Grant Street Orchestra
• Portland's 7-piece funk/hiphop outfit GRANT STREET ORCHESTRA ring their final coda this week, ending a three-plus-year run during which they became one of the most revered party bands in the state. At their best, the GSO were a soundtrack for a very distinct slice of the Portland experience: the creatively ambitious, insouciantly underemployed, girl-crazy, sybaritic lifestyle of the early-twentysomething post-collegiate male, especially when traveling in packs. That's not to say that GSO are (or were) any sort of regrettable phase — not at all — just that like a lot of music, they might be best considered as a response to the conditions which gave it cause, especially when those conditions are as relatable to a society as GSO was to Portland. A ton of people liked this band, and those who didn't still understand why they had to happen.
The band's send-off (literally, rapper Jeff "Mint" Griecci leaves town this summer) includes the release of Superyes, an 11-track album of new material recorded live by Jon Roods and mastered by Jim Begley. If the live show has always been GSO's most endearing setting (and, we'd argue, raison d'etre), Superyes captures that essence nicely — witness the trade-off verses of "Undadagun" melded by a driving and uniquely melodic chorus, the very Beastie-ish "Rumors" with a noise quotient that'd sound contrived on a studio recording, and the false start to the awesomely intense "Pop Pop." GSO aren't a political band by any means, but they're the first (in our memory) to involve any sort of awareness of Portland's specific geography and have it play a meaningful role in its sound. The songs GSO played were expressive and fun; many other stories out of Grant Street, the place . . . not so much. It's a subtle, witty statement on the inequities of Portland demographics that can go lost amid the boasts and weed quips, but a ton of people knew what they were talking about. Bid them farewell this Saturday at the Empire, with SANDBAG and EDUCATED ADVOCATES.
• Wanna wish JACOB AUGUSTINE well on his very showcase-y gig in a church in Philadelphia this weekend. We remember him playing open mikes at the North Star Cafe three years ago, and yeah, we could see this coming.
• It was only a matter of time before someone started a band called BATH SALTS. . . good thing they're awesome. The psychish, lo-fi dream pop trio put out a nine-song thang last winter (see bathsalts.bandcamp.com), helmed by Audrey Hotchkiss's fuzzed-up guitar and cool, utterly listenable vocals. Members of METAL FEATHERS and the RATTLESNAKES — though Bath Salts break a path from each — see them play with the mightily psyched MMOSS (from New Hampshire) and 13 CRYSTAL SKULLS July 13 at Mayo Street Arts.
: New England Music News
, Jacob Augustine, Jacob Augustine, Metal Feathers, More