Pathologies of a frontman

Wax Tablet
By PORTLAND PHOENIX MUSIC STAFF  |  January 30, 2014

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NO. 6, from A Severe Joy

>> Former Grand Hotel/Cosades artist Kyle Gervais has been making slinky, body-minded fusions of alt-rock and R&B under the name KGFREEZE for a couple years now, and he got a lot of attention for it quick. It’s good stuff. Sometimes it sounds like Fitz and the Tantrums; sometimes it sounds like the Who. But the thing we love about Kyle — and this is a trope, but we’re saying it anyway — is that he puts 110 percent into his performances. The dude faces the crowd, his shoulders open, and he summons all his available energies for the task at hand. Sometimes it’s like, who cares what form music takes — we just want performers who can do this reliably without mugging or getting histrionic or overly reflective or pedantic or scripted. It’s rarer than you think. Anyway, by the time you read this, Gervais will have another day or two to crowdsource the production of his second album, the follow-up to April’s Sociopath, which features guest artists Sara Hallie Richardson, Sean Morin, Jared Burst, Spencer Albee, Dominic Lavoie, and Jakob Battick, each of them doing their part to help paint the spectrum between pop-forward perfection and indulgently experimental trickery. Visit kgfreeze.bandcamp.com for more.

>> The mysterious artist S/H/A/R/R/P/S has released another totally satisfying new album of fractured techno, dark drones, sound collage called Metonymy. An anonymite from Lewiston, whomever’s making this stuff is seemingly also responsible for something called Letterfounder, a platform which doubles as a musique-concrete medium and a real-life cut-and-paste zine. Records as form-defiant and evocative as Metonymy are tough to describe in words, but this is way more cohesive than what you’d expect, using plundered long-form samples, compressed beats, and cinematic intensities for an environmental/psychological listen that does not tire. Like a cross between the Caretaker and James Plotkin. Visit flavors.me/letterfounder.

>> Though he’s left us for the sweltering climes of Hawaii, Jose Ayerve is still at it with A Severe Joy, the vehicle of chilly, lust-driven electropop he launched in Portland a few years ago. He dropped the sixth of his series of limited edition Plexiglas singles (also available online) this week, the sinewy club romp “Memory Retourniquet” and the saliva-soaked dart of “Sex on the Beach.” Visit aseverejoy.bandcamp.com to hear.

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