Fellow intern Danny Felts and l meandered over to the Doug Fir Lounge last weekend to check out some of Portland's most exciting new bands: Wild Ones, Radiation City and Tu Fawning. All have graced the Rose City with various collaborations in the past, so keeping up with the members is always exciting and proves to be quite rewarding. Here's some of our impressions...
Danny: Kicking off the Friday night show of locals were ambient pop-rockers Wild Ones. Such a genre is blessed with the ability to be easily approachable, but at the back of every bands' collective head is the desire to remain innovative; to be listenable without becoming too derivative. Wild Ones is a prime example of what can happen when that formula is mixed correctly. Whether it was lead vocalist Danielle Sullivan crooning to the sound of a Thomas Hines vintage organ, or guitarist Clayton Knapp and drummer Andy Parker effortlessly carrying the momentum of each song, the band did what great music does at it's best: inspire and intrigue. Wild Ones elegantly walks the tightrope that is synth pop, and was a fantastic opener for a night of Portland music.
Tygan: Voted number four in Willamette Week's Best New Bands of 2011, Wild Ones is undoubtably moving up in the Portland music scene. The group fails to disappoint their acclaim, playfully traversing pop music with a certain crispness, complete with carribean-esque drums and uplifting synth. Vocalist Danielle Sullivan broke every heart in the room on Friday with her flair and clear voice, which sounds out a sweetness that washes over the listener. Although they are currently unsigned, they released their first EP You're a Winner earlier this year, which hints at more good things to come.
Tygan: Radiation City self-proclaimingly makes music that sounds old. With generous helpings of blues and doo-wop, I can agree-- however, maybe the most notable element of age is their musical sophistication. The group is a Portland-born project, created in the wake of band members Cameron Spies and Elizabeth Ellison's previous collaborations, Spesus Christ and Soap Collectors. Young as this collaboration may be, they have just signed with Tender Loving Empire on the merit of their "old" sound, and will be releasing their debut album The Hands That Take You via the local label this fall. Live, the band looks somewhat amorphic. However, their musical interaction is cohesive and surprisingly epic, melding at times bluesy, sometimes choral vocals with hints of psychedelia; a mixture that is exciting and still somehow polished.
Danny: Radiation City brings an indescribable intrigue to the local music scene. Their music is like if John Barry, (a prominent composer who was part of the James Bond franchise) was born fifty years later, and instead of being from England, grew up in North Portland. However you want to put it, this band is on the up and up, and their talents are taking them all over the US on their national tour. This show was just one of many to come. Good luck to the band as they continue to discover themselves and become a staple of Portland's music scene.
spite their extended travel, the band sweated, rotated instruments, and delivered a hauntingly orchestral punk set. They incorporated horns and violin in their arrangements, creating lush and heavy songs with tribal elements that somehow additionally call back to sounds of the 50's. Vocalist Corinna Repp manipulates the drum-set while singing with equal energy, her voice punctuated by the dark, worn-in lyrics the band co
mposes. This indeed is a group with endurance.
Since their 2010 record Hearts on Hold, Tu Fawning has been infiltrating the music scene with tracks like "Multiply a House", a horn-laced gothic chant, and percussive "The Felt Sense." More from the group is coming, but no news has been leaked about when and what the new album will be. Until then, hope the band stays close to home and graces us with more of their intriguing and dynamic performances.
Tagged: live review