Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Jack Penate: Everything Is New

Need a stocking stuffer for the music lover in your life this Christmas? Look no further than the 2009 release of Jack Penate's second album Everything Is New. This London born singer continues to set the music scene ablaze with his fully functioning pop dance tracks and his tightly delivered live performances. At a recent Doug Fir Lounge show, Penate didn't skip a beat during his entire set by hooking together the beginning and end to each song with genius ease. Quaintly making use of the world music sound, Penate creates near dance anthems with the likability of the best British pop around.

The entire album is featured below and the nine tracks will only be hampered by the small delay between songs. Otherwise you will probably not stop moving and may quickly find yourself learning the words to the choruses even as you hear each song for the first time.

The next Living With Music article will be our end of the year feature. Last year we were able to supply you with a link to a completely free album by fantastic traditional alt rock band Empires. This year, we will summarize the year of 100 live performances and try to dig up some free music again too!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Music News

Sound the horn! There are some great new updates for all you music lovers out there, and we don't want you falling behind and getting lost! From album releases to ticket sales to things you just plain oughta know... Living With Music is here to make sure you remain as relevant to conversations about music as the Samba and Chuck Taylor have been to footwear.


Living With Music is busy watching the updated calendars at several live music venues, and here is the best of what we've found listed by venue.

Wonder Ballroom:
STATE RADIO: Jan. 17th, 2010

Doug Fir Lounge:
FANFARLO: Nov. 19th, 2009

DEASTRO: Nov. 26th, 2009

TEN OUT OF TENN: Dec. 6th, 2009

ST. VINCENT: Feb. 6th & 7th, 2010

Crystal Ballroom:
PASSION PIT: Dec. 7th, 2009

METRIC: Dec. 8th, 2009


VAMPIRE WEEKEND: Dec. 10th, 2009

SPOON: Dec. 11th, 2009

The Crown Room:
TYCHO: Dec. 4th, 2009

Wow Hall:
THE FRUIT BATS: Jan. 30th, 2010

Berbati's Pan:
THE THERMALS: Dec. 11th, 2009

The Hawthorne Theatre:
MIIKE SNOW: Apr. 14th, 2010

Other Concert Notes:
Get your tickets before they are gone to see Wilco perform Feb. 9th at Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall and tickets go on sale soon for John Mayer's Mar. 30th show at The Rose Garden. If you are in Bend... don't forget about The Ascetic Junkies, Nov. 21st performance at Silvermoon Brewery.

Album Releases~

Out NOW from Portland greats Loch Lomond is their new EP "Night Bats". Pick it up at Everyday Music or order it from Hush Records. Also with a November release date is John Mayer's "Battle Studies". In December expect albums from The Bravery, Animal Collective, & Shiny Toy Guns. While looking even further ahead to January, reveals expected releases from Vampire Weekend, OkGo, and Spoon.

Must Checkout WEB~

eMusic- Don't forget about this great music subscription site. Specializing in independent music, eMusic also has thousands albums by your favorite big label artists as well. With subscription prices as low as HALF the cost per song of i-tunes, eMusic is a must for all music lovers! This site typically has a great deal with free music for new subscribers and even a free trial if you're not sure about joining!

Pitchfork- Packed full of album reviews, special videos and exclusive information; Pitchfork is one of the premier websites delivering music news to a hungry connoisseurs.

Melophobe- One of Portland's best websites dedicated to great NW concerts and music reviews; Melophobe has content that compliments Living With Music nicely.

Who To Follow On Twitter #musicnews~








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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Don't Feed The Wildlife of Headlights, (let it feed you)

The second full album listening experience brought to you by Living With Music, is sure to supply you with all the whimsical indie rock you are hungry for on a fall afternoon. The 2009 release Wildlife, by uber talented Illinois band Headlights, drops you right into the middle of life's struggles without you even knowing it. Spend some time getting lost in the lyrics framed by the spiraling rock and drowning melodies, and you will find that much of what is discussed, involves the sometimes impossible tasks of finding love... happiness... and moments of successful bliss. Oddly enough... these elusive feelings can be found within most tracks on the album. The struggling lyrics in songs like Love Song For Buddy, Dead Ends, & We're All Animals are still able to offer a somewhat haunting notion that even within the undeniable difficulties present... hope exists and everything is going to be okay.

This album completely rocks and the entire thing is just a click away... However, I'm willing to guess it will take more than one click for you to be satisfied.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Emmy The Great's First Love

The geniuses over at Grooveshark have made it possible for the review of Emmy The Great's debut album First Love, to be the complete album review it should be. For the first time on Living With Music... the entire album is available for you to listen to in the colorful widget below this article.

No longer limited by what is available on other websites, we are now able to share this album with you straight from our i-tunes library! It's a good thing too, because First Love is quite possibly the best debut album of 2009. Emmy The Great (London via Hong Kong singer, Emma-Lee Moss), deconstructs everything from Jesus to abortion with a sweet flowing sound that doesn't at all succeed in masking the giant lump choking her throat as she sings her stories. Most likely, it's not supposed to. As you make your way through her album... the pretty banjo, violin, and piano (among other instruments), serve more to wrap up all of life's heartache in the beauty that overrides all we go through and that delivers the hope that we all must cling to in order to survive, than to make you feel good about the events in the songs.

The use of complex lyrics and tangible meaning behind the stories told by Emmy The Great, are probably what has kept this album from becoming a top 40 pop sensation. An industry obsessed with the mechanical and superficial, doesn't really have room for the type of presentation that exists on First Love. A serious album that wrestles with a young girl's first pregnancy and questionable experiences with religion and does so with power and grace, just doesn't fit the mold of most local radio stations. Since the entire album is here for you to listen to... it doesn't really need to.

Press play below (if you haven't already), and walk the streets, cross the hallways, and stroll through the parks in all 17 tracks of Emmy The Great's triumphant debut release. In First Love, you will learn another person.

Let us know what you're thinking when you're done by leaving a comment.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Woods

Former funeral parlour finds resting peace in downtown Sellwood, as a hip new live music venue.

A recent trip to Portland's newest and possibly 'coolest' music venue was an absolute treat. Rarely has a venue been able to inspire as much excitement upon entry as was The Woods. Prior to performances by The Golden Bears and Norflolk & Western, an exploration of the space served to monumentally increase the night's level of anticipation. As important to the evening as the decor (we'll get to that in a second), were the friendly souls involved with all aspects of operation. From the foxy retro LaCoste dress wearing girl, stamping beautiful blue owls on wrists at the front door to Ritchie Young (one of the brains behind the venue and front man for one of Portland's most talented bands, Loch Lomond), everyone working that night were shining examples of what makes Portland a great place to be. Honestly engaging and fun to be around, they were as important to the experience as the atmosphere.

And how about that atmosphere!?! A tiny maze of lounging nooks including an outdoor seating area, were decorated in vintage extravagance. Survivors of eras past, mismatched pieces of furniture were used in brilliant fashion to create the perfect live music mood. Candle light mixed throughout the rooms begged the question, "is electricity obsolete?", and art featuring owls, cougars, and bare trees, prowled on eyes and softened the walls above the comfortable furniture and hardwood floors. Even a hardback copy of Carl Sagan's Cosmos adorned a shelf in one of the rooms as a possible homage to an inspired Loch Lomond song. The Woods served up a very accessible and quaint bar . Currently featuring some great and nicely priced wine and beer, along with some tasty edible treats... The Woods will soon offer cocktails as well.

The night's music was as special as the space (possibly made so by the venue), as Portland bands, The Golden Bears and Norfolk & Western left all they had to give on the small intimate stage. Blazing keyboard slash trumpet playing by Norfolk & Western contributor Cory Gray, was one of the more impressive side notes to the night. In all, one of the best shows of the year.

A favor must be done for yourself by checking out this venue. The Woods are alive with the sound of music and the invitation has been extended. So catch one of these shows in 2009. Or visit The Woods site for other fantastic offerings.

Saturday November 7th:
Kelli Schaefer, Telegraph Canyon, & Leonard Mynx

Tuesday November 11th:
Loch Lomond (EP release) with Tu Fawning

Saturday November 14th:
Erin McKeown with Sonja Kitchell

Thursday December 3rd:
Weinland with Garrett Pierce

Friday December 11th:
Norfolk & Western, Carcrashlander, & Grand Hallway (Bumbershoot top 10 performer)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

A Season To Behold

There is no question that the live music line-up for the Pacific Northwest this summer, was an amazing one. But brace yourself... the last months of 2009 might just prove to be even better.

An astonishing number of the best Indie artists and bands, including Over The Rhine (pictured), are headed our way. So many in fact, that unless you have the powers of Hiro Nakamura and the bank roll of a government concert going subsidy, you probably won't be able to attend all of them. "MUST SEE", shows are highlighted in green. Performances like a special night with Blitzten Trapper and superb opener Wye Oak, a rocking Thanksgiving kick-off with Friendly Fires, and the final show in support of Blind Pilot's critically acclaimed album "Three Rounds And A Sound" are perfect compliments to the season.

With all the needed information, including music posted from many of the featured artists... let ethos83 help you decide which of them you will add to your calendar and which ones you will spend the winter desperately trying to forget you missed.

Let the planning madness begin...

Oct. 3rd
Loney, Dear (Doug Fir Lounge)

Oct. 4th
Sleepy Sun (Doug Fir Lounge)

Oct. 6th
Mute Math (Doug Fir Lounge)
Aimee Mann (Aladdin Theater)

Oct. 7th
Samantha Crain & The Midnight Shivers (McMenamins Old St. Francis)

Oct. 11th
Ingrid Michaelson (Wonder Ballroom)
The Janks (Silvermoon Brewery)

Oct. 15th
Blue Giant (Doug Fir Lounge)
Grizzly Bear (Crystal Ballroom)

Oct. 17th
Great Lake Swimmers (Doug Fir Lounge)

Oct. 18th
The Low Anthem (Crystal Ballroom)

Oct. 19th
Matisyahu (McDonald Theater)
Blind Pilot (Wow Hall)

Oct. 21st
The Wood Brothers (Wonder Ballroom)

Oct. 22nd
Brandi Carlile (Arelene Schnitzer Concert Hall)

Oct. 23rd
Blitzen Trapper (Doug Fir Lounge)
Ani Difranco (Crystal Ballroom)

Oct. 24th
Blitzen Trapper (Doug Fir Lounge)
The Gossip (Wonder Ballroom)

Oct. 25th
The Dodos (Aladdin Theater)

Oct. 30th
Joshua Radin (Aladdin Theater)

Nov. 3rd
Matt Kearney (Roseland Theater)
Dirty Projectors (Aladdin Theater)

Nov. 5th
White Rabbits (Wonder Ballroom)

Nov. 6th
Mother Hips (Doug Fir Lounge)

Nov. 8th
Bishop Allen (Doug Fir Lounge)

Nov. 10th
A Fine Frenzy (Wonder Ballroom)

Nov. 11th
Pinback (Doug Fir Lounge)
They Might Be Giants (Crystal Ballroom)

Nov. 12th
Over The Rhine (Doug Fir Lounge)

Nov. 13th
Over The Rhine (Doug Fir Lounge)
Built To Spill (Wonder Ballroom)

Nov. 14th
The Big Pink (Doug Fir Lounge)
Built To Spill (Wonder Ballroom)

Nov. 17th
Julian Plenti (Wonder Ballroom)

Nov. 18th
Girls (Doug Fir Lounge)

Nov. 21st
The Ascetic Junkies (Silvermoon Brewery)

Nov. 25th
Friendly Fires & The XX (Doug Fir Lounge)

Nov. 28th
The Helio Sequence (Crystal Ballroom)

Dec. 2nd
Justin Nozuka (Wonder Ballroom)

Dec. 4th
Blind Pilot (Wonder Ballroom)

Dec. 5th
Blind Pilot (Wonder Ballroom)
Brett Dennen (Crystal Ballroom)

Got deep pockets? You'll need them!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Bumbershooting Review

Bumbershoot 2009 has been over for nearly a week now. Below is a summation of all the wonderful music the 3 day arts festival had to offer... as well as a few other fun tidbits about the experience.

First... since most of you are dying to know... here's how the bands viewed shaped up in the post Bumbershoot ranking based on the live performance of their music.

1. Michael Franti & Spearhead
2. Akron/Family
3. Yeah Yeah Yeahs
4. Eric Hutchinson
5. Metric
6. Natalie Portman's Shaved Head
7. The Long Winters
8. Jason Mraz
9. Grand Hallway
10. U.S.E. (United States of Electronica)
12. Cold War Kids
13. Say Hi
14. Low vs. Diamond
15. Soul Savers featuring Mark Lanegon
16. Oren Lavie
17. Carrie Rodriguez
18. Everest
19. Visqueen
20. Sera Cahoone
21. The Honey Brothers
22. Matt & Kim
23. Massy Ferguson
24. Black Joe Lews & The Honey Bears
25. The Minus 5
26. Kim Fields & The Mighty Titans of Tone

It could not have been predicted that Michael Franti would have topped this list prior to attending his performance. However, what followed the hour plus crowd sandwich waiting session was nothing short of energy packed brilliance. Spearhead backed up Franti with such success, it was very evident without them, Michael Franti is just a talented guy with a guitar and no real punch. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but doubtful a performance without Spearhead would have boosted Franti to the Bumbershoot top spot. The one song featured in this article's playlist (Franti's first top 40 hit), enjoyed the on stage collaboration of Jason Mraz, as he appeared in a preview of his upcoming performance to sing and riff with Franti.

Akron/Family, in the second slot was only slightly edged out by Franti and Spearhead. This trio delivers a magical performance in the most prolific and overstated way. Delving into a variety of sounds, loops, and imagination, Akron/Family takes thoughtful ideas and weaves them into a creative array of delicious and sometimes dance worthy rock. Capable of slowing things down and connecting with the audience in a slightly more silent way (as evidenced by the song on this article's playlist), Akron/Family truly reaches into all sub-genre's of contemporary rock.

The rest of the list filled out quite nicely for the remainder of the 3 day festival. While all bands desired to be seen, could not be, these 26 were definitely among the best. Other surprises that garner MUST CHECK OUT status are Grand Hallway, U.S.E., UH HUH HER, Low vs. Diamond, & Everest. You can use Playlist or Grooveshark to listen to these groups before purchasing.

Bumbershoot remains the premier way to catch the last bit of summer in a fantastic city, and the views of the Space Needle while listening to some amazing music can't be beat for a wildly genius Labor Day weekend.


1: disappointments
(Matt & Kim failed miserably to provide anything other than a standard performance)

20+: number of people I threw into the crowd for surfing
(save for Natalie Portman's Shaved Head's performance, it was simply the easiest way for people to exit the crowd and not for fun.

34: hours spent standing during the 3 day festival
(If you want to hang in the back for all the shows you can sit a lot more. But with bands like Metric, NPSH, U.S.E., & Yeah Yeah Yeahs... who would want to!?!)

560: total dollar cost of attending Bumbershoot
(hotel 1 1/2 blocks from the festival, groceries from Safeway, ticket, gas, & parking... a total bargain)

3.28: total dollar cost to see each band based on ticket price.
(where else are you ever going to see some of the bands on this list in the Pacific Northwest for under $4? NO WHERE!)


Standing at the very front of the stage, awaiting a performance by The Long Winters I met a man who works for Discussing a band I had never hear of, I was told to "Google" them. I didn't have the heart to call him out on telling me to 'Google' this band rather than "Bing" them, which should have been the response from someone working for MSNBC.


No longer a Yeah Yeah Yeahs virgin. And I'm happy about it! (Sept. 6, 2:52pm)

@shanlee @BendChick let's be clear on this... Are we talkin' poo and vomit? (Sept. 6, 6:03pm)

Michael Franti is like Shaggy... But for real. (Sept. 6, 6:24pm)

Dang. I was gonna stop by the Bumbershoot Alzheimer's booth... But I forgot. (Sept. 7, 2:35pm)

Front row for the next band. Can't remember who it is. Don't care... Not moving. Metric is afterward and that will be AH-mazing! (Sept. 7, 6:04pm)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

2009 Rewind

There has been an explosion of great music so far this year. With new releases from mega band U2, the tenth album from Wilco, and the super punchy 4th album from Phoenix... 2009 has been better for most music libraries than expected. Fall and winter promise to deliver even more of the best and excitement abounds over what hidden gems await!

In a year dripping with a bountiful flow of heavily reviewed albums and muted successes... here are ten albums that you may have easily overlooked. Before continuing down the trail of 2009 and forgetting what was behind, shore up your collection with something from this list.

Fanfarlo: Reservoir (release date June 1st, 2009) After tempting all of us with a handful of singles released over the last two years, London's Fanfarlo finally delivered their debut LP in June. Reservoir is easily summed up with two words "repeat button". Fanfarlo has succeeded in writing music with layered lyrics and layered instruments in a way slightly more accessible than New Mexico's Zach Condon. Similarities between Condon's Beruit and Fanfarlo are easy to come by, but Fanfarlo's sound is just a touch more fun and sounds more like the "band next door".

Deastro: Moondagger (release date June 2nd, 2009) A very young talent from Michigan, with tons of music in store for the future, Richard Chabot's project Deastro jumped at the chance to share a quirky yet smooth blend of electro alt-rock with all of us in 2009. Moondagger is the perfect soundtrack for traveling the stars... in style.

Antony & The Johnsons: The Crying Light (release date January 20th, 2009) A slightly shaky voice, drenched with sincerity, backed up against an orchestral sound, stabs at hearts from behind the tracks on The Crying Light. A nearly experimental sound, Antony & The Johnsons draws upon blues and alt-pop to secure a spot among one of the best albums of 2009.

Foreign Born: Person To Person (release date June 23rd, 2009) The first appearance by an Indie Rock band in this list is, L.A.'s Foreign Born. The band's name more aptly describes their sound, than where they currently call home does. Person To Person, a European natured album, should please Indie Rock fans track after track.

The Generationals: Con Law (release date July 21st, 2009) New Orleans' based band that tripped into some early 60's rock on their way to Indie glory and then didn't wipe themselves off before cutting an album. Works out great for us that they lack a bit of musical hygiene.

The Mummers: Tale To Tell (release date April 6th, 2009) An English version of Portland, Oregon's Pink Martini, The Mummers provide traditional & classical music with a slight twist and deeply beautiful arrangements.

Telekinesis: Telekinesis! (release date April 7th, 2009) More than grunge and dark rock comes from Seattle Washington, as evidenced by the hip sound of Telekinesis. Perky and scratchy sounds are used to bottle this extremely effective Indie Pop-Rock album.

Sin Fang Bous: Clangour (release date December 31st, 2008) Okay... so we are fudging the 2009 release date a bit on this one. But if you were knee deep in New Year festivities like we were, than you probably failed to notice the debut solo release Clangour from Seabear's front man Sindri Sigfusson until after the clock stuck midnight. Shrouded in flowing Icelandic Indie Pop, Sing Fan Bous flirts with the quited sounds of Sufjan Stevens and The Shins and frames that sound with an array of instrumentation.

Kurt Vile: God Is Saying This To You? (release date March 3rd, 2009) Probably the most unpolished artist on this list, Kurt Vile's 2009 album, God Is Saying This To You? is the easiest of the list to lose yourself in. A drifting incense of acoustic and electric guitar, Vile's music captures the essence of the 70's while preserving a relevant place among the 21st century elite alt-rock talents.

The Rural Alberta Advantage: Hometowns (release date May 26th, 2009) Lost in the May hoopla surrounding the release of the new Phoenix album, The Rural Alberta Advantage released a completely successful Indie Pop effort with Hometowns. Pairing seemingly off-tempo drum beats with cello and melodic vocals, Alberta Advantage finds a winning combo for a great end of summer album.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Catch The Last Rays

If you are still looking for that live music experience to change the landscape of your semi-mundane summer. Or if a concert is the only thing that your jam packed summer of 2009 is missing in order to be complete. There are still some great tickets that can be purchased and some outstanding shows to be seen.
Match up some of these dates with your calendar and see if you can't be part of the summer music scene. Not all are outdoors... but all are sure to provide heat.

July 31st-Aug. 2nd
Pendarvis Farm: Portland, OR

July 31st
Silvermoon Brewery: Bend, OR

Aug. 3rd
Doug Fir Lounge: Portland, OR

Aug. 7th
Doug Fir Lounge: Portland, OR

Aug. 14th
The Aladdin Theater: Portland, OR

Aug. 20th
McMeniman's Edgefield: Troutdale, OR

Aug. 22nd
Doug Fir Lounge: Portland, OR

Aug. 22nd
The Roseland Theatre: Portland, OR

Aug. 27th
Wonder Ballroom: Portland, OR

Aug. 28th
Oregon Zoo: Portland, OR

Aug. 29th
Britt Pavilion: Jacksonville, OR

Sept. 6th
Doug Fir Lounge: Portland, OR

Sept. 15th
The Roseland Theater: Portland, OR

Sept. 12th & 13th
Sisters' Folk Festival: Sisters, OR

Sept. 21st, 22nd, 23rd
Crystal Ballroom: Portland, OR

Sept. 27th
Wonder Ballroom: Portland, OR

Sept. 27th
McMeniman's Edgefield: Troutdale, OR

Sept. 28th
Doug Fir Lounge: Portland, OR

Look for shows coming this fall from Ingrid Michaelson, Miike Snow, Mute Math, The Dodos, Airborne Toxic Event, Snow Patrol, Grizzly Bear, Brandi Carlile, and two performances by Over The Rhine!
Tickets for most are on sale now!

Friday, July 10, 2009

My Man Michael...

With some dust settling over the death of one of our country's most tremendously talented sons, and some dust just beginning to be stirred up... I feel the time is finally right for me to weigh in on the life and music of Michael Jackson.

Dropped and then firmly planted into the world of music by the time I was six. Michael Jackson served as much a purpose for shaping my early love of beautiful sound as did The Beatles, Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, and Prince. Easily noticed by me, Michael's never ending charisma and enchantment drew me in with undeniable gravity to see him as the true embodiment of "captivation" that he was. My love of his music, dance, and presentation of both was not special from the same love shared by others all over the world... but it did at times seem that it was. Hidden behind my bedroom door, volume cranked up on the record player, practicing Michael Jackson dance steps, I became a part of the MJ experience. Billie Jean, P.Y.T., The Way You Make Me Feel, Smooth Criminal, Jam, Who Is It, and virtually every other Michael Jackson song triumphed over my much of my music listening for over 15 years. Nothing that has happened in the subsequent years has ever eliminated that past from relevancy.

There will always be cynics who take cheap jabs at the deceased King Of Pop. There will always be those who work to discredit Jackson as a kook or diminish his contributions by overshadowing them with allegations of questionable character. I will continue in the future, as I have in the past, to attribute only one descriptive word to him... Love. Michael Jackson existed as the person he was, solely because of Love. Whether it was his love for children and the fans of the world or the absence of love from his father and mother; love played a critical role in shaping this man into who the rest of us got to know through his interviews, music, and most of all his treatment of other people. Jackson created whole worlds where children could feel safe. I doubt that he ever said a cruel word to a child or anyone else for that matter.

Michael remained a child himself until the day he died. It isn't a joke or a forced self characterization for him to say (as he did several times) that he was Peter Pan. Never really allowed to grow up, Michael spent his entire life, from cradle to grave, surrounded by people who exploited him in ways completely similar to those found in third world countries, but made commercially lucrative by the rest of the world. Not one single person ever looked out for Michael Jackson. The fans who loved him more than any blood relative ever seemed to, were never granted the type of access needed in order to actually help him and it's quite possible that even some who said they loved Michael, would have continued to see him merely as personal entertainment had they been granted that access.

I for one have spent the last decade dealing with a heart that ached for the man each time some news tidbit surfaced or each time he came on television and tried to be himself. I would whisper under my breath "they won't understand you Michael". When the final blow came, and he was actually charged and put on trial for the molestation of children, it was difficult for me to comprehend guilt or innocence. I could easily see him as someone who would non-maliciously conduct himself inappropriately with children but I could also see him as someone who was capable only of loving a child without inhibition and in a completely non-sexual way. Almost loving them the way I believe God loves us. Either way... Michael loved people and his ability to love others with such foreign brashness is ultimately what led him to become the naive wreck we saw over the last ten years.

Michael Jackson NEVER lived in the same world as you and I. He NEVER learned to look at things and people the way we do. Jackson NEVER had a practical approach to survival because his life was never practical. He didn't become famous as an adult and he wasn't one of those child stars that burn bright, then fade in their twenties, left to find a new path of survival that forces a reality check. This man grew up in a fantasy, matured (if you can call it that), in a fantasy, and perished... still very much immersed in a fantasy. How can our understanding of life possibly be used to decipher the behavior and conduct of Michael Jackson?

I choose to stay grounded in what I did know of the man. His known actions displayed incredible love. His known actions displayed incredible childishness. His known actions produced incredible and historical catalogues of music, dance, and life to the fullest. In many ways I've been mourning this man for the last ten years. Now... because of his death, I finally have the contented and quieted heart necessary to say... rest in peace Michael... and I am completely confident that God is providing that for him.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Greg Laswell: 2nd Time Around

The previous blurb review of a Greg Laswell performance posted by our sister site, more than adequately defines what it is to see Greg Laswell live. Listening to his music is sufficient in leading the listener into the heart of a Laswell show, and most words that can be rendered by a writer are left grasping to lead a reader into the presence of such an experience. This was true after the quieted set delivered by Greg and his guitar player, Brandon at Portland's Doug Fir Lounge in February and in most ways, continues to be true when attempting to paint a picture of Greg's performance at Eugene's Wow Hall this past weekend. Though this time, it was a bit different.

A full band accompanied Greg and Brandon, transforming his songs from subtly sinking, into hard hitting expressions of emotion. Not able to label one show better than the other... only the word 'different' can be used, and only in its strongest sense. Allowing for moments of the earlier performance's grace by dropping in a few songs played solo by Greg, this Wow Hall set featured drums and bass guitar on many of the songs that made each one more of a journey than in the previous show, culminating in a fantastically varied version of Greg's friendship song 'Comes And Goes (In Waves)'. Beginning the song very much like the Doug Fir performance with only Greg and Brandon; this song transitioned into an anthem by the end, with help from some of the most powerful vocals ever delivered by Greg.

As with his Doug Fir show, Greg continued to connect with the audience through his song descriptions and smartly positioned witticisms. He seemed to feed off the listeners' reactions to his heart filled music. Much evidence derived from the night indicates that Greg seems to show up for life with a great ability to simplify what the masses would complicate. His story telling sums up turmoil in wonderfully impactful lines like "I like how the day sounds through this new song" or " I searched high and low for you and I". His lullaby love song, "Sweet Dream" does so, not with just a singular line, but with everything the song became during Greg's abbreviated writing of the song.

Seven of Greg's songs are featured along with this article and should not be looked upon as a 'best of', but rather a lure into his library which promises to connect with you in one fashion or another. Treat yourself to the exploration.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

RTL Gets A Stamp!

The word "Approved" is stamped all over this talent from Bend, Oregon! It is one of the rarest labels given to artists and bands from Central Oregon by this site. In fact, in this site's opinion, only the smallest handful have qualified for it so far... but Reed Thomas Lawrence was the first.

Finding wisdom for music design through collaboration with other great talents, RTL has blossomed into a great story telling lyricist. Fun and upbeat tracks? Yes. But puff pieces? No. Even early on, Reed was writing songs that traced emotions through events very effectively. This talent only gained strength through the years and took it's most defined shape with last year's release of Reed's self titled LP. Supported by great videos by Rage Films, Reed is launching himself into success and maintaining a childlike exuberance that makes watching him climb through the ranks of artistry so enjoyable.

Reed's first ventures into a recording studio in 2005 produced some great pop songs with an almost jazz feel to them (and if you were lucky enough to have some of this early unreleased music you knew it was the beginning of something special). Since then, RTL has incorporated a fantastic reggae sound into the music that frames his words. The track "Music" even contains elements of that great mid 90's SKA sound and all but demands that you start to move to the beat. His lyrics are accessible and flowing, lacking nothing and are the perfect compliment to the music.

Recently added to the line-up for the gigantic music festival in Rothbury, Michigan in July, RTL will be previewing his outdoor set here in Bend on Sunday June 14th at the Les Schwab Amphitheatre as part of the free summer concert series. This is a must see show for all Central Oregon music lovers and a chance to see Bend's fastest rising star perform for all the people that have helped him achieve so much. PHOTO BY BEN MOON

Saturday, May 9, 2009

i-tunes Killer?

Murderous for the casual music, top 40, or legendary band listeners? No. But for those steeped in the glory of independent music and the wonderment of the unknown, emusic is as dangerous to i-tunes as television viewers with good taste are to the Tyra Banks Show (see: "things on tv in hell" for more).

With a story full of buyouts, pioneering marketing, and growth, emusic has continued to adapt into the triumphant site it is today. Primarily a music store, but including so much more, is unmatched by i-tunes in many ways. Unable to secure the rights to make artists recording on the four big record labels available, emusic has found its niche by offering music from artists found on the world's best independent labels. As a result they have realized very unique and affordable ways to bring music to the masses. A subscription service with varying levels of commitment. Here's what you will experience should you choose to partner with emusic in your quest to find great music.

Affordable music: You can choose the level at which you would like to subscribe and by doing so choose how much you would like to pay per song. With monthly subscriptions ranging from $11.99 to $19.99 and song prices from .40 per song to .25 per song, anyone can find a comfortable price point. Subscriptions are month to month and you can cancel at anytime. Right now signing up comes with a bonus 50 downloads, which means you can get your first months' songs for as low as .13 each. Head to and check out a 25 free download/7 day trial offer with no obligation.

Music Exploration: emusic brings the best of the web to one convenient site. Once on an artist's/band's page, you will find Youtube videos, flickr pictures, reviews, and wikipedia articles all imported and available for you to check out without doing the surfing yourself. Also, and in a very i-tunes 'genius' type way, emusic uses your own tastes in music, including your download information, to suggest new artist and albums for your collection. And while i-tunes may offer a free download only once a week, emusic offers a free download every single day! With special emusic links to Pandora, KEXP, and more... emusic is THE total package when it comes to discovering your music in more meaningful ways.

DRM Free: That's right! All of the music offered on emusic is DRM free (one of the reason why the big four record labels won't do business with them). When you get started you will choose which library you would like your files downloaded to and organized in. All songs are completely compatible with i-pods and Zunes.

Selection: emusic has a library chalk full of the worlds' best independent indie rock, pop, jazz, classical, alt rock, and more. You can find fresh artists like The Decemberists, Stars, Camera Obscura, The Dodos, and many greats like Al Green, Creedence Clearwater and even Nine Inch Nails. In all 4.5million songs can be found on, and with emusic's ability to suggest music to you based on your previous selections, their library comes to your doorstep with minimal searching required.

Extras: With user profiles and a vast online community of other music lovers, emusic allows you to share your tastes and glean knowledge from others. emusic also offers audio book subscriptions at very affordable prices with a great selection of top authors.

The ultimate music exploration and music owning experience awaits you at!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Music Mirror

Even as the journey to Portland to see Alexi Murdoch began, it was evident that music would play a big part in the weekend. Certain songs played for the first time in the car while driving through the snow would forever be etched into my memory as instant links to the trip. Without ever really forming the concrete thought prior to the trip, but realizing it early in the drive... music's ability to shape our memories is one of the more beautiful things about it. More so than a new song's ability to remind us of days gone by, its true triumph is found when a song can define what's happening to us today and then serve as a means to recall those memories and emotions when we hear that music later in life. With the music of The Lighthouse & The Whaler providing that future connection on the drive over the mountain, Alexi Murdoch's performance at the Doug Fir Lounge and his album Time Without Consequence served to frame the rest of the weekend and subsequent drive back to Central Oregon.

Alexi found a packed Doug Fir Lounge awaiting to hear his quieted and deep voice drench us with his rich emotion filled songs. Camping out in seemingly singular chords, his sound became increasingly complex as it entered the ear. Surprisingly, without literal story telling... stories were told none the less. Songs like "Wait" and "All My Days", were shells of stories that the listener was able to fill in with his or her own specifics.

As Alexi performed "Song For You" (his sympathetic ode to trying times), he plucked tears out of his guitar and drew us into thoughts of those in our lives who need to know we get what they are going through. "You think no one understands... listen to my hands..." is evidence that his guitar playing is much more than merely a nice sounding background for his lyrics. The music is just as much a part of the story as the words.

The best performance of the night wasn't one of his more popular songs "All My Days" or "Orange Sky", but his uplifting spring song "Blue Mind". A tale of breaking free from the shackles of past oppression, Blue Mind, served as the largest source of reflection on the drive home (meaning the repeat button was pressed several times). A true poet and talent, Scotland's Alexi Murdoch will be a welcome visitor to Oregon and a must see artist for those of you yet to see yourselves in the mirror of his music.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Sultry Sounds Of Spring

Before the free reign of sunshine and just prior to the rise in the mercury, the Pacific Northwest will provide some of the best indoor Spring concerts you can find. Until the giant summer sounds of U2, Coldplay, Tom Petty, & Dave Matthews flood the great outdoor venues, some wonderfully thoughtful and stormy sounds can be heard coming from performances at The Doug Fir Lounge, The Aladdin Theatre, The Crystal Ballroom, and The Wonder Ballroom in Portland, Oregon; and will typically cost only a fraction of admission to those mega summer attractions. With smaller venues and amazing line-ups, pre-sale ticket offers become more important than ever; regardless of the absence of reserved seating. So sign up for email updates from,, and That way you can be one of the first to catch a ticket to some great shows like...

Thursday April 9th
The Friendly Fires
Doug Fir Lounge

Sunday April 12th
Fleet Foxes w/Blitzen Trapper
Crystal Ballroom *SOLD OUT*

Friday April 17th
Doug Fir Lounge

Sunday April 19th
Mates Of State
Wonder Ballroom

Monday April 20th
Noah & The Whale
Doug Fir Lounge

Wednesday May 6th
Rocco Deluca & The Burden w/Joshua James
The Aladdin Theatre

Wednesday May 6th & Thursday May 7th
The Shins
Crystal Ballroom

Thursday May 14th
Flight Of The Conchords
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall

Saturday May 17th
The Kills
Wonder Ballroom

Wednesday May 27th
Doug Fir Lounge

Thursday June 4th
Camera Obscura
Wonder Ballroom

Friday June 5th
Wonder Ballroom

Friday June 5th & Saturday June 6th
Neko Case
The Aladdin Theatre

Thursday June 11th
Brandi Carlile
The Aladdin Theatre

(sounds of Spring playing @ the bottom of this page courtesy of

COMING LATER THIS MONTH: Look for reviews of some great ways to discover new music, listen for free, and even own some music for free!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Sasquatch Support

What makes the Sasquatch Music Festival (held every Memorial Day weekend @ The Gorge Amphitheatre) deserving of Must See status, is more than the headlining acts of the three day event. The bands and artists that make the trek up to Central Washington in order to fill the all day schedule in support of those main acts, typically end up being the bands people talk about on the drive home or when back at camp waiting for the next day's lineup. These 'opening acts' can also be the main draw for ticket buyers who are plugged into the the music world 365 days a year.
This week's article will expose you to a few of the groups you can expect to see at Sasquatch this year. Providing support for the likes of Kings Of Leon, Jane's Addicition, and Ben Harper is a quaint disguise for the fact that these bands could easily headline their own tours and in most cases are.

PASSION PIT: Electro Pop dripping with sincerity and fun. Passion Pit delivers a sound more complex than The Postal Service and deeper than Ratatat. Filled with rocking synth and thumping beats, this Cambridge artist and helpers deliver an uplifting and fanciful sound sure to rock those in attendance at The Gorge. Chunk of Change is the band's EP and precursor to their upcoming full album. Tracks like "I've Got Your Number" and "Better Things" show the thoughtful side of the band's front man and writer, Michael Angelakos. While "Sleepyhead" grabs you by the lapel and throws you instantly into the middle of a swanky dance club in London.

VIVA VOCE: Latin for 'live voice'... Viva Voce is that voice from the seventies, still flourishing today. Formed in 1998 and now, in a round about way, from Portland Oregon, Viva Voce drives away all doubting that drawing on sounds from the past is one of the best ways to be relevant today. With many indie rock bands calling in a little help from the 80's, Viva Voce has dipped their pen in ink a little older and added their own style of folk music to the mix. Not even shy to use bass beats mixed with banjo, Viva Voce is the epitome of indie music. (Check them out early with a show at Portland's Aladdin Theatre on March 28th)

AA BONDY: A sound saturated with the roots of life, AA Bondy and his acoustic guitar tell stories you can lose yourself in. His life is rich and he shares it. For more on this Alabama native you can read his posted Biography @ This is an elegantly written bio and will immediately pluck the reader from their own reality.

There is much more music posted to play along with this article at the bottom of the page. Great intricate sounds from Santogold, wonderful orchestral indie folk pieces from another Portland Oregon favorite, Loch Lomond, and melancholy rock from Sun Kil Moon. In all Sasquatch will provide 3 full days of music that will tempt even those only looking for a good time to fall in love with music in new and meaningful ways. For more on how you can become a part of the landscape painted by the music on this page and a possible life changing concert experience visit

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Beirut, America

A common theme one might notice take shape at the beginning of many articles written regarding the band Beirut, is that this music, isn't for everyone. That while brilliant, unique, and talented, this band fronted by Sante Fe native Zach Condon, is for a certain kind of music listener. That his voice won't find favor with some and that the lyrical content of his music will be lost to others. From the first moment the sweet sounds of Beirut poured from my mid 1990's Altec Lansing PC speakers... I would have taken issue with those prior assessments, had I known they existed.

It is quite a statement of fact to say that the product of Beirut is going to be different for the average music listener. But to say that this music isn't for everyone, should actually just be a nice way of saying spoon fed top 40 listeners will find the quality of Beirut elusive. Not because of what this music is... but rather because of their own lack of discernment regarding what really makes great music.

With Beirut, a variety of sounds clash resulting in something magically difficult to slap a label on. Never a fan of using mixtures of other bands or artists to describe a new group to someone who hasn't heard their music before; I don't think it could be done for Beirut even if I attempted. Certainly not by using any American bands available. The most likely reason for this is the traveling of young Zach and the timing of those travels. Condon experienced late in his teen years the wonders of Europe and European folk music. Lucky for us it happened to shape his future explorations.

Strings, horns, accordions, tambourines, electronic beats, and an array of other instruments I won't even pretend to know the names of, are somehow blended together as if each one of them were invented solely as the perfect compliment to each other. While it is true some songs will take time to understand the occasionally complex lyrics, the feelings inspired by this music are instant and aggressive. The places the music will take you to are foreign and yet also home. Probably because a foreign land was the birth place of Condon's genius and yet most of what ends up being shared with us on Beirut's albums is produced in Brooklyn.

Beirut's third and latest completed work, March of the Zapotec/Holland, a double EP, shows Condon's growing depth of understanding. Not only depth in understanding what his soul wants to say through music but also the depth of possibilities involved with the kind of music he is creating. The first released single from the album, "My Night With The Prostitute From Marseille" triumphs in realizing that depth while keeping Condon's story accessible to the listener. Simple electro pop is all he needs to relate a complex series of events. Yet Condon can still drum up musical epics like "Postcards From Italy" and "The Concubine".

Currently touring through Europe one can remain hopeful that Beirut will be supporting their new double EP album in the states either late this summer or in the fall. Until we are blessed with such an announcement, the entire Beirut collection is available at i-tunes. Give the 10 songs on this page a listen and take a vacation to Europe, or to Mexico, but definitely into the heart of Zach Condon and Beirut.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

DF News... A Glance Ahead.

There are many shows at The Doug Fir Lounge remaining over the next three months that would be fantastic ways to spend your tax return. Luckily with shows at the DF costing on average 12 bones... you won't have to shell out much of that return and can easily use the bulk of it to buy tickets to see Coldplay at the Gorge in July. (@ nearly $127 a pop... that's no exaggeration)

The music playing on this page comes from each of the 3 featured bands/artists

Feb 24th: RA RA RIOT

This indie power rock quintet from Syracuse NY, has been speeding though the music scene and experiencing success doing it! Touring last year with Vampire Weekend, Ra Ra Riot has been spreading their brand of energy through the States and Europe. Continuing on after their drummer died in 2007... Riot has been able to recover and release their debut album "The Rhumb Line". A triumphant debut and tribute to the contributions of their late drummer, Rhumb Line delivers track after track of road trip worthy songs. Check out the two songs posted here for but a taste of why you will see more of them in the future.


Current front man from Mojave 3 and former front man of Slowdive, Neil Halstead has found new life recording a solo album for Brushfire records. Halstead's blend of acoustic guitar and thoughtful lyrics will have you eagerly straining to figure out his heart and his connection to his songs. Originally from England, this bearded wonder is fully integrated into the American music scene and isn't going anywhere for a long time. Be sure and check out these two songs here plus find some more great tracks from Mojave 3 and Slowdive at

April 23rd: COLD WAR KIDS

This California rock quartet has been around for nearly 5 years and yet you might not have heard of them. Just into their 2nd Album, Cold War Kids are a critically acclaimed band working hard to forge their way into land occupied by Radiohead and The White Stripes. While only one of several great shows available at DF in April, Cold War Kids promises to be the best because of the ability to see such a great rising talent in such a small intimate venue. Not that your heart will be moved by the powerful rock of CWK... but you will for sure find your soul jump started.

Cheque out these other great DF shows in the days to come:

Feb. 20th: THE MOTHER HIPS w/local favorites DERBY


Mar. 2nd: MATT WERTZ



Just to name a few...

Monday, February 2, 2009

Future Faces Of Music

It's cutting edge music at it's sharpest! Noisetrade offers the patient listener the best of tomorrow's musicians. If you are at all like me... you'll want to get in on them now via before you get annoyed by hearing their songs in commercials or drifting from the next cubicle over; played by the person who has no idea what good music is until it's on the radio and then acts like they were the first to know about them... even though it's the band's third album.

Noisetrade is a sharing site for artists trying to increase awareness of their music. Downloads of entire albums, EP's, and song samplers are made available through this unique and very "Radioheadesque" way. Artists join the community... post their music... and then offer it to listeners by download one of two ways. Visitors may choose to retrieve their music for free, by providing email addresses to five friends OR choose to pay whatever they would like for the music (minimum one dollar) and help out a budding talent.

There are a variety of genres and varying levels of brilliance. A gem is nothing near as hard to find as a needle in a haystack... but you will definitely need to put forth some effort to find something you will want to either add to your collection or pass on to friends. The site only offers 30 second clips of the available songs but provides links to artists' Facebook and Myspace pages for concert dates and complete song recordings. Featured on this blog are songs from 6 of the bands/artists found on Noisetrade, that I will be watching in 2009. Katie Herzig and Jessica Lee Mayfield have already been to Portland's Doug Fir Lounge this year and I am hoping for return visits in the future.

A special offer available now on Noisetrade, is a great subscription price to PASTE Magazine. As with the available songs, you can choose to pay whatever you want for a one year, 11 issue/11 CD subscription to PASTE (minimum one dollar). I went ahead and kicked them 5 bones for what I am sure will be a year's worth of solid music recommendations and reading/listening material. (special note: the deal does require an automatic renewal for $19.95 at the end of the year unless you cancel your subscription prior to... so watch for it).

Regardless of how much you choose to experience this great website with the freshest music around... I am sure you will find something you will be excited to bring up at the water cooler or turn the volume up on when you have friends in your car.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Portland Radio Authority = Broadcast Genius

There is no specific music to accompany this article. What you will hear playing are the brilliant tunes of Greg Laswell, Newton Faulkner, & Justin Nozuka. Brilliant in the exact same way that the Internet broadcast of Portland Radio Authority is brilliant. Though I was brand new to this listening experience just tonight... it did not take long for me to realize it was shooting right to the top of my music life.

Portland Radio Authority (found at on your world wide web dial) is a volunteer based Internet radio station that is as diverse as the city of Portland itself. A variety of personalities and music genres can be found here. The freedom the volunteer DJ's have to play great music is unmatched on your, (dare I say) obsolete FM radio. I stumbled across this station because an old friend of mine is the proud owner of the 4pm to 6pm slot on Sunday evenings. Matt Neff runs a show called "Fanfare" and he plays some of the best rock around. Artists that I'm sure most of you have never heard before but will desperately want the names of when you tune in next week. (something else I am sure you will do)

Even in the hour of radio I am currently listening to I have heard Marvin Gaye and now Styx. Proof positive that this radio station will give you the new music you have been longing to impress your friends with knowledge of and the old classics that your heart yearns for. I have a feeling that you... like me... will not be turning this station off. Other than when your boss nears your cubicle and the appearance of productivity takes priority over your daily vacations into great music.

So when you are done listening to the music posted on this page... and if you feel you have exhausted the current music Que on this sites sister blog, head over to Portland Radio Authority and set up camp. Only.. this wilderness campground will have no signs posted thwarting your happiness by requiring all loud music to be turned off at 10pm. And the only wildlife around will be the burly rock and the vicious soul spun by Matt Neff, etal.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

KaiserCartel in Review

The first concert of 2009 for me featured in the second slot, this wonderful duo from Brooklyn NY. Genuine personality and sound that can best be described as "pure". Other then utilizing a guitarist from the main act of the night to play some tambourine on "Okay", all singing and instrumentation for their performance at the Doug Fir Lounge last night came from Courtney Kaiser and Benjamin Cartel.

Courtney's voice rang out strong in the small and terrific basement of the Doug Fir. We were treated to a very intimate performance of virtually every song on their debut album "March Forth". Benjamin is a true master of the percussion. By himself he was able to simulate an entire group of performers and change the dynamics of a song by lowering or raising his energy level while playing.

A true sweetheart, Courtney was very pleasant to talk with after the show and I could tell she was thoroughly enjoying the praise from all of us that she got a chance to talk to. Yet she remained humble and had a child like twinkle in her eyes.

The set was capped off with the duo hushing the audience and leaving the stage to come out to us. Courtney's sang a beautiful song and Benjamin backed her up while playing acoustic guitar. Courtney made eye contact with nearly each of us as they did this. And for a second or two... she was singing to each of us individually. A truly unique finish to a wonderful show.

Two of their songs are featured below.

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Best Of PDX

This coming weekend, I will realize an opportunity to see first hand, in concert, a true musical gem. Blind Pilot will be performing at The Aladdin theatre in the band's home town of Portland, Oregon on January 17th and I cannot imagine anything that could possibly keep me from this show. Living in Bend typically presents a problem for seeing Portland bands as many of them perfom on weeknights. This had made it impossible for me to see Blind Pilot up unitl this point. The day this Saturday show was announced... tickets were in my hand.

As I prepared to write this article about (in my opinion) the best band in Portland today... I read a few things that other people had written just to make sure that I wasn't alone in my complete love of their music. I was surprised to read many of the same thoughts that have been running through my head since last summer. When I purchased their first album "Three Rounds And A Sound", it literally did not leave my car CD player for a month. Thrice shortly after purchasing the album did I make the three hour trip from Bend to the valley and each drive and subsequent return trip, the smooth and quiet yet wildly charasmatic music of Israel Nebeker & Ryan Dobrowski continued to play over and over and over. I memorized every voice influction, every word, every story recounted by these two... dare I say... geniuses.

The first song "Oviedo" (featured below) is by far my favorite as my i-tunes counter will easily show (currently listed at some 67 plays). The clearly personal nature of the lyrics coupled with the soft sullen drums and guitar are a mixture dripping with sincerety. When the horns come in to the song it becomes a triumphant deconstruction of feelings. Only a talented lyrisist could take a typical bar scene containing an intoxicated female and her gin breath and turn that image into something beautiful. "There were nights in bars that I recall, your breath was courage laced with alcohol" is by far my favorite line in the song. It paints a picture of a guy and girl feeling like they are the only two people in the bar. A familiar exchange that most of us have no doubt experienced at some point in our lives.

And just before that line...

"Maybe somethings are better left unsaid, but if you wanted to test that out, well... I guess you could have said."

I can't say for sure just how deep the emotions really run with these two. But their lyrics drop me into a large tub of reality everytime I listen to their music.

This band has also garnered themselves quite the reputation for live perfomances after completing a very unique tour last year of the West Coast. The two member band, Blind Pilot toured small towns and did it all on their bicycles. No help toting around their instruments and equipment by following vehicles, just what they could pull/carry with themselves on bicycles. A crazy indication that this band is not sapped with the average "let's make it huge" hollywood mentality.

If anyone has the means to get themselves to this show on the 17th. You must. The two other bands playing that night will not be anything even close to disappointing and will add to a great experience. After this show and one in Astoria, Blind Pilot will not be in Oregon again for a very long time, as their tour takes them to the East Coast through the end of the Spring. If nothing else... buy... the... album. I dare you to hit eject on your CD player once it's in. Even if you succeed in doing so... it won't last long. I guarantee it.