May 24, 2019

Jesse's Spring Favorites

Dogheart - Yeah No For Sure
Another great pop album (no. 5!) by this underrated Portland band. I dig their bummed-in-the-sun vibe.



Divers - Live from the Banana Stand
For a brief moment, Divers ruled Portland. Great to have a testament to those awesome shows.



Sego - Sego Sucks
Full of fun, inventive hooks and slackidaisical observations reminiscent of early Beck.


Big Quiet - Interesting Times
Awesome indie pop. Imagine the Bangles signed to Sarah Records.



Layperson - The Divide
Such a beautiful album. Reminds me a bit of the Pernice Brothers.


Months - REX
Spitting political fire wrapped in propulsive, noisy riffs. Cathartic and necessary.



Luther Russell - Medium Cool
O my soul! Come for the Big Star love, stay because this some of the finest powerpop songwriting you'll hear this year.
Live! Friday, June 7th @ Star Theater

Rain's Spring Favorites

Boy Harsher - Careful
It's contemporary but it's STRAIGHT UP 1986 New Wave magic. Put on your eye liner and your pointy shoes, slam a 2 litre California Cooler and tear up that goddamn Vet's Hall dance floor. I seriously wanted to smoke a clove cigarette after my first listen of this album. Also, it's the first album I've listened to 5 times in a row in a LONG ASS TIME.


Foie Gras - Holy Hell
I dunno know what's going on? Maybe it's that "everything that's old is new again" thing. This, like its sista from another mutha, Boy Harsher, also miraculously cashes in on that mid 80's synth wave sound. It's good and I like it.


Twin Temple - "Twin Temple (Bring You Their Signature Sound...Satanic Doo-Wop)
The title says it all and it doesn't let you down.

This is MY Music For Airports...



The Caretaker - Stage 6
The last installment of this decade long project. Mr. Torrance  still is and will always be the Caretaker....

February 17, 2019

Rain's Early 2019 Favorites

Nivhek - After its own death/Walking in a spiral towards the house
Grouper's Liz Harris' side project which is perfect for these dark days of Winter. Evokes dreams during the waking hours. Gives hope in the hole where hope should reside.


Beirut - Gallipoli
Back to form soundtrack for my traveling gypsy caravan. Wintertime release makes me yearn for the future months in which I laze like a baked lizard on sun baked river rocks while the trout wink at me through the glinting water.


Jozef Van Wissem and Jim Jarmusch - An Attempt to Draw Aside the Veil
If tall city buildings could speak like Tolkien's Ents, this would be the sound of their voices


Steven Stapleton and David Tibet - The Threat of Memory
A big ol' stewpot full of discord and chaos. It's lovely.


V/A - Russian Doll Soundtrack
There isn't an "official soundtrack" out for it yet, but I bet there will be. I recently watched the Netflix series, Russian Doll (which is amazing and you should see it. I binged all 8 episodes in less than a 24 hour period...) and what struck me was how good the music selected for the show is. I made my own playlist after researching the tracks used. The highlight and new discovery for me is French psych-surf duo, The Limiñanas. They might be my new favourite band. Their entire music catalogue that spans the last decade is phenomenal and they just seem to be getting better and are gaining traction and attention (as evidenced by their most recent album having a song featuring Joy Division's Peter Hook on bass).

February 16, 2019

Jesse's Early 2019 Jams

Crocodiles - Love Is Here
I love this band. All 7 albums. And this one has a particularly nice blend of sweet and noisy.



Good Shade - Way Out
Just fantastic power pop. A gem in the consistently great Dirtnap Records catalog.



Yuvees - Seething In Whisper Town
One of my favorite tracks from reviewing PDX Pop Now submissions. Great post punk.



Strange Passage - Shouldn't Be Too Long
Teenage Fanclubesque? Upbeat Smiths? IDK. I just love it.



Unlikely Friends - We Blast Last! A Love Letter to the Fabulous Bands of the Pacific Northwest
Happiness is a lovable NW indie pop band covering a new set of local heroes each week. Can't wait to see who's next.

January 4, 2019

QuickCrit's Top 16 Albums of 2018


1. Blood Orange - Negro Swan  

I learned about both Janet Mock and A$AP Rocky via this album. It's simply incredible. – Larson

If Janet Mock's gorgeous take on family doesn't get you, then maybe a Puff Daddy spoken word track? How about a gospel song? This album crosses genres, talks about being different, and is cool as hell. – Serena

2. Lykke Li - So Sad So Sexy          
        
I made a slow-motion video of my kids frolicking outside to the song “Hard Rain”. Hit me up and I’ll send it to you. – Larson

3. Wye Oak - The Louder I call The Faster It Runs    
     
So stoked that every album that these guys (or singer Jenn Wassner) puts out ends up on a top ten of the year list for me.  There's so many bands in the last 20 years that have started out great and fizzled into caricatures of themselves that it's just refreshing to have a fave put out consistently great material. – Tex

When I wanted the feels I reached for this album. – Larson

4. Alice Ivy - I'm Dreaming
                        
Avalanches comparisons are fair, but damn if the album doesn't reveal new details to love with each listen. – Jesse

Like movies from the 50's mixed with some mellow sweet beats, relaxation, nostalgia. – Graham

5. The Bones of J.R. Jones - Ones of Keep Close 

A one stop shop for a some good shot poundin' and knee slappin' jams. – Nesto

Not quite a one-man band, but pretty close. He plays raw, bluesy, backwoods rock and roll mostly consisting of fuzzy, wavering vocals over distorted guitar… and it is awesome. This album is his best and perhaps most rounded, with more percussion, guest vocalists, and horns. – NightraiN

6. Flasher - Constant Image       

Is this post punk? New Wave? The best of both? It toys with jagged riffs, repetition, harmonies, and so many barbed hooks. Plus, they look 10. – Jesse

YES!! – sharon

7. Cardi B - Invasion Of Privacy 

When I needed something over the top this spring. This was the answer. – Larson

8. The Carters - Everything is Love          

Some days I don’t feel cool enough to listen to this album. Fuck that inner dialogue. – sharon

Someone described this as a Beyonce album featuring Jay Z, and I think that's both accurate and not a problem. – Serena

9. Spiritualized - And Nothing Hurt         

I didn't realize that I needed Spiritualized back into my life. Such a fantastic sleepy time album that I usually don't make it past track 4 or 5! – sharon

10. Paul Cauthen - Have Mercy 

Minutes away from a full length album, so it counts! Have mercy! – Nesto

This dude is classic. Deep Cash-esque baritone, outlaw country style and themes, and an ability to sound like those that came before but still feel original. This is my road-trippin' album of the year because all the tracks have a ramblin’ man/woman aura about them, especially my favorites “Tumbleweed” and “My Cadillac”. This is deep throated, singalong country. – NightraiN

11. Black Panther Soundtrack   

Wakanda forever. – Serena

Feels weird to put a soundtrack to a Marvel movie on my top album list but maybe that’s a weird hangup that I need to get over. I built a set of dresser drawers for my wife and I this year. I clocked a lot of hours with sandpaper a nail gun and this album on rotation. – Larson

12. Kurt Vile - Bottle In It            

Let's road trip through America with Kurt Vile as our tour guide. – Nesto

Vile is a songsmith – writing poems over music and music around scenes from everyday life. It many ways his music feels throwback with hints of Tom Petty and Bob Dylan, but between the slithering guitar on the up-tempo tracks, he mixes in his meandering train-of-thought tracks that in my mind are all his own. – NightraiN
13. Chemtrails - Calf Of The Sacred Cow

Discovered these gender-bending psych pop masters off a 2017 label sampler and fell in love with their previous two psych pop EPs. My Johnny-come-lately status payed off with an album released just weeks later and that I’ve rocked ever since. – Jesse

14. Lord Huron - Vide Noir

Makes me want to go on a road trip. – Graham

First introduced to this band off one of these lists back in 2011 and they’ve been a mainstay on the radio since then. Another family favorite. – Jesse

15. Murder By Death – The Other Shore

Probably their most poetic album to date. Less straight-up drinking anthems and darker and more complicated, cello-laced tales of western life that parallel Ben Nichols leveraging Blood Meridian characters and storylines from Blood Meridian. If you are craving some folksy, Americana from 2018, I think this is the album for you.   – NightraiN

Propelled by a baritone vocals and bold drum beats, these country gothic anthems ride the line between dark and celebratory. – Jesse

16. The Record Company – All Of This Life

These guys have filled the hole in my music life that was left behind by the absence of The Black Keys, as both are dedicated to churning out some catchy blues rockers. “Life To Fix” stands out with the sing-along refrain and hand-clapping, head-nodding rhythm. Of course, it also helps that their live performance rips. – NightraiN

They keep it simple – three guys, a couple chords, minimal lyrics – but when they find a rhythm, they work it, wringing out each sweaty riff. Hey! Whoa oh oh oh. – Jesse


January 3, 2019

Jesse's Top 15 Albums from 2018


1. Superchunk - What A Time To Be Alive            

Delivering on the promise of last year's political daggers, this album captures where my head's at these days. Practically on daily rotation.

2. Horse Feathers - Appreciation             

Longtime fan, but this is easily my favorite Horse Feathers album. Playing it for everyone, and all kinds dig it.

3. Flasher - Constant Image       

Is this post punk? New Wave? The best of both? It toys with jagged riffs, repetition, harmonies, and so many barbed hooks. Plus, they look 10.

4. Native Sun - Always Different, Always The Same    
    
A late addition and only an EP, but nearly every song is a killer slab of swaggering rocknroll.

5. Alice Ivy - I’m Dreaming

Avalanches comparisons are fair, but damn if the album doesn't reveal new details to love with each listen.

6. Spiritual Cramp - Television   

Holy crap! Loved the EPs but these 6 new songs might even be better. Combines for an all around fiery punk LP.

7. Alien Boy - Sleeping Lessons 

Nailing that perfect mix of melody, noise, and emotional heft. Easily one of my top Portland albums this year.

8. Heaven - All Love Is Blue        

Love their expansive sound; this shoegaze struts. Side A is near perfection. On heavy rotation this year.

9. The Orielles - Silver Dollar Moment   

Infusing their indie pop tons of clever surprises. Sounds both familiar and unique.

10. Chemtrails - Calf Of The Sacred Cow

Discovered these gender-bending psych pop masters off a 2017 label sampler and fell in love with their previous two psych pop EPs. My Johnny-come-lately status payed off with an album released just weeks later and that I’ve rocked ever since.

11. Beatchild & The Slakadeliqs - Heavy Rockin’ Steady

Subtle and buttery hooks from all over place. Throw it on for your own High Fidelity/Beta Band type moment.   

12. Jeff Rosenstock - POST-        

Oh man, "USA" is a sprawling, kitchen sink punk epic that just slays in its messy brilliance.

13. The Record Company - All Of This Life

They keep it simple -- three guys, a couple chords, minimal lyrics -- but when they find a rhythm, they work it, wringing out each sweaty riff. Hey! Whoa oh oh oh.

14. Lord Huron - Vide Noir

First introduced to this band off one of these lists back in 2011 and they’ve been a mainstay on the radio since then. Another family favorite.

15. Murder by Death - The Other Shore

Propelled by a baritone vocals and bold drum beats, these country gothic anthems ride the line between dark and celebratory.


Graham's Top 3 Albums from 2018


1. Beach House - 7     
    
2. Lord Huron - Vide Noir   
         
Makes me want to go on a road trip.

3. Alice Ivy - I'm Dreaming          

Like movies from the 50's mixed with some mellow sweet beats, relaxation, nostalgia.

Larson's Top 11 Albums from 2018


1. Blood Orange - Negro Swan  

I learned about both Janet Mock and A$AP Rocky via this album. It's simply incredible.

2. Hinds - I Don’t Walk I Run      

They’re from Spain and they’re awesome.

3. Wye Oak - The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs      
     
When I wanted the feels I reached for this album.

4. Dream Wife - Dream Wife     

When I needed aggressive guitar based music this was my go to album this year.

5. Lyyke Li - So Sad So Sexy        

I made a slow motion video of my kids frolicking outside to the song “Hard Rain”. Hit me up and I’ll send it to you.

6. Cardi B - Invasion Of Privacy 

When I needed something over the top this spring. This was the answer.

7. Leon Bridges - Good Thing     

Describing music as “timeless” can be a slippery slope. Sometimes I feel like people just mean it sounds like a certain era but that era is not right now so it’s now deemed “timeless”... Or maybe that’s what I’m afraid I’m saying when I say music is “timeless” and I don’t like that about myself. It’s not like I’m saying it’s a bad thing it’s just that perhaps I worry that an artist can become pigeonholed by being “timeless”. Pretty cool how many times I’ve put quotations around “timeless” in this ramble. The song “Good Thing” is one of the most beautiful songs ever.

8. Laura Gibson - Goners             

Like an old friend coming to visit.

9. Black Panther Soundtrack     

Feels weird to put a soundtrack to a Marvel movie on my top album list but maybe that’s a weird hangup that I need to get over. I built a set of dresser drawers for my wife and I this year. I clocked a lot of hours with sandpaper a nail gun and this album on rotation.

10. Raye - Side Tape      

This is on here mainly because I listened to the song Cigarette like a million times. I’d been doing some research on what songs Stefflon Don was on and found this banger. There is also a song that is essentially a revamp of Always On Time by Ja Rule and Ashanti which never hurts to listen to.

11. Spiritualized - And Nothing Hurt       

Nesto's Top 14 Albums from 2018


1. Peter, Bjorn, and John - Darker Days 

If you're feeling contemplative but want some pop, its PBJ's Darker days.

2. Sure Sure - Sure Sure

Stumbled on this album while searching for Talking Heads covers. That's one way to get your name out there!

3. Paul Cauthen - Have Mercy   

Minutes away from a full length album, so it counts! Have mercy!

4. The Bones of J.R. Jones - Ones of Keep Close 

A one stop shop for a some good shot poundin' and knee slappin' jams.

5. The Vaccines - Combat Rock 

I'm glad somewhere out there in the wide world, Brits are still making music like this.

6. Kurt Vile - Bottle In It

Let's road trip through America with Kurt Vile as our tour guide.

7. Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats - Tearing At The Seams       
  
Advice: If you visit Denver and say anything negative about NR, be prepared to get a beer thrown at you or have a dog piss on your leg.

8. Django Django - Marble Skies              

When someone figures it out, let me know what's going on with these guys please.

9. Andrés Calamaro - Cargar La Suerte  

Argentine rock is not dead... just aging!

10. The Brian Jonestown Massacre - Something Else      

Somehow these guys slipped into the rotation, again. I guess I'm too predictable.

11. Chemtrails - Calf of the Sacred Cow

12. Belle & Sebastian - How to Solve our Human Problems       
  
13. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Wrong Creatures        

14. Dawes - Passwords 

Tex's Top 7 Albums from 2018


1. Maribou State - Kingdoms in Color    

Smooth melodic grooves, good for chilling out or maintaining focus.

2. Idles - Joy as an Act of Resistance       

Smart, thoughtful and woke AF modern punk music

3. Parquet Courts - Wide Awake              

New classic from these perennial favorites.  I initially thought they'd be a flash in the pan, now, 10 years later, they just keep getting better and better.

4. Wye Oak - The Louder I call The Faster It Runs 
            
So stoked that every album that these guys (or singer Jenn Wassner) puts out ends up on a top ten of the year list for me.  There's so many bands in the last 20 years that have started out great and fizzled into caricatures of themselves that it's just refreshing to have a fave put out consistently great material.

5. Wild Pink - Yolk in the Fur      

As I age I get less nostalgic and sentimental.  This album precludes that trend and puts me in the mindset of someone less cynical, and I like that.

6. El Ten Eleven - Bankers Hill    

Nice soundscapes that weave between math-rock and ambient.

7. Jenn Champion - Single Rider

A very well-orchestrated tribute to smoother rock/r&b sounds from the nineties - not an original concept at this point, but a great example of how it can sound really good. 

Sharon's Top 6 Albums from 2018


1. Spiritualized - And Nothing Hurts   
    
I didn't realize that I needed Spiritualized back into my life. Such a fantastic sleepy time album that I usually don't make it past track 4 or 5!

2. Essex Green - Hardly Electric 

You know they are Belle and Sebastian's second cousin, right?

3. Middle Kids - Lost Friends      

My husband thinks they sound boring. They speak to me.

4. The Carters - Everything is Love          

Some days I don’t feel cool enough to listen to this album. Fuck that inner dialogue.

5. Robyn - Honey            

One of those albums I liked after one listen. Just pure fun!

6. Flasher - Constant Image       

YES!!

Serena's Top 9 Albums from 2018


1. Rhye-Blood   

This is the chillest, sexiest album. Sometimes I watch their Tiny Desk concert because my brain can't wrap itself around the fact that the whole band is just two white dudes.

2. Lykke Li - So Sad So Sexy        

3. Blood Orange - Negro Swan  

If Janet Mock's gorgeous take on family doesn't get you, then maybe a Puff Daddy spoken word track? How about a gospel song? This album crosses genres, talks about being different, and is cool as hell.

4. Cardi B - Invasion of Privacy  

5. Twin Shadow-Caer    

6. The Carters - EVERYTHING IS LOVE   
 
Someone described this as a Beyonce album featuring Jay Z, and I think that's both accurate and not a problem.

7. Black Panther Soundtrack    
 
Wakanda forever.

8. Lil Wayne - Tha Carter V  
       
9. Drake-Scorpion          

I bet you thought I'd pick "Nice For What," didn't you? Just kidding, "Nice For What" is my favorite song, it's my song of the year!