The In: Catch up edition

So, I don’t have this blogging thing perfected yet, but over the last couple weeks while I got lost in Treefort bliss, I covered some pretty cool shows, including Thao and the Get Down, Candace and Justin Bieber for Portland Mercury, so here it all is in one stupid long post.

But first: Here are two shows you should not miss tonight and tomorrow:

Tonight 3/31- Doug Fir Lounge: The Lower 48 album release with Rio Grands and Tiburones

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Seven years ago the Lower 48 first united in Minneapolis, creating upbeat, folky tunes inspired by leaving home. Years later the Portland transplants are more active than ever, evolving from those roots on their most mature release to date, their second full-length Hot Fool. After a single from their self-titled EP was featured in a Super Bowl commercial last year, the band has stayed busy, playing as Y La Bamba’s backing band the past few months and doing some fine-tuning in the studio. Their sound falls somewhere between Simon and Garfunkel and the B-52s, in a land of surf, psych, and harmonic dance. After playing together for so long, the Lower 48 have become masters of their instruments, something that’s undeniable at their high-energy shows—if you haven’t caught one yet, it’s a must. JENI WREN STOTTRUP

Friday 4/1- Bunk Bar: Death Songs with Tiburones and Kulululu

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(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) To watch Death Songs, the solo moniker of Nick Delffs, is to step into a Mississippi backyard party ripe with foot stomping and feverish, emotional highs like a voodoo spell cast by his warbly and intoxicating tenor. The artist, currently based in Boise, is never too far from Portland—he’s the drummer for Tiburones, the sweet fruit of his longtime collaboration with Luz Elena Mendoza. Delffs is finally releasing his next full-length sometime this year, long awaited since 2013’s stunning Sung Inside a House. At this show Delffs and bandmate Alison Clarys will play a mix of new and old material, giving a taste of what we can expect on this next record. The night also celebrates Tiburones’ video release for “Golden House” off their luscious recent release, Eva. JWS

Thao and the Get Down Stay Down

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Thao Nyugen of Thao and the Get Down Stay Down has taken a solid risk with her latest, A Man Alive. Ever poignant with her lyrics, this time around Nyugen enters personal territory, singing about her father abandoning her when she was young. The San Francisco artist teamed up with fellow Bay Area pioneer Merrill Garbus of Tune-Yards, creating a musical palette that is daring, ripping apart the folk-pop of her previous efforts at the seams. Fans of Garbus will find the album’s rhythmic movement, war chants, and electronic influences familiar territory. Yet at the core of it all is Nyugen’s confessional tone that bravely yells out, calling to her legions to sing along and claim a voice of their own: “I’ll show you the mettle I’m made of.” JENI WREN STOTTRUP

Candace’s Witchgaze Coven

The Portland Band’s Unmistakable Sisterhood

by Jeni Wren Stottrup

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WITH HARD-DRIVING guitars, four-on-the-floor drums, and optimistic vocals sung in phased-out unison, Candace’s self-described “witchgaze” stands out in an era of new-rock. Although the trio originally hails from Minnesota, Candace has a distinctly West Coast sound—it’s as though they saw into the future and knew the Northwest was destined to be their home.

This week, Candace releases their latest full-length, New Future, on Found Object, the culmination of a journey full of hardships. “I had to get out of my hometown. I made a leap and came here with a suitcase,” says drummer Mara Appel DesLauriers of the two-year hiatus that temporarily broke up the close group.

Sarah Rose, Sarah Nienaber, and DesLauriers first met in Minneapolis. As sixth graders, Rose and DesLauriers bonded over guitars in their parents’ houses, later meeting Nienaber at a show. “Seeing Sarah’s band, I was like, ‘Wow! She likes [the things] that I’m just getting into,'” DesLauriers recalls. “We were so excited.”

After bonding over Patti Smith and the Jesus and Mary Chain, the three started Candace (then known as Is/Is) in 2009—the rest is history. They seem like a family, easily finishing each other’s sentences. This unmistakable sisterhood is the cornerstone of the band’s easygoing collaboration.

“The separation was never easy for us, it was just a matter of time [until they moved],” DesLauriers says of the nearly two-year span before Rose and Nienaber joined her in Portland.

“We would have moved anywhere Mara was. If she were in New York we would have gone there,” says Rose.

Since reuniting, Candace has been a staple of Portland’s pop-rock scene. The three started growing roots in Portland during the Know’s 10-year anniversary series in early 2015, where they found their footing on a bill with bands like Talkative and Ah God. This formative show grounded them in the local scene. They’ve continued to play on important bills, including a recent appearance with Pure Bathing Culture at XRAY.fm‘s 2015 Awards. They also make “constant” trips to play in Seattle with friends Draemhouse.

Last year was rough for the band, between their name switch from Is/Is to Candace—which became necessary for obvious reasons—and a near-death experience on the road during the first leg of their summer tour. While they were travelling at 80 MPH, “The whole wheel flew off and the van landed on its ass, and it was skidding on the road and there were sparks flying. It was our first van, and it was so traumatic,” says Rose.

DesLauriers adds, “It was this crazy thing, and I think that we just had to buckle down and make sure this album came out, and luckily it has.”

Candace describes their writing process as “trying to find a feeling.” For New Future, they challenged themselves in new ways as they tried to capture a clearer pop sound. On this album the band also returns to their first instruments—a move they believe has made them better songwriters.

For the recording of New Future, Candace flew in longtime engineer and “fourth member” Neil Weir of the historic Minneapolis studio Old Blackberry Way. They took advantage of Jackpot! Recording Studio’s plethora of tools—reverb walls, a Moog wave, and more—taking risks and using everything in the studio to expand their sound.

What has emerged is a mature and spirited album that is a testament to the energy and camaraderie of the three women. DesLauriers says it best: “It took all six-and-a-half insane years to come up with something like [New Future], through all the hardships, it took the crazy timeline of this, ourselves, our band and what we’ve gone through to somehow get to there. Wherever we are, we could do it together.”

 

Justin Bieber in a Plexiglass Case of Emotion at the Moda Center, Sun March 13

By Jeni Wren Stottrup

bieberPlaying to a packed arena of screaming on-fleek millennials, Justin Bieber’sModa Center concert on Sunday night was a dance party of teenage dreams, replete with Tron-like visuals, smoke plumes, rising cubes, and a built-in skateboard ramp. The pop star has been known as much for his music as his public stumbling, growing up in the spotlight since first being discovered by Usher as a preteen. Fittingly, he began his set by rising up in a glass box, decked by Grecian statues, as if proclaiming his self awareness of the Adonis-like status he lives with, forever watched inside a glass house even as he’s recently sought to rehab his image.

Bieber moved through his set with an intensity that was reflective of the start of a tour: still trying to get it down, a bit wooden, often missing his lip-sync cues, but nonetheless full of high energy. He was flanked by a bevy of acrobatic dancers dressed in flannels and jean shorts, who used the full spectrum of the stage, sliding down banks, hanging from aerials, and breaking down hip-hop inspired moves. Bieber kept primarily to the material from his latest release, Purpose, with throwbacks to his biggest hits, “Boyfriend,” “Baby,” and “As Long as You Love Me.”

Keeping with his ’90s theme, in the second half Bieber stepped out in a long Marilyn Manson T-shirt and flannel with the words, “Bigger than Satan… Bieber” emblazoned on the back. After a high-energy first half, he brought it down a notch with his guitar and led a sing-along to “Love Yourself” on a couch that looked like it belonged in his mom’s basement—before bringing it back up, literally, with a floating trampoline followed by a prolonged drum solo on a rising platform at the front of the stage.

Bieber elicited the biggest screams of the evening as he laid down on the stage as if to take a nap, admitting that he “didn’t sleep last night, I was ragin’, ragers. I’m going trout fishing tomorrow, maybe rehydrate.” He did indeed rehydrate during the final song of his set, “Sorry,” with a cascade of water from the front of the stage giving him a chance to take off his shirt and finally lighten up, showing the first glint of pleasure in the evening. For the man in the glass house, Bieber still appeared afraid to completely shatter the walls, but it was a step in the right direction.

Treefort 2016 Recap: Day 1

Day one of Treefort 2016 is in the books.  It was a night that glowed with bands and press settling in and feeling the love, with some stunning sets across town.  Here is the rundown of the bands that caught my eye.  Check out our instagram and twitter this week for more coverage, from myself and the awesome Lanny Lieu. @grittybirds

 

Great Grandpa – Linen Building12439472_569725343191561_6843864692668778286_n (1)

Seattle 5 piece Great Grandpa opened my night at Linen Building.  Led by  vocalist Alex Menna, the band’s sound falls between Nirvana, Paramour and Metric, with the vocalist leading the way with a range of vocal inflection that is reminiscent of the Cranberries, with icy perfection that is nuanced with crack.(photo by Peter Dervin)

 

Harvey Krishna – The Olympic

Boise band Harvey Krishna play psych, but not the recent kind.  The artist has been around for awhile and is no spring chicken.  He has a girth to his performance that felt genuinely down home and real.

 

Jackson Boone and the Ocean Ghosts – The OlympicIMG_7611Returning from tour and SXSW, the Portland psych rocker led a riveting set of his dreamy Doors-esque music.  The artist played material off of his 2015 release as well as some new songs, which were recorded in January for a release expected later this year.

 

Acid Mothers Temple- Neurolux

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Acid Mothers Temple played an absolutely stunning set to close out the first night of the festival.  The Japanesepsych rockers leave me with a new base line for what amazing psych music is about.  The band is currently in the midst of their US tour, arriving shortly before their set from Seattle.  While tour can be hard on anyone, the band members apparently are wizards in the kitchen and make cooking right a priority on tour.  With the amazing music they are making maybe they are onto something there.

March 19: 4 shows you absolutely should not miss in Portland tonight

Tonight is one of those absolutely amazing nights of shows that sometimes you have to miss. As you know, Treefort Music Fest is just a couple days away and we’re announcing the lineup for our FIRST OFFICIAL SHOWCASE tomorrow!  So, I’m not sure where I’m headed yet.. but here is a quick line up of 4 shows that you really should not miss if you can help it tonight.  There is a little for everyone here.

I’ll post again tomorrow with lots of amazing Treefort details, SIGN UP FOR THE MAILING LIST!!!

-Jeni

1) Bim Ditson’s Campaign Rally with Cool Nutz and The Domestics- ALL AGES – FREE- Hawthorne Theatre 7:30 Right now there is no denying that we are on the verge of a music industry crisis, which if we can get the political backing like Seattle or Austin, could end very well for our small city allowing creatives to thrive.  Bim, who is a cult hero in town, has some great ideas and we really need his voice in the Portland Political scene.  He also brought on two of Portland’s greatest bands Cool Nutz and The Domestics on board for the bill, it’s a for sure.  I’m going to interview Bim next week while I’m at Treefort as a part of my coverage to get a better scope of what he has to say our industry needs.

2) Radiation City’s album release at Mississippi Studios.  6:00 ALL AGES  9:00  21 + $15 and get there early.  I think the show I’m most going to miss tonight is my beloved friends Radiation City.  I first met Cameron and Lizzy outside of the Holocene after one of our first Shy Girls shows.  They were my favorite band in PDX and I was in awe that they liked me.  Since then, they are some of my favorite people and their music is heaven on the ears.  They are also one of Portland’s most successful bands and I’m really psyched to interview them next week for Gritty Birds.

3) The Return of Mascaras-9 pm $6 Doug Fir: Papi is finally back in town, after a 7 month vacation.  This is going to a really special celebration and a rad extra addition.  Tents and The Dovecoats are opening the set.  If you haven’t met Papi before, take a listen to Episode 11 of the podcast to get to know this awesome soul.

 

4) Nina Simone Tribute with LaRhonda Steel and Adrian Martin Sextet- Alberta Rose Theatre – 8 pm (Portland Mercury)”Nina Simone’s legacy is undeniable. The tragic, lauded artist and civil rights activist was one of the greats of her era, a classical pianist who began to sing when her early gigs required it. Her emotive voice was an agent of change, and her career is the focus of LaRhonda Steele and the Adrian Martin Sextet’s retrospective. Steele is an appropriate and powerful conduit for the late artist, and she’ll be playing songs from Simone’s early years. Known for her warm, bluesy alto and dynamic stage presence, Steele has wowed audiences as one of the most prominent blues vocalists of the Northwest for decades, and like Simone, she’s not immune to the trials of life, having recently recovered from a battle with breast cancer. Paired with Martin’s classical-meets-jazz sextet, the power of Simone’s legacy is bound to shine in glorious light. JENI WREN STOTTRUP”

Video Debut: Shadowlands

There is an ominous haze cast by the electric buzz of Portland’s Shadowlands.  The dark wave outfit’s first album, 001, is out this weekend, a driving and concise hit that pivots between punk, psych and garage surf rock with equal measure.  Recorded in stolen moments between babysitters and band rehearsals at Destination Universe, the album toys with the theme of adulthood and escape, juxtaposing what-if fantasies with reality.  Perhaps this is where they find their escape, in the shadowy crevice’s of the dark bass.

Get lost along with them in their dark vision of Portland in their new video, Clean Life, debuting below.

Their album release is this Saturday at their Kenton club with Thanks and COMM.

The In: March 10-16

There has been a flurry of movement in the Gritty Birds World recently.  The website is back up and I’m furiously prepping for our upcoming trip to Treefort Music Festival, which will be the basis of a multi-episode arch of the coming return of the podcast.

Gritty Birds will be partnering with Self Group featuring artists and key industry players, giving a snapshot into what it looks like to be a successful artist in today’s changing market while touching aspects on how DIY influences may have shaped their success.  Featuring analog photography from photographer Ingrid Renan, it’s set to be a beautiful relaunch moving forward.

We’re also excited to share we’ll be hosting a showcase at St Lawrence Gridiron on Saturday of Treefort between 2-6 featuring Fog Father, And And And and more.  Details to come soon.

Picks of the week

Thursday 3/10</strong>
Holocene–The Flavr Blue, Blossom, 8 pm

Hollis Wong-Wear wears many hats. She’s the vocalist for the Flavr Blue, a video producer, poet, music advocate, and an outspoken social-justice activist who garnered national attention for her collaboration with Macklemore on The Heist. In December she made further headlines with her response to a controversial Seattle Times headline that called her Macklemore’s “sidekick.” Responding with a poignant essay on Medium, Wong-Wear ripped apart the systemic marginalization of Asian Americans in popular culture, and brought the story back to the community that drives her vision. She and her band are in town to support the release of the Flavr Blue’s Love Notes, a feel-good collection that’s ready for the sun. Silky, beautiful, and passionate, the Com Truise-reminiscent EP features blurry, smooth synth framed by rhythmically grounding R&B and Wong-Wear’s lilting, poignant poetry. See: Portland Mercury

Saturday 3/12
Mississippi Studios- Best New Band Showcase w/Chanti Darling, Cat Hoch and Mic Capes, 8 pm
Kenton Club- Shadowlands Rekkid Release(see exclusive video release) with Thanks, COMM

Sunday 3/13
Mississippi Studios–Fanno Creek // Ali Muhareb’s Mujahedeen // Ah God 9 pm
Moda Center–Justin Bieber, 7:30 pm
Rontoms–Sama Dams, No Kind of Rider, 8:30 pm

Monday 3/14
Al’s Den–Bevelers, Through March 19, 7 pm

Wednesday 3/16
Holocene–Dreamboat, WL and Hush Arbors, 8 pm