Portland’s hybrid metal/genre escaping band, Rabbits, has recently signed to Relapse Records, which should finally give them the exposure they deserve. Much like many heavier bands from the northwest, Rabbits create and noise that draws heavily from other genres but somehow manages to create a sonic palate all their own, like a middle frequency doom band morphing hardcore into psychedelic noise filtered through water and smoke.
Their upcoming inclusion in the Fall Into Darkness Festival at Berbati’s Oct. 7 - Oct. 10 should further cement their ascent into the pantheon of N.W. heavy. They are also playing East End on Halloween.
Here's the lineup for the Fall Into Darkness Festival:
Thu 10/7 - Black Cobra, Witch Mountain, Stoneburner, Wizard Rifle
Fri 10/8 - Fauna, The Need, Rabbits, Embers
Sat 10/9 - Krallice, Deadsea, Fell Voices, Worm Ouroboros
Sun 10/10 - Earthless, Danava, Wildildlife, Via Vengeance
Last week, I went out to Sauvie Island -- a week too late. It was my yearly outing to pick blackberries for winemaking and the rain molded seven-eighths of the crop. Rather than the five-gallon bucket worth, I ended up with about four cups.
Today, instead of doing the dishes that would accompany winemaking supplies, I am cleaning after making pasta and a blackberry cobbler. The slightly overcast weather is making me want to put on Neil Young, but instead I chose the new Harlowe and the Great North Woods album. It was a good substitution. It makes me want to drink whisk(e)y, sit around a fire and dish with friends rather than do these dishes, but I don’t have any whisk(e)y, so I put some brandy in my coffee, and that should help with these haunting boy/girl harmonizing vocals that are coming from the speakers.
This isn’t the kind of music made for listening over a hi-fi. Don’t get me wrong, I’m enjoying it, but I’d rather have these folks over and have them play in my living room, feed them pirogues and white blackberry brandy at 148 proof, get drunk and make friends. This is music for sharing hot meals on cool evenings. This is soup-making music. Maybe it’s just the instrumentation, but the music reminds me a little of 16 Horsepower, which brings me to my first criticism of this album; it’s too goddamn short, like that first 16 Horsepower EP. If you’re going to make music this good, this powerful, perhaps you should wait until you have a full length album worth of material before you release it.
It was like my trip to Sauvie Island -- the berries that were available for picking were delicious, there just weren’t enough of them. Or it would be like if I brought that cobbler to a potluck -- it’s just a tease. It wasn’t long enough for me to finish the dishes. I had to repeat it. I wonder if they are trying to redefine the concept of album. The name should be changed to …The Great North Woods EP. That criticism aside, this is a band I’ll look forward to hearing more of, maybe a full-length platter that will take me to the other side of dishes.
End note: I’m a little drunk now and I can’t locate my coffee, maybe I’ll just finish the cobbler and call it a night.
We would also like to thank the 950+ artists that submitted through The Deli to play one of our CMJ parties - a dozen of them were selected by us and the venues. We really wish we could have picked more, it was a heart breaking process...
It's been a long time coming, but the wait is finally over. Tomorrow night marks the release of the whimsical Y La Bamba's first studio record, Lupon. With the help of The Decemberists' Chris Funk, the seven-piece has successfully produced an album that incorporates dreamy, sultry folk with Mexican tradition.
Lead lady, Luzelena Mendoza, pulls from her strict Mexican Catholic upbringing to create hazy, haunting lyrical harmonies back by a melange of guitar, ukulele, woodwinds and percussion. Help the septet celebrate Lupon September 17 at Mississippi Studios. $10 in advance, $12 day of. 9 pm. 21+.
The Deli Portland, truth be told, is a goddamn small operation. Utilizing roughly the manpower equivalent to those who'll be flocking to PGE Park for MLS Soccer when it comes to Stumptown next year (R.I.P. Beavers), our humble little corner of the Deli Magazine market is still in its infancy. So when the crowning achievement, relatively, of Portland's musical menagerie descends upon this rose-strewn metropolis, we basically put our head down, pack a flask, and do our best.
Our best this year consists of a series of photographs by one Daniel Cronin, whose camera actually worked (unlike that of yours truly), and who actually possesses the technical skills to make it look like you missed out on everything. And you may have. So here are some amazing live shots from some of MFNW 2010's best shows (read: the ones we could ably send out our meager armada to...) (re-read: about six shows total...) Onward!
Shonen Knife Live at Mississippi Studios September 17
Smashing Pumpkins Live at Wonder Ballroom September 18
What shows should we have made, Deli Portland readers? Don't count Sleep, NoMeansNo, the amazing Riot Act Media free show at Rontom's on Sunday, The Oh Sees or The Thermals... Let us know in how many ways we blew it!
In the course of the last seven years, and four LPs, Hutch Harris and Kathy Foster have written pseudo-concept albums dealing with the complex themes of religion, politics, and death, but on The Thermals’ fifth record (second on Kill Rock Stars), aptly titled Personal Life, the trio tackles the most complicated theme of all, love.
Like the albums that came before it, Personal Life loosely tells its listeners a story. This particular tale is one of love, loss, and lies, told in the power-pop-punk style of pounding drums, catchy bass riffs, crunchy guitars, and The Thermals famous “woah oh oh,” choruses.
The titles of the album’s first three tracks (“I’m Gonna Change Your Life,” “I Don’t Believe You,” “Never Listen to Me,”) speak for themselves. These songs are self-absorbed, stubborn, and bear resemblance to phrases heard and said in any dysfunctional relationship. In the second track, and first single off the album, “I Don’t Believe You,” Harris calls out all the excuses people have for why they act the way they do in relationships. “Say your going through a phase, you’re just stuck in your age, I don’t believe you / There’s nothing we can do if I don’t believe you,” he aggressively explains amidst distorted guitar, bouncy bass and cymbal laden drums. The song’s tone is upbeat and cheery, increasing its bratty level.
By the end of the album, the tempo slows and the barriers crumble. Track titles begin with “You,” instead of “I”; the relationship has strengthened. The record appropriately ends with “You Changed my Life,” a song admitting how one person can positively alter another, even through the hardest and darkest of times. The guitar is cleaner, the bass and drums more subtle, and Harris’ voice more calm and collected. In a mere 32 minutes, the LP’s attitude has flipped 180˚, like a mature and healthy relationship. It is now safe to add love to the list of themes conquered by The Thermals.
MusicfestNW is a beast on the wallet of those working through the weekend. However, the $17 dollar entrance (or whichever overpriced wristband chosen) to Thursday's show at the Crystal Ballroom never felt like a waste (the $5-plus soda and vodka was, however). Setting off the night were Past Lives, a Seattle post-hardcore band comprised of members of the Blood Brothers (yeah, one of the singers). At times, Past Lives dipped into the past lives of its respective genre, with noodling guitar lines and swerving rhythms. Yet, spaghetti western and surf-influenced guitar lines interrupted an unwelcome stroll down an all too familiar Pacific Northwest sound (Minus the Bear, These Arms are Snakes, and Blood Brothers naturally).
The full-force sound of Ted Leo and the Pharmacists was the deciding factor of my attendance. Rarely can such a song-smith produce quality pieces of rock-music that defy what's "in" at the time. Leo's tunes are timeless, so they're always in. The four-piece plowed through much of this year's great The Brutalist Breaks with a couple of crowd-pleasers, "Where Have all the Rude Boys Gone?" and "Sons of Cain." Ted Leo's rapid-fire set deceived the band's obvious maturity to rest of the bill.
Full-disclosure, I'd yet to purchase a complete Thermals album. Just my luck, as much of the set was comprised of tunes from the recently released Personal Life. While an album documenting a failed relationship doesn't sound like great live material, the Thermals brought the rock. The album's new single, "I Don't Believe You," was a distinct high-light. As long as I didn't listen to the lyrics, everything was great. Fan-favorites provided the tail-end of an inspired set. "Now We Can See," "Pillar of Salt," and "Returning to the Fold," and an encore cover of "My name is Jonas" made the cavernous and oft-alienating Ballroom into a great singalong. MFNW's Thursday was a night of earnest, strong rock. Even if this was the highlight of the weekend, what a highlight indeed.
This is an extremely late notice report. I just found out one of my favorite solo projects is playing a house show tonight. Dewey Mahood of Eternal Tapestry’s side project, Plankton Wat.
In my advancing age, I’m experiencing crowd anxieties. And as much as I’m a fan of the rock, I’m also becoming more of a fan of things that are away from the mainstream—example: MusicFest NW. And really, they have enough support. Do they need one more aging and self-important hipster music nerd?
Dewey of Plankton Wat put out arguably the best psych record of last year, entitled Dawn of the Golden Eternity on DNT Records. It was equal parts loner blues, John Fahey-style folk guitar workout, and acid-drenched stoner jams. Plankton Wat will be playing with Selaroda from Oakland, CA.— Michael Henning of The Why Because solo project. Also on tap will be Stag Hare from Portland.
The location is The Wail at 5135 NE 42nd Ave. @ Sumner. The time is 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
[Editor's Note: Starting this week, The Deli Portland will be presenting our first weekly (or bi-weekly, depending on life and liberty) column, "Chappy's Dishes." Chappy is a Portlander who likes to do dishes, listen to music, and wash dishes while listening to music (or vice-versa). He also likes to write about the music he's listening to while washing dishes - but not at the same time. When the Deli Portland learns more about Chappy, we will be sure to fill you in. Until then, enjoy this first installment of "Chappy's Dishes."]
About once a week, my wife and I fix a complex meal that involves a lot of dirty dishes, and on the following day, I take it upon myself to tackle the pile. It’s one of the few occasions when I’m forced to stand in one place for more than an hour and attend to some mindless work. It’s usually in this time that I really listen to music and am forced to confront what that music pulls out of me. Last night, I made pizzas from scratch and for some reason I dirtied every dish in the house along with most of our utensils and glasses. Today, while laboring away, rather than putting on some cacophonous black metal or meandering free jazz to occupy my mind and confront my demons, I threw on Lovers' Dark Light for something different.
While washing, my hands may have been immersed in scalding hot and soapy water, but my mind was reconstructing the first mixtape I made using my parents' tape player alarm clock. I was trying to be cool and find the most “new wave” stuff scaning the FM dial, when I stumbled across a college radio station playing an hour of New Romanticism. Of course, I had no idea then what I had stumbled on, but you better believe that mixtape was a hit and landed me my first girlfriend.
The bouncing '80s synth of Dark Light's "Figure 8" further immersed me into the fantasy of late elementary school. The best pop music then (and really, now) will attach itself to particular memories and live there forever. Lovers are on to this.
If I were in 7th grade algebra class, "Shepherd of Stray Hearts" would be just one of those pop songs. "Shepherd…" is where everything is leading to and falling from. “I wanted you” would be the chorus rolling in my head while watching the seagulls bank on the wind to scoop up half-eaten French fries and pizza pockets from the quad, me fantasizing about girls instead of understanding integers and formulation of functional relationships.
Don’t take this the wrong way - Lovers aren’t just some '80s revisionist dance band. They definitely seem to be forging their own territory, which is best exemplified on the last track "Cedar Falls." Here, the synths are still used whimsically, but there’s a certain maturity to this song that I didn’t catch on the rest of the record. Maybe it’s because I’m washing the wine glasses now and thinking of getting a little tipsy with my wife last night, or that this is the kind of music I imagine real adults listening to. Whatever the case, this closer had a distinctly different feel.
Just as I was cleaning the last surface, my wife walked in to a replaying of "Cedar Falls." The look on her face was astonishment, as it wasn’t mind peeling acid rock or reverb-drenched garage rock, but some new kind of adult music - Lovers for my lover.
Don't miss Lovers this Saturday, September 11 at Rotture as part of MFNW 2010! They'lll be sharing the stage with MEN (Le Tigre's JD Samson's side band), Boy Joy, Sista Fist, and Permanent Wave! 8:00 p.m.$10 at the door, or free with MFNW wristband.
To all you dudes and dudettes who are into music just as much as we are here at The Deli Portland, here's a friendly reminder that Willy Week's highly revered music festival, MusicfestNW, starts THIS WEDNESDAY. Individual tickets to Wiz Khalifa, The Smashing Pumpkins, and Sleep are sold out, but remember, you can get into ANY show with a MFNW wristband, which can still be bought here.
We can't wait for the raucous that will ensue in the venues and streets of Portland this week(end) and can't wait to see you all out at some shows!