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October 2014
Tetherball
"Whimsy
"
mp3

 

Steve Voss paints the picture of a mid-aughts major label stalwart that eventually buckled under the weight of feedback from the mess of people involved in the process. Framed with this context, the moniker Tetherball comes into sharp relief. At the end of his rope and refusing to be swatted back and forth into submission, Voss withdrew from Atlantic Records and his home state of Colorado. He receded to a studio in an industrial neck of Nashville, still tinkering with sound but with a very cracked perspective; essentially the industry version of Lazlo Hollyfeld.

 

Tetherball's album will officially drop October 28th via Silver Point Recods. Even if this backstory weren’t true, “Whimsy” still sounds like someone reveling in their eccentricity. It’s weird, and deals it out its peculiarity in mid-tempo canters and clearly-baked moseys. Sci-fi plays just as big of a thematic influence as personal experience, so if you have a taste for the slightly off-center, parts of this album will have you clapping your hands in delight. The guitar tone has a tendency to do infectiously cool things, like the jangle at the opening of “Vegetarian” or the tit for tat that kicks off “Bootss.” This album could probably play in tandem with any South Park episode and mirror it with frightening accuracy.

 

This is not to say that Voss has lost all awareness of pop sensibility. For very Primus off-note there is an alternative snarl, which makes for an interesting and palatable listen. Tetherball maintains a high level of theatrics throughout, from the grand sweeping boredom of “Hometown” to the Western swing of "Boulderado" the big top rhythm of “Spring Chicken,” a track that had me playing indie-rock matchmaker and wondering for a second how cool it would be to see them on tour with Thao and the Get Down Stay Down.

 

“Whimsy” is an amazing first statement from this fledgling band. It’s clear that this is a pin pulled from a grenade, and that the Tetherball dimension is something that will only expand. We can’t wait to see how this band evolves. Stream the album HERE, and check out their website at: www.tetherballmusic.com


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Preview: Psychomagic at The Know 8.26

Psychomagic’s psych rock is playful and morbid, tinged with surf, punk, and vintage tone. From their textured instrumentation, it’s obvious this quintet (Stone Laurila (guitar), Eddie Bond (keyboards), Anthony Brisson (drums, backing vocals), Scott Page (bass), and Steve Fusco (lead vocals/guitar)) find their vibe on stage. Songs are strummy, but shift to  heavy riffs over soft, fast rhythms and theatrical melodies. Its catchy, but then drifts off and almost fades out during long interludes, allowing the listener to get lost in their own narrative before changing the scenery. Their range can be the softer “Mutated Love” after fast and raging “I Dont Want To Hold Your Hand”. Fusco warbles through songs, sometime crooning about playing the fool and being a “Heartbroken Teenage Zombie Killer”. It's tongue in cheek, he declares from the start that “I’m A Freak." Playing with the pining rock of Portland's Dandelyons, and Austin's Tele Novella, it should be a colorful Tuesday evening at The Know. 

- Brandy Crowe

 

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Ghost Frog at Habesha Lounge 8.24

Very little information about local “space punk” outfit Ghost Frog has been documented on the internet since their initial descent from outer space, although one aspect of their mission seems clear: they came here to share their “space drugs” with Portland scenesters and relieve us of our intact eardrums. For all appearances, it seems they come in peace and the subsequent loss in hearing can be seen as a necessary oblation to the many-headed grungy space-psychgaze hybrid creatures that make up Ghost Frog. To describe “Made in Mars,” the band’s only song on bandcamp, imagine Tame Impala’s airy, other-worldly sound with the steady, driving rhythm cut out. Instead, the song seeps forward like liquid through fabric until it explodes into a fuzzy wall of feakout.

Come to Habesha Lounge (801 NE Broadway St, Portland, Oregon 97232) this Sunday, August 24 to point and stare at these plenipotentiaries from Pluto as they rock out alongside Dedere--whose genre tag “lit rock” and following Sylvia Plath reference in their album title should give you an idea of what they’re about--and Ghetto Hexes, whose loopy synth pop and dispassionate (yet garnished) boy-girl vocal stylings are evocative of The xx.

- Bryce Woodcock

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Mascaras + Dottie Attie at the Know 8.19

How often do you hike to viewpoints and scream at the top of your lungs? There's a very particular rush of energy following that experience and few situations can mimic the vibes. Tonight's show at the Know will sway you that exact way. 

The lineup includes Portland's Mascaras and Dottie Attie. Lovely compliments from Seattle, Killer Ghost and Gang Cult will be performing as well. All four bands emphasize surf rock, though each distinguished by their quirks. I'd rather not say making this your plans for the evening is a no-brainer, but what else would you do for $5?
 
- Colette Pomerleau


Us Lights European Tour Kickoff at Mississippi Studios 8.19

Tuesday will mark the first headline show at Mississippi Studios for Us Lights. It is also be the kick off of their European tour. Joining them will be Hosannas and Yeah Great Fine, making it yet again a blinding display of the Portland scene.

Yeah Great Fine's fluid polyrhythms lay underneath some seriously catchy pop ditties. Reminiscent of 90s video game themes, these boys will make even the most uptight ears twitch. Their song Manifest Destiny's Child a personal favorite­ because, quite frankly, we could all use a little Beyonce spirit from time to time. Tight harmonies and percussive genius make this a great start to the night. 

Hosannas next with a slightly more ominous tone. These punching drums and distorted whispers of melodies are haunting and thought provoking, and tracks like Cccloud smack with an Art Garfunkel influence that is hard not to love. 

Michael Young's vocals for Us Lights are breathtaking. As rich as Rufus Wainwright, his tone soars over beautiful, classic synth melodies. This five piece produce an incredibly dynamic tease of clean emotive pop. I defy you to not be blown away.

- Jennie Chapman

Photo of Us Lights by Peter Rasmussen

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Hustle & Drone, AAN, and Com Truise at Star Theater 8.16

This weekend, the Red Bull Sound Select concert series continues its reign of killer showcases featuring some of the best local music any of us can find. This time around, the show is part of Portland’s long running music festival, MusicFest NW. Because of outdoor noise ordinances (boooo!) the festival will shut down at 10PM leaving a lot of room in the night for music. This is where the Red Bull team comes in to save the party.

Saturday night, at the Star Theater, RBSS have aligned two local acts to open for Com Truise (yes, you read that right). The first is the dreamy, electronic indie rockers, AAN. They are an extremely versatile band that can end a long, slow build up with thrashing guitars and high pitched vocals. Also opening the show is one of Portland’s favorite electronic groups, Hustle and Drone. This duo bases their music in electronic beats and heavy synth use, but play their tunes with a rock 'n roll, high-intensity that few electronic acts can pull off. The entire night is heavily based in electronics as the headliner all the way from Brooklyn is a synth wizard that mixes together music most appropriate for unnamed TRON sequels and robot porn. But I’m into that kinda stuff and will hopefully see you there. The show starts at 10pm, RSVP here to secure $3 entry. 

- Colin Hudson 

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