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Falling fast

Let's get things started right away
As almost always seems to be the case, I have to start the "fall preview" by detailing this upcoming weekend, which promises to be one of the most active of the year.
By: SAM PFEIFLE  |  September 16, 2009


Pain makes you beautiful

 Dead Season find the middle ground between life and death
With all the success Dead Season have had, perhaps their greatest talent lies in their unflappable honesty, their unwavering self-confidence. At times, their songs, full of introspection and naked emotion, are like being forced to stare at the sun. The instinct to blink is strong.
By: SAM PFEIFLE  |  September 09, 2009


What of the Beatles?

Jazz, pop, and circumstance
Spouting off during downtime in an interview with jazz drummer/composer Steve Grover, I once put forward my ill-researched idea that the third song is almost universally the best song on a great album.
By: SAM PFEIFLE  |  September 02, 2009


Which was fine

Jessica Anthony's pleasantly disturbing Convalescent
There are probably 10 or 15 reviews I could write of Jessica Anthony's The Convalescent . Leitmotifs populate the book's 240 pages like thick, black hairs on the back of an old man's wrinkled ass.
By: SAM PFEIFLE  |  September 02, 2009

olivia list

Second summer

Catching up with discs missed
Summer's over, the kids are getting back to school and I'm loath to turn the seasonal page. The music's been terrific. New discs by Spencer and the School Spirit Mafia, Grand Hotel, dilly dilly, Samuel James, and Gypsy Tailwind have highlighted the depth and breadth of our local talent and the return of shows on the pier has reminded many of us just what a great summer town this can be.
By: SAM PFEIFLE  |  August 26, 2009

sam list

Book of Samuel, Vol. 3

For the ages, and For Rosa, Maeve and Noreen
It's so easy not to think about the music Samuel James makes much at all. Built from the very pillars of American music, it's easy to dismiss it as an homage, a throwback, a curiosity. And it is all those things, with James's ageless voice — he could be 20 or 80 — and variety of stringed instruments that scoff at modern technology.
By: SAM PFEIFLE  |  August 19, 2009

jaye list

Moving on up

Jaye Drew proves herself a smooth operator
In the R&B and soul the very talented vocalist Jaye Drew purveys, you need something real, a grit and substance that allows you to rise above sentimental pap and make people actually give a fuck about you. She finds — and shows — just that on A Moving Train, her debut full-length.
By: SAM PFEIFLE  |  August 12, 2009

grand hotel list

Ain't life Grand

A debut EP worth more than a one-night stay
Bands come and go. Especially local ones. The money's not great, personalities clash, young and single people tend to move around a lot. Kyle Gervais with Cosades had a band a lot of us in Portland will remember for a long time, but they broke up last year for the reasons that bands break up.
By: SAM PFEIFLE  |  August 13, 2009

gutter list

Flying solo (and duo)

Elijah Ocean and Dave Gutter get busy taking it slow
Think about everything you know about Elijah Ocean and Dave Gutter: Ocean's work fronting the heavy rock trio Loverless, say, or his lead-guitar turn in the radio-rock foursome All the Real Girls; Gutter's piercing vocals out front of Rustic Overtones, or his white-hot bounce in the lead of Paranoid Social Club.
By: SAM PFEIFLE  |  August 05, 2009

spencer list

So good

Spencer Albee's got Spirit. How 'bout you?
One way to experiment with songwriting is to throw convention out the window, eschew verses and choruses, try to be completely unique. Sometimes the idea appears that if a song sounds like anything that came before it, well, that's points deducted like a gymnast who missed her landing. It's derivative!
By: SAM PFEIFLE  |  July 30, 2009


Regardless of the cost

Tony McNaboe testifies on sophomore release
If you were concerned that the return of Rustic Overtones would mean the ends of their various side projects, it’s clear now that was a fruitless worry.
By: SAM PFEIFLE  |  July 22, 2009


Free to be

Hutch Heelan goes solo
Because of Hutch Heelan, I've now heard of EFT, which stands for emotional freedom techniques, and, as far as I can tell, involves tapping on different parts of your body to relieve pain, anxiety, and other bad feelings.
By: SAM PFEIFLE  |  July 22, 2009

beat list


Shardlow and Goodyear and a brand-new studio
How we think about making and consuming music is changing. It is not news that labels, albums, and record stores are dying, pushed aside by new ways of conducting the commerce of music. (Though at the turn of the 20th century the song was king and the trade was in sheet-music publishing rights, so maybe this is all a return to form, just with new technology.)
By: SAM PFEIFLE  |  July 15, 2009

goose list

Shudder to think

Chill out this summer with Goose Bumps, Vol. 3
With the tools available to electronic musicians — software and limitless collaborators available through the Internet — the only limiting agents are ambition and work ethic. Well, talent, too, but that can be as easily wasted as ever if you don’t know how to use the platforms available to you for putting it on display.
By: SAM PFEIFLE  |  July 08, 2009

carll list

Working on your heart

Carll Wilkinson starts the whole damn thing all over
With the talent we have in this town, just about anybody can put together a decent-sounding album.
By: SAM PFEIFLE  |  July 01, 2009

closed list

History bites

Bramhall shuttered; Jerks need a new home
Just a few months after the close of its upstairs neighbor, the Roma Cafe, the Bramhall Pub, long an institution in the West End, shut its doors two weeks ago. And while there's talk it may reopen after renovations, one thing is for sure: The 11-plus-year run of Jerks of Grass shows on Thursday nights, the longest-standing weekly gig in Portland, has come to an end.
By: SAM PFEIFLE  |  June 24, 2009

sun gods list

Gods of rock

Let the Black Light, White Lines wash over you
SPACE Gallery will be awfully loud Thursday, with the CD release of Sun Gods in Exile's Black Light, White Lines, supported by Ogre and the debut of Murcielago. Last Friday's L'Animaux Tryst showcase and this show are sonic polar opposites on the SPACE spectrum, but good for them for giving some boot-stomping guitar-rock a chance.
By: SAM PFEIFLE  |  June 24, 2009

dilly list

In doubt? 'Doo Write'

Dilly dilly sings Of Art and Intention
Dilly dilly was lamenting to me the other day that there's no blueprint for making a living as a musician anymore.
By: SAM PFEIFLE  |  June 25, 2009

gypsy list

Finding even better days

Gypsy Tailwind show power and Grace
Gypsy Tailwind have been a slow build. Though Halo Sessions was one of the best local albums of 2008, it seems no one really heard it until 2009, thanks largely to the radio success of "So Lonely," a single whose melancholy bounce was heartbreakingly honest: "I'll tell you a secret: I drank myself to sleep last night."
By: SAM PFEIFLE  |  June 17, 2009


Hot summer nights

Before the solstice hits, four albums drop
If the coming week is indicative of anything, it's that this is going to be one busy summer. Discs have been flooding into the office and there's no end in sight. In an effort to keep up, here's a collection of four reviews for albums being released before summer even officially starts.
By: SAM PFEIFLE  |  June 10, 2009

div list

Come on home

Lyle Divinsky croons his way back into town
What's that about the apple and the tree? With college degree in hand, Lyle Divinsky returns to his Portland stomping grounds with a debut CD, Traveling Man , that not only features dad Phil Divinsky's drummer (Marty Joyce), bassist (Peter Masterson), and guitarist (Andy Argondizza) from the ToneKings, but plays in a Motown/R&B sandbox.
By: SAM PFEIFLE  |  June 03, 2009

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