Dance

We Danced the Night Away with Ezra Bell, The Bevelers and Fanno Creek

Music like the music that Ezra Bell makes is living proof that not all musicians need to hide behind heavy effects: fuzz, distortion, reverb, and even auto-tune to make music that people really enjoy listening to, and that was very apparent at their EP release last Wednesday. They played alongside the Bevelers and Fanno Creek, gracing Mississippi Studios with some deeply beautiful, danceable and heartfelt tunes.

The Bevelers played first as the crowd filtered in, and although the two-piece group has a soft demeanor, it was impossible not to pay attention. The foundation of their whole set is their two beautiful voices creating harmonies so sad and lovely at the same time that you want to get lost in the world that their voices create.

Ezra Bell played second in the evening when attendance was at its peak, kicking off their set with a few familiar songs. Ezra Bell is such a complex machinery of humans and instruments and it seems like having 7 people on stage, something shouldn’t work about their set-up. But everything works. Their music is complicated yet not cacophonous, focusing more on interesting sound pairings than everyone fighting for focus. Even the bass and drums took turns being the lead rhythmic force of a song, which felt uncommon, but was just one of many facets of their music that sets them apart from other folk-pop bands around Portland and beyond.

The audience at Mississippi Studios was stoked to see them, cheering loudly between songs and singing along with their older music, which sounds every bit as tight as their recordings. It’s rare that a local band can get an entire audience to dance along rather than stand stoically, arms crossed, but it’s really hard not to dance when you listen to them.

Fanno Creek ended the night with a surfier, and less folk influenced set by comparison. Ezra Bell was the ideal middle point between Fanno Creek and the Bevelers because unlike the previous bands, Fanno Creek is heavier and more bluesy. They were the perfect choice to end the night though, because, despite a big chunk of the audience leaving, those who stayed were ready to dance and Fanno Creek is dance-y as hell.

Together, all three bands were a match made in lineup heaven, giving the crowd a solid range of folk and pop music to groove along to all night long. You can check out Ezra Bell’s new EP, We Came by Canoe here:

- Photos and story by Sarah Eaton

   

The Life Electric: Q&A about gear and creative process

Active since 2011, Boston's The Life Electric play rather aggressive but always melodic rock'n'roll, with psych and disco influences. Their personal guitar sound is crafted through carefully chosen stompboxes, so we decided to ask them a few questions about their gear and creative process - check out the interview on Delicious Audio.

   

The Foresters (CT) Release New Single: "Machines"

Today, Bethany, CT's (yes, I had to look it up on Google Maps too) The Foresters released their latest single, "Machines", off of their upcoming record Sun Songs. The track starts off with a guitar riff reminiscent of Queens of the Stone Age, before launching into more of a dance-rock tune for the remainder of the song. "Machines" carries an intense energy thorughout its duration, compelling the listener to grab a tambourine and join in the dance party. The group have a string of dates booked throughout July (mostly in CT), but hopefully they'll consider a couple of shows further north.

For more info about the band, click here.

-Dan McMahon (@dmcmhn)


   

What the Festival is Set to Deliver an Epic Fourth Year

The days are getting longer and the weather dude is telling me the temperature isn’t going to dip below 80 degrees anytime soon, so this could only mean one thing, What The Festival 2015 is right around the corner! This year marks the festival’s fourth go-around, and the folks that put this shindig together are gearing up Oregon’s Wolf Run Ranch for another successful weekend.

This festival has a little bit of everything. It takes place on a gorgeous campground about 25 miles east of Mt. Hood. There’s enough room to walk through a (glow in the dark!) forest, lounge on plush sofas, benches, and any other designated or non-designated chill zones, dance in a splash pool with a stage that pumps out beats all day long. You can attend workshops, go to yoga and all that jazz. And to top it off, you get to witness a slew of the top producers and DJs in the game.

Names like Big Gigantic, Griz, and Seattle’s ODESZA top the list of a funkafied lineup, and there is also a number of local acts and up-and-coming artists that fill out the three day extravaganza. This event is held in Oregon for good reason. There is plenty of Portland influence, especially on the music side, here is a list of local flavor:

Indubious – Electronic reggae, or reggae with electronics. Somewhere in the middle of that is the hard hitting duo from Ashland. A live bass player and keys/and synths mix beautifully in front of beats will go off in psychedelic tangents, but always find their way back to the traditional reggae songs they’ve been making for years.

Hustle and Drone – Synth pop straight outta Portland. H&D has seen a large growth of success over the past year. The songs they write have an indie rock influence and always hold a danceable beat.

Ernest Lovers w/ Pete Krebs – Quite a bit of a different pace than the majority of the lineup, but these are local legendary song writers. They will provide a nice break from the chaos and give your brain cells a minute to rejuvenate with some slow and melodic honky tonk.

EPROM – Bass heavy with a little bit of hip hop. EPROM is one of the most notable Portland acts on the list and is set to have a big summer. He makes his beats with old school drum and bass influences and touches and dabbles of dubstep and trap. It’s damn near impossible not to dance for this.

Solovox – Piano extraordinaire and beat maker. Carl Solovox knows how incorporate his refined piano skills and put them to use on a synthesizer. He’s been known to remix some classic rock and roll (Johnny Cash, AC DC, the list goes on) and always creates a dance party of epic proportions.

Barisone – Master of silk and smooth. Barisone has become a household name in the Portland community with a steady working relationship with FAK Wednesdays and Bubblin. His music is grounded in hip hop and R&B and will change what you thought you knew about the word “sexy.”

Device Grips – straight up dance funk – full band! The (relatively) new Portland band, Device Grips are making their name quickly with blues infused horn-heavy funk with a little bit of rap n’ roll to create some of the liveliest music out there. Don’t be the person that has to tell people a year from now that you missed this set because you were trying to get a burrito (nothing against burritos, but trust me on this one).

Lovebomb Go-Go Marching Band – One of the most extravagant acts you’ll see, ever. This band hails from outer space, I assume, given their space helmets and vibrant clad of silver linings that make up their uniforms. Who knows what they’re going to pull out for a festival like this?

Other notable local artists include: Chrome Wolves, Lincoln Up, Mr. Wu, Takimba, Trashcan Joe, PRSN, Tyler Tastemaker, Deafmind, Octaban, Hal-V & Space Case, Quarry, Laura Lynn, Computer Pham, Diablo, and Montel Spinozza.

Moral of this story: Get your tickets to What the Festival and try and catch every one of these!

-Colin Hudson


   

"A Smiling Parabola of Excitement": An Interview with Jonah Furman of Krill

Boston Calling returns for yet another impressive festival this May and of course, the lineup is brilliant. Along with continuing the trend of attracting incredible big-name talent--this spring’s headliners include: Beck, My Morning Jacket, Tenacious D, and Pixies--Boston Calling has also booked two powerful local opening acts in The Ballroom Thieves and Krill. Recently, I had a chance to exchange a few emails with Jonah Furman, lead vocalist and bass player for Krill. Though the group is known as a “Boston band”, Furman and crew are actually all originally from the suburbs of Chicago. Currently, Furman is the only member who resides in Boston (drummer Ian Becker and guitarist Aaron Ratoff moved to NYC in 2014). Despite the distance, Furman says it hasn’t been difficult to keep the band going.  “It's not tough to practice when you play shows every ten days or so!”, writes Furman. “It’s kind of weird doing a LDR [long distance relationship] band, [but] I don't plan to move to NYC anytime soon.” 

Click here to read an abridged version of the conversation. If you're too busy scrolling through pictures of food and cats on Instagram and want a synopsis: highlights include being offered to play Boston Calling, dealing with unexpected success, and the debilitating effects of consumerism on the world.

Main page photo credit: Ethan Long