Thursday, December 30, 2010

best of 2010... now, what's next?

Since many of my most-prized local memories of 2010 (Y La Bamba, Pickathon, Tu Fawning, Billygoat, PCP, and more) are so well documented by a slew of OMN staffers with (dare I say?) impeccable taste, I give you 6 non-local shows that blew my mind in ’10:

1. Sufjan Stevens at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall on Friday, October 29th.

2. Jónsi (of Sigur Rós) at the Roseland Theater on Tuesday, April 13th.

3. Major Lazer and Big Freedia at the Roseland Theater during MFNW on Thursday, September 9th followed by Big Freedia live at Sassy’s (the strip club).

4. Janelle Monáe wowing a sold-out (for of Montreal) Roseland Theater on Thursday, October 28th.

5. Peter Hook & Friends at the Doug Fir Lounge playing Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures in its entirety on Thursday, December 9th.

6. The Flaming Lips at Eugene’s McDonald Theatre on Wednesday, September 29th.

Followed by epic festival coverage at PDX Pop Now!, MFNW, and Sasquatch. And since I just can’t resist… here are some locals who deserve love from the last year: Climber, Reporter, Soft Metals, Remix Artist Collective, The Angry Orts, The Ascetic Junkies, Strength, Pegasus Dream, Menomena, and Seattle’s Brent Amaker & The Rodeo and Hey Marseilles. I mourn the end of Explode Into Colors but look forward to more creative and bombastic incarnations. To anyone I’ve forgotten, I apologize but I hope to see plenty more of you in 2011.

But why look back when you should be looking forward? Here are the best, local musics that you’ve likely enjoyed this past year but I am anticipating even brighter futures (and fresh, alphabetically organized, full-length albums) in 2011:

1. AgesandAges’ debut album Alright You Restless due February 15th, 2011 (via Knitting Factory Records).

2. The Blow returns to the NW with new material and eventually a new album.

3. Deelay Ceelay took the last half of the year off to hit the studio and are now mixing things.

4. Red Fang’s Relaspe Records debut due in early 2011.

5. Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside have kept us waiting for a better part of the last year but their debut album is coming.

6. Starfucker’s second album (performed and recorded under the name Starfucker and no other name, abbreviation or derivative) out March-ish (via Polyvinyl).

7. Lastly, Vanimal has only a demo EP thus far but we’re excited to hear what’s next.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

the world’s only asian-american dance rockers : q/a with the slants

Self-dubbed as “Chinatown dance rock,” Portland’s The Slants consider themselves “the first and only all Asian-American dance rock band in the world,” according to bassist Simon Young. Twenty-ten saw the quartet, composed of Asian Americans from different parts of the country, unveil their third self-produced, recorded and released album in Pageantry, following hot on the heels of their 2009 remix album, Slants! Slants! Revolution, which remixed tracks from their 2007 debut Slanted Eyes, Slanted Hearts. Plus Young adds, “We’re currently working on a new release.”

The Slants features vocalist Aron Moxley, a Vietnamese refugee who grew up in Astoria, Oregon; bassist Simon Young, a Chinese-Taiwanese from San Diego; guitarist Johnny Fontanilla, Filipino-Mexican also from San Diego; and drummer/vocalist Tyler Chen, a Chinese-German who has lived throughout the Northwest.

With ’80s influences like The Cure, Depeche Mode, New Order, and Joy Division plus a background in punk rock, The Slants’ third release has shifted a bit of focus away from the synth-driven sounds of their earlier work. But Young assures fans that “the electronic elements are always going to be a part of this band” as The Slants “find a way to balance between electro, dance rock, and synth-pop in a style that is still ‘Slants.’”

Celebrating the release of their first-ever music video at Dante’s on Saturday, January 8th, OMN caught up with bassist Simon Young.

You consider yourselves “one of the only, if not only, all-Asian dance rock bands in the country.” Is this true? Who else is out there?

To our knowledge, we are the first and only all Asian-American dance rock band in the world. There’s a few other acts out there doing the dance rock/synth-pop sound that have a token Asian player (such as VHS or Beta) but no one that we’re aware of that is doing something quite the same as us.

Pageantry has been said to be “harder-hitting,” “guitar fueled” and “a slight deviation from the synthesizer-driven” debut. Tell us how you have changed and grown.

Unlike most bands, we started recording our first album (Slanted Eyes, Slanted Hearts) even before our first show. As we progressed and brought in more musicians, it started leaning towards a more energetic live show. The singer, Aron, and I both come from punk rock backgrounds so we always leaned towards a heavier sound. So after our first album was completed and released, we knew we wanted something a little more rock-driven. But with so many lineup changes (11 different members in the first 3 years), it was tough to begin work on a new release.

Read the rest on OMN.

Friday, December 17, 2010

direct brevity : on his ninth album, tricky knows what he wants to do now

After releasing one of his most critically lauded albums in years with 2008′s Knowle West Boy, Tricky came back in late 2010 with what has been called one of his most accessible and trivial albums to date, receiving very mediocre reviews across the board. With seven of the ten tracks clocking in under three minutes for a total run time of less than a half hour, Mixed Race lacks cohesiveness and the experimental depth seen on previous Tricky releases. As his ninth studio album, it’s a mixed bag of what’s been viewed as skin-deep experimentation from one of trip-hop’s founders and innovators–a variety that moves from jazz to hip-hop to the Middle East without the singular touch of his previous work.

But for Tricky, he’s never been so sure of his work.

“Some of my early albums sound like a mess to me… too cluttered. I don’t understand them anymore.” He continues, “I know what I want to do now. Mixed Race is deliberately direct and in-your-face. It’s the easiest album to make that I’ve ever done.”

Basically, it’s been a disappointment for many die-hards and critics. In the past, no one has known where Tricky’s intentions lied or where they were going. Now, it may finally seem as though his “mind isn’t cloudy” or “muddled-up or as confused” as it once was.

But was the muddle what created unprecedented releases like 1995′s Maxinquaye? Is Mixed Race Tricky’s (conscious or unconscious) attempt to acquire new Tricky fans–a clubbing crowd?!

“This is also the most uptempo album I’ve done,” says the 42-year-old, Bristol-born producer. “I wanted something that could be played in a club… maybe! Which is unusual for me. Because I don’t give a shit about clubs.”

Although it’s hardly “clubby” by European standards (or anyone else’s for that matter), the actual quality of the music remains strong throughout and hints at telling some more of Tricky’s personal story. (Tricky may be trying to squeeze his way into the clubs as a guest on INXS’ new Original Sin album, reimagining the track “Mediate.”) As a “gangster album” there are some tense, introspective gangster moments, like the nursery music box to 007-tinged first single “Murder Weapon,” the tender thump and twang of “UK Jamaican,” or the silky smooth single number 2, “Ghetto Stars.”

“I can’t do gangsta rap. That’s not me. I can’t talk about being a bad boy, ‘cos I’m not. But I’ve been around that. So this is the closest I can get to a gangsta album. It’s very gully, as Jamaicans call it… very dark. Tense, street and urban. It’s like a movie, almost.”

Due to planes and trains and traveling from Paris before beginning his 11-date, North American tour in New York on December 9th, OMN’s scheduled phone interview with Tricky was not able to be realized. But in lieu of that interview, we do have this detailed track-by-track breakdown of his latest album for you reading pleasure.

Tricky hits the Doug Fir Lounge on Sunday, December 19th with his Irish-Italian female vocalist Franky Riley, who is featured on much of the new album including “Murder Weapon,” which is a reworking of a classic dancehall hit originally done by the Jamaican-born Echo Minott.

Read the rest on OMN.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

peter hook deservedly revives joy division

For most, on stage and off, Thursday, December 9th at the Doug Fir was and forever will be the most Joy Division songs one will ever experience at a live performance, in the United States or abroad. When lead singer Ian Curtis committed suicide on the eve of Joy Division’s departure for the States in May of 1980, he may have dashed the band’s immediate dreams but he didn’t stop their aspirations and future success. Indelibly writing their name in every musical history book, Joy Division became New Order and turned the ’80s upside down.

After decades as their own entity, New Order finally came to terms with the music of Joy Division in the early 2000s and began performing a select few tracks during their live sets, notably “Atmosphere” but also four of the bigger hits on 2008′s Live in Glasgow DVD.

So when Peter Hook, the founding bassist of Joy Division, announced he’d be touring, playing Joy Division’s 1979 debut Unknown Pleasures in its entirety 30 years after the death of Ian Curtis, there was excitement but also suspicion and criticism. Three of Joy Division’s original members are still alive, yet the post-Joy Division band they formed together, New Order which lasted for 20+ years, has since split. It seems as though his intentions were pure and Hooky simply wanted to give Americans fans, all of whom never had the opportunity to see Joy Division live, an opportunity to experience the passionate energy of that influential music live, even if it be just a shred.

The idea for the tour, which included just nine North American dates (all in the US), was spawned out of fan enthusiasm for the now-classic material when Hook and his band The Light played Unknown Pleasures in honor of the 30th anniversary of Ian Curtis’ death.

Billed as “Peter Hook Presents Unknown Pleasures,” or Peter Hook and Friends, Hooky and Co. played a set which delivered exactly what was advertised. After warming up with four non-debut album Joy Division tracks, the band kicked into Unknown Pleasures, moving from start to finish, ending their set with “I Remember Nothing.”

Read the rest on OMN.

Friday, December 10, 2010

q/a : where has the blow been?

A gig by The Blow is never just a musical endeavor. Rather, the show’s of Khaela Maricich blur the line between concert and monologue. From irresistible, lo-fi, laptop dance-pop to laugh out loud or awkward encounters, she is a true performing artist; one who can control the stage with no more than a mic and a MacBook.

So what happens when she adds a visual partner to the mix?

In the past we saw how a musical partner in Jona Bechtolt (YACHT) propelled The Blow to new heights, and now The Blow is collaborating in a visual manner with installation and conceptual artist Melissa Dyne who will be “working with lighting and sound to manipulate the environment and to kind of play with the possibilities of whatever space we are performing in,” says Maricich.

That means a unique experience in every venue, every night. As her on stage narrative develops so will the visuals; at least that’s what we’re led to believe. But we honestly won’t know until we get the chance to see The Blow in concert. And Portland will finally have the opportunity to do so when The Blow returns home for the first time in more than two and half years performing the Doug Fir on Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011.

By keeping a low profile online, The Blow has only allowed access to her new material at her live gigs, and as the girl of NW origins but residing in NYC since 2008 gives OMN the run around, she’s enjoying the “chaos” of a city of 7 million, being inspired by Joan Rivers, Tina Fey and Beyoncé, and “getting pregnant” (?!), yet still misses a Portland full of friends, Powell’s, river swimming, and The Asian Reporter.

You’ve been working with Melissa Dyne, what’s her role?

Melissa Dyne is an installation and conceptual artist, and she is collaborating with The Blow. We are working together on the live performance; she is treating the venue each night as one would treat an installation, working with lighting and sound to manipulate the environment and to kind of play with the possibilities of whatever space we are performing in. We have been touring a fair amount this past year, so there has been time for our collaboration to grow and develop over time, and as we keep touring, it keeps growing. We’re also working on other elements of the greater performance project together...

Read the rest on OMN.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

the dandys still rule, ok?

After more than 15 steady years in the music biz, it may seem like The Dandy Warhols have been pushed by the wayside of the fickle frontal lobe of our pop-culture memories. It’s been a decade since their biggest and most commercially successful hits, plucked from the highly publicized, most accessible, critically lauded, and ubiquitously heard worldwide (due to use of “Bohemian Like You” in major TV commercials at home and abroad) third album, Thirteen Tales From Urban Bohemia.

Propelled to the forefront, The Dandys have not held the same high profile over the years, but, nevertheless, they’ve maintained and lost little of what they initially worked so hard to gain. The band has been dependably releasing music (new and old) under their own imprint Beat The World Records and recording themselves and friends in their home studio, The Odditorium, which occupies a quarter of a city block in NW Portland. A private club of sorts, The Dandys are known to not just rehearse in the space but also throw parties and host bands that come through town.

The Dandy Warhols have been a staple of Portland’s indie rock scene since the early ’90s frequently filling the stages of small rock clubs like Slabtown and the now gone-for-good Satyricon, where lead singer Courtney Taylor-Taylor performed his first show at age 14. And The Dandys’ guitarist Peter Holmström too played his first gig there as a member of a goth act. Who was in the audience? Only Taylor-Taylor.

After saying farewell to Satyricon in October by reuniting with original drummer Eric Hedford for a one-off gig, The Dandys are back for their annual Christmas show on Sunday, December 12th at the Crystal Ballroom (with Blue Giant opening) in the midst of a national tour hyping their latest release, a greatest hits compilation of sorts that highlights the singles from their Capitol Years plus adds one new cut, “This Is The Tide.”

Even though The Dandys’ last PDX show saw them performing only material from their first two albums (and before) and even incorporated only vintage gear (all the gear on stage was from their early days) and garb (like Taylor-Taylor in his worse-for-wear, red Enjoy Weed tee and Holmström in the jean jacket from the cover of Thirteen Tales From Urban Bohemia), this time around fans can expect a much more “greatest hits” approach and something “a little bit looser,” says drummer Brent DeBoer, compared to the rest of the stops on their current tour.

One quick listen to The Capitol Years 1995-2007 proves why The Dandys have been able to stay around; the mid-90s static-y, swirling, psychedelic haze that they helped make popular has sticking power. The only reason why you’ve maybe heard less of their distorted fuzz recently is because they did what every anti-establishment band wants to do: They dropped their label. And without the direction of a major resource like Capitol Records The Dandys have struggled navigating the modern music world. Even if record labels themselves have hit hard times, they still staff professionals who have networks and whose job it is to get a band’s music in the hands of as many people as possible. Thus, as The Dandys work on their seventh “official” studio album–”We’re recording every day that we’re not on tour,” says DeBoer–they’re also thinking about how to get it into your hands.

So, even as rock stars struggle with a changing music industry, The Dandy Warhols’ drummer Brent DeBoer, who recently moved to Melbourne but is back stateside for the tour, took some time out to dispel any myths that remain about The Dandys and The Brian Jonestown Massacre being nemeses. DeBoer simply wants to clarify that “I wish that people knew that Courtney doesn’t only talk about the music business and Anton doesn’t only kick people.”

Read the rest on OMN.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

album : madison’s dance-pop on 'the noise some people make'

It may still be a long time coming (January 11, 2011), and it may not have anything to with Oregon (except for the recent RAC remix) or even the West Coast, but Madison’s debut EP, The Noise Some People Make, is electro-hot. And it may be only four swift songs, clocking in at under 13 minutes (we have two of them for you below!), but they’re soon to be burning up the dance-pop charts across the country.

With the same spunk and blonde eye-appeal as Norway’s Annie, Madison comes to us from NYC via Miami with her self-proclaimed “high fashion for lowbrows” first exposed with sunny, faithful love on her single "#1" (below), which mixes the sexiest, breathless moments of Goldfrapp with poppier synth lines.

Thumping electro flatulence and acoustic plucks mark the opening of a building dance jam where clever, sensual lyrics coax you to keep the “Lights Low” because “this ain’t no church, there ain’t no steeple.” Although the third track “Superwoman” loses traction due to its lack of lyrical originality, it is ripe for radio play as it perfectly fits somewhere between Britney and Gaga. With posh, Kardashian talk of glitterati, money and life in the spotlight, Madison bows down at the celebutante altar. But she wins you back and then some with her Nancy Sinatra electro-twang and sultry appeal on “Hot Hot Love” (below) closing it out with a ditsy-fun cheerleader chant.

Read the rest and download two tracks on OMN.

Friday, November 26, 2010

q/a : from porto to portland : remix artist collective goes live as rac djs

If you download music, a lot of free, legal music, then your media library is full of the innumerable remixes that go along with every new release.

In the days of Napster, the internet was already overflowing with mp3s but today’s technology has made everyone with a laptop capable of remixing another and posting it for the world. Proliferating the current, over-abundant remix phenomena is strong sense of cohesion and camaraderie between up-and-coming musicians. One artist will remix another and then the second artist will cover the first artist’s hit single after he or she has just remixed somebody else, and on and on forever.

Radiohead, like they often are, were notably a frontrunner in this trend. After offering the digital download of 2007′s In Rainbows for a pay-as-you-wish price, the band released the long-awaited-to-be-recorded “Nude” as the album’s second single and immediately launched a remix competition. Offering the stems for download on iTunes, fans could obtain the individual guitar, drums, bass, vocals and strings tracks, and the final remixes were posted and voted on. It’s now become standard that everyone from U2 to John Legend to Bloc Party will have various remixes of their latest songs floating around the internet free for download.

So whether you’re following one of countless music blogs, aggregators, Stereogum, The Hype Machine, RCRD LBL, or Pitchfork’s Forkcast, you likely have a RAC Mix in your music library and you don’t even know it.

Go ahead, search your iTunes for “RAC Mix.”

Obliviously, mine turns up no less than 10 results tagged with “RAC Mix”–some for artists I’ve never even heard of (or at least don’t recall downloading a mp3 of) and some of infinitely famous acts. Some remixes have become totally ingrained into my head, so permanent that I don’t even recognize the original, the album version, as being the song the artist intended.

The reason for this is Remix Artist Collective remixes are extensions of an artist’s catalogue. From Porto to Portland to Paris and NYC, the current RAC lineup includes founder/coordinator Andre Allen Anjos, producer/engineer/mixer Andrew Maury, and songwriter/producer/DJ Karl Kling–past RAC collaborators have included Aaron Jasinksi (Seattle) and Chris Angelovski aka “Crookram” (The Netherlands). The current trio produces an amazing number of remixes–”depending on how busy we are, we will often complete a remix in 3-7 days”–but pure quantity is not what RAC is about. Their style strays from the ubiquitously generic thump-thump-thump of Oakenfold/Tiësto/Van Dyk Euro club mixes, rather aiming to reconstruct and expand upon a song’s original structure by modifying the arrangements, adding danceable, hip-hop drum samples, synth sequences, melodic hooks, and fresh instrumentation by RAC members.

From the Yeah Yeah Yeahs to Empire of the Sun and Holy Ghost!, Kings of Leon, U2, The Gossip, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, Bloc Party, Tokyo Police Club, and Ra Ra Riot to Portland’s own The Pragmatic (which includes Anjos and Kling) and Hockey, the Remix Artist Collective has remade them all. They’ve been featured everywhere, from major indie music blogs like Brooklyn Vegan to mass media outlets like AOL’s Spinner.

From production (for two years Andrew Maury was the front-of-house sound engineer for Ra Ra Riot as well as co-producing/engineering 2010′s The Orchard) to appearances in film (the soundtrack to the 2010 Sundance selection Holy Rollers), TV (Entourage, 90210), and advertising (Verizon, NBA, Coca-Cola, JCPenney), Porto, Portugal’s Andre Anjos and Portland’s Karl Kling (“officially the newest addition” to the international collective) have most recently formed RAC DJ after four years of studio remixes. Taking their impeccable tastes on the road begging this fall, the RAC DJs are back home (and home away from home) on Saturday, December 4th at Portland’s Whiskey Bar.

Read the rest on OMN.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

q/a : brent amaker + the rodeo is ‘here to kick your ass’

By nature, cowboys are badasses. Look it up in Merriam-Webster. It says: A rugged American dude that rides around on a horse ropin’ cattle, shooting pistols, and a slugging whiskey while wearing leather and a distinctive, wide-brimmed hat that ass kicker. And FREEDOM. Plus there’s a picture of John Wayne.

Now that’s a fact. So what happened to all our country cowboys?

For years, at an increasingly alarming rate, Nashville has been giving us country music about Bud Light, break ups, and tricked out pick ups. Songs are more likely to be about NASCAR than real struggle or strife–unless the salon got your highlights wrong–and freedom comes prepackaged in tacky, flag-waving odes, no longer reflections of “Prison Blues.”

Besides, where’s the excitement? The bravado, decadence, and romance embodied by a real man’s man? Where’s the Wild American West? Well it’s still here, from the wettest, northern stretches of the American West, in the form of Seattle’s Brent Amaker & The Rodeo.

The noir cowboys, forever dressed from head to toe in black, are equal parts Johnny Cash and Sergio Leone along with those dusty gems found on Tarantino soundtracks and a reputation for boisterous, whiskey-infused shows where B.A.R Brigade supporters encourage even more debauchery by emulating the Rodeo’s style. Their live sets often feature burlesque dancer Bunny Monroe or the you-gotta-be-there-to-see-it “Whiskey Baptism.” And Portland will get their chance to experience this live show that is a show, pulling as much from Devo and Bowie as classic country, when Brent Amaker & The Rodeo play the second to last date of their current tour at the Mt. Tabor Theater on Sunday, November 14th.

With cocksure confidence from three years of touring the US and Europe, B.A.R. just released their third album Please Stand By on October 19th, and on this one, Brent Amaker could almost make you believe he’s turned sympathetic, a romantic of sorts on “Garden Of Love,” until he makes you to “Saddle Up” and shut up on “Talk Talk Talk Talk Talk” like a backhand me across the face, proving he’s 100% badass on “Man In Charge” or “Sissy New Age Cowboy” (below), from their 2006 self-titled debut album and the testosterone-titled, pre-album taster Pink EP.

On Please Stand By, Brent Amaker & The Rodeo go from patriot to ring leader to Don Quixote to free wheeler to narcissist in just over 30 minutes all fueled by cheeky, pointed lyrics, but does Brent Amaker care to explain himself? Simply put: “No.”

So then, who is Brent Amaker? Is he a hardass or a softie?

Hardass, unless I’m dealing with a lady. Dudes can suck it up and handle themselves.

Read the rest and hear tracks from B.A.R. on OMN.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

road journal : q/a with nick jaina before his homecoming

The Nick Jaina Band is Nick Jaina, but really, it’s never just Nick Jaina. Constantly surrounded by shifting cast of characters, the real constant in the rotating and evolving band is the incredibly tuneful, namesake bandleader. Jaina has a penchant for alt-folk melodies that pop enough to stick in your subconscious and a knack for also evoking a heartfelt, emotional response from the same song.

With seven albums under his belt, the songwriter’s band has featured members of Loch Lomond, Laura Gibson, Jolie Holland and Y La Bamba (including friend Sean Flinn), and his latest release A Bird In The Opera House, which came out on April 13th, 2010, included the 2010 PDX Pop Now! compilation track and first album single “Sleep, Child.”

Jaina’s already been around the Western US and home (like at City Hall) with his newest, but since the beginning of October, Jaina and Co. have been enjoying the freedom of the wide open road while Jaina himself has been thinking about his next projects, including a ballet and a “new album featuring ten great women singers,” even if feeling a bit like Marty McFly at times.

Finally returning home, Nick Jaina shares the Alberta Rose Theatre’s stage with Grand Hallway and The Mukluks on Tuesday, November 16th.

Who is in the band on this tour?

This tour we’ve had John Whaley (Pancake Breakfast) on trumpet, Andrew Zilar (Lions & Eagles) on drums, William Joersz (Shoeshine Blue) on upright bass, and Thomas Paul (who plays in an eponymous band) on electric guitar. And then we found Stelth Ulvang from Denver’s Dovekins on the streets of New Orleans, shoeless and holding an accordion, so we asked him to ride with us and learn our songs.

Where have you been?

We’ve gone clockwise around the country. Across the High Plains, up into the Laurentian Upland, down through the Atlantic Seaboard Lowland Section, into the Mississippi Alluvial Plain (try the catfish Po-Boys!) back across the lower High Plains, and we’ll proceed through the agricultural bounty of the former desert known as California.

And what have you seen on this trek?

We played in a prison in Umatilla and every inmate shook my hand after the gig. We saw a harpy eagle at the Boise Birds of Prey refuge. We ran into Poppa Neutrino, the happiest man in the world, and helped him launch his home-made raft into Lake Champlain so that he could begin his two-year circumnavigation of the world. We saw where Flight 93 crashed in Pennsylvania, and toured the U.S. Capitol, where it would’ve crashed if not for the brave people on the plane.

Read the rest on OMN.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

q/a : making a living on mackintosh braun

Ian Mackintosh and Ben Braun are in tune with each other. The two finish each other’s sentences and more importantly, each other’s thoughts. Those thoughts often come in the form of sleek, interwoven electro-pop.

“We’ve worked together so much now that we finish each other’s thoughts or we think of it [the same thing] right as they’re saying it,” explains Ben.

“Yeah, we’re in that groove now where we write really well together,” adds Ian.

But being “in that groove” is nothing new. The Portland duo has been working in this fashion since 2006 when Ben’s father casually passed a tape of Ian’s music on to Ben. “I heard the music and freaked out and got a hold of Ian,” says Ben. “We linked up and pretty much hit it off. We started writing right away.”

“And working on music immediately,” continues Ian. “We had an affinity for the same things, even right off the bat. Fast forward four years now, we still have that same affinity for the same things.”

Ben moved to Portland from New York around age ten, and Ian was born in LA but “worked my way up the I-5 corridor and wound up in Portland a little after high school.” Now in their late twenties and early thirties, the two have just released their second self-produced and recorded album, but this time around they are signed to a label, the taste-making Chop Shop Records, a division of Atlantic (alongside a new LA to PDX transplant Anya Marina). Pulsating with cool, danceable electronics, Where We Are came out on September 21st and has solidified the band’s synthpop status fronted by opening single “Could It Be.”

Read the rest on OMN.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

mayer hawthorne’s new soul stands on its own

Everyone’s favorite falsetto-crooning, white-boy soul singer Mayer Hawthorne is making his way back to Portland, this time headlining his own gig at the Aladdin Theater on Tuesday, November 9th with retro-electro, ’80s R&B-funk-rap geek Gordon Voidwell opening.

The rapping, record collecting DJ fell into his current role as purveyor of hip-hopped Motown straight outta Michigan by accident. Stones Throw head honcho Peanut Butter Wolf heard some tracks of him goofing around in his bedroom and asked for an entire album. When that debut, A Strange Arrangement, dropped just over a year ago even Snoop Dogg approved.

Following his instincts, Mayer Hawthorne’s only pursuit is making original music–”just trying to make music that’s timeless”–yet kindly pays homage to the past and that past is heavily influenced by the Motown soul and Detroit jazz that Mayer grew up on. After several stops through the NW in the past year, including opening for Passion Pit at the Roseland and playing the mainstage at Sasquatch, Mayer Hawthorne and The County will side-step their way into your heart with their soulful grooves and synchronized dance steps, all rounded out with a small dose of hip-hop. We just hope there are horns this time around.

The latest cut from Mayer is “No Strings,” which was produced by Classixx, plus peep his interview-mixtape Mayer Hawthorne’s Firsts, selected by Mayer and mixed by DJ Lady Sha.

Read the rest on OMN.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

sufjan stevens stuns at the schnitz

After five years of waiting, Sufjan Stevens indulged his devout fans with 20 new songs, over 2 hours of new music in the form of an hour-long EP, All Delighted People, and a much-awaited sixth album, The Age of Adz. And as he thanked the attentively passionate Portland audience on Friday, October 29th at a sold-out Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall for their “patience and fortitude,” Sufjan acknowledged that his fans had no clue that come performance date he’d have released two new albums in the span of just two months but also that he’d be performing exclusively new material.

He expressed gratitude for the troopers in his ten-piece band and then he unleashed “the epic mini-series” of a song, the collusion and conglomeration of everything that had happened in the minutes, the hours, the days, the months, the years, and the decades leading up to the creation of The Age of Adz, which drew inspiration from the art and life of a schizophrenic Louisianan sign-maker and self-proclaimed prophet, Royal Robertson. All the self-isolation and self-destruction, the pending apocalypse and past abductions, pyschobabble and prophecy and catastrophe, love and loss, affection and affliction: The sum of all these things was a 26-minute live rendition of “Impossible Soul,” the closing track on Sufjan Stevens’ latest album. This came as the second to last song of his set (excluding encore) and after ten songs exclusively from the aforementioned albums.

Patient we were, but also captivated. The breadth of talent on that stage was absolutely entrancing and even though many came to hear tales of Illinois and Michigan (with a few no doubt crossing their fingers for a future taste of Oregon) or even delicate banjo plucking, not a soul was disappointed.

Sufjan’s jerky dance moves coaxed chuckles, his costumed props added smiles, and his Auto-Tuned vox on “Impossible Soul” may have drawn outright laughs but it was only because we were unaccustomed to such a dramatic, artistic transformation performed so perfectly. With two drummers on two drums kits–including electronic drum pads–two female back up vocalists and dancers, two and three trombonists, two on keys and piano, two on guitars (bass, electric, acoustic, banjo), and Sufjan before his lectern, the execution was impeccable. There were no loops. The intricacies of the highly electronic Adz were entirely accomplished with live instruments. The opening, ode to Paul Simon, “All Delighted People” carried tangible power for the initial eleven minutes...

Read the rest and see photos on OMN.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

janelle monáe’s archandroid reigns supreme

“You will dance or die!” announced the The ArchAndroid Janelle Monáe, her massive golden face glowing from two video screens behind her dapper band. Addressing Portland from the year 2719, the messiah android told that contrary to popularly held fears robots and humans of the future could live together in harmony. But the atmosphere quickly turned to a more primitive state. Aboriginal faces emblazoned the same screens as rapper-poet Saul William’s recorded voice set off the aforementioned “Dance Or Die.” Backs to the audience, three cloaked druid figures bobbed their conical protrusions before one revealed her face.

Throwing off her cape on Thursday night opening for of Montreal, Janelle Monáe strutted forward to tell a robo-tale and the Roseland screamed. Puffed white shoulders and an Elizabethan ruff around her neck, the girl rearranged the acts of Suites II and III from her debut studio album The ArchAndroid to a share the fictional story of a messianic android, Cindi Mayweather, a concept which is adapted from and influenced by the 1927 German-expressionist film Metropolis, as her 2007 EP was titled as such: Metropolis: Suite I (The Chase).

With her incredible afro jutting out front and drawing attention to the whites of her wide eyes, the tiny android diva commanded alone with presence and performance but shattered minds with her pipes. From soulful ballads that enraptured to impenetrable raps, Janelle Monáe’s set was seamless and theatrical complete with a Halloween vibe and costumed back up dancers–from the living dead stalking about in white-beaked, Venetian Medico Della Peste masks on “Sincerely, Jane” with arms extended to the lyrics “Are we really living or just walking dead now?” to her two girls in nun-like smocks.

Janelle Monáe’s expressions were deadpan robotic and serious while her saddle shoed moves were so perfect that they could have only been preprogrammed. From ballerina-esque poses to jittering possessed, she maintained a fluid elegance as she put her knee up and slithered deftly across the stage. The biggest shame was that most of audience on the floor could not she those toes tap. The woman needed, and deserved, a pedestal.

The show flowed continuously, telling her story as instrumental ludes from her talented boys filled the gaps between songs with selections from her album or a snippet of “The Star-Spangled Banner” ala Hendrix. A practiced duet with of Montreal’s singer Kevin Barnes on “Make The Bus” (the band appears on the recorded track) made the flamboyant Barnes look like a gawky teenager asking the belle of the ball for dance. The girl has a vision and the liquid moves to go with. Her uber-smoothness simply made Barnes seem awkward. No easy feat.

Back to “Wondaland” we went as Janelle Monáe hit...

Read the rest and see more photos on OMN.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

sufjan stevens indulges us… + himself

Sufjan Stevens has, yet again, evolved into a new beast. But there’s no mistaking that his just-released, sixth album is anything but his own. The Age of Adz (pronounced “odds”) is his first full-length album in five years and it’s announcement came just weeks after his surprise, late-August release of an EP of new material on Bandcamp.

Sufjan Stevens has been dropping hints for years, clues of his penchant for marrying electronic elements with his complexly layered symphonic compositions, especially on 2009′s multi-disciplinary project BQE (most notably on “Movement IV: Traffic Shock”) and of course on 2001′s electronic Enjoy Your Rabbit. It was only a matter of time until he put out a staggering work that combined to two.

But with the release of his digi-EP, All Delighted People, Sufjan discarded those electronic elements, yet retained his epic, balladeering nature (and many of the natural bird warbles) with the opening, title track clocking in at more than 11 minutes (“All Delighted People” was originally workshopped on Sufjan’s fall tour in 2009) and the closing track (“Djohariah,” a guitar jam-for-single-mothers) just breaking 17 minutes. The release, which was available for download the same day that its existence was announced, received mixed reviews. Many were disappointed as the EP seemed to chronicle discarded ideas (it was publicized that the EP is “a dramatic homage to the Apocalypse, existential ennui, and Paul Simon’s Sounds of Silence“), and whether it was his strongest work, worthy of release after such a lengthy wait, or not, true fans rejoiced for the insight (and chance to hear) inside his prolific mind.

Then Sufjan dropped the real bomb. Just days later, his record label Asthmatic Kitty announced the October 12th release of The Age of Adz, and with Adz, Sufjan has smoothly combined his electronic passions with his symphonic nature, replete with trilling flutes, dramatic strings, immense choral arrangements, and whispery, lulling vocals.

Creating new textures on 11 tracks, this experimental marriage is typified by the opening of the second track on Adz. “Too Much” clashes The Flaming Lips with Trent Reznor, all molded and held together by Sufjan’s folk sensibilities and cleverly delivered lyrics. (Listen and download for free on OMN.) Later in the song, the 8-bit electro jitters while a chanting chorus of female voices float behind the scenes ultimately closing with a glitchy but flutteringly symphonic (that screams of Sufjan’s distinct arrangement) run out.

Read the rest on OMN.

Friday, October 22, 2010

q/a : mnemonic sounds moves forward

Megan Ouchida and Peter Suk went to the same church as children, but Peter was several years her senior and moved away before they properly knew each other. By 2008, Megan had already released two albums of beautifully tranquil electroacoustic pop when a mutual friend shared some of Megan’s solo work with Peter. Impressed, Peter immediately befriended her and asked if Megan would sing backup on some of the recordings he was producing.

It started with the two sending tracks back and forth via email, a la The Postal Service (“but in the same city,” adds Peter). The collaboration quickly grew and they decided to record a full-length album together under the name Mnemonic Sounds. After a year and a half and the addition of two more players to supplement the live show and recordings, the band released their debut album Muscle Memories on July 22nd, 2010 with a gig at the Doug Fir.

Now Megan Ouchida (vocals, synths, guitars, bass, programming) and Peter Suk (vocals, synths, guitars, bass, programming) have teamed up with Patrick Hughes (drums, programming) and Michael Blake (lead guitar) to create warm Postal Service-esque electro-pop where the wispy, throaty harmonies of Megan intertwine with Peter’s composed masculine vox and intricate orchestrations. Delicately mesmerizing, Mnemonic Sounds’ hard work is quickly soliciting a bright future with the band recently opening for Phantogram at Mississippi Studios plus garnering licensing opportunities, radio (and phone) play, and there are more recordings coming soon.

Leave a comment on OMN for your chance to win a copy of Mnemonic Sounds' debut CD and two tickets to their gig at Backspace on Friday, October 29th with Galaxy Farm.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

big boi’s only nw stop is up north

The creative people at Seattle’s City Arts Magazine have put together an impressive, first-year festival for this weekend, and although almost all of the national acts–like She & Him, Belle & Sebastian, Gogol Bordello, Foals and more–stop through Oregon before or after their time up north, one notable act completely left our state off his current tour.

That man would be the million-monikered godfather of speedballin’ ATL rap.

Mister Antwan André Patton, one half of earth-shattering duo OutKast, graces Seattle’s Showbox SoDo stage on Saturday, October 23rd as a thirty-five-year-old solo artist with a “grown-man persona” who has now proven, with the release of his debut solo album (even though we all had no doubts), that he is one of the freshest and most innovative voices in hip-hop today, even when he’s alone.

Daddy Fat Sax aka General Patton aka Sir Lucious Left Foot aka Billy Ocean aka Francis the Savannah Chitlin Pimp aka Big Boi fought the label and won, finally releasing his solo debut, Sir Lucious Left Foot… Son of Chico Dusty, after more than a year of contractual struggles with Jive Records before dropping the album in July on Def Jam. But for months and months preceding the album’s release, Big Boi hyped up the hip-hop world leaking tracks and videos for “Shine Blockas” featuring Gucci Mane, “Fo Yo Sorrows” featuring George Clinton, Too $hort and Sam Chris, “Royal Flush” featuring Andre 3000 and Raekwon (which didn’t make the album cut), and the album’s first single “Shutterbugg” featuring Cutty (below).

And since the album’s release there’s been more video-flash with the Vonnegutt featured “Follow Us” and “You Ain’t No DJ” featuring Yelawolf. Still dripping with his Dirty South style from bounce to 808-driven basslines, Big Boi has infused more indie rock (Vonnegutt), dubstep, grunge rock guitars (“Tangerine”), space funk synths, and the lovely contrast of dirty interludes with a sexy soulful voice like Janelle Monáe (“Be Still”).

The only thing missing from his debut solo release? Notably the voice of Andre 3000. He did collaborate with his old partner in crime...

Read the rest on OMN.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

omn reveals the angry orts as the final act at our free, first anniversary party

Oregon Music News is delighted to announce that the final act celebrating our first anniversary at The Secret Society Ballroom on Tuesday, October 26th will be Portland’s bouncing indie rock quartet The Angry Orts.

Pulsing with sexuality, the dance-y rock quartet is fronted by the deliciously demanding vocals of lead singer Sara Hernandez. Leading her boys into battle with a tambourine in hand and a don’t-mess-with-me swagger, the tight band of guitarist Aaron Ettlin, bassist James Puryear, and drummer Mathew Hernandez backs her already powerful presence. Part garage singed with a bit of surf and plenty of pop that really bops and rocks, the four play with the confidence and expert cohesiveness that is only earned by putting in their time together.

Earlier this year, The Orts were featured on the 2010 PDX Pop Now! compilation (as well as playing the CD release gig), released their self-titled second, album in August, and now they just finished up a West Coast tour at the beginning of this month, which saw OMN covering their stellar San Fran gig.

With a self-proclaimed sound of: “Hot sex. For your ears.” The Angry Orts will be closing out OMN’s First Anniversary at 9:30pm following sets from the PDX Jazz All-Star Jam with vocalist Kelley Shannon, pianist Dan Gaynor, bassist Sam Howard and drummer Carlton Jackson at 7:30pm and 3 Leg Torso at 8:30pm. Spinning in between bands will be Bhangra-Bollywood beat makers DJ Anjali & The Incredible Kid.

Come celebrate our birthday on October 26th. Invite your friends, there’ll be a no-host bar and snacks courtesy of The Secret Society (next to the Wonder Ballroom) and a raffle with a chance to win some great prizes and gift certificates.

There will be cake! And the party is free!

Read this article on OMN.

Friday, October 15, 2010

road journal : q/a with starfucker’s ryan biornstad

They’ve given up silly name changes and they’ve given up on the labels that asked for those changes. They’ve given up compromising their artistic integrity and values… wait Starfucker has values?

What thankfully remains true is that Portland’s most adored indie-electro-pop darlings Starfucker will be releasing their second album under their god-given, started-as-a-joke name after inking a deal with Polyvinyl Records’ West Coast office in San Francisco.

Yet, the latest press release from their new big box publicity company officially refers to the band as STRFKR (even misspelling the new abbreviated/acronymed moniker as STFKR in the title of the email… man those letters are difficult!). Although, it seems that Starfucker long ago accepted this fate when they reverted back to their original being, using the letter mash in for their current MySpace URL ( and even allowing the family-friendly-spell-out-expletives-because-Johnny-is-too-young-to-understand-and-easily-fooled-by-comic-strip-cursing-#@$%!-approved Starf*cker.

Do you think all the past name changes have hurt Starfucker at all?

Succinctly and assuredly put: “No. It made it better,” says Ryan Biornstad.

Throughout it all, one thing has remained constant: the music. And the fact that Portland wants more of it. Playing their biggest gig to date at the Roseland Theater on Wednesday, October 20th, Starfucker has been co-headlining their current tour with the tight experimental pop of Austin’s The Octopus Project–traveling together and trading off nights as the closer depending on the city or whichever band ate the most cherry pies at lunch. Joining the tourmates are Portland disco-funk favorites Strength and indie-pop rockers Super XX Man.

OMN spoke to Ryan Biornstad on the phone from Washington DC when the band had just breached the two-week mark of their five-week tour and was heading to Philadelphia. Here’s the dish on Starfucker’s new album out in March (if they meet all their deadlines), a road diary of their creepy adventures, and a freshly “amped up” live show featuring tight new tracks off the new album. And you can bet your sweet ass that means new costumes!

Listen to the first single "Julius," available for purchase here...

Read the rest on OMN.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

dj anjali + the incredible kid to spin at omn’s free, first anniversary party

OMN is proud to announce that Portland’s longest purveyors of Bhangra-Bollywood beats will be making booties bounce at our one year anniversary party on Tuesday, October 26th at The Secret Society Ballroom (next to the Wonder Ballroom). The dance party making duo of DJ Anjali & The Incredible Kid will be spinning from doors open at 7pm until the final band, which is still to be announced.

Anjali & The Incredible Kid are best known for their well-established (now more than eight years running!) night ANDAZ, touted as “Portland’s original Bhangra/Bollywood/Urban Desi Dance Party,” which now takes place every first Saturday at Rotture after a long run at the Fez Ballroom.

Also performing on October 26th will be the PDX Jazz All-Star Jam with vocalist Kelley Shannon, pianist Dan Gaynor, bassist Sam Howard and drummer Carlton Jackson making up the core quartet. They will perform at 7:30pm followed by 3 Leg Torso at 8:30pm. Invite your friends, there’ll be a bar and snacks courtesy of The Secret Society and a raffle with a chance to win some great prizes and gift certificates.

And best of all, the party is free!

Get the rest of the details on OMN.

the dandy warhols say farewell to satyricon

As OMN published back in September, Portland is saying farewell to Satyricon… for good. The building has been bought and will be demolished to create new facilities for our city’s disadvantaged. But before the legendary rock’n'roll club (dubbed by some as CBGB of the West Coast) closes its doors on Halloween, patrons and bands will be celebrating the history of the loud, gritty music made within its walls.

And the biggest of these gigs will be The Dandy Warhols reunited. The original lineup will be in the house with The Dandys’ drummer Eric Hedford (who left the group in 1998) performing with Courtney Taylor-Taylor, Peter Holmström, and Zia McCabe on Saturday, October 16th, 2010. Bringing the house down with Swoon 23 and Sugarboom, this one-time only Dandys performance will feature select tracks from the first two Dandy Warhols’ albums… and oh man, is it ever sold out (and the limited-edition tickets feature the same Slick Willie imagery as the poster on the front as above and a grainy shot of the band with wine in hand circa-’95 on the reverse).

During it’s quarter-century, Satyricon was one of the influential clubs where The Dandys got their start in ’94 and to say farewell, they’ll grace the stage one final time in front of a mere couple hundred. (Only 240 tickets were sold for the gig.)

Read the rest on OMN.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

die antwoord : south africa’s zef, hi-nrg hip-hop

South African pop-culture doesn’t often make its way across the globe to the States but Cape Town’s Die Antwoord have quickly built a worldwide following. With more than 8 million YouTube views for their video “Enter The Ninja,” Die Antwoord visited North America for the first time as the first ever South African act to play Coachella and followed that up this summer with more North American dates, playing with two HARD dates with MIA in LA and NYC, before announcing a 13-date US tour for this fall.

Hitting Portland’s Crystal Ballroom on Thursday, October 14th, Die Antwoord has quickly taken hold of American audiences with their unmistakable brand of English/Afrikaans profane, rave rap. Afrikaans for The Answer, it’s hard to decipher what exactly the question was, but their popularity is evident when you take into consideration that MIA stops through Portland four days later at the Roseland, a venue of comparable size to the Crystal.

“Enter The Ninja” (above) samples the refrain from “Butterfly” (released by in 1998 but made famous by Dance Dance Revolution) and the video, released in 2009 by South African cinematographer Rob Malpage with Die Antwoord’s lead vocalist Ninja as the co-director, took nine months to gain any buzz but when it did, it blew up–instantly becoming an international viral phenomenon. Featuring Leon Botha, a prominent Cape Town artist and one of the world’s oldest survivors of progeria, it drew so much traffic worldwide to Die Antwoord’s official site that their hosting was disabled because of massive bandwidth overages, forcing the band to transfer to another, better equipped provider.

This sudden rise is also due to Die Antwoord’s antics. But do Die Antwoord represent a swath of modern, white South African society? They’re not so much a rap group as they are actors, adopting a coloured-Afrikaans-gangster-lower-class culture with sleek production and dirty (yet sometimes meaningful) ditties.

Read the rest on OMN.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

the ascetic junkies mature… into youthfulness

No longer singing about vampires, The Ascetic Junkies are contemplating a move to Canada because neither God nor the Devil nor even the Gov’t can answer their prayers or solve their problems.

Seriously? No, they’re not serious. They’re happy here!

Arriving in Portland in 2008 with an album in hand, the couple of Kali Giaritta and Matt Harmon put out their debut, One Shoe Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, with just two Junkies on board. But the self-proclaimed whiskey stompers quickly grew and are set to release their sophomore album This Cage Has No Bottom, an effort that features five band members and no electric guitar, as co-lead singer and songwriter Harmon likes to point out.

Like the first effort, the duo still wrote the album, but the rest of the band had a much bigger role this time around. “It was much more collaborative in terms of arrangements,” says Harmon plus the group had been playing these songs live for almost a year before recording them. Each band member had the opportunity to add his or her own flourishes, all five contributing their own ideas as the vocals, keys, glockenspiel and percussion of Kali Giaritta and vocals, guitar, keys and percussion of Matt Harmon were combined with Cole Huiskamp on bass, Graham Houser on banjo, and Stephen Colvin on drums. The album even includes contributions from Harmon’s mom and dad, on violin and trombone respectively. You can feel the intricacies. And even a little bit of maturity.

But maturity doesn’t mean you have to be stern and unsmiling. Even though there are serious themes (like the above “God/Devil/Gov’t”) throughout This Cage Has No Bottom, The Junkies will always retain their playful lyrical content and sound.

Leave a comment on OMN to win a copy of the new CD, a pint glass and two tickets the Junkies CD release gig at the Doug Fir on October 15th.

Friday, October 1, 2010

q/a : climber makes music for climber

What’s a rock star’s worst nightmare?

Growing up. It happens to us all. One morning you wake up and realize you’re getting old(er). You’re quickly approaching 30, you’ve got a wife, a house, a family, kids… and not the illegitimate, rock star kind. Gone are the days of packing up everything in van and touring the country. It’s time to reconsider what “making it” means to you.

But for Climber, “making it” means making music to please yourself. Making authentic music. And making the best music of their seven-year career.

On their third album in six years, Climber has finally found their sound with The Mystic. And it’s not one particular sound. Rather it’s an evolving soundscape of fresh experimentation full of layers that morph from rough Radiohead (“We Are the New Man”) to Muse-esque, piano-rocking balladry (“The Risk of the Middle Way”) to disconnected Menomena (“The Simians Speak”). Plus there’s the loving, meandering pop of their first single “I Have Seen Everything” (listen on here).

As they sing on the album’s second track “Stepping Into New Rooms”: “That thing isn’t giving me the thrill it used to.”

But Climber’s Michael Nelson (vocals, piano, Wurlitzer, organ, programming) has found something more substantial to give him and his band new thrills.

Read the complete interview on OMN.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

busy ‘body work’ : q/a with glass candy’s ida no and johnny jewel

Glass Candy is an analog, Italo-disco freight train boring a hole right through the center of the world. For the past 11 years, they’ve been using this tunnel to jump from one side of the world to the other, transporting a plethora of limited edition vinyl and dark, atmospheric electro-pop.

A tireless work ethic has produced everything from the early noisy, glam disco punk of Glass Candy & The Shattered Theatre to today’s guitar-less, dulcet disco dance, always fronted by the breath of Ida No’s graceful exhalations and carried by the laboriously produced beats of Johnny Jewel.

For Johnny Jewel, it’s running his own record label–Italians Do It Better with Mike Simonetti–to producing a slew of albums, tracks, artwork, remixes, mixtapes and more with other artists and bands to working through 45 or so songs with Ida No for a new Glass Candy album titled Body Work–eventually out on Italians Do It Better when everything is just right–and the list goes on. It also took the Portland duo 11 years to release their first music video, which dropped this past spring.

Johnny Jewel and Ida No are so busy they don’t have time to conquer the world. It just happened.

As often happens, Glass Candy has been everywhere in the world, sadly away from gigging around PDX for the better part of this last year, but they still feel at home in our city. And when they come home, they like to throw a party. Like this Friday, October 1st at Rotture with friends Chromatics (one of Johnny Jewel’s other projects plus it’s their first PDX show in two years!), Mike Simonetti, and Vice Device. Show starts at 9pm, $8 at the door plus there are a limited number of tickets are available at 360 Vinyl and both Jackpot Records locations.

So when will the elusive Body Work finally be released? In the meantime Glass Candy has a few other treats to tide you over, plus Johnny Jewel as Thomas Magnum on his first vacation in 15 years.

Read the complete interview on OMN.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

q/a : marius libman is copy + then some

A longtime DJ, Marius Libman began performing his one-man electronic music show in 2005 “before I owned a laptop,” says Libman. “I brought a 14-inch LCD screen, a mini-tower PC and a MIDI keyboard to the club.” Since then under the name Copy, he's armed himself with a MIDI-triggering keytar and put out two hot poppy, electronic albums on Audio Dregs, a few mixtapes, remixed artists like Panther, Ratatat, Truckasauras, and Starfucker to name a few (and they’ve remixed him as well), and held down DJ residencies all over town.

Joining the “arty dance rock” band Atole in late 2008, Libman plays the bass and recently started his own band Astrology with Charlie Salas-Humara (Panther and The Planet The) and Mark Onyx (Dinner and The Main Course). He’s also a curator of the monthly Supernature series at Rotture, which hosted LCD Soundsystem as guest DJs last May and Ratatat last week, along with Atole lead singer Manny Reyes and E*Rock.

“Aaaand I just finished up my new copy record, Hard Dream, and that’s set to come out in August.” Err, that’s what Libman said in May while he was still “fiddling” with and finalizing songs. Fast forward to September and Copy just dropped his third album in four years on the 21st and celebrated with a CD release gig last weekend at Rotture. But the all-ages affair happens this weekend at Backspace with Strength (who also just released their “darker” sophomore album earlier this month).

With a hand in many an electronic pie around town, Marius Libman spoke with OMN about his new album, his new live drummer (Andy Parker from Guidance Counselor), his new R. Kelly remix album, and his new “fast, punk-informed” band that loves to “rock out.”

Read the rest and download new tracks from Copy on OMN.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

girl talk drops three-part nye youtube documentary

Gregg Gillis aka Girl Talk spent last New Year’s Eve at Chicago’s Congress Theater with 4,500 fans. Filmmaker JP Coakley was there to capture the action, but this wasn’t your normally inflated $30+ gig because it was NYE.

No, it looked like this:

Get the rest on OMN.

Friday, September 17, 2010

rsvp only riverboat gamblers at satyricon

As you've likely heard, Portland's famed scummy rock 'n' roll club Satyricon is closing it's doors. This time for good as it is destined to be demolished by the neighboring MacDonald Center, which plans to build new facilities for our city’s disadvantaged.

But before it disappears, Satyricon has planned one hell of a month of goodbye gigs in October including intimate--we mean less than 300 person--performances from The Dandy Warhols rocking with original drummer Eric Hedford plus other shows from Richmond Fontaine, Quasi, and Pierced Arrows. Get the complete schedule here.

Starting the celebration a bit early this Sunday, September 19th, you can get in to see the Riverboat Gamblers and Authority Zero for free by RSVP only. Do it now.

Read this article on

audio-visual : ratatat's sold-out romp through the crystal

Like the rise of the laptop DJ, you might worry that two heavily produced, instrumental electronic rockers wielding guitars might get repetitive after a handful of songs on stage. Even actively listening to 40+ consecutive minutes of Ratatat’s instrumentation on album can get monotonous (if you’re not listening to one of their hyphy hip-hopped remix albums). But there’s a reason that Ratatat proclaims their genre is: “Visual / Visual / Visual.” They know how to adapt their instrumentation to the stage, whether or not you are on something chemical.

Selling out the Crystal Ballroom on Thursday night, a steady bongo drum rhythm between sets had the seriously antsy crowd clapping and stomping in preparation for the duo’s overdue appearance on stage. As glittering champagne-like starbursts bubbled on the blue projection screen, Evan Mast and Mike Stroud finally emerged and after a brief intro, the ballroom exploded. Ripping into reverberating riffs on the guitar and bass, Ratatat had the entire place immediately pogoing. Hunched, hair cascading over their faces, the twin silhouetted, long-sleeved duo ground through over an hour of wild instrumentation that captivated the dancing crowd.

With a row of colored Lite-Brite-like boxes stretching the length of the stage behind, flashing patterned X’s, and two clear plastic vertical screens flanking either side, Ratatat remained in the darkness letting the lights perform. Their latest album LP4 features a string quartet rather than their traditional Mellotron but playing strings live were their virtual avatars–hologram projections of themselves in garb out of Mozart’s closet, topped with powdered wigs, wearing sunglasses, and reading sheet music–synced with the samples. Water splashes, sparks and sparklers filled the screen as the fierce “Wildcat” flashed with every cat call (like the cover art to Classics), this white bird jived multiplied (like the cover art to LP4), and jungle scenes ranged from the tranquil “Mahalo” (here) to fireball explosions and infrared heat sensations with Predator Arnold on “Mirando.”

Read the rest on OMN.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

scissor sisters cut the roseland

Lady Gaga should take notes from the Scissor Sisters. All the pent-up flamboyant energy that wasn’t satiated by her Portland show has been building inside–unable to be satisfied by hyper-sexualized dancehall reggae nor hordes of emotionally dramatic indie rock. Not even metal can whet this appetite. No, this urge must be satisfied by ravenous glam-disco-rock clubbers who know how to give an audience exactly what they want, over and over again–all night long.

Before the Scissor Sisters stepped on stage Tuesday night until after the unwelcome lights came back on, the Roseland was one constant scream. Like giddy little girls prying for their momma’s attention, everyone from 30-somethings on a girls night out to couples of all orientations and ages gyrated with abandon as the instantly infectious dance party barreled forward on stage.

Lead singers and decadent performers Jake Shears and Portland’s own daughter Ana Matronic shared the spotlight on a stage perpetually hued in shades of pink and rosé, purples and blues. When absolutely everybody wasn’t singing along to every word, they were screaming, uvulas exposed, for the front freaks’ choreographed dance moves–especially Ana Matronic’s robotic jerks–or the sweat dripping down Shears rippled, bare chest during his sexy calisthenics or Del Marquis’ untamable guitar licks. Blinding white and toxic green lasers blanketed the crowd and thunderous applause followed every song as Scissor Sisters shared cuts from all three of their albums with an emphasis on their latest Night Work.

In her bust-revealing, black plastic dress and red side do, Ana Matronic was excited as ever to be home and Portland was thrilled to have her briefly back. She bantered between songs, every sentence unnecessarily drawing massive cheers, but she did put a smile on every face when she said, “My family has been keeping Portland weird for decades” as she announced that her mom was in the balcony–the one wearing the t-shirt that read: "Mama Matronic."

Read the rest on OMN.