The smooth sounds of Morning Ritual are the latest efforts from Portland composer and songwriter Ben Darwish. The second album of this project, titled The Clear Blue Pearl, takes things through a slow jazzy turn that is accompanied by eloquently folk vocals. The album is a collaboration with local bluegrass sister super duo, Shook Twins, and the vocal harmonies ring out in each track. Most of the songs are based around the piano grooves by Darwish and back-boned by walking stand up bass lines to compel the jazz elements within their tone. This album stretches across many platforms and genres and really brings something new to the Portland scene. Undertones of R&B and indie rock are prevalent throughout. Fortunately you have the opportunity to hear these elements as The Clear Blue Pearl is being celebrated with an album release party this Thursday at Doug Fir. - Colin Hudson
Erik Meier’s signature plangent wail could be heard echoing up the stairs from Union Hall’s small basement venue. Even over the crowd chatter Bird Courage’s songs sailed above the din creating an ethereal nostalgia. The band looked like they might have just rolled out of a boxcar together, and their stripped-down instrumentation complemented the aesthetic. From the melodica to the bowed acoustic guitar or glockenspiel to the muted floor tom and tambourine, bandmates Sam Saffery and Sean McMahon offered emotive and chaotic accompaniment to Erik’s acoustic guitar and ukulele compositions. By the middle of the set the crowd patter had extinguished entirely, and at the end when the band left the stage to form a circle in the middle of the crowd for their finale, even newcomers joined in the heartwarming refrain, “Home sweet home is the lonely road if your only home is the lonely road.” I wouldn't be surprised if a few of them followed the band back to their boxcar. - BrokeMc
Emily Wolfe's album, Mechanical Hands, is anything but cold and unfeeling as it radiates with Wolfe's celestial voice. The upbeat melodies behind sweetly haunting lyrics bring to mind the music of Pretty Girls Make Graves, giving me high hopes for this indie pop/neo-folk musician. This new album is especially impressive after listening to her delicate debut record, Director's Notes, which is great but her growth as an artist in Mechanical Hands is undeniable. --Written by Katy Glass
Safety Scissors, aka Matthew Curry, has been exploring with experimental electronic and dance music since 1999, releasing on labels such as ~scape and Plug Research. He recently relocated from San Francisco to Brooklyn, signed to the venerable Berlin based electro label BPitch Control and announced the release of the project's third LP, 'In A Manner Of Sleeping,' scheduled for early June in North America. Curry will also be taking Safety Scissors on the road throughout the Spring and Summer, with the first batch of tour dates announced, including New York on May 24th (TBA location, a reSOLUTE party). Anybody interested in electronica, minimal house or avant-pop with lush atmospherics shouldn't miss out this artist's upcoming album and shows. - Trista Hou
Ladyfest Philly, an activism, music and arts festival, will be held from June 7 - 9 at various locations. They made a compilation to showcase the talent that will be performing at their events, and will also be selling it on cassette to benefit Project SAFE and Women in Transition. Check out the mix that incldues such artists as Screaming Females, U.S. Girls, Void Vision, Trophy Wife and much more! You can purchase your tickets for Ladyfest Philly HERE.
Up-and-comers, KG Bird took traditional Americana and baked it in the SoCal sun. There’s is a looser, more relaxed approach to blues and folk that gives it a rebellious edge. With arrangements that are constantly in motion, riding the line of disorder in a way that tantalizingly pushes and pulls, this is a ride you’ll want to take. Haunting and psychedelic at times, eclectic and sparse at others, the six piece, helmed by brothers Chris and Tim James, manage to blend something fresh into a what can easily become a staid and predictable style. Their debut, “Morning Weather” EP is available on bandcamp for pay what you want. Catch them live May 17 at Taix in Echo Park. - Jacqueline Caruso
Tonight Wampire break out a dance party for the release of their Polyvinyl Records LP, Curiosity, at Mississippi Studios. It is wonderfully curious; handsome and somewhat off-the-wall, with gothic tracks bringing to mind bass and synth drenched music of the European 80's. The songs are rich in mystical instrumentation and songwriting, and their undeniably sexy hooks keep it all floating. Throw in new work from the darling harmonies of Wild Ones (have you heard "Golden Twin"yet?) and DJ Preacher Teacher, and we have ourselves a magical Tuesday night. - Brandy Crowe
Lara Michell and Michael Dodson are the duo behind A Simple Colony, the Portland based band providing a clean ambient answer to layered questioning vocals. This haunting sound has been gracing Bridgetown since 2010, and that history shows. A Simple Colony has a tightness to their sound, a synergy that can only be found in time and a great deal of chemistry. This hard work and rare dynamic has resulted in a new album, Make it Start. The record release event is this Friday, May 17th at the Mission Theater and will feature the band Swansea, an indie/folk pop group that is so much more than an indie/folk pop group. The band has a dreamy feel and amazing instrumentation that is sure to start the night out right. Ritchie Young will also be featured, his seemingly limitless vocal range and creative musicianship in tow. Tickets are $10 online, doors open at 7:00pm. - Joy Pearson
Reef The Lost Cauze and producer Haj of Duhmi just dropped a badass new EP entitled Sirens on Snyder. It features contributions from Ethel Cee, Burke the Jurke, Random and Side Effect. Below is what Haj had to say about the evolution of this collaboration, and you can also check out the music video for their track “Moonshine” HERE. Enjoy!
So, we are finally here.
Back in 2008, I met up with Reef the Lost Cauze for the first time. We made a song called "Squeeze" that night. We have made a LOT of songs together since.
Last October we were recording what would become B.Dawk and Reef was like "we might as well just knock out a little Ep, man." I was like, "Let's go!"
I won't do anymore dialogue in this email. I promise.
So while Reef and Caliph were finishing up "Reef the Lost Cauze is Dead", I started sketching some beats together and in about January, we started rocking out on Wednesday nights in the basement.
There was a time when the blues were almost lost to history and yet by the efforts of many great bands the timeless sounds and tradition of the blues were preserved. The Sorry Devils are heirs to that long great tradition and with their new EP, Easy Virtue, they sprinkle elements of Clapton-esq blues over a layer of delicious Southern rock. The EP has a wonderful groove to it, like something meant for a tailgate with friends or just cruising with the windows down. I was pleasantly pleased with the track “Crying Share” with its great bass lines and way too cool for school organ. In fact, if you’re not currently a fan of the organ, you will be after listening to this EP. Past decades had an easier going, laid back attitude toward life and this album captures that spirit. Summers hanging out with good friends, spending the day at lakes and rivers of the Pacific Northwest, kegs, love made and love lost. The Sorry Devils will be celebrating the release of Easy Virtue at Slabtown on Thursday, May 16th. Want to brighten up your day, or simply rock out? Get to the The Sorry Devil’s EP release show! - Cory Huennekens