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Artist of the Month
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August 2016
Coco Columbia
"When the Birds Begin to Walk
"
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 Jazz tends to get a bad name among the younger crowd. Its association as the musical preference of parents, teachers and basically anyone that may be considered "lame" can deter a welcomed reception, but Coco Columbia has rebranded the genre in a way that's easily accessible for even the most stubborn of ears.

A force that first began with her 2014 debut, The Weight, Coco's newest release When the Birds Begin to Walk packs the same punch. "Weight on Limb," the first track to come off the album that premiered on The Deli Portland back in March, opens up the album in a way that you can't even keep up with. The track spurts and spats about as Coco's voice exquisitely flutters about the track's duration, setting the tone for what's left to come.

"Coveted Creatures" teases a hint of harder sound in the beginning before bringing it back to the funky jazz she does best. "9 Steps" stands out sonically from the rest of the album employing more rock elements and incredible shred work by Grant Sayler. Interesting key playing creates somewhat of an "under the sea" atmosphere on "Radiant in My Abyss," which contrasts a more barreled drum beat.

Her bold and unexpected cover of Kate Bush's "Running Up That Hill" climbs to the top of the list of Kate Bush covers. Coco took what was one of Bush's biggest and most influential hits and made it her own in a way that satisfies diehard Bushians and Coco fans.

When the Birds Begin to Walk holds up as a more than animated sophomore effort on the Coco Columbia front. The songs offered varied range while still holding up to her established jazzy ways and if anything, decrees Coco Columbia's voice as an instrumental force itself.

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scene blog

Album Review: Hillstomp's "Darker the Night"

Album Review: Hillstomp's "Darker the Night"

 

"Now is time a for darker stuff!" yells Henry Kammerer, one-half of the Portland-based duo Hillstomp on the second track of their new album Darker the Night. And dark stuff is exactly what they give the listener.

The duo's third studio release - which will be available in stores July 20 - is crammed with 14 driving and dirty ballads of debauchery, and loaded with tales of embracing late night bouts of drinking, waking and repeating the process without the blink of an eye. The whole album has a very consistent brooding mood, with unique banjo rythms that take the forefront unashamed and relentless..

While firmly grounded in the blues, Hillstomp departs and adds many different influences, from folk to garage-punk, all expressed through a soulful intensity. Considering the band is known for its captivating live performances - replete with foot-stomping slide guitar riffs and John Johnson's ramshackle percussion hammering away on plastic buckets or whatever he can grab nearby, Darker the Night does not dissapoint, and invites everyone listening to join in and sing the songs of kissing the bottle and losing love without regret.

- Stirling Myles

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