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A blog for Seattle music lovers of all stripes, from hip-hop and indie rock to jazz and world music.

Topic: Portland

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April 11, 2014 at 8:00 AM

Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks pave their own way | Concert preview

Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks

The Jicks, from left: Mike Clark, Jake Morris, Joanna Bolme, Stephen Malkmus. Photo by Leah Nash.

When Pavement broke in with 1992’s “Slanted and Enchanted,” critics coined the term “slacker rock” to describe its underproduced, willfully imperfect sound.

Singer-guitarist Stephen Malkmus has released almost a dozen albums since — with Pavement, then the Jicks, who play The Neptune Saturday — cementing his legacy as a vital, unique American songwriter.

Yet the misnomer persists.

“Maybe it’s the tone of my voice,” he speculates via telephone from his Portland home. “It’s a little defeated, a little sarcastic… sometimes intentionally, sometimes not.”

Indeed, Malkmus talks like he sings, meandering from one subject to another with the slow, deadpan drawl and colorful vocabulary that made him a poster boy of indie rock’s golden era.

Most likely, though, it’s because he’s always made it look easy — and still does.


Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: indie, Portland, The Neptune

February 4, 2014 at 1:45 PM

The intimate sounds of Rebecca Gates | Concert preview

Rebecca Gates

Portland singer-songwriter-guitarist Rebecca Gates plays Seattle’s Crocodile Back Bar Wednesday. Photo by Matt Kim.

Not many artists are equally comfortable sharing bills with punk rock icons and alt-country troubadours, but Rebecca Gates has done both in Seattle before.

In 1993, her group, The Spinanes, opened for Washington, D.C.’s seminal Fugazi at the Bellevue YMCA. Two years ago, she performed solo on a much larger stage, supporting Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter Ryan Adams at Benaroya Hall.

This Wednesday, the Portlander returns to cozier environs, co-headlining The Crocodile Back Bar with local musician Chris Brokaw, formerly of ‘90s cult acts Come and Codeine.


Comments | More in Americana, Rock/Pop | Topics: Portland, Sub Pop, The Crocodile

January 17, 2014 at 10:00 AM

There’s no “I” in Typhoon | Concert preview


Eleven-piece Portland band Typhoon plays The Neptune Sunday. Photo by Jaclyn Campanaro.

The group performing at The Neptune Sunday consists of 11 people — just like that other team playing CenturyLink Field earlier in the afternoon — plus a “12th Man,” its sound guy.

That’s about where the similarities between Portland’s Typhoon and Seattle’s Seahawks end.

“There are no alpha males in Typhoon,” singer-songwriter-guitarist Kyle Morton says of his many-tentacled orchestral pop ensemble — one of the Rose City’s biggest bands, both in number and stature.


Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: Portland, The Neptune, Typhoon

January 16, 2014 at 4:34 PM

The Thermals do one thing, and do it well, at Neumos anniversary show | Concert review

The Thermals

The Thermals, from Portland, played Neumos Wednesday. Photo courtesy of The Windish Agency.

Long-lost grunge-era ghosts — Truly, Lucky Me, Alcohol Funnycar — populated the bills for the past five nights’ gigs commemorating Neumos’ tenth anniversary.

Relative to those groups, The Thermals — which headlined Wednesday, the penultimate show of the Capitol Hill club’s weeklong nostalgia fest — are practically newborns.

Even in 2003, when the Portland three-piece dropped its aggressively catchy Sub Pop debut “More Parts Per Million,” it was seen as a throwback, an earnest island in a disaffected sea of Interpols, Strokes and Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

But eleven years and six albums later,


Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: Neumos, Portland, The Thermals

November 15, 2013 at 11:00 AM

For Portland’s Tragedy, crust never sleeps | Concert preview


Tragedy plays The Highline Saturday. Photographer unknown.

If Portland is the Northwest’s crust-punk capital, consider Tragedy the mayors.

Unwashed and uncompromising, the group — which plays Seattle’s Highline Bar Saturday — has spent the last decade-plus decrying social, political and environmental ills to a backdrop of militaristic rhythms and supremely dirty guitars.

Though the sun never shines in Tragedy’s Rose City, seasonal gloom has never affected the band’s work ethic.


Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: hardcore, Portland, punk