Ok, it's punk, BUT... combining the hostile aesthetics of the genre and the erratic vibes of free-jazz instrumentals with a thoroughly thought through production, Portland's DIY specialists The Taxpayers truly are a tight act in disguise. Beginning as your standard “guitar, bass and drums” trio back in 2007, they would sporadically superpose onto their riffs some finger picking blues lines which were, looking back, the early stages of versatile sonic ventures to come.
Today, as the band has grown a few heads larger, recording with a banjo, sax, piano, horn, trumpet and accordion, The Taxpayers' sound has further developed its skilfully confused signature, most present on the last full-length album “To Risk So Much For One Damn Meal”; yet as much as that record light-heartedly talked us through tales of a contemporary struggle, the teaser track and cover art of forthcoming “God, Forgive These Bastards” (dedicated to the memory of baseball pitcher Henry Turner) announce much darker and more deranged a colour.
Judging by the opening brass spits, those few already drawn away by the apparent lack of structure of earlier releases might as well stand back, while we amateurs of distorted frenzies welcome with excitement the new album, out this Saturday, June 23rd. Oh, and there will be a book too! - Tracy Mamoun
While listening to AStranger at the Wheel, the first album released by Portland singer/songwriter Christopher Reyne, the composer's drive is apparent. The ten song album has an emotional, musical and stylistic range that is ambitious and satisfying. Kicking the album off with “The Notorious Kelly Monroe”, a catchy pop-esk hook and complex musical textures pair with Reyne's melodic voice to make it clear that this performer is dedicated to entertaining his listeners. Dedicated may be the perfect word to describe Reynes. The entire project has been in his hands, from the writing and performing to the recording and mixing. Literally every vocal track and instrument on the album you here is Reynes himself, save the drums that were added by a friend after all the songs were finished. As the album unfolds, the lyrics remain story-driven and vulnerable, the arrangements are thoughtful and interesting, and it is clear that Stranger at the Wheel captures what Christopher Reynes is: a driven entertainer and talented musician. - Joy Pearson