portland

Swamp Boys ring in the new year in Portland

 Young dudes with an affinity for old songs, Swamp Boys have a delightfully nostalgic sound that calls back on a keen sweetness that dominated airway sounds back in the 60s and 70s. A little bit surf, psych and alt-country, the foursome are from a fairly small town not that far from both Portland and Seattle called Ridgefield, but they're making their efforts to put their homebase more on the map.

Swamp Boys just released the first six songs they've ever written on an EP called Bahked, an obvious nod to some of the best greenery the Pacific Northwest offers. Each track on Bahked makes a good accompaniment for a smoking sesh, like the catchy garage tune of "I Don't Know What I'm Doin'" to the ballad-esque "Love So Dear."

Those still local during this holiday week can see Swamp Boys play twice, on 12.27 at the Tardis Room with Freemans Dead from Long Beach, Ca, Rosebud and Major Arcana, and again hosting the American Legion Post 134's New Year's Eve show with Holy Smokes & Godforsaken RollersWeehawk, and New World Aviation Committee.

   

Caustic Touch, EMS, House of Low Culture and Daniel Menche share new 4-way split

 Harsh noise enthusiasts rejoice, as today a 4-way split from some of the most deft musicians in that genre field. Featuring dynamically skilled artist Aaron Turner (Sumac, Old Man Gloom, Isis) and Faith Coloccia of Seattle's Mamiffer as House of Low Culture, Daniel Menche, Andrea K.'s of Vice Device solo project Caustic Touch and EMS, the split showcases each artists' ability to make even the most grating of sounds appealing.

Each artist got at least one track on the split, but Caustic Touch surely commanded much of the album having contributed three. The album carries itself almost like a grating tale, with House of Low Culture's "The Pervasive Mind" as the album's exposition, Caustic Touch's "Desiccating Wind" beginning the rising action, "Is She Ectoplasm?" by Daniel Menche as the falling action, and "Hierarchy of Bodies" by EMS ending it as the resolution.

There's a beauty to its discordance that makes the album gripping. What will be even more interesting to see is how each of these artist's translates these tracks into live performances. See how each of them does it at the release show for the split tonight 12.15 at Modular 8.

   

The Toads drop 'It's for You' today

 *photo by Heather Hanson

The Toads have been a crowd pleaser since they bursted onto the scene almost three years ago. First, their self-titled full length gave us a taste of their callback to 90s alternative and pop punk back in 2016. The Toads, still unsigned, have got a completely and fully supported DIY method of existing as a band that's contributed to what's made them such a delight so far. With Time having already been released earlier this year, band appreciators are lucky enough to get another one just as it's coming to a close. Today, The Toads dropped "It's for You."

Part of what makes The Toads so great is their reliability in sound. Even in welcoming new drummer Dylan Valentine to the mix The Toads haven't stumbled or faltered, the Weezer-esque "You Don't Deserve Me" and the raw punk feels of "Never a Good Time" for the new EP staying true to the band's capacity.

The Toads are offering up two chances this weekend to see them perform all the songs from "It's for You" live -- at tonight's release show at Clinton Street Theater with Cry Babe and Fire Nuns, and tomorrow night at the Turn Turn Turn for the Sounds Illustrated art opening with Piefight and Dr. Something.

Give "It's for You" a listen below.

   

Stream Marmoset's 'Transference' compilation LP, out today

 Local record label and boutique music agency Marmoset specializes in seeking out some of the most talented acts and songs ranging from the timeless and rare to the emerging and engaging. Their latest endeavor, the Transference compilation LP, focuses particularly on songs lesser unknown and possibly forgotten.

In making Transference, Marmoset's producers combined through the public domain for songs 100 years old and up. As they developed their extensive collection, they invited a series of artists join in on reimagining and rerecording some of these tracks. Marmoset's team worked closely with the participating artists in evolving each track from its original beauty to a newly fashioned merit.

Some of the artists featured on Transference include Ural Thomas and the Pain doing a soulfully rhythmic rendition of "Hot Time in the Old Town," originally recorded in 1896, The Helio Sequence's vision of the Bing Crosby-recorded standard "Down Among the Sheltering Palms" as "Out Among the Sheltering Pines," and an electronic interpretation of Eugene Lockhart and Ernest Seitz 1919 classic "The World is Waiting for the Sunrise" done by Distance and Frankie Simone.

What Marmoset has managed to create is an anthology of imaginative appreciation, showcasing a history of imaginative talent and musicianship. Dive into the 10 tracks on Transference below.

   

VCR are back for another season!

Not even two hours outside of Portland, Eugene is mainly known as a hippie haven or, on a more scholarly note, a college town. As with many college towns around there isn't a lot that's lively or thriving about them outside of academia, but Eugene's a little different. They have the makings of a, albeit small, music scene, and at the forefront of it is one of the most enjoyable fuzzy garage rocks of late. They're a little trio called VCR.

VCR debuted with Season One! last year. Doing what "pilots" are supposed to do, Season One! was the band's introduction, developing each member and their instrumentation like characters in a show. With their latest release Season 2, these elements are further evolved, making for a more developed sound overall.

Season 2 starts with the mid paced lovey-ish ditty "A Walk to Remember" establishes the carefree air of the album, though following track "Next Day" blasts a beginning that jolts the system. Later in the album "Season of the Ball" trickles in as somewhat of a ballad, while "Halloween" is one of the most lively and memberable on the record. 

As a sophomore effort, Season 2 attests to VCR's (hopeful) residency in the Pacific Northwest scene.