Episode 128: Revival With Jose Medeles

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Big thanks to Jose Medeles for joining us this week! You can listen to this week’s episode above, and download it right here.

Topic:

  • In this episode, we shine our spotlight on Jose Medeles, owner of Revival Drum Shop and leader of 1939 Ensemble, and talk with him about his creative process, his history as a musician, and the reasons he decided to open a drum shop in Portland.

Songs:

  • The Wrens – “Three Types of Reading Ambiguity”
  • 1939 Ensemble – “Circles”
  • Mikal Cronin – “Made My Mind Up”
  • Elvis Costello – “(I Don’t Wanna Go To) Chelsea”

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LIVE: Pile, Black Lodge, Seattle, WA

By Gabriel Mathews

Having had a really awful time the last time I went to a show at ultra-covert squat venue the Black Lodge, I’ve been wary of shows there ever since. The place seems designed to draw the type of intentionally impoverished youths who sneer at the very notion of creature comforts while playing expensive guitars and smelling bad.

That said, there’s no way I was going to pass up this show. I discovered Pile’s music a few weeks back, and I’ve listened to almost nothing else since. The Boston band’s completely idiosyncratic style finds old country/blues basics trashed through a post-hardcore blender, and then spiced with classical-esque chord progressions that you just don’t really hear in contemporary music. Their two most recent albums (out of five, not three, as much of the music press seems to think), 2012’s Dripping and last month’s You’re Better Than This testify to their immense skill, while cementing their reputation as a “band’s band” — Pile have an incredibly devoted national following, made up largely of fellow musicians. Chalk it up to the ease with which they execute strikingly odd melodic turns, rhythmic shifts, and their incredible sense of dynamics. Add to this frontman Rick Maguire’s brilliantly deranged lyrics about playground perverts, demon lovers, and wet dreams about second grade teachers and you have a band with an immense amount of appeal to a very specific set of people. Those people care deeply about what Pile is up to, and have helped them achieve their reputation for transcendentally amazing shows.

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Episode 127: Record Store Day 2015

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Big thanks to Terry Currier for joining us this week! You can listen to this episode above, and download it right here.

Topic:

  • Record Store Day!
  • What are the roots of Record Store Day? How did it begin?
  • What is the history of Music Millennium, as a store?
  • What are some of the great and terrible things about the holiday?
  • As a record store owner, is RSD worth it?

Songs:

  • Ratatat – “Cream on Chrome”
  • The Seeds – “Pushin’ Too Hard”
  • Garth Brooks – “Friends in Low Places”
  • Faith No More – “Epic”

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Episode 126: Soul’d Out!

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Thanks to Haytham and Nick for joining us! You can listen to this episode above, or download it right here.

Topic:

  • Portland’s Soul’d Out Festival
  • How did the festival start?
  • What have been some of the challenges of organizing the festival?
  • What have been some of the best moments so far?
  • Who are some dream acts for the festival?

Songs:

  • Guided By Voices – “A Salty Salute”
  • Robert Glasper Experiment – “Black Radio (Ft. Mos Def)”
  • Belle & Sebastian – “Seeing Other People”
  • The Replacements – “I Will Dare”

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Refused Confirm That They Aren’t Dead, Return To Portland

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By Hollister Dixon

We all have that friend who says they’re going to leave, but then always finds a reason to come back. I’ll freely admit that I’m that friend, a lot of the time. As it turns out, it’s not always a bad thing: sometimes, that friend is someone you didn’t want to leave in the first place, because what they add to the party is just too good to do without.

Refused, one of Sweden’s greatest exports and creators of the still-amazing The Shape of Punk to Come, appear to be that friend. They broke up in 1998 and wrote a letter stating, without hesitation, that “Refused Are Fucking Dead“, and that “we will never play together again and we will never try to glorify or celebrate what was.” Which is why, in 2012, it was an immensely satisfying surprise to learn that the band had reunited, and were going to go on a massive tour (which stopped by the Roseland that year), before breaking up again. So, it came as a surprise to learn that the band were reuniting again, and touring again, and are potentially working on a new album.

I caught the band’s 2012 Roseland performance, so I can tell you that it’s extremely worth your time to make sure you catch this tour. Portland gets an incredibly lucky shot here: they’ll be performing at the Doug Fir Lounge on May 29th with Vancouver, BC’s White Lung. Tickets for that date go on sale on April 3rd, and can be picked up right here.

After the jump, check out the still-amazing video for “New Noise” and their 2012 Hellfest performance (highly recommended), as well as all of the band’s upcoming dates.

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Episode 125: The Perfect Run

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Thanks to Luis Cacho for joining us this week! You can listen to this episode above, or download it right here.

Topic:

Songs:

  • One Direction – “Story Of My Life”
  • The Fugees – “Ready Or Not”
  • Tobias Jesso Jr. – “Just A Dream”
  • Kendrick Lamar – “King Kunta”

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LIVE: Viet Cong, Barboza, Seattle, WA

By Gabriel Mathews

First, a brief message for Barboza: Please respect your patrons and be consistent about advertising when your shows start. Last time I came to a show at Barboza, I missed the first band cause you advertised the door time rather than the show time. This time I arrived an hour early, cause the show time was an hour and a half after the listed door time. Figure your shit out, dudes.

Anyway, so. New York’s What Moon Things took the stage in the brown shotgun room called Barboza and it became clear that this was a band who requested to be backlit. Once they started playing, it became clear that this is the kind of band you’d expect to request to be backlit. At no point could I see the members of WMT’s faces, mostly because my eyes were getting bombarded by harsh white LEDs. The next thing to become clear is that this is a band that really wants to sound like the Cure, and generally succeeds at it. I can’t say I really detected any other musical reference points – frontman Jake Harms is a vocal doppelgänger for a young Robert Smith, and the band’s minor-key, mid-tempo churn never once moved out of the general tone of “goth.”  That’s not a bad thing—goth is a pretty cool sound, ultimately, and it looks and sounds good on What Moon Things. Drummer John Morisi stole the show for most of the set with his measured, intricate beats and spot on harmonizing. Would I seek out What Moon Things again? Probably not. But I enjoyed their set pretty well.

Viet Cong’s set was defined by one thing, and I’m not talking about the recent dust-up over their “offensive” name. Somewhere along this tour, drummer Mike Wallace broke his left hand. Viet Cong’s recent self-titled debut is not exactly light on the drums, so after seeing him walking around with a cast I was a little concerned as to how this would play out for the band. It seemed that there were only so many songs they could successfully pull off with a one handed drummer, who admirably Def Lepparded his way through five songs, which worked well enough for the set to be pretty enjoyable. The first three songs of the evening were off the “cassette” EP, with which I’m not familiar, and which definitely felt less well-thought-out than album highlights such as “March Of Progress.” But then the awesomely intricate rhythms of “Bunker Buster” came through and I started getting excited. Seeing Viet Cong live makes evident the degree to which rhythm is a central component in their musical thinking—I guess that’s what happens when you have a bassist for a frontman. The guitars (one of which, played by Scott Munro, being a twelve-string, which helps explain why I’ve always found Viet Cong’s sound to be especially tinny and chiming) slash in and out of time with each other, making even a relatively basic 6/8 time signature feel discombobulated and out of whack. “Continental Shelf” whipped out the good ol’ “Be My Baby” beat only to drop it for a double-time verse. The set’s high-point came at the end, as the band brought Morisi and his snare drum back out to fill out the 11-minute album closer “Death.” Morisi’s enthusiastic flailing became the focal point of the first half of the song for me, and certainly did a lot to make up for Wallace’s handicap. The song’s vicious snare rolls and eventual massive, 5-minute crushing lurch section became hypnotic to such a degree that I couldn’t quite believe it would ever end. In a good way. Eventually, of course, it did, as the racing final section of the song closed out the band’s set.

While I certainly wish Viet Cong had given us a little bit more—there was hardly time for them (or me) to get into their groove before they finished—I totally understand what they were working with, and the fact that they soldiered on to the degree they did was impressive and respectable. Here’s to hoping I get a chance to see them play a full-length set sometime.

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Liturgy To Play Dante’s With Lightning Bolt

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By Hollister Dixon // Photo by Erez Avissar

Brooklyn’s own Liturgy, a band described by frontman Hunter Hunt-Hendrix as “transcendental black metal”, is a tough band to crack open for a lot of people. On the band’s first two albums, 2009’s Renihilation and 2011’s Aesthethica, the band made a conscious effort to work within the confines of black metal, while subtly trying to make it their own. This can be polarizing, and off-putting for some people, but for others, it’s truly exhilarating.

Three years after Aesthetica – as well as the near-implosion of the band following the departure of drummer Greg Fox and bassist Tyler Dusenbury, both now back with the band – Liturgy are back with The Ark Work (out now on Thrill Jockey), the band’s most expansive and genre-bending effort yet. To support the record, the band are about to embark on a massive tour of North America and Europe, which includes dates with fellow Brooklynites Sannhet and Baltimore’s Horse Lords, and, for a fantastic string of dates on the west coast, noise rock giants Lightning Bolt. You can catch Liturgy and Lightning Bolt at Dante’s on April 29th, and find tickets right here. Don’t sleep on this one, dear reader.

After the jump, you can listen to “Quetzalcoatl” from The Ark Work, and check out all of Liturgy’s upcoming dates.

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Episode 124: “What If?”

Thanks to Dave Harris and Josh Kennedy for joining us this week! You can listen above, or download it right here.

Topic:

  • “What if…?”

Songs:

  • Death Grips – “Pss Pss”
  • Joan Osborne – “What If God Was One Of Us?”
  • !!! – “Myth Takes”
  • Osibisa – “Fire”

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Episode 123: The Cult of Personality

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Thanks to Joey Gerber for joining us this week! You can listen to the episode above, or download it right here.

Topic:

  • Musical personalities and personas
  • Who are some of the greatest musicians to, essentially, become someone else?
  • Are those personas an extension of the performer, or merely a gimmick?
  • What reason is there to adopt a persona?
  • What about artists who took on multiple personas during their careers?

Songs:

  • Blondie – “Call Me”
  • David Bowie – “Space Oddity”
  • Parliament-Funkadelic – “Can You Get To That?”
  • Sufjan Stevens – “Eugene”

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