Ben Chasny’s sprawling doom-folk project Six Organs of Admittance exists somewhere in the void between a deeply intimate— dare I say delicate—acoustic experience and a haunting, tribal-gothic nightmare.
No one claimed to know how roughly a dozen disembodied plastic heads came to arrange themselves around the vicinity of a nondescript house venue known to some as The Bananastand.
Nomenclature has had an intriguing career that defies their young age. The band’s MySpace mentions collaborations with an impressive roster of names, including The Count Basie Orchestra and James Brown, among dozens of other groups around the country.
There was once a time when people entertained the notion that an artist could “sell out.” This was accomplished by an artist doing such nefarious deeds as signing a contract with a major record label, allowing their music to appear on commercials and, worst of all, altering their musical style in a way that was not to a fan’s personal liking.
Since the invention of the synthesizer, folk music, electronic music and their respective fan bases have had a spotty relationship to say the least. And while there are still VW buses full of hippies who’d love to remind us all that “Drum Machines Have No Soul,” recent crosspollination between the two genres suggests that a growing number of musicians and fans are realizing the sonic limitations of the djimbe.
Since moving to Portland from the upper peninsula of Michigan, Chris Hoganson has performed in a number of bands in venues all throughout the city. As the years have passed, his projects have grown more distinctive. Recently, he has self-released an album with his latest project, the Don Hellions, entitled In Yer Underwear. The album is as invigorating a slice of lo-fi pop rock as Portland has seen in a good while, made all the more interesting by a refreshingly original lineup.
Mentioning Diplo’s name to your average music fan tends to provoke as many different reactions as the Philly-based DJ has musical influences. Depending on who you talk to, he’s a bourgeoisie musical imperialist, a seminal mash-up artist, second only to Girl Talk in presently defining the bastard-pop genre, a petulant agitator (according to a certain local alt-weekly) or a philanthropic cultural ambassador to the Third World.
According to The Simpsons, making religious pop music is as simple as replacing “baby” with “Jesus.” Local multimedia livetronic artists mega*church have taken this approach a step further by inserting their whole aesthetic into this equation and making some of the most epic dance music to currently grace this city. As the name implies, mega*church takes a great deal of influence from the way large, suburban Pentecostal and Evangelical churches present media to their congregations. And replicating the energy of a passionate sermon is only half of what mega*church accomplish in their live shows.
Local pop orchestra Eskimo and Sons have, like many other arctic-dwelling creatures, ceased to exist in recent months. The news is bittersweet though, because while the odds of witnessing a polar bear in its natural habitat decrease by the day, witnessing a former Eskimo and Son is hardly difficult, thanks to the multitude of former band members, many of whom have other projects and releases. Songwriter Dhani Rosa recently spoke with the Vanguard about his former band and plans for future awesomeness.
As Portlanders are fond of telling one another, our city has one of the finest, most critically acclaimed, underground music scenes in the country. Whether you just moved here from California or are a junior in your seventh year of college, odds are you could use a break from all that studying. The following is but a brief smattering of the places you can go in this city to hear firsthand what inspires such hyperbolic devotion to local music.
For upwards of 20 years now, DJ and label owner Mike Simonetti has been a slave to the beat, DJing for club kids in some of the most prestigious clubs and discos worldwide. Hailing from New Jersey and currently residing in New York, his sets span decades of dance music focusing on unjustly obscure post-punk and disco tracks, as well as occasional hip hop, house and anything else he can dig up to keep the floor moving.