Monday, February 18th, 2019

Portland Music 2011 in Review

Illustration by Chelsea Ellis/Design Director

Posted on December 09, 2011 in Arts & Culture
By Kevin Steeves

Despite its small population of over 66,000, Portland has developed and nurtured a remarkably diverse local music scene over the years. It’s still growing too, in 2011 Dispatch, a new magazine dedicated to local music and film was founded in February; new albums by Falls Of Rauros and Sunset Hearts achieved national acclaim and our fair city even hosted its own showcase at the CMJ Music Marathon in New York City.

To do our part for the music scene, we picked our top five albums and songs from local artists this year. From the angular post-punk of Huak to the electronic hodgepodge masterpiece of Glass Fingers, it’s no doubt the list favors Portland’s more diverse and experimental side.

Top Albums Of 2011:

5.) Sunset Hearts Haunted Cloud: Perhaps the most decisive album from Portland of 2011, Sunset Hearts’ debut Haunted Cloud had one intention — bring back great pop music. While some listeners might have been put-off by the album’s unabashed love for new wave and synthesizers, there’s little to question about the great songwriting lying at the core of the album and Casey McCurry’s passion for the craft. While 2011 was a huge year for Sunset Hearts, 2012 looks to be just as promising as the eight-piece have already began working on the follow-up to Haunted Cloud.

4.) Huak Yorba Linda: It’s difficult to think of a local album as anxiously awaited for in 2011 as Yorba Linda — Huak’s first album of new material in two years. Luckily for fans of the post-punk quartet, Yorba Linda is as cohesive as the band has ever been. The everything-on-the-line fury and passion that the band has become know for in their live show is masterfully recreated, thanks to Portland’s production genius Ron Harrity at Peapod Recordings, just what fans wanted.

3.) Jakob Battick & Friends Bloodworm Songs: Serving as the final farewell to the Battick & Friends collective, Bloodworm Songs is as appropriate of a swan-song as any. Idealistic and sedated, Bloodworm Songs plays out like a distant memory, masterfully illustrated by the multiple reverb-drenched vocals and hazy instrumentation that the collective had become known for. It’s been less than three months since they played their last show, but we miss them already.

2.) Metal Feathers Contrast Eats the Slimey Green: It might be a testament to the short short attention span of the 21st century or just the instant-classic nature of the album, but it’s hard to believe that Contrast Eats the Slimey Green came out in 2011. While most of the early press for Metal Feathers was based around the band’s Cult Maze roots, Contrast Eats the Slimey Green became a fuzzed-out testament that Jay Lobley and company still posses the same knack for writing killer rock songs that they did all those years ago.

1.) Glass Fingers this: Although it may have seemed a little premature in September to call Glass Finger’s this a potential candidate for local album of the year, 19-year-old South Portland Jesse Gertz’s latest effort is as impressive and well-thought-out as it was on its release. Meditative yet accessible, experimental without being pretentious — this is only more impressive considering the speed that Gertz has been releasing follow-up material for free online. It’s only a matter of time before the followup, and our excitement couldn’t be higher.

Songs Of The Year:

10.) Splendora Colt “Moments in Hipstamatic”

9.) The Milkman’s Union w/ Lady Lamb the Beekeeper “Texas Hold Me”

8.) Sunset Hearts  “Paw Palace”

7.) Jared Fairfield “Maggie of the Night”

6.) The RattleSnakes “Spine”

5.) Hyena “Yup, The Sun Is Up”

4.) Metal Feathers “NLTL”

3.) Foam Castles “Horticulture Friends”

2.) Glass Fingers “Street Light”

1.) Huak “Our Friends”


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