Soft Shadows + Tender Age

New music from Portland’s own Soft Shadows. The debut full length from the former Sundaze band, Soft Shadows brings a great dream-rock sound to the ears. The album is appropriately called Reverb Is for Lovers. There’s a real soulful way the songs are crafted and sang. The guitar riffs also have a surfy vibe to them as well, especially “War Theatre.” This album is really good so listen to it, then buy it. Also locals can go to their record release show at Bunk Bar tomorrow night 10/29.

Next is another new Portland band, that just came out with their self titled EP last week, they are called Tender Age. They have a more pop sound to them than Soft Shadows. The opening track, “Anything,” is such a chill blissed out noise-pop anthem. The way the lead guitar hook comes out over the wall of bass and second guitar is just so soothing. Hope you enjoy it as much as I.

Forest Swords

Forest Swords brings a whole new collection of sounds to a chilled out electronic music-scape. The debut full length from Liverpool’s Matthew Barnes is an incredible collection of instrumental electro-glitch. I really enjoy the influence of tradition Native and Japanese music that comes across in most tracks, especially one of my favorites “Irby Tremor.” The new album is called Engravings and rightfully so, since all you can do is listen to it over and over again. Engravings from Forest Swords is a refreshing breath of electronic music, and is one of my favorites this year.

Live at Mississippi Studios: Crystal Stilts

Thursday saw a great lineup of psychedelic rock and pop. The first band to perform was local Portlanders, Pictorials. They have a cool guitar-pop sound that is accompanied by good songwriting and lyrics that that make you feel something. They remind me slightly of The Helio Sequence, and they have toured with Black Moth Super Rainbow.

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Up after Pictorials was a change of musical scene with Zachary Cale. Mr. Cale is a virtuoso in figure picking and songwriting. His songs are well crafted to make you want to sit in your comfy chair while you sip on some whiskey and talk about the good ol’ days. His latest album Blue Rider just came out last month and is crammed full of great songs.

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Crystal Stilts – Nature Noir by Killing Sasquatch on Grooveshark

Last up for the night was Crystal Stilts. They have a great mixture of all types of sounds. A sort of rock-a-billy gothic pop-rock journey through psychedelia. The newest album from them is called Nature Noir. Definitely check out the first track, “Spirit in Front of Me.”

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Pelican

The brand new album from Pelican is everything that you would want from an instrumental metal band. These guys from Chicago know how to blend a perfect metal/post-rock/punk sound to make an elegant music smoothie. The first several tracks are so sludgey and stonery and complete with great break downs and build ups. Then about mid-way through “Immutable Dusk” comes a very beautiful soft guitar build up through the heavy bass line. This album should be recognized as one of the best ones released this year so far and has certainly jumped towards the top of my list. Check out the song “Vestiges” as well.

Interview with Aan

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We interviewed Aan before their performance during their showcase show with Red Fang, and WL, about their upcoming album Amor Ad Nauseum coming out February 4th, 2014. Get down on their kickstarter here.

KS: I have a burning question, and that is, how was touring with Smashing Pumpkins?

AAN: Pretty cool, playing the shows themselves were really fun. And amazing– playing in front of 2,500 people. It’s funny how quickly you assimilate yourself. The first show we were just like, UHH…, and then by the third of fourth show it’s like, Oh Yeah. Because you kinda can’t take in 3,000 people. Three-thousand versus 400 people… you can and you can’t. Because at a certain level you can’t– for me at least I’m looking at faces and once I stop looking at faces it doesn’t really matter. And then meeting them was fun. We’re in the middle of the South, or in Florida, and we’re like “What are we doing here?

KS: Was that your first US tour, or just down South?

AAN: It was our first time down South. But we’ve done the East coast. The only place we have left is the Midwest. We haven’t gone there yet. But we’ve done all the West. We’re going to Canada next month so we’re finally going international.

KS: Does Billy talk like he sings?

AAN: We didn’t talk to him much, he was very guarded… MIA. But to answer your question, yes! He’s not easy to get to and he did not hang out at all. We hung out with the drummer, who we know, and Jeff the guitar player. He’s gigantic though.

KS: Is he? That’s what we hear, that he’s super tall.

AAN: He’s pretty tall, yeah, like 6’5” or something. We met him in his green room after our last show with him and he was eating a salad on the couch. We all just kind of piled in the doorway and tried to talk to him for a bit. You know you have so many questions that you would like to ask but really there’s not time for and five people are standing there with things they want to ask.

KS: Are you guys planning any recordings we should know about?

AAN: Yeah we’re putting our record out February 4 of next year. First full length record. Yeah, first full length. Lot’s of little things…

KS: Right on, like the 7”, the EP…

AAN: Yep, and the record will be our arrival when it comes out. The level of recording and music is much better than anything we’ve put out.

KS: Where did you guys record?

AAN: A couple different places. We recorded for a week out at Lincoln City in an A-frame cabin. We brought out a bunch a gear, and borrowed some really nice stuff. Tracked the majority of it out there, and then did a lot of mixing and additional vocals at Jeff’s studio. He’s since moved, but he was working in a studio in Northeast called The Trench. Greg— a producer guy in town Greg Williams, he had a studio and I ended up occupying with him for a couple of years. It was super fun. We finished the last couple tracks at the Auditorium it’s the Dandy Warhols recording studio. Yeah it was done quick, we did a lot of cool location stuff…

KS: My next question is, where did the band name come from? A-A-N?

AAN: Well the title of the full-length record is Amor Ad Nauseum. And that is also where the name comes from. It was a thing that I was using for my own recordings back in, once I got out of college, in 2005 I would do bedroom recordings. It was a lot more moody, kind of folky-ish. Freak folk.

KS: I like that, totally. I’d like to hear that.

AAN: Very freaky, very folky.

KS: Did you say it was the title of the record?

AAN: Yeah it’s sort of tying it all together. It’s some fake Latin word play.

KS: Yeah, I enjoy it. I like showing it to my friends, and they’re like “How the fuck do you pronounce that?”

AAN: It’s a running joke on stage for us as well. “Ladies and gentlemen, It’s ANN!” For a show we playing with Smashing Pumpkins our greenroom door had A-N-N. No, not Ann, do your homework.

KS: So you said it’s fake Latin though…

AAN: It’s like one of those things where it’s probably how you would say it but it’s not definitely something that would be said, it’s sort of modernized and bastardized. Well Amor Ad Nauseum, Amor of course is love and ad nauseum … but nausea and like—to love until you’re sick. And Ad Nauseum is also a term that just means repetitive, over and over and over again. And when you see the cover of our record it’ll start to make sense. It’s my lady friend’s mom’s dog and she got into a porcupine, and she’s just covered in quills. But she has this demure posture, she’s just very calm, chilling. And it just looks like that same thing. It’s being lovelorn, and you just keep going and going even though you know it’s bad for you. That’s what Amor Ad Nauseum originally came from to me.

KS: We’re so excited. Your guys’ music is one of our favorite from Portland, what bands do you guys like playing with around the area?

AAN: And And And, we love And And And. Sun Angle, Radiation City. I like any kind of dark heavier stuff but with pop sensibility. As far as drawing a crowd Radiation City just know how to write a cut that takes you to different places, that might not put you down where you started from… This will be a pretty sweet show.

KS: Have you guys seen WL?

AAN: Yeah, we played with them two years ago for Into the Woods.

KS: Right on. Did they even exist back then? A couple years ago?

AAN: Yeah it was their second show. We have not played with Red Fang. But we saw them at Musicfest last year, at Roseland. Maybe two years ago… two years ago. Loud! They opened for Dinosaur Jr that year.

KS: Oh shit!