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Festival Review: Discorporate 2013 – Starworld

By Stephen Henderson; July 8, 2013 at 11:22 PM 

Discorporate Festival, June 7&8 2013

Being at Discorporate

The word discoporate literally means, as those familiar with Zappa’s We’re Only in it for the Money will know, ‘to leave one’s body’. However, to the unfamiliar audience, the word, the base of which is ‘corporate’, has a totally different meaning. The ‘dis-‘ acts as a negation à la ‘disinterested’ or ‘disemboweled’, and thus one associates the word with the antithesis of the almost mechanistic music world. With great pleasure I can say that the wonderful pun pans out in the world of which language is merely an approximation. The Discorporate Festival was a fully sublimative experience, probably somewhat akin to being a Buddha protesting on Wall Street while on copious amounts of drugs. My goal with this review is not to make any true attempts at describing the sounds, but only to hopefully pique some interest. More so than almost anything I have ever encountered, Discorporate Festival was not something worth an attempt at description. It was far beyond the sum of its parts, and oozed a warmth of static embracing energy.

The totality of Discorporate Fest was mind warping. The entire building had been given the perfect DIY makeover, with grass roots art coating the walls, the perfect lighting, and a general ambience that one has given up expecting from venues. There was not an inch of space that was not in one way or another entertaining. The lawn in front had a free-for-all picnic atmosphere, and one entered the actual playing space (which was fitted with various papier-mâché deep sea animals) to what is close to the perfect crowd atmosphere: ready to dance, ready to talk, ready to enjoy in any way possible. Everyone there was ready for a huge spectrum of music, which the festival delivered all on one stage. Everything from comedy-pop of Freeze Puppy, the disco of Ptterns, the brutal tech-noise of Staer, to the indescribable sounds of ZA! SchnAAk and Guardian Alien. Each band had a distinctive set up, which the crew was able to get functional well before one would expect, which was almost downright astonishing.

I would be completely satisfied saying that every band kicked ass in their own right, and that the environment was more than one would have expected, even given the incredible combination. The three bands of whom I have interviews were, biased or not, my favorites, and I will give a quick synopsis of what it was like to see them. I find the interviews themselves more interesting than anything I could say about the experience, which simply must be experienced.

Stage and decoration

The first of the three to play was Guardian Alien, who dredged forth from the pits of technicolor chaos the usual unreproducible bath of sound. The recent loss of one of their musicians had changed their sound, but definitely not for the worse. The new texture relied more on the thick web of loops coming out of the pedal board, which immersed the listener in a high-octane audible soup. Greg, as usual, played out of his skin, with his usual look of meditative concentration. Alex’s vocals cut through the Technicolor din with shimmering clarity of thought and sound. The chaos was perfectly balanced, overwhelming, and beautiful. In fact, it would seem that the recent loss drove the band to summon forth a greater degree of intensity.

Previously when I have seen Guardian Alien, there is almost a sense of a Zen, as the river of sound contracts and expands in on itself, weaving unidentifiable layers over itself, a chord of ether in constant flux held together loosely, more than by anything else ,by the sheer conception of a band. Here, there was more of aggression in their attack on the instruments, a clear and deliberate compensation for new space, and I believe the pressure to fill the space brought forth a carnal sense (simply take a look at those faces). For a crowd that was looking to dance, they were not so well received as more approachable acts, but definitively found their home amongst other acts, and naturally as a unfathomably individual act, intended for the headier appreciation. That is not to say there wasn’t the same energy in the crowd that thundered from the stage (the law of diffusion, thankfully, held true), but simply that the various Euro-style club meisters (yes, there were a couple present) were not quite sure what to do with themselves. We of the enlightened convulsed with the torrent and were so freed.

SchnAAk is almost untouchable in terms of showmanship. Between the perfect execution of their material, which is in itself beyond commendable (just listen to it), they have established the perfect balance between nonchalance, humour, and self-laudation. High energy ferocity characterized everything they played, and the interpretive dance that interposed a couple of the songs (which was not so animalistic as elegant, but in a Groucho Marx style). Mathias’ guitar tone gut pummeled right into my gut, and I would speak about the awe of watching Josen play the drums, but I don’t think I was ever able to focus for a long enough time to digest it (not that anyone could). SchnAAk has recently incorporated the perfect arsenal of tone color and texture, and these sounds become both rawer and more refined when heard live. They are bouquet of living breathing mechanical cosmic god flowers, glowing hot aurora borealis in perfectly orchestrated insanity. My only complaint about SchnAAk was volume. I wished to exist as nothing other than a being engulfed in SchnAAk, which would have required some sort of mystical crossing brought on by split ear drums and a distended bowels (yes, I have heard sound vibrations can achieve this result), but I suppose it is good I continued on in existence to hear them again.


What is key to SchnAAk, particularly live, is an understanding of the masterpiece of pure artistry combined with a distinct sense of accessibility. Where Guardian Alien did not cater to the understanding of dance that the crowd came with, SchnAAk may as well have bestowed it upon them. However, the music is, self evidently, highly technical, ripe with fruits for the most devoted music geek. However, taking I believe a leaf from the mainstream metal acts following in the wake of Meshuggah, the underlying groove never is completely lost. To a listener with some familiarity, seeing SchnAAk, hearing them perfectly execute the sounds you had assumed to be the work of a production wizard, is nothing short of Sublimation. For new listeners (an opinion I had to get by talking to others), SchnAAk quickly asserted itself as a monster, the aural grip of which is inescapable.

It is possible that ZA! Has more fun on stage than any group I, at least, have encountered. The best analogy for understanding ZA! is in physics. When particles are bonded, they are at their lowest energy state. When they are separated, their kinetic energy sky rockets. So, there are many points in ZA!’s music when there is space between sound (they are only two people and there is only so much tasteful looping can do) but these seems to make them more intense, and more interesting. Everything from ZA! was lighthearted and engrossing, incredible danceable despite its unpredictable changes, and with more fire at its ass than any band I’ve seen.

Pau and Edu lose, from what I could tell, a sense of ego upon entering the stage. They become conductors of circuit, a circuit that is not fully connected. That is to say, perhaps 1000 volts are moving through a wire, but one part of the wire is broken, yet the electrons simply jump over the gap to reach back into themselves. ZA! has a sense of spontaneity, a sense of the impossible. The music should really not being able to come forth, it feels like they are so unaware of themselves they would be no way for them to connect. Yet they do, and it sparks. They ooze machismo, but in almost a self mocking way. They are playing music to have fun, to try new things for themselves and for others. They are the ultimate party in and of themselves. Even knowing consciously that the notes I was hearing were correct, there still remained a feeling of seeing something that had not yet occurred on earth, but maybe was cascading through a rip in some plane of existence, from a place where cross faded electrodes of flourescent rainbows collide in ecstacy to the rhythms of mumbo and schizophrenic merengue.


There is something particularly futile about trying to talk about this festival. A lot of shows come and go, but very few become something bigger. Discorporate, and the bands that played, created an experience, a community, and interaction, a reality, that just didn’t exist in any quantifiable or describable way. There will be one next year, if there is any sort of order and goodness in the universe. Tickets to Germany aren’t that expensive. Enter the Starworld, where people are still excited to be alive, and unafraid to engage with it. Discoporate is, for me, characterized be the dedication to the music, with intense thought to the experience. The final hours of the festival consisted of a jam session including all the musicians who felt like the should get involved (thus, involving two drumkits). Discorporate Festival takes itself seriously, but as an alternative. This ends up entailing a different idea of what serious is, and I personally comfortable believing that some of the most interesting, progressive, familial music is happening.

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Festival Review and Photos: Sasquatch Music Festival 2013, May 24-27 – George, Washington

By Brendan Frank; June 21, 2013 at 1:14 AM 


Photography by Jake MacDonald

Grimes photo (above) by Kara Kostis

Music festivals are heavyweights in the struggle between order and chaos. Being somewhat new to the festival circuit, this slipped my mind as I was packing for a 6-day trip to the Gorge in Washington. A ten percent chance of rain means it will most definitely rain, you will either lose or misplace much of what you brought, your phone will not get service, you will not cook even a fraction of the $200 worth of food you purchased, you will get separated from your friends, and you will miss shows you wanted to see. You will also have an amazing time if you embrace the fact that some things will go wrong.

People come to festivals for different reasons, but the diversity of the crowd means you can probably find what you’re looking for, be it music, a good time with friends, Molly, or just the shock of the new. Set against the breathtaking backdrop of the Gorge Amphitheatre near Quincy, Washington, Sasquatch provided a unique and gorgeous setting for a four day marathon. Uncooperative weather was responsible for most of the hiccups, the grounds and campsites were easy to navigate, and there were myriad food options for the provisionally challenged.

As we rolled in late Thursday night to pouring rain, it became painfully obvious to me how inadequately prepared I was for bad weather. The rain refused to let up as we set up our tent and soaked in the collective anticipation with the Gorge’s other 25,000 guests. The rain continued on into Friday morning, the daylight revealing some of the most hilariously poor attempts at pitching a tent that I’ve ever seen. The clouds finally parted around noon to cheers from the slums, and then it was off to the races.

Sea Wolf

Sea Wolf

First up was Sea Wolf who played for forty minutes at the second largest venue in the grounds, Bigfoot Stage. Their songs were nimble but heavy on rhythm, with drummer Joey Ficken and bassist Eliot Lorango often doubling down on percussion duties. The band encountered slight issues with feedback after a few songs, but decided to proceed before the problem had been corrected. After a great start, their set sagged in the middle as they moved into slower, looser and mopier songs. After half an hour of their set we sprinted to the Sasquatch stage to see the tail end of ZZ Ward, who is as polished and soulful live as she is in the studio. She has the personality to match too. We watched her from the concrete terrace as she playfully engaged with the audience, pounding out her final three songs of funk, blues and soul, flanked by a trio of excellent musicians.

ZZ Ward

ZZ Ward

One of the best things about music festivals is that they expose you to music that you wouldn’t be likely to seek out otherwise. Portland metal act Red Fang was one such band for me, playing a late afternoon set to a curiously diverse audience. Soldiering on beneath the intense sun, the quartet freaked out with sludgy riffs, collectively growled choruses and sudden shifts in speed and tempo. Metal isn’t my thing, but you have to respect musicians who’ve clearly mastered their craft. Singer Aaron Beam addressed the audience in a comically polite tone between throat tearing screams.
As things began to cool off and the threat of rain became real yet again, Vancouverite duo Japandroids took a rather unorthodox approach to their set, coming out fifteen minutes early to do a sound check for a keen audience. Singer Brian King darted from the stage right as they were supposed to start, leaving drummer David Prowse stranded on stage, only to come back two minutes later soaking wet. They worked out bugs in their sound as they went, and even started a few over because we “deserved better than that shit.” They switched up the melodies on songs like “Wet Hair” and “The House That Heaven Built,” which was easily the highlight of their set, with the crowd eagerly jumping in to sing along. It was an exhausting 50 minutes.


Red Fang
Red Fang

I sat down with Japandroids during the weekend. We discussed their start in Vancouver, their progression as songwriters, and learning the solo from “Stairway to Heaven.”

The rain made good on its threat as we made our way over a performance by the Boisean Built to Spill, who played an extended set thanks to a no-show by Schoolboy Q. I’m only really familiar with Built to Spill’s first four albums, so thankfully the majority of their set was dedicated to that era. The indie vets burned through classics like “Else” and “Big Dipper” with the proficiency of pros that have been playing together for a very long time. Set against the gorgeous setting of the Gorge with the sunset and rain, there was a strange sense of serenity about the whole thing. The mix was guitar-heavy to the point where Doug Martsch’s lyrics weren’t quite decipherable, but his voice has weathered magnificently. Beneath the band’s thick, winding riffs, it added a whole new dimension to subdued songs like “Carry the Zero.”

Arctic Monkeys

Arctic Monkeys

After watching Built to Spill from the comfort of the hill, we headed down to the front of the stage in anticipation of Arctic Monkeys, a personal favourite. Having seen the band before in 2009 and 2011, I had certain expectations for their show. They didn’t fulfill any of them, but instead gave me something I didn’t even realize I wanted. This is the first time I’ve seen Arctic Monkeys look like genuine fucking rock stars. Without saying a word, the band opened with a song I’ve never heard, titled “Do I Wanna Know.” From there, they gave a fair shake to all of their albums, including “Brick by Brick,” a thoroughly underrated cut from Suck It And See that has some real snarl when played live. It seems like they’re splitting the difference between Humbug and “R U Mine?” this time around; pensive and moody, but with deep pop roots.

Vampire Weekend
Vampire Weekend

Right after the Monkeys was the first of multiple sprints from one show to the next. I’d always thought that Vampire Weekend was a band whose success could mostly be chalked up to being in the right place at the right time. Even though they smacked the zeitgeist in the forehead in 2008, their first two albums never really resonated with me. Then I listened to the recently released Modern Vampires and everything suddenly clicked. In a live setting, the details in their music positively bloom. As the delicate, spoke-wheel guitars of “White Sky” rang out from Bigfoot Stage, it became apparent that Ezra Koenig & co. are seriously competent musicians. The nearly perfect string on songs from Modern Vampires, “Unbelievers,” “Step,” and “Diane Young,” were thrilling, while classics like “A-Punk” were practically thrown at the audience. On our way to Macklemore we stopped by El Chupacabra to catch a few of Matthew Dear’s heavy, hypnotic rhythms. I’m not overly familiar with the band’s material, but the visual show was magnificent, and the audience knew almost all of the words. We then made our way over to the main stage for Friday’s grand finale.

Matthew Dear
Matthew Dear

After stepping on 20 minutes late, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis bounded onto the stage, accompanied by horn players, and an army of backup singers and dancers. This was balls-out entertainment, and as much fun as I was expecting it to be. They pulled out every stop imaginable, bringing in numerous guests from his album The Heist, including Wanz and Mary Lambert, and using several of the props from their music videos. As the show progressed, it became obvious that Macklemore’s performance was his gift back to his home state, like a thank you for allowing him to become the success he is: “I have been working my entire life to step on to this stage, and there is no place more beautiful.” Outfitted in a jersey from the defunct Seattle Supersonics, he proceeded to reminisce about growing up in Washington and his own Sasquatch experiences, and spoke candidly about his struggles with addiction. He poured his heart into this show, from opener “Ten Thousand Hours” to mega-hit “Thrift Shop” to politically charged “Same Love,” coming out for several encores and going well beyond his allotted time.


[Day 1] [Day 2] [Day 3] [Accolades + Gallery]

Live Coverage and Video: Chelsea Light Moving, March 22, 2013, Doug Fir Lounge – Portland, OR

By Autumn Andel; March 25, 2013 at 10:37 AM 


It didn’t dawn on me until right before heading out to see Chelsea Light Moving that Thurston Moore has been making music for more than three decades. And I reflected upon how people I knew back when I first heard Sonic Youth, which was probably at least after a decade of their existence. Even before learning about how seminal Daydream Nation was, the first spin of “Teenage Riot” awakened a certain awareness, which shed a bit of light on why I felt a certain kinship with the gloomy few in a small town, Midwest. We we were much more interested in the British post punk, art, and literature than mingling with “the popular” crowd. The last I knew, the once nonconformists absorbed into the society that expects marriage, children, and a steady job. While I am still the outsider who can’t yield to a routine work for a mere survival. And somehow, I felt Moore would validate my seemingly desultory existence.

At my favourite Portland venue, Doug Fir Lounge, I stood right at the foot of the stage. Moore walked out, looming over me like the tree the establishment was named after. Though the passing of years has left its mark on his face and Fender, the unruly hair and the casual attire were unaltered. But most importantly, Moore’s punkish attitude and raw energy was still intact. For those of us who like the world to be a bit incongruent and spontaneous, Chelsea Light Moving provided an evening where dead relay stopped the show for several minutes, songs were dedicated to the likes of Richard Hell (who was in the house) and Pussy Riot, and story about why Moore stopped smoking weed (whether true or not) was told. As I walked out into the night alone, I relished the life that was customized for my being.

Check out our live videos from the show here.

Live Review, Photos, and Video: The Deer Tracks, February 19, 2013, Mississippi Studios – Portland, OR

By Autumn Andel; February 22, 2013 at 10:09 AM 


Just as life was feeling monotonous, The Deer Tracks flew in from Sweden to throw some pixie dust, transforming what would have been a night in with my computer to an evening of audio-visual splendor. The “Northern Light” electronica duo released the third segment of the “The Archer” trilogy last week and has chosen Portland as the starting point of their North American tour. Only discovering their existence couple of months ago, I scarcely had the time to get myself familiar enough with their music to know what to expect. But being a Nordic music-phile, I knew crawling out of my lair wouldn’t be in vain.


Armed with boxes of the “world famous” Voodoo Doughnuts, I found jet-lagged musicians trying to catch some rest before the crowd poured in. Lucky for me, Elin Lindfors and David Lehnberg agreed to be my first candidates for my photo series with doughnuts provided by couple of very generous and kooky guys. Elin chose “Marshall Matters” (plain cake doughnut with vanilla frosting and mini M&M’s), and David picked “Neapolitan” (chocolate cake doughnut with vanilla frosting, strawberry dust and three marshmallows) for the camera. The reasons behind their selections is as unconventional as their musical project. Having once dreamt of being a colorful doughnut motivated Lindfors’, while the resemblance to the shape of a universe guided Lehnberg’s. I did not realize how much a sugary cake ring could shed light on a person until now.


If the doughnut theory has any weight, Lehnberg is the space and time, providing the world where Lindfors could embellish and lure us in. On stage, the songstress with the long blonde hair, almost as pale as the snow, commands the attention. But the dark-haired synth/programmer wizard doesn’t hide behind the machinery. Lehnberg’s asymmetrical hair flapping like the wings of a bird, would at times, steel our gaze from his fairy-like partner. These two singers and multi-instrumentalists are the yin and yang personified.

The Deer Tracks immersed Mississippi Studios in an otherworldly aural experience that could be as endearing as Múm and chilling as The Knife. In the shadows of Lindfors and Lehnberg, the “Evil Twin”, who were dressed in matching black dresses and hooded headdresses, provided the additional keyboards and a drum kit that makes a huge difference in an electronic-based music. From “Lazarus” off of the latest LP, to their fan favourite, “Tiger” from the second trilogy, the quartet seemingly played without a blunder. And it’s not without the effort of the two meticulous musicians, who spend almost every waking hour, honing their craft to create the illusion, that we are experiencing another universe – where a man and a deer can exist as one entity.

To celebrate a successful commencement of The Deer Tracks’ tour, we toasted with my home-infused lavender vodka. Skål!




“Ram Ram”


Live Coverage and Video: Delay Trees, October 26, 2012, Telakka, Tampere, Finland

By Autumn Andel; November 1, 2012 at 6:15 PM 

Recently, I discovered some wonderful music from the Nordic country that often gets overlooked: Finland. And most of these artists are signed to Soliti – an independent label run single-handedly by a man with an impeccable taste: Nick Triani. As someone who seeks out the unsung heroes of music, and since I was going all they to Iceland for the Airwaves, thought might as well take two more plane connections to Helsinki to find out what was in their waters. Nineteen hours after I left my home in Portland, I found myself in the country that gave the world Nokia and Angry Birds. Unfortunately, I arrived a week too late or a week too early for live performances by Soliti artists. However, I was determined to catch at least one show, even if I had to travel even further to accomplish that goal. And that opportunity came through the band who just released their second LP: Delay Trees, who had a show, two hours north of the capital city, in the town of Tampere.

Though the snow came early to a land that conjures up frozen imagery any time of the year, I found Finns to be some of the warmest people in my lifetime of travels. Not in the way of “mi casa es su casa”, but they seem to genuinely care. On this occasion, Delay Trees borrowed their friend’s dying van to accommodate my request to come along on their journey. The five of us arrived a little after 7pm to a lively dinner crowd at Telakka. The venue was not just a restaurant with a stage, it had an active theater above, and a sauna in the green room! I was fancying that fate was throwing me a genuine slice of Finland.

Actually, Delay Trees had just played a week ago to a packed crowd at Telakka, days after the release of Doze, so their expectations for attendance wasn’t high. By the time the opening band, Kairon, took the stage, the dining crowd had thinned out but several people stayed around – whether out of curiosity or to finish their night cap. The older crowd gradually dissipated while the younger crowd casually poured in as the night matured.

Finally, after killing over four hours with sound check, photo shoots, marker tattooing, and other little things we did to have fun, it was time for Delay Trees to fill the modest hall with their gorgeous expansive dream pop. Before we could be immersed in the psychedelic melancholia of the quartet, guitarist/keyboardist, Lauri Järvinen, had some trouble with his effects pedals. Finnish being such a foreign language to my ears, not sure if the issue was fully resolved, but obviously not enough to ruin the night. What came out from that cluttered stage transformed the intimate venue into a space with no walls – like echos of trees in the forest enveloping you in a cocoon.

Delay Trees executed slower tunes just as well as the more aggressive tracks. The haunting nocturnal instrumental piece, “Glacier”, was the perfect intro to break into their current single, “HML” – the most radio-friendly track from Doze. But for a live setting, the songs that build on layers as it progresses like “Pause” or “Gold,” as well as the highly charged and fuzzed-out “Future” shined the brightest. It was rather short set with nine songs, but well balanced between their two LPs and an EP.

Ideally, any art form should be judged purely on their craft. However, our human nature can’t help to be influenced by external factors such as the character of the artist. There is something inherently tragic in Delay Trees’ soundscape, betraying their light-hearted personalities. But that’s just an observation from one night. We all know between black and white, there are countless shades of gray. Even so, I could sense a great friendship among the lads of Delay Trees, and that vibe transfers seamless harmony in their music.

I traveled far to satiate my love for music and in the process, hoped to spark interest to the world oblivious of stupendous music produced in Finland.

Check out our extensive videos of the show here.

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Live Coverage and Video Interview: Porcelain Raft / Phantogram, July 24, 2012, Wonder Ballroom – Portland, OR

By Autumn Andel; July 31, 2012 at 5:28 PM 

I’m not quite sure how Strange Weekend has become one of my favorite albums of the year. It subconsciously crept into my world, and I found a great solace in its nebulous universe. Perhaps it was just the right timing — at a time when the physical world all feels so weighty, the amorphous soundscape of Porcelain Raft (aka Mauro Remiddi) was the perfect antidote. Some people find his diaphanous songs easily digestible and elusive. But for some of us, its empathy realized in simple beauty.

As one of the most popular supporting act for today’s hottest indie bands from M83 to Smith Westerns, Porcelain Raft was starting to get weary of the peripatetic touring life and missed recording new material. He politely declined few shows like Hultsfred Festival in Sweden. Lucky for the Northwest, Remiddi said yes to opening for Phantogram. After a day off from Capitol Hill Block Party in Seattle, the Brooklyn-based musician arrived in Portland, just as Obama was en route to Seattle.

Since the release of his debut album a half year ago, Remiddi has been thrusted into a new realm of countless press and attention. As his Facebook page likes accumulate over 12,000, the Italian has retained humility and level-headedness. At 8:55 p.m., the tour manager gives him the five-minute warning. Remiddi uttered nonchalantly that no one will be out there except for us (my video assistant and I) because people are coming to see the headliner. With a good dose of southern whiskey, Remiddi headed for the stage, while we submerged into the myriad of warm bodies that had gathered at the Wonder Ballroom.

Remiddi stood alone in the dark abyss of the platform armed with his keyboard, programmer, and guitar. His falsetto and hazy music could have easily got lost, but the receptive crowd allowed the slumberous tunes to envelope. Cheers and claps followed at the end of every song. Michael Wallace, who had accompanied Remiddi much of 2012 dates with his drum kit, was absent this time around. While the aching “Dragonfly” still had its poignant moments, and Remiddi shredded his guitar to resonate a mourn, the drum machine was a no substitute for the visceral presence of Wallace. The more upbeat and catchy songs like ”Put Me to Sleep” and “Tip Of Your Tongue” felt almost anthemic at times, disremembering that there is only one musician on stage. Though Remiddi was told he had forty-five minutes, somehow the set was cut short about fifteen minutes with seven songs representing the current LP and its preceding release, Gone Blind EP.

In almost four decades of Remiddi’s life, the peregrinator has earned his daily bread in many guises. But he has always been married to music and doesn’t look like the multi-instrumentalist will ever seek a divorce. Like his airy pop songs, the assured Remiddi has a weightless personality, exuding openness and jollity. Before delighting the crowd on stage, the affable Remiddi got serious, light-hearted, and excited on a diversity of topics from his Seattle lodging to christian rock (?!). It was easy to see why he should never give up his craft.


Check out our interview with Porcelain Raft, and extensive videos of the show here.

Live Coverage and Video Interview: Liars, July 7, 2012, Doug Fir Lounge – Portland, OR

By Autumn Andel; July 12, 2012 at 1:06 PM 

Liars are known for never making the same record twice, but they were consistently dark and usually organic, often accompanied by strained vocals. On their sixth LP, WIXIW, the trio take the biggest leap from their catalogue with an album rooted in electronically produced sounds. It’s still moody but with vulnerability that seems to speak to a wider audience than any of the avant-garde rockers’ previous efforts.

On July 7th, Liars arrived in Portland just in time for our version of heatwave (anything above 80F). The Saturday night crowd packed the subterranean venue at Doug Fir Lounge. I wondered how many of these restless bodies became a fan of Liars with WIXIW. One could infer from during which part of the diversified set, who would force their way into the front of the stage. From the lush transfixing opener, “Doubt” to the more industrial number with the highest danceability of “Brats,” to the eardrum-obilberating trashing of “Scarecrows On A Killer Slant,” Liars made the ninety to hundred and eighty turns uncannily innate.

Before the concert frenzy, the three gentlemen of Liars: Angus Andrew, Aaron Hemphill, and Julian Gross took a smoke break and answered questions regarding the tour, music videos, expectation vs reaction, the duality of the Internet and more.

Check out our interview with Liars, and extensive videos of the show here.

Live Coverage and Video Interview: Mark Gardener of Ride, June 22, 2012, Star Theater – Portland, OR

By Autumn Andel; June 29, 2012 at 3:44 PM 

I was just some teenager always searching for the latest music to love, when the new decade brought discoveries that would forever influence my record collection. In 1990, I did not have the luxury of the instant gratification known as the Internet. Instead, I relied on music magazines such as Star Hits and B-Sides or MTV’s “120 Minutes” to find the current bands for my discriminating ears.

I recall being absolutely mesmerized the first time I ever heard/saw Ride on “120 Minutes.” Four skinny, scruffy, white English boys looking so free, innocent, and shy, but their sound was ferocious. The dreamy vocals floated like feather on “Like A Daydream,” while the jingle-jangly guitars shredded as the drums exploded like fireworks. This combination of distortion, urgency, and etherealness felt so right for a melancholy girl in an existential state of mind.

As the nineties aged, I discovered many more bands I have come to love, but Ride takes the crown as my favorite discovery of that decade, and they remain as one of my top ten favorite bands of all time. Their debut LP, Nowhere, retained the raw psychedelic energy of their EPs with a newfound sophistication that made this album a classic. Their follow-up, Going Blank Again, suffered no sophomore slump. While the distortion was toned down, the songwriting showed maturity with experiments in unconventional structures. Opening the album with “Leave Them All Behind” — a rock-out, jammer masterpiece clocking over eight minutes and following it up with the “radio-friendly” pop perfection, “Twisterella”, the record still sounds fresh today as I first heard in 1992. And I’m sure the fact that Ride never compromised their artistic integrity for commercial success has something to do with it.

Unfortunately, life is not always kind, and I never had the chance to catch Ride in concert. While several “nineties” bands are reuniting and touring again, it seems highly unlikely that the Oxford quartet will ever jump on the bandwagon. So the best consolation I could get was to have Ride’s frontman, Mark Gardener, come out of the studio, and play few of my favorite songs on the twentieth anniversary of Going Blank Again, with Sky Parade as his backing band.

On the second stop of the tour, Gardener took some time from his busy schedule to fulfill this fan’s dream, before playing at the Star Theater in downtown Portland on June 22nd. I recall an interview on “120 Minutes” when Ride was touring with Lush. Gardener seemed shy and didn’t say too much. But to be fair, it seemed then host, Dave Kendall, was favoring Lush’s vocalist/guitarist Miki Berenyi. Not that I’d blame him… Looking more like a Californian than an Englishman, the tanned quadragenarian couldn’t be more friendly and informative. Having experienced a gamut of interviewee personalities and being shy with propensity to be tongue-tied, I was pleasantly surprised to find the daunting task with one of my all time favorite musician effortless.

Check out our interview with Gardener, and extensive videos of the show here.

Live Video and Photos: Starfucker, May 28, 2012, Burnside Skate Park – Portland, OR

By Autumn Andel; June 1, 2012 at 11:42 AM 

After playing at the Sasquatch! music festival, the electro-pop outfit, Starfucker, decided to celebrate Memorial Day in their hometown by performing a free show under the Portland Burnside bridge, with the skate park as their back drop. Dubbed the “generator” show, the band announced the show only the night before via Twitter and Facebook. Attracting more than just “hipsters,” their catchy dance numbers had the young and the older crowd in high spirits as the lukewarm sun slowly descended on a breezy evening. The smell of soft drug wafted and beer bottles were visible as the music blasted across the river, over the bridge, and soared into the sky. And no interruption from men in uniforms to ruin the perfect party. Wish there were more moments like this.

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