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August 2014
Vinyl Thief

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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Just Lions Release 'Great. Okay.'

There are good and bad ways to start the summer. Just Lions have chosen the good route with the release of their new EP, Great. Okay. which they will celebrate with a free show this Monday night, 6.30, at Mississippi Studios. The three-piece band, known for it’s pop rock energy and jazz tendencies, latest work hits these core characteristics while expanding into a deeper core of their sound. 

The EP begins with the title track and immediately hits you with sweet whistling and a catchy rhythm that makes for easy listening. This song brings a radio friendly presence to the album, which was even aired on 94.7 FM (Clear Channel's New Rock/Alt radio station) earlier this month. Next, the band drifts into a jazzy atmosphere that is very prevalent during their live performances. Relying on guitar work and jazz scales, “Everything Goes Away” remains a very free flowing song that is slightly reminiscent of something by Jack Johnson (you know, if Jack Johnson was cool and rocked a little harder). The closing track is the heaviest. “On the Road” is much more than a track with the same name as the iconic book by Kerouac. Opening guitar riffs unleash into a fury while the harmonious vocals smooth things over. This song ends with an exploding, bluesy guitar solo that only makes you wonder what this band has in store for the future.

Although this EP is short with only three songs, the release show Monday night will be packed with good music. Jammy psych-heads Bear & Moose open the night, followed by fellow jammy psych-heads Animal Eyes, and Just Lions close out the night, where you will be able to see what Great. Okay. is all about and much more.

- Colin Hudson

New Release: Talkative's Hot Fruit Barbeque

Whitnessing the growth of Portland punky psych-pop outfit, Talkative, over the years, has been an absolute pleasure. Each of their albums has a home in my music library and heart. Not to mention the dudes in the band are some of the finest gents among the Portland music community. I knew we'd be good buds from the first time I met guitarist/synth/vocalist Cody Berger in 2011, after my own band played a show at Kelly's Olympian, and I reluctantly let an intoxicated Cody, saying "hey man, Boone says you like to smoke pot too, cool!" hop a ride back to the SE with me to shorten his walk home. 

Talkative's latest efforts, Hot Fruit Barbeque, takes their raucous high energy sounds to new levels. And it's not just upscaled production. The album feels more purposeful than their previus work, each song commanding you to yield and listen or dance (I prefer to wiggle). Lead single "Rudy Huckleberry" will be left lingering in your ear as you try to recreate Berger's catchy but mostly unintelligible vocal hooks for the remainder of the day. Equally as catcy, "Snow Jobs" and "Hava Nagila" showcase the impressively explosive capabilities of Casunn Taft's drumming. The boys explore slightly more worldly rhythms and tones alongside their distorted guitars on "Gentrifuckation" for an overall excelent, bouncy, party track. 

Hot Fruit Barbeque falls at the top of my list of favorite albums in 2014. Talkative will cellebrate the release of their new album this Sunday at Rontoms with the help of fellow psych-pop greats, Grandparents

- Travis Leipzig



New Release: Jellyfish Brigade's Diving Lessons

Portland hip hop duo Jelyfish Brigade put out a new album this week titled Diving Lessons, which they will celebrate the release of this Saturday, June 28 at the Goodfoot. Pulling lyrical influence from traditional folk music, emcee Lucas Dix rhymes through stories about nature, the supernatural, and real life shit, while producer Jeffrey Acciaioli's dark and melodic beats serve as the backbone of the album. Helping celebrate the album release, Mimi Naja Trio, Jay Cobb Anderson Band, MC Botzy (Minneapolis) and Stephen Sauer will be sharing the Goodfoot's stage with the Brigade Saturday night. 

Stream Diving Lessons on Jellyfish Brigade's bandcamp page and name your own price to download the album. Below, check out their video of a folky acoustic rendition of "Man the Riverboat" featuring members of Fruition and Brad Parsons Project. 

Travis Leipzig




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!



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



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