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Drowned in Sound: Ex Hex - Rips


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Touchy Feely Records - Label Launch Party 10.3

Starting up a record label is a pretty big endeavor – it's as stressful as it is time-consuming, and in the age of self-publishing and rapid media consumption, it seems like a pretty thankless job. Fortunately, those reasons keep the half-hearted folks away, assuring that the labels that do exist are truly run by music lovers who are dedicated to supporting their community (be it local, national, global, what have you). And since these folks are dedicated to their community, it only makes sense that you can return the favor and support them, right? You don't have anything better to do this Friday night anyway.

The latest independent record label to enter the Portland fold is Touchy Feely Records. Their current roster consists of three acts Grandhorse, Dedere, and Sleep School, and more acts will surely follow in the coming months. This Friday, October 3rd, they'll be throwing a gigantic launch party in North Portland over at the Kenton Club. There will be free tarot readings, silent auctions, raffles, and of course, music.

It's a packed bill that night, featuring six bands, the center piece of which is Sleep School, releasing their first EP, White Girl Wasted. Other bands who will be performing include Grandhorse, Dedere, Bubble Cats, tigerface, and Hart & Hare. The festivities kick-off at 7pm with a price tag of $5 to get in. And before you decide, “It's not a free show, so I'm not going,” take a minute to a) think of how ridiculously entitled your attitude is and b) consider that you get a raffle ticket upon entry, meaning you could possibly win back way more than those five bucks you spent to get in.

This should be a seriously fun event, so come on down to the Kenton Club on Friday, October 3rd, and check it out! Find out more and RSVP over on Facebook at the event page, and while you're at it, give a like to Touchy Feely Records.

- Alexei Shishkin


The Quick & Easy Boys Release Fourth Album "Follow Us Overboard"

The fourth album has cometh. This was the name of The Quick & Easy Boys Kickstarter campaign that began early last spring, and after a long wait, the CD release show at the Wonder Ballroom is only a few days away.

The band raised a good amount of money to put out an album with the help of the finest talent this city has to offer. They recorded with producer Steve Berlin (Los Lobos) at the private studio of Isaac Brock of Modest Mouse. And once again, Portland’s finest party makers have delivered a fine-tuned album with their signature funky blues style and progressive rock rhythms.

This album is quite a bit different than the first three, clearly because of the work and influence Steve Berlin put into it. I wouldn’t call it a new direction, rather an expansion on something they’ve been doing for many years. It’s not the raw DIY project they’ve been accustomed to. Follow Us Overboard contains more instruments and a lot more layers, which is appropriate because their live show sounds as if there are more than three people on stage.

The Quick & Easy Boys are known for hard hitting blues based rock and this album does just that – even though it starts off slow with “Breath.” Guitarist Jimmy Russell takes a slower approach to his blues twang on this song, but by the time the album reaches the third song “Die” you can hear his telecaster damn near blowing his amplifier to pieces with the opening riff. One thing that stands out is the voice of lead vocalist (and bassist) Sean Badders. He has one of the most dynamic rock voices in Portland and is given justice by the clarity of the production work on this album.

Towards the end of the album, we are blessed with the song “Rave Bird” which is the perfect mix of their elements and new found production. It’s a funky beat with bold echoes and phasing effects behind a piercing guitar solo that ends up sounding like something off of Led Zeppelin’s BBC tapes.

The Boys have been touring relentlessly for the past five years. Now with new drummer, Casey Anderson, they plan on continuing that trend and reaching new heights. After all they’ve always had the excellent musicianship and an ability to put on a breathtaking live show, and now they have the album to back that up.

The Quick and Easy Boys will release Follow Us Overboard this Saturday October 4th at The Wonder Ballroom with the accompaniment of blues rock extraordinaire, Tango Alpha Tango, and the folk harmonies of The Hill Dogs. Tickets are $12 and the doors open at 8. Get there early because beer lines will be long. Stream three tracks from Follow Us Overboard below.

- Words by Colin Hudson, Photo by Liz Devine


THE DELI'S 7 OFFICIAL CMJ 2014 STAGES

DELI OFFICIAL CMJ SHOWS ANNOUNCED, FULL SCHEDULE HERE 


Album Review: Jackson Boone's Starlit

Sometimes we are offered glimpses into what Portland, Oregon used to be. These fleeting moments are often brought back through people born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. Jackson Boone fits all of the above and is ready to share his perception via his newest album, Starlit

Boone's debut full-length is very much like a wave: a rise and fall of climatic melodies with just the right amount of steadiness. Produced by Riley Geare of Unknown Mortal Orchestra and help from fellow local musicians in the recording process, the amount of passion and camaraderie stands out as one to remember. "Heavy Lovers" elicits the appropriate atmosphere for its title. It's slow, slightly brooding and the subtle wail of the guitar makes it undeniably sexy. Boone's vocals sound taunting and venturesome, never desperate. This trait carries throughout the album. Moments in between the calm, Boone shifts to jarring noises before gracefully transitioning back in "Haystack Rock N' Roll". It concludes with the chunky, but incredibly catchy "Luv Bug".
 
Trust our decision making and head out this Saturday night. Boone starts a series of live performances this month with Alberta St. Pub's charming and quaint performance space. Psych-phenomenons Tender Age and Cambrian Explosion will be supporting.
 
- Colette Pomerleau
 


Album Review: Mermaid in China

Often times you can recognize a band’s early recordings within the first few second of listening. A lack of tonal clarity, straining to hear some of the instruments and hearing a member swear after striking a mistaken note all stick out as obvious signs that you’re listening to a bandcamp debut of a local project. Mermaid in China have, thankfully, ignored this option and instead worked to release a professional-quality debut that transmits their dance-infused indie pop compositions through synthesized tones, hypnotic rhythms and dynamic vocal arrangements.

The Vast Divide” opens the self-titled release with an ambient space that is quickly filled with by swirling electronic melodies, a grooving bass line and contagious rhythms that need to be danced to. The second track, “Gentle,” combines acoustic and electronic instrumentation with a crisp vocal stylings like something out of a Broken Bells record. Each track from here on out has something unique to offer: be it the driving rhythm section grounding ambient flights in “The Average Man,” the anthemic chorus that dances through the catchy “Tame the Wild,” or the arrangement of that  “A Stroll Through Calloway Bay” which sounds like it could be a B-side from Beach Boys' Pet Sounds .

The release as a whole doesn’t sound so much like a cohesive album as it does a sample platter of singles that showcase the range of sounds that Mermaid in China are capable of producing. If you’d like a taste of these sounds for yourself, head over to Slabtown on Thursday, October 2nd to catch them perform alongside Clawfoot Slumber, Mega Tera and Liquid Light.

- Ben Toledo


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