Tag Archives: Holocene

LIVE: Clipping.

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By Hollister Dixon // Photos by Yousef Hatlani

It’s a difficult task to try to categorize Clipping. Their closest well-known contemporary is Death Grips, but only because both are experimental hip-hop acts, though boiling both bands down to just that sells them short. Since their self-released debut, Midcity, they’ve built and perfected a sound that feels fresh and unique by striving to infuse power electronics and noise music with genuine songsmanship, all hinged around the intersection between the organic sounds created by producers Jonathan Snipes and William Hutson and the laser-precise rapping abilities of Daveed Diggs. His flow feels inhuman, which work perfectly with the harsh and often beautiful landscapes Snipes and Hutson create.

The first time I saw Clipping perform was in 2013, in a parking lot in the July heat in Seattle. It was Sub Pop’s 25th anniversary festival, the Silver Jubilee, and Clipping were there to serve as an announcement that they had been signed to the label. While the fiercely urban settings of Clipping’s music made an Airport Way parking lot a fantastic place to see the band, there’s a lot of subtlety and artfulness in what the band does, and as a result those subtleties were lost in exactly the kind of urbanscape their characters walk through every day.

This time, I got to see them at Holocene, a room I rarely visit but greatly enjoy because the room just sounds so damn good. From the moment the band began “Inside Out” from 2013’s CLPPNG, it was obvious that this was not only the right room for the band’s sound, but the right crowd to appreciate it. I know few fans of the band, so getting to see them performing to a sold-out crowd rapping along with every word was a treat. The band’s last album, Splendor & Misery, is an immaculately produced record full of cold, sterile environments – most likely intentional, as the album is one that takes place in the vacuum of space – and it was almost a relief to be able to get a reasonable amount of the detail during the six-song suite of songs from the album they played.

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My biggest worry going into the show was that the material from Splendor & Misery would feel difficult to enjoy when blended with the band’s other music. The album functions substantially better as an album than as several disconnected songs, as they’re built around a single story. Giving the album a long stretch in the spotlight was the best way to handle this, allowing those songs to exist together as intended, bolstered on either end by songs from the band’s other works. The band have crafted the Splendor & Misery suite to function as a great piece of their set, though, starting with a teaser of “The Breach” before going into “Wake Up” and “Air ‘Em Out”, which may become a set staple for the band if the crowds continue to react to it like Holocene’s did. My greatest disappointment here is the (most likely necessary) exclusion of “All Black”, though the almost acapella nature of the song would likely make for an underwhelming concert performance.

The other side of the Splendor suite was full of hits. “Work Work”? You got it. “Summertime”? Bring it on. “Body & Blood”? Of course. Diggs spat fire on “Taking Off”, and even utilised former collaborator (and show opener) Baseck to do his part from Midcity cut “Bout.That”. Reports from friends who saw them at other shows suggest that Diggs is a little on the rusty side with the band’s older material, but it was hard to see any creakiness here. They felt much more polished than they did during my first trip into their world, but it was still a brilliant trip.

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INTERVIEW: Clipping.

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By Hollister Dixon

This week, Los Angeles experimental hip-hop group Clipping. will be embarking on their North American tour in support of their new album, Splendor & Misery (out now on Sub Pop). I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to ask William Hutson, one of the band’s producers, about the inner working of the band, their creative processes, and how Splendor & Misery came to be. 

You can find all of the band’s upcoming dates – including their upcoming Portland performance at Holocene – right here.

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Clipping. Announce 2017 World Tour

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By Hollister Dixon

Los Angeles experimental hip-hop collective Clipping. have been steadily warming their engines since their triumphant return following frontman Daveed Diggs’ exit from his role in the smash hit Broadway musical HamiltonThis year saw the release of the Wriggle EP, and their first LP since 2014’s CLPPNG, called Splendor & Misery – a densely packed story of distant future space slavery and digital love (as only Clipping. could tell it). Today, the band have announced a lengthy world tour to support Splendor & Misery, which is slated to start in early December and go straight on ’til April. For all of you in the Northwest, you can get tickets to their Holocene (Portland) show right here, and their Crocodile (Seattle) here.

The band also stopped by Conan to perform Splendor cut “Air ‘Em Out”, which you can check out over on the Team Coco site. After the jump, have a look at their tour dates and check out the videos for “Air ‘Em Out” and Wriggle‘s “Shooter.” Both Splendor & Misery and Wriggle are out now on Sub Pop Records and Deathbomb Arc.

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Live: Battle Cries & Champagne: A Celebration of David Bowie – Holocene

Words and photos by Yousef Hatlani

Holocene // Photo by Yousef Hatlani

Holocene // Photo by Yousef Hatlani

Where were you when David Bowie died? A universally affecting shock recalling the deaths of John Lennon and Michael Jackson, news of Bowie’s death seemingly froze everyone it reached—forever crystallizing the moment they were in. More so than many iconic presences, David Bowie occupied a heavenly reverential—and, evidently, quite personal—space in the minds and hearts of just about everyone; whether it was the first time Aladdin Sane’s sleeve gazed back at you in its face-painted glory, or his groundbreaking mid-70’s partnership with Brian Eno, or his memorable role in Labyrinth, or the myriad of artists who’ve openly revered him for the last forty-five-plus years, Bowie’s myth thoroughly penetrated aspects of culture ranging from the minute to the mainstream.  And like Motörhead’s Lemmy Kilmister, whom we also paid tribute to last month, he was around just long enough for you to feel like he could almost be with us forever.

Perhaps, then, that is why David Bowie’s passing was so hard to process; his reach was so vast for so long, it was hard to picture a world without his familiar presence. At the time, it was effectively so difficult to put into words that we at Faces on the Radio could not fathom summarizing the man’s career in an eight or nine hundred word missive; it would surely not even scratch the surface of his influence. Even listening to his back catalog as a means of grieving was a challenge. Tributes poured in immediately: innumerable magazine covers, acknowledgements from every late night talk show on television, a Bowie-themed march in New Orleans hosted by Arcade Fire and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band that attracted thousands, and a decree from New York mayor Bill de Blasio that January 20th, 2016 was David Bowie Day.

It wasn’t long before Portland would get its own batch of Bowie tributes, ranging from added showings of the 1976 cult classic The Man Who Fell to Earth at the Academy Theater to an upcoming Ziggy-centric evening at the Mission Theatre, hosted by the Parson Red Heads. On Wednesday night, Holocene held its own night honoring the Starman—with a portion of the proceeds going to the American Cancer Society.

Labyrinth playing above Holocene's bar. // Photo by Yousef Hatlani

Labyrinth playing above Holocene’s bar. // Photo by Yousef Hatlani

This was the latest chapter in Holocene’s successful history of tribute shows; the venue has held themed homages to several artists in just the last two years, including Sade, Kate Bush, Drake (on his twenty-ninth birthday, no less,) and, most recently, Janet Jackson. The enthusiasm for Wednesday night’s tribute to David Bowie carried on with this tradition; in addition to Labyrinth and other archival Bowie footage being projected over the bar all night, special commemorative posters were designed for the show by local firm Obitay Designs—the proceeds of which also went to the American Cancer Society. Moreover, the evening boasted short sets by no less than six bands—each of them touching on visual elements Bowie held throughout the years.

The Heavy Hustle // Photo by Yousef Hatlani

The Heavy Hustle // Photo by Yousef Hatlani

The Heavy Hustle kicked the night off, performing from the venue’s dance floor stage. Band members had specially made black shirts emblazoned with the group’s logo in gold, featuring a star cut out in the middle and ‘The Stars Look Very Different Today’ printed below. Opening with “Rebel Rebel,” continuing with “Fame” and ending with “Let’s Dance,” the band properly set the tone for the evening with sheer funk and fervor, drawing an impressive crowd. After them, on the primary stage, was quintet Haste—surprisingly the only group of the night that attempted “Space Oddity,” before ending their set with the night’s second “Rebel Rebel” (prior to which their guitar player donned an appropriate eyepatch.)

Back on the dance floor stage, local quartet The Breaking (whose vocalist was in full Pinups era facepaint) began with “Ziggy Stardust” before delving into two somewhat deeper cuts: “Where Are We Now?,” the lead single from 2013’s The Next Day—which featured an extended outro that made for one of the most memorable performances of the night, and a rock-centric version of the IDM-flavored “Dead Man Walking,” off of 1997’s Earthling.

The Breaking // Photo by Yousef Hatlani

The Breaking // Photo by Yousef Hatlani

Returning to the main stage, disco/dance troupe Gold Casio took on Station to Station’s “Golden Years,” the undying choruses of “Under Pressure” and the brute rock stylings of Hunky Dory’s “Queen Bitch.” PWRHAUS then continued the show with three more Hunky Dory cuts—“Life on Mars,” “Kooks,” and “Fill Your Heart”—before ending their set with “Starman,” eliciting a chorus that made for arguably the best singalong of the evening, lifting Holocene into blissful refrain.

PWRHAUS // Photo by Yousef Hatlani

PWRHAUS // Photo by Yousef Hatlani

Perhaps the highlight of the show was supergroup Boys Keep Swinging, a ten piece ensemble featuring members of several notable local groups—among them Wampire, Blouse, Appendixes and the Gossip. With a set consisting of seven songs, the group took full advantage of its instrumentation with many of Bowie’s more sonically diverse works—including “Station to Station,” “Young Americans” and “Oh! You Pretty Things” (the night’s fifth Hunk Dory track)—capping an evening of consistent showmanship with pomp and splendor.

Boys Keep Swinging // Photo by Yousef Hatlani

Boys Keep Swinging // Photo by Yousef Hatlani

David Bowie’s influence was as evident in life as it is in death; he lived as a legend, and literally was the “What Could Have Been.” He did this through generosity and a strikingly uncompromising vision—not to mention a professionalism and rigor that never let up during his storied career, even as he was approaching his twilight. If Holocene’s tribute was any indication, those exalting Bowie the most often have powerful artistic visions of their own. As time passes, the full extent of that influence will reveal itself still—our hearts and minds forever richer for it.

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Episode 87: Men in the Mirror

Thanks to Gina Altamura for joining us this week! You can listen to the episode above, and give it a download here.

Topic:

Songs:

  • Joyce Manor – “Schley”
  • Michael Jackson – “Loving You”
  • Michael Jackson – “Stranger in Moscow”
  • Joan Baez – “Diamonds & Rust”

Bands:

  • Joyce Manor
  • Brand New
  • Michael Jackson
  • Shy Girls
  • Maxwell
  • Theesatisfaction
  • Jamie Cullum
  • Rihanna
  • Drake
  • Radiohead
  • Tom Brosseau
  • Your Rival
  • Jesus Miranda
  • King Mountain Petrol
  • Drive-By Truckers
  • Cement Season
  • Sabonis
  • Bad Hex
  • Idaho Green
  • Robert Pollard / Guided By Voices
  • Joan Baez
  • Stuart Murdoch / Belle & Sebastian
  • Modest Mouse
  • Isobel Campbell
  • The Flaming Lips
  • Led Zeppelin
  • Paul McCartney / The Beatles
  • Grizzly Bear
  • Slint
  • Drake
  • Lil’ Wayne
  • Future
  • Sharon Van Etten
  • Fuck Buttons
  • Indigo Girls
  • Cold Gold Chain
  • Levon’s Helm
  • Helms Alee
  • Dean Wareham / Dean & Britta
  • Galaxie 500

 

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