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August 2014
Vinyl Thief
""Fathoms"
"
mp3

In high school, my friend Craig Lee took it upon himself to educate me on what to do when I got high, which was: take a 311 CD and play it through Windows media player, and set the visualization to “Ambience.” With those days behind me (and a few subsequent years lost devil-sticking for tips as I followed 311 tours) I had long forgotten that particular use for Windows until I listened to Vinyl Thief’s debut album, “Fathoms.”

 

Released July 22nd, “Fathoms” listens like an entity. Granted, all albums vary song to song, and this one is no different, but few pluck the same rubber band in your brain and sustain it throughout it the duration. Fewer still can be so closely likened to getting lost watching a pixelated visualization of music on your ’01 Dell, wondering:“Whoa, how did they know to do that?”

 

Vinyl Thief is a synth driven powerhouse of a band that has been gathering acclaim since the release of their “Rebel Hill” EP in 2012. The group has essentially come of age playing together, from their high school inception to logging hours of practice in a church-sanctuary-turned-rehearsal space to perfect the sound and rapport that makes Vinyl Thief extraordinary. There are not many bands with such an expert handle on their sound.

 

There are a few anchors in Vinyl Thief that make them so listenable. Their synthesizers are going to do something beautiful. Grayson Proctor’s vocals are going to run through an impressive range without ever sounding forced or theatrical. And every song is going to reliably blow your mind in some way. It might be on a smaller scale, like when the guitar breaks the silence after the bridge in “London” with what I can only imagine a swoon would sound like. Or it could be big, like when the track “Rebel Hill” finally reaches a crescendo after a series of goosebump-inducing change-ups. The band has a knack for zig-ing when a zag is expected, going soft instead of loud, or even bigger when they’re already turned up.

 

Vinyl Thief is one of the best examples of the modern face of Nashville music, where already talented musicians go through great pains to learn their craft and the business around it. This is a band that is one sync away from national exposure. Be prepared to hear much more Vinyl Thief after Apple or Toyota licenses one of their tracks. Considering that “Fathoms” is a collection of their best material meticulously recorded and lovingly presented like a bowl of all-red jelly beans ready for the grabbing, this is only a matter of time. –Terra James-Jura


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Premier: Orquestra Pacifico Tropical's Rio Frio

Before I dive into describing the intoxicating mix of sounds that Orquestra Pacifico Tropical have etched onto their debut record, Rio Frio (cold river), I would like to offer a brief history of the music they play so passionately, Cumbia. Cumbia has been around for hundreds of years, historians believe that the pulsing rhythms in which the genre is founded originated in African tribes and brought to Central America by slaves during the Spanish colonization in what is now Columbia. There these rhythms met claves, flutes, guitars and, eventually, accordions to create the cross-cultural dance music that we now call Cumbia.

The rhythms of Cumbia have been evolving since their inception, yet always retaining a groove that makes the style universally danceable. Orquestro Pacifico Tropical have taken this groove and added hazy guitar tones, roaring horns and a storm of percussive dexterity to create an album that is completely contagious. The opening track, “Macondo” sets an energetic tone with sweeping rhythms, blasting horns and anthemic vocal shouts. It got me dancing around my apartment immediately, and I didn’t stop moving my feet until the last note was hit and the cacophonic introduction to “Andalucia” began. From here the album moves through surfy guitar leads (“Petrolero"), hypnotic drumming (“Negra”) and vocal shouts that made me wish I spoke more Spanish so that I could sing along. The music that Orquestra Pacifico Tropical have created on Rio Frio is equally traditional, novel and undeniably fun. Join them for their record release show with 1939 Ensemble and Point Juncture, WA at Doug Fir Lounge on Wednesday, June 25th to pick up a copy on vinyl for yourself. 

- Ben Toledo 


Bath Party at the Firkin Tavern 6.21

Bath Party is that band you hear and wonder why you've never heard it before. Friends and founding band members Mike Misosoup and Justin 'papa' Sochan moved to Portland together to do this: properly bring this city surf-garage-rock to those who are seeking authenticity in it. They're upbeat and poppy enough to bring you up but not in a superficial way. Their pleasantly-hectic technique lingers long after the other surf runners up drift away from mind. Give your ears to "Invention of Language" and try to fight your body from moving. They're performing at the Firkin this Saturday night along with Hobosexual and 100 Watt Mind. No cover. Adults only.

- Colette Pomerleau


Midday Veli, Swahili and Sprectrum Control at Bunk Bar 6.20

Standing around, waiting for remarkable moments to come never proves to be a successful venture. You have a five dollar gamble tomorrow night at Bunk Bar for three separate bands to aid in this attempt, and the odds are looking pretty ideal. Midday Veil are coming out from Seattle to provide listeners with experimental sounds, heavily induced with electronic and psychedelia. Swahili compliment the vibes, soaring into what seems like an uncharted territory within the local music scene. Spectrum Control drone on and on in that way that brings you out the physical plane and into a space where you feel comfortable noticing the waves. If gambling isn't your thing because of your religion or whatever, consider it your investment for mind expansion. 

- Colette Pomerleau


Photos: Chad Vangaalen, Cousins and Big Haunt at Mississippi Studios

 Check out our photos of Chad Vangaalen, Cousins and Big Haunt from their show at Mississippi Studios 6/15! Photos by Todd Walberg. 


Chad Vangaalen at Mississippi Studios


Cousins at Mississippi Studios



Big Haunt at Mississippi Studios

 Check out the rest of the photos from the night here!

 

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Bleach Blonde Dudes' Prismo Beach Tape

How is your summertime muscle pump-up coming along? Remember, there is no such thing as working out too much; one must simply channel the sun, become the pump, and feel the burn. At least that’s the motto for the hunks of Bleach Blonde Dudes, who will release their debut EP, Prismo Beach Tape, this Wednesday at Holocene.

While I can really only picture some odd elfish creatures ever actually working out to Bleach Blonde Dudes Prismo Beach Tape, the tunes really are dynamite. With a spooky take on experimental rock ‘n roll, the Dudes explore variations of electronic, surfy and psychedelic pop, that can at times feel completely extra terrestrial. Opening track “Zebra” elicits imagery of fictional creatures concocting a witches’ brew to feed an idolized zebra god. “Blue Spiders at the Hot Springs” continues in this haunting dream pop vein for two minutes and 45 seconds before exploding into a guitar heavy rock epic. Aptly titled “Spirit Party” offers another dose of ethereal synthesizer, smooth grooving guitar licks and bridge comprised of what appears to be voices from beyond the grave.

Lending a spot for Bleach Blonde Dudes as they get pumped-up at the release party for Prismo Beach Tape this Wednesday at Holocene, are instrumental psych shredders Mascaras, and electronic chill-wavers Fog Father. The show begins at 9. 

- Travis Leipzig


In Review: Grandhorse, Tomten and Dedere at Habesha

Saturday night I found myself tucked away in a cramped corner of a packed Habesha Lounge. Part Ethiopian restaurant, part bar, and part venue, Habesha is a quaint spot full of variety and colorful characters, and the bill that night was built to match. 

Comprised of Grandhorse, Tomten and Dedere, the line-up was a diverse one. The show functioned as a tour kick-off for Grandhorse and Dedere, who will be hitting the road for the next 10 days. As for Tomten, Saturday night's show served as the tail end of a mini-tour where they hit Spokane, Boise, and Portland.

Dedere at Hebesha 

First up was Dedere, playing a heavy brand of post pop complete with pensive, melancholy songwriting. The band -- who traditionally has been a three-piece -- played as a four-piece, featuring a second guitar to help round out their sound. Dedere played a few songs off their new record which is in the works, with some stand-outs being "Hollywood Future Plans" and "Sacramento".

 

  

 

Tomten at Habesha

Seattle's Tomten came next, which was quite a departure from what we had just heard. My brain was having trouble adjusting to the crazy shift in tone from the first act to the second. Where Dedere ripped our hearts out, Tomten gazed at our hearts from afar and sat in fields with them. Tomten played their light, catchy style of baroque pop in the vein of acts like Belle & Sebastian, Camera Obscura, and even early, psych-poppy Rolling Stones. Their single "Pipe Dream Boy" was particularly striking.

Grandhorse at Habesha 

Grandhorse closed the night out with a set full of psych-pop jams. The majority of the set was newer material, which is a bit slower and dreamier than the stuff off their debut album, Portraiturefolio. It's still coated in the same lush, gooey, hazy tones, but it's almost as if it was stretched out like a big ol' psychedelic taffy. It all strikes a nice balance, though, giving the set upbeat, danceable portions ("Short Drive With A Kidnapper") as well as introspective, jammy tracks to daydream to ("Port Townsend" for example). All in all, a fitting ending to a night showcasing a rich variety of styles.

Check out the rest of the photos from the show here

- Alexie Shishkin

 
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Lubec, Us Lights and Bed at Valentines 6.16

It's in the cards for Lubec, Us Lights and Bed, Monday night at Valentines. Through a Three Card Spread of the Golden Tarot, the fate of Monday night's show was dealt the Two of Wands (dominion), the Five of Coins reversed (worry), and the Nine of Coins (gain). 

 

Now, I'm no Tarot reading professional, but one could assert that through the mystic energy of this particular spread, the show is bound to be a success. The Two of Wands suggests thoughtful planning went into the event. A reversed Five of Coins suggests perhaps while the bands acknoledge they may not make their fortune this night, they are working towards a greater good in the longer term. Lastly, the Nine of Coins suggests that the bands will feel the sence of fulfilment that comes with acomplishment as the night of sweet, dark gaze-pop comes to and end and the crowd floats off home with heads bobbing. 

- Travis Leipzig

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PALS FEST 2014 Announcement Show + Fundraiser

Back for it's third year of madness, PALS FEST 2014 will take place August 9th through 17th. The festival serves up a week of debauchery, hosting shows every night of the week at different venues across town featuring the best of Portland music, then culminates in a weekend-long party at PALS Clubhouse featuring the same bands from the previous week but packed into an intimate cul-de-sac and backyard setting. 

Still interested? The lineup for PALS FEST 2014 will be announced TONIGHT at the Firkin Tavern! The announcement will be celebrated by live solo performances and a ridiculous drunken krautrock jam session by members of Sama Dams, Old Age, Noble Firs, The We Shared Milk and The Domestics. The announcement party will also serve as a fundraiser for the show to help pay for bands, permits, port-o-johns, etc. There will also be an auction with proceeds going to PALS FEST, with items including: a famed and signed photo of Talkative (shot by Todd Walberg), Banana Stand Media swag, Rigsketball swag, various local band merch, AND a free pizza! Party on dudes!

- Travis Leipzig


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