Tag Archives: Wild Ones

Episode 139: I Know It’s Over

Katie 161

Thanks to Katy Hampton for joining us this week! You can check it out above, or download it here!

Topic:

  • The Smiths and Morrissey!
  • We discuss our love and passion for The Smiths and Morrissey, the things that make both feel unique, our relationships with Morrissey (the person), and – as always – talk about how they’re never reuniting.

Songs:

  • Wilco – “EKG”
  • The Smiths – “Rusholme Ruffians”
  • Morrissey – “Sing Your Life (KROQ Version”
  • Stiff Little Fingers – “Suspect Device”

 

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MFNW ’14: The Jacob Heiteen Report

By Jacob Heiteen

SIDE NOTE: Unfortunately life and my job got in the way of me seeing as much of MusicFestNW as I’d like. I only was able to catch 70% of the Sunday lineup. I could mope about missing Future Islands or Girl Talk, but I would say that the bands I saw more than made up for their absence. Here is what I thought of the sets I saw:

WILD ONES:
The last time I got to see Portland-based synth-poppers was in a cramped basement of a house show, in the end of fall 2013. Since then they seem to be everywhere. This is obviously a band in the beginnings of a pivotal chapter of their career. Thankfully they made the house show to festival stage transition seem effortless. The crowed was eating out of their hands, dancing throughout the set, and cheering when the band pulled out their “From Portland” credentials.  The best part about seeing bands at this stage of their career is that they usually play with a tone of confidence, and Wild Ones was no exception. Can’t wait to see them play on an even bigger stage next time.

THE ANTLERS:
Look, I understand why The Antlers are so beloved. Sad bastard music will never stop being necessary, but for some reason I just can’t get on board the Antlers train. I had such a hard time standing in the heat, listening to drone-y song with horns and a crescendo, after drone-y song with horns and a crescendo. The set had its moments, like when they played some of their more forward moving songs, but it overall made me really bored. It just felt really out of place being sandwiched between the perky Wild Ones and the in-your-face-ness of Fucked Up (more on that later). Maybe I would have liked them more in a more intimate setting, but I feel like they just aren’t for me.

FUCKED UP:
Oh man did Fucked Up come in charging like a horde of rhinos! One drummer, one bass, three guitars, and one Leonidas-like frontman (Damian “Pink Eyes” Abraham) were all that was needed to amply pump things up. Pretty sure the only mosh pit of the fest was during Fucked Up and thank god I was right in their getting completely covered in dust. The band was super on point and somehow kept things together despite all the chaos Abraham was bringing out of people. I’m sure that this was the first hardcore show for some members of the audience and I’m glad it was this one, since it gave you a sense of what the genre is at its best. It felt like the band was there for us to let our anger out, which they returned with an attitude that made it seem like they wanted be there for us. Damian Abraham’s stage antics and banter (which ranged from the personal to the political) almost made me forget I was at a festival. I felt like I was in a small venue with the band ten feet away, which is what makes Fucked Up so special. There is no separation between us and Fucked Up, when they play we are all Fucked Up.

tUnE-yArDs:
I don’t get why all bands don’t come to show in costume? It adds so much, and even if they suck at least they are fun to look at. Thankfully tUnE-yArDs did not suck, not in the least. Their jittery brand of indie-pop went over so well with the MFNW and probably had more people dancing than any other band that day. They weren’t there to play a set, they were there to put on a show. Aside from colorful costumes, there were background singers and fucking choreography (a total weakness for me). And lets not forget the jams (of which there more than plenty), from new cuts like “Sink-O” to classics like “Bizness”. I’m pretty sure that Merrill Garbus, the band’s mastermind, is the only person who can take out a ukulele and not make me groan because it mean “Powa” is up next. After the set all I could think was how much tUnE-yArDs needed to have their own super ambitious, Sufjan Stevens-like stage show.

HAIM:
The way to describe Haim is “likeable”. Their music is likeable, their offstage personas are likeable, and their set was likeable, which was kind of the problem. They didn’t really bring out any side of themselves that I didn’t get from listening to their record, which I very much liked. While they totally had the right energy and jams the whole set just felt like standard festival fare. I guess what I’m getting at is that I had a much more fun time listening to Haim than I did seeing them live.

SPOON:
So, someone please tell me why Spoon is not as big as indie bands like Arcade Fire or The National? I’d be way more OK with Spoon having that status than either of the aforementioned. They have the better songs, they have better albums, and they have the better vibe. Spoon is the real deal and need to be recognized as such. I forgot how much I loved Spoon, a band that has been with me since freshman year of high school, and I’m very glad to be reminded of why I love them. Needless to say they put on an absolutely killer set, complete with two encores. They played everything, including my personal favorite “Black Like Me.” Spoon was a perfect choice for closing things out. I feel kind of lame saying that the finale headliner was my favorite set, but fuck it they were just so good. Total gold standard of their genre.

FINAL THOUGHTS:
I was very skeptical of the changes to MFNW. The smaller lineup and the new enclosed space made me nervous. However, I found myself really enjoying the fest this year. Yes, it has become more like all the other festivals in the country but it still stood out in a lot of ways. The fact that it was so small was refreshing and made the dreadful walk from stage to stage less of an ordeal, the non-overlapping set scheduling allowed for people to see every act on the roster if they so choose, and the nice view of the city skyline reminded everyone that, despite the changes, this is still a festival done Portland style.

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LIVE: Typhoon, The Satellite, Los Angeles, CA

By Gabriel Mathews

I’d been having a pretty rough day. One could describe it as “an emotional rollercoaster,” but that probably wouldn’t be accurate. It was more like an emotional ice luge, with a slight upwards bump at the very end to sort of make me think everything was alright. There was no doubt in my mind, though, that going to see Typhoon would essentially airlift me back to the top of the mountain.

Why was I so convinced? Because I’ve been seeing Typhoon since way back in 2007, when they’d open every show with “So Passes Away The Glory Of The World” into “Rolling Credits,” when they’d play “Shallows” pretty much all the time, when there were maybe seven of them at one show, maybe thirteen at the next. I saw them open for The Builders & The Butchers and Man Man at the Hawthorne Theatre, I saw them play that basement room in PSU that was then dubbed The Modern Age. Every single time I saw them, I felt like I was witnessing something wholly transcendent. Typhoon are masters of the dynamic build, and this has only become more true over time. The most recent time I saw them was when they played on the quad at lunchtime at Occidental College, where I was working for the radio station that brought them out. I helped them set up, and then they pretty much blew everyone away with a set culled largely from their just-released second LP Hunger & Thirst. Songs like “CPR/Claws Pt. 2” and “Belly Of The Cavern” came off like glorified versions of their recorded selves, shinier and more intricate. Being able to see the way the band’s twelve-or-so members (at that point) interacted, the way they were all coordinated so perfectly with each other made the songs pop that much more. The Occidental lunchtime crowd was thoroughly impressed.

Three years later, here I am, writing for this blog and getting sent to review Typhoon’s set at The Satellite. I’d never been to this venue before, shockingly, and I’ve got to say, it was pretty darn great. Real small and intimate, the Satellite (fka Spaceland) felt like a place I could find in some inner-SE warehouse in Portland. The first couple hours of the evening (most of which I missed) were apparently occupied by a “Typhoon DJ set,” during which the crowd and the band mingled fluidly. I found frontman Kyle Morton, introduced myself, and told him how incredibly stoked I was to see them suddenly getting some seriously overdue national attention (NPR, WSJ, check it!) He seemed genuinely happy to have me barging in on his conversation, which is always a nice feature in a performer.

Anyway, the music. Wild Ones were up first. I’m not sure (though I’m guessing most of my readers are) if frontwoman (and Lincoln High alum!) Danielle Sullivan and Morton are still together, but I’d assume they are. This made it pretty interesting, standing a few feet behind Morton and watching as Sullivan sang Wild Ones’ electro-pop love songs in his general direction. That was cute. Musically, though, I can’t say I was super moved by this act. There are at least three fantastic musicians in Wild Ones—their drummer, their guitarist, and, of course, Sullivan, whose clarion-like voice seems impossibly large for her tiny body and has the range of three Mariah Careys.  But throughout their set, I couldn’t help but feel like these folks should have been putting their talents to use in bands that make more compelling, original choices than Wild Ones. On the rare moments that the guitarist got to let loose and solo, I really felt like this was a rock band gussied up in electro clothing, but nothing ever came close to the joy I felt seeing Sullivan’s old band, Eskimo & Sons, back in ’08 at Rotture for PDX Pop Now! That said, their cover of Drake’s “Hold On, We’re Going Home” was pretty spot on and timely.

Doing a bit of pre-show research, I discovered that Typhoon have recorded a cover of Frank Ocean’s “Thinking About You.” The Frank Ocean/Drake contrast is a pretty apt one here. Typhoon are doing something a bit less direct, a bit less blatant than WIld Ones, and it makes them vastly more interesting. (I can’t really stand either Ocean or Drake, but at least Ocean pals around with Tyler, The Creator.) There’s more menace to Typhoon, more intrigue. That said, there’s almost no point in comparing the two bands. One is a five-piece electro-pop act, while the other features eleven members, most of whom are multi-instrumentalists, and could maybe be described as post-folk chamber-rock, if you had to put a label on it. But what Typhoon do, in my mind, hardly has anything to do with the music they make. It’s all about the feelings they evoke.

The press around Typhoon’s new record, White Lighter, which made up pretty much all of their set, is largely based around Morton’s childhood battle with Lyme disease, which is certainly a tragedy and which definitely informs a lot of his lyrics. But watching the band tear through rousing opener “Kitchen Tile” followed by the too-intricate-to-be-true “Artificial Light,” the pretext falls away, and all you have is two guitarists, two drummers, three trumpeters, two string players, a bassist, a ukulele player, and something like nine singers tearing you out of the place you stand and throwing you somewhere else entirely. Typhoon are truly masters of dynamics, and they know exactly how long to hold those pregnant pauses before launching into torrents of sound only eleven people on stage could make. Drummers Alex Fitch and Pieter Hilton sat as close to the front of the stage as possible and played at times in perfect lockstep, at others by contrasting Fitch’s restraint with Hilton’s bombast. At all times, they held down the floor for the swirling melodies brought on by trumpeters Eric Stipe, Ryan McAlpin and Tyler Ferrin, the violn/viola combo of Jennifer Hilfragel and Shannon Rose Steele, and the masteful guitar playing of Morton and David Hall, who I realized for the first time at this show is sort of a genius. The arrangements on display are perfect— every moment is planned out so the songs come together like architectural works. Every member got their chance to shine, as when Steele took a solo vocal turn on “Hunger & Thirst,” or when fan favorite Toby Tanabe kicked up the dust with his fuzz bass on “The Lake.”

The fans at this show… I’m just so incredibly happy to see Typhoon play in front of a room in Los Angeles jam-packed with people who adore their music, who shout them out by name, who call for requests (“Requests will only be processed by telepathy, thank you,” said Morton at one point), who scream along with the scream-along moments and who are devastatingly quiet during the hushed ones.  (One audience member/band friend got “Happy Birthday” sung to her once by each band, and the crowd joined in both times. Happy birthday, Angela!) Aside from a few douchebags Hall had to shut up eventually (and who later left—Typhoon 1, Douchebags 0), this was a truly adoring crowd, and you could tell Morton was proud of himself and his band for finally having gotten to this place. During utterly incredible, sectionate “Hunger & Thirst” Morton shouts “I could’ve been a POP singer!” Dude— you’re there.

While I was slightly disappointed that the band played not a single song older than A New Kind Of House, and that the set was a little short on the whole, encore “The Honest Truth” was certainly the best way to close the show— the rousing shout-along (lifted from H&T‘s “Mouth Of The Cave”) was a perfect end to the evening. I felt like I was home.

PS: Shouts out to the DJ, who played most of Menomena’s unbeatable Friend And Foe between sets. You rule, man.

PPS: The dude I see at every show in LA who I think is in the band Whoa Hunx was there. Whoa Hunx dude, if you read this, who are you? Have you cloned yourself? How are you friends with every band? I don’t understand your existence.

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