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)