Super Special Secret Guest,
3728 N.E. Sandy
Long live rock! Hold up – rock is dead! The debate rages on around us, and frankly, who cares. Good music is good music. Rock may go through some identity crises and middle age breakdowns, but there’s plenty of good stuff still being created.
If rock is suffering, it’s not due to a lack of effort from Larry Crane, chief engineer of Jackpot recording studio and editor of the magazine Tape Op. Jackpot’s mics have recorded the sounds of many successful Portland affiliated “rock” artists, artists such as Pavement, Elliott Smith, Quasi, Sleater-Kinney and King Black Acid. Non-P-town acts and even a few non-rock artists have also visited the garage-looking studio on Southeast Morrison Street.
The albums that come out of Jackpot are usually top notch. Larry Crane knows his music and recording techniques. Bands usually sound like they should sound. An example of this is the latest Dickel Brothers CD, recorded at Jackpot last year. The Dickel Brothers is an acoustic quartet that plays lovable old-timey music.
To capture it properly, Crane set up one mic in the middle of the circle of Dickels. The result is old-timey and raw, exactly how you would expect the Dickels to sound. There were, of course, some other steps taken to produce the disc, but you get the idea.
Recording techniques and the ongoing debate between hi vs. lo-fi and analogue vs. digital are discussed at length in the mostly interview-based Tape- Op magazine. The rag can get a little tech-heavy, with constant talk about brands and models of compressors, pre-amps, effects and mics, but for the music recorder and curious musician, it is a very useful rag. I still remember how excited I was when I read about DJ Shadow’s favorite sampler and how he made Entroducing.
With an independent studio and magazine doing rather well, it’s safe to bet that Jackpot should be able to throw a good party. You’ll get to find out this Friday at the Blackbird as Crane and Co. host their fifth anniversary birthday party.
Our verdict is as follows, in this order: Steve Malkmus, (formerly of Pavement) and the Jicks, Elliott Smith, or Quasi. Also likely would be Elliott Smith with Quasi. Or maybe everyone. We could all be wrong though. We’re really not as all-knowing as most people think. You’ll have to go and find out for yourself.
Opening the show will be the Braille Stars and the Standard. The Standard is a solid rock act, which goes without saying since they’ve been featured in the Vanguard Arts and Culture section, purveyors of quality music. They drop loud, energetic, mostly mid-tempo, straightforward songs. Vocals and melodies surface occasionally under strong riffs and a pounding rhythm section. Their name kind of sums them up, but they rock well.
If you’re a rock fan, especially independent rock, help keep it alive by celebrating one of its savior’s birthdays. While you’re there, pick up a copy of Tape-Op and find out what kind of mic will best record your killer riffs. Doors for the show open at 9 p.m. at the Blackbird, 3728 N. E. Sandy, 21 and over, cover charge.