Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Stephanie Schneiderman is a busy lady. She has always been a busy gal. She has six albums out in the world, has done some acting and coordinated a benefit series. She is also very talented. As one of the local musicians considered to play at the 1999 Lilith Fair, she was selected to represent Portland at the event. She has a vibrant solo career and has also hooked up with two other talent women - McKinley & Lara Michell - to form the group, Dirty Martini. I managed to get an email to Stephanie recently and she promptly responded. Please meet, Stephanie Schneiderman!

How long have you lived in the Portland area?
I'm home grown and when you're from here it's always interesting to see everyone's reaction to Portland. Sometimes it's easy to take for granted what you're used to but we're really living in a bubble of a town full of independent artists and progressive politics.

Give us a brief history of your band/project:
I've put out 5 albums on my own. and 2 with dirty martini. I've also produced soundtracks/cd's for a children's video series. a couple years ago I organized a humanitarian concert series involving 35 artists/bands over 10 nights. The money went to Mercy Corps and the communities they work with in Northern Uganda. Now I've been working with producer/dj Keith Schreiner. We put out Dangerous Fruit a couple years ago which was a big departure for me. Now we're about to release a new one called Rubber Teardrop which goes even further down the path of electronic and trip-hop.

What’s the first song you ever learned to play?
Hard for me to remember. I think it was Helplessly Hoping.

What’s your favorite local venue to play? To see other bands?
I love Jimmy Maks - love the people there. And, Alberta Rose Theatre is turning out to be an incredible venue too.

Speaking of other bands, who do you like on the Portland music scene?
So many bands and songwriters it's hard to mention but a couple of favorites are Climber and singer-songwriter, Pete Krebs.

Tell us about a recent “Only in Portland” moment you might have had.
Well as I'm working on this new cd I'm realizing that EVERYONE involved lives within this 3 mile radius in NE Portland: Keith's studio, klickitat band camp studios, all the engineers, every one of the musicians on the cd - even my publicist and website designer and the person who helped me with marketing kickstarter! I could walk/bike to everyone's place and they're all some of the best people to work with this city has to offer. So to me that's an 'only-in-portland' phenomenon.

Finish this sentence: “I cannot live without_____”
My cats.

Stephanie is having a CD release party on May 6th at the Alberta Rose Theatre and Dirty Martini will also play. She is trying to raise funds for the project using Kickstarter:

She is scheduled to be interviewed on Trixie Pop on May 5th. Trixie Pop can be heard on Thursdays at 7 pm.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Local Artist Speaks: JOAN HILLER

Riot Act Media is a boutique publicity firm that expertly launches creative, communication-based campaigns for clients in the independent music, film and arts worlds—as well as for non-profit and corporate entities—through its office in Portland, OR.

I recently zipped over a few questions to Joan Hiller, owner/publicity director of Riot Act Media, to get to know a bit more about her and her life in music.

Meet Joan Hiller...

How long have you lived in the Portland area?
I moved to Portland in August of 2008. Before that, I lived in Seattle, Chicago, and Houston.

Give us a brief history of your project:
Riot Act Media was started in 2005 in Chicago, IL by my friend David Lewis. He and I worked together at Hopper PR in Chicago for a handful of years (acting as in-house publicists for Jade Tree, Neurot Recordings, Tigerbeat 6 and DeSoto, and doing PR for a number of other labels & bands). I'd moved to Seattle in 2003 and began working at Sub Pop as a publicist until Dave offered me partnership in the company in 2007. A bit later, he went on to teach music business at Columbia College, and I took ownership. Publicist extraordinaire Nathan Walker joined me at Riot Act in 2009. We've gotten to work with a humbling array of great labels & bands (Kill Rock Stars, Mt. Fuji, Don Giovanni, Local 638, Crossbill Records, K Records, Mint Records, Rough Trade, Narnack, LA's Fine, etc.) in the past few years.

What’s the first song you ever learned to play?
First song I ever learned on bass was "We Are 138" by The Misfits. I was 14. First song I ever learned on guitar was "Fire and Rain" by James Taylor. I was 13. Some important stuff happened between ages 13 and 14, clearly. I started my fanzine, "Out of Order", around this time, and learned that through that, I could get to interview and learn more about people I was into, like Milo from The Descendents.

What’s your favorite local venue to see other bands?
Portland is not lacking in great places to see bands. The trophy goes to The Woods, where, incidentally, I am fortunate to have had my paintings hanging since November. It feels like home in there, and sounds great, and is run by kind people.

Speaking of other bands, who do you like on the Portland music scene?
We're thankful to get to work with lots of local people--right now, we're working on Dave Depper's Ram Project (out on Jackpot May 3rd), with Rebecca Gates (she has dates coming up!), Archeology (their new songs are amazing), with Good Night Billygoat (they've been on tour and are just mindblowing), Quiet Life (just got done touring with Moondoggies, and have an amazing new record out), and Hurtbird (whose new stuff is wonderful). Outside of Portland folks we're working with, I think that this year belongs to the incredible Laura Gibson. It also belongs to Wild Flag. It also belongs to The Decemberists. I am also so happy for Loch Lomond right now.

Tell us about a recent “Only in Portland” moment you might have had:
Saw a guy waiting at a crosswalk the other day, struggling to keep himself erect on his unicycle. That made me want to barf. Both the scenario and my usage just now of the word "erect".

Finish this sentence: “I cannot live without_____”
....finishing this sentence.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Local Artist Speaks: STORM LARGE

A few years back, I almost had coffee with Storm Large. Almost. I walked out my apartment only to discover a flat tire. Alas, I had to cancel the visit and hope that some day I might meet up with Ms. Large to talk about music and her crazy a*s life.

I caught her one woman show, Crazy Enough, and was blown away by her singing and her talent. I was also caught off guard by some of the similarities of our lives but that's for another day and perhaps a different blog.

I did finally get to meet the lady when she came out to do a video shoot for KZME radio (thanks again for doing that, Storm!). Her schedule was insane but she made the trip to Gresham and spent about an hour with us. Check out the video by clicking here.

Recently, I zipped her an email to find out a bit more about the woman behind the cuss words. Meet Storm Large...

How long have you lived in the Portland area?
9 years

Give us a brief history of your band:
 The Balls were originally a joke idea when Frank, (Dante's owner) needed his Wed slot filled. So, we were a joke, put together as a favor to a friend. Now I'm selling out the Schhnitz. Life is weird and awesome.

What’s the first song you ever learned to play?
I could sing anything I heard on TV or radio, even if I heard it only once. Impossible to say what was first, but I taught my teddy bear, Bowser, how to play "Cold As Ice" on a wooden spoon.

What’s your favorite local venue to play? To see other bands?
I will always have a deep love for that red sexy stage at Dantes, both for giving and receiving.

Speaking of other bands, who do you like on the Portland music scene?
Holcombe Waller is like getting a neckrub from a king. Kleveland rocks like you wish you could, Mic Crenshaw gives me goosebumps and Oracle is so cool, you'd never believe how sweet they all are. I mean, they're so good, they could TOTALLY act like dicks, but they don't. Same with the Decemberists, they should be snooty hipster pricks, but they're all very sweet. Weirdos.

Tell us about a recent “Only in Portland” moment you might have had:
 I was going through a tough breakup about a year and a half ago and Mayor Sam Adams made me a mixed CD of hilarious disco music to cheer me up. I love this City!

Finish this sentence: “I cannot live without________________”
 My friends, my coffee and a little rain.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Local Artist Speaks: JARED MEES

Jared Mees and his wife, Brianne, founded Tender Loving Empire which is a media and arts collective based in SW Portland. Jared is also the lead singer in Jared Mees and the Grown Children. The band has a new album coming out in May. I asked Jared to share a little about the man behind the music and the hugs......

How long have you lived in the Portland area?
Since 2006

Give us a brief history of your band/project:
I basically began writing songs under my own name in 2005 in a little house on stilts in Panama. Those songs became my first album which I released upon moving to Portland in 2006. Other players came into the mix at that point and the current incarnation was born. Lots of members have come and gone in 4 years though, i think like 26 at this point. I must have bad breath or something...

What’s the first song you ever learned to play?
When I come around (on bass) by Green Day

What’s your favorite local venue to play? To see other bands?
I like playing the most at Slabtown just cuz its so anything goes. I like seeing bands at Doug Fir.

Speaking of other bands, who do you like on the Portland music scene?
Since I am listening to local music 8 hours a day in the Tender Loving Empire store the list is really long but the short list is And And And, Pancake Breakfast, Ages and Ages, Typhoon, Guidance Counselor, Loch Lomond....the list goes on and on

Tell us about a recent “Only in Portland” moment you might have had:
when it rained, snowed, and sleeted the other day, in succession, while the sun was shining...

Finish this sentence: “I cannot live without... hugs”

I interviewed Jared and Brianne for a cable called Art Tuesdays. Check it out by clicking here!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Ear Bang: Hello Morning 3-6-11

Album Release Show, Mississippi Studios

I like noises. More specifically I like cool, electronic synth noises. The first sound on the first track of Hello Mornings debut EP is a cool, electronic synth noise. It drops with a thud and then modulates between a gristly, growling low hum and an oscillating high pitched wine. This continues throughout the song, making it at least 30% more awesome. And it is a pretty awesome song to begin with. It's called "Come Home" and it was stuck in my head the week leading up to the show. I really hoped that they would play it. Not just because it is good to hear a band play a song you know (and in this case "knowing" means I can mouth along with the chorus if I think no one is watching.) But also because I hoped to figure out what that noise was.

This was my first time at Mississippi Studios. I like it. It is dark, red and things are held up by timbers. It's kind of like going to a hipster barn dance. I felt surreal and floaty and a little bit like I was in a tiny shoebox diorama. Maybe it was the lighting. Or maybe it was because I hadn't eaten anything besides two tall PBR's and an olive (which, I think, is kind of a meal.) And although the surreal floaties are not always a bad thing, I was a little relieved when Hello Morning started playing and killed them. With a giant wall of sound. It was loud. My backbones shook. The room filled up with drums.

They opened with "The Fear," the first track from the new album A Fiction, which I was holding in my hand because they gave them away to everyone who came to the show. That is a very good thing to do. I had also heard this song before... here. It is a good song. I wasn't able to mouth along to the chorus yet(although, one of the times I am half sure he says "taste the beer" instead of "face the fear.") But I was able to nod my and head and sway back and forth all like, "aw yeah, I love this one."

Still, through most of the song I had one eye on the contraption on stage in front of the bass player. I wish I could say I am a bonafide synth geek, and instantly recognized it and said, "Ooh, that's an analog S LPT-005 Little Phatty Bob Moog Signature edition! I love those!" But that wouldn't be true. The truth is it had Bob Moog written in big huge gray letters on the front and I Googled it. And I immediately wanted one. More pressingly, I wanted to hear Hello Morning play this one.

And then they did. They started playing "Come Home." And the bass player started playing the Moog. And it was making that sound I liked. And I was really happy. Sometimes I will listen to an album and hear all kinds of cool sounds and effects that are M.I.A when the band shows up to play me music. But that didn't happen with Hello Morning. They sounded, aside from an expected and somewhat desirable level of live-ishness, more or less like the record. Hell yeah.

Hello Morning is sonically excellent. And it's not just the Moog. The band is guitar driven and their pedals, preamps and switches create an immersive sound experience. I felt like I was swimming in sound. My favorite song they played was "Channels (The One Thing)" which is also on the new album. Another of my favorite moments came when they played "Everglades." They brought all kinds of drums out and played them all at once. The drums thundered. There was feedback. I left satisfied. Going to a Hello Morning show was good. I'm sure I will do that again.

Probably you would have better luck finding out more about this band from someone other than me. Try these links:

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Local Artist Speaks: The Physical Hearts

How long have you lived in the Portland area? 4 years

Give us a brief history of your band/project: From the band's web site: The Physical Hearts are a rock ‘n’ roll band – there is simply no denying it. Anyone who disagrees needs only to listen the to the title track from the group’s self-released 2009 EP Fend Off the Tide to hear their unique form of rock in action. But more than that, The Physical Hearts are four talented musicians dedicated to artfully crafting melody driven, psychedelic-tinged roots-pop steeped in the music of their forbears, yet fearlessly driven to the front edge of contemporary rock and folkmusic.

What’s the first song you ever learned to play? As a band: The song "Physical Heart". It's on our new EP. The song is the band's namesake.

What’s your favorite local venue to play? To see other bands? Doug Fir, Mississippi Studios, The Woods...

Speaking of other bands, who do you like on the Portland music scene? So many...Blue Cranes, Run on Sentence, Black Prairie, Andrew Oliver, Scott Pemberton, Celilo, Resolectrics, Sleepy Bell, Rocky and the Proms, Loch Lomond...

Tell us about a recent “Only in Portland” moment you might have had. A group of hipsters approached us a few weeks ago as we we're loading gear into the Alberta Rose Theater and asked: "Hey guys, on their any cool food carts on this street?" Apparently, they were from SE.

Finish this sentence: “I cannot live without... air”.

The band is releasing a new CD on Saturday, March 19th at Mississippi Studios. Celilo and 1939 Ensemble are also scheduled to perform. Doors 8pm, Music 9pm. $10 21+ show.