The Album Leaf Announce Between Waves, North American Tour

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I don’t remember who first sent me “The Outer Banks” by San Francisco ambient all-stars The Album Leaf, but I remember the fact that the song – and, over time, the entirety of In a Safe Place – felt like the soundtrack to being outside of time. Jimmy LaValle’s particular brand of patient, glitchy post rock is the kind of music that does so much to evoke a particular set of emotions wordlessly, to the point of almost making you feel a swell of nostalgia without knowing what you’re nostalgic for.

The Album Leaf have done well to maintain this aesthetic over the years with 2006’s Into the Blue Again and 2010’s A Chorus of Storytellers, and this sound bled over onto Perils of the Sea, a collaboration LaValle made with Sun Kil Moon’s Mark Kozelek, but six years after Storytellers, we’re finally getting a brand new, proper Album Leaf record. On August 26th, the band will release Between Waves from their new home on Relapse Records, and they’ll be embarking on a tour of North America later this year to promote the record.

You can find their tour dates after the jump – which includes a date at the Doug Fir Lounge – as well as a new video for the title track from the new record.

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LIVE: The Twilight Sad, Doug Fir Lounge, Portland, OR

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By Hollister Dixon

A little over a year ago, a strange thing happened: The Cure, the unbeatable godfathers of poppy goth brilliance, covered “There’s a Girl in the Corner,” the opening track for The Twilight Sad‘s 2014 album Nobody Wants to Be Here and Nobody Wants to Leave. While The Cure didn’t break apart the song in a way that transformed the song into something wholly unlike the original, their cover of “Girl” was a weird moment of game respecting game. For nearly a decade, The Twilight Sad have built an identity around loud, breathtaking, masterfully-done sadness rock, operating as the missing link between the songwriting chops of Arab Strap and the near-deafening sonicscapes of Mogwai. They’re an “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” band, where every release serves only to tighten their core aesthetic, rather than radically alter it. As such, despite their debut album Fourteen Autumns and Fifteen Winters being their most complete sounding record, they’ve done nothing but get better as songwriters and musicians since then.

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Sasquatch! Music Festival 2016: The Zack Perry Report

 

 

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The Gorge Amphitheater at Dusk // Credit: Zack Perry

By Zack Perry // All Photos by Zack Perry

Author’s Note: While this began as an outline for a piece that was going to be much more conventional and formal, I realized that this outline encapsulated the energy of Sasquatch better than any conventional write-up. Sasquatch is a festival of such incredible magnitude that the magic all blurs together – everything that winds up standing out is just a moment in time. Sasquatch is just this 5 day stretch of time threaded together by one incredible moment after another, there really is no conventional way to capture it. I don’t claim or pretend to believe that the way I recount my experience is the “proper” way to do it, I just believe it’s the one that best suits me. So, please, enjoy.

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LIVE: Napalm Death, Melvins, Melt-Banana – Roseland

Melvins // Photo by Yousef Hatlani

Melvins // Photo by Yousef Hatlani

Words and photos by Yousef Hatlani.

How many bands have been born of the Melvins’ northwestern sonic toil? Likewise, how many groups have formed as a direct result of Napalm Death’s genre-founding 1987 album Scum? The lineage of these two bands is among the strongest in all of heavy music; nary an influential group in the spectrum of alternative rock to extreme metal –from Nirvana to Tool to Boris to Carcass to Sunn 0))) to Soilent Green—doesn’t owe a debt to them. And though the two collectives share a history of rotating members, the integrity of their output has remained distinct for over three decades.

2016, then, is shaping up to be another fruitful year for both bands: Napalm are touring on the back of their 2015 release, Apex Predator – Easy Meat—lauded as one of the group’s best in their sixteen album-strong discography. Melvins are putting out not one, but two records: a collaborative album titled Three Men and a Baby—recorded with godheadSilo bassist Mike Kunka in 1999 and finally seeing the light of day last month—and Basses Loaded, a full-length featuring all of the group’s current roster of bass players (as well as a guest spot by Krist Novoselic.) In addition to offering new songs, the album compiles an EP and a split release with Le Butcherretes that the band put out last year (Beer Hippy and Chaos as Usual, respectively,) as well as another EP from January of this year, called War Pussy. Teaming up with Japanese noiseniks Melt-Banana, the trio embarked on the appropriately titled ‘Savage Imperial Death March’ tour in late March—stopping by Portland’s Roseland Theater on Tuesday.

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LIVE: Sloan, Doug Fir Lounge, Portland, OR

By Hollister Dixon

Before watching Sloan perform, I spoke with Music Millennium owner Terry Currier about popularity disparity of Canadian bands like Sloan or the Tragically Hip, and how it seems like there’s “an invisible barrier between the US and Canada”. He told me about the last time he saw Tragically Hip perform in Portland, at the Roseland, and the show was full of people who had come down from Vancouver for the chance to see the band in such a small space. The invent of the internet should have completely evaporated these barriers, but it seems bands like Sloan are just old enough to still be affected by this invisible wall.

It’s our gain, though. Sloan have been around for 25 years, and getting to see the band in a small space is a treat. The faithful were treated to two brilliant sets by the band: one comprising the entirety of their landmark 1996 album One Chord to Another, and a second spanning the band’s entire career. I’ll be completely honest: despite enjoying Sloan from afar for a long time, the band’s allure has never quite clicked with me. Despite this, watching the band perform at such a brilliant, breakneck pace was nothing short of awe-inspiring.

Sloan are the most unassuming rockstars you’ll ever see. They perform like they’re the Rolling Stones, and look like they’re all members of different bands, from the lost brother of R. Stevie Moore and J Mascis (Patrick Pentland), to the Canadian cousin of Thurston Moore (Chris Murphy) to a drummer who looks like he’s been plucked from a Damn Yankees tribute act (Andrew Scott). Yet, as a unit, all of these people work in brilliant lockstep, roaring through every song like it should be the biggest hit on the planet. They ripped through One Chord to Another as though it was made of sonic butter, and returned shortly after to give the same treatment to the rest of their catalog; When Chris Murphy’s comment on how the song from their 2003 record Action Pact would likely be the only one from the album they’d play was met with a couple loud grumbles from the crowd, he responded by jovially reminding the crowd that there was just no way they could play everything people wanted to hear.

Still, after watching the band’s onslaught of jangly indie pop, I found myself wanting to be one of the faithful in the subterranean space. This was a performance for the megafans and the die-hards. Seeing them perform left me wanting to go home and listen to every last record they had, but it disappointed me that I’d have to wait until their next time around to get to belt out all of those songs with the same upright zeal as everyone else in the room.

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LIVE: Frightened Rabbit, Wonder Ballroom, Portland, OR

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By Hollister Dixon

“What the hell is in the water in Scotland?”

That was Frightened Rabbit fangirl Kelly Dixon, in a recent conversation about the newest Frightened Rabbit album, Painting of a Panic Attack. That isn’t exactly an unfair question, and it’s something I’ve wondered for quite some time now. Should we be putting Zoloft in the drinking water of Glasgow? Between Arab Strap, Mogwai (their sorrow transcends the need for actual lyrics almost always), The Twilight Sad, Belle & Sebastian (though they maintain a poppy veneer), and Frightened Rabbit, I have to wonder what the hell is making every Scottish musician so glum.

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Live: Soul’d Out 2016

Sharon Jones at Keller Auditorium // Photo by Yousef Hatlani

Sharon Jones at Keller Auditorium // Photo by Yousef Hatlani

Words and photos by Yousef Hatlani

Among the many music festivals Portland offers every year, from Pickathon to Project Pabst to PDX Pop Now!, Soul’d Out has been perhaps the most consistent since its inception. Founded in 2009, there has nary been a year when its list of headliners did not spring off the page with inimitable options: both Buddy Guy and the late Gil-Scott Heron played during the festival’s inaugural year. In 2011, it boasted sets by Ms. Lauryn Hill, Mos Def and Ice Cube. The following year featured Esperanza Spalding, Justice and a special show with Wanda Jackson and Sallie Ford. The year after that had Lee “Scratch” Perry, Booker T. Jones and Prince. Slick Rick, Ural Thomas, Charles Bradley and Robert Glasper are also some of the names of those who’ve played Soul’d Out in recent years. Clearly, this festival is curated with a lot of love for its craft—as much as those who are booked to play it.

2016’s lineup proved no different, ranging from George Clinton to SZA on one night, to Hieroglyphics and Thomas Jack the next, and Bilal playing across the street from Bunny Wailer on another. Faces on the Radio was able to catch three such shows on three different nights of the festival: First, Gary Clark Jr at the Roseland, followed by Sharon Jones at the Keller Auditorium, and finally returning to the Roseland for Anderson .Paak & the Free Nationals.

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LIVE: The Joy Formidable, Wonder Ballroom, Portland, OR

By Hollister Dixon

At this point, I’ve seen The Joy Formidable perform three times, though only once have I gone out of my way for them. Don’t get me wrong, they’re a fantastic band, but the first two performances were completely on a whim. The first performance was on tour for their debut, The Big Roar, opening for Brand New at the Wonder Ballroom as part of MusicFest Northwest. Despite their massive sound, the band seemed timid and unsure of themselves, talking happily (but nervously) with the crowd in between songs. The band’s demeanor, especially that of frontwoman Ritzy Bryan, stood at odds with the roaring (pardon the pun) sound of The Joy Formidable at that point in time. It almost came off as quaint, though distinctly Welsh.

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Soul’d Out 2016 Kicks Off Next Week

By Yousef Hatlani

Festival season dawns upon the city of Portland around this time every year—just as the sun starts to come out and the air glides by us as crisply as the sharpness of Oregon’s blue summer skies. And no local music festival is as illustrative of this inauguration as the annual Soul’d Out, a celebration of all things funk, soul, blues, hip hop, electronic and rock—serving as, maybe more than anything, a go-to wellspring for vetted, authentic talent.

Dating back to April 2010, past editions of the festival have seen the likes of Prince, Gil Scott-Heron, Lauryn Hill, Ice Cube, Buddy Guy, Booker, T. Jones, Lee “Scratch” Perry, Steel Pulse, Charles Bradley, Esperanza Spalding, Justice…the list goes on; it manages to create a cohesive format that, at the same time, is refreshingly diverse in its approach—making it one of the year’s absolutely essential festival attractions, boasting acts for classicists and newcomers alike.

This year’s edition of the festival—kicking off next Wednesday, April 13th—upholds its longstanding tradition of high-caliber talent; headliners include funk forebears George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic, Texas blues incarnate Gary Clark Jr, Reggae icon Bunny Wailer, undying soulstress Sharon Jones and Americana heroine Bonnie Raitt. Youthful innovation is also heartily represented, featuring sets by Thundercat, SZA, Bilal, and Anderson.Paak, as are local acts in Ural Thomas, 1939 Ensemble, Asher Fulero Band and the Quick & Easy Boys. There is also an Allen Toussaint tribute, as well as a not-to-be-missed reunion of legendary Oakland, CA hip hop crew Hieroglyphics—in addition to several other outstanding shows that round out the full lineup, spanning no less that nine venues over five days.

As a refresher, you can check out Faces on the Radio’s April 2015 interview with festival organizers Nick Harris and Haytham Abdulhadi here—going into the origins of Soul’d Out, its most memorable moments and the dream acts they’d love to book (although, as they admit, it’s pretty hard to top Prince.)

Soul’d Out 2016 runs April 13th-April 17th, at various venues. Full ticketing and schedule information can be found at Souldoutfestival.com.

Treefort ’16: The Zack Perry Report

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By Zack Perry // Photos By Zack Perry

It’s difficult to be critical of something you have nothing but positive feelings for. This review has taken at least 5 different forms and after nearly pulling my hair trying to figure out how to materialize my feelings on this past weekend, I grabbed my scribble filled notepad to grasp at straws. That’s when I read a note about Charles Bradley and I realized this weekend was really about one thing for me: live music. While Treefort is a lot of things, many more than I can detail in this article, it truly meant that from Good Friday to Easter Sunday, I would be returning to live music. While I have still seen concerts intermittently, I hadn’t been to a concert in a photographic capacity in months.

Full disclosure, photography is my first love. Writing might be a hell of a drug, but taking photos is what I enjoy most, especially of live music. Something about capturing the exchange of energy between artist and audience has always invigorated me. So when I say I hadn’t been to a show in a photographic capacity in months, I really mean that I hadn’t felt alive in months. The sensation I receive when taking a good photograph of an even better live musician is incomparable. It’s the best high there is, to tell the truth.

My second love is music, and if nothing else, Treefort was overflowing with music. At any given time during 10 am and midnight you could walk around downtown Boise and hear at least two different bands or artists performing. Needless to say, there was a mighty hefty lineup of musicians. Seeing as I only had a limited time there, I had to condense it into as many as I could fit while maintaining sanity. To avoid the risk of running verbose I’ve narrowed it down into the ones who truly touched something in me, or made me move like I hadn’t before: Stonefield, Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaires, Thundercat, Oddisee, Aesop Rock & Rob Sonic, and Youth Lagoon. Somewhere in there was a film screening, a panel talk about local food, the best biscuits and gravy I have ever had(shoutout to Capri Restaurant on Fairview), and me laying in a hammock which was later dubbed “Hammockfort” by fellow Forters.

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