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Live Review: Blunt Mechanic, And I Was Like What?, Lee Corey Oswald - April 8th at Berbati's Pan


Singer, guitarist and songwriter Ben Barnett has a new sound, a new band, and a new LP - World Record - coming out April 20th. I got a chance to check out his band, Blunt Mechanic, at Berbati’s Pan last Thursday, along with Portland groups And I Was Like What? and Lee Corey Oswald.

The crowd was sparse and the atmosphere quite dark, but that didn’t keep any of the bands from rocking out hard. The Oswald duo opened the show and reminded me once again how much I love listening to acoustic guitars and a sweet harmony. However, I have to admit that their harmonization was a little off live, and they at times sounded like they were trying to yell over each other. They got the crowd all warmed up and raring to go though, and once And I Was Like What? stepped on stage, the crowd was ready to groove to their Americana pop beats.

This all-bearded band really had their shit together and it's hard to believe they are still unsigned. They sounded fantastic live, and I absolutely loved the band’s use of the electric violin.

By the time Blunt came on I was starting to feel the fatigue setting in, so I was hoping they were going to bring some mad energy to the stage. Lucky for me they did. The best was definitely saved for last in this case, and Blunt was just as much fun to watch as they were to listen to. Barnett is not new to the music scene; in fact, he released 10 albums with the band Kind of Like Spitting and works as the Music Director of Seattle’s School of Rock. All of his experience shows on stage, and his enthusiasm and passion pours over you like a banana split with a cherry on top.

All three bands have upcoming shows in the Northwest, so keep your eyes glued to The Deli and your ears tuned to your local radio stations.

- Deanna Uutela

April 2010
"Hunger and Thirst

In the blind taste test of music, Typhoon proves difficult to classify into one category. With hints of Beirut, Damien Rice, Feist, the Builders and the Butchers, even a whisper of Sufjan Stevens at times, this band is a smorgasbord of influences and sounds.

With seven core members, but seventeen total band members and contributors, these Portland natives have produced an impressive range of eclectic, inventive sounds without the end result being chaotic. With haunting melodies and layered cadences, this is the type of album capable of commanding both the attention and mood of anyone within earshot. Tracks like "Starting Over" and "Belly Of The Cave" stand out amongst the others as the songs I kept hitting “repeat” on, but it’s clear that Typhoon’s new album Hunger And Thirst is meant to be listened to from beginning to end.

Although there exists today a bevy of musical groups who certainly possess talent, Typhoon comes across as having a unique voice and point of view. Hunger And Thirst is a warm and soulful album, with interesting textures and depth. And while it’s nothing epic or life-changing, Typhoon has produced an album rife with emotion, haunting at times, joyful and upbeat at others.

Hunger And Thirst will be released on May 4th, but if you preorder through Tender Loving Empire before May 3rd, they’ll kick down a copy of the two disc Friends and Friends of Friends album.

- Arielle Mullen

White Fang w/ Numerators and Magic Johnson Friday at East End

Sometimes I find myself in the mood for poorly produced music. Just focusing on some passion rolling through the cones of your speakers can relax the inner critic. No need to strain the ears for chord changes or ruffle your cerebral cortex in an effort to detect if the vocalist is slightly sharp of flat. Just enjoy it; loud, mangy, guitar-driven garage rock for your pleasure.

Please direct your attention to the White Fang show with Numerators and Magic Johnson at East End this Friday starting at 9 p.m. Also, make sure to check out White Fang's fun short video (for a short song) for the track, "Space Gemz,"

White Fang released their first record fall of last year entitled Pure Evil, which Willamette Week reviewed saying, "Pure Evil is the rare record where everything sounds like crap—only, you know, in a good way."


Enjoy, kids! Show is 21 and over, and will set you back a meager $6.

- Joel Sommer


Nice Nice's Extra Wow out TODAY!

Nice Nice’s debut album on WARP Records has been a long awaited one. After churning out damn near one record a year on their old label, Temporary Residence Limited, Jason Buehler and Mark Shirazi have made us wait four years to hear some new discombobulating yet soothing, formless yet melodic tunes.

The duo has a knack for finding order in disorder, and this new album, aptly titled Extra Wow, is no exception. Though as a whole the record flows seamlessly, its fluidity is often threatened with disjointed electronics, guitar riffs, or drum beats. But Buehler and Shirazi handle chaos with such ease that it sounds natural.

The record begins with an apparent ‘60s acid-rock influence. Opening track "Set & Settting" is saturated with psychedelic buzz, static, and electronic bleeps, accompanied by Buehler’s muffled vocals, pedal-addled guitar and cymbal-heavy drums. The track meshes into “One Hit,” which may very well be homage to the great Jimi Hendrix, with Buehler asking his listeners, “Are you experienced?” The track follows its predecessor’s structure for about 40 seconds, and then takes a spastic turn, as if Buehler and Shirazi lost complete control of their hands. But amidst the drastic, chaotic change, Buehler manages to keep the melody with his vocals, and even when the two break into a disorganized instrumental bridge, they manage to effortlessly come back to the original structure of the song.

After “One Hit,” the album takes a calming break with two lucid instrumental tracks, but picks up again with “Everything Falling Apart,” another song with an acid-rock vibe, and “Big Bounce,” an aptly titled bouncy, space-y electronic track, which transitions into the album’s first single, “See Waves.” This track is still heavily experimental, but much more structured and accessible than the rest of the album. Electronic blips lead a quick-handed guitar riff and structured vocals, with tribal drumming exuding a primal nuance.

The second half of the album is much more ambient and mellow than the first, consisting of tracks with little to no vocals, giving your brain a chance to slow down and process everything it has heard, and leaving you with no words to describe the record other than “wow.”

-Katrina Nattress


Hosannas Leaks Track from "Then & Now & Then"


Hosannas, formerly known as Church, are only a little over a month away from seeing the release of their Hush Records full-length Then & Now & Then. Cursory listening sessions with the advance of the album reveal a lush, melodic soundscape full of acoustic guitars, lots of echoed vocals, and layered keys, specifically in opener "The Sea."

Subsequent spins have uncovered even more sonic noodling from the Portland quartet. There's an innocence employed here, with tempered digs into early '00s Merge motifs, as well as a (hopefully) prevalent sense of purpose. It's all pretty intoxicating stuff, even if its oft-lauded tag of psych-pop doesn't really fit.

But be warned: The first leaked track, "Happiness," is the least indicative tune for the purposes of considering listening to this album, but is still a decent listen. Give it a whirl below...

Take our word for it, and get your hands on the full disc or download when it's released on May 11th.

The band will hold what's likely to be one of the most anticipated Portland album releases of the year on May 9th at Mississippi Studios. Opening will be the amazing Tu Fawning, and Ah Holly Fam'ly. $6, 9 p.m.

- Ryan J. Prado


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