Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Local Artist Speaks | PONY VILLAGE

Pony Village will be on The Lunch Box on Friday, October 12 at noon.  I scooped James Dineen by chatting with band member, Ryan Barber.  Meet him here!


How long have you lived in the Portland area? I have lived in the portland area for around 15 years, on and off.

Give us a brief history of your band/project.  The simple answer is that this band started as a recording project of mine, then evolved into a full band. But the actual history of the band since then has more twists and turns than an episode of "Quantam Leap". We'll just say we are currently working on a new album, here now, in present history.

What’s the first song you ever learned to play? Hmmm. Full song, singing and playing guitar would be "Hannah and Gabi", by the Lemonheads. But...... first things i learned to play were Metallica and Slayer rhythm guitar riffs. And I will gladly play them for anyone who wants to listen...

What’s your favorite local venue to play? To see other bands?   That's almost impossible to answer. As far as playing, it totally depends on the crowd. As far as seeing a band, it totally depends on the band.  I've seen bands totally kill it in venues i know firsthand have the worst sound systems on earth.  And we've played shows where none of us could hear a thing on stage, but people loved it and we had a blast, we've also had shows where the sound on stage was pristine, but we were being rushed through our set, and the soundguy was a dick, and we didn't have fun. not gonna name names.

Speaking of other bands, who do you like on the Portland music scene? I think my band mates might have more to say on this but me personally? I really dig Towering Trees,  Charts, Talkative,  Fanno Creek,  Old Age,  Bevelers,  Ozarks, Pine Language,  Parson Redheads,  and of course Mr. Mike Coykendall.

Tell us about a recent “Only in Portland” moment you might have had.  My rent got raised by $200 because a new set of condos went up at the end of my block. Only in Portland!! :)

Finish this sentence: “I cannot live without.... Sriracha"

Saturday, October 6, 2012

DJ Klyph presents: The Movement

The Sounds of The DJ! - mixes from some of my friends. Some of the best DJs in the northwest. First up, Matt Nelkin of Liquid Beat Records. Check out what Matt has to say about this project: 
"DJ Premier is undoubtedly one of Hip-Hop’s greatest producers of all time. His work with Gang Starr, KRS-ONE, Group Home, Bumpy Knuckles and many more has cemented his legacy as one of the best to ever touch an MPC. In addition to all the classic Hip-Hop albums, songs and remixes he has produced in his career, I have always loved the juxtaposition of vocalists singing over Premier’s boom bap drums and distinctive chops.
As a tribute to what I consider to be this underappreciated aspect of his catalogue, I wanted to create a mix of some of my favorite DJ Premier produced R&B Songs. Included are original tracks, remixes, and a few blends of acapellas over a variety of Premier instrumentals. Hope you enjoy!"

Also new on Liquid Beat Portland's own The Love Loungers released a re-imagining of the Esther Williams classic "Last Night Changed It All". The project stands well on it's own and also features remixes by Nelkin, Dundiggy and Neighborhood resident Roane Namuh.

You can catch Matt live at the monthly event "Rockbox Dance Party" at Holocene with DJ Kez and Dundiggy and weekly on Liquid Beat Radio.

Portland's host with the most StarChile stopped by KZME and brought DJ Juggernaut and it was a good time as it always is with Star. They just released From The Mind Of Vol. 1, a mix that demonstrates the the skill of Juggernaut and the like mindedness of these long time collaborators. Check out this clip of their visit:

You can hear a sample of the mix next Tuesday as Juggernaut is featured in the second installment of Sounds of The DJ!

There's more mixes coming too, got some friends working things to share throughout the rest of October, so you'll want to tune in every Tuesday from 7-9pm to check out the latest.

Serge Severe and Zapata recently released a quick follow-up single to the Silver Novelist project entitled Treat H.E.R. Right with Serge speaking on how to treat the art for real. Click the link for the download:

So what's up with the event calendar? Here are a couple of events upcoming you'll want to check out:

Friday October 12th the Live and Direct PDX crew are back at Rotture and this time there bring guests PacDiv and Sir Mikey Rocks to the party. Get the info here.

Saturday October 13th the anticipated release from Luck-One and Dizz entitled Critical Mass is scheduled to be released. The projects first to single have gotten much spin on WTTN, and the full project promises to continue the trend of good music from these talented artists.

Friday October 19th the Beast Mode Tour hits Portland featuring Shai Linne, Beautiful Eulogy, Stephen the Levite, Theory Hazit & Lee Green together on one stage. Get the details here

Wednesday October 31st Digital Underground is celebrating Halloween in the Rose City at Refuge. More info here.

Saturday November 3rd The Robert Glasper Experiment makes a return to Portland following the release of Black Radio Recovered - The Remix EP. Portland's own Tony Ozier and The Doo Doo Funk Allstars will be on the stage as well. Check the specifics here

There's rumor that the Bizarre Ride to the Pharcyde Tour is making a stop in PDX. Stay tuned and I'll keep you updated.

Until next time...



Thursday, October 4, 2012


HOLOGRAMS / THE BE HELDS / VICE DEVICE - Mississippi Studio, 19 Sep 2012

I shouldn't even be here. Y'know how sometimes you're so godawful wicked tired you just canNOT drag yourself out the door no matter who's playing? I'm at least half way there tonight if not three quarters. I should be home attending to my droopy eyes and anemic knees, sitting at the computer posting post-punk on the Songs From Under The Floorboards facebook page. But there's only one problem. The band I've hauled myself out to see is Holograms, a scathingly good band young band from Stockholm I'd be a bloody fool to miss, especially at the Mississippi. I'd never forgive myself. A very wise person once said to me "Do everything you can to avoid regret." I try to live by that, and not being here tonight would constitute a serious betrayal of that premise. First though, there's the matter of support.

The Vice Device are a 3-piece from Portland and are another case of 'Why-haven't-I-heard-of-them-before?' (especially considering, as I later find out, they've been out playing live for over two years). I immediately want them for my show. Two singer/synth players (synthists? Yes, I'm keeping that one), both of whom also wield single drumsticks and bang away on electronic drum pads while the hip-hatted bassist stands a-tween them thumping out a righteous dark thrum.

Funny, to me at least, is the synthist stage right (Bobby Kaliber) wearing a Gary Numan t-shirt (by appearance it's suitably seasoned to be an original), since Vice Device amount to what I always wished Numan sounded like, more visceral, less icy. They do have at times a similarly swirly sound but it's more gutteral and driven, not so sang froid.

Not long into their set stage left synthist Andrea K has a sax hung around her neck, the bass player's percussing on his strings with (another) drumstick and a few measures down the road we're hit with this type of melodic discordancy that's tricky to make work and sets one's teeth deliciously on edge. Another neat trick at play is Bryan Carr playing way up on the neck to provide some lead guitar textures. A resourceful trio, to say the least.

The horn playing, by the way, skronks agreeably between Ornette Coleman and X-Ray Spex, spazzingly unhinged enough to get and keep your attention but not flying totally out of frame. Overall, in case you couldn't tell, a damn splendid find, a promising lot. Quite sadly, there are only eighteen of us watching. All the more for us, I guess.

Missoula's The Be Helds aren't really from there any more, they more or less live here now like everyone else. Drummer is thrashy enough that he knocks the floor tom off its feet early in the second song. Then again, maybe that's no surprise, since he informs us he found the drum set in a dumpster. There's just two of them, drummer and guitarist, and they're a charmingly shambolic pair ("Johnny Thunders meets Big Star meets a Jonathan Richman garage band" is what I scrawl in typically lazy rock journalism shorthand), as intent on a good time as they are on strict musicality. I mean, they're competent enough but that seems a bit beside the point. They are also rather hilarious, very relaxed in an offhand way and are the perfect palate-cleansing tonic between the more jagged post-punk sonics of the opener and headliner.

Holograms are a vividly exciting band and it's beyond perplexing why the attendance tonight makes the word 'sparse' sound crowded. It's too often said, but in a just world the venue would be seething with a sweating crowd perched on their tiptoes in anticipation. I truly hope it happens for Holograms elsewhere along this tour because it certainly isn't here.

When I first saw mention of this show I was a little surprised. A band from Stockholm on Captured Tracks touring the West Coast. Rare. But here's how they're doing it, at least in part: the drummer is borrowing that beater of a drumset from the Be Helds. Economy, the very ticket. But however they're managing it, whatever they have to do, I'm more than happy they made it.

Immediately a sonic assault, but one marked by one of the things that sets them instantly apart, the ringing, adroit lead guitar line of Anton Spetze, the spiraling Korg synth (Anton's brother Filip), pummeling drums (Mr Anton Strandberg) and a reckless, perfectly doom driving (and strummed, mostly) bass from singer Andreas Lagerstrom, all in all an inspired Beowulfian, roofbeam-raising noise that only the young can produce, with a precision that assures that the borrowed drum kit stays in place. The song is called Blaze On A Hillside, it's an utterly new tune that lasts over 5 1/2 minutes and knocks me out. Those few of us here are off to a gallopingly good start, it's going to be a lucky night for us.

It being a live setting, the mix isn't such that one can easily distinguish the lyrics, and if you didn't know that they were singing in English you might convince yourself that they're singing in Swedish but the absolute truth is, it doesn't matter. The old saw about the universality of music certainly applies here. Holograms speak in the widely spoken language of post-punk, that sound that enters your ears, expands in your chest and persuades you that some kind of magic blend of cynicism and transcendence is easily possible. Tonight, as the band transition into Chasing My Mind (off their self-titled debut album on Captured Tracks), they somehow keep reminding me of The Stranglers even as they bear them little resemblance beyond the 4-piece setup with a prominent keyboard presence. I think it comes down to intensity and cohesion, and the fact Lagerstrom over there on bass does indeed resemble a stocky Swede version of JJ Burnell, the same rather louche stage demeanor.

By the time we get to the trio of songs midset, ABC City, Monolith and Fever, the band have hit a stride that belies the smallness of the crowd. Holograms' intrinsic strength is the pairing of a kind of Harley-tailpipe roar with scything melody (and of course that bass tone, always keeping the post-punk shape in place). Lagerstrom's vocals don't have a wide variance in pitch but do exert a rather bellowing authority, especially when twinned with guitarist Spetze's singing, as on Monolith, a well-named epic monument of a song that begins innocently enough but soon enough builds itself into a racing, thunderous, heart-racing centerpiece that, even though my fatigue keeps me from moving much, nonetheless leaves me breathless, that good kind of breathlessness where you feel a bit dizzy but empowered at the same time. Which is a pretty succinct descriptor of both Holograms' sound and the effect it has and as such reminds me even more deeply of experiences seeing bands in London and San Francisco in the 1978-82 heyday of the form. In that respect, the impact they had on me while seeing them live, they could have been the Skids at the Rainbow, The Damned at the Old Waldorf, Killing Joke in a tiny pub in North London (where, in fact, there were far fewer in attendance than are here tonight). Bands like Holograms (and there are others) exude that effect without in any way being slavish to a particular brand. In a word, they thrill, and I'm thankful I got to see them in a setting like this.

Perhaps most exciting, final song Hidden Structures is, again, like the set's opener, a brand new song, or at least unfamiliar to those of us besotted by the album, and with it comes a tantalizing glimpse into Holograms' next LP. Though just as rousing and pulse-pounding as anything else this evening, it has a bit more space to it, Filip's synth throughout the song wandering up and down the melody, exploring but never drifting, finding itself with far more breathing room than usual while the rest of the band provides the muscle and structure (ha!) necessary to maintain the band's signature style. It leaves us with a taste for Holograms Mk II, and I for one can hardly wait.