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Band of the Month Nominee Spotlight: Blue Horns


2010 is shaping up to be a good year for Blue Horns. In fact, as far as I can tell, they've played somewhere around 1,000 shows since January. This is in no small part thanks to the boatloads of talent these fellows possess.

It's no surprise that the wild, stylish sound of Blue Horns has become so popular in a city where hipsters strive to look like lumberjacks and you're as likely to party in nature as you are in a nightclub. They make the kind of music that should have accompanied Max Records on the big screen if Max had a leather jacket on and Karen O wasn't so literal in her translation of "Wild Thing."

The band brings a teenage energy to the music, without letting it become angsty or obnoxious. Their talent lies not just in making raucous, joyous sounds, but in knowing where to bring them back and tone them down before they lose sight of the song. Nowhere is this surprising restraint more obvious than in their new single "Daughters," available on their MySpace page.

Not only can you finally hear what Park is singing, but the sound in general has mellowed and matured. Needless to say you should probably check it out, and if their recent schedule is any indication you will have plenty of chances to.

- Emilie Clark


Band of the Month Nominee Spotlight: Ocean Age


Ocean Age is three boys and two girls who all live in the same neighborhood and make some pretty rad music together.

Their official debut EP release, Forests, was exposed to the public this week during a show at Backspace. The first track on the EP, "Dalvik Tide," can be streamed from the Willamette Week blog or their MySpace page (which has most of the tracks found on Forests).

The band crafts songs with steady rhythms that are both very organic and tribal; they throb, build and fall like the ocean, waves or other forces of nature. Obvious influences such as Animal Collective can be spotted quickly by the listener, as well as more subtle nuances. The vocal melodies remind me of Fleet Foxes at times, while they also have brilliantly picked up on modern trends found in the dreamy production by the likes of Taken by Trees and perhaps even Beach House.

The vocal tracks soar up and down above the groundwork provided by the percussion and other instruments, mainly bass, guitar and keys. After listening to Forest, I am completely excited to see these young musicians (the oldest being 23) exhibit their craft in person. The band's next scheduled performance is at the Hawthorne Burgerville at 7 p.m., apparently, and is totally free.

Take a listen and then vote for a truly worthy contender for Band of the Month. It's a fun ride. I fully recommend it.

- Joel Sommer


Van Go Lion Make Electro-pop Debut at Ash St. Saturday


When winter gets drizzly and cold, it's nice to bounce around inside to sunny pop.

Van Go Lion have just the right blend of sugary sweetness coating their smooth electro-pop, and they're making their live premiere at Ash St. Saloon on Saturday, February 27th with loop-ninja Tony Smiley and indie sentiments from Just Lions.

Like all matches made in heaven, singer (and former Deli Portland Associate Editor!) Amy Paige met keys whiz Josh Loerzel on Craigslist. A love of Prince, Tears for Fears, Hall & Oates, Eurythmics, early Madonna, and some Boyz II Men made this pair swoon together. Hunched over their MIDI boards and Macbooks, they got serious about pop music and wanna bring some R-E-S-P-E-C-T to the genre with their self-titled debut of “retro-electro-pop.”

Through floating, downtempo ballads, punchy beats, and humming synths, Van Go Lion is a happy-go-lucky dance party for growing up and making mistakes.

Show starts at 9:30 p.m., $5.

- Chris Young


Band of the Month Nominee Spotlight: Party Girls


Party Girls are relatively new to the Portland scene, but I can already tell they are the misfits of indie music.

Their motto (well, their MySpace mantra, anyway) is “We came to impregnate,” and they describe their own sound as being “so heavy we induce labor.” The trio consists of vocalist Ryan Wolf, guitarist and ex-Bad Dudes member Gabe Castro, drummer Zach Richards, and synth/bassist Jim McBride. With a mixture of indie, metal, rock and some old school hip-hop, the best way I can describe them is if NOFX and Social Distortion had a threesome with Rage Against the Machine.

You won’t find any iron-on kittens emblazoned on any of their shirts, but you might discover a badly drawn penis and the band's name scrawled across Wolf’s baby-smooth hairless chest - if you are willing to get that close. It is obvious these guys like to be the outsiders and to keep audiences guessing.

Their record cover, which has a very manly, buffed-up unicorn charging through the air, is a great representation of their sound. They have taken the indie music scene and injected it with some serious steroids, and even though they might look all cute and friendly on the outside, these guys kick some serious ass.

The lyrics to Tenacious D’s “Explosivo” sums up Party Girls well, “Climb upon my faithful steed, then we gonna ride, gonna smoke some weed. Climb upon my big-ass steed, and ride, ride, ride.

Party Girls is opening for local fave Jaguar Love during their March 4th CD release at Satyricon. $7, all ages, 8 p.m.

Be sure to bring some form of birth control, and vote for the band in our Band of the Month poll if you dig it.

- Deanna Uutela


Portland Round 12 Features Stellar Lineup Tuesday


The Round is one of those impossibly chic convergences of art, poetry and music that makes you wish you had thought of it first. But, guess what? You didn't.

Founded in Seattle in 2005 by arts curator Nathan Marion, The Round has now expanded to Tacoma, Portland, Austin, and Lebanon, PA. The setup is so simple it's genius: feature local musicians on stage with interspersed slam poetry sets and live painters for an amazing, one-of-a-kind art-o-rama. There are rules to keep the event fresh each go around, too. Musicians can only perform at an edition of The Round once a year; slam poets twice a year; and painters just three times per year.

So what's in store for Portland Round 12 this Tuesday at The Woods, you ask? Just your ho-hum, average triple threat of Portland underground rock luminaries John Vecchiarelli, Y La Bamba's Ben Meyercord, and Autpilot is for Lovers vocalist/accordionist Adrienne Hatkins on the music side of things. I'm not even positive as to what this merging of such disparate styles will produce. I just know I want to see it. And so should you.

Live painting will come courtesy of returning artist Michelle Tuffias, with layered spray-painted art from Beth Myrick, and poetry from slam poet Melissa Rose.

The rain is coming back, y'all. And your brain's no doubt been fried by the Vitamin D-struction of the fleeting sun. Support everything local, always; and open your senses to the combined infiltration of an evening of amazing performance.

Doors are at 8 p.m.; show at 9. $8 cover. 21 and over.

- Ryan J. Prado



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