There was a time when winter in Portland was pretty sleepy, with bands holing up to practice and write while the snowflakes flew. No longer. The album-release schedule is now equally robust year-round, and there are big shows just about every weekend through to spring.
Take the year's first weekend, for example. Without stealing too much thunder from "8 Days A Week," there are lots of Big shows on New Year's Eve: SPOSE and SIDECAR RADIO at Asylum; MALLETT BROTHERS, MARION GRACE, and HOLY BOYS DANGER CLUB at the Empire; the mammoth CLASH OF THE TITANS at the State Theatre, featuring ZACH JONES's band as the '60s, the LUCID (more about them later) as the '70s, and GRAND HOTEL (them, too) as the '80s; and the Big Easy has the hippy, improv show of the night with CYBORG TRIO and DREAMOSAIC (plus, it's free, peeps).
But Port City's New Year's show with RUSTIC OVERTONES and GYPSY TAILWIND will be especially bittersweet, as drummer TONY MCNABOE will be sitting in with both bands for one final last hurrah before he moves to Los Angeles.
Yes, both Rustic Overtones and PARANOID SOCIAL CLUB will have to find a replacement. "The bands will continue on," McNaboe told CHARLIE GAYLORD on this week's Greetings from Area Code 207 show on WBLM. "Ultimately, I've been a fan of both those bands, they existed before me . . . and whatever those guys all do will continue to be great stuff, and I'm looking forward to being a fan again."
Why LA? "I've had some people out there that have been trying to pull me out there for a while," he told Gaylord. "I don't particularly love it out there, but I'm going to see what's available and check some things out, and change my scenery for a while, at least for three or four months."
Ideally, he said, he'd like to get some work songwriting. McNaboe also debuted two songs with Gaylord on GFAC: a new solo piece he wrote on guitar and a new Rustic tune called "The Stranger," that sounds like Beach House and features Gypsy's ANNA LOMBARD MCGEACHEY.
It will be interesting to see who takes McNaboe's place in two of Portland's most prominent bands. There's already something of a drummer shortage in this town. Maybe they'll just wait him out?
One guy who's not waiting around any longer is Spose, who'll drop any day now (you can already stream the whole thing on Facebook and buy singles at iTunes, but the full album is not yet buyable as a package) an independent release that's basically all the material that his new label doesn't want. Called Happy Medium, and maybe more accurately called a "mixtape" in the parlance of modern hip-hop, it features the brilliant "Pop Song," plus "Can't Get There From Here," which is burning up YouTube with an excellent black-and-white video, and many more.
Now, onto the date-by-date stuff to watch out for as the winter sprawls out in front of us.