let’s stay inside

bed.  – Boys

“Boys” has a twangy melody with tip-tap drumming and throaty male vocals backed up by delicate female whispers. Portland, Oregon’s bed. is the musical outlet for the founders of Breakup Records, Alex Haager and Sierra Frost. Download the track here, and look for their release show on May 18th if you’re in their neck of the woods.

maintain a love that never was

On the final track of Horse Feathers’s third LP, Justin Ringle croons, “by winter’s end you may come back to life.” With the devastating warmth found on Thistled Spring, it’d be impossible to not.

The piano and strings on the opening, self-titled track are so beautiful you just sink into yourself, relaxed and happy despite the underlying sense of melancholy. Banjo, guitar, and cavernous drums complete the sound on the album, creating songs that are as welcome in the cab of an old Ford pickup on a deserted road as they are in a cowboy movie (“Vernonia Blues”). Hovering under the instrumentation is Ringle’s wounded tenor, spouting, pleading, asking such things as “stay awhile with me…hold a hand with no ring” so convincingly saying no is a near impossibility, even with the cold grip of death on your arm (“The Widower”).

Essentially, Thistled Spring makes me nostalgic for a life I never had – part Little House on the Prairie, part Carnivale – and a great love I have yet to lose. I realize that may make the album sound dated, unaccessible, and depressing, but it’s none of those things. Thistled Spring calls to mind the honesty of a first kiss, the spark that comes with the moment you realize it’s love, and the bite of realizing possibly forever has become the definite past. With no song falling solely in any of these particular stages, Horse Feathers gives us an album that floats somewhere in the space only found in those sun-drenched moments between wakefulness and sleep.

Thistled Spring drops 04.20.10.
Tour dates and more here.

sight. sound.

SIGHT
These United States – Everything Touches Everything (scarecrow rock)
Loney Dear – I Was Only Going Out (mirrors the sweetness of the song)
Grand Archives – Oslo Novelist (construction paper odyssey)
Fruit Bats – The Ruminant Band (a raucous eulogy)
Lissy Trullie – Ready for the Floor (meant to post this ages ago)
Dead Man’s Bones – Dead Hearts (wishbone legs and falling stars)

SOUND
Midnight Masses – Walk on Water (dreamy, sparse, members of TVotR)
Princeton – Sadie and Andy (doomed duet)
Nirvana – Scoff (a punky peek from a 1990 show in Portland)
Real Estate – Beach Comber (lives up to the title)
Seven Saturdays – A Beautiful Day (a slightly happier M83/Mogwai)
Lymbyc Systym – Ghost Clock (instrumental escape)
Lou Barlow – Gravitate (sideshow folk)

busy signal

We had a crazy busy week, hence the lack of posts. Check back for concert reviews for The Bridges/Locksley/Rooney & Owen, as well as a mess of album reviews. Until then, here are some videos to pacify you:

Chromeo – Fancy Footwork (we’ve been waiting for a video since July – it’s finally here)
The Helio Sequence – Keep Your Eyes Ahead (Portland at night)
The Wombats – Let’s Dance to Joy Division (love the song to pieces)
The Most Serene Republic – The Men Who Live Upstairs (we’re suckers for boys and girls singing together)
Thrice – Come All You Weary (Live on Conan) (so different, so good)

‘that guy’ has a name – adam coil

The Boy Who Cried FreebirdYou’ve all heard him. At more of the shows you’ve gone to than not, there’s that guy. The one who insists on yelling “Freebird!”, regardless of appropriateness of the request. In the first section of his book, The Boy Who Cried Freebird: Rock & Roll Fables and Sonic Storytelling, author Mitch Myers personifies this shady character into the fictional Adam Coil.

Utilizing both straight fact and outright fiction, Myers gives readers a blend of history and tall-tale, often blurring the line between the two. Anti-hero Adam Coil serves to put a personal spin on various musical experiences, such as giving “Freebird”-guy a name and giving a fresh perspective to the hippie-tastic era of The Grateful Dead in San Francisco as a time-traveler from 2069.

Other fictitious tales include a musical face-off between a DJ and jazz drummer for club supremacy and bringing about the world-wide destruction of aliens posing as humans with Black Sabbath recordings (*coughMarsAttackscough*). There are several pieces that are more or less straight-laced music history essays, and a smattering of probably true but most likely embellished stories (like getting locked into a Tower Records overnight).

Though The Boy Who Cried Freebird would tip toward ‘enjoyable’ on a scale, the fuzzy line between real-life and make-believe can get a bit tedious. Also, Myers’s narrative voice skews toward middle-aged male, both in tone and reader appeal. There’s nothing wrong with either of these traits, but it does have the potential to turn off some readers.