Sound Select: Zola Jesus

Last week we went to see the latest Red Bull Sound Select show featuring Zola Jesus. The bill included two Portland acts, Magic Fades and Ghost Feet. The show overall was a fun time, even though it was poorly attended for one of these Red Bull shows.

Ghost Feet

Ghost Feet

First up was Ghost Feet a local Portland duo that make experimental electronic music. The mix is a little shoegaze with some chillwave. Very enjoyable to watch live as well.

Magic Fades

Magic Fades

Magic Fades went on after. They are another Portland duo, though they are on straight up R&B music. I’m not really into the music that they performed but it is well put together.

Zola Jesus

Zola Jesus

Zola Jesus was super awesome live. She has an awesome stage presence and her music is poppy and fun to dance to. Make sure to check her out.

(All photos by Aaron Rogosin)

Live: Blitzen Trapper

The 1st of July saw the return of Red Bull Sound Selects to Mississippi Studios. Once again it was a packed show featuring all Portland artists. First to play was Tiburones. A band that we have featured before. They have a great spicy rock sound to them, and though they don’t have anything recorded that I can share, check out the projects they worked on before becoming a band. Death Songs, Y La Bamba.

Tiburones

After Tiburones, Pony Village played next. With a sound that is something like Death Cab and Dinosaur Jr. with a little twang to it, makes for a quick likening. These guys are working on some new material that they are hoping to get recorded this summer so be on the lookout for that.

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The headliner for the show was Blitzen Trapper. They put on a pretty good show, though it kinda lost momentum towards the end. But these guys have a great neo-western rock sound.

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(All photos by Aaron Rogosin)

Live: Russian Circles + Witch Mountain

The first Tuesday of the month is when Red Bull Sound Select Portland takes over Mississippi Studios to bring some of the best underground artists around. This show featured Russian Circles from Chicago along with local Portland bands, Gaytheist and Witch Mountain. We were particularly excited for this performance, since it was the first metal show that Red Bull has put on in our lovely city.

First to play was Gaytheist, a budding speed metal band that has been putting out nothing but gold. Their latest release is a live album from Banana Stand Media.

Gaytheist
Photo Credit: Aaron Rogosin

After Gaytheist came Witch Mountain. Another local metal band, yet where Gaytheist is more speed, Witch Mountain is more doomy and stoney. They put on a fantastic show. The lead singer captivated the audience with her golden pipes.

Witch Mountain
Photo Credit: Aaron Rogosin

Last up was Russian Circles. If you haven’t heard of these guys then open up your earholes. Definitely one of the hardest post-rock bands that is in existence today. Their latest album, Memorial was one of our favorite albums last year. So listen to it.

Russian Circles
Photo Credit: Aaron Rogosin

Live: Marissa Nadler

Marissa Nadler has the voice of a siren, a voice that would tempt anyone into following it to ones own peril, having to reveal the beauty of its source. If I can describe her new album, “July” in one word it would be ethereal. And I mean that in regards to the way the songs seem to seamlessly ebb and flow from tracks you feel you would hear in a dream and the next, a nightmare. With the slightest change of tempo and rhythm of the songs, it’s hard to pinpoint which feeling Ms. Nadler was trying to get the listener to evoke, probably a little of both. The allure of her soft acoustic strokes, reverb-laden lyrics, and backup singers, who also play violin and cello, kept me enthralled and captivated through the entire album. The lyrics are reminiscent of American Gothic Poetry and Dark Romanticism.  The album is both beautiful and haunting, a tragically beautiful reminder of love gained, lost, and the faded memories of heartache. Though the album isn’t a complete downer, it does seem to have an overall uplifting approach to a heartache that most can relate to. I feel you will come away a bit more empowered over your past demons just as it seems Marissa Nadler has.

I had the chance to catch Marissa Nadler live at Mississippi Studio’s February 17th and her performance of a track titled, “Drive” was particularly captivating. The way Marissa and the back up singers can enthrall and entrance an audience was particularly impressive, as the whole venue seemed to be hanging on her every word. I have never been to a show so quiet in between songs, like a group of kindergarteners during story time, we all wanted to see how this would end, but hoping it never would. She sounded just as amazing in person if not more so, as in the studio. She even shed a tear at the end of one of her songs, the mark of a true artist.

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Marissa played along side Pure Bathing Culture that consists of the duo of Sarah Versprille (vocals, keyboards) and Daniel Hindman (guitars, bass, and keys). Though they are technically considered alternative, their sound is reminiscent of something you would hear on 80’s love station, and it’s amazing. A magically relaxed mix of Chillwave and Dream Pop, the band sounds and looks like they got stuck in 1986 and that is not a bad thing. They have so much fun being there they make you want to join in on the fun right along with them. Smooth reverb laced synth-pop, subtle dance beats, and unexpected drones this is a treat for almost anyone with two ears.

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Live: Quilt + Big Haunt

On Wednesday we went to go see a psychedelically stacked lineup at Mississippi Studios consisting of two Portland bands, and Quilt from New England.
The first band that played was Eternal Tapestry. Their sound is more on the experimental side of the spectrum of psychedelic music.

The live set was a little more chilled out than most of their recorded music, which was super smooth and incredibly enjoyable. As instrumental music goes, Eternal Tapestry brings the right kind of experimentation to the psychedelic realm of music.

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Next was Big Haunt. They have just released an EP called Devotionals and it was their EP release show. Big Haunt is more of a folk-pop group with a style somewhat similar to Alt-j. Their sound is made up of finger picking guitar, soft keys, and amazing singing. The vocals are just as amazing live if not more so than the recording. Listen to Devotionals and download it for name your own price here.

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The headliner for the show was Boston band Quilt. This four piece band has a groovy ’60s psychedelic pop-rock sound to them. Quilt’s new album is called Held In Splendor, and it just came out at the end of January. The album is so fresh and clean, it is what an adventure on a sunny day sounds like. My favorite tracks are “Eye of the Pearl” and “Tie Up the Tides.”

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