Saturday, May 19, 2012

DJ Klyph presents: The Movement

New music and new Neighborhood residents. Over the last month I've interviewed some of the hardest working artists, and have built community with some really good folk.

In April Chill Crew MCs Jon Belz and PC with producer Stewart Villain came through to talk about the upcoming collaboration "Return of The Chill" and premier the 1st single "Concrete". I had a chance to see them perform the single weeks later at The One Off in Portland at The Crown Room. These young cats bring the same energy to their stage performance that they bring to the record. You can check out the web sites and

The Sandpeople have been representing the northwest in a big way for years now and no one has carried the flag further than world rap champion Illmaculate. He carved out time in his busy schedule between the release of his latest solo effort Skrill Talk and the Sandpeople European tour to pass through the Neighborhood. I got a chance to witness in person a lyrical master at work as he gifted the listeners to a cypher session live in studio. Illmaculate has a grip of great content over at the including videos and free music.
**Note: Explicit Content**

DJ Roane is a real low key dude. I've known him for a couple of years and didn't even realize he was recording. Reva DeVito has been blessing the northwest with soulful vocals doing guest spots as well as with band as a solo act. They came together in February to release Cloudshine, a project that perfectly blends Roane Namuh's soulful production with Reva's vocal styling. They spent some time in the Neighborhood playing select tracks from the album, talking about the show at Mississippi Studios and the release of the first video from the project for the song Frozen. Check out the full project at

A member of two northwest super groups both Sandpeople and Oldominion, IAME can't help but be busy. When he's not performing with one of these crews or doing guest verses on projects, he's working on his own material like the latest release, a collaboration with producer and fellow Oldominion member SmokeM2D6 entitled Lame$tream. I was happy to finally get IAME to pass through the Neighborhood following his album release party at Backspace in Portland and just before he left on a west coast tour. We talked up upcoming projects with artists like Goldini Bagwell and the evolution of the Heaven Noise record label. Check out free music from IAME at

Big up to Keeara of for connecting me with Pat of Urban Bridges. The Dream Big talent search is coming up on June 29th and should be a great event, providing some young folk an opportunity to showcase there talents as well as providing an opportunity to build community. More info is available at

Matty made his second visit through the Neighborhood as he's finishing up Mr. Nice Guy 2. It's always good to hang with Matty and it was cool to hear the tour went well that he talked about on his last visit through. The website is up with some cool content at and you know Matty always does it right with the promotions. Check out the video coverage of his visit.

The Neighborhood continues to grow in residents and I'm looking forward hosting some new friends and returning guests over the next several week. Stay tuned to the blog for updates and recaps plus check the links below for the podcast and video links. The name will change, but the content will be the same as three7: becomes DJ Klyph presents: The Movement.

Until next time, be blessed.


Welcome to the Neighborhood on iTunes

WTTN with DJ Klyph on Vimeo

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


(May 10, 2012, Mississippi Studios)

There was a period there, fifteen twenty years ago, when you'd go out to a club to see a favorite band and tacked to the bottom of the bill would be an afterthought, filler. Most often you'd arrive a bit late in order to miss them. Those days seem to be over. Nowadays, arrive late, miss out.

Though indeed local, Adventure Galley are anything but filler. Sporting smart synthy overtones supported by a throbbing catch of New Order-y bass and snappy epileptically precise drumming, they both plunge and soar into their set, christened by generous dollops of glitter applied first thing by the guy behind the Roland, a ritual that would be observed throughout their set (though able to track down names later on their facebook page, those names - David Aaron George Jesse Forrest and Brock - were not attached to instruments). Regardless of the fact that it's the troika of synths up there that catches the eye, this lot is as much a guitar band as Interpol, their sound similarly hynotic though brighter, more openly melodic. Hell, the third song of the set (song titles were unforthcoming), an alternately brooding/popping ramalama, has every member but two - drummer and lone keyboardist - gripping a guitar neck of some kind. Seeing as how song after song carries a brace of well-worn, exceedingly well-done pop tropes - isolated harmony bits, woo-hoo-hoos and the like, not to mention catchy-as-catchy-gets progressions - Adventure Galley rank as a singles band, which is to say a band marvelously out of time. Though lacking quite the zaniness factor (and, frankly, Tim Finn's vocal prowess), one is reminded rather fetchingly of Split Enz. Seemingly effortless pop suss, a brace of 45-ready songs, a streak of irreverence and a crowded stage (six of 'em shoe-horned up there). All's that's missing is the crazed sartorial sense, but what the heck, we'll let the glitter stand in for that.

First thing you notice about The Wave Pictures tonight? They have a lot more room on stage. A 3-piece from Wymeswold, a tiny village smack in the center of England (pop. 1000), they're finally starting to get the attention they've deserved for a while now. Next thing noticed? This is a band for whom lyrics are an integral, finely-honed element. Turns of phrase turn over each other ("Once you wrote your name in peppercorns, poured out on the table"), there's no throwaway here. Helps too that the songs keep pace musically. Dave Tattersall's Gibson playing has this clean swinging authority, the solos rolling off with the clarity of marbles bouncing off the neck with genius precision. Can't overemphasize how nice it is to hear those delicious Gibsonian tones in a straightforward rock context again. Equally refreshing? Seeing the small knot of people whooping it up dancing next to the stage, not so much square-dancing as trapezoid-dancing, which, given the XTCish zest for wordplay yoked to something akin to driving barndance British guitar indie, comes as no surprise. Third song "Seagulls" (off new LP Long Black Cars just released on Moshi Moshi) has a rousing hoedown zing to it that establishes beyond any doubt that the trophy for dextrous playfulness wedded to hopalong songcraft goes to...(envelope please) The Wave Pictures! I'd not seen nor heard them before today (youtube-ing in preparation) but I'll be walking out of here tonight with The Wave Pictures as one of my favorite discoveries of 2012.

Allo Darlin' jump right into with with new song "Barren," as misnamed a song as you'll ever hear, beginning with spirited staccato handclaps and bursting into joy with a shameless abandon, singer Elizabeth Morris chipping away at her baby ukelele like it's a lifeline, and in fact she never lets go of the thing the entire set with the exception of "Capricornia" and "Wonderland." Regardless, we are immediately in boisterously capable hands and it's a pretty safe bet that we'll be smiling a lot tonight. "If Loneliness Were Art," the follow-up (from 2010 self-titled debut), is reggae funk pop (get your head around that for a sec) and we're all in its thrall. Certainly a key to a memorable night at the club is when the band are enjoying themselves as much (or more) than the audience and such is the case tonight. By fourth song "Europe" (title song off latest Slumberland-released LP), I already can't believe how good a time I'm having. Live, the songs off the album come so, well, alive. Allo Darlin' are the kind of spastic wonderful that makes you simply glad to have been born. 

The band's style is such that they occasionally slip into idyl, as in "Let's Go Swimming," a mid-set pacesetter that serves to solidify the band's status as effortless popmeisters a la, say, Orange Juice. Which is a fine moment to pause and address the 'twee' issue. If irresistibly melodic, relentless pop gems like these qualify as twee then Allo Darlin' are twee. But I'd argue there's far too much rhythmic muscularity inside each of these song's structures to merit what is generally considered an unflattering adjective.

"Wonderland" is a perfect example. Beginning all jangly and sweet, it soon enough leaps into a blossomed chug of a groove that puts paid to such critical laziness. And really, if anything should guarantee 'tweeness' it would be a song anchored by the ukelele and Morris's voice alone. But "Tallulah," off Europe, is one of the night's standout offerings, projected with a fierce honesty that you'd question at your own peril. It details that odd kind of happy loneliness when you're away from the place you're comfortable in (both geographic and otherwise) but are nonetheless thrilled to be where you are and boasts the delicious lyric "so I sent you a postcard from Berlin/of a fat man eating a sausage/ hid the fact I was hiding/ as the DJ played another terrible song." Needless to say, it's a literate night.

"Woody Allen," a song request emailed to them that they're only too happy to oblige, is a signature interlude in the set. With its kind of aggressive C-86 beat, its rather plaintive subject matter and its blink-and-you-miss-it length, it's this band to a T, at least til the next song starts. "Still Young" (also off Europe) encapsulates everything in Allo Darlin's insinuous pop-wizardry: sprightly beat, wry lyrics, a jangling and abiding confidence.

Final song "My Heart Is A Drummer" builds into an incessant groove that guarantees a clamor for an encore, which, of course, we get, with the pixie-ish singer again alone with her ukelele, somehow soft and achingly sharp at the same time. It's spellbinding to see the stage commanded so simply via devotion and belief in craft and a voice that's half a child's dreamy soprano, all glassine and innocent, half a wistful, very adult, knowingness. Just before their absolutely final song of the night, we find out it's Ms Morris's birthday and the expected roar goes up but I for one am left feeling a bit awkward. I mean, here it's her birthday and yet Allo Darlin' have been showering us with gifts for well over an hour like it's our birthday. Which, come to think of it, is a pretty apt description of how it felt seeing this band, as I swept out the door and back to my car with just the type of effervescent jubilation I might feel if I'd just been celebrating my birthday. Almost seems as if I should send the band a Thank You card.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


Colin Stetson/Sara Neufeld/Gregory Rogove - Mississippi Studios, May 3rd, 2012

Sometimes you find yourself at a show where the roster of artists is barely known to you but, due to what you've heard about them and what you've actually heard - via videos, NPR links, what-have-you - you're fully intrigued by the potential inherent. So it is on a promising spring evening in May I find myself, again, at Mississippi Studios (and how about a quick shout out to the place, a truly neighborhood venue that despite its relatively young age feels as if it's been there for decades). Gregory Rogove is a fully unknown quantity to me, as I would guess he is to many. It is only by the parenthetical association included on the club's handbill - "(Devendra Banhart)" - that I have any context at all. Sarah Neufeld's name, on the other hand, is at least recognizable from Arcade Fire and of course Colin Stetson's work has begun to penetrate the cerebral cortex more steadily over the past year via (invariably glowing) reviews and appearances on facebook threads. Despite my relative ignorance, however, all three, from what I've gleaned pre-show (thank you, youtube) promise a splendid, slightly left field and possibly more classical evening than maybe I'm used to.

With that as pretext, then, it is with some delighted surprise that the visuals accompanying Gregory Rogove's first piece involve monkey sex. Or, more accurately, a primate depiction of the fall of man. Turns out every solo piano piece Rogove plays is backdropped by imagistic videos that were commissioned from various artists ("What does this song look like" was the only instruction) and that run a gamut from allegorical to playful, coy to whimsically disturbing and more besides. The playing itself is stark and declaratively beautiful as only an acoustic piano can be. Neufeld is enlisted as an extra pair of hands for "Conti," a selection that to these ears is driven by the power of loneliness. The next, "Love Cherries," comes back with a kind of demanding hopefulness, what I suppose might more simply be called love. Just impressions, mind, and I could be wildly off, but Rogove's style is explicitly impressionistic, emotional, mysterious, often chilling, a parlor recital mixed with the Whitney Biennial, and it invites such responses. The audio doesn't always sync with the visual yet the effect is no less arresting and possibly more so. Short set, twenty minutes, but the presentation is fresh enough, the music kind of daringly naked enough, it won't be soon forgotten.

If it's just you and a violin up there on stage you best be powerful, compelling, mesmerizing. Sarah Neufeld is, at the very least, these three things. By turns frantic and passionate, gentle and bursting with pathos, she is no less than commanding the entire time. Between pieces, talking, she's sweet and deflective, but with bow in hand she's fiercely present, the playing spellbinding and confident. No doubt these pieces have names attached but never has it mattered less. At time it sounds Cajun, square-dancey and good time, other times contemplative and raw. Mostly, she sounds like a wild child that flew the coop and discovered the fiddle as a means of salvation. Technology fails her at one point - the reverb hasn't kicked in - and she apologizes but we don't care, seeing as what's just gone by was visceral and quite wonderful and pin-drop quiet-making. Few moments later she's playing bass to her own slicing leads and it's as if a hypnotist has stepped on stage but no, wait, the fact is her whole set has been like that and it's been a privilege to hear it, as it's not likely she'll be touring in an intimate solo capacity like this again any time soon.

According to Wikipedia, circular breathing "is used extensively in playing the Australian didgeridoo, the Sardinian launeddas and Egyptian arghul, as well as many traditional oboes and flutes of Asia and the Middle East. A few jazz and classical wind and brass players also utilize some form of circular breathing." A fairly recently developed (20th C.) technique, it allows for almost endlessly sustained playing as the musician breathes in through the nose and always has an extra store of air in the cheeks. It's been used by the likes of Evan Parker, Clark Terry, Roscoe Mitchell, Ian Anderson, Wynton Marsalis and scores of others, a list to which must now be added the name of legend-to-be Colin Stetson.

Bellowing immensely, exquisitely, through a colossal bass saxophone that looks like a relic salvaged from a Welsh colliery band circa 1908, the prowess on display here is simply a deafening wonder. By deafening I don't mean loud per se - though it lacks not for decibels - but deafening in the sense of stopping you in your tracks. It truly is hard to believe so much sound is coming from one person. Sounding at once like a herd of crying pissed-off elephants and the aloneness of a post-bop dude blowing on the Brooklyn Bridge at 4 in the morning, one is simply stupefied by the mastery. Using effects as a rhythm base (often it's his own breath, and/or his own voice murmured from within a complex of sound), he's constantly intense. Opening with a new song called Hurting, which is stunning and no less, then into The Righteous Wrath Of An Honorable Man (off new album "New History Warfare Vol. 2 - Judges" on Constellation), where he repeats similar tricks on a tenor sax, it is ten minutes into his set and his status as a singular phenom is so irrevocably established it's hard to believe he hasn't already been on the cover of Time. The intensity is palpable and there's no turning it down the entire time. How well tuned his own body must be to turn this stuff out night after night is unfathomable. Really, intensity-wise, it's like seeing Battles in the form of a one-man brass band that has just graduated from John Coltrane Summer Camp. This is the kind of music where you marvel at the blood vessels not burst.

Watching him can be, umm, breathtaking, though not just because of the physicality alone but the expressiveness as well. A Dream Of Water is a perfect example, based on the (true) story of a whale forever lost to its pod, and I dare you to hear those unearthly, submarine cries of floating despair and tell me your heartstrings aren't plucked. Such a powerful 'lostness' in there you may not recover. Remarkable.

Not long after that an almost-tuba sound comes 'round the corner - not surprisingly originating from that enormous bass sax - and on it builds a slow, low keen of a groove like a wolf playing back its howl with the tape slowed down. It is sad, is it forlorn, but then it begins to gallop and you think 'Ahh, the genius of Colin Stetson, that animal's gonna run free after all.' Again, one man's interpretation, of course, but you get the idea of the utter gripping primal nature on offer here. Like nothing you've ever heard, it's crazy abandon under the strictest control. And the amazing thing is, it's not so much the virtuosity - though of course there's plenty of that - as it is tone and shading, the place where the emotions are, and there are a lot of them. Forceful, angry, regretful, melancholic, hopeful, dreaming and redemptive, it's all there. Melody may come second but boy does it come, lifting itself out of the middle of cacophonous strands like a moaning wind. The evening's last piece, "A Part Of Me Apart From You" is almost lullaby-like like in its waves of yearning, and is an ideal note to bring an extraordinarily artful night to a close. It's nights like this you're thrilled to be alive, lucky to have ears and the human capacity to interpret sound. I found it difficult to get to sleep once I got home and when it comes down to it, that's what you want, isn't it? You can't really ask much more from a night of live music than that, so thank you, Colin (and Sarah, and Gregory).