portland

SXSW Presents: Gold Casio

There's always been a certain undeniably cosmic quality about Gold Casio. Delightfully catchy and infectiously addicting, the psychedelic disco dance four-piece know just what it takes to get you to move, no matter how hard you may want to resist. In almost every case, resistance is futile, seeing as their trippy synthesized beats overwhelm the body with the sensation of movement.

And that's barely speaking of the reaction from their recorded material. Seeing them live, the incredible energy exuded from each of Gold Casio's is becoming. It's a charm not typical of many acts, but one they've managed to uphold since they popped up onto the scene. Though the music is always at the forefront their performances are so much more than that, incorporating lively costumes, set pieces and props, and even their bodies as creative devices for enlivening each production. 

There's never a dull set or sound with Gold Casio, and you can expect the most from their SXSW performances, as well as their new EP titled Sinners due out in April.

   

SXSW Presents: Cool Nutz

 Cool Nutz is like a living Portland legend in quite a few different ways. Having been in the hip hop game since the early 90s is one thing, but having started in it and stayed it in a place like the Pacific Northwest is a whole other feat not many can say they've really accomplished. Aside from its hipster kitschiness and bountiful nature, Portland is also known for it's lack of demographic diversity, in race and in its predominant music offerings. That's been steadily changing throughout the years, and Cool Nutz is definitely one to be credited in making Portland hip hop a blip on the international map.

From his first release in 1993 up until now, Cool Nutz (born Terrance Scott) knew exactly what was required to keep his head above water in the game. Not only did seek and succeed at doing his best in the rap game but he's also established himself as an accomplished businessman as well. On top of sharing the stage with other influential rappers like Mac Dre, Wu-Tang Clan, Ice Cube, Bone Thugs N Harmony and more, Cool Nutz directed arising lulls or lows into other profitable endeavors. Having a steady gig hosting The Breakout Radio Show on iHeart Radio, doing "Playlist" with Portland Trailblazers shooting guard CJ McCollum and establishing the Oregon Hip-Hop Festival, Cool Nutz never let's anything stop him or bring him down.

Seeing Cool Nutz's success along with his energy and perseverance is inspiring to Portland's hip-hop and black community. During his live performances, he exudes a pride and confidence that makes him all the more enjoyable to see. Catch his one SXSW on 3.16 at Buffalo Billiards.

   

SXSW Presents: Floating Room

 In what is best described as "gray pop," the music Floating Room makes creates a sense of mellow desire; a longing manifested through their use of droned hums and haunting vocality. Floating Room is the musical partnership between Maya Stoner (ex-Sabonis) and Kyle Bates (Drowse, also featuring Stoner), though their partnership expands to much more than what started as bedroom pop recordings. In a romantic sense the couple's chemistry, aside from their collective experimental and artistic capacity, helps make Floating Room what it is. Tenderness isn't feared on either of their ends, and their propensity for support behind the instruments and in front of them is evident 

Sunless, the band's 2016 full-length debut on Good Cheer Records, married deep socio-emotional themes with paralyzing sounds. Stoner and Bates trade off guitar and synth duties as they channel part of makes Sunless (and the way they play together in general) beguiling - its vulnerability. Stoner sings about the transition from a bad relationship to a much better one, touching on abuse of power and misogyny along the way. For most, the subject matter is relatable, giving a welcoming sense to each of the tracks.

The openness presented on the album translates into Floating Room's live performances as well. They'll be touring with Alien Boy (which is led by Sonia Weber, Floating Room's sometimes drummer) and are playing four SXSW dates, so see them as much as you can.

   

The Hugs bring love with 'New Utopia'

 Since 2007, garage-pop quartet The Hugs have radiated nothing but sheer entrancing energy. Sometimes more on the rocking side, sometimes more on the power-pop side, The Hugs have never ceased to embed a sense of angst in their tracks despite their affectionate name. And now, on the day truly meant for love in a calendrical sense, The Hugs are sharing some new tunes with just as loving of an air.

Sure, the band have touched on romantic notes before, but this Valentine's Day release sees the band occupying more of a sweet realm with their new EP New Utopia, manifesting amorous undertones through a more tender, dreamy synth-pop that's just as indelible as songs the before it. It's the perfect triad of love-themed tracks from one of your favorite bands, and it couldn't have come on a better day.

Listen to all three of New Utopia's tracks below, accompanied by their saccharine video for "L.A.H.L.I.T (Look At How Long It Took)" below.

   

PREMIERE: Wonka Vision - "Application"

Back in April of last year, the eclectic and commanding jazz heads of Echo Pearl Varsity won our Artist of the Month poll, a designation given to those local acts that sit high and esteemed in the hearts of local music appreciators. The jazz-fusion post-rock hybrid group is led by principle songwriter Sam Luna, who has momentarily shifted his focus onto his solo endeavors, recorded under the moniker Wonka Vision. Presently, much won't be found online, but that's why we're pleased to share the premiere song and video from Wonka Vision's debut solo album, titled "Application."

Luna directed, edited and starred in the sci-fi Netflix series Black Mirror-inspired video, based on the overuse of internet and cellphones, and how digital technology is essentially numbing society. "[Cellphones are] disrupting our daily lives, taking up useful hours and all together just rotting our brains," says Luna. "Through the digital world we refrain from human experiences, which cause us to be less social, more self-conscious and more depressed."

The ending of the video goes further to display this point, with one of characters caring more about her online persona than reality, which is how Luna feels most people are in the current age. He even titled the whole DIY album, which is due out February 23, as White Mirror.

Numb out to "Application" below and be on the lookout for the White Mirror drop later this month.