portland

Band of the Month Nominee Spotlight: Wampire

 

It took me a long time to warm up to indie music. I am traditionally more of a metal/psychobilly/rock chick than a grandpa’s sweater-wearing/obsessed-with-skinny-boys-in-flannels/indie chick. I like it rough and hard (that’s what she said), and indie music seems to have this reputation among my crowd of being, well, music for pussies.

So what made me come around? Two words: Vampire Weekend. I reviewed Vampire Weekend's debut for the Eugene Weekly a couple years ago, way before they were signed to a record label, and not only was I into their geek-chic look, but I really dug the great twist they put on the traditional indie sound. That's what makes a good band regardless of the genre, their ability to experiment and take a risk with their music.

Take the local band Wampire; they have taken the indie look and sound, thrown in some crazy Afro and Doo-wop beats, and then blended them all together to make one hell of a Wampire cocktail. I don’t really dig a guy that wears a kitten on his sweater and size 25 jeans, but I am down for some catchy beats and a great cover of Kraftwerk’s “Das Modell.”

Wampire is three guys that make sweet sweaty love to their music. These are the type of guys that turn any situation into a jam session and turn any utensil into an instrument. It is obvious that they make the kind of music that they and their friends would want to hear, not what they think is going to be “popular.”

I thank these guys for contributing to my growing belief that indie music isn’t just for whiny ass pussies.

- Deanna Uutela

   

Band of the Month Poll BACK UP!!!!!

 

Sorry for the temporary meltdown of the Band of the Month blog. It's working now. VOTE!

Sincerely,

- The Deli Portland Staff

   

Band of the Month Nominee Spotlight: Grouper

Grouper is Portland musician Liz Harris. Starting from humble means and a self-release in 2005, Harris has continued to build steam toward lofty heights of creativity and popularity. She now has four full-length albums, as well as a collaboration project with NYC-based group, Xiu Xiu.

I appreciate that Grouper strays away from the stereotypical 10-minute length ambient-dream tracks, and instead bends toward the three-five minute standard that the majority of modern songs in the world tend to curtail themselves at. Even without utilizing lengthy tracks, the heart of Harris' art wells from the pairing of haunting vocals gliding over the calm magic of her chord changes. What she does, she does well.

Grouper's latest release, Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill, received superlative critical reviews, and ranked high on several 2008 blog "end of year" lists, including, Gorilla vs Bear's 2nd best album pick of 2008. After giving the album a once-through-listen, I was impressed with how the mood and musical changes worked to keep the album interesting, while remaining very much the same with regard to style and rhythm tempo. You can stream the album on LaLa.

Harris is also involved, along with Honey Owens, with the vintage clothing shoppe Rad Summer located on Burnside (right in my hood, yo). Design firm Wieden and Kennedy have been releasing an awesome video series entitled, "Don't Move Here," which features music artists from the already robust, yet always growing music scene in Portland. Check out both these musicians (and business women) in the third episode of "Don't Move Here."

With keyboards, guitar and vocals, Grouper paints a string of songs that act as small landscapes for the listener to enjoy. Ambient dream-scapes and steady acoustic strumming steer the listener over an ocean of rolling swells and shrouding fog to arrive at something musically satisfying. Check it out, and then reach out and vote for the next Deli Band of the Month. Perhaps you will do so just a little more calmly than normal.

- Joel Sommer

   

Band of the Month Nominee Spotlight: Pegasus Dream

Pegasus Dream - Lady Luck from Andy Carlson on Vimeo.

With a guitar and a keyboard, J.T. Lindsey and Andy Carlson make up yet another fantastic electro-pop duo hailing from the fine City of Roses. This one’s called Pegasus Dream, and the name is fitting for the psychedelic, spacey dance tunes produced by this twosome.

Lindsey’s high-pitched croons layered with poppy keyboard riffs and effect pedal-laden guitar chords create a sound much larger than two people, not to mention a sound that makes its listener involuntarily break out in dance.

Though the drum machine saturated, electro beat loving pair has yet to be signed, the boys have had the privilege to perform with such acts as Mew, Hockey, Boy Eats Drum Machine, Japanther, Pyramiddd, and my favorite local electro duo, The Helio Sequence. So they must be doing something right, right?

Pegasus Dream will be playing at The Parlour February 17th before embarking on a small Washington tour with our favorite little arsonists Housefire in March, so mark your calendar! The band’s music video for “Lady Luck,” will give you a good idea of the duo’s sound, but if this isn’t enough, you can download Pegasus Dream’s EP, Miles of Sound, here, and if you dig it, you can give them your vote on our Band of the Month poll.

-Katrina Nattress

   

"Don't Quit Your Day Job" Features Reporter's Michael aka Mr. Potato Head


Into the Woods TV has unleashed yet another awesome Portland-based insider anomaly with the first episode in their series "Don't Quit Your Day Job." The series goes behind the scenes into the working week of PDX rockers and rollers in a candid, often hilarious overview of their careers offstage.

The first episode was uploaded today, and features Mike from ambient-poppers Reporter and his uber-popular Potato Champion french fry cart, located on SE 12th and Hawthorne - one of many fantastic late-night wheeled eateries on the corner.

Also be sure to check out the additional video series' being produced by the guys from Into the Woods, including the site's namesake, which documents bands playing intimate performances (where else?) in the woods; "Learning Curve," which are tech-y tutorials led by various Portland musicians; or "Feels Like Home," a series documenting bands playing in their own homes.

And if you haven't been to Potato Champion yet, you're doing it wrong.

- Ryan J. Prado