Last night was the final night of Sometimes A Great Notion Festival capping off a weekend with one of my favorite bands, Peaking Lights. This was my first time going to the North Portland art center Disjecta and I have to say it is a really cool place. With benches built into a grassy hill for an outside stage and beautiful setup inside with a lot of local art. I got there around 7:00 as The Emergency was setting up to play inside. The Emergency is a three piece band that specializes in ambient club music. Their newest album Last Exit is full of swirling synthesizers and heavy drum beats. I really enjoyed their set and their sound. You can check out the single “Afterlife” below and download the album here.
The second band that I caught was local one-man band Jeffrey Jerusalem. Creating a minimalist 80s dance-pop sound, Jeffrey puts his unique voice into different harmonies to lend to a new kind of new-wave type of music. I really enjoy his EP that came out in March called Keep Shadows From The Sun. Check it out below.
Last up was Peaking Lights. One of my favorite bands from California, they have a new album out called Lucifer that is a fantastic follow up to critically acclaimed 936. With their chilled out vibe of electronic dubbiness plus great reverbed/echoey vocals they have a great stage presence. They played my favorites including “Lo-Hi”, “Live Love”, and “All The Sun That Shines.” Even with some technical difficulties, Peaking Lights still put on an incredible show. You can listen to the “LO-HI” single below or go here for the full Lucifer album.
On Tuesday Purity Ring’s debut album Shrines was released. It has been a long time coming ever since hearing “Lofticries” last year I have been hooked on Purity Ring. The wait was definitely worth it. This album is by far one of my favorites already this year. Purity Ring’s brand of chill-step is something that I want to pull over my body and wrap myself in. The opening track “Crawlersout” grips you from the start and doesn’t let go until the closing track “Shuck.” I love Shrines and it’s hard to pinpoint my favorite track so you should listen to it and decide yourself below.
This week also saw the release of The Antlers’ newest EP called Undersea. This EP is super classic Antlers sound with chilled out guitars and awesome keys/synth effects combined with the patented vocals of front-man Peter Silberman. I really enjoy this 4-track EP in particular the first two tracks “Drift Dive” and “Endless Ladder.” Listen to it here.
Thursday night saw the return of Astoria, OR band Holiday Friends. Ever since finding out about them through Treefort Fest I have been hooked on their album, Chicks. But before Holiday Friends performed Norman opened up the night with their great post-country rock and roll music. Big time blues and some 70s rock and roll is what Norman is all about. They blew everyone away with their performance even though they are not as well known as the other two bands. I really dig the songs “Hell, If I Love” and “You Were The Sky.”
Next up was Holiday Friends with their fantastic sound. They started the show off with “Plastic Planets” which has kind of a Shins sound to it. They have some really great dream pop-rock. They have so many sounds produced into one beautifully complete sound. Harmonious vocals, banjo, acoustic and electric guitar, keyboards, upright and electric bass, drums, and a synthesizer are the main instruments for this five piece band. They draw on so many great influences, from Arcade Fire to The Shins to Animal Collective, yet they have a completely unique sound that makestheir debut album Chicks one of the must hear albums of the year.
The last band to perform was local Portland band Ascetic Junkies. They are another band that has so many different genres going on at once that they create something totally unique. A bluesy rock post-punk, noise folk group is what I would call them. Their most recent release is called This Cage Has No Bottom that came out a couple years ago. They are working on their new album and it promises to be a good one with lyrics such as “I’ve been told that I’m gonna die, but I’m not convinced.” I’m really excited to hear more new music from them. Ascetic Junkies are on tour across the nation so make sure that you catch them live, they are really good.
This week sees the release of Alberta Cross’s second full length record called Songs Of Patience. Alberta Cross has a big time rock and roll sound that fills up your stereo with great epic sounding tunes. Following on the lines of alternative 90s rock, they have that kind of Oasis sound that makes you nod your head along to every song. Songs Of Patience is a good album and not to be missed with tracks like “Magnolia” and “Lay Down” it’s definitely worth a listen. Check out a little preview of the album below.
Next up is a local Portland band Moon By You. This five piece band transcends decades of rock ‘n’ roll music. Sounding like a late 50s rock band they have their own unique flavor of blues, soul, and of course rock. Moon By You is fronted by Sarah Q’s richly sweet voice and jangly rhythm guitar. With walking bass lines and great lead guitar fills and solos Moon By You’s sound is completed with great drumming and rocking piano. They are really fun to listen to, their songs change tempos but are still very dance-able. Check out their 8-track album below, my favorite tracks are “In The Belly Of Mama Wolf” and “On The Run.”
Last night saw one of the best lineups at The Doug Fir Lounge all summer. Swahili was up first, and they showed why they are one of the newer must see acts in Portland. They have a great psychedelic/experimental electro-pop sound to them. At times Swahili seems more along the lines of ambient, but then they build up to this great beat that is easy to dance along to. Check it out below.
After Swahili was the Canadian band Imaginary Cities. They have a very unique sound, a mixture of alternative pop and rock accompanied by great vocals that come from a jazzy/R&B background. I really enjoy their sound, it’s very feel good music that should be shared with everyone. Check out their new three-song EP Seasides below, I really like “Temporary Resident.”
Next up after Imaginary Cities was Quilt. This three piece band is super rad, really great psychedelic pop-rock that reminds me of those groovy 70s bands. I love their sound, it’s kind of a mix of Besnard Lakes and Real Estate. I’ve been repeating their self-titled album that came out last November via Mexican Summer. You can listen to it all below, make sure you check out “Cowboys In The Void” and “Penobska Oakwalk.”
Last up was the highly anticipated Young Magic. Having released one of my favorite albums this year in Melt, I was so excited to finally see them live. Opening the show with an ambient mix that evolved into “You With Air,” I knew we were in for a treat. Young Magic has such a great unique sound that could possibly be described as electro trip-step, yet it that doesn’t reach far enough. Young Magic had a great performance that pushes their recording sound to a higher level. They are definitely a band to see live. Check out Melt below.