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Vow of Volition Make the Final Round of the Battle for Warped Tour

The Vans Warped Tour was the first festival for many of us back in the day. As young'ns, it's likely we didn't necessarily think about all that went into figuring out the bands to book and play the whole shebang. Part of that process, at least locally, seems to be through a series "battle of the bands" style competitions specifically for landing a spot on the fest. Quite a few Portland bands have been furiously playing against one another for said spot, and djent/prog metal act Vow of Volition are one of the acts that made it to the finals.

Warped Tour was always the type of festival that included much in the realm of pop punk, punk punk, emo and metal, so Vow of Volition's advancement to the final round is no surprise. Their incredibly technical, at times jazzy metal stands out in Portland's pretty linear popular music scene, and is much worthy of the attention its getting.

Those that want to support Vow of Volition in driving home the permanent spot can go to the Battle for Warped Tour finals Saturday at the Hawthorne Theatre.





Ania debuts razor-sharp single "Tuesdays"

Embracing the riveting rhythms and soul-piercing crunch-chords of alternative rock is Ania’s creed, showcased in the final visual of her 2020 EP Ania in Chains titled “Tuesdays.” Powered by Ania’s slithering guitar riffs and reverb-lathered vocal chorus runs, “Tuesdays” is a sonic style pin that she shows proudly. The track runs at the pace preferred by the Los Angeles singer/songwriter (fast) but flexes wavy interludes that are as pleasant as the rapid rhythms that follow. Ania culminates her EP with the same edge as she began it and prepares for a year filled with promising possibilities. Check out the visual for “Tuesdays” below for a razor-sharp start to the weekend.  - René Cobar





Palberta launch Palberta5000 upgrade

There’s a certain frisson that happens when a talented collage artist juxtaposes a number of disparate elements and makes you see all the individual parts anew as a result, which serves as a kind of an expressway to the center of your skull aka the unconscious mind. 

On their fifth full-length unveiled today by Wharf Cat Records titled Palberta5000, Palberta has installed a system upgrade to the art-damaged post-punk haikus heard on previous releases. Self-reportedly digging into a buffet of Gen X alt rock and Millennial Disney pop ranging from Liz Phair to Avril Lavigne for inspiration, this instrument-rotating three-piece has written a bunch of punchdrunk new numbers that occasionally break their usual one-to-two-minute time limit and that place a new emphasis on their exquisitely shaggy girl group harmonies. 

The result is an album full of misshapen pearls of avant-rock-pop that fills the void of there being no existing No Wave Meghan Trainor or Justin Beefheart or Taylor Shaggs (please stop me before someone gets hurt) in the world up until now. Take a listen and consider your void filled.

In this blogger's modest appraisal other standout tracks include album-opener “No Way,” “Summer Sun,” and the Arthur Russell/Loose Joints quoting “All Over My Face” which is nearly five minutes (!) long. (Jason Lee)





95 Bulls live set on FLTV

First, a shout out to all those musical acts who choose to use defiantly G**gle proof name. Some of these acts have been profiled in these pages recently such as Navy Blue, Woods, and Slut Magic (ok not so much the latter tho’ that particular phrase does have an Urban Dictionary entry which sounds totally bogus but I digress) and now we can add 95 Bulls to this special list.

In theory, anyway. Maybe it’s only because the Big Googly Eye In The Sky knows me too well but the band’s Instagram account came up as a first page search result, plus another first page hit courtesy of our good friend(s) at Bands Do BK who in late October premiered the 95 Bulls’ two-track debut single “Big Fight”/“Crazy” and shared vital stats on the band's origins (basically an indie rockin' punk rawkin' bartender and barback and barfly supergroup formed at Our Wicked Lady) and motivation for formation (quarantine-itis).

Maybe it’s got something to do with the latter but I'd respectfully submit that 95 Bulls could furnish an appropriate soundtrack for any of your potential choices in a game of “F*ck, Marry, Kill” (well dunno if you'd wanna get married to any of their songs but they've got good tunes for people you wanna f*ck or kill for sure). This F*CK/KILL duality comes across even more strongly on stage where the band members flirt and rage musically in equal measure like if you can imagine a more aggro B-52s--plus the groovy-warbly Farfisa keyboard makes this comparision even more apt and ups the dance ante significantly--or maybe they're more like a Great Dane getting overly frisky and thrusting his snout deep into your crotch to the point where you get kinda turned on but fear for your genitals at the same time. Anyway I've used up my allotted number of analogies so will leave it at that.


And yeah you heard right I said *on stage* because you can at this very moment watch a live set and an interview with 95 Bulls as part of Footlight Bar’s “FLTV” series filmed under safe conditions at Brooklyn’s Starr Bar. Check out the link HERE where for a small fee you'll not only see the last-danceless Bulls play live and hear some of their unreleased songs like “Red Nails,” “Trichotillomania,” “Young Love,” “Golden Tooth,” and “Your Father’s Watch,” but you'll also witness exclusive footage of the band drinking heavily in the recording studio and also a couch-based convo with sparkle-masked host Kendra during which intimate thoughts are shared on penguin orgasms, band Tinder accounts, getting twerked on at Covid testing sites, meeting depressed divorceés In New Jersey, and the ultimate dream of receiving a Popeye’s sponsorship. (Jason Lee)





Midnight Sister get to "Painting the Roses"

That sketchy looking dude on the corner asking if you like Hunky Dory era Bowie or Black Box Recorder or St Etienne is most likely selling bootlegs of the new CD by Midnight Sister that just came out this Friday and he’s got his target marketing game on point. Too bad tho’ he didn’t get the memo about the whole streaming thing, but it works out nicely for you cuz you just saved a few bones and can listen to Painting the Roses (Jagjaguwar) through various types of devices at your convenience.

And get this Midnight Sister isn’t even British. Instead they’re Angelinos but it makes sense when you find out that the duo of Juliana Giraffe and Ari Balouzian are, respectively, a music video/short film director and a film scorer in their other lives. So all those finely honed and orchestrated arrangements and glam antics and dark disco dramatics arise organically from their residing in the Town of Tinsel.

Plus their film backgrounds pay off when it comes to making music videos natch as dispayed in the trippy videos on display here. (Jason Lee)

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