to those in the Internet know. Sarah Gregory is “that-one-girl” that is a part of group, The Gregory Brothers. Still drawing a blank? They’re the ones behind the infamous Autotune The News and Songify videos on YouTube. “Bed Intruder” and the rise of Antoine Dodson can be credited to them. What is not known is that they were legitimate musicians in their own right. Sarah,
particularly, had a career prior to Internet fame.

Sarah Gregory (nee Fullen) was originally a part of Sarah and the Stanleys. I’m not too sure how/where/when this song came about. All I know is I stumbled upon it by accident, fell in love with it, and played it on repeat for about a week. Like a lot of songs I prefer, it’s soft, bittersweet, and strangely nostalgic. I couldn’t tell you what it’s about, only that it has something to do with the pains of growing up as a woman – minus the cramps.

“Red Right Return” – Iris

Finally, a song that has nothing to do with YouTube itself! I actually have a couple of local promoter friends – Missionary Promotions – to blame for my obsession with this group. Iris is a synth-pop duo headed by Reagan Jones and Andrew Sega. If you’re ever in my car, it is more than likely a CD from them will be playing. I. Am. Obsessed with this group.

In 2010, they released their fourth album dubbed Blacklight. Frankly, I didn’t find it as strong as their other works, particularly the flawless album, Wrath. However, two songs off of it did catch my eye – “Cruel Silence” and “Red Right Return”.

“Red” is like all of Iris’s other works – vague, subtlely Christian, and all pathos. Coupled with a catchy chorus and a quickened beat, it’s quintessential synth-pop with dash of soul. And I have listened to it on repeat for an entire day; I regret nothing.

“Go Away” – 2NE1

Yes, this is K-Pop. Do I know what they’re saying? No. Do I know anything about the group? No. Will I be looking up info about the group to pass on to you? No, too lazy.
What I can tell you is this. The music video is batshit crazy. It deals with two racecar drivers that break up with each other. The dude dumps a Korean Lady Gaga-esque gal for a taller model, and she has trouble letting go. By the end of the video, she crashes her car during a race. Silly Koreans.

Not sure why I favor this song so highly, or why I was so oddly choked up by it. Maybe I have a thing for racecar romances, and I never knew it until now. Or maybe I just like crazy Asian chicks. Likely the latter.

And that does it for this snippet from my Writing Mood Music playlist. Whether or not it detrimentally affects my prose is for you – fair reader(s?) – to decide. In the meantime, I have a yarn about an undead Scottish botanist to write.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Show Review: Portland Cello Project Performs Radiohead's "OK Computer"

"Ten kinds of amazing."
"Fuck yeah!"
"I can enjoy a good wine even if it's poured in a different glass."

The people have spoken: Portland Cello Project's Saturday evening performance at the Aladdin Theater was by all accounts great. Erik Henriksen at the Mercury even wrote an adulating Open Letter to the Portland Cello Project that started circulating the internet on Sunday morning.

I've been puzzling. It seems like Radiohead is a band that people "get" or they don't, and a couple weeks worth of attempting to "get" them got me nowhere. Friends recommended starting with The Bends and OK Computer. I listened to both, but found little to get me hooked. The band's attempt to emulate Phil Spector's "wall of sound" approach just left my head achy and overloaded. Then I asked a friend who was a fan if she'd like to go with me, to get a fan's perspective on the performance—but she was more excited to go on a bike ride that night.

(That's not a terribly high praise for a fan, is it?)

Classical performance is something I'm no stranger to though, and I can appreciate Portland Cello Project's aim to demystify classical instruments and diversify their audience. Their modus operandi involves performing in places you wouldn't expect (in a field near the Fremont Bridge, perhaps?), and performing pieces you wouldn't expect. Like Missy Elliott*. Or the theme to Princess Mononoke. They collaborate with guest artists frequently (at this performance, their guests included The City of Tomorrow, Disassemble the Widget, Adam Shearer, and a percussionist known as "Night Dawg"), but the cellists always take center stage.

And just like with this performance of "OK Computer," the group peppers in little tastes of more classical fare—Saturday's performance included J.S. Bach's Sarabande, and a brief introduction to the musical compositions of Hildegard of Bingen.

Why were these pieces interspersed between the OK Computer songs? I'm not sure, but I'd love to hear your theories. I'm of the mindset that bands deliberately put albums together in a certain order, so throwing a piece by a postmodern Estonian composer (Summa by Arvo Pärt) in the middle is slightly confusing.

One thing I will say: while a classical treatment of Radiohead didn't bring any new revelations about OK Computer, it was significantly more interesting to listen to. Arrangements were interesting and diverse, and using a small men's chorus provided some depth to the vocal parts (although the sound balance still made it difficult to catch the lyrics). Adam Shearer's featured solo on "Exit Music (for a Film)" was a great moment as well.

It seems like the real key for Portland Cello Project performances is to have a good working knowledge of their source material. Even after the Radiohead was over, the group performed three songs as an encore, one of which seemed familiar, but the giggles and claps around me meant I was clearly not in on the joke.

Next time though, maybe they'll play "Subterranean Homesick Blues" rather than "Subterranean Homesick Alien." And that is what is likely to keep me coming back for more.

*=You should really watch that Missy Elliott video!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Portland Cello Project tackles Radiohead this Saturday!

Lloyd Bentsen is watching you poop.
 Remember, I have been demanding tributes like this forever, so keep 'em coming!

Yes, like the fabled chocolate and peanut butter, there is going to be a sublime menage of two great things... local heroes the Portland Cello Project, and non-Doctor-Who-British-spacemen Radiohead.  It's coming up this Saturday at the Aladdin Theater!

I'm not sure if I've stated my position on Radiohead before.  My first exposure to them was "Creep," like it was for so many others.  That was the summer I also discovered Urge Overkill, but that's another story.  I felt like the promise of their big single from Pablo Honey was not lived up to in their subsequent releases, and I put Radiohead aside for many years until I met my wife and raided her ipod, discovering Kid A in the process.  I've been a fan of all their work since that groundbreakingly weird album, and it sounds like I am a minority in that view.

A lot of people- like, billions, man- treasure OK Computer as Radiohead's finest hour.  It's considered the Cadillac of Pink Floyd.  Or, wait, "Radiohead's Dark Side of the Moon".  Well, to paraphrase Lloyd Bentsen, "That's no moon."  I can't deny the influence it's had, however, or its stature among fans and critics alike.
So, it is with totally unreserved hibbly-jibblies that I announce this really awesome show.  You need to hop up and get your tickets NOW Now now! SATURDAY Saturday saturday!  BE THERE Be There be there!

From the press release:

Radiohead's classic album performed in its entirety by a cello ensemble,

with a wind ensemble, and an 8-piece choir.

Featuring: Chicago's City of Tomorrow wind quintet, a new Portland men's choir under the direction of Stephen Marc Beaudoin, with a cameo from Adam Shearer

Where: Aladdin Theater, 3017 Southeast Milwaukie Avenue, Portland, OR

Details: Doors 7pm
Show 8pm

Cost: $15

Portland Cello Project Artistic Director Douglas Jenkins always said that he would never score out any Radiohead arrangements for PCP, because the originals were perfect enough soundscapes as they are.

However, the serendipity of a simultaneous collaboration with the world-class wind quintet, City of Tomorrow (the only wind ensemble for the last ten years to win the gold medal in the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition), and a top-notch new men's choir led by Stephen Marc Beaudoin (recorded and toured with Pink Martini, soloist with Fear no Music, and Executive Director of PHAME), made the temptation to take on this legendary album unavoidable.

The performance of OK Computer will be interspersed with a unique assortment of contrasting and complementary classical music.

Adam Shearer (Alialujah Choir, Weinland) will sing "Exit Music (For a Film)," but otherwise, the vocals will always come en masse from the choir.


Portland Cello Project:

City of Tomorrow:

Alialujah Choir:

PCP High-Resolution Photos and Bio:

So yeah!  Get thee to this show!  Crappy will be sending out intrepid Bookish Heather to do some of her patented review magic.  Check that article out in a few days.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Dinosaur Jr.'s new one, here's a taste

"You're about to... Feel The Pain, bear!"  That was all I could come up with.

I have to be honest- I have never really liked Dinosaur Jr.  To me, they represented some of the least desirable aspects of grunge.  Some may have taken issue with the excesses of the "perishing altrock voice," but for me blandness was a real killer.  Dinosaur Jr.'s music was okay, but to me J Mascis' voice was kind of a grunge version of David Paich.

That's just me, I guess, because a lot of people lurv lurv lurv Dinosaur Jr.  I'm discovering that being editor of the blog is a bit like preparing a family dinner.  Sometimes you want to make spicy sausage, and everybody wants tofu.

So in the spirit of family dinner, here is taste of Dinosaur Jr.'s newest, I Bet On Sky, out tomorrow on Jagjaguwar.


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Get on the dark fairy tale bandwagon with "Death to the Brothers Grimm"

It'll be okay Jacob, they'll get Heath Ledger to play you
There are perks to running the damn blog.  One of them is that if I have a book coming out, I get to plug it here.  Well, like my last novel, in this case my contribution to an anthology of twisted fairy tales is music-focused.  Okay, let's be honest, almost everything I write is music-focused.  So what?

Dark fairy tale retellings  are all the rage right now- nowhere more so than here in PDX what with the show Grimm being set here and all.  You've got comic book series, and a blockbuster movie that ended up with Kristen Stewart not boning Chris Hemsworth.

But this is PDX, and we like shit weird, so why settle for a Supernatural knockoff?  "Death To The Brothers Grimm" is a short story anthology from Omnium Gatherum Press featuring some of the best surreal and absurdist writers on the indie scene today.  Garrett Cook hits a nice Leyner/Pahlaniuk groove with his take on "Bluebeard".  ML Roos puts forth a truly horrific version of "Little Red Riding Hood".  Portlander Lee Widener- host of "Neverending Wonder" and CIMTB contributor- explores the cheeky side of the Cthulhu Mythos, and plenty more.  At the end of the antho- appropriately- is my mashup of "Pinocchio" and the iconography of Doors frontman Jim Morrison.

Of course I'm biased because I'm in this book, but if you're one those people who likes to keep up with the zeitgeist without being a complete square, "Death to the Brothers Grimm" is a great way to take a dose of your fairy tale medicine.  Out now!

The Harvey Girls new album "Sidereal Time" and album release show

Editor's note: Correction!  THG is playing October 13th, not the 23rd as I had reported.
Melissa und Hiram- aka The Harvey Girls

The Harvey Girls have been friends of the blog for a long time.  Back in April of '09 I toured with THG (in their solo-Hiram-looper configuration) as one half of Coeur Machant.  It was a whirlwind two-day blitz through Tacoma and Oly, and I was not only blow away by their amazing corpus of psych-pop songs, but also by how erudite and grounded their touring half- Hiram- was.

So it's with great pleasure that I can announce THG's latest- Sidereal Time, coming out October 9 on Circle Into Square.  Checking out albums like this- Portland act, Portland recorded, Portland label, unhipster- is exactly what Crappy Indie Music was made for.

If there is such a thing as the "Portland sound" as I understand it, Sidereal Time has it.  Sure, the songs are low-key pop with a wistful vocal sound- think Mark Oliver Everett- and prominent acoustic guitar elements, but we also hear harps, glockenspiel, banjo (provided by the legendary Josh Millard) and more.  Mind you, I realize this is not a new technique.  Everyone from half-assed garage acts to slick and soulless big label projects have a zither and a hurdy gurdy or whatever, but sometimes an album is more than the sum of its parts.  The lyrics are smart without being "clever" and cute without being "twee", but where Sidereal Time stands out is a ... darkness.  Sometimes it's obvious, in songs with deep drones or layered field recordings, but other times seemingly only implied.  Surely I don't have to tell you that for a work of art to possess a certain mystery is nothing but good.

So have a listen to Sidereal Time, and pick it up on the 9th.  The Harvey Girls will be playing a release show on October 13th at the Record Room, backed by Rllrbll (I can hear Goldie squeeing now!) and Wow/Flutter.  This is neither the full THG studio sound, or Hiram's lone shoegaze, but a sort of THG power prog trio.  Sounds like a spicy meatball to me!


Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Muse: ripping Queen off since 2273

Uh oh.  Looks like there is another legal tempest in a teapot for the music world.  This just in through the casement:

September 11th, 2012 - Los Angeles, CA - The members of Muse have learned that a legal action has been commenced in the US against their record company, Warner Music, alleging that the band's 2009 album, "The Resistance", infringed copyright.

A spokesman for the band commented as follows:-

"The claim is complete nonsense, and is categorically denied.  It appears to be based on a 'screenplay' which the band never received or saw, produced by someone the band has never heard of.  It speaks volumes that the album in question was released a full 3 years ago, and yet this is the first that has been heard of these groundless allegations".

Warner Music will aggressively defend this lawsuit, and the band is exploring what remedies may be available to them in the US in relation to these untrue and baseless allegations.

Norris Smith, our London correspondent, adds:  "What they didn't mention was that the whole idea is ludicrous.  Why would you steal something as fucking stupid as the concept for a Muse album?  No judge would even touch this- it would be like stealing someone's diarrhea.  Good luck!"

Friday, September 7, 2012

Last Minute Show Picks 9/7/12

Just a couple of shows to mention, and one is tonight!

Tim from Boneworm is a cool guy and his new stoner metal project is joining some like-minded others tonight at Plan B.  Highly recommended.  Tonight, so get down there!

Composer Scott Frieman "deconstructs" The Beatles in his presentation "Looking Through The Glass Onion," September 12 at the Hollywood Theater.  Very interesting...

If that last one is a little too pomo or meta (is that what the kids these days are calling it?) for you, then check out j.wong with DAWNS, also September 12, but at the Hawthorne Theater.  Wong plays self-described "sad bastard music at its finest."  Sounds like a nice fit for winding down summer with.

EDIT:  Eagle-eyed Ryan Feigh brings us mention of NW Hip Hop Fest @ Kelly's Olympian tonight

Thursday, September 6, 2012

"Get. Your. Money." Luck-One x Dizz feat. Tope & Epp The Treatise.

So, let's just get this out of the way right up front. My name is Ryan and I'm a pretty big rap nerd. I'm the type of guy who gets nostalgic about the Beat Street OST and my connection to the Wu-Tang Clan is analogous to how I imagine Alan Alda feels about Art Garfunkel.

I moved to Portland from St. Paul, MN eleven years ago, and my only initial complaint with the local music community was the lack of quality hip hop. I can't decide if it was my lack of research and digging, or just a sign of the times - but beyond Cool Nutz, Lifesavas, and Sandpeople - there really wasn't much to write home about.

All that has since changed.

Exhibit A: Luck One.

I've written about Hanif elsewhere in the past, but after listening to this song and watching this video over and over, my personal summer anthem, I've realized that so much subtext was missed by the vast majority of people who have interacted and responded to it. Not all, but most.

First things first. "Get. Your. Money." A title like that almost begs the casual hip hop fan to dismiss it right off the bat. As evidenced by a comment on the youtube page of the video, some fans are seemingly turned off by what they perceive as a naked celebration of greed, without examining the underlying context and listening to actual verses. Remember, this is coming from the same man who lived out of his car in order to better serve his musical vision just a couple of years ago. Yes, the hook is catchy as hell and poppy, but maybe we should dig deeper and see what lurks in the fathoms beneath.

Before we do that let's see what our friends at The Smoking Section had to say."Summer is winding down, and Luck-One and Dizz’s “Get. Your. Money.” is the perfect song to ride out the last few weeks of warm weather with, and to motivate you to get your dividends, whether it’s by returning to school or kicking it up a notch at work. With fellow Portlanders Tope and Epp contributing their verses to earning that paper, the video is essentially one big, carefree party."

Admittedly Julie's second paragraph hints a bit more at the underlying themes involved, so let's examine that by letting our readers view some direct quotes from the song itself. Feel free to play the video and follow along and make up your own mind about how you feel.

"It's amazing how you actively engage with a conversation posted on a page, like the content isn't hosted through a server that is constantly surveyed." - Luck-One

"I be talking 'bout a small feat, might take a stand go occupy the Wall Street. Walking through the mall we jones like Jim and, I just wanna ball see (Hey). A closed mouth when I don't get fed. You straight corn homie, go get bread." - Tope

"We didn't fall far from the tree like Dead Prez does, street racing to the green in the dirty it's the gloves. It's the hurry up and rush in the ugliest of people. That's proof that the money makes the good turn evil." - Epp

Make up your own mind. If it's not your thing it's not your thing. But also be aware that things might not be as simple and easy to dismiss as you might initially think. It's no accident that the words "vulgarity" and "debauchery" flash upon the screen. Lastly, I will leave you with the text that accompanies the end of the video in case you just plain missed it and/or have a slow pause trigger finger....

"The reality of contemporary media is that we are being entertained for the sole purpose of fulfilling our pre-determined roles as super-consumers in a society wherein every possibility for consumption involves a tacit acceptance of the status quo and consequent complicity in a hegemonic world economy wherein the material largesse of the few is predicated entirely on the suffering of the many."

"Yet and still, the reality has consequences within the dynamic of domesticity as well. The poor and oppressed, upon wakening to the realities of the construct will more often than not acquire an unhealthy distaste for money because to the financially illiterate "currency" is not seen as a representation of resources, but rather as a representation of evil."

"The uniquely pugnacious nature of our society is directly commensurate to the unrivaled greed of its constituent citizens. Every war, terrorist act, or "police action" ever engaged in by our government has been for the express purpose of obtaining a greater portion of material excess, as we function within an economic infrastructure that bases its ideological rudiments on axioms such as "there will be unlimited want, and limited resources."

"In order to create change within the parameters of the system we must first master it. Power conceals nothing without a demand when we begin to understand micro-economics and embrace a greater degree of financial literacy. We will then allow ourselves the building blocks to make demands upon a system whose global ethic of destruction and genocide has no peer in the entirety of human history. Create a broader and more penetrating theory. Break the construct."
"Get. Your. Money."


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Alan Singley Orchestra debuts at The Old Church!!!

Blog founder Goldie, who is a show promoter for The Old Church, just pulled my coat on a very cool show coming up.

Alan Singley, formerly of the eponymous Pants Machine, has made a transition from rock to classical, and will be premiering his works in a benefit show for The Historic Old Church.  Having both seen and played shows there, I can attest that this is going to be awesome.  And I always support people learning how to compose!

Here's what the press release has to say:

The Alan Singley Orchestra will be making their world debut at The Historic Old Church on Saturday, September 29th at 8 p.m. The entire evening will be comprised of new instrumental works composed by Singley. The string section will be comprised of violin, viola, cello, and double bass. Singley will perform on the Steinway grand piano and the huge, rare, pipe organ that was installed in 1883.
After 4 years of orchestrating for acts across the country, Singley found he was finally ready to hold his first concert in the genre of modern instrumental orchestral music. The evening's program will feature 2 song cycles designed for healing and meditation, with an intermission. The evocative, soundtrack-esque songs coupled with the romantic ambiance of The Historic Old Church are sure to inspire and transform the listener.
The composer, Alan Singley, first rose to prominence in the Portland Indie-rock scene and garnered numerous accolades from both local and national media outlets in that genre. However, Singley has been hooked on orchestral music since elementary school when he first heard The 1812 Overture, The Blue Danube Waltz, and The Jurassic Park score. But it was not until recent years that he attended Portland Community College and learned the art of orchestration.
Prepare for a very special event that will pay homage to inspiration brought forth by Singley's latest orchestral heroes: Ravel, Ives, Eno, and Bacharach. There will be speckles of avant-garde and dustings of modern harmonies. Overall, it will be an evening of simply gorgeous, therapeutic bliss.
The orchestra consists of a six-piece string section and an organist performing on the pipe organ which dates back to 1883. Singley will perform at the Steinway grand piano and there will also be a guest jazz bassist on two pieces.
Lastly, we'd like to add that the all-ages event is a benefit for The Historic Old Church and will be priced on a sliding scale. Alcoholic beverages will be available to those over 21 and tickets are available through Brown Paper Tickets.

So I'll be there.  Goldie will be there.  You should be there.  Check out the event on Facebook, listen to his demos, get tickets, and... be there!

Help Technology Vs. Horse get in a festival

Technology wins, brother!
You may remember Technology vs. Horse from previous reviews and the epic "Cage The Elephant sucks" thread.  Regardless, they're a pretty awesome psych prog krautrock sort of outfit, and they need our help!

Voting ends Friday for the local band showcase at Kentucky's Starry Nights Festival.  There are five slots available for local indie bands, and we're going to get TvH in there!  Visit the link and vote before Friday, and check Technology vs. Horse out on their official FB page.

I'm overwhelmed with great announcements, so stay tuned in the next couple of days.

History Pub: Oregon's Country Music Heritage

If you're like many Portlanders, you claim an affinity for all music genres but country, and maybe metal. Yeah, me too. However, I am a serious history nut, and one of my favorite events each month is History Pub—a monthly informal lecture co-sponsored by Oregon Historical Society, the Holy Names Heritage Center, and McMenamins. Usually it's held at Kennedy School in NE Portland, but each August they put something bigger together, and temporarily move the event to the Baghdad on SE Hawthorne.

This month the topic was Oregon's country music heritage. Does Oregon have a country music heritage? I wondered. We must—and the Baghdad is a lot easier for me to get to than Kennedy School, so I made my way down to learn all about it on August 28th.

Peter Blecha of the Experience Music Project opened the evening with a short presentation (with many photos!) introducing a brief chronology of country-like music in the region. Roughly, bands were established as far back as the 1800s in logging camps, eventually morphing into old timey groups. One particular series of photos profiled one of these groups: Laam's Happy Hayseeds. Over the years they eventually dropped the "Laam's" from their name, but managed to stay together and even recorded a couple of records—one of the first string bands to do so.

As western-themed movies and television shows rose in popularity, so too did country music. The Portland area boasted several country music clubs by the early 1950s, and a notable country radio station in Vancouver. As it turns out, Willie Nelson was a DJ at KVAN early in his career. The station was operated by music promoter Pat Mason, who later went on to work on a tour with Elvis—before he was big. An ex-lumberjack named Buzz Martin released two albums in the late 1960s that resonated with country fans and loggers alike. Then in the 1970s, college kids discovered bluegrass, and bands like the Sawtooth Mountain Boys and Puddle City were en vogue.

After Blecha's rundown of country music in the northwest, Beth Harrington moderated a panel discussion. Harrington is an independent filmmaker, currently wrapping up a documentary about the Carter-Cash family that has given her close access to people integral to country music history. Joining her as panelists were Bobby Gibson (guitar), Ray "Skipper" Montee (steel guitar), and Arty Lange (songwriter). All the panelists were involved in the country music scene in the 1950s—almost all of them had worked for Heck Harper, and spent the next half hour sharing stories and laughs with the audience.

Instead of winding down, the panel then transitioned over to their instruments and began an hour or so of musical nostalgia. Beginning with the fiddle tune that opened the Heck Harper Show, the band played old-time country songs and told jokes. In one visual gag, a band member donned a prop on his head that made him look like Willie Nelson, and launched into an impersonation. A pretty spot-on one at that.

Despite my former statement of not seeing myself as a country fan, there were plenty of songs the band played that I knew and loved. Songs by Hank Williams (who came to Portland for the first time in the 1940s, looking for shipyard work), Bill Monroe, and of course Johnny Cash. Ray Montee did his best "Steel Guitar Rag" and the band had everyone clapping during "Orange Blossom Special."As I sat, I realized maybe I hadn't realized I am maybe a bigger fan of older country than I originally thought. After all, one of my favorite musicians is known for his country-fried rock, and my inner raging feminist is in love with Loretta Lynn. (But please, I still can't handle that pop-country crap.)

As we neared the third hour of History Pub, Larry Wilder and the Stumptown Stars took the stage. After two songs the veterans started joining them, and the result was a country music mega-band that seemed to work together effortlessly, as if this wasn't the first time they had shared a stage. Sadly, there were banjo jokes ("What do you call throwing a banjo into a dumpster? Perfect pitch!") but I got a couple of glorious, glorious banjo songs before Wilder decided nobody could hear him.

If there is ever another music-related History Pub, I highly recommend you attend. You may find yourself smarter, more self-aware, and more cultured by the end of the evening!

Editor's note: Beth Harrington is a friend of the blog and supporter of the "Patron Haint" project.  Look for an interview with her as "The Winding Stream" gets a little closer to completion.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


Because the pictures of him flipping an organ over and stabbing it with a dagger weren't badass enough.

Seriously, listen from the 14 minute mark until about 16:30.  Don't think, just fucking do it.

That is all.

Monday, September 3, 2012

New Barry Adamson Single To Benefit CALMZone

Hey everyone, friend of the blog Barry Adamson has just released a new single, "Brighton Rockers".   The proceeds from this go to CALMZone, UK suicide prevention group.  Check it out!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

BAT COUNTRY!!!!! "Get your dick out of your heart" edition

Time for the newest installment of BAT COUNTRY!!!!  It's going to be a doozy.

I AM PR artists Watermelon unleash an aptly titled "Boat Show Montage."
Okay then!  I like this.

Like A Villain is poised to be the next Tuneyards.  I'm not sure how I feel about that.

But they are appearing Wednesday at Revival Drum Shop for the Outset series of improvisation concerts.

Yes!  It's easy to make fun of poor people!

Everything Gerard Way touches is poison.  Blech.

In my experience, comparing your music to Joy Division is a bad idea.

Really.  Stop doing it.

These guys probably compared themselves to Wyld Stallionz or something,

And look how well it turned out!

Uh, 1993 called.

It wants its U2 video parodies back.

"Logan and Skyler creatively fuse indie rock with popular electronic house synths to enter frontiers that not many bands are capable of doing.  They also utilize different electronic devices as musical instruments to give themselves an ingenious style."


And that's all I'm up for.  See you on the next installment of BAT COUNTRY!!!  And remember,

"Get your dick out of your heart."