Posts from — July 2008
Last weekend, we ventured down to The 4 Peaks Festival outside of Bend in Tumalo, Oregon. One of the most pleasant surprises of the weekend was Poor Man’s Whiskey. Hailing from the greater Bay Area, the 7 piece group showed us their versatility throughout the course of several sets over the weekend. Their first set featured lots of pickin and bluegrass ramblings and showcased some great songs from frontman Josh Brough including the hilarious “Beer Goggle Blues” that had the crowd dancing and laughing simultaneously.
July 31, 2008 No Comments
PDX Pop Now! kicks off this evening. This is the 5th year for the nationally heralded 3-day festival as well as the compilation of local bands and outreach programs that this truly unique non profit organization curates. The festival schedule is below. Thanks so much for supporting local music in Portland!
Friday, July 25th
6:00-6:30pm, Love Menu
6:40-7:10pm, The Rainy States
8:05-8:35pm, Tu Fawning
8:45-9:15pm, Guidance Counselor
10:50-11:20pm, Nick Jaina
11:30-12:00am, Devin Phillips Band
12:10-12:40am, The Builders and the Butchers
Saturday, July 26th
12:00-12:30pm, The Revisions
12:40-1:10pm, Chris Robley & the Fear of Heights
1:20-1:50pm, Swim Swam Swum
2:05-2:35pm, Y La Bamba
2:45-3:15pm, The Tenses
3:25-3:55pm, Andy Combs and the Moth
5:30-6:00pm, A Ghost’s Face Two Inches From Your Own Face
6:15-6:45pm, Eskimo and Sons
6:55-7:25pm, The SubArachnoid Space
9:00-9:30pm, Blind Pilot
9:40-10:10pm, Living Proof
10:25-10:55pm, Portland Cello Project
11:05-11:35pm, Loch Lomond
Sunday, July 27th
12:00-12:30pm, Wooden Indian Burial Ground
12:40-1:10pm, World’s Greatest Ghosts
1:20-1:50pm, Meth Teeth
2:05-2:35pm, Podington Bear
4:50-5:20pm, Experimental Dental School
5:30-6:00pm, Bark Hide and Horn
6:15-6:45pm, A Weather
6:55-7:25pm, Dragging an Ox Through Water
7:35-8:05pm, JonnyX and the Groadies
8:20-8:50pm, Pure Country Gold
9:00-9:30pm, Eat Skull
9:40-10:10pm, White Fang
10:25-10:55pm, The Warfield Experience
11:45-12:15am, Norfolk & Western
12:25-12:55am, New Bloods
July 25, 2008 No Comments
Check out the recent MTV video about PDX! “We traveled to Oregon to talk to Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks, the Thermals, M. Ward and others about the city’s eclectic sound.”
July 24, 2008 No Comments
King Black Acid and the Sacred Heart played to a sold out crowd last Saturday at Doug Fir, and as expected delivered a raucous set of new material that was a departure from much of their earlier work. We were very impressed with the new direction of the band and hope to see them go into the studio and schedule more shows soon.
The band posted this thank you on their Myspace page on Monday:
A real heartfelt thanks to all of you who went to our first King Black Acid and the Sacred Heart show Sat.July 19th at Doug Fir. The energy was awesome from you guys and you really made us feel great. To all the crazy people that screamed out stuff like “your drummer ate my baby” and “Jeff is a fucking warlock” and “punch it with your magic” and of coarse my favorite was the girl right in front who kept screaming “you’re hot like a fucking lazer beam”. Who says that shit? You guys are awesome! Thank you. I’m sure you could tell we were very nervous, being our first show as a real band and all. That banter made us realize that we were there to have fun and play some kick ass music. We hope all you folks had as much fun as we did. Sorry to anyone who could not get in. The door sold out and the club told us they had to turn some folks away. I hope those folks come next time so we can “punch you with our magic” , as one fan put it. Many thanks to the Doug Fir staff who took great care to make sure we had an awesome show. Thanks also to David Walker who wrote the piece in the W.W. He knows I’m “reality challenged” and he ran with it.
Here are a few pics from the show:
July 23, 2008 No Comments
Tucson’s Calexico will release their 6th record Carried to Dust on September 9th. Cofounders Joey Burns and John Convertino once again called upon on a varied cast of musicians to create a record which they are calling “arguable their most varied and strongest work to date”. Carried to Dust features the same core lineup that played on Feast of Wire (Paul Niehaus, Jacob Valenzuela, Martin Wenk, Volker Zander), along with a number of guests, including Sam Beam, Douglas McCombs, and Pieta Brown.
July 23, 2008 No Comments
If you go out and see live music in Portland very often, its likely you’ve seen Scott McCaughey, PBR in hand, rocking out next to you. He isnt too hard to find, with his floppy grey hair, beard, and his trademark dark shades always on. However, even though he can be easily spotted, he still remains relatively anonymous considering he records and tours the world with one of America’s most famous bands. When he is not on tour with R.E.M. and is not out checking out a show around town, he can be found on stage playing in one of his other musical projects: The Minus 5, The Young Fresh Fellows, The Baseball Project, KMRIA, Tuatara, and many others.
Scott was kind enough to take a few minutes to answer some questions for us during some downtime on R.E.M.’s European tour.
B.O.O.B.: When we met, you mentioned to me that you have lived in Portland for 4 years and in Seattle for over 20 years. What inspired you to make the move south?
SM: Well, just personal stuff really. I mean, I wasn’t forsaking the big league Mariners for the Beavers and Triple A! Ha, though I do enjoy going to the Beavers games. But I’d like it even better if the seating rules were a little looser and the beer was cheaper.
SM: I’d just agree with you that there are a lot of good bands in Portland. Of course, there have been (and still are) in Seattle over the last 20 years too. I liked what I felt was a lack of competitive hijinks between bands in Seattle in the 80s. People who loved music just enjoyed the kinship of being in bands, whether struggling or successful. So you had really popular bands like the Presidents of the United States of America and Pearl Jam taking “less successful” bands like the Young Fresh Fellows or the Fastbacks out on tour with them. And it’s pretty similar in Portland these days. Just a lot of cross-pollinating, people showing up to sit in with their friends’ bands, etc. Play connect-the-dots with Weinland, Norfolk & Western, the Decemberists, Laura Veirs, M.Ward, Fernando, Richmond Fontaine, Little Sue, The Minus 5, Casey Neill, Dr. Theopolis, Delorean, etc etc. It’s great — I feel really honored to have been able to become a part of it!
B.O.O.B.: Who are some of your favorite emerging artists in Portland?
SM: See above — some are emerging and some have long emerged, or in the case of the Minus 5, submerged, ha! I love Derby. Loch Lomond blow me away every time I see them. Then there’s Laura Gibson, Mike Coykendall, Minmae, Eux Autres, the great Menomena, Point Juncture WA, The Family Gun, The Nice Boys, damn, I’m sure there are plenty I’m forgetting right now. But I’m in Italy, so what the hell. I’ve barely seen Portland the last three four months…
B.O.O.B.: Let’s talk about R.E.M. for a moment. Can you give us a little background on how you came to be a part of the band and what role you play in the studio and on stage live? Do you contribute to the songwriting process?
SM: I joined up in 1994, when the Young Fresh Fellows had committed to our long, interminable decline. (HA HA, look for a new YFF album this winter! No shit — and it smokes.) Let’s say I had the time, and Peter and I were already performing and recording together a lot at that point, as the Minus 5 was sort of shape shifting itself into a living breathing entity. R.E.M. was gearing up for a huge mega-rock tour, and there was an available slot for a guy who could pound on an assortment of instruments, drink fine wine, find himself humorous, and sleep in a rolling fortress. I fit the bill, though I don’t think I slept much.
As for the music, I contribute to the arranging process. The main musical ideas come from Peter and/or Mike, the lyrics are up to Michael, and Bill Rieflin and I construct our parts as we go, to try to make the most out of every song. Often we’re working out our parts before the words or melody have totally taken shape, so we have to be flexible with honing our parts right up until the final mix gets done. That being said, with the songs on ACCELERATE, we had most of those little bruisers ready to go pretty quickly! In the live show I do whatever is needed to try to make the song exciting, and recognizable as an R.E.M. song. Mostly these days I’m playing electric guitar, but I also play a fair amount of bass and keyboards, and contribute backing vocals when Mills can’t do it all himself.
B.O.O.B: You just completed a tour with two of our favorite bands, Modest Mouse and The National. Did you spend some time with the members of these groups? Any musical cross-pollination backstage or otherwise? Issac Brock is a fellow Portlander, did you two discuss any potential future collaboration?
SM: We all did hang out. Maybe not as much as you might have thought. Honestly I spent a lot of time before eac
h show in the dressing room working on songs — we’d only rehearsed four days I think, and had 70 songs or so “in the repertoire”. It’s funny, because I’ve never run into Isaac in Portland. But then, we are both gone a lot. The Minus 5 and Modest Mouse did a show together in Bellingham in 1996 or 97… crazy to realize they’ve been around that long. He mentioned recently digitizing his YFF 45 of “My Boyfriend’s In Killdozer” — I thought that was awesome! Johnny Marr came into the dressing room and strummed acoustic a lot, and ended up being a regular part of our encore, playing on “Fall On Me” and “Man On The Moon”. What a great guitar player — he and Peter sounded perfectly cool together. I am sure I’ll run into drummer Joe Plummer in Portland one of these days when I get some home-time. The National was amazing, great guys, and luckily we’ve gotten to see them three times since then, in Europe at festivals we both were playing. I’d love to do some music with any of those guys, they are quite incredible. I hope to think we’ll keep in touch. It was a fantastic tour.
SM: The original “concept” was that the Minus 5 would be the receiving house for the many downbeat “gems” I had stockpiled over the years of the Fellows. Not that the Fellows were against the occasional downer — I just wrote too many of them. Now the two bands’ styles have blurred a bit, and since it’s more fun to play rock music live than quiet folk music, and the Minus 5 plays live more than the Fellows, the Minus 5 gets some of the rock/pop songs, when they are available.
SM: I’d like more people to hear the Minus 5, but I’m thrilled with the way Portland seems to have taken to the group. It’s just a fact of life that the Minus 5 is not available to play particularly often, and it’s a situation that I accept. That being said, the next Minus 5 album was recorded in Portland, and features almost exclusively Portland musicians. There will be a 12-inch vinyl EP in October, and a full-length CD will follow in January or February. We’ll do a show at the Mission Theater in mid-October when I’m home for a few weeks.
B.O.O.B: You are involved with quite a few other projects, many of which include all star lineups playing the tunes of some of your musical heroes. However, the one that I find myself most attracted to is The Baseball Project. As a big baseball and music fan, this combines two of my most fervent passions. The songs touch on baseball lore, anecdotes, imagery and include some incredible name dropping. First, tell us about Scott as a baseball fan. Who is your team, your favorite player, and your most memorable baseball moment?
SM: My first team was the San Francisco Giants. In the ensuing years I adopted first the Oakland A’s, and then the Seattle Mariners, never forsaking the Giants. Torn between three lovers, you say? I say there’s enough of me to go around. Willie Mays has to be my favorite player of all time, and he was featured in my most memorable baseball moment, the game in August of 1965 in which Juan Marichal clocked John Roseboro with his bat. Mays’ homer off Sandy Koufax was the difference in the game. I was a kid, but I’ve never forgotten that day, which is referenced in the Baseball Project song “Sometimes I Dream Of Willie Mays.”
B.O.O.B.: As you write songs for the Baseball Project, are you reaching into your own baseball knowledge or are you reading books which inspire these songs? If so, tell us about some of the literary inspiration which you’ve used to write these songs?
A lot was my own baseball knowledge, but I also used Satchel Paige’s autobiography, Mike Sowell’s “July 2, 1903″ (for the Big Ed Delahanty song), and a short piece (can’t remember the author now, sorry!) on Mark McGwire inspired “Broken Man”. I did a lot of research to try to sort out the details of the shooting of William Diamond in “Blood Diamond” (available as a bonus download with the album), including starting an email correspondence with his niece Joan Diamond. That was very cool!
B.O.O.B.: Has Major League Baseball expressed any interest in The Baseball Project? As I write this on All Star Game day, I can picture you guys on the field playing a pregame show for the baseball faithful.
The Baseball Project has been embraced by the very nice folks at mlb.com. We even went into the studio and filmed special acoustic performances of some of the songs which can be viewed on the website. AND we were featured on This Week In Baseball!!! How cool is that??!? And perhaps one day we’ll be able to perform before/after/during a game. I refuse to play “God Bless America” in the 7th inning stretch though. Or any other time, for that matter.
July 21, 2008 No Comments
KBA has been around for over 13 years and the sound has morphed from epic atmospheric and ambient jams reminscent of late period Pink Floyd to more conventionally structured songs that include Riddle’s signature hypnotic codas.
Since their first album in 1995, the psychedelic enclave’s become a bit of a local legend, with front-man Daniel Riddle taking on much strange cargo. By many accounts, he’s a reclusive nut hiding from a space invasion. He’s also supposedly a rough taskmaster who rules his band with the regal hand the name implies, destroying the original band after three albums of glorious space rock. Click HERE to check out the rest of the interview.
We are looking forward to checking out what Riddle has in store for us after a three year hiatus. Check back with us on Monday for a report.
July 18, 2008 No Comments
Portland’s Blitzen Trapper will release their fourth record entitled Furr on September 23rd on Sub Pop Records, their first on the Seattle label. According to the press release the album was recorded during breaks in the band’s busy 2007 tour schedule. The band holed up in their studio which is housed in an old telegraph building in Southeast Portland. The space, which also houses The Sally Mack School of Dance, has high ceilings, a couch, a hot plate and a mixing console which are all the important ingredients to recording a masterpiece, so we are expecting big things. Plus, the cover art is pretty bitchin’ so that’s a positive sign.
One key to this new material was an ancient, warped piano that appeared in the hallway one day at Sally Mack’s School of Dance and which was subsequently muscled into the group’s studio. Though out of tune and missing teeth, this piano became the warhorse upon which Earley wrote and recorded much of Furr. The beast has gone away to the landfill now, but you can still hear the clacking and clattering of its rickety skeleton in songs like “Not Your Lover” and “Echo.”
Here is the track listing for Furr:
Sleepytime in the Western World
Gold for Bread
God & Suicide
Fire & Fast Bullets
Black River Killer
Not Your Lover
War on Machines
Stolen Shoes & a Rifle
Echo/Always On/EZ Con
Lady on the Water
July 18, 2008 No Comments