Sunday, January 26, 2014

La Luz at Doug Fir 1/18

Like any good surf the waves can lift you up or knock you down, and the music from La Luz is no different. Formed in summer(naturally) of 2012 by Shana Cleveland (guitar), Marian Li Pino (drums), Abbey Blackwell (bass), and Alice Sandahl (keyboard) this four-piece all-girl outfit from Seattle can kick your butt or make you swoon faster than the turning of a tide.

In conjunction with the release of the fourth issue of She Shreds; a Portland based magazine with a focus on female guitarists(the only periodical of its kind) La Luz was the headlining act of an all lady rock evening. She Shreds founder Fabi Reyna and bass player of Ghost Ease (the evening's 2nd band) introduced La Luz as one of her favorite bands(featured on the mag's 3rd issue) to a sold-out crowd at the Doug Fir Saturday night.

Like neo-soul this modern surf-rock is a mix of what's current while still maintaining a nostalgia of music from the distant past. The track "Brainwash" shows the band's versatility; moving from its mellow intro reminiscent of a calm summer morning, into a shaking melody perfect for a beach blanket dance-off.

"Call Me In A Day" will be on a soundtrack someday, until then it will play out whatever movies your mind makes. The marching drumbeat in combination with the simple guitar riff incites a feeling that a spaghetti western style duel is near, yet Cleveland's soothing vocals reassures that danger is far away. The song remains my favorite; ominous yet steeped in beauty.

Still a new act in the live sense, the chemistry of the band is evident on stage as well as their genuine excitement to be playing for appreciative fans. All members of La Luz sing and contribute accordingly to Shana's stellar guitar work. The sun drenched songs had the Portland crowd forgetting about their seasonal affective disorder, at least for one cold January night.  

The audience was peppered with more females than your usual crowd but all were excited and attentive throughout the performance, head bobbing in approval of what they heard. Surprised yet accepting by La Luz's request for a parting aisle to encourage a Soul Train space for dancing during one song. The audience was also given the challenge to try "the Worm" while crowd surfing. Of course this awkward task was happily met and was a great representation for the show as a whole; a fun and friendly mix of tunes with unexpected good surf in the wintertime.

Catch them on their return visit to PDX on March 6th at Mississippi Studios.

ListeningMan is the host of The Lunchbox on Mondays at noon.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Lemolo at Kelly's Olympian

Lemolo's music is reminiscent of a summer thunderstorm. With ethereal keys and angelic vocals provided by singer Meagan Grandall the atmosphere feels warm and relaxed, yet the rumbling percussion tells another story altogether; dark skies are drawing near and it may be time to find cover.


Seattle based duo Lemolo has been making music for the past couple years, releasing album The Kaleidoscope which was on KEXP’s “Top Listener Voted Albums of 2012," along with a live dvd performing their album in its entirety over two sold-out nights at the Columbia City Theater. Sadly, in 2013 original drummer Kendra Cox decided to move onto new musical pursuits. Kendra was the thunderous yang to Meagan's airy yin; an excellent combination that translated well live.  Upon the decision to go separate ways Meagan put the word out seeking a new drummer and shortly connected with Seattle Rock Orchestra percussionist Emily Westman, who has since realigned Lemolo back into balance.

Grandall was quite busy writing songs through the latter half of 2013 and last Tuesday night was Portland's first chance to see Lemolo showcase their new lineup as well as material for their sophomore album expected later in 2014.

I was a bit nervous about what the new sound and chemistry of Lemolo would be like (previously impressed during shows at Mississippi Studios). Headlinging act Sydney York from Alberta, Canada were in the midst of a record release which allowed Lemolo a soft opening of sorts to debut their new tracks. While only one song from The Kaleidoscope was performed (On Again, Off Again) Meagan and Emily did not disappoint.

With looping guitars and driving rhythms Lemolo's sound continues to compel. While Westman might be a bit more reserved than predecessor Cox, she is no less talented, playing both drums and xylophone simultaneously. The back and forth of quiet/loud (evident in many of their songs) keeps you anticipating that next crack of thunder, yet also admiring the beams of light breaking through.

Many new songs like "Child Soldier" continue the ebb and flow of haunting and beauty, a standard of Lemolo's sound. "Morning Warning" showcased something I had never seen on stage, with Westman playing the xylophone with a bow(!) using the edges of the keys rather than their faces.

Lemolo's music is wholly cathartic. After listening to their debut album or catching a live performance one can only feel as though everything has been washed clean, anew.  And with the band hitting the studio next month Portland can look forward to a late Spring/Summer return of these ladies to bring the rain, in the best way possible.

-ListeningMan is host of The Lunchbox on Mondays.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Local Artist Spotlight | URBAN WILDLIFE

KZME is proud to announce our new Featured Artist Spotlight!

Each month, we'll highlight a local up and coming artist with on-air interviews, a sponsorship of a show at a venue, and information about the band. We'll also showcase a song in our Song of the Week and a video in our Video of the Month! We're excited to have Urban Wildlife as our featured artist for January.

I chatted it up with Emily of the band (via email) to find out a bit more about Emily Logan!

How long have you lived in the Portland area?

I've been in Portland for a little over 4 years - moved here in August of 2009.

Give us a brief history of your band/project:

Urban Wildlife was a solo project in San Francisco for a couple of years, but I was too shy to really play shows, so I played some of my friends' parties and that's about it. Then right before I moved from SF, I created a little hand-made EP to take with me traveling, and I played open mic nights across the country and gave those away. Then when I moved to Portland I started writing more music, and once again was a little too tentative to form a solid band, so I got a bunch of my friends to play parts on the first Urban Wildlife full length. But I really wanted a full band for the record release show, so I enlisted some folks to play that show with me, and that turned into the band! Ryan Mauk and I played together first - he's the drummer. He was just coming off of a project called Solomon's Hollow, because the lead singer and songwriter had moved to Boise. We clicked right away and just jammed on some of the songs on the record. Then Paul Notley, the bass player, had been a friend of mine for a while, and we previously played briefly together in Soft Tags, which is a band he was in for quite a while. And Wade Morehead and I started dating in the end of 2012 (we met at a show where he was playing rhythm guitar in another band), so he joined as our lead guitar player and it all just started to fall into place. They're all amazing musicians, and I am so lucky to have them. So anyhow, after the first record release we basically started working on a new album right away, and a year later we're releasing Strangers! This album is all these band members, with a few parts done by our engineer and producer Stephan Bayley, as well as some viola parts by Stephanie Wallace.

What’s the first song you ever learned to play?

Ha! The first song I ever learned to play was "Snail" by The Smashing Pumpkins. It's from the album Gish, which was one of my first huge mind-blowing album experiences. That song is pretty much three chords, so it was a good first one. My second song was "Stairway to Heaven." :-P I'm almost serious - I pretty much made that my life's goal when I started playing guitar. Hehe.

What’s your favorite local venue to play? To see other bands?

I really love playing at the Secret Society. They are so great to their musicians there, and the sound is really fantastic. I love how it's a little dance floor as well, though it's rare that people dance. :) I really love seeing bands at the Doug Fir because it attracts a large variety of musicians but is still really personal. I've played there in other bands as well, and it's of course wonderful. On a smaller scale though, I love seeing bands at Mississippi Pizza, Valentine's, and the White Eagle.

Speaking of other bands, who do you like on the Portland music scene?

So many! I really love Anna and the Underbelly - she's amazing and I think she's working on some new stuff, so I'm super excited for that. And she plays sometimes with Jeffrey Martin, who is just incredible. I also crazy love Swansea, who is opening for us for the record release show - they are SO good. And my friend Cait Olds is totally amazing. We lost her to California for a while, but word on the street is that she's returning. ;)

Tell us about a recent “Only in Portland” moment you might have had.

Oh man, there are tiny ones all the time, like how some girl handed me a nipple cupcake on the street the other day. And usually these moment have to do with finding out that friends who I think don't know each other have been friends for years because Portland is such a small town. Oh, I have a good one. I recently formed a women's group - it's a small group of women who support each other and do things together (kind of Portland in itself). But somehow it ended up that three of us members (of about 10) have the same ex-boyfriend. Pretty awesome.

Finish this sentence: “I cannot live without_____”Can I do a list? :) ... always learning a new instrument or song. Burritos. My cat Ostrich. People who are a little bit crazy. KZME! :)

Learn more about the band:

CD Release show on January 24 at The Secret Society!  Here for tickets and details!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Tennis at Mississippi Studios

Tennis is an American indie pop band from Denver made up of husband-and-wife duo Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley. During their first tour, James Barone joined the band on drums.
They may do jumping jacks backstage before a show instead of remembering to write down their set list, but the members of Tennis are anything but amateurs.

 The Denver-based band played to a sold out crowd at Mississippi Studios Sunday night, showcasing a mix of slow jams, rock interlaced with doo-wop, and new, yet to be recorded material with a bit of sax thrown in for good measure.  Singer, Alaina Moore’s ethereal voice lilted over the packed audience, serving as a softly haunting yin to guitarist Patrick Riley and drummer James Barone’s more raucous yang.

The husband and wife duo formed the band after a sailing trip along the Eastern Atlantic Seaboard, and that maritime influence was strongly felt with such songs as “Seafarer,” “Cape Dory,” and “Long Boat Pass.”  The band opted for nothing more than subtle blue stage lighting, allowing the music to speak for itself.  And yet, this no frills, minimalist stage presence packed a rockingly intense punch that left the crowd desiring more than just a single encore.

Listen here.

-- Ellene Smith, host of Stumptown Thumpdown

Saturday, January 4, 2014

DJ Klyph presents... The Movement

Happy Ne....

OK enough of that. What to do in Portland if you love Hip Hop? Get out to see DJ Rev Shines and guest at Produce Row for The Scenario on Saturday January 4th 8pm - Golden Era!

Friday January 10th is the last Live & Direct event at Rotture featuring DJs Rev Shines, Slim Kid Tre and DJ Nature with MC StarChile and Colton Tong. Oh don't worry, the party doesn't stop, stay tuned for info on the new location.

January 23rd is a big night in Portland as Sleep of Oldominion and The Chicharones will be having a listening party for his upcoming project "Oregon Failure". The night also features southern hip hop crew Nappy Roots, with opening sets by The Bad Tenants, Dirty Revival and hosted by Bad Habitat. Don't miss this KZME sponsored show at the Star Theater!

Stay tuned to your radio dial as 2014 promises good things. Upcoming guests on WTTN include BigMo, Bad Tenants, Matty, Glenn Waco, Soopah Eype, DreC, the KZME winter fund drive...and that's just January.

Until next time,

Y'all be blessed.