Denmark’s macabre psychobilly rockers, the HorrorPops, are the exception to any number of musical rules.
Kimya Dawson, poster girl of the anti-folk movement and reluctant matriarch of the Olympia, Wash. indie scene, is not one to take herself too seriously. As one half of the celebrated ’90s lo-fi punk-ish duo The Moldy Peaches, Kimya built her reputation on coy songwriting, solid DIY recording ethics and incessant touring. She also has recently become famous for the songs she has in Juno, the Oscar-nominated film about teenage pregnancy.
This Sunday the Crystal is throwing itself a little birthday party, commemorating the 94th year of its debauchery-filled existence. Free of charge and open to the public, the McMenamin brothers have arranged for a full day of 18 local bands, mooch-able food and drink samples, and a dizzying array of extra-curricular distractions designed to make all the other venues on the street feel jealous and immature.
In most of the United States, jam bands have a fairly bad reputation. Mention to someone that you dig on the String Cheese Incident or Phish outside of college campuses, the West Coast and a few isolated, enlightened towns across the country and you will likely be branded as “one of those fuckin’ hippies who is afraid of soap.”
The best thing you could possibly do to start this year off with a bang is to make a firm commitment to go see a show by a musician you’ve never heard of before, a musician like Chris Ayer.
There is something about the super sarcastic, super cool alternative music produced in the post-grunge era of the 1990s that is simply irresistible to the ears. Bands like Cake and The Presidents were well-known examples of this style of music, but the most talented propagators of snarky, funky, radio-rock was Brooklyn’s drum-and-bass-heavy outfit Soul Coughing, famous for their minor hits “Circle” and “Super Bon-Bon.”
With such an invocative name, it’s easy to misinterpret what Seattle’s Presidents of the United States of America are all about. Anyone even casually familiar with their music knows them to be the complete antithesis of their administrative namesake.
“Country DJs know that I’m an outlaw. They’d never come to see me in this dive. Where bikers stare at cowboys, who are laughing at the hippies, who are praying they’ll get out of here alive.”
It is becoming difficult to travel to Norway these days. The dollar’s tragic weakness against the Euro and a general air of rightful anti-American sensibility on the old continent are both incentives for the average music fan to simply enjoy his or her preferred tunes from the comfort of their home.
When most people think of a marching band, the image that comes to mind is a gang of pimply high-school kids obtrusively clamoring for attention at some ridiculous sports event or sickly sweet parade. But, when Portlanders make a marching band, it manifests the strangeness of our city: through a rag-tag assemblage of fire-dancers, stilt walkers, unicyclists, foxy burlesque dancers and damn fine musicianship.
Discordant street poet Aesop Rock is on a mission to bring accessible underground hip-hop to the impressionable musical minds of Portland, a mission of utmost importance.