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Soul





A Night of Neo-Soul With Brownish Black

While it could be quite the challenge to develop your own sound within the lexicon of classic soul and r&b, Brownish Black seem both worthy and excited about the task at hand. Formed in 2010 the band has been growing in numbers and evolving their neo-soul sound that could easily be found on NYC goldmine label Daptone (home to Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, Charles Bradley etc). With a slender and soulful white male leading the raucous r&b they could also be mistaken for pop soul darlings Fitz & the Tantrums. Yet comparisons aside Brownish Black are unique to Portland and are striving to forge their own path.

Given the somewhat challenging position of filling an empty dance floor with Portlanders who just finished a workweek, Brownish Black brought their high energy and infectious rhythms to the opening slot Friday night at the eclectic (read underrated) Star Theater. Seattle based psyche-afro-funk outfit Polyrhythmics were headliners.

Playing a mix of music from their previous EP’s as well new material Brownish Black sounded tight throughout. Performing new single “Life Lessons” lead singer M.D. Sharbatz was vocally strong although slightly distracted by the harsh lighting directed on stage. During a mid-set exit, Sharbatz returned with a black cap covering his eyes, which provided reprieve but perhaps distanced himself from the audience. While a stoic looking horn section successfully focused on taking care of business the bongo/conga player was focused on starting a party. The show continued, the floor filled, and the crowd released their weekday worries. Incorporating a cover of Portland’s very own Exploding Hearts “I’m a Pretender” along with a Brownish original entitled “Rock n Roll” as a tribute to blues legend BB King (who passed away that day) the second half of their set was climatic and cathartic.

It would be difficult not to mention the lack of female lead singer Mz. V (Vicki Porter), a once integral member and wonderful counterpart to Sharbatz’ vocals and energy, who recently left the band for other pursuits. While Porter is featured on the new album she certainly will be missed and the band is planning rotating guest appearances as they move forward with their first full-length release next month under Breakup Records.

With a charismatic, feel-good, neo soul sound Brownish Black have the talent, energy, and possible ambition to grow beyond Portland and the Northwest.

See them for their record release of Life Lessons at the Goodfoot Lounge on June 11.

-Greg LeMieux





Texas King @ Drake Hotel

Pop enough to sing-a-long to, rock enough to jump around to, and just enough groove to soothe your soul to. Texas King, hailing from London Ontario, got the crowd enlivened during the CMW showcase at the Gladstone last week. With lush, sizzling guitar tones, raspy vocals, and an on point rhythm combo, these guys became an energetic delicacy to see perform live. With their catchy lyrics the crowd sings-a-long alone to, “Come Find Me". They’re tight, greasy, and there’s - without question - no shortage of dance moves. Head on out to The Drake Hotel @ 05/17 and see on hell of a show!-Courtney Chalapenko 

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PDX Weekend: Whiskeytown, Catherine Feeny, Roselit Bone

Today marks the beginning of WhiskeyFest NW's Whiskeytown USA festival--which pairs whiskey with a natural friend: music. Tonight catch Jackson Boone for a hot, psychadelic mixer. Tomorrow, Blitzen Trapper brings their seasoned folk rock to the stage, a perfect soundtrack to your sippin'. Check out the full schedule and band lineup here.
NW 17th & Front Ave, doors at 4 p.m. Friday and 12 p.m. Saturday, 21+, tickets

Start your Saturday night early with Catherine Feeny, Chris Johnedis, and Big Haunt at Tender Loving Empire. Catherine Feeny and Chris Johnedis will cool you down with their soulful, compelling tunes. Feeny and Johnedis are celebrating their new release with airy, dark-pop outfit Big Haunt.
Tender Loving Empire (3541 SE Hawthorne), 5:15 p.m., all-ages, free

 

If you're in the mood for something a bit more bloodthirsty, head to Double Barrel on Saturday to catch a free show from Roselit Bone. Their haunting, chaotic Western music will leave you with whiplash--and they've added an accordian player to the lineup. The band embarks on a West Coast tour this month, and won't be playing in Portland again until June.
Double Barrel (2002 SE Division), 5:30 p.m., 21+, free





SEX TAPE @ STUDIO BAR

Which celebrity sex tape have you watched? Well hit the mute button and listen to SEX TAPE. SEX TAPE is dark,sticky,smooth and sexy with bright and rhythmic vocals that create the mood. "Drive//Slow" tantalizes your senses, making you want to close your eyes and slow your whole body down. See SEX TAPE tonight at the Studio Bar for CMW. After this hot and heavy show, you'll probably want to go home and make your own sex tape. See Chris LaRocca again 5/13 @ the Cameron House.

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April Artist of the Month Poll: Shook, Halfways, THREE BONES, Xetas

Well y’all, the bell rung on the epic bout that was our last Artist of the Month poll about a week ago, and heavyweight hip-hoppers LNS Crew found themselves the last men standing in the ring to take the title. Many congrats to LNS on their win!

For this next bout, we’ve got a hip-hopless roster for the first time in a while, with a singer-songwriter-producer, two psych bands and some damn fine Austin punk slugging it out between the virtual ropes for the completely imaginary but nonetheless glorious Deli Austin Weekly Champion Belt.

We’ll do a deeper post on each of these guys over the course of the contest, but for now, here’s a little on our current contenders and why they particularly caught our ear this month:

 

Abram Shook

Sound: Indie singer-songwriter with quite high production value

Qualifications: Lovely little single “Understood” and its equally pleasurable music video were just released as a preview to Shook’s sophomore album and are making noise around town, earning Shook KUTX’s Artist of the Month. Perhaps more importantly, recent photos of Shook reveal that he is almost definitely Austin’s premier wizard in training, what with that peppery hair/beard combo.

 

The Halfways

Sound: Psych pop straight out of the era that birthed it, but with a dab of the new post-Fleet Foxes psych sound

Qualifications: A string of recent shows coupled to new output from the band, who has been doing hard work in the studio. Track “I Don’t Mind” bodes quite well for the rest of the new stuff coming from this group, which has certainly become a pillar of the ATX psych scene in the last couple of years.

 

THREE BONES

Sound: Psych blues with soul to spare and a riveting lead singer/lead guitarist duo in Victoria de Benedicty and Dalt Jacob

Qualifications: Only one of the oddest, strongest, 60s-est music video ever to come out of the local psych scene, plus the promise of more music and some big-time shows (including one with fellow nominees The Halfways at Scoot Inn not long ago). The vid for triumphant, soul-packed track “Hold On to Ya” is exactly what you want out of retro psych, in that its influences are obvious (that projection is pure 60s), but it’s very self-aware and thoroughly fun. These dudes also just won the John Lennon Songwriting Contest for a Valentine’s Day love song for other new track “Love is the Only Way,” which is some pretty major shit.

 

Xetas

Sound: Punch-em-up, no stops, unfuckwitable contemporary punk

Qualifications: This is a band everyone in Austin should know, even though they themselves probably don’t give a shit if you do or don’t. This is as close as Austin gets to a supergroup, with each member an undoubted veteran of the Austin music thing, but even though we’d nominate these guys just about anytime for the quality shit they’ve consistently been producing in their relatively short time together, they particularly make the cut for this month’s poll on the utter, pounding strength of their new single “The Point,” released as a lead up to soon-to-come LP “The Redeemer.” They also just wrapped one big-ass, quick-ass tour all over the nation, which is more’n enough to get them the nod in our poll this month.

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