Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Further Wincing

Sad news this weekend involving Marty Crandall of the Shins and his girlfriend Elyse Sewell (formerly of America’s Next Top Model) being involved in a violent domestic dispute that garnered them both some jail time.

As you may or may not know, I am a sucker for the bad pun/wordplay headline, but is this really story where you want to have a jokey headline? I saw this on my RSS reader this morning: 2 headlines invoking the title of the Shins’ latest album Wincing the Night Away. A little tacky, no?


Well, why stop there? As we all know, caring is creepy and this incident has created a weird divide in my mind. Perhaps the couple should lead the celibate life in the future, or they’ll soon discover that they’ll be gone for good. Girl inform me that you’re not fighting in a sack! So says I.

Pickin’ and a Grinnin’

Are you a (wo)man of constant sorrow? Looking to brush up on your fiddle skills? If so, you may want to check out the 2008 RiverCity Bluegrass Festival, which begins today at 5PM at the Convention Center.

The weekend-long festival (January 4-6) will feature music by local and nationally-known bluegrass and Americana musicians along with band workshops. Bring your instrument and plan on participating in one of the two jam sessions happening this weekend.

For more information, including the full schedule of performers and ticket prices, visit the festival’s Web site.

A little birdie with a guitar pick told me…….

What are you doing tonight? A little birdie with a guitar pick mentioned there may be a little performance by a couple of individuals who put together a group and have been practicing like mad this past week. It may include this guy and this guy and this guy (great songwriter and musician.) Knowing about these individual’s other projects gets me excited to see them get together. The little birdie also told me where they may be playing. I’ve never been there, but hear they offer “DJ’S, STIFF DRINKS, POTENTIAL FOR ONE-NIGHT-STANDS.” Excellent for New Year’s eve.

Mighty Ninja Rock

You have an order. A command. An absolute must.
The next time that Fist of Dishonor are playing in Portland (which would be Sat. the 19th at Dante’s) You.Must.Go.See.Them.

Ninjas motivated by the Power of Rock. The band is comprised of five ninjas – who throughout their set, must battle with various foe – on stage martial arts battles, flaming swords, gymnastics feats such as arrows being shot with the feet from a handstand position, and of course the rock. Half comedy, half musical performance, half acrobatics (yup – the ninjas are so mighty they have three halves) their show last night at The Ash Street was one of the most entertaining live performances I’ve seen in a long time.


And so I echo their kung fu battle cry…

Never Trust a Samurai!
Never Fight Fair!
Never Put Shuriken in Your Underwear!

Crocodile Tears

15146.jpgSad news for Portland musicians. The Crocodile Cafe, one of the best venues to play in Seattle, closed abruptly on Monday – coming as a surprise to even the people who worked there. I played the Crocodile several times and it was always a fun experience. The room wasn’t that big, but it had a great vibe.

There’s something about the closing of a good music venue that just depresses the hell out of me. I’m still not over the death of La Luna in the late 90’s. Man, I loved that place. When I moved here in ’95 I lived just a few blocks from the club. I was working at Music Millennium just up the street, and was usually able to get tickets to shows. Anyone want to see Radiohead on The Bends tour? Yes, thank you very much. Plus, the Living Room bar upstairs was a great place to hang out if the music wasn’t doing it for you.

I also miss EJ’s, another great eastside club that closed in the late 90’s. EJ’s was a former strip club – small, smoky and loud, but a great place to play or see a show. There really aren’t any venues in Portland now that I truly love. Maybe it’s a generational thing. I like Dante’s ok, and the Towne Lounge can be fun, but I really don’t enjoy the Crystal Ballroom or the Roseland. I recently saw a show at the Wonder Ballroom and thought it was pretty cool. Are there any venues out there that people are really loving on these days?

Decemberists in January


Good news for fans of the Decemberists (and include me in that group, these guys keep getting better and better): Pitchfork reports that the band will be back on the road again, after canceling their last tour due to a band member’s undisclosed illness. They’ll be appearing at the Crystal Ballroom on January 22nd and 23rd, so if your New Year’s resolution is to go see an excellent rock show, you’re set!


Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band are coming to Portland!

I was a late-comer, as far as Springsteen fandom goes. For most of my life, I knew him only through what I heard on the radio (“Born to Run”) and what was shown on MTV during my youth (Bruce dancing with Courtney Cox). I basically thought he was just another cheeseball 70s icon who played music geared towards my parents. Until…

A Little Blues

Did you know that on Monday nights at the Mount Tabor Legacy Lounge they have the blues? The shows are free and reportedly start after Monday Night Football (though I heard they’re supposed to start at 7:30 and end a bit after 10). Go have a listen, I think you’ll find that having the blues isn’t always a bad thing.

December 3: Pavlov’s Cats
December 10: Guy Tyler
December 17: The Dan Duval Duo
December 24: Chance Hayden

PS: In the interest of honesty you can hear my husband’s band there this very evening, so maybe I’ll see you there.

Monotonix @ Satyricon


I think Monotonix has just surpassed Electric Eel Shock as my personal vote in the “funnest live act ever” category. I mentioned earlier the craziness that ensued when they played SXSW in Austin. Could they possibly live up to that showing – especially in a half-empty Satyricon? The answer is yes. Here’s how.

The Top Ten Lists

‘Tis the season for music nerds to start compiling their end of the year lists. Here’s one of the first I’ve seen: the 100 Best Albums of the Year from Paste magazine, courtesy of Stereogum. (I’ve got 18 of the top 23 in my iTunes, so I just impressed myself.)

Portland represents with Lifesavas at #42 and Menomena (whose name I still have to concentrate to spell/pronounce correctly) at #85.

Three bands that also call Portland home, but are recent transplants (I’d like to brand them now as “Sorta-Portaâ„¢ bands”) also make the cut: Modest Mouse at #8, the Shins at #26, and Spoon at #29.

For all I know there are 5 other bands on that list living here now, too.

Menomena also shows up on the “the 12 music VIDEOS of the year (according to Plug)”, courtesy of Brooklyn Vegan, with their timeless paean to the food fight oeuvre (or something like that). I’m also a big fan of the Bat For Lashes video.

Any other Portland albums that should have made the list? The Thermals, Shaky Hands, Blitzen Trappen? The Elliott Smith rarities disc?

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