New music from Portland’s Ah God. The self-titled album is a mesh of groovy rock and roll tunes. Ah God has an awesome psychedelic DIY sound to them. The album starts of with “Acid Genes,” a dizzingly psych-pop track with big drums, heavily modified vocals, and a catchy guitar riff. Then the sound goes to an acoustic guitar accompanied by falsetto vocals with “Sun Down on Fertile Ground.” This whole album by Ah God has that aesthetically pleasing, recorded in a basement, feel to it. Ah God sounds sort of like building your own spaced-themed fort, then tripping acid in it, but just the right amount of acid where things get a little weird and you end up making out with one of your best childhood friends, then in the morning you’re confused because you’ve always thought of her as your friend, but you’re also proud of yourself for making a move. I think that’s what they were going for. My favorite track on the album is “Don’t Know How That’ll Blossom.” Buy it on cassette here!
The middle of July brought the second installment of Project Pabst, a gathering of hipster Portlandians and nostalgic acts such as Weezer and Blondie headlining the event. Though it was a hot weekend for such an outdoor festival, spirits were high and the energy was good.
The first act we caught was The Velvet Teen. They have an emo-punk type of sound to their music. The Velvet Teen’s latest album is called All Is Illusory. They were pretty fun to watch.
Next was Against Me! Which was totally rad to see live. They played a lot of their newest album, Transgender Dysphoria Blues which was alright, but when they played the classic hits they got everyone moving around.
Thee Oh Sees were the next band to perform, and they just crushed it! It was crazy seeing two drummers so in sync, and lead man John Dwyer was so quirky and fun to watch.
After Thee Oh Sees was TV on the Radio. They had an outstanding performance even in the 100+ degree summer sun.
What is there to say about Run the Jewels? They absolutely destroyed Project Pabst. Even in a city that is extremely biased against hip hop, they delivered the most entertaining show out of the entire weekend.
The night finished off with 80s legend Blondie. Her performance was actually pretty good, way better than when we saw her at Pemberton last year.
The second day started off with Toronto’s Alvvays. It was my first time seeing them, and they kicked ass! Sounding a lot like the Canadian version of Best Coast, Alvvays has that guitar-pop blissful sound to them.
So if you don’t know The Both it is Aimee Mann and Ted Leo playing together in a band. So get familiar, because they rock and are adorable.
Passion Pit was up next and anyone who has seen or even listened to Passion Pit knows that they bring the energy every time. Though the heat weighed down most people, it wasn’t hard to dance to the funky beats Passion Pit was throwing down.
The classic punk sounds of Buzzcocks reigned over Portland for a solid hour, not sure if that’s a good or bad thing, but it did happen.
Finally! After 20+ years of Weezer, I have finally seen them live, and it was great! They played all the classic jams, and played their new ones too.
Overall Project Pabst was another huge success for music lovers and PBR fans. My only suggestion is to push back the festival until September when the temperature isn’t in triple digits.
A new EP from Portland’s own Azul Toga called #2 just came out at the end of June. Azul Toga is a collection of dream pop and lo-fi surf-rock, great for the height of summer. The new EP is the follow up to Azul Toga’s previous summer’s #1. This album has a more refined sound than the previous, but still keeps that sincere closeness to it. The jangly guitars along with the muddled vocals makes for music you want to dance at the beach during the golden hour. #2 by Azul Toga is full of good songs and with it being under 15 minutes total there is no excuse not to listen to it. It is also on the bandcamp page for pay what you want here.
Need some subdued tunes for hiding from the hot sun? Is/Is is your jam. Their cool shoegazey cosmic pop is a solar eclipse for your ears. The songs keep good rhythmic progressions and pleasant dreamy melodies which mix together and just sound great. The track “Rune” showcases Is/Is’s psych sensibilities, with a sound reminscent to My Bloody Valentine or early Besnard Lakes. The very next track “Sideways” shows more of an interest in garage rock with a nod to 90’s revivalism. This is what makes Is/Is successful, their seamless blending of everything we love. Their live shows are highly recommended. Lucky for you, Portlander, they’re playing Star Theater with Ancient River on July 9th, and Mississippi Studios with The Coathangers and Marriage and Cancer July 18th.
It’s new music from Máscaras, a local Portland 3-piece band. Their new album is called Máscara vs. Máscara. These guys blend high energy psych-rock with an edge of experimental elements, all rolled up in a fury of instrumental expressionism. Máscara vs. Máscara starts off with “Burgers & Balrog,” a track that instantly lets you know that these guys aren’t messing around. With a surfy guitar riff and incredible drumming, it is extremely easy to become enchanted with Máscaras. “City In Ruins” is one of my favorite tracks on the album. The guitar solo just demands for you to rock out as hard as possible, then the drums demand to take it up a notch. Another favorite song of mine is the closer “Going Home.” Máscara vs. Máscara by Máscaras demands your attention, and once you hit play that’ll be all you can do for 23 minutes.