Wednesday, May 30, 2012

mfnw announces 2012 festival lineup : girl talk, passion pit, beirut...

If you just returned from Sasquatch, you may have caught a few of the 2012 MFNW headliners at the Gorge. That and you may not be ready for another festival already.

Don't fret, the 12th annual edition of MusicFestNW doesn't start till September 5th. And it'll run until September 9th in venues across town. Plus, it's heavy on the hometown acts.

There's no full schedule yet but we do know that the three nights of music in Pioneer Courthouse Square include Beirut (Friday, September 7th), Girl Talk (Saturday, September 8th), and Silversun Pickups (Sunday, September 9th)—for your Sassy reprise. And Passion Pit kicks off the fest at the Crystal on Wednesday, September 5th plus plays a second show on Thursday, September 6th.

Other artists with dates attached include Old 97's performing Too Far To Care in its entirety at the Roseland and Trampled By Turtles at the Aladdin on Thursday, September 6th. Friday, September 7th brings The Helio Sequence to the Crystal, Yelawolf to the Roseland, and Trampled By Turtles (again) at the Aladdin. And Saturday, September 8th is Typhoon at the Aladdin, Dinosaur Jr. at the Roseland, and The Tallest Man on Earth at the Crystal. Advance tickets for all of the above can be found on Cascade Tickets.

Read the rest and get the full lineup on OMN.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

deconstructing ‘the wall’ : roger waters live in portland

"It's meant to be a piece of theater. Don't really look upon it as rock 'n' roll—this is theater," Roger Waters said of his The Wall Live in a 2011 video interview previewing the record-smashing, current tour.

So when a series of red flares shot skyward before Waters and a cast of 11 musicians set foot on the Rose Garden stage on Tuesday, May 22nd, the two-plus hour show (intermission included) was not a concert. It was a monumental spectacle of gargantuan puppets, dazzling 3D projections, scorching pyrotechnics, and costumed actors all set to the soundtrack of one the world's most enduring rock operas: The Wall.

If you really want the comprehensive play-by-play of the show, Wikipedia gives you as many details as you could ask for. But experiencing The Wall Live is like no other concert you've seen before—or will ever see again.

The bar has been set—even though the set list was a given, many of the images were familiar, and even the action on stage was predictable for any Pink Floyd fan lucky enough to have witnessed one of the 31 original The Wall Tour shows in Los Angeles, New York, Dortmund or London or aficionados privy to subsequent documentaries or bootleg footage.

Now 30 years later, Roger Waters literally resurrected The Wall for a second U.S. and Canadian leg. And on Tuesday, as The Wall was constructed in Portland, Waters revised the original 1979 message of isolation to emphasize governmental and social issues: war, terrorism, capitalism, poverty, and hunger—slashing each with a big red X.

The message, principally projected across the white wall, encouraged unity while empathizing with others and feeling raw emotion—within ourselves and recognizing it in others, whether they were sitting next to us in the arena or suffering half a world away.

Waters says the modern production "substitute[s] the word wall for the word border"—both national and ideological borders—and our ability to communicate across them. So, amongst the gunfire, Nazi-inspired soldiers, and illusory helicopters sweeping through the arena's audio channels, there were also sincerely touching displays of grief and compassion, loss and love as the faces of fallen family members—soliders, women in headscarves, children, and most notably the Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes who was shot in the head seven times at Stockwell Road Tube station in London—lost in conflicts were displayed during the "The Thin Ice" and intermission.

Read the rest on OMN.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

omn's guide to the 2012 sasquatch! music festival

Festivals around the nation are adding days—or in Coachella's case an entire, identical weekend—and still selling out faster than ever, all while streaming their performances live from the location. And new ones for EDM kids and bassheads, indie hipsters and rock'n'rollers are cropping up every year.

Sasquatch was proud in declaring the addition of a fourth day of music last year (Friday), and they'll continue the trend this year with what is a loaded half-day on Friday, May 25th. Plus, the Gorge Amphitheatre built a new stage, which is dubbed The "Maine" Stage, that now sits on the sloping hill behind the bowl. It'll feature 12 acts over the four days, primarily NW hip-hop. (KEXP has a nice roundup of the NW beats here.) Festival creator Adam Zacks explains the idea:

"Last year, there was a new, relatively modest sized stage installed at the epicenter of the Gorge property that we wanted to make use of. Since a lot of hip-hop uses minimal gear it seemed a logical use of the space, and a way to be more inclusive of Seattle’s hip-hop scene."

Celebrating a decade last year, the 2012 Sasquatch! Music Festival at the Gorge spans this Memorial Day weekend, Friday, May 25th through Monday, May 28th, and will bring more than 100 acts to its five stages including 10+ Portland-based groups.

If you didn't get your hands on tickets this year, check in with us on OMN as we publish daily updates and video interviews from the fest, and follow our stream of consciousness on Twitter. And speaking of streams, you can catch some Sasquatch from home as 94.7 FM will be broadcasting private performances and interviews with bands like Blitzen Trapper, Santigold, Metric, Greylag, The Head and the Heart, Joy Formidable, Fun., and more.

Now, here are our picks, plus a roundup of the bass offerings at this year's fest:

Friday, May 25th

The first do-not-miss set of the fest comes at 6:30pm on Friday from the creative hotbed of the Midwest in the form of Poliça (pronounced po-lisa). Even with the names Bon Iver (Mike Noyce is featured on the record) and GAYNGS (Ryan Olson is the mastermind producer behind the beats) attached to the act, vocalist Channy Leaneagh (formerly Casselle) is plenty deserving of the attention she's been receiving. And although neither of the two aforementioned men tour with Poliça, she's found a more-than-adequate backing band to support her electro-R&B vocals, which are delicately manipulated and Auto-Tuned with mesmerizing effect. Just check out "Lay Your Cards Out" featuring Bon Iver's Mike Noyce on vocals:

The oft-Diplo-produced Santigold came back in 2012 with her second album, which also featured production from Q-Tip, Boyz Noize, Buraka Som Sistema, Switch, and Ricky Blaze—who contributed to the record's second single, "Disparate Youth"—watch it here.

The only Portland band playing on opening day will get the family-friendly, festival treatment on the billing: STRFKR. Proudly claiming as Starfucker as our own, check OMN's interview with bassist Shawn Glassford from last week and enjoy the vid for "Bury Us Alive" from 2011's Reptilians here.

Get the rest of our picks on OMN.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

8 tips on doing your due diligence before hiring your first employee

This is the final installment in a series about the steps small business owners need to take before hiring their first employee.

If you’ve already taken a hard look at your business and determined the right time to hire your first employee as well as figured the value your time, you’ve done the heavy lifting.

"For a sole proprietor or someone who has a boutique, there's really not a lot invested in bringing in that first person,” Bill Horton, a small business coach at BizFix and educator for Mercy Corps NW, says. "They can usually find somebody from a referral from their friends, or maybe they're using Craigslist or LinkedIn to put out a post with a very brief job description."

Horton believes the initial time investment of finding that first employee “is really minimal” compared to the emotional consideration of categorizing what tasks can be done by an employee and then handing over the reins. “The hardest thing for them [business owners] to decide is what do they need—what's the actual job description for bringing a new employee in; what's that other person going to do," he says.

And how are you, the business owner, going to let someone else sit in the driver’s seat—at least as far as some designated tasks are concerned.

The rest is simply a checklist of legal and technical requirements, and Neighborhood Notes has compiled a list which will provide you with all of the resources you need to comfortably and lawfully hire your first employee.


  1. Write a specific job description. Before you can think about searching for the perfect employee that has all the right skills, you need to clearly define on paper what skills you are seeking. This will help you set expectations for your new hire while allowing you to relinquish control of certain aspects of your businesses. More on writing effective job descriptions here.

  2. Next, write an effective employment agreement. You’ll likely need consult a lawyer to define the exact areas that relate to your business and industry, but here’s an example of a basic agreement as well as some tips on writing an employee handbook.

Get six more tips and some final advice on hiring your first employee on Neighborhood Notes.

Monday, May 21, 2012

neighborhood branding : determining what to change + how

This is the second article in a series about neighborhood branding. In the first article we explored outsiders’ perceptions of your neighborhood and began to think about how we can change misperceptions. We will now continue to dig deeper into the process of changing the perception of your neighborhood.

Potentially dubbed the "Independent Republic of St. Johns" or the "Best Little Town in Portland," the St. Johns Main Street Coalition is currently working to brand its community.

“Branding is more than a logo,” the coalition states. “It’s a long-term journey of discovery that unleashes who your community is, what your community does, and how it communicates to potential consumers.”

But branding is not simply about communicating to customers. It’s also about creating a shared identity in your community between neighborhood associations and business districts. Your brand is something the whole neighborhood can stand behind and share with outsiders saying: “This is what it means to live, work and play in St. Johns.”

Why Would It Be In Your Best Interest To Rebrand Your Neighborhood?

“Some neighborhoods in the city are not as well known as others, [some] have kind of gotten lost over the years, [some] are victims of sometimes negative reputations or are simply not clearly defined,” explains Jeff Fisher of LogoMotives. “Branding one’s neighborhood offers an opportunity to create a verbal and visual identity, reintroduce a community, instill pride in the residents, and make the place known to others in the city.

“Such branding does increase the public awareness and positive perceptions of specific neighborhoods and business districts throughout the City of Portland,” Fisher continues. “Many individuals have never even heard of some neighborhoods in which residents have enormous personal pride. Logos, banners, bumper stickers, T-shirts, signage, neighborhood business or walking maps, and other graphic elements may be very effective in introducing and informing the public about the location, history and attributes of a neighborhood. At the same time, resident pride in their own neighborhood may be enhanced.”

But don’t think you can simply put banners on your light poles and logo decals in storefront windows to make people view your neighborhood differently. Branding is a huge undertaking that requires the input of your neighbors, the local business community, and even outsiders.

But where do you start? Learn how to begin the process of changing your neighborhood’s perceptions as well as how to work with your community and business district on Neighborhood Notes.

Friday, May 18, 2012

starfucker at branx + sasquatch: a q/a with shawn glassford

Portland's dearest electro-dance makers Starfucker are about to embark on their longest hiatus from the stage.

It's well deserved as this last year saw them crisscrossing the States several times, making new fans, selling out shows, and changing a few band and touring members along the way, all while playing to the biggest audiences of their careers—and impressing those crowds as they did at San Francisco's Outside Lands and Seattle's Bumbershoot.

As the band hunkers down in a house at the beach in Astoria and a few other studios, the current lineup of Josh Hodges, Keil Corcoran, Shawn Glassford, and Patrick Morris (formerly of Strength) will continue to slowly craft what they expect to be their third record, a double LP. Planning to take "our sweet ass time," as Glassford exclaims, don't expect the record anytime soon. "It probably won't come out until 2013," he says.

Until then, what'll likely be your last chances to catch Starfucker on NW stages for a while are coming up: Catch the boys with Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Wampire at Branx on Thursday, May 24th, and then at Sasquatch up in the Gorge, if you're heading that way. STRFKR will be on the Banana Shack stage on Friday, May 25th from 7:45pm to 8:30pm.

OMN recently caught up with Starfucker bassist Shawn Glassford to chat about last year, this year and the new recording.

You guys toured like crazy last year. I feel like you were constantly on the road, selling out more shows across the country and playing bigger and bigger festivals each time I checked in with you. What stands out from the time you spent on the road supporting Reptilians?

The one show that stands out the most is the Outside Lands Festival in San Francisco last August. That was a super special one for us. Not only was it the largest crowd that we had ever played for, but we had also just made some major changes with the band, and it felt like a whole new beginning. There was definitely some crazy magic in the air that day.

What do or don't you miss about the road and touring?

I miss being busy all the time when we're not on the road, and the hectic nature of traveling [to] shows. I thrive in hectic situations. Though, I do love checking out and not having shit to do. It's really hard to get into any routine when we're home for less than a month at a time, so I end up being kind of lazy when not on tour. Which I love/hate.

You've mostly taken this winter/spring off and holed up in Astoria to record. Why Astoria? Who's house is it?

Josh was out there for a couple months. It's a mutual friends house, up on the hill. The four of us we're all there for about three weeks working on recording stuff. It was a beautiful house that ended up being very magical and inspiring. Hopefully we can go back there someday. Astoria is a special place.

Listen to the original demo recording of "Astoria" from Starfucker's last album Reptilians. This track along with the other demos from the Reptilians sessions were recently released on vinyl for Record Store Day 2012 under the name Heaven's Youth, the original title of their second album:

Read the rest on OMN.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

introducing ramona falls' 'prophet' : now featuring 30 fewer musicians!

Synthesized from innumerable hours of Deeler sessions between four principal members, don't assume that the process for creating the second effort from ex-Menomena member Brent Knopf was any simpler because the physical number of people involved decreased.

"For the first Ramona Falls record [Intuit], I asked about 35 friends and family to spend about three hours each with me recording some ideas," Knopf says. "This time around, Ramona Falls actually is a four-piece and so I wanted to incorporate the band members as much as possible in the process."

Sonically, Brent Knopf's latest creation is as complicated as ever. Influenced by the dark, orchestral sounds of '80s, Prophet is informed by the music of Talk Talk and the songwriting of Depeche Mode's Martin Gore, plus a dash of Tears For Fears as well as the contemporary UK band Micachu and the Shapes.

In early 2011, Knopf walked away from his lauded and successful band of more than a decade to focus on this project. While he has definitely felt some insecurity since, Ramona Falls has allowed Knopf to feel "a little more okay exploring some more absurd sides of myself" as well as revive some songs "that didn't survive the Menomena process last time around."

That said, while Knopf's individual process may have a strong emphasis on collaboration, his approach to recording is undeniably involved.

Listen to Prophet's first single "Spore" (plus stream the whole album here):

Once again at the computer utilizing Deeler, a program of his own design, which was also used to compile Menomena records like Mines and Friend and Foe, Knopf and band mates Paul Alcott (drums), Matt Sheehy (guitar) and Dave Lowensohn (bass) recorded much of the album remotely, employing Dropbox to share music, constantly "adding ideas to the pile" from their respective locations.

Knopf describes Deeler as "a party in my mind, only it stores ideas on a computer," but more technically, it's a looping, compositional software that allows Knopf capture, organize, determine the best segments, and then piece together the pile of samples into a coherent, cohesive song.

Read the rest and watch a video interview with Brent Knopf on OMN.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

choosing the right social media platform for your business

Twitter or Facebook? LinkedIn, Instagram, Foursquare, Tumblr, Pinterest, Google+, or even MySpace?

The options can be overwhelming (don't click here unless you want your head to spin), especially if you don't even recognize a few of the above names, let alone understand what function they serve. So, which one should you choose?

"Fish where the fish are," Ben Lloyd, the president of Amplify Interactive, says. And although he admits that it's not always easy to figure out where your audience already is, he offers some advice to help you identify the social media platform/network that your brand, business or product should be utilizing.

What Is Your Audience Already Using?

You may already have a rough idea, or even the perfect picture, of who your customers are, but what social media are they using?

Begin by simply searching mentions of your brand or business on different social media platforms or use a handy tool like Social Mention, which provides "real-time social media search and analysis." Also, consider your search terms. Think beyond your brand name, because a category or location may be important if you're a restaurant or bar located in a specific part of town. People may not specifically search for your name but they might query "Thai food Portland," Lloyd says.

There are likely people already out there talking about (or mentioning) you!

Lloyd says, "Even if it's not a lot, but just a few times that's probably a strong indication that there's a strategy or audience for you there."

Since they are already there talking, they would likely love it if you joined the conversation. So, how do you do that?

Learn how to create accounts, interact, build an audience and more on Neighborhood Notes.

Monday, May 7, 2012

thinking local : is economic gardening the right approach for job growth in portland?

Job growth in Portland comes from local, small businesses.

As demonstrated in the last installment of Thinking Local, a discussion of “Job Creation Not Relocation,” resident companies are growing considerably while nonresidents are losing jobs—that’s negative job creation.

In a 10 year period from 1999 to 2009, existing Portland companies grew by 63.6 percent while nonresidents (headquartered outside of Portland) declined by 8.9 percent, according to the National Establishment Time Series database. During this time, Portland-based small businesses with less than 10 employees were the only net job creators, adding 113,630 jobs.

So, it seems only logical to ask: How can we continue to stimulate local, small business?

Beyond traditional government subsidies, loans and educational opportunities, a group of Oregon lawmakers, dubbed the Grow Oregon Council, have stepped in with an innovative, entrepreneurial approach to economic development called economic gardening.

What Is Economic Gardening?

The seeds of economic gardening began growing in Littleton, Colo., in 1987 with a project kicking off in 1989 “with the idea that ‘economic gardening’ was a better approach for Littleton (and perhaps many other communities) than ‘economic hunting,’” recounts Christian Gibbons, the City of Littleton’s Director of Business/Industry Affairs, in his history of economic gardening.

“By this, we meant that we intended to grow our own jobs through entrepreneurial activity instead of recruiting them,” he continues. “The idea was based on research by David Birch at MIT that indicated the great majority of all new jobs in any local economy were produced by the small, local businesses of the community. The recruiting coups drew major newspaper headlines but they were a minor part (often less than 5 percent) of job creation in most local economies.”

Over the next two decades, Littleton nearly doubled jobs (from 15,000 to 27,000) and the sales tax revenue tripled (from $6 million to $20 million) while the population only grew by 23 percent. All this and the city’s industries diversified.

How did economic gardening achieve all this?

Find out about the education, intelligence and mentorship need to stimulate economic gardening as well as what's happening in Oregon and how to get involved on Neighborhood Notes.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

hitting the jackpot, twice : two pdx music industry institutions celebrate 15 years

"Jackpot! Recording Studio opened in February 1997," owner/engineer Larry Crane says. "We didn’t know each other, but I think I’d seen Isaac at Django’s downtown."

"I opened the first Jackpot Records store on SE Hawthorne Boulevard in October 1997," owner Isaac Slusarenko recalls. "I don’t think I had met Larry yet, but I knew of him through my brothers and that he had worked on music with a lot of people I knew."

"I knew his brothers Nate and Chris fairly well," Crane continues, "and had even offered to fill in on bass for their band Svelte on a EU tour that spring, though that didn’t happen. While they were on tour I opened the studio. Nate called me one day after that, and I said, 'What’s your brother’s problem? He stole my name,' and Nate said it was his fault but that everything was in motion."

It was Nate's "fault" because he "came up with the name Fabulous Jackpot Records based around Las Vegas-inspired designs for the interior" and "also designed our logo," Slusarenko explains.

"So we just agreed to cooperate. I met Isaac and he sold me some Pink Floyd albums and everything was okay," Crane adds.

And that's been that. Now fifteen years later, who could've imagined the impressive and varied contributions the two homegrown, homologously named establishments would have on Portland's music industry, scene and culture?

Crane's studio has hosted greats from the NW and beyond like R.E.M., Eddie Vedder, M. Ward, Portland Cello Project, Death Cab, Sonic Youth, Sleater-Kinney, Spoon, The Shins, Stephen Malkmus, The Decemberists, The Gossip, Wild Flag, Quasi, and most importantly Elliott Smith, while Slusarenko's stores have sold these records, hosted many of the bands (and hundreds more) at in-store performances, and re-issued rarities, unreleased tracks and new music from The Wipers, Jandek, Dave Depper and Crock on the Jackpot Records imprint.

Fifteen years in, Crane and Slusarenko only share a name and a friendship, having not “cross-pollinated” over the years, according to Slusarenko.

"This anniversary party is the first project we’ve done together," Slusarenko says.

Slusarenko is referring to the show he and Crane will throw at the Bagdad Theater on Friday, May 18th featuring performances from a cast of Portland artists that have recorded at Jackpot! Recording Studio, or released records on Jackpot Records, or simply had albums for sale at the record stores. The lineup includes Quasi, The Minus 5, System and Station, Alialujah Choir, Perhapst (John Moen of The Decemberists), Dave Depper (Loch Lomond), and Blue Skies For Black Hearts.

OMN had the chance to catch up with both Crane and Slusarenko as their 15th anniversary approached. Discussing not just the party but also the history of the two establishments as well as current and future plans, the following is a combination of the two conversations.

After 15 years of running your respective businesses, do you guys feel like you've contributed something significant to the Portland music scene?

Larry Crane: Absolutely. I felt like a certain niche of studio was missing in 1997 and we [Jackpot! Recording Studio] filled it. So many great local records have been done here, and when people compile lists of best Northwest albums, stuff we worked on is all over that list. I think Isaac has done a great job of presenting a curated record store. If you look at my three favorite stores in town, Music Millennium carries a large stock of everything, Jackpot has more indie/psyche/soul/collector stuff, and Exiled Records has the wildest shit and a ton of vinyl. I go to them all and am friends with the owners.

An important thing to me is to respect the past of Portland's music history, but to also understand that everything moves forward. New music is being created all the time, and it could end up being as important as anything from our past. We have to be aware of this, nurture it and support it. The last thing I wanna be is some old guy sitting in my studio rattling on about the glory days. I do have a fondness for some events of 15 years ago, but I'm always excited to work with new artists and treat them all with respect and care.

Isaac Slusarenko: Yes. The Jackpot Records record label started with reissuing Beauregarde's self-titled [Beauregarde] on vinyl. Beauregarde was a well-known Portland wrestler who wrote, sang and created this psychedelic soul masterpiece back in 1971. It doesn’t get much more obscure than that. We have reissued The Wipers' catalog on vinyl, the first time [it's been available] since 1978. The Wipers influence is still being seen in Portland bands and beyond. We also have The New Dawn's There’s A New Dawn from 1970 and Salem, OR, on CD and an upcoming a vinyl release.

For the current Portland scene we have released Dave Depper's The Ram Project, Crock's Grok, New Original Sonic Sound (self-titled), and Deep Fried Boogie Band RSD 2012 7-inch. The Jackpot Records stores are constantly changing. We’re a resource for Portlanders to learn about music.

Were you ever concerned about branding problems? And over the years, have there been any issues because of the similarity of the two names?

IS: Nah. I don’t think either of us think it’s a problem. We’ve joked about it for years. It’s kind of flattering no matter which way you go; it’s like a mutual appreciation society. We both get phone calls occasionally, but it’s been a while.

LC: We used to get calls from old folks trying to get rid of their valuable Perry Como albums, but not much these days. We always set callers straight, and I know Jackpot Records does too. The most amazing thing was when the owner of a record store that used to be in Isaac’s first space called me and told me to sue Isaac! I was mortified.

IS: With our websites, people can usually figure out the difference between the studio and the stores, however, the perception is still out there. Like an urban legend.

Read the rest on OMN.