Posts from — November 2008
Local singer/songwrite/band-leader/novelist, Willy Vlautin returns to the Doug Fir to promote his most recent (& first) spoken word CD, A Jockey’s Christmas. Born and raised in Reno, Nevada, Vlautin started playing guitar and writing songs as a teenager and quickly became immersed in music. It was a Paul Kelly song, based on Raymond Carver’s Too Much Water So Close to Home that inspired him to start writing stories. Vlautin has published two novels, The Motel Life (2007) and Northline (2008).
Vlautin founded the band Richmond Fontaine in 1994. The band has produced seven studio albums to date, plus a handful of live recordings and EP’s. Driven by Vlautin’s dark, story-like songwriting, the band has achieved critical acclaim at home and across Europe.
A Jockey’s Christmas is a dark comedy about JD, a misfit, overweight, alcoholic jockey whose career has dried up. The story chronicles his adventures on a journey home to Reno to spend the Christmas holiday with his family. A Jockey’s Christmas is told in Vlautin’s signature style—compassionate, spare, bleak, hilarious—and melds his two loves, music and letters. Running 33 minutes, Vlautin’s narrative is accompanied by Paul Brainard’s (Richmond Fontaine) pedal steel and Vlautin’s acoustic guitar, as well as noted Portland musician Ralph Huntley on accordion. It plays like an old-time radio show, with music woven into the story. A Jockey’s Christmas is divided up into seven chapters and is followed by two race-themed bonus songs, each telling the story of the same race from two dramatically different perspectives.
MP3/Download: Willy Vlautin & Paul Brainard – Confession To T.J. Watson
MP3/Download: Willy Vlautin & Paul Brainard – Northline Main Theme
MP3/Download: Richmond Fontaine – Lost In This World
Doug Fir Lounge
AL JAMES THE UNFAZED
WILLY VLAUTIN (CD Release for “A Jockey’s Christmas“)
Wednesday December 3
Doors 8pm, Show 9pm
$10 advance, $10 day of show
November 30, 2008 No Comments
The beauty and mystery of Po Girl‘s music – a sound that has beguiled fans the world over – springs from the dynamic, improbable, mesmerizing bond shared by its two principal singers and writers – Allison Russell and Awna Teixeira. Hailing from Montreal and Toronto respectively, both women left untenable home situations at fourteen, found music instead of bad ends, and lived to sing the tales. The interplay between these two stunning performers is truly something to behold – and after honing it relentlessly in 13 countries in the last 12 months, the ladies are set to release a true testament to their bond and to their tremendous growth as writers in the last years. Casual Po Girl fans may not be ready for what they will hear…
After adding the impossibly talented tickler/maker of all stringed things – Benny Sidelinger – to their number last year, Po Girl holed up in Austin, Texas this June past making the record that will almost certainly change forever the way the band is perceived. “Deer in the Night” is set to be released in North America in April 2009, and in the UK/Europe May 2009. Many of the trappings of the trademark Po Girl sound are still there – the echoes of speakeasy jazz, the western lament, the accordion-strapped ghosts of European folk — but it’s all delivered with a soulful clarity and depth only hinted at on previous records.
It seems almost silly – and not very interesting – to trot out a long, endlessly hyphenated list of the many influences coursing through Po Girl‘s music. Suffice to say it’s 21st Century roots music, urban roots – never derivative, not faithfully aping a beloved tradition. Teixeira and Russell don’t re-hash the old forms, they reshape and reinvigorate them for new ears.
Genuine gypsies, these two wander and play. They move and move and play and sing. It’s quite simple. Always restless, more often than not bone-tired, they write their flashes of sadness, their loss, their good love, their faint dreams of home into songs that matter deeply to them. Like any good art, they are little acts of self-rescue. So you should listen. You aren’t much different from them, and who couldn’t use a little rescuing these days?
November 29, 2008 No Comments
1. Bruce Springsteen – Working On A Dream
2. Centro-matic – Huge in Every City
3. Dave Alvin – Abilene
4. ESP – One For The Ditch
5. Jenny Lewis – The Next Messiah
6. Dinosaur Jr. – This Is All I Came To Do
1. Neko Case – Honky Tonk Hiccups
2. Todd Snider – Fortunate Son
3. Sleepercar – Stumble In
4. The Steeldrivers – Peacemaker
5. Ben Nichols – Hey Darling, Do You Gamble
6. Vic Chesnutt+Elf Power – And How
November 28, 2008 No Comments
The Thermals live in Portland, Oregon. The band was formed in 2002,. They have released three LP’s on Sub Pop Records, and were recently signed by Kill Rock Stars to release their fourth album. They have played many shows in the US, UK, Europe, and Canada. They have supported many great bands, many of which are almost as good as The Thermals. Right now The Thermals are demoing their next record, tentatively titled “Now We Can See”. The record is about love, death and evolution.
Doug Fir Lounge
and CHAMPAGNE CHAMPAGNE
and DJ MAGGIE VAIL
Friday December 5, 2008
Doors 8pm, Show 9pm
$12 advance, $12 day of show
November 27, 2008 No Comments
The exciting sound of a well-oiled band. Car Alarm is The Sea and Cake’s eigth full-length record. It is bracing, like the surge of wasabe on sweet sushi, like the slap of cool water on a diving body, like the head-rush of a rollercoaster just leaving summit. Bracing music is most often encountered in concert. Only the heaviest hitters have translated the live thrill into the recording studio. Think of the great working bands, the Charles Mingus Quintet, the John Coltrane Quartet, the Meters or the Minutemen. For them, there was no gaping chasm between the studio and the road; the studio was just another stop, a gig, a continuous part of the flow of playing and working and creating together.
Car Alarm is the sound of a well-oiled band. Heavy hitters. Listen to the intricate intertwining strings of Sam Prekop and Archer Prewitt and you’ll hear the frontline of a working unit that has moved seamlessly from the stage to the studio and back. Historically, The Sea and Cake stayed the course since forming in Chicago in 1993, but over the last couple of years they have pulled in even tighter, recording hot and fast on the heels of a busy performance schedule without breaking for other projects. The sense of trust and communication that is key to a working band – particularly in the rhythm section, where drummer John McEntire and bassist Eric Claridge create their intimate alchemy – is cultivated over the long haul, by means of an epoxy bond and preternatural antennae. Stop working together, and those connections go dormant, hibernate; keep on trucking, and they deepen and get sharper, allowing the band to reach for new things, experiment freely, evolve and develop and grow. The ground doesn’t have to be prepared; the canvas is already primed, ready for the first brushstroke.
Where in the past, The Sea and Cake has disbursed between records to allow each member their individual pursuits – Prekop and Prewitt’s artwork and solo projects, McEntire’s production at his SOMA Studio and work with Tortoise, Claridge’s alternate identity as a painter – in this case they didn’t disband, but dove straight into Car Alarm. The quickness reflects a personal urgency, too, given the imminent delivery of Prekop’s firstborn. Thoughts of fatherhood may lend a kind of optimistic air to the record. It has the breezy, open, crisp sound that The Sea and Cake have spent 15 years crafting, but Car Alarm also has a palpable edge. That’s the edge of people who know each other well enough to push a bit harder, who aren’t worried about ruffling each other’s feathers or trying something different, difficult, intuitive, trusting. Something bracing. Here ‘tis.
THE SEA AND CAKE
plus SAD HORSE
Friday November 28, 2008
Doors 8pm, Show 9pm
$15 advance, $15 day of show
November 25, 2008 No Comments
When we first heard the announcement that The Hold Steady and Drive By Truckers would be co-headlining a U.S. tour (appropriately enough deemed The Rock and Roll Means Well Tour), we thought it was pure booking genius. These two bands bring a mutual philosophy of delivering unadulterated and unpretentious live rock and roll. The pairing allegedly was born out of a mutual respect for each others shows and records by The Hold Steady’s Craig Finn and Drive By Trucker’s Patterson Hood.
One of my favorite songs of the decade.
2. LORD I’M DISCOURAGED – My favorite song on the new album and probably my favorite song so far this year. Also cinematic as hell (boy, it’s hard not to use that phrase in describing this band). This song plays out like a five minute movie with humor and drama. Even a twist at the end. A beautiful piece of work with an absolutely bitchin’ guitar solo to boot.
3. YOUR LITTLE HOODRAT FRIEND (click to listen)- This one plays out more like better version of classic era alternative rock (boy that’s a funny concept in its own rite) turbo charged and taken up about ten notches in the writing department. Damn, they write great Rock and Roll songs. This song is truly hilarious from start to finish (getting even better as it builds up to the punch line) and it Rocks like pure hellfire. Many of my favorite songs ever written are structured like a well told joke that builds to the payoff punch line at the end. This one does that about as well as any song I could name.
4. STEVE NICKS – I may be totally full of shit, but this one hits me like some kind of deconstructed Springsteen song (especially when it starts coming unhinged toward the end) and I mean this in the absolute best of ways. Listening to THS, I always got the feeling that they were trying to build their idea of an ultimate Rock and Roll Band, taking elements they all loved from their favorites growing up and reconstituting them on their own terms to build their version of the perfect beast. All of my favorite bands through the years seemed to take this approach; including The Clash and yes, Bruce Springsteen (and yes, Drive-By Truckers) and to me few have ever nailed the concept any better than The Hold Steady.
5. STAY POSITIVE – (click to listen) Here we have a great song that references it’s own catchiness in the second verse (“The singalong songs will be our scriptures”) immediately followed by the most amazingly unshakable singalong chorus of the last decade and a half. This song is a monster hit single waiting to happen and if there was any justice (or half decent radio) it would be blasting from every car stereo in America.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Hold Steady / Drive-By Truckers
8 p.m. doors, 9 p.m. show | $20 advance, $22/door
November 21, 2008 No Comments
To the seventeenth-century poet Robert Herrick, rosebuds were a symbol of the fleeting pleasures of youth. Orson Welles made “Rosebud” the dying word of Charles Foster Kane, again a symbol of the tenacity of youthful memory. Kelly and Ivan – The Rosebuds – make music that embodies that certain spirit—youthful, but complex. Not at all fairytale, but magical. Not realistic, but real. Perhaps the way youth actually is.
The Rosebuds defy categorization with each new release, like creatures in a myth shifting shape to avoid capture; slippery catfish in a North Carolina river. Mention The Smiths and Ivan will turn his Morrissey croon into a gruff Greg Dulli growl or splash it against some reverb-laden surf guitar. Call them Southern Gothic and they’ll release a dance record. They do not spend time categorizing themselves, each record is simply evidence of new curiosity.
On their newest album, Life Like, The Rosebuds return to more acoustic territory, barely a year after releasing the synth-heavy dance pop of 2007′s Night of the Furies. Crisp says that perhaps they needed to exorcise the anger and disillusion caused by a hard year of terrifying storms, and endless frustration over an ineffectual political state (that provided the need for the Furies metaphor in their songs) before they could move on to explore stories more closely related to their everyday life.
Having just finished the first tour for Night of the Furies, Ivan and Kelly began working on other creative projects in an attempt to take a break from music before going back out on tour. However, they soon found themselves making songs to entertain themselves and realized they had a whole record. So they ditched plans for a second tour and called in their friends (including Portastatic’s Matthew McCaughan, Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, and Ashley Stove’s Jim Brantley) and put the finishing touches on Life Like.
The Rosebuds have released four full-length albums, two 7-inches, an EP, and a digital-only album of remixes.
November 20, 2008 No Comments
THIS FRIDAY NIGHT! The Wonder Ballroom and KUPL have put together a Tribute Night to Willie Nelson this Friday the 21st. With a backing band formed with members of Jackstraw and Lewi Longmire, local acts such as Fernando, Al James from Dolorean, Caleb Klauder, Little Sue, and many more will get together to celebrate Nelson’s music. Tickets are only $9.87 and available at Ticketmaster and at the door the day of show.
Tribute Night to Willie Nelson
11/21/2008 • Doors at 8pm, show at 9pm
98.7 KUPL Presents: Willie Nelson Tribute Night
Advance Tickets are $9.87 (Plus Service charge)
November 19, 2008 No Comments