Alright, so I’m on a local kick. Judging from the Jackpot Records and Everyday Music Facebook feeds, and the sessions they’ve had around town, these are two of the biggest Portland names right now.
Here’s a band that has a trippy synth Billy Idol thing going on, and is Portland to the core. The name comes from a German exchange student friend of the band founder – v’s and w’s are swapped when Germans speak English, so anytime you’re German and talking about a Vampire, you’re actually talking about a Wampire. Boom! Instant band name. In my first assessment over the last couple of weeks they get basically a “Could be Worse” reputation. But check ’em out anyway. Not a waste of time. The album is Curiosity on Polyvinyl.
So the new release is Animals in the Median (Tender Loving Empire). More synth(what is it with all the indie pop bands these days and their synthesizer?! Are they that easy to get/learn to use? Is it an 80’s throwback? Another blog topic for sure), but here you have a pleasant layering of strings, flute, synth and vocal energy in most of the tracks. It’s kind of spacey, can be mellow but can also be danceable. So it’s Portland. Hike, bike, drink tea, listen to the rain, drive to the coast on a weekend. Do what we do. This is the music for that.
On the scale of awesome Portland bands (Decemberists, Blitzen Trapper, The Thermals) to not-so-awesome Portland “bands” ( STRFKR, Unknown Mortal Orchestra) these two are right about in the middle. I’m not beating down the pavement to find them at their tour bus or anything, but they’re local and not terrible, so I figured a shout out wouldn’t hurt. And I must be just barely too old to fully “get” what they’re doing, but hey, “think globally, listen locally” right?