Monday, July 23rd, 2018

Banditos bad, but entertaining

Posted on April 26, 2014 by dkelly in Album Reviews, Arts & Culture

Straight from the Gutter, self-released by the Banditos, is old-school punk in its most unrehearsed, technically imperfect and haphazard form. The Banditos are not a good band–at all. Before playing the album, you may notice that Straight from the Gutter’s cover shows a picture of a man, whose head is a poorly photoshopped dollhead wearing […]

Blue Smoke brings nostaligia with familiar sounds

Posted on April 21, 2014 by dkelly in Album Reviews, Arts & Culture

Blue Smoke, released by legendary country music heroine Dolly Parton, is what you would expect—a few good hearted tunes that you should never tell your friends you listen to. First off, the title track pulls out all the country-western cliches—a train drumbeat, picked banjo, quick fiddle riffs, slide dobro and a particular backup vocalist with […]

Hartley’s latest album is full of lyrical twists

Posted on April 14, 2014 by dkelly in Arts & Culture

No, Portland is not the home of Willie Nelson or Townes Van Zandt, but we do have Wesley Allen Hartley—a country/folk asset giving this Northeastern city Texan comfort. Dusty roads, rusty road signs, cheap whiskey and heart-wrenching stories are at the heart of country/western music. Few listeners pick up an old fashioned country album to […]

Watts releases solo album after 31 years

Posted on April 14, 2014 by dkelly in Album Reviews, Arts & Culture

Ben Watt, an accomplished writer, DJ, BBC radio personality, and musician, gives a peak songwriting performance on Hendra. Hendra begins with its self-titled track. Acoustic guitar, acoustic bass, background strings and a reverberated picked electric guitar part create a dim and somber feeling. Lyrics go, “I wish I’d studied harder now, made something of myself […]

Local electronic band deviates from the norm with their latest album

Posted on April 07, 2014 by dkelly in Arts & Culture

S/T, released by Contrapposto, is some of the strangest electronic music to come out of Portland. But something new is going on with this album. Made up of only two members, Jacob Pitcher and Mirabai Iwanko are able to make an enormous amount of sound. Ambient synthesizers, pounding drum machines, and smooth vocals make electronica […]

Heroes and misfits and jazz

Posted on April 07, 2014 by dkelly in Arts & Culture

Heroes + Misfits, released by up-and-coming jazz pianist Kris Bowers, exemplifies the emerging trend of fusing hip-hop grooves with jazz proficiency. Winner of the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition and a Juilliard School graduate, there is no question of Bowers’s ability. Splitting his time between a Fender Rhodes and an acoustic piano, Somewhat of an […]

Local Album Review: A dose of whole-hearted rock’n’roll

Posted on February 24, 2014 by dkelly in Album Reviews, Arts & Culture

Whale Oil’s self-titled release isn’t complicated, technically proficient or even polite. What it is, however, is rock’n’roll, pure and simple. Whale Oil is on the front lines of keeping the power trio tradition alive. Brian Saxton pounds his drumkit for all it’s worth and sings (well, screams) with an astoundingly high level of energy. Bill […]

The Folk Singer Who Kept Going

Posted on February 13, 2014 by dkelly in Perspectives

Pete Seeger, the quintessential agent of social change and an inspirational folk musician, passed away last week at 94. His legacy, however, is timeless. Born into a family of politically-progressive musicians, Seeger’s activism was nurtured at an early age. His father, a Harvard-educated musicologist, was removed from his professorship at the University of California at […]

National Album Review: “Grass Punks” by Tom Brosseau

Posted on February 03, 2014 by dkelly in Album Reviews, Arts & Culture

Grass Punks, released by Tom Brosseau, questions the imperatives of American folk, yet it is still able to pay dear respect to the timeless genre. Folk music has always been an elusive term––world music played by lower socioeconomic classes, artists from the ‘60s folk revival (e.g., Bob Dylan, Joan Baez), and more recently, bands like […]

A&C Album Review–Gunther Brown

Posted on January 27, 2014 by dkelly in Arts & Culture

Good Night for Daydreams, released by Portland-based band Gunther Brown, shows expert songwriting matched with classic Americana styling. The regular hard-strummed acoustic guitar is an excellent compliment to vocals that are deep and gritty, but not muddy.  The drums sit on top of the beat, giving rhythms that bounce, and hard thumping and simple bass […]