MUSIC, COMMUNITY, AND CULTURE IN PORTLAND
ISSUE 70 | MAR 2017
ELEVEN PDX MAGAZINE - VOLUME 6, ISSUE 10
ELEVEN PDX MAGAZINE VOLUME 6
THE USUAL 3 Letter from the Editor 3 Staff Credits
ISSUE NO. 10
FEATURES Local Feature 13 Daydream Machine
Cover Feature 17 NEW MUSIC
4 Aural Fix Craig Finn & The Uptown Controllers Xenia Rubinos The Dig Omni
COMMUNITY Literary Arts 25 Portland writer Nathan Carson
7 Short List 7 Album Reviews Jackson Boone Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever Grandaddy
Visual Arts 27 Portland ceramic artist Martina Thornhill
LIVE MUSIC 11 Know Your Venue The Fremont Theater
13 Musicalendar An encompassing overview of concerts in PDX for the upcoming month. But that’s not all–the Musicalendar is complete with a venue map to help get you around town.
more online at elevenpdx.com
EXECUTIVE STAFF EDITOR IN CHIEF Ryan Dornfeld (firstname.lastname@example.org) CREATIVE DIRECTOR Dustin Mills (email@example.com)
Although the darkness of winter slowly drifts away, the increasingly nastiness of things lately hasn’t seemed to slow down. I’ll do my best to keep things in a positive light here though, dear readers, as we all aught to do so in tumultuous times. Musically, there’s a lot I’m thankful for happening in March. Indie rock greats Grandaddy return from an 11-year hiatus from releases with a fantastic new album to tickle fan’s ears with. Several great Portland acts have new albums to unveil as well, including Daydream Machine, who we spoke with in this month’s Local Feature, Jackson Boone, and Little Star. The Growlers, who we spoke with for this month’s cover feature, bring their beach-goth psychedelic pop to the Roseland Theater this month, plus we’re visited by Ty Segall at the Aladdin Theater, Big Thief and Omni at Mississippi Studios, and Denzel Curry and Meat Puppets at the Doug Fir. Keep your chin up, Portland. We see you. You’re doing a good job. You’re loved. Dutifully yours,
- Travis Leipzig, Managing Editor
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MANAGING EDITOR Travis Leipzig (firstname.lastname@example.org) SECTION EDITORS LITERARY ARTS: Scott Mchale, Morgan Nicholson VISUAL ARTS: Mercy McNab GRAPHIC DESIGN Dustin Mills CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Rosie Blanton, Tyler Burdwood, Matt Carter, Crystal Contreras-Grossman, Brandy Crowe, Sarah Eaton, Jameson Ketchum, Christopher Klarer, Kelly Kovl, Samantha Lopez, Scott McHale, Lucia Ondruskova, Gina Pieracci, Kelsey Rzepecki, Ellis Samsara, Tyler Sanford, Stephanie Scelza, Matthew Sweeney, Charles Trowbridge, Rick White, Henry Whittier-Ferguson
PHOTOGRAPHERS Patrick Chapman, Eric Evans, Alexander Fattal, Eirinn Gragson, Greg LeMieux, Mercy McNab, Andrew Roles, Todd Walberg, Caitlin Webb
ONLINE Mark Dilson, Kim Lawson, Michael Reiersgaard, Chance Solem-Pfeifer GET INVOLVED email@example.com www.elevenpdx.com twitter.com/elevenpdx facebook.com/elevenmagpdx MAILING ADRESS 126 NE Alberta Suite 211 Portland, OR. 97211 GENERAL INQUIRIES firstname.lastname@example.org ADVERTISING email@example.com ELEVEN WEST MEDIA GROUP, LLC Ryan Dornfeld Dustin Mills SPECIAL THANKS Our local business partners who make this project possible. Our friends, families, associates, lovers, creators and haters. And of course, our city!
new music aural fix
up and coming music from the national scene
CRAIG FINN & THE UPTOWN CONTROLLERS MARCH 17 | REVOLUTION HALL
Craig Finn has been around the block a few times, and he’s told a few stories during his journey. The frontman of The Hold Steady has a seemingly endless supply of tales. The music lays the backdrop and sets the tone, but the meat of it is in his words. But depending on the delivery system, the content can change. Finn’s solo work is incredibly personal, offering audiences reflections on the wake of his misfortunes. When he’s singing with The Hold Steady, he doesn’t necessarily shy away from those topics, but the lens through which he views them is radically different. It’s as though his solo work reflects who he is around those closest to him and The Hold Steady is his public persona–letting you in, but not quite all the way. Finn's solo work is a blend of folk and slower styles of indie/alt-rock. But the music is merely the vessel. Finn reveals truths about intimacy, relationships, and his personal demons seamlessly over whatever he deems the aural representation of his stories. His intimate moments offer solemn piano
ballads behind his aching voice. His happy moments, still laced with reflection, offer up a gleeful, carefree croon. It’s difficult for artists to show both sides of their lives, the aching heartbreak and the unbridled joy; frequently we see performers reveal themselves over time and get pigeonholed as sad artists. Other times, artists view their music as their only creative outlet for processing their misfortunes and never as a way to reflect on the times they’re doing alright. Creatives have a bad habit of fetishizinig their sorrows. Finn doesn’t have this issue. His music and stories are a window to his life, showing both good times and bad. He’s able to take each moment as it comes and translate it to an uplifting, high-energy rock song or a sobering sad jam. » - Tyler Sanford
repeating poetry on the societal impact of race in America: “Brown walks your baby / Brown walks your dog / Brown raised America in place of its mom.” She takes an alternately peaceful and often chaotic approach to delivering her lyrics. Calming vocals can quickly escalate when paired with heavy rock and electronic instrumentals. In total, it’s a high-strung cultural journey through an eclectic blend of musical influences taken from her Puerto Rican and Cuban heritage, sung in both English and Spanish. Black Terry Cat remains almost impossible to pin down in terms of genre. Rubinos embraces inspiration from jazz, rock and electronic music, incorporating an array of different instruments while constantly switching up her vocal technique–from classic soul one minute to quicker, rap-
XENIA RUBINOS MARCH 20 | HOLOCENE
inspired verses the next. She sounds as if tUnE-yArDs and the Knowles sisters had a music baby. Despite the sometimes heavy political backdrop, there is an effortless confidence and free-spirited air to Rubinos’
On her new album Black Terry Cat, Brooklyn songwriter
musical style that brings her lyrics to life. It’s as if you were
Xenia Rubinos uses her musical platform to unapologetically
witnessing a live poetry reading. Her music possesses a
discuss the world’s past and present struggles with race and
newfound excitement and unpredictability that makes you
equality. Her new song “Mexican Chef” drills into you with
wonder what she will do next. » - Kelsey Rzepecki
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new music aural fix Photo by Sean Macneil
The Dig started touring behind their first album, Electric Toys, back in 2010 and were instantly compared to The Strokes. And as fate would have it, the two New York bands actually used to rehearse next to one another. Going back even further, Emile Mosseri (bass, vocals) and David Baldwin (guitar, vocals) have been playing together since they were adolescents, allowing for a level of comfort that’s apparent both onstage and in the studio. On Bloodshot Tokyo, the group worked with Matt Basile of Mother Feather on production and had mixing done by the great Richard Swift. Fans will be pleased that the album still maintains their signature psych-tinged indie pop sound, though much more danceable and definitely a departure from previous releases that were slightly more
morose, which should make for a great live show this go around. And with their stop in Portland a month into tour, we MARCH 22 | DOUG FIR
should expect a well-seasoned, tour-tight performance. If you like early MGMT, The Strokes or just love a good
It’s been a few years since we’ve heard anything from the
poppy upbeat rock show, consider catching The Dig live at the
New York City indie rock quartet The Dig. However, on Feb
Doug Fir Lounge on Wednesday, March 22. They’ll be joined
3 they released their fourth studio album, Bloodshot Tokyo,
by LA-based indie pop balladeer Nico Yaryan who also has a
out on Roll Call Records, which the group is currently on an
recent release, What A Tease, out on Partisan Records, with
extensive North American tour in support of.
local support from Boone Howard. » - Rosie Blanton
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new music aural fix
Photo by Coco DeTeau
OMNI MARCH 27 | MISSISSIPPI STUDIOS
Atlanta’s Omni could be mistaken for a tribute act: their lo-fi, ‘70s-style pop sounds like something that might spring out of an oldies station. While most of their work to date features a fuzzy tinge, it’s worth noting that the rhythmic predilections skew more toward the aggressive punk or garage flavor, giving the tracks some sonic cognitive dissonance. The end result is a postpunk skirmish that hangs on punchy hooks, backbeat rhythms, and distinctly distant vocal lines. Comprised of former Deerhunter guitarist Frankie Broyles and Carnivores’ rhythm section Billy Mitchell (drums) and Philip Frobos (bass, vocals), Omni maintains a balance between the punky ethos that drove the band’s founding and accessible pop music. Finding the middle(ish) is a challenge, but it demonstrates more care for the development of the music than of an image, necessarily. Deluxe, the group’s first full-length release, finds several different ways of walking up to either side of
the musical divide without actually skewing too far to either side. “Afterlife,” the first single from the album, demonstrates a kind of controlled chaos, with the trio rummaging around in the brackish undertow of helter skelter energy, precise guitar lines and a sharp togetherness in the rhythm section. “Afterlife” is quick, dirty and subtly meticulous, much like Deluxe on the whole. » - Charles Trowbridge
QUICK TRACKS A “WIRE” Funky rhythm guitar, tonally vicarious bass/ guitar interplay, and pumped full of edgy energy and miniature freakouts.
B “SIAM” Groovy bass, understated percussion and feathery guitar hooks come together in a smash-andgrab climax.
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new music album reviews
ALBUM REVIEWS THIS MONTH’S BEST R REISSUE
L LOCAL RELEASE
Short List David Bazan Care Minus The Bear Voids Bush Black And White Rainbows Hurray For The Riff Raff The Navigator Laura Marling Semper Femina Tennis Yours Conditionally The Shins Heartworms
Jackson Boone Organic Light Factory Self-released Jackson Boone has one of the rarest of qualities among singer/songwriters in the Portland scene; he was actually born here and isn’t coming to us as a transplant. On Organic Light Factory, Boone’s third full-length, we see there’s plenty to inspire him in his native surroundings; however, continuing his love affair with the sounds of a bygone decade is requisite.
Depeche Mode Spirit The Jesus And Mary Chain Damage And Joy Aimee Mann Mental Illness British Sea Power Let The Dancers Inherit The Party Wire Silver/Lead Why? Moh Lhean Buy it
Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever The French Press Sub Pop
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Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever’s latest release, The French Press, comes from Melbourne to American ears via Sub Pop Records. The music is compelling–fiercely clean guitars play disciplined punk rock at the center of swirling ambience. The band describes their style as “tough pop/soft punk” and that holds true on The French Press. But both punk and pop tags need a qualifier,
If you were ever a fan of your parents’ late-‘60s Steve Miller records, or have lucid dreams about beach sunsets, this album will call to you. But rather than embodying the care-free PNW nomad we have known on past records, Boone’s tone is more focused and deliberate. Dare we even say, mature? No, saying things like that can harshen the buzz of a psychfolk record, and Organic Light Factory goes down smoother than anything recreational we’ve had so far in 2017. The track “Dizzy” spends less time finding its mood than anything on the sophomore album Natural Changes, paying equal time to psych chords, studio chops, and an ongoing ether of evenly distributed haze. “Tom Sawyerzzz” begins in forlorn dirty guitars and flourishes of cymbals. And in a blink, the gloomy clouds part for a bright, towering chamber of Boone’s voice amid cooing riffs. Overall, it’s a wonder only one of the album’s tracks reaches four-minute territory when Boone has so much to give; this album will have you wanting a re-listen before it’s even over. » - Matt Carter
as the EP opens and closes with songs exceeding five minutes. The austerity of the riffs and grooves and talk/sung vocal hooks grounds the music in rock ‘n’ roll. On the longer songs, the riffs take on a nearhypnotic, krautrock quality through repetition. Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever have a rhythmic style all their own. The words come rapidfire, but with luxurious space between the phrases. Without detracting from the band’s pop sensibility, the guitars find new ways to jump from chord to chord. Like all good music, the emotional wavelength on The French Press is clearly felt but difficult to define. Here, that task is made trickier because the band members share songwriting and vocal duties. You can hear disaffection, but also a well of feeling, maybe even optimism. It brings to mind the brighter sides of The Smiths and The Cure. If The Breakfast Club ever gets a gritty reboot treatment, they should call Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever for the soundtrack. » - Tyler Burdwood
new music album reviews
Grandaddy Last Place 30th Century Records There was a time not long ago when music was simpler. Genres were fairly heterogeneous: alternative, pop, hardcore, hip-hop and so on. In 2017, it’s nearly impossible not to blend subgenres when classifying music. You can have neo-psychedelic meets washed-out disco meets synthwave. In the early ‘00s, the Modesto-based band Grandaddy was poised to be just
another alternative band in the vein of Rooney and Futureheads. However, it’s been nearly 11 years since their last album, and despite the gap in time, Last Place proves there’s always been a complexity and texture in their sound. In short, they’re more than just another alternative rock band. Formed in 1992, the band consists of Jason Lytle (vocals, guitar, keyboards), Kevin Garcia (bass guitar), Aaron Burtch (drums), Jim Fairchild (guitar) and Tim Dryden (keyboards). After several self-released records and cassettes, the band signed to Will Records in 1999 and later the V2 subsidiary Big Cat Records in the UK, going on to sign an exclusive deal with V2. The band split in 2006, with members going on to solo careers and other projects. (They reformed in 2012.) Central themes in Grandaddy’s lyrics include technology, resistance to change and alienation–from others and by oneself–and truly, not much has changed with the new effort. Lytle has always been one to explore a dispirited response to strip malls, school bake
sales and the mundane. The LP’s first track, “Way We Won’t,” especially echoes these subjects. The song starts with a typical and spacey Grandaddy sound, characterized by dominant electronic organs, synthesizers and experimental guitar work. Those sonics are accompanied by slow, lengthy lyrical passages of trying to find something real and authentic in a common urban lifestyle. The song moans, “Cinnamon smell and holiday sales/ Why would we ever move?/ Damned if we do/(Dumb if we don't).” The rest of the album continues on these themes: it follows someone in the midst of life, growing apart with loved ones, tumultuous, uneasy years, but ultimately recognizing patterns. They become self-aware and try to do the impossible: grow up. Grandaddy has stayed true to form, content and style, despite the hiatus. The LP proves that these themes are universal, persistent and make for a meaningful representation of desolate suburbia and someone so prone to it. » - Samantha Lopez
CH A I N — MA I LLE . com www.elevenpdx.com | ELEVEN PORTLAND | 8
live music Photo by Patrick Chapman
KNOW YOUR VENUE The Fremont Theater
n the stretch of NE Fremont Street between the Alberta Arts District and Beaumont Village, new buildings are beginning to appear along the mostly residential streets known as the Alameda neighborhood. One of these new sites is the Lyon Court Building at 23rd and Fremont. Here, local musicians David Shur and Johnny Keener found the perfect residence to pursue a long-time dream of opening their own venue. So along with a few friends and local designer Jason Greene, they got to work creating the Fremont Theater and designated the motto “Something for almost everyone.” The Fremont is not as lived-in as many of the old remodeled theaters and well-loved dives throughout the city, it's only been open since October 2016. But even as a completely new construction, the building was designed to possess old Portland characteristics. Currently, the Lyon is also home to Mars Wine & Kitchen and a yoga studio. Inside, the main performance space has an amazingly tall ceiling, in addition to sleek accents, bright acoustic panels
and natural wood. A staircase leads to the mezzanine, which overlooks the 11x24 stage draped with a 22-foot black velvet curtain. Aside from the large chandelier and LED sconces, natural light gleams through old-style windows. It’s a very open, lofty space that also offers the opportunity for intimate performances. Since opening last October, the venue has hosted vintage radio theater via Tesla City Stories, jazz festival drum battles and indie rock from across the globe. Its calendar is dotted with shows from the americana and bluegrass community, which Shur says “was really thirsty for a home.” “The idea was to have a purposefully eclectic lineup,” he added, “to have theater arts of various kinds.”
Photo by Patrick Chapman
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Local artist Haley Heynderickx playing Fremont. Photo by Patrick Chapman
The Portland Story Theater has also found a new home in the Fremont Theater. Its website cites Fremont’s “state of the art sound system, comfortable seating, full bar, great acoustics, and perfect ambiance for our real, true stories” as reasons for their residence. The Fremont is also striking a niche with another huge music scene in Portland: kindie rock. Keener, a children’s musician himself, helps to book the many Portland artists who play for children’s dance parties. Penny’s Puppets, Red Yarn and an upcoming album release from soon-to-be-famous Pointed Man Band (just to name a few) are highlights on the calendar. “It's easy to fill up the kid shows,” Shur says. “There's an obvious demand for it because we've had to turn people away due to being over capacity. It's just a different kind of crazy. But it’s a good energy in here when that happens. It’s part of this being a neighborhood venue.” Fremont offers an interesting daytime/nightime crossover. It hosts a variety of all ages and 21+ shows. Among the kid mosh pits and bluegrass jams, the theater’s calendar for March lists a comedy show called St. Patrick's Day Massacre, a cinematic SoCal band called Stray Dog Song and cellist/drummer duo The Ballroom Thieves. Shur’s goal to bring more vaudevillian variety has resulted in an upcoming visit from Jet Black Pearl, an accordion diva from Amsterdam, who plays “really weird music and is accompanied by a guy who blows circus bubbles,” according to Shur. Be it kids or your inner kid, everyone’s welcome at the Fremont. » - Brandy Crowe
Middle Kids playing Fremont. Photo by Patrick Chapman
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live music MARCH CRYSTAL BALLROOM
1332 W BURNSIDE 1 Phantogram | My Body
3-4 March Fourth Marching Band
5 9 10 14 23 24 28 31
Skillet | Sick Puppies | Devour The Day Datsik | Crizzly | Virtual Riot The Wood Brothers | The Shook Twins Lake Street Drive | Joey Dosik Dan + Shay Yonder Mountain String Band | The Lil' Smokies Passenger | The Paper Kites Greensky Bluegrass
Tchami The Growlers Social Distortion | Jake Jackson STRFKR | Psychic Twin Andre Nickatina | Husalah | Cool Nutz
830 E BURNSIDE 1 Bash & Pop | The Yawpers | Waterloo Teeth 2 Kate A | Ben Hazlewood | Speaker First
3-4 Mogo Fest 2017
Worws | Acrossthreehundredseas | Ice Princess Shane Koyczan Boo Seeka Helado Negro Denzel Curry | Pell | Rare Treat Milo Greene Motorbreath | Sonic Temple Birds of Chicago Wrabel An Evening with Justin Townes Earle Jenny Don't & The Spurs | The American West The Sam Chase & The Untraditional | Ezra Bell Kmria | The Minus 5 Meat Puppets | The Modern Era 19-20 Emily Wells 21 Nikki Lane | Robert Ellis | Jonathan Tyler 22 The Dig | Nico Yaryan | Boone Howard 23 Crow & The Canyon | The Last Revel 24 Nick Hakim | Norvis Junior 25 An Evening with Justin Townes Earle 26 Jain | Two Feet 27 Maggie Rogers 29 An Evening with Justin Townes Earle 30 Colony House | Knox Hamilton 31 Jose James | Corey King
NORTH WEST BROADWAY ST.
3939 N MISSISSIPPI
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PEARL OLD TOWN 2
Sinkane | Tezeta Band Rogue Wave Presents: Cover Me | N. Lannon King Black Acid | Skull Diver | Reptaliens Big Thief | IJI Death by Unga Bunga | The Reverberations Lvl Up | Palm | Great Grandpa | Stranger Ranger Tim & Chitty of Medicine for the People Hustle & Drone | And And And | No Lala Vallis Alps | Matt Maeson Jackson Boone | Cat Hoch | Sinless | Wave Action Red Yarn Xray 3rd Bday Party w/Chanti Darling | Karl Blau Globelamp | Snow White | The Tamed West Thao (of The Get Down Stay Down) | Johanna Kunin Blossom Fucked Up The Coathangers | The Birth Defects | Tender Age WW Best New Band Showcase Clap Your Hands Say Yeah | Vita & The Woolf Souvenir Driver | Daydream Machine | Melt
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 21
5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
DOW NTO WN
16 23 24 25 31
10-11 Lettuce | The Russ Liquid Test
8 NW 6TH 3 Hippie Sabotage
live music MARCH MISSISSIPPI STUDIOS (CONT.)
FREMONT ST. 24TH AVE.
HOLLYWOOD 33RD AVE.
D. BLV Y D AN
BROADWAY ST. 21
HAWTHORNE DIVISION ST.
7 5 12 19 26
Eye Candy VJs (Mondays) Mogo Music Fest Opening Party Olivia Awbrey | Each Both | Metropolitan Farms GLMG Presents: Laugh Trackz Millennial Falcon | Millstone Grit | Facetia Salo Panto | The Yacolt Burn | The Wild War My Proper Skin | The Long Goodnight Leprechauns in Space Radio Phoenix | Salvo Idly } Poor English
2 3 4 9 10 15 17 18 Vulpine Slips | Quinn Henry Mulligan & Jared Wait-Molyneux 23 Chris Newman | Gin & Tillyanna | Dartgun 24 Jack Maybe Project | Kaician Kitko & Laura Blake 25 The Variants | Kool Stuff Katie | Did You Die | Hollow Giant 31
Six Organs of Admittance | Abronia Genders | Paper Brain
5 16 19 20 22 23 29 30
DJs in The Taproom (weekends)
1028 SE WATER
1800 E BURNSIDE
426 SW WASHINGTON
BURNSIDE ST. STARK ST.
600 E BURNSIDE
9 12 15 16 18 22 23 31
The Japanese House | Blaise Moore Thunderpussy | Jared Mees | Animal Eyes Black Atlass | Overwerk Xenia Rubinos Xiu Xiu | Force Publique | Mattress The Hood Internet Calm Candy | Swim Team | Earth World Elohim
1001 SE MORRISON
23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31
Gold Casio | Bryson Cone | Mood Beach Kulululu | Dreckig Kelli Schaefer (album release) MerŌ
128 NE RUSSELL
The Cadillac Three | Quaker City Night Hawks TrentmØller MØ Daya | Jess Kent Alo | Rabbit Wilde The Old 97's | Ha Ha Tonka Teenage Fanclub | Britta Phillips Rebel Souljahz | Eli-Mac
Pure Bathing Culture | My Body Kane Strang | Chastity Belt Delicate Steve | Alex Cameron Allison Crutchfield & The Fizz | Vagabond | Soar Omni | The Woolen Men | Water Slice Kate Tempest Emma Ruth Rundle | Dark Red Seed | Braveyoung The maldives | Dick Move Laith Al-Saadi
1300 SE STARK
The Brothers Comatose | Hillstomp | Rainbow Girls Red Fang | Danava | Norska Japandroids | Craig Finn & The Uptown Controllers Why? | Open Mike Eagle
1006 SE HAWTHORNE
11 16 17 24
Sticky Toffee: House & Disco w/Bald Eagle Indiepop Brunch w/ My Lil Undergound Sticky Toffee: House & Disco w/Maliksun
3 5 10
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features MARCH TOFFEE CLUB (CONTINUED) 16 17 19 23 24 31
Parklife: Britpop Sticky Toffee: House & Disco w/Drew The Universe Indiepop Brunch w/My Lil Undergound One Drop: Reggae & Roots w/Sicoide Sticky Toffee: House & Disco w/JPREZ Sticky Toffee: House & Disco w/Jason Urick
ALBERTA STREET PUB 13 1036 NE ALBERTA 3 11 16 21 22 25 31
The Fur Coats | King Who | Enjoys Things Patrick Dethlefs | Hip Hatchet | Anna Tivel Olivia Awbrey | The Doubleclicks | Mom Jeans Holiday Friends | Plastic Picnic Tango Alpha Tango Band of Lovers | Pretty Gritty Dovecotes | Team Evil
THE SECRET SOCIETY 14 116 NE RUSSELL 3 8 11 17 25 31
Coco Columbia | Korgy & Bass | Glasys Spring Fling w/Sean Jordan & Friends Lincoln Barr | Dominic Castillo | Swansea The Way Downs | Pig Honey | Tony Ozier The Pearls | The Low Bones | Junk Parlor Hot Club of Hawthorne
Photo by Eirinn Gragson
LOCAL FEATURE Daydream Machine
15 836 N RUSSELL
6 8 9 10 11 13 16 18 20 21 22 23 24 25 27 29 30 31
Shoring | Huntsman | Chris Benson Fian | Glasys | The Sercret Sea Enjoys Things | Seedling | Gonzo Garcia Birthday Band Robin Jackson & The Caravan | Lesley Kernochan Chasing Ebenezer | Josiah Peters Danny Barnes | Kory Quinn Radio Giants The Plutons Rachel Miles | The Moaning Lorries Cygne | Jeffrey Martin Sneaky Bones | William Surley The Don of Division Street | Lowlight Fortune's Folly | The Sindicate | Cosmic Rose Global Folk Club Joytribe Mic Check Hip Hop Showcase The Cabin Project | Maurice & The Stiff Sisters
TURN! TURN! 16 8TURN! NE KILLINGSWORTH 4 6 8 9 10 11 15 16 17 22 23 24 29 30
Jessica Dennison + Jones | Landlines Cynthia Nelson | Weird Cactus John Blevins' Matterhorn | Get Smashing Love Power Arlo Indigo | Lili St. Anne The Strange Effects | Braxeling Family Players Mini Blinds | Retail Space | Hannah Yeun Kelly Pratt w/Dana Buoy | John Niekrasz Rilla | Clawfoot Slumber | Social Stomach Jagula | Numbered | Don Gero Bunnygrunt | Awkward Energy | Googolplexia Kathryn Claire | Richie S. Young The Ocean Party | Paradise | Soft Paws Skin Lies | Kayin Aaron Volcanic Pinnacles | Paper Gates | Patrick McCulley
Want to have your show listed? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
13 | ELEVEN PORTLAND | www.elevenpdx.com
or the uninitiated, Daydream Machine is one of a recent crop of Portland psych-ish bands less indebted to the sonics of ‘60s psychedelia than the techniques and attitude of late-century indie from the UK. Imagine The Jesus and Mary Chain’s Jim Reid having a beautiful and unsettling technicolored dream that somehow involves The Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Dandy Warhols. Daydream Machine’s sophomore LP, The Show Must Not Go On, is out on Picture In My Ear Records March 7. I sat down in a cozy North Portland living room to chat with the band about their new record and the doubleedged evolution of the Portland venue landscape in recent years. ELEVEN: Since there are four of you here, why don’t we get started with some introductions? Jsun Adams: I sing and play guitar. I’ve been in the band since we started in 2012. We write together, so I guess I’m also one of the songwriters. Josh Kalberg: I play bass, sing background vocals and... groove as much as possible I guess?
Jonathan Zang Allen: I play guitar and do a lot of the technical work and recording. I’ve been in the band from the beginning. Bob Mild: I play drums. I joined around the beginning of 2016. It’s my favorite band ever! 11: Well that’s convenient! So, it’s been about three years since you released your first album, Twin Idols. What do you think has changed most for the band? Lessons learned? New creative directions? New influences? JZA: The first record was very much based around three-part harmonies with three separate singers and lots of layered vocal textures. Circumstances changed and we ended up with Jsun as the main vocalist, so things have become more song-focused as opposed to arrangement-focused. I don’t think stylistically any of us have changed what we’re into, but I think the lineup changes have had an effect. Maybe more than anything the changing political environment over the past two years has had an inadvertent influence on the music.
JK: I think we’ve all had the same influences for years or decades; I don’t think any of that has necessarily changed. For me, I think I drew from Joy Division or Galaxie 500 on a couple songs, but aside from that I was probably subconsciously going off of a lot of other things. I think we all were. JA: Some of the bass lines are really that Manchester, early-New Order, lateJoy Division kind of thing. Other songs are probably influenced by loving bands like The Jesus and Mary Chain or Echo and the Bunnymen. We’re not afraid to be a Northwest band sort of exploring dreamscapes with a dancy rock beat. 11: I read you had some heavy hitters from the likes of The Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Dandy Warhols collaborate in some capacity on Twin Idols. Are there similar cameos to look out for on The Show Must Not Go On? JZA: We recorded most of the new record with Gregg Williams at the Trench Studio. MB: He’s in the Oregon Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. JA: He did the Dandy Warhols Thirteen Tales from Urban Bohemia and all the Blitzen Trapper records. We also recorded a song for this record at Revolver Studios with Collin Hegna who plays with Brian Jonestown Massacre and Federale. JZA: We recorded a lot of the first record at Revolver with Collin too. He played piano on two of those songs and Peter Holmström from the Dandy Warhols played guitar on a couple. On the new record though, we only recorded one song with Collin, and Peter also played on it. JK: Nathan Junior’s on there a bunch playing synth too. He’s a Portland powerhouse; he’s played with Rick Bain, M Ward, Fruit Bats. Bunch of stuff. 11: You mentioned earlier that you tend to write collaboratively. What does that process usually look like? JK: I think a lot of our songwriting is just building on spontaneous ideas. I think we know how to feed off each other really well. We’ll sit there and
jam for 15 minutes on something, and MARCH Jonathan will take it home and turn it HAWTHORNE THEATRE into a demo. He’ll even add some extra 1507 SE 39TH drums or lead parts and send it back to Devildriver | Death Angel | The Agonist | Azreal 4 us. I Prevail | Wage War | Assuming We Survive 7 Adelitas Way | Letters From the Fire | Sojourner 8 JZA: Yeah, like on “The Show Must A-Ru$$ x Heff | Brookfield Deuce | Matt Burton 10 Not Go On,” Jsun had a chord progression Hayley Kiyoko | Flor 11 and a rhythm in his head that we spent Architects | Stray From The Path | Make Them Suffer 13 Sisyphean Conscience | Devil in the Details | Burdens 14 a day playing, so I went back to my Save Ferris | The Dandulus | Vista Kicks 17 studio knowing the chord changes and Isaiah Rashad | Lance Skiiiwaltker | Jay IDK 19 the rhythm and I created a template G Love & Special Sauce | City of the Sun 23 The Bouncing Souls | Andrew Jackson Jihad | Get Dead 24 of instruments playing the song. Then Kreator | Obituary | Midnight | Horrendous 27 we started filling in spaces: recording Red 30 live drums over it, chopping it all up, VALENTINES rearranging it. It’s kind of like an album 232 SW ANKENY of remixes from a certain standpoint– The Lucky Thirteens | Hong Kong Banana 5 Old Unconscious 10 from how they were originally conceived Little Star | Toner | Big Smiley 15 to how they were finally edited and Little Furry Things | Underwhelming Favorites 17 presented on the album. Tigers of Youth | Impulse Control | Neon Culpa 26 Last Giant 30 JA: At a point, I actually went away ALADDIN THEATER to Jamaica, and Jonathan sent me some 3017 SE MILWAUKIE of the recordings in progress. It sounded Robert Cray Band 4 like Josh and Bob’s bass and drums Walter Trout | Shook Twins 16 Donavon Frankenreiter | Grant-Lee Phillips 17 had locked in really well so I ended up Jessica Hoop 18 writing a lot of the lyrics there. Keola Beamer & Jeff Peterson w/Moanalani Beamer 24 JZA: The first album was recorded Dumpstaphunk 31 in like nine different places, so things were getting recorded constantly all over the place. But this new one was pretty much recorded at Gregg’s place and in my studio. Basically, the band comes up with an idea, then I’ll take it and make a demo of it. Then we take the stems from the demo into the studio and rerecord some stuff but keep some of THE GOODFOOT the demo tracks I’ve gotten too attached 2845 SE STARK to to properly rerecord. Then it goes Ural Thomas & The Pain 6 back to my studio and I manipulate it, Dogdgy Mountain Men | Comerados 8 DJ Logic | Object Heavy | Klozd Sirkut 9 and mix it, and add more things. It’s an Eminence Ensemble | Yak Attack 11 odd way to make a record I think. Pigwar | Etta's World 22 JA: It’s a secret! What are we giving Trout Steak Revival | Jay Cobb Anderson Band 25 Grant Farm 28 this away for!
11: It makes sense it would be such an elaborate process. The album’s so dense it would be hard to conceive of all those little nuances without approaching it so methodically. JK: Yeah, there’s a lot of freedom somehow in all that planning and plotting. Sometimes you take things that happened organically and you work them into the song, and other times you program stuff. There’s a lot of freedom playing in this band that I haven’t had in other bands. We don’t really hold each other to song structures. There are no song structures in this band!
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11: Tell me about the album title.
Portland Country Underground (Mondays) Doc Slocum's Old-Time Jam | Freak Mt. Ramblers Sean O'Neill Band | The Jessica Stiles Experience Ky Burt & The Moonlight Travellers | The Pine Hearts Kory Quinn & The Quinntessentials | Anna Lynch Kris Deelane & The Hurt | Garcia Birthday Band
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11: Picture In My Ear Records out
Does The Show Must Not Go On refer to
of Minneapolis released Twin Idols and
any specific themes woven throughout
now the new record too. How did you
the album? JA: Yeah, a lot of the songs have this political edge to them–not on purpose,
Whiskey Meyers | The Wans Mary "Porkchop" Holder | MPH Almonst Is Nothing Strand of Oaks | Heather McEntire The Blasters | Clownvis Presley
Photo by William Landers
but it’s there. JZA: The title originally had no political meaning, but all the lyrics that Jsun wrote in Jamaica during the presidential primaries ended up being really poignant in relation to the results of the election. It’s bizarre. JK: I don’t know if it’s something
end up getting hooked up with them? JA: Maybe 10 years ago I was playing with my other band, The Upsidedown, in Minneapolis, and Colin Axel was in the audience. We ended up becoming email friends, and later, when he started Picture In My Ear, I sent him some Daydream Machine demos. We’re lucky to be working with him; he’s got a lot of great bands from all over the world, like New Candys from Italy–their name’s actually a combination of Anton
that anyone can escape right now.
Newcombe and the Dandy Warhols–and
I don’t know if the intention was to
this band STAY from Spain who got
make it political, but politics are sort of
produced by Oasis.
seeping through everything everyone does these days. JZA: Yeah, and I don’t think that was an element in the first record at all. I think Twin Idols dealt with very different themes. 11: You said you wrote a lot of the lyrics in Jamaica. Did your experience there influence the content of the album at all? JA: Yeah I think so. There’s nothing specifically Caribbean happening,
Just having such a cool label that’s so supportive of what we do is huge. We send Colin new songs, and usually he’s just completely elated with them. But sometimes there’s like 15 seconds on a song here or there that he thinks we could do better. In the end, there have been a few songs he was totally right about, and they got better from the back and forth. 11: Will you be touring at all to promote the album? JA: Yep. We’re doing a West Coast
but there's this ongoing sentiment of
tour next month with our Portland
soulful resistance that underrides that
brethren, Souvenir Driver. We’re kicking
whole island that probably influenced
it all off with a big show at Mississippi
me – at least subconsciously.
Studios on March 21, so we’re excited
about that. This past year we’ve been
the sudden go from that to playing
lucky enough to play with some of our
really good places any more. It seems
favorite bands. We got to play in Austin
like people work a lot more on their
at the Black Angels’ Levitation festival.
stuff at home and music around town is
We played a festival in California with
getting better because of it. That’s not
the Dandy Warhols. It’s been a lot of
to say there haven’t always been great
bands in Portland. I guess there just has to be a different approach now.
11: You seem pretty deeply
JA: I hate to see fewer of those small
connected to a specific musical
venues because that’s where bands get
lineage in Portland with some of the
to cut their teeth and play on those
older bands you’ve mentioned who
weeknights when maybe no one’s there,
have made a name for themselves over
but just being able to have stage time in
the years. What kind of changes have
the beginning is really valuable.
you seen that are either encouraging or maybe cause for concern?
BM: Yeah, I can think of three recent venues that are probably condos now... Slabtown, Langano Lounge,
JK: One of the biggest things is there seem to be fewer and fewer
Habesha. But the music is thriving. It always has. » - Christopher Klarer
venues to play, especially all ages and smaller places that can allow themselves to be more daring and cater to more exploratory music. But the good thing is the music has gotten a lot better because it kinda has to. You can’t just be a couple of dudes getting drunk and playing in your basement and all
L Daydream Machine
The Show Must Not Go On Picture In My Ear Records
From the depths of the Portland music scene, Daydream Machine releases their second LP this March. The Show Must Not Go On comes out dragging your mind through both the gutters and the sunshine of a twisted and beautiful existence. The album’s first three songs differ in style but accentuate the
DAYDREAM MACHINE CELEBRATE THE RELEASE OF THE NEW RECORD MARCH 21AT MISSISSIPPI STUDIOS diversity in the band’s universe of rhythm. The album draws first blood with “You Know Who,” a track that jumps out with steady rock ‘n’ roll power and invites the listener in while subtly digging some wispy, ominous claws deep into your brain. “Falls Out of View” follows with nearly inaudible vocals. These are interlaced with cloudy, drifting guitars that drive away despair. Then, “25 Thirty” drops hard with keyboard, bass, guitar and drums. This track has an irresistible mood accompanied by twisted, dark vocals that feel evil in the best way possible. By contrast, “Tiny Galaxies” closes out the LP with tender wisdom, urging the listener to “forget yourself” and feel a cool sense of calm. The entire album fluctuates from the trenches to the sky. Daydream Machine has undeniably followed up strong with The Show Must Not Go On, and there doesn't seem to be an end to this chaotic beauty anywhere on the horizon. » - Ellis Samsara
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features national scene
uccess breaks in waves, rolling in and
vocalists distinctive and contain the true depth of the words
receding, and it might carry you for
being sung. Below is the conversation we had, as best as I
a time if you know how to ride it. It’s
could capture it:
a strange balancing act, but Brooks Nielsen, frontman for The Growlers, seems to have it down. The band formed
ELEVEN: Hey, thanks for sitting down to talk to me. Well, actually I don’t know if you’re sitting down right now...
in 2006, and they’ve released five full albums and three EPs since, solidifying
Brooks Nielsen: (Laughs.) I am, literally.
their status as Southern Cali legends. Now, almost a decade later, the group is still going strong through countless tours, several lineup changes and a fire in 2014 that swept through
11: So you guys are on tour as we speak. Where are you right now?
the band’s communal home and recording studio. Their latest album, City Club, out last September, is
BN: Right now we’re in a basement in Phoenix, Arizona.
perhaps a bit of a departure from their signature brand of melancholy surf-rock, a sound dubbed “beach goth” at some
11: How’s Phoenix this time of year?
point earlier in their career. But then, The Growlers have never been a group to be pigeonholed, showcasing a variety
BN: It’s good. A little less rain than California.
of styles on every release so far. City Club features heavy synths over crisp drum and bass grooves, the kind of cuts
11: You guys have been touring for a while now. How
that seem designed to get a crowd on its feet and moving. The
does this current one compare to tours you’ve done in the
record does feature slower songs as well, throwbacks to some
of the mellower moods inhabited by the band in years past. I caught up with Nielsen via telephone last week–The
BN: They’ve gotten shorter actually. We were playing
Growlers are already mid-tour–and as we spoke, I got the
longer ones before, five, six weeks, but we were just wearing
sense of a man who’s come a long way, and who also has
ourselves out, so now we’re pulling back a bit. We’ve hit a
a ways to go yet. His air wasn’t one of weariness but of
point where we can do that. But it’s all about the fans, as long
understanding, a comfortable familiarity with the life of a
as they keep supporting us.
touring musician, candid about its pitfalls but also genuinely grateful to be doing what he does: pouring his heart out on
11: Looking at the lineup for the tour you’re on, there are
stage for people who feel as though his music speaks for
a lot of different venues across the states. Do you prefer to
play bigger places, or do you like the more intimate spaces?
Nielsen’s voice over the phone carried its signature gravelly quality, to the point that some of the audio was
BN: You know, it really depends on the night, how
difficult to transcribe. But in that voice you could also hear
the energy is. I don’t really have a preference one way or
the subtleties of emotion, the little nuances that make great
the other. Sometimes the big shows are really fun, with
17 | ELEVEN PORTLAND | www.elevenpdx.com
features national scene everybody going crazy. I’m not a huge fan of giant outdoor venues though, and daytime shows. Daytime isn’t really meant for rock ‘n’ roll. 11: And on this tour it’s material from the latest album, City Club, that you’re primarily doing? BN: We’re doing some of everything, really. We’re here for the fans, and we’ve been around for a while, so we do a lot of older songs as well, but yeah, we’re primarily playing stuff off the new record. 11: You have a lot of material at this point to draw from. Do you mix it up from show to show, or do you have a standard set list that you do? BN: You know, we play around a lot with the order of things, what sounds good together. That’s something we’re always thinking about. But yeah, we have maybe 60 songs that we’ll do, and we just go night to night and see what works.
"People are coming out to the shows, and I don’t know if they bought the album or downloaded it for free, but we’re going to keep coming out to play for the fans. They’re why we’re here."
11: I wanted to talk a little bit about the latest album, City Club, which, true to the name, sounds more like what you might hear in a club. It’s a little more synthy, heavier grooves than some of your earlier stuff. Was that intentional in the composition?
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BN: I’ve made up a lot of stories about the name, how it came to be, but yeah. When we were recording this, we were next to this little Mexican place called the City Club, and we were going there to drink at the bar every night, and we thought it was a funny name. We liked the font on the sign they had, and so we decided to name the album that. And you know, maybe it does fit the sound of the record more. 11: That was actually my next question. Was the City
MUSIC MUSIC PERFORMANCE PERFORMANCE FOOD FOOD DRINKS DRINKS 2393 2393 NE NE Fremont Fremont fremonttheater.com fremonttheater.com
Club a real place, or more like an archetypal club that might exist somewhere in every city?
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Photo by Rodrigo Jardรณn
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features national scene Photo by Shane Hirschman
BN: No, it’s a real place. And my sister-in-law recently
it’s not always easy keeping everybody on board doing this.
called me and told me that there was a fire in the City Club,
And we’re really lucky to have fans who support us. A lot of
in the kitchen. And I was like, “Oh no, that’s terrible.” But she
bands don’t make it far enough to see any sort of financial
told me, “No, it’s still open. I was there getting drinks at the
success. And with the way the music industry is right now,
things are really up in the air, and it’s hard to navigate that and figure out how to make it work.
11: One of my favorite tracks off the album is “Blood of a Mutt.” In a lot of your interviews you’ve had dogs with you.
11: Going off that, with all the ways music gets released
I was wondering if you could speak a little bit on that song,
nowadays, online and on streaming platforms and whatnot,
about you and dogs.
how do you see that changing the industry?
BN: Yeah, I like dogs, I’ve had dogs around a lot, and the
BN: Man, it’s hard to say, I really don’t know. I mean, I
idea of being a mutt, not knowing where you’re from. That
think it’s a good thing maybe that people don’t necessarily
really spoke to me, so that song is about that, and about life
have to get signed to a big label. We’ve been lucky with our
and growing, and I’ve found that the only way you can do that
situation. I’d like to get to the point where we can just record
is by getting older and learning from that experience.
albums and put them up for free for everybody, and maybe
11: Speaking of getting older and growing, this last
that’ll happen, but that’s a tough question. People are coming
album featured some lineup changes, which happens fairly
out to the shows, and I don’t know if they bought the album or
often in bands that are around for as long as you guys have
downloaded it for free, but we’re going to keep coming out to
been. I was wondering if you’d speak a little bit about that,
play for the fans. They’re why we’re here.
and how you move forward from there? 11: From that answer it sounds as though you prefer BN: Yeah, it’s hard, man. I’ve really just been trying to keep this thing going, but people get older and change, and
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playing live? Do you think that your music is better in that setting?
www.elevenpdx.com | ELEVEN PORTLAND | 22
features national scene BN: I mean, to each his own, but maybe, yeah. Recording is something we’ve struggled with and worked on, and we’ve definitely gotten a lot better at it. But yeah, being there and playing live, I think there’s an energy that doesn’t always make it onto the recording. 11: Speaking of live energy, one thing you guys are known for is the Beach Goth festival, which was so big last year that it made some headlines for being a bit crazy. Is that something you’re planning on doing again? BN: I’m not really at liberty to talk too much about that, but yeah. It’s something we love doing, and we want to keep doing it. Last year, it was a little crazy, but that was all stuff beyond our control. Where it gets complicated is the business aspect. We’re musicians; we just want to play, and it’s hard for us to go out there and you know, do business correctly. But we’ve surrounded ourselves over time with people that we can trust, who are able to do that stuff. 11: Who have you been listening to recently? BN: You know, I’m in such a Growlers mode right now, I haven’t really been listening to much other stuff. I’ve mostly just been playing with the guys. We just sit in a room and play, and listen to each other. I used to think I liked things ghetto, but really I like things simple. I like to listen to people who are really good, and who can play stuff that’s really simple. I’ve been listening to a lot of classic reggae these days. 11: You’re not touring with anybody else, correct? BN: No, we’ve been playing longer sets this time around. It seems to work better that way. We’ll do two, two-and-a-half hours. But yeah, it’s been just us on this tour. 11: And you guys are going to be up here in Portland in March, correct? BN: Yeah man, we’re excited. It should be super fun. 11: Awesome, thanks for talking to me. BN: Thank you, catch you later. »
CATCH THE GROWLERS LIVE IN PORTLAND THIS MONTH MARCH 23 AT ROSELAND THEATER
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THE TOF F EE CLUB M A R CH M U SI C C AL E N DAR Friday 3rd - STICKY TOFFEE House and Disco with Bald Eagle Sunday 5th - MY HEART BELONGS TO TWEE Indiepop Brunch with My lil’ Underground Friday 10th - STICKY TOFFEE House and Disco with Maliksun Thursday 16th - PARKLIFE Britpop Night Friday 17th - STICKY TOFFEE House and Disco with Drew the Universe Sunday 19th - MY HEART BELONGS TO TWEE Indiepop Brunch with My lil’ Underground Thursday 23rd - ONE DROP Reggae and Roots with Sicoide and guests Friday 24th - STICKY TOFFEE House and Disco with JPREZ Friday 24th - STICKY TOFFEE House and Disco with Jason Urick
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community literary arts Photo by Jay Winebrenner
NC: Lazy Fascist Press came to me and said, “We love your short stories and we’d love for you to write a novella. I looked at the deadline. There [was] a book that I had in my mind for years, but it was going to be a major undertaking. So I thought, “I have a limited amount of time and I’ve never written anything of that scale before.” I wanted the setting to be something I was really intimately familiar with. If I was setting this in Victorian times in Southeast Asia, I would have had to do an immense amount of research. Starr Creek Road was this haunted, strange place that I could see out the front window of my parents’ farm when I was growing up. I used to walk down that farm road a little ways and watch the sunset at night. 11: One writing lesson that has stayed with me is that something that may be very mundane and usual to you may be very interesting to someone else.
Portland writer and musician Nathan Carson
n 2015, after touring with Danzig in his doom metal band Witch Mountain, Nathan Carson sat down and wrote his debut novella, Starr Creek. Out last November on Lazy Fascist Press, it’s about a group of kids in the ‘80s that stumble upon some supernatural entities in the woods. If you’re thinking this sounds a lot like a very popular recent TV show set in the ‘80s with kids playing D&D and fighting monsters in the woods, not quite. The preteen heroes of Starr Creek start the day with a few hits of acid and have to cut deals for woods porn with dangerous hillbillies and feed oxies to aliens in order to survive. Carson’s Lovecraftian vision is alive and well in Oregon with his vividly detailed account of life in the forest deep in the central Willamette Valley. ELEVEN: Can you tell us about your background? Nathan Carson: I was born in Concord, New Hampshire, so I’m kind of a Yankee from birth. But I was in Oregon in time to see Star Wars so I also feel like a pretty legit native here because I’ve lived all throughout the mid valley, raised on a goat farm in the woods, didn’t really have neighbors or pavement until I moved to Eugene. I had hippie parents who were into rock ‘n’ roll so I couldn’t really rebel much. The only way I could have rebelled is if I went to church or joined the army, and neither of those things happened. 11: That upbringing comes through in the detail of Starr Creek. Did your youth provide the setting for this book?
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NC: Certainly. It’s interesting that half the people I talk to say they recognize this from their childhood, and the other half thinks it’s very exotic. Because if you grew up in the city and didn’t run around in the country having rock fights... I think it works both ways. It’s either something you can identify with, or it’s something that’s kind of rich to them. So I really wanted to capture that. It was a free range time where parents weren’t keeping tabs on everything that we did. I also wanted the characters to be able to drive the story. I wanted to set up realistic characters that are fallible. They’re not perfect. They are not ninja-super-genius children. But they’re also not idiots; they have situations that are put in front of them and they deal with them accordingly. I really had fun following the story to its inevitable conclusion because I didn’t really know how it was going to end. I just set up these situations and these characters and then followed them through because I wouldn’t want the characters to be forced by the plot to do something that was against their character or their nature. 11: I wouldn’t say the story writes itself, but when the story really comes together, the world appears before you as a writer and this carries over to the reader, who becomes immersed in the setting. How were you able to pull this off? NC: I was really happy with how many of the connections just kind of worked. As I was writing, I would say, “Hey, I know where this is going and how this connects, and why these characters might encounter each other.” So there were a lot of fun epiphanies that happened throughout that process. 11: Since your book is based around kids in the ‘80s in the woods, you must be getting some comparisons to Stranger Things. How do you feel about that? NC: This book was written in November-December of 2015, and I had no inkling Stranger Things was on the way. Certainly they never read my book when they were working on the script. I’m a fan of the show. I enjoyed watching it. I liked it. I think the key difference that has been pointed out from some generous reviewers is that Stranger Things is written by some younger people extrapolating what the ‘80s were like by watching ET and The Goonies, and my book is about having actually lived there. When you think about it, is 12-year-old kids
community literary arts riding BMXs and eating Eggo Waffles a genre? Is it a trope? No, it’s really just reality. So anyway, I enjoy the show. I love the actors in that, and I think it’s cool. I think my book is much more R-rated. 11: With that being said, have you ever been approached by anyone to have this book adapted into a film or for a show? NC: One director in Hollywood has asked to read it so far, but it’s just so new. The book only came out in mid-November. I’m certainly open to it. I know that certain things would have to be changed in order to make it filmable. 11: I think the technology has caught up for some of the special effects, no? NC: Special effects yes, but there’s some scenes with underage people involved that you couldn’t show. 11: I was kind of confused about what was going on at the end in the barn. NC: Yes, it was meant to be kind of dreamy and psychedelic and horrifying. I got some totally flattering compliments from some horror writers who said that really disturbed them. I said, “Alright, if I can disturb Brian Keene then I’m on the right page.” 11: Speaking of horror, this book has been described and seems to fall within the Lovecraft genre. How does your book fit into that? NC: Of course, I am a huge Lovecraft fan from a very young age. I got really interested in his writing when I was about 11 years old. Probably through role-playing games is how I would have discovered him first. There was a Lovecraft section in the Deities & Demigods. I started reading those stories a lot in high school, when I was first doing a lot of writing. It was a quantity of bad writing that I did in high school that was a lot H.P. Lovecraft and Clive Barker pastiche that is just terrible. I needed to get it out of my system and practice. When I was 19 and thinking more seriously about being a writer, I read this book by Damon Wright called Writing Good Fiction where he says if you’re not at least 30, you might want to go get some life experience. And so I took that to heart, but I actually waited until I was 40. And so three years ago, I turned 40 and I had been doing music journalism for 15 years, but fiction is a very different part of your brain that you have to use.
There is a short story I wrote called” The Lurker in the Shadows” and I read an unfinished fragment of that at BizarroCon in 2014, and it was like Cinderella, man. This guy walks up to me and gives me his card and says “I’d like to hear that whole story.” It was this editor Ross Lockhart who owns a press in Kataluma called Word Horde–a really highly regarded small press specializing in horror. So I busted my ass, finished the story. Made it as good as it could be, sent it to him and he bought it and published it. So my very first publication was in an anthology with a bunch of other authors who I like and respect. 11: For our readers who are not familiar with H.P. Lovecraft, can you give a quick synopsis of his work? NC: After Edgar Allan Poe and before Stephen King, he’s the most important American horror author of all time. He wrote mostly in the 1920s and ‘30s from a very New England perspective. He was virtually unknown in his lifetime, and he died fairly young. His friends thought his work was really important so they preserved it and kept publishing it. Now you see Cthulhu, which is one of his demonic creations on South Park. It has become this ubiquitous thing; there are plush Cthulhu dolls. 11: He was ahead of his time in many ways, wasn’t he? NC: Especially because he introduced this element of cosmicism to horror. And he was an atheist. Most horror before that had a supernatural element. Whereas his creations were misunderstood, indescribable creatures from the voids of space, affecting people through their dreams from under the ocean waves. That always appealed to me because I’m not a religious person and I thought his fiction was fantastic. I also really like his language. It’s a very antiquated. Lovecraft had created his kind of mythological setting that most of his stories take place in. I guess this is my start in doing this in the mid-Willamette Valley. Because however weird the wilderness in New England is, the wilderness in Oregon is just as strange, just in a different way. I did see one review that said, “Hillbillies in Oregon, I don’t think so.” And I thought, “What are you talking about?” I didn’t want to base this on real people, but it’s very inspired by the mythology of that area. Starr Creek Road really had feuding families and people living without lights or electricity. I always say, “Yes, there’s a real Starr Creek Road,” and, “No, you should not go there.” Because those people want to be left the fuck alone. 11: One of my favorite things that I heard about, but have never really seen, is woods porn. This is a real thing? NC: Absolutely, and it’s touched on in this book. It was something I grew up with, and Dangerous Minds has a really definitive article about it that I highly recommend. It’s amazing. I reposted that article and immediately 100 people commented that, yes, this happened. There was no internet, so if you’re under 18, you get it where you can. » - Scott McHale
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community visual arts dry it out too fast and create cracks in the pottery. I can’t really continuously fire; I have to build a bunch of stuff over a couple of months until I have a few kiln loads worth and then I fire them all at once. Firing in the kiln usually takes about 15-20 hours depending on the firing setting. So I usually start to fire at night and then open it back up the following evening after it has had a chance to cool down. Sometimes it’s frustrating in this small environment, especially with the push from my social media presence and being able to keep up with production. 11: Did you build your own studio space? MT: It was here when we bought the house. That was one of the big conditions of buying a house for us, to have an outside workspace because I didn’t want to have to fire in a basement. It was all boarded up when we first bought it, and we couldn’t really even look inside. After we bought it, we had to boltcut the locks off the doors. The previous owners didn’t have the combinations to the locks. The windows were all boarded up. The walls were made of wood and were all in good shape, which was a plus. We just filled in the floors with cement and added in the carriage doors for the entrance. There was a huge pile of garbage that we filled the floor in with, like a weird doll that was wrapped in a bag; all of it went into the flooring. 11: What goes into envisioning each piece? Do you have to consider who will be holding it? Or do you usually consider the functionality of what it would be used for? Photo by Mercy McNab
VISUAL ARTS Portland ceramic artist Martina Thornhill
his month, ELEVEN had the pleasure of stepping into a converted toolshed that has pumped out ceramic treasures for customers across the world. Entering Martina Thornhill’s studio through carriage doors, it’s illuminated with just the right amount of natural light. A large, concrete electric kiln takes up a large portion of the immediate studio space. Off in the corner, a collection of the many tiny clay testers showcase the possible glazes and textures of her intricate variety of hand-formed clay wares. Thornhill sits us down in front of her long, wooden work table to discuss how she has made her creative pursuit her career and how her work has been recently transformed through her journey into motherhood.
MT: A lot of my pieces are more sculptural, although they are all functional pieces. I don’t make any pieces that are not functional, and I only make decorative pieces every once in awhile. I am a very practical person so if the product doesn’t have a function then it can sometimes be a little hard for me to figure out what to do with it. The handles on my mugs, for example, tend to be more of a sculptural element and are not necessarily made to be held in a traditional way, and I tend to hold the body of a mug more than I do the handles, so I think that is why I designed them that way. 11: What made you become interested in sculpture? Did that arise from wanting to create your own functional pieces, or were you just interested in sculpture as an artistic medium?
ELEVEN: How does your studio space inform the work that you do? Martina Thornhill: The way I produce work is kind of forced by my studio because when I fire the kiln it gets really warm in here. So if anything is not dry enough it will usually
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"Vessels in Volcanic Glaze"
community visual arts
"Sleepy Eye Pour Over and Eye Mug"
MT: It’s absolutely had an influence. For one, there is just a lot less time. He is almost one now, 11 months, which has gone by crazy fast. When I lived on the East Coast I sold in a lot of stores, about 22 across the country. When we moved out here I started to think about selling all my work on my own online, but getting pregnant kind of got in the way of that. We got pregnant pretty soon after we moved back here, which was not really the plan. I think it’s hard to really comprehend how much having a baby is really going to change things until they are really out. People tell you it will change your life and you agree that of course it will, but then I still managed to maintain some unreasonable expectations. For example, I thought I could be back in the studio after about six months, but then like seven months in I really realized how no way that’s going to happen. I was selling my products primarily online for myself, but now that Dodge is here, there are too many things to balance, so I have been getting back into wholesaling a little bit and getting back into a few stores again. 11: How has your son changed your priorities with your art?
MT: I wanted to just be very functional at first. We moved out East when my husband’s mom got very sick, and we wanted to help out and help take care of her. We moved to Upstate New York for a good six or seven months. Upstate New York was really hard for both of us because it really seemed like there was nothing to do in that town, and we really felt like we didn’t fit in. There was a ceramics studio in walking distance, and so I started taking classes there in the interest of making dishes for myself. The teacher was funny, and as I struggled to learn about using the wheel, she would gently try to suggest that maybe I should try hand building instead. The wheel and I really aren’t friends. I think I am proficient at using the wheel now and it is OK, but it is definitely not my medium or way of making pottery. I was always really offended by her and felt like she could have done more to teach me, but when we moved to North Carolina and I took more pottery classes there, the teacher there also suggested hand building might be a better alternative. I was like, “Goddammit, seriously?” Then I finally realized that yeah, I really did like hand building a lot better.
MT: With Dodge, I feel like I’ve had to focus on what I really want to make. A lot of pieces that I have are pretty standard and sell well... but I don’t really enjoy making them as much as I used to: like my eye mugs and nose mugs. I still really like them, but I don’t feel as creatively fulfilled by them anymore, and that was kind of the point in me doing this in the first place. I am not out to make a million bucks. I prefer to work by myself and not have interns. I prefer to touch everything that comes out of my studio. I want to have had laid my hands on it and be the person who made the product that has my name on it. If I have such a limited time it’s important for me to feel excited about the things I am making... Normally when Dodge goes to bed I run over to my studio with my baby monitor and that’s when I get the most time to work.
11: On your website, you talk about how you tend to draw from you background in fiber arts. How is that? MT: I used to sew and sell the clothing that I made, so I feel like the idea of approaching clay like I approach fabric makes more sense in my mind. I know how to cut patterns and fuse seams, so it just makes a lot more sense to me to apply that knowledge to ceramics. That is how you get these pretty basic forms in my work, that are pretty simple but they have multiple pieces to them. With my olive oil cruets, there are three pieces to the body, and then I add the rings. Some of my other pieces can be four or five pieces that I make separately and then fuse together to make the whole piece. 11: How has motherhood influenced your work?
"Cobalt Dish Set"
11: Do you have a favorite object that you make? MT: I make a lot of mugs: that’s the main thing that sells and it’s easy for people. I also love making olive oil pourers. They are really fun to make sculpture-wise, and they all turn
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community visual arts out a little bit different. I think they have cute, funny little personalities. The planters are simple and I can do them with my eyes closed so it’s kind of nice and meditative to make them for that reason. I just enjoy playing with clay. I feel really lucky that people want to buy my stuff and that I get to do that as a job. 11: Did you always want to be a pottery maker when you grew up? MT: I never planned on selling my pottery. That was not part of my game plan. I’ve tried to make a living making stuff in various forms, so I knew that was what I would want to do as a career. Whenever I pick up a creative pursuit, I can never just make one thing. I get pretty devoted to making a lot of that product I am pursuing, so it doesn’t really work to do that without being able to sell off some it. Otherwise you just end up with a million of something and it’s not practical. I got started by making things and posting them on Instagram. Stores began hitting me up and I didn’t expect that at all, but I think it was really good timing. That’s the other thing about trying to step back from things like Instagram–I really wouldn’t have all these opportunities without it. 11: How do you think that making more functional art sets you apart from other artists?
"Custom Dinnerware Set in Speckled White"
MT: I have a hard time calling myself an artist. I didn’t go to art school. I don’t have any fine art instruction or background at all, and a lot of times people talk about prominent artists and I don’t really know who they are talking about. I actually really like what that brings to my work though, and it makes it so that my work is a little less traditional. I have been trying a lot more to take claim of that identity and say that I am an artist, but it still just feels really weird for me to say that. Pottery is also kind of one of those things that traditionally wasn’t really accepted into the fine art world. It’s a craft, like embroidery or any sort of needlework or weaving. There has been a lot of push to have it be accepted in that realm, but it still exists in this kind of intermedium. It’s a functional thing and it’s in people’s homes and the price point is allowed to be pretty low in comparison. 11: It does seem weird to take a piece of art and be able to eat off it. MT: Yeah, but it’s also kind of nice. It makes it a part of your everyday life. That also makes it easier to make conscious decisions as a consumer and to step away from rampant consumerism. It’s amazing for me to make wedding sets for people, for example, because maybe they don’t want to just buy mass produced products, but rather, pieces that mean something more to them. It feels different to have things like that in your home. In this last move, I finally got rid of everything machinemade and mass-produced, and now my cupboards are filled with pieces that I have made or traded with other people, or things that I have thrifted. It’s so nice to be able to look in my cupboard and to see the variety in there. » - Lucia Ondruskova
FIND THIS ARTIST ONLINE WEB: MARTINATHORNHILL.COM IG: MARTINATHORNHILL
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