Tag Archives: Portland

January 23, 2018 — “Greys” by Candace


If you only listen to one song today, make it “Greys” by Candace (2017, from the “Horizons” single).

Candace is a dream pop trio from Portland, Oregon. Sarah Rose (guitar/bass/vocals), Sarah Nienaber (guitar/bass/vocals), and Mara Appel DesLauriers (drums/vocals) formed a band called Is/Is in 2009, and released two albums —III (2012) and Is/Is2014– and a slew of singles before changing their name to Candace in 2016. Since then, they’ve released a few more singles and an album called New Future). They’re set to release a brand new album called New Ruins on March 2. It’s a smoking hot album, but today’s song isn’t from it.

Somehow, I had never heard of the band until their publicist sent me an advance copy of the new album yesterday. It hasn’t been debuted yet, and none of the new songs are shareable, but it really blew me away. It sounds like three parts Galaxie 500 mixed with two parts Beach House and just a tiny splash of Throwing Muses. That mixture makes me very happy. I suspect that this album will do very well in my year-end list.

Today’s song has less of a Galaxie 500 vibe, so you’ll have to trust me on that, but I love it just the same. Today’s song is the b-side on the “Horizons” single, which came out last November. Although there’s a connection between the artwork on the “Horizons” single and the artwork on the New Ruins album, neither “Horizons” nor “Greys” appears on the new album. This isn’t really about the new album, but I urge all of you to get it as soon as it becomes available. In the meantime, they have lots of other stuff you can get from their Bandcamp page.

I really love this song right from the drop.

‘Greys” by Candace

I really love the layering/chorus/harmonizing on the vocal track, and the shimmering guitar with its delay. That’s what makes me think of Beach House. The bass and drum tracks remind of The Real Ramona-era Throwing Muses. As I said before, this reminds me a bit of Galaxie 500, but the new songs do so to an even greater extent. There’s also this really incredible bit right in the middle of the song with the shimmering guitar using a bit of what sounds like flange. There’s a lot of other things to like about this song, and I’ve liked it more each time I’ve listened. And to be clear, I’ve just listened to it about twelve times in a row. To be clear about something else –and I can’t stress this enough– I like the forthcoming album even more than this.

The previous album was released by Found Object Records, but I don’t know if the forthcoming record will be on that label. There’s no mention of it on the label’s website, and the band’s website doesn’t mention who’s putting it out. That’s the long way around of saying that I haven’t seen any pre-sale information, and the promo material didn’t mention it either.

I had never heard of Candace two days ago, but they instantly became my favourite “new to me” band and album of the year. They’re going on a mini-tour directly following the release of the new album, and I hope they’ll follow that with a proper tour of the US, including a stop near me.

There’s also a great video for “Greys” with lots of bedsheets, dolphins, wheat feilds, and double exposure.

January 17, 2018 — “Ariadne” by Typhoon


If you only listen to one song tonight, make it “Ariadne” by Typhoon (2018, from the album Offerings).
Typhoon is an indie rock/orchestral rock/post-pop band from Portland, Oregon. There may be anywhere from eight to eleven members depending upon which source you rely. They’ve been around since 2005, but they really started to gain recognition five years ago. You may remember that I fell in love with their 2013 album White Lighter. I called that album my third favourite album of the year, and that was a REALLY good year. They’ve taken some time off since then, and the new album –their fourth– has just been released via Roll Call Records.
With no past and no future, there is only suffocating, annihilating present, looping on and on ad infinitum (to me, one plausible definition of hell) and the best you can hope for is that somewhere in the void there exists some small, irreducible certainty—a fragment, a kernel, something—that you may have the good fortune to stumble upon before it’s all over.

The new album is massive. It’s a little lengthy at 70 minutes, and it’s got some enormous sounds. But it’s also massive in the sense of its theme. Frontman Kyle Morton has described the opus this way:

It’s a record from the perspective of a mind losing its memory at precisely the same time the world is willfully forgetting its history. The urgent question becomes: without causality, without structures of meaning, without essential features of rational thought, is there anything that can save us from violence / oblivion?

You know, a boy/girl-meets-girl/boy-everyone-dies-in-botched-attempt- at-neo-pagan-sacrificial-ritual-on-global-scale kind of thing.

There’s a lot of stuff about memory, memory loss, the desire to rebuild memories. And it’s meant to be a story in four parts as the character of the story goes through four stages: (1)Floodplains; (2)Flood; (3)Reckoning; (4)Afterparty. The vinyl is a 2XLP, and I imagine that each stage of the story is its own album side.

For a lot of reasons, I’m reminded of the remarkable Hospice album by The Antlers. Incidentally, I was a little late to the game on Hospice, but I would have named it my absolute #1 album of that year. Like that album, there’s a running story. Like that album, the character of said story is going through some tough stuff. Like that album, I can’t get enough of this. Offerings is half again as long as Hospice‘s 45 minutes, so it requires much more of an investment, but it’s well worth it. It’s a really beautiful album that is certain to end very near the top of my list and a bunch of other lists.

I somehow missed the advance push on this album, but I was intrigued by a quote from the venerable Bob Boilen over at NPR’s All Songs Considered. He sent the following text to the show’s co-host:

Good lord, this Typhoon album is brilliant… haven’t cried listening to a record since Carrie and Lowell

He’s referring to the 2015 album by Sufjan Stevens. This is extraordinarily high praise from a dude who listens to boatloads of records. Frankly, though, I have to call Boilen out. If he didn’t cry whilst listening to Phil Elverum’s (Mt. Eerie) A Crow Looked at Me last year, then he’s a complete monster.

Anyway, this album knocked me out the first time I listened, and this song, from the final part of the story, is one of my favourites.

“Ariadne” by Typhoon

One of the things that I love about this song is the same thing that I love about most Typhoon songs. It has distinct parts while being a small part of a really big picture. There are ebbs and flows within the song. Quiet/loud/quiet. Dark/light. Tempo changes. Changes of instruments. All of that and more. There’s something about Morton’s voice that reminds me a bit of Peter Silberman out of The Antlers. And as I said before, this record has other elements that remind me of Hospice. Plus, I have vivid memories of falling in love with Hospice on a snowy day in January 2011, just as I am falling deeper in love with Offerings on a snowy day in January 2018.

There is also tons of rich imagery in the lyrics. The song plays a big part in the theme of our world falling apart around us while we try to forget:

Images of the primitive awakened from a dream
Console yourself with the morning bells
But you can’t shake the feeling of being tied down to a table
The guests are sharpening their teeth

Everyone is a hostage
How will we ever get free?
We can’t even go a minute without trying to burn an effigy

Go ahead, get comfortable, forget your past lives
You find the devil’s mansion has many rooms inside
There’s no features, there’s no furniture
But you got nothing to hide

Everyone is a terrorist now
Don’t you know the neighbor?
And if there’s any chance of getting out
You gotta make yourself remember

There’s a lot to unpack there, but the things that stand out the most to me are the “we can’t go a minute without trying to burn an effigy” and the “if there’s any chance of getting out, you gotta make yourself remember”.

There’s also a line that seems a little out-of-place with the theme of the song and also with the overall theme of the album, and it’s a difficult bit to swallow:

I wanna love you. I just don’t have the time

There’s also a bit of spoken dialog at the end of the song. I don’t know if it’s created for the album, or if it’s been lifted from some source, or if it’s a field recording, but there’s a line which is the first thing on the album

Of everything you’re about to lose
this will be the most painful

That line is repeated as part of a longer bit at the end of this song:

The spiral is unspooling, the center couldn’t hold
We choked on our inheritance, and hell on earth is cold
I forgive you — brothers, sisters — thread my neck into the noose
It’s my only offering, and I pray that you refuse
Of everything that you’re about to lose
This will be the most painful

Again, there’s a lot to unpack in those 53 words, and I’m not equipped to do it. The listener has to do her own work on that, but it’s really powerful and really beautiful.

This is a stunning, if not perfect record that I urge you all to listen to repeatedly. You can buy it from the Roll Call Records store here.

The band is currently on a tour that will have them cross the North American continent from west to east and back again. Check the tour dates here. See them if you can.

December 15, 2016 — “Dream Lover” as covered by Tender Age

Tender Age

Tender Age

If you only listen to one cover song tonight, make it “Dream Lover”, as covered by Tender Age (2016, from the Disappear Here EP). The song was originally done by Bobby Darin as a single in 1959.

Tender Age is a low-fi shoegaze quintet from Portland, Oregon. I stumbled upon their music today, and I don’t really know anything about them, but they say that they’re influenced by a bunch of my very favourite bands: Galaxie 500, Mazzy Star, The Swirlies, Throwing Muses, Bleach, Sonic Youth. Tender Age has been around since 2013, and as far as I know, they’ve released two 7″ records and an EP that came out this year.

Apparently, they are also influenced by pop music from the late 50s and early 60s. The Disappear Here EP features tonight’s song, which was originally done by Bobby Darin in 1959, and a noisy cover of “I Love How You Love Me”, which was recorded by and made famous by The Paris Sisters in 1961.

Tonight’s song is a woozy, dreamy, and noisy adaptation of the original. It’s also played a bit slower, so it has a longer running time than the original. In short, it’s a pretty wild interpretation. I like it much more than I thought I would.

“Dream Lover”, as covered by Tender Age

I really like the boozy woozy sound. It’s like the tape is constantly being manipulated, or the pitch is constantly being adjusted. It’s a weird and fun head space.

There’s a lot about this song that reminds me of Louise Trehy’s old band Swallow, and the magnificent 1992 album Blow. A little bit of it is Tauna Leonardo’s vocals. A little bit is the dreamy, buzzy, fuzzy guitars. Maybe it’s something else. It took me a while to lay a finger on what it was reminding me of, but that’s totally it. And in this house, if something can remind me of Swallow, and if the band can mention The Swirlies, Throwing Muses, Mazzy Star, and Galaxie 500 as influences, and if they even reference (the band) Bleach in the fist place, there’s a really good chance that I’m going to like them. A lot.

And I do.

I don’t know what’s on deck for this band, but I really like what I’ve heard, and I hope they’ll have a full-length long player next year.

The Disappear Here EP was released on vinyl and cassette. The vinyl versions have sold out, but you can still buy cassettes via the Sinis Records Bandcamp page here. You can also buy a digital download there. It’s my understanding that the physical copies feature extra tracks, including a cover of a Sonic Youth song.

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