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.