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ELEVEN PDX MAGAZINE VOLUME 6

THE USUAL 3 Letter from the Editor 3 Staff Credits

ISSUE NO. 4

FEATURES Local Feature 13 Johanna Warren

Cover Feature 17 NEW MUSIC

Garbage

4 Aural Fix Heaters Death Valley Girls Charlotte Day Wilson Still Corners

7 Short List 7 Album Reviews Preoccupations The Head and The Heart Wilco Kool Keith

COMMUNITY Literary Arts 25 Portland author Gina Ochsner

Visual Arts 27 Portland artist Ryan Berkley

LIVE MUSIC 9 Know Your Venue Laurelthirst Pub

11 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


HELLO PORTLAND! As another lovely summer comes to a close-(ish), it's time to start planning your wet-weather activities! Here are 11 great ideas for you: 11. Get going on that DIY marshmallow roasting cart of your dreams. 10. Embark on a marathon of Gene Wilder films (via Movie Madness). RIP Wonka. 9. Try volunteering for a community service project or non-profit. 8. Time to get Blazed: #RipCity, baby! 7. Unique goals: While working on #10, begin construction of world's longest paper chain. 6. Re-live Rio glory: Badminton is the best sport in any weather. 5. New tunes: Catch a rippin' show like Still Corners. [p.6] 4. Take a look in a book and make the world more literate. [p.25] 3. Print something cool like PDX artist Ryan Berkley. [p.27] 2. Draw a mandala with colored sand and then wipe it away, 'cuz nothin' lasts forever. 1. Xanadu awaits! Text up some friends and get the stereo turnt to ELEVEN! DISCO DANCE PARTY! »

- Ryan Dornfeld, Editor in Chief

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EXECUTIVE STAFF EDITOR IN CHIEF Ryan Dornfeld ryan@elevenpdx.com CREATIVE DIRECTOR Dustin Mills dustin@elevenpdx.com SECTION EDITORS LOCAL FEATURE: Ethan Martin LITERARY ARTS: JP Kemmick, Scott McHale VISUAL ARTS: Mercy McNab GRAPHIC DESIGN Dustin Mills CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Brandy Crowe, Billy Dye, Sarah Eaton, Eric Evans, JP Kemmick, Kelly Kovl, Travis Leipzig, Samantha Lopez, Ethan Martin, Scott McHale, Lucia Ondruskova, Gina Pieracci, Ellis Samsara, Tyler Sanford, Stephanie Scelza, Matthew Sweeney, Erin Treat, Charles Trowbridge PHOTOGRAPHERS Eric Evans, Alexa Lepisto, Mercy McNab, Andrew Roles, Todd Walberg, Caitlin M. Webb COVER PHOTO Joseph Cultice

ONLINE Mark Dilson, Kim Lawson, Michael Reiersgaard, Chance Solem-Pfeifer GET INVOLVED getinvolved@elevenpdx.com www.elevenpdx.com twitter.com/elevenpdx facebook.com/elevenmagpdx MAILING ADRESS 126 NE Alberta Suite 211 Portland, OR. 97211 GENERAL INQUIRIES info@elevenpdx.com ADVERTISING sales@elevenpdx.com LOGISTICS Billy Dye 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

AURAL FIX

up and coming music from the national scene

1

HEATERS SEPTEMBER 10 | BUNK BAR

Catching the swells from the psychedelic sea, Heaters arrives in Portland this month on the heels of releasing their second hypnotizing album Baptistina on Aug. 5. The sounds from this Michigan-based psychedelic surf rock band are entrancing and meant to be experienced at full volume. Baptistina keeps a heavy pace throughout, along with some unexpected rhythmic gems that seem to come out of nowhere. Having Heaters at the wheel of your evening could easily send you to places that you had no idea existed. There is a certain droning feel to this Grand Rapids-spawned collision of creativity that manifests a spiral and ocean of patterns, all founded on heavy reverb and solid grooving bass lines. Andrew Tamlyn, Nolan Krebs and Joshua Korf hit it hard after the release of their debut album, Holy Water Pool, kicking out the new album Baptistina less than a year later. It takes serious drive to accomplish that kind of creative rush. Plus, it appears to come from a sincere and natural place, which is bound to be appreciated by fans of

spaced-out surf rock who are looking to catch the next wave in Heaters' musical crests and breaks. Heaters has a sound that is all their own, with the potential to captivate the crowds from town to town by keeping spirits high and the mind guessing. Occasional rhythmic switch-ups make dancing a very organic and viable option. » - Ellis Samsara

talking point when you meet someone who idolizes Iggy Pop as a literal higher power. But their music should be a talking point, especially as they carve out a home for themselves in Burger Records' stacked garage-centric stable. Burger has championed Death Valley Girls from the beginning, releasing their first ever cassette, Street Venom in 2014. Their music is an idyllic renewal of '70s-era punk rock, a la Patti Smith, made over with elements of glam and addictive dance-pop. Their newest album, Glow in the Dark seems to be the perfect blend of all these things. Their tone is one of liberation and revitalization, making songs like “Disco” and “Death Valley Boogie” perfect for the narrative Photo by Darian Zahedi

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DEATH VALLEY GIRLS SEPTEMBER 11 | MISSISSIPPI STUDIOS

What does the world look like for you? How do you perceive what’s around you? If you’re anything like Death Valley Girls, there are planes of existence that you can peer through, tangible energies radiating off everyone in a room, a dream of getting cozy with extra-terrestrials. In general, fans and critics alike seem to be more enamored with the personalities of Death Valley Girls than their music. And who can blame them? Music can be less of a

they’ve built around themselves. Dare not to feel a sense of freedom as you listen to their ultra-catchy melodies. Dare not to be mesmerized by Bonnie Bloomgarden’s overdriven, triumphant voice. For fans who’ve discovered Death Valley Girls and can’t get enough of their message, they’ve created Cosmic Underground, a commune that brings all their beliefs together in one space. Focusing on rock ‘n’ roll, the occult and astrology, Cosmic Underground is yet another outlet for their larger than life personalities. If joining the commune feels like too much of a commitment, just listen to the titular track from Glow in the Dark to experience a greater power both spiritually and sonically. » - Sarah Eaton

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new music aural fix Photo by Jasper Lam

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CHARLOTTE DAY WILSON SEPTEMBER 19 | CRYSTAL BALLROOM

After flooring me earlier this year with her vocal performance on the Badbadnotgood track “In Your Eyes,” Charlotte Day Wilson continues to amaze as a vocalist and producer. Five of six tracks are self-produced on her self-initialed CDW EP this month. The Canadian singer shines just as bright over Badbadnotgood’s traditional jazz instrumentals as she does over her own mellow, barren R&B beats, further establishing Toronto as an ever-growing hub of serene R&B talent. But Wilson paves her own lane. She’s not The Weeknd, or PARTYNEXTDOOR, and she grounds herself and her music with dignified solemnity. You won’t hear these tracks bursting from your neighbor's next house-party. These are odes of introspection and lost love that reflect on the state of her life as it stands now, and where she sees herself growing in the future. She weaves her vocals expertly through each track, choosing just the right moments to be powerful and forward with her voice before ripping herself back, falling into an almost whisper-soft uncertainty that is both haunting and heartbreaking. There are no odes to cocaine, nothing quite as poppy as a “Can’t Feel My Face,” and you’re not left yearning for it. There’s more than enough substance in the lyrics and production to fuel a night of self-reflection. For the 23-year-old Wilson, this is only the beginning, a very impressive first chapter of a remarkably talented young singer and songwriter's career. » - Tyler Sanford

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new music aural fix Photo by Bernard Bur

Just things like that. They’re loosely linked with these various narratives, but they all deal with the darker side of things. “Down with Heaven and Hell” is about a friend who basically committed suicide, but there’s a lot hope in that and stuff– it’s a little bit darker than our last two records, but I think there’s a lot of hope. What about you, Tess? TM: I think you’ve probably covered it, yeah. GH: Really? *laughs* Okay. Does that answer your question? 11: Death, and cruelty... All of the dark things. GH: All the dark things, yeah. TM: *laughs* Yeah, we didn’t set out to depress people...

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STILL CORNERS SEPTEMBER 27 | DOUG FIR

It’s an adorable story of chance. Like two ships passing in the night, Greg Hughes and Tessa Murray of Still Corners almost never connected. That is, until the train they shared went the wrong direction, and then dropped them off on a random platform to await a different track back to London. It was there that they struck up conversation and discovered a harmonious bond. Nearly ten years later, building on the success of two fulllength albums released on Sub Pop, Still Corners are ready to take more ownership of their atmospheric, haunting melodies. They’ve moved stateside and are preparing to tour their upcoming album, Dead Blue. ELEVEN: Would you say there’s an overarching narrative for Dead Blue, or are the songs individual pieces? Is there a theme to the album? Greg Hughes: I think they’re individual songs, but they’re sort of linked, well, at least to me. I don’t know what you think, Tessa, but they sort of deal with the darker side of things. I think that was the general feel of the record. 11: What do you mean “darker side,” can you go a little more into that? GH: Yeah. Each song deals with a certain side of emotions, and I remember reading this quote somewhere about knowing your own darkness, and knowing about the things that trigger your emotions. For example, with “Bad Country,” it’s about getting lost, and having that feeling of not knowing where you’re going, and “Downtown” deals with a person that’s in a relationship, but sees their loved one with somebody else on the street, and then goes and kills them... Tessa Murray: That’s the more drastic interpretation! GH: If you actually read the lyrics, that’s what happens.

11: I don’t find it depressing. I would say there’s a lot of dream, as well as nightmare... almost sci-fi imagery. What drives that imagery and the resulting music for you? GH: I guess, as you’re going through life, and you’re picking up films, and you’re picking up bits of life, and photography, and paintings, and other music and stuff... I guess what comes in and then goes back out is your internal filter. I guess the one that we have is geared towards more atmospheric... I hate the word “melancholy,” but a melancholic sort of vibe. TM: I think a lot of it’s just to do with what we want to listen to as well, so there are quite a few different types of songs that have come out of the creative machine, and then the ones that we end up with on the album are just the ones that resonate with us for the longest time. GH: I was kind of thinking, especially on this album, of “What do we really like?” I think melody is something that we really like, we like to have melodies, melodic-type of music, and I guess in terms of the different things that we’re drawing on, it just seems that we like painters like Miró, and movies by Kubrick, Jim Jarmusch... We’re just drawn to that, I guess the word is “atmospheric,” Terrence Mallick, things like that. 11: Was there a point in your lives where you made a conscious decision to be full-time professional musicians? GH: You know, that’s a great question, because I actually do have an “Aha” moment. It happened in London. It would have been early 2002, I think, and I saw Broadcast at Bush Hall, and I just remember, there was this moment, they had amazing projections, it was completely dark, and in this moment, I just realized, “Okay, this is what I’m going to do! I’m going to do this, forever.” That was a powerful moment for me. TM: I never really thought that I would be in a band, or anything like that. I was singing in choirs and it was just great to be singing. Then I ended up joining the band, and pretty quickly after I joined, it started getting really busy with singles and Sub Pop and all this kind of stuff, and it was just like, “Whoa!” » - Richard Lime

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new music album reviews

ALBUM REVIEWS THIS MONTH’S BEST R REISSUE

L LOCAL RELEASE

Short List Warpaint Heads Up

Preoccupations Preoccupations Jagjaguar

How to Dress Well Care M.I.A. A.I.M. A Tribe Called Red We Are The Halluci Nation Cymbals Eat Guitars Pretty Years Die Antwoord Mount Ninji And Da Nice Time Kid Of Mice & Men Cold World Bon Iver 22, A Million

Michael Stipe said labels are for canned food. And Juliet asked, “What’s in a name?” Two quotes that make you quickly not care that Preoccupations were just last year known as Viet Cong. The music makes the band anyways, right? So they have a new album. A new name. Same indie synth punk you loved on last year's (then) eponymous album. While I’m definitely not crazy about the name change (but we’re over band

The Mowgli's Where'd Your Weekend Go? Pixies Head Carrier Low Culture Places To Hide

L

Regina Spektor Remember Us To Life Grouplove Big Mess Redwood Son Saints & Renegades

L

Local Natives Sunlit Youth Still Corners Dead Blue Buy it

Stream it

Toss it

facebook.com/elevenmagpdx @elevenpdx

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The Head and The Heart Signs of Light Warner Brothers Records It isn’t every day or even every year that a band will put out a debut album and receive almost universal acclaim. The Head and The Heart is one of those fortunate few. Even more impressive is how well-received their sophomore album was. It featured the song “Let’s Be Still" with lyrics commonly repurposed for art prints and tattoos. At some point they were going to have

names, eh?), I can say I’m crazy about the album, which is also self­-titled. Preoccupations, like Viet Cong, offers us more Interpol/Wolf Parade-­ esque vocals over very Canadian riffs. And by "very Canadian" I mean, of course, long, progressive ambient song intros followed by never-too-fervent pulsations of sound. I hate to use the word "bland" because it implies something less, but it’s definitely punk revival toned down. Think about those days you leave work and are super pissed off, but you know you would never actually quit. Preoccupations would be the perfect choice for that car or bike ride home. The album ranges from one-minute songs to 11-minute songs and if you’ve already checked out “Anxiety” then you’ll have a pretty good idea about what the rest of the album sounds like. The way in which the band (Matt Flegel, Mike Wallace, Scott Munro, Daniel Christiansen) have weathered the whole name change thing is a sure testament of their dedication to their craft. Listen for the music and the music alone. » - Kelly Kovl to stop topping themselves. It seems with their third release, Signs of Light, they’ve reached that point. Overtly pop-centric and lacking the soulful introspection of the previous two albums, Signs of Light opens shakily. Its radio single, “All We Ever Knew,” is pristine as a pop song, with a swelling chorus and an uncomplicated melody, but you’d have a hard time guessing it came from the same group that wrote emotionally invested and complex songs like “Lost in My Mind” and “Let’s Be Still.” The third track of the album, “Rhythm & Blues,” is where they hit their stride, striking a balance between carefree pop and their distinct, earthy voice. Just as filled with hummable hooks as every previous release, the rest of the album is strong. Highlights include “Library Magic” and “Take a Walk.” That said, Signs of Light won’t necessarily sit easily with devoted The Head and The Heart fans, even if these new songs are always stuck in their heads. » - Sarah Eaton


new music album reviews

Wilco Schmilco dBpm Records

Let’s face it–if you proclaim to anyone to like the band Wilco, you’re automatically deemed a “hipster,” a word all of us in Portland are tired of hearing. The band has come to be synonymous with the romanticized idea of the person who rides around on a fixie, fashions ironic facial hair and wears a knit-sock cap–I just described half of you, didn’t I? But the truth is, the notion that Wilco is just an overrated entry-level hipster band is as inaccurate as it is trite.

Kool Keith Feature Magnetic Mello Music Group Kool Keith is an enigma, seemingly by design. Keith has rapped for 32 years, and has rapping credits as six different names (most notoriously as Dr. Octagon). His sheer longevity to have 32 years worth of things to say should be admired, regardless of the hit-or-miss

Wilco is a Chicago-based alternative rock band that’s been around for the last 22 years, and with a heavy discography of nine studio albums and three collaborations with English singer/songwriter Billy Bragg, the band has been very productive in those two decades. They released the acclaimed Star Wars back in 2015 and nearly a year later, the band releases something brand new. Schmilco, due out Sept. 9, contrasts Star Wars in content and in form. Where Star Wars was more of a lighthearted album that sounded like the band was having fun playing with each other after its longest break between records and a jarring experiment with instrumental noise, Schmilco is more jaded, despondent, skeptical. It's more Wilco. The band has mastered the fine line between melodious and melancholic in its lifespan, blending mostly acoustic guitars with eerily optimistic lyrics. This is definitely carried out on this newest record. The second single and second track on the album, “If I Ever Was a Child” brings back Jeff Tweedy’s trademark “alt-country” sound, with its lo-fi quality and bleakly self-aware lyrics. Tweedy sorely sings, “I never was alone/Long enough to know/ If I ever

was a child” over a somber mixture of acoustic and electric guitar that’ll send chills down your spine. The album is mostly acoustic songs that explore self-identity and seems to be more intentionally placid, relying on calmer instrumentation instead of the tricked-out, Sonic Youthesque arrangements offered on its predecessor. Like most Wilco songs, the tracks on the album may sound “pretty,” but their melodic qualities contradict the heavy, dark and introspective hole they came from. In the album's press statement, Tweedy commented: “I think this record is joyously negative... I just had a lot of fun being sour about the things that upset me.” That's a feeling I think every creative person has felt. The cover art for Schmilco was created by surrealist Spanish artist Joan Cornellá, who’s known for unsettling, surreal humorous comic strips and artwork. His work has been described as disturbing and a satirical comment on the sinister and bleak side of human nature, which complements the album’s overarching theme and Wilco as a whole. The album epitomizes the realization that life is kinda sad, kinda unsatisfying, but we’re still kinda hopeful. » - Samantha Lopez

quality of his discography. But he’s back yet again with Feature Magnetic. The intro track serves as a warning to “cheesecake rappers,” and readies the audience for madness, a “journey (we’ve) never taken before.” Unfortunately, the product we get throughout Feature Magnetic isn’t quite as unforgettable as we’re warned. What arrives is a traditional East Coast rap album, anchored by gritty boom-bap beats reminiscent of New York during its heyday as the Mecca of hip-hop. The problem with the album is that we’ve heard it all before. Ultimately, the album's shortcomings might be a product of the genre's evolution through the years since Keith’s 1984 introduction. I can actually imagine Feature Magnetic fitting right in with the mid-'90s iterations of the art form, and maybe being celebrated in that era. But in 2016, we expect more from our emcees, politically and sonically. The blatant

homophobia and misogyny present on Feature Magnetic wouldn't appear so overtly or crudely on, for instance, a Kendrick Lamar or J. Cole project. However, the album is not entirely a graveyard of recycled rap ideas. I’ll welcome a mention of Voltron on pretty much any rap album, and an MF DOOM feature is bound to perk up the ears of any hip-hop head. The track “Super Hero” represents a high point for the listener as Keith raps about superheroes alongside notorious rap villain MF DOOM. Keith and his features also hit a note within the modern political landscape on tracks “Peer Pressure” and “Tired” as they rap about the struggles of children and the lack of progress made for the youth of today in impoverished parts of the country. As a whole, Feature Magnetic is a bit boring and a bit forgettable. It doesn’t build off of East Coast tradition; it merely mimics it. » - Tyler Sanford

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live music Photo by Eric Evans

when customers have thanked him for helping create such a safe and open space. “On any given night, we’ll have 80-year-old regulars sitting at the bar with people just dropping by,” he says. In terms of that consistency for regulars, Stebbins says the pub wouldn’t be standing today if it weren’t for the longtime staff. “They’re so amazing. We’ve got a low turnover rate, and they’re really what keeps this place running.” Right behind the bar staff, the walls donned with bikes, a vintage sled, and a memorial for regulars create a sense of home, where everyone knows each other and no one can stop you from dancing. And with live music seven nights a week, a deserted house is a rare sight indeed. Every day from 6-8 p.m. they host a happy hour band where guests can drop in for free. As the night rolls around, a band of a new genre comes in, but so does a cover charge of never more than $5. One of the most interesting features in Laurelthirst history dates back to the '90s, when Leeds would record visiting bands and put out Live at Laurelthirst CDs. The first two albums were around 15 songs each, with 15 different Northwest bluegrass and folk bands. The third and final album was Live at Laurelthirst: Tree Frogs with eight tracks from the local eight-piece rock and roll jam band. They no longer sell them, but if you ask around, there’s a good chance they’ll dig up an old piece of history for you.

KNOW YOUR VENUE Laurelthirst Pub

I

Another memory from the '90s was their annual Halloween drag show, with a live band and a mixed line-up of seasoned queens and regulars who wanted to experience something new. Stebbins hopes to bring that event back this year, so if you’ve been dying to put on a dress and perform, then the Laurelthirst is the place to be. These days, one of their lively events is the “Americana Lunch,” with free live music geared toward a family-friendly

When you think about the longestrunning independently owned live music venues in Portland, it’s easy to picture your friendly neighborhood bar. The Laurelthirst Public House, established in

1988, is proud to hold that presence for many in the Laurelhurst and Kerns neighborhoods. For almost 30 years, the Laurelthirst has been building a sense of community centered around the folk, bluegrass and Americana music of the Pacific Northwest. Its four owners, David Lee Williams, Bill Leeds, Tim Stebbins and Steve Weiland have fostered an inclusive scene. They have a no tolerance policy for any racism, homophobia, or any bad vibes in general, and Stebbins looks back fondly on nights

9 | ELEVEN PORTLAND | www.elevenpdx.com

Photo by Eric Evans


live music Photo by Eric Evans

crowd. From noon to 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, they’ve got Americana tunes served with their selection of local brews and classic pub food. Reflecting on the last quarter-century, Stebbins has nothing but respect and admiration for Laurelthirst's place in Portland. "[I'm] proud of the community that has been built through here. The love and respect that people give each other... I’ve never seen anything like it anywhere else.” » - Gina Pieracci

Photo by Eric Evans

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live music SEPTEMBER CRYSTAL BALLROOM

1

1332 W BURNSIDE

16

1-2 Explosions In The Sky | Preoccupations

Anderson.Paak & The Free Nationals | Pomo Thrice | La Dispute | Nothing, Nowhere Local Natives | Charlotte Day Wilson The Specials | The Far East O.A.R. | The Hunts Foals | Bear Hands Echo And The Bunnymen Lush | Tamaryn Dinosaur Junior | Moon Duo

MLK BLVD.

TA VE

NORTH WEST BROADWAY ST.

14

5

5

PEARL OLD TOWN 2

BURNSIDE ST.

22

1

3939 N MISSISSIPPI

405

26 18

7

23

9

10

MLK BLVD. 30

GRAND AVE.

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15

.

MISSISSIPPI STUDIOS

Frances Quinlan | Haley Heynderickx Jagwar Ma | Daydream Machine Ages And Ages | Chris Pureka Edna Vazquez Baths | Fine Animal | Old Wave Rory Scovel | Gilbert Lawland Denver | Evening Bell | Dusty Santamaria Loch Lomond | Small Million Jump Jack Sound Machine | Chanti Darling DJs Death Valley Girls | The Shivas | Top Down Julian Lage Trio Tall Heights | Valley Maker Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds | Kolars Mascaras | Lithics | Motrik Polyrhythmics Mrs. Magician | Ah God Lynnae Gryffin | Sheers Gringo Star | The Hugs | Golden Handcuffs Caveman | Cheerleader Dustbowl Revival Khruangbin Steve Gunn & The Outliners | Nap Eyes

WILLIAMS AVE.

1 2 3 4 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24

RUSSELL ST.

ON

830 E BURNSIDE

23RD AVE.

4

FR

DOUG FIR

Haley Johnsen & Sarah Wild | Jacob Westfall Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears | Blank Range Pigs On The Wing Jelly Bread Chris Margolin & The Dead Bird Collection The Dear Hunter | Eisley | Gavin Castleton Genders | Eyelids | Dogheart Work Drugs | Fog Father | Satchmode Will Hoge | Hilary Scott The Legendary Pink Dots | Orbit Service Bibi Bourelly Yael Naim | Sara Jackson-Holman Redwood Son | Rust On The Rails | Shane Brown Ezra Bell | Redray Frazier | Evolfo Lima El Ten Eleven | Mylets Ramble On Still Corners Twin Peaks | White Reaper | Modern Vices Matt Wertz | Cappa | Aaron Krause Caleb Klauder | Honey Don't

4

VANCOUVER AVE.

3 1 2 3 7 8 9 10 13 14 15 16 17 18 21 22 23 24 27 28 29 30

8 NW 6TH

Brian Fallon & The Crowes | Chris Farren The Mavericks Coheed And Cambria | Saves The Day | Polyphia Bloc Party Atmosphere | Brother Ali | deM atlas | Plain Ole Bill Garbage | Cigarettes After Sex Ghostland Observatory St. Paul & The Broken Bones | Seratones Destructo | Ilovemakonnen | Ganz | Sita Abellon Nyk Edwards Homebound Jack Garratt | Brasstrack Machine Gun Kelly

MISSISSIPPI AVE.

6 10 14 15 17 18 22 23 24 25 27 30

ROSELAND THEATER

INTERSTATE AVE.

2

SKIDMORE ST.

DOW NTO WN

5 16 19 21 22 24 25 27 29


live music SEPTEMBER MISSISSIPPI STUDIOS (CONT.) The Record Company Cass McCombs Band | Hush Arbors Avi Buffalo | The Kickback Jah Wobble & The Invaders Of The Heart

ALBERTA ST.

13

12

WONDER BALLROOM

ALBERTA ST.

ALBERTA ARTS

128 NE RUSSELL

28

42ND AVE.

15TH AVE.

11TH AVE.

PRESCOTT ST.

FREMONT ST. 24TH AVE.

HOLLYWOOD

KNOTT ST.

33RD AVE.

28TH AVE.

D. BLV Y D AN

S

BROADWAY ST.

29

1800 E BURNSIDE

KELLY’S OLYMPIAN

BURNSIDE ST.

426 SW WASHINGTON

8

3 11 6

20

STARK ST.

MORRISON ST.

BELMONT ST.

24

11TH AVE.

8TH AVE.

HAWTHORNE BLVD.

HAWTHORNE 17

DIVISION ST.

L BLVD.

31

CHAVEZ BLVD.

19

CLINTON ST.

POWEL

CESAR

LADD’S ADDITION

27

BUNK BAR

4 11 18

8 9

The Early Early Comedy Open Mic (Sundays) Eye Candy VJs (Mondays) The Thesis | Mikey Vegaz | Fliboimoe | Lang | Raquel Divar Samuel The Ist | Drew Locs | Brookfield Duece | Chief Bubble Cats | F oxy Lemon | The Hoons | Keeper Keeper Chloe Stuff | Simon Bishop Kaine | Stephanie Kitson The Variants | The Wilder | Orka Odyssey | Mood Beach Matthew Fountain | Tiny Matters | Power Castle Hot Bikini Beans Sound Judgement | Two Moons | Radler Hannah Yeun | Cold Comfort | Silver Ships Down North | Gold Casio | Puff Puff Beer Hayley Lynn | Minda Lacy | Shena Goger | Ryan Westwood Ugly Colors | Oblio | Cellar Door Kasey Anderson | Fells Acres | Mercy Graves Mosley Wotta | Speaker Minds The Hoons | Stubborn Son | Space Shark Baby Ketten Karaoke All The Apparatus

1028 SE WATER

7 8 14 15 16 21 22 23 25 28 29

7

Tango Alpha Tango | Astro Tan Roselit Bone | Young Moon Rontom's 10-Year Anniversary Party (12 bands TBA)

EASTBURN

GLISAN ST.

9 10 11 13 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 27 28 29 30

6

Draemings | Psychic Love | Patricia Hall | DJ Honey O Moorea Masa & The Mood | Shaprece | Maiah Manser Xenia Rubinos | Blossom | Tay Sean LiquidLight | Outer Space Heaters | The Secret Ceremony School of Rock Presents: Psychomagic WL | Johanna Warren | Illyas Ahmed+Jonathan Sielaff Beaty Heart | Beach Baby | Ellis Pink Chrome Sparks | Roland Tings NAO Royal Canoe | Animal Eyes | Mothertapes Ural Thomas & The Pain | Lola Buzzkill | DJ Bobby D

600 E BURNSIDE

LAURELHURST

21

HOLOCENE

RONTOMS

25

84

5

Joseph | Duncan Fellows TR/ST & Cold Cave | Caustic Touch (DJ set) Boyce Avenue | Leroy Sanchez | Nick Howard Bomba Estereo Sammy J Temper Trap | Coast Modern Nothing But Thieves | Civil Twilight | The Wrecks Warpaint | Facial | Goldensuns Balkan Beat Box What So Not Skylar Grey Marian Hill | Verite | Shaed KT Tunstall | Wildling Allah-Las | Tops Drive-By Truckers | Lydia Loveless

1001 SE MORRISON

26 27 28 29

1 2 3 5 9 12 13 14 16 17 19 20 22 23 24 25 27

10

Chuck Westmoreland | Mission Spotlight Autonomics | Arlo Indigo | Devy Metal Heaters The Conquerors | Reverberations | Virgil Double Plus Good | Small Million

8 9 10 17 20

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features SEPTEMBER BUNK BAR (CONTINUED 21 Guerilla Toss | Don Gero 23 Jackson Boone | And And And

REVOLUTION HALL 11 1300 SE STARK 6 18 19 20 25 27 28 30

Jake Shimabukuro | Ron Artis II Lee "Scratch" Perry | Alter Echo & E3 Band Of Skulls | Mothers Mary Chapin Carpenter | Rose Cousins Art Garfunkel Lany | Transviolet Bruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers Gaelic Storm

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verything has been falling into place for singersongwriter and multiinstrumentalist Johanna Warren as of late. The release of the Portlandbased artist’s muchanticipated third album, Gemini I (after the highly promising, home-recorded nūmūn and Fates) is nigh. And with it, so is a whole new chapter not only in her work but that of her friends, as this third album will be among the first batch of releases off her newly-formed label Spirit House. Warren’s Gemini I (out Sept. 21, to be followed eventually with its stylistic companion Gemini II) is joined by Indira Valey’s Recordar, Forest Veil’s Zoolights, and Vellum’s Not So Far. (You can support Spirit House on Kickstarter to help them cover the considerable costs of distributing and printing CDs and cassettes of their work.)

Johanna Warren

Warren’s cozy, gossamer psychfolk goes down pretty easily whether you're a folk devotee or deep into ambient soundscapes. For Gemini I, Warren not only played guitar, flute, and percussion, but relished the opportunity to incorporate analog synths, mellotron, and harmonium while recording the album at Dreamland, a studio based out of Woodstock, New York. Her diaphanous lyricism charts the germinations and passing of relationships as well as the asperities of self-doubt with an uncommon honesty, evoking Neil Young just as much as Linda Perhacs and Nick Drake. You could sum up what makes her music special with the title of one of the songs off this new record: "Glukupikron." It's a phrase meaning “sweetbitter,” from the work of the Ancient Greek poet Sappho. If there should be an almost cheery ring to Warren’s voice as she interrogates a friend or partner, it’s only


features

Photo by Mercy McNab

set I basically threw myself at her feet SEPTEMBER and told her I was starting a radical TURN! TURN! TURN! (CONT.) record label and wanted her on it. That Bombay Beach | Love Boys | Records For Rent 9 was about a year ago, when the initial Eddy Detroit | The Bugs | DJ Tom Humphrey 10 lightning bolt of inspiration had first OrdinaChestra | The Mighty Missoula | Avalanche Lily 14 struck me... and here we are, and it’s The Conquerors | New Modern Warfare | No La La 15 Soft Paws | Pat Kearns | The Zags 16 really happening! The Verner Pantons | Sasha Bell Band | Cynthia Nelson 17 I met Bella in 2011 at a recording Lubec | Versing | Riled 23 studio she worked at in upstate New The Dovecotes | Moaning | Fake Fireplaces 28 York, where my band Sticklips was Joshua Emory Blatchley | Niilo Smeds | Mouth Painter 29 doing some mixing. She and I had both HAWTHORNE THEATRE just graduated college and moved to 1507 SE 39TH the same sleepy small town with very Subhumans | Kicker | Raukous 8 little going on in our lives, so we pretty Eden | Elohim 11 Kevin Seconds | Matt Danger | Alex Kirk Amen | Brigadier 12 much spent a blissful year together Dope | Flaw | Motograter | Amerakin Overdose | Toxic Zombie 14 smoking a lot of weed and making soup NF 21 and listening to records on her porch. Dance Gavin Dance | The Contortionist | Hail The Sun 24 During that time she was beginning Modern Baseball 27 work, very secretively, on the album Suicide Silence | Whitechapel | Carnifex | Oceano 28 MadeinTYO | Salma Sims | Mynamephin | Noah Wood$ 30 she's releasing on Spirit House this year, Not So Far. She was really private about her music (because, as it turns out, she once shared it with a male coworker who made a disparaging comment!). It took me months of persuading, but late one night I came to pick her up from work at the studio and I asked her if she would play me one of her demos. She hesitantly agreed, and as soon as the song started, I burst into tears. I had been feeling VALENTINES painfully blocked and disempowered 232 SW ANKENY in my creative life, and what she was The Reverberations | Dirty Sidewalks | DJ Rescue 6 Mu 9 doing sonically—capturing the sounds Lee & The Bees | Minda Lacy | Science Slumber Party 12 of her guitar and voice in such a way Lee Ellis | Dan Sliver | Kyle Parisi | Janie Black 13 that sounded so lush and colorful and Cool Schmool | Mr. Wrong | Homies 22 fascinatingly intimate, you really didn’t Entresol | Dalembert | Chad Bandit 23 need any other instrumentation—was Naked Hour | Justus Proffit | Waister 25 Rough Church | Sam Fowler 26 exactly how I had been wishing I could Lithics | Dr. IDentity | VOG | DJ Kennel Jitters 29 present my songs, but hadn’t even Street Player | Liquid Beat DJs | Roane Namuh | HOT16 30 been able to pinpoint. Her recordings ALADDIN THEATER sounded delicate, expressive, emotional... 3017 SE MILWAUKIE distinctly “feminine." It was like nothing T.J. Miller | Kate Miller | Nick Vatterott 9 I had ever heard before, and it had never The Mavericks 10 occurred to me how screwed up it was Sara Watkins | Mikaela Davis 16 Brian Culbertson 26 that I had never before in my life met a Foy Vance | Trevor Sensor 27 female audio engineer or thought about Lera Lynn | William Wild 28 what it might be like to work with a Corey Smith 29 woman in the studio, an environment THE GOODFOOT that in my previous experience had been 2845 SE STARK filled with intimidating, overbearing Jans Ingber & Friends 4 masculine energies. So, I asked her if she New Orleans Suspects | Boys II Gentlemen 8 would record my music! Trio Subtonic | Dan Balmer | Happy Orchestra 10 John Kadlecik 11 Asher Fulero | Yak Attack 15 11: What kind of narrative or feeling Life During Wartime 17 did you want to convey on Gemini I? How Boys II Gentlemen 20 would you describe the process behind Cascade Crescendo 22 recording the album and what preceded Garcia Birthday Band 24 Funky 2 Death 29 it?

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to show again that there’s almost always a little bit of sweetness to the trials of life. ELEVEN caught up with Warren over email to discuss the album, the label, and her work. ELEVEN: So you've told us that your new label Spirit House will be putting out three other releases in addition to Gemini, two from fellow Portlanders Indira Valey and Forest Veil, another from New York-based collaborator and engineer Bella Blasko. Describe how you got hooked up with Valey and Forest Veil. How/where did your professional/ personal relationship Blasko begin? Johanna Warren: Monica (Forest Veil) and I had bumped into each other a few times in the Portland music world but really clicked last summer when we carpooled to Oregon Country Fair. We ate salad rolls and talked about communing with the spirits of our deceased loved ones, haha, and I just knew she was going to be a major player in my life. I saw Indira Valey play at a birthday party two days after she moved to Portland and immediately after her

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JW: This album and its twin, Gemini II (to be released next year) are concept albums about the blessing and curse that is romantic love. They document the joys and sorrows of the "twin flame"

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dynamic, and the essential human work we can only do in relationship to another person: reflecting back parts of our intimate partners they may never have noticed otherwise (both the beautiful and hideous), pointing out each other's blind spots, pushing each other’s buttons, dredging up past traumas... hopefully, all in the name of healing, finding compassion, and gaining understanding of ourselves and each other. It’s by far the most autobiographical body of work I’ve ever written—every song was written about/inspired by my relationships to two very influential Geminis in my life: my lover and my Tarot card reader. I have been doing a lot of heavy internal work with both of them, and these songs are intimate snapshots of my trajectory on that path of reflection and growth. There were some intense esoteric layers to my experience of making this album that I won’t get into in detail here... but one thing I will say is, in structuring and conceptualizing this project, I was consciously invoking two cards from the Tarot—The Lovers and The Devil—and those archetypes started manifesting in my personal experience in eerie ways. That ties into another recurring theme of these songs, which is the power of our minds to alter and create reality. A sorcerer is someone who acknowledges the creative power of our minds and chooses to consciously cultivate that power. I feel like all artists are sorcerers, in a way—art is a highly concentrated, directed expression of consciousness that opens a portal through which etheric forms can be made manifest in the physical realm. This experience of invoking two specific archetypes in my work and then feeling

them follow me around for months like a couple of big interdimensional pets really made me appreciate how real that power is, and how intentional I want to be about what I bring through the portal in the future… In more earthly dimensions, this recording process was a big level up for me and Bella—everything else we’ve ever made was done in makeshift home studios with a couple of not-so-great borrowed mics, but this time around we had access to a world class recording studio, which really opened up a lot of creative doors for us. 11: Who are some of your favorite poets and novelists? JW: The title for a song on this album came from a book called Eros the Bittersweet by Anne Carson, who has one of my favorite brains. The word, Glukupikron, comes from Sappho, another hero of mine—If Not, Winter, Carson’s translations of Sappho’s fragments, is one I used to flip open to random pages for inspiration. There’s also a little shout-out to Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse, a book that was very influential for me, in “The Blessing/ The Curse.” More generally, I really appreciate Joan Didion, Annie Dillard, and Barbara Kingsolver. Sylvia Plath was a major guiding force in my adolescence. 11: Who/what were your earliest musical influences? JW: My early childhood family roadtrip playlist laid some pretty solid foundations: Tom Petty, Paul Simon, REM, Shawn Colvin, and Zappa… thanks, Dad! Then there were a few years (age 8-10?) when I literally refused to listen to anything that wasn’t The Beatles. I learned every little nuance of their music by heart, and was always trying to wrangle my friends into singing three part harmonies with me. Then I found Elliott Smith, who in a lot of ways seemed to pick up where The Beatles left off. And then Nick Drake and Joni came along and taught me how to play guitar.


11: Which instrument is your favorite? With which do you feel most confident? JW:My vocal cords. 11: Who are your favorite contemporary musicians/composers? JW: In all sincerity, my Spirit House labelmates (Vellum, Forest Veil and Indira Valey)! And Adron, Grammies, WL, Eleanor Murray, Young Hunter, Julie Byrne, Alexander Turnquist and Florist. 11: What do you think is important about collaboration and what has it taught you in the long run? JW: It’s like Captain Planet. We’re each cool on our own, but it’s "with our powers combined," that's where it's really at. 11: What are your plans for touring for this album? JW: I’m touring down the West Coast in late September/early October, and

L Johanna Warren

Gemini I Spirit House

The songs of Johanna Warren are an entreaty to reconcile, to heal and make peace within a conflicted and wild mind. They sketch the little red outline of a young woman's heart, cracked but still pulsing stubbornly, and are given life by a voice that is lithe and vulnerable. It's the perfect conduit for a lyricist who is hell bent on exposing her convoluted web of feeling, perhaps even more for her own sake than for the listener.

doing a Northeast run in November. In 2017 I intend to tour pretty extensively across the US and find my way over to Europe. 11: What’s the best bit of advice anyone ever gave you? JW: My dear friend JP started a visionary record label back in 2009 before he peaced out from this dimension a few years later. He left the label to me in his will. At the time, I was kind of like, “...Why me? I am so not a business woman!” Spirit House is me finally picking up the torch he passed to me. The night before he passed, I visited him at his home and he made me promise I would follow two pieces of advice I will never forget: “1. Never give up, and 2. Keep it weird.” » - Matthew Sweeney

JOHANNA WARREN CELEBRATES THE RELEASE OF HER NEW RECORD LIVE IN PORTLAND THIS MONTH SEPTEMBER 21 AT HOLOCENE Take these lyrics from the fourth track, "The Blessing/The Curse," a hypnotic and brooding ballad, and my favorite from the album: "Push the feeling down/you'll scare them all off if you let it out/But I don't want to not have anything to say/nothing in my body's telling me this is OK." The first verse is spoken at herself, cautious, aware, using the word "you." Then it flips and she responds with anxious defiance, her other side: the caged animal. This duality, this dialogue within her mind is at the album's core, and perhaps lends itself to the album's title: Gemini I. These lyrics are embedded in music that is minimal and wonderfully seductive, relying on its repetitiveness to grow and swell with her voice as it shifts from faint murmurings to fullthroated, but carefully controlled, forcefulness that reminds me of Florence and the Machine. Johanna Warren's tone is a pleasure, but her rhythmic nimbleness and precise, fresh melodies are what elevate the album's music to be worthy of its subject matter. » - Ethan Martin

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HOLLYWOOD THEATRE A not-for-profit organization whose mission is to entertain, inspire, educate and connect the community through the art of film while preserving an historic Portland landmark. NE HOLLYWOOD 4122 NE Sandy Blvd (97212) 503.493.1128 | hollywoodtheatre.org

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Jane Deaux | The Go Ahead | Saving Aether Victorian Halls | Pseudo Future | Bear Witness | Wild Ire Avoid The Void | For The Likes of You | Fact & Fiction Dungeon Drummer Wolves | Soccer Moms | Sad Rad The Crooked Looks | Millstone Grit Laura & Greg | Mondegreen The Frights | The Soaks Demon In Me Happy Dapples | Heavy Handed Porches | Japanese Breakfast Ice Nine Kills | Secrets | Sylar Northeast Senate A Certain Smile | Sun Riah | Candy Cigarettes The Bomb Shelter | Moments | Search/Party

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Photo by Joseph Cultice


Photo by Emily Korn

hen Garbage first formed in 1993, the alternative rock scene was coming into its own. Although there was a distinct “sound” associated with that time–think Nirvana, Soundgarden, Sonic Youth–Garbage cemented its place in the pop music annals by taking a counter approach to music-making. The result has been a career spanning more than 23 years, with a brief hiatus around 2006, and records that grow progressively more creative and genre-defying with each release. The quartet of singer Shirley Manson, bassist Duke Erikson, guitarist Steve Marker and drummer Butch Vig joined Mushroom Records UK in 1995 for the eponymous debut, kicking off a run of three successful studio albums under the label before the group moved to Interscope in 2001. Prior to Garbage, Vig had honed his production chops on a number of projects, including cultural touchstone Nevermind, along with several records from The Smashing Pumpkins and Sonic Youth, among others. When the group reconvened in 2007 after its 18-month hiatus, it brought with it a reinvigorated creative approach, carrying that momentum over into several lauded studio albums and a record label, Stunvolume, which produced a number of Record Store Day releases featuring Garbage collaborations and covers.

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Strange Little Birds, which debuted in early June, is the sixth studio album from Garbage, and its darker tones and focus on isolated vocals from Manson more than adequately quenched the thirst of fans eagerly awaiting new material following 2012’s Not Your Kind of People. Strange Little Birds is a nuanced, affecting work that highlights the group’s continued successful creative collaboration. Each member of the group shares both creative and production credit on the album–as they have with each Garbage release –and the instrumental interplay here is perhaps as fresh as any effort from the group over the course of its career. Manson’s vocals are as distinct and powerful as ever, and the attention to detail throughout is noticeable. The precision of the instrumental layering and balanced push and pull on each track leaves Strange Little Birds as a wholly successful addition to the group’s impressive discography. As Garbage sets out on its record-supporting tour, stopping at Roseland Theatre on Sept. 18, we spoke with drummer Vig about the group’s sonic evolution, the creative process, changes in the music industry and the benefits of starting an independent record label.

Photo by Emily


features national scene ELEVEN: The first thing I noticed on the electronic version that I got of your guys' new album is that you were listed as the main composer there, and I was wondering if that reflected the compositional and production role in this album? Butch Vig: You know, all four of us share production decisions, and a lot of it was done by home studio, the initial recording sessions, and it was really loose, really low-key, because I just had, like, a bedroom with a small a small drum kit, and... there's no soundproofing or whatever, it's not really a proper studio. But that's where we recorded the bulk of Strange Little Birds. I think that you, as a producer, really speak for atmosphere, but I'm just one of the four members that makes production decisions. You know, we all butt heads every single day in the studio. I think that's one of the reasons that we sound the way we do. 11: I know you guys have had a lot of varying sounds over the years, which is really interesting. And this one's coming out on your guys' personal label, right, Stunvolume? BV: Yes. 11: So what's that been like? There's been a diversification in the music industry. It's a lot easier now for people to start up their own labels and find new bands and put music out there. Was that a conscious decision to be able to kind of explore some other bands and some other sounds by having your own label, or was that more of a business decision? BV: Well, the great thing about having our own label is that we're able to pick and choose exactly what we wanna do. You know, we don't answer to anyone now. And we had a lot of success with major labels, you know, our first couple albums came out and the music business started changing and it just didn't make any sense for us to be signed to a major label anymore. And now, just with the digital revolution and the internet, there's so many things available at your fingertips, not just for Garbage but for any band that allows you to really do it yourself, and so it just made sense for us to do that, like, it's best that we could take total control over what we do and we wouldn't have to answer to anyone but ourselves. 11: And is that one of the biggest differences that you've seen, in general, in the music industry from when you guys came on in the early '90s to today, basically? BV: Well, everything has changed. It's hard to just name one change, but part of it's, like, radio changes in terms

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features national scene of what they play and what their audience is and what they

either. I’ll go on Facebook and see what's going on with our

think... what radio stations think their audiences want to

friends, but I don't post that many things, and we're lucky

hear. Obviously, the way people consume music; they want

that Shirley does that, that she engages in it, and I think that,

music more than ever. It's everywhere, it's the soundtrack of

to a certain extent, she likes doing that.

your life, but nobody wants to pay for it, so everybody's had to figure out how to, you know, use their business model to make a living doing what they do. And so, you know, with all that great freedom there's also changes in the way everybody operates, not just the labels but the bands. You know, you can't really make money selling your music anymore, so you have to figure out other ways, whether you can supplement that with going on tour, and everyone's still trying to struggle with how they're gonna make the it work. 11: Garbage is kind of an interesting case because it seems like you're pretty open with your fans when you're working on new music and some of the ideas that you're putting out there. Is that something that you guys decided to do, or is that just kind of the nature of the beast–the 24hour connected, social media world of today? BV: You know, really, a lot of that falls on Shirley's

11: It's interesting, just from a fan perspective, having some of that insight into the creative process, especially for a long-running group like Garbage. So, what I'm wondering, I know that you do a lot of production outside of Garbage work, and I'm wondering, if, over the years, that has changed way that you create music now with your band? Do you do it with more of a producer's ear, or is it kind of more granular for you? BV: Well, it depends, really. When I'm working with the Foo Fighters, it's my job to remember that it's their vision and I'm just there to help facilitate it. In Garbage, I'm a songwriter, I'm a producer, I'm an engineer and I'm a drummer. I'm a guitar player. I wear a lot of different hats, play in multiple worlds, and just that depends on any given day where those responsibilities fall and what happens. I

shoulders, and she's OK with it. She's always been very

think all four of us like being a band where we can share

outspoken and very opinionated, and I think she likes having

those responsibilities. But there is a democracy, and that’s

direct communication with our fans. The other guys will

why we’re still here. All four of us have found a great working

rarely publish or tweet anything, and I don't really very often

environment being in Garbage.

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national scene

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Photo by Emily Korn


features national scene 11: So, for Strange Little Birds, you mentioned that it was mostly done in a home studio and it was a little bit

So it's something we may do sometime but, as I said, right now, Stunvolume is pretty much just a Garbage label.

looser. At a high level, when I was listening to it, it seemed like it had a little bit more of, kind of, an industrial tone to it. Is that something that you guys had made a decision

11: Before I let you go, are there any music acts out there that you're particularly excited about these days?

to do or was it more the after-product of some of the song writing sessions, and that was just the overall tone? Is that accurate, would you say?

BV: Oh god, there's a ton of bands that I listen to. It's hard for me to say... whenever someone asks me that I have to look at my phone. But I'm driving right now. I can't pick it

BV: I wouldn't really say industrial, but I would say

up. I'm just trying to think. I love Typhoon, they're one of my

more, sort of, atmospheric and cinematic, because a lot of

favorite new bands. I just love the tracks on their last couple

textures on there represent less rock 'n' roll. You know,

albums. I love the new Beach House record which has been

there's a couple songs, they have a lot of really long guitars,

out for a while. I found some band the other day–I think

but a lot of the times we took those out and a lot more on

they're called The Struts–but I thought they were badass.

symphonic moments and keyboards and sound effects in the

The singer is totally, like, channeling early rock influences

atmospheric space. I mean, some of the songs are these big,

like Freddie Mercury from Queen. »

wide-open moments where it's just Shirley's voice... and it just made sense to arrange the songs that way because it's in her lyrics, you know. She really wrote some dark lyrics. Strange Little Birds is our darkest album that we recorded, and we needed to make the music fit what Shirley was singing. 11: I was looking back at the whole list of different acts

CATCH GARBAGE LIVE IN PORTLAND THIS MONTH SEPTEMBER 18 AT ROSELAND THEATER

that Sub Pop Records has had over the years, and I know you had done some early work with artists on that label. Do you think that that's kind of an interesting scenario where you have a record company that, you know, caters to more unique acts that has stuck around for so long, especially when you’ve seen other ones come and go so often? BV: Well, Sub Pop is truly a special label. I mean, they've followed their own drums for over 20 years, and they're amazing. The guys who run it, Bruce Pavitt and Jonathan Poneman, were visionary, but they followed their vision, and to still be around after so long is incredible. And I think it shows you what you can do when you rely on your audience’s kinks. You know, they never pandered to try and sell. They didn't want to sell a pop artist, and sell 10 million records. They just weren't interested in that. When they started Sub Pop, they signed bands that they liked... the best labels have always been that way. 11: And is that kind of a similar ethos to what you guys are pursuing with Stunvolume? BV: Well, so far Stunvolume has only released Garbage records, and we released a handful of record store hit singles that we've collaborated on with other artists. We’ve talked about signing some other bands but, honestly, we just do not have any time. We're so busy with the recording or touring; it seems like we're just going full bore, all the time.

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community literary arts Photo by Annie Beedy

Gina Ochsner: I’d read this book by Pauls Toutonghi, who lives here in town. I was so struck not just by the sheer craftsmanship of the story but also what the story was about. But also how beautifully he wove deep insight about human character, how humans behave into this story. In his bio note he mentions that he’s Latvian and I thought, "Wow, if this is how Latvians write I want to read everything that’s ever been written by Latvians, whether it’s about Latvia or not." So I went running down to the independent bookstore in our town and I had the story in my hand; it was called “Regeneration.” I said, “Look at this! This is beautiful, this is amazing. You’ve gotta help me find anything you’ve got about Latvia, anything written by Latvians.” And it was just this little bookstore, and the clerk’s looking at me like, who’s this crazy person? And she says, “Nobody comes here looking for those things, but I think I can help you. I’m Latvian.” It’s one of those serendipitous moments, where lightning struck, and for the next eleven years, Dace helped me with much of the research for the novel. It’s research that you cannot get out of books. 11: How did you make the transformation from reading about this culture that you knew nothing about to actually traveling to Latvia to meeting all these folks that have continued to guide that journey? GO: Well it was Dace again who said, “If you’ve been bitten

LITERARY ARTS

by the Latvian bug, which it looks like you have been, you have to go, you just have to.” And I did, and I went and I have a long and established history of not knowing what I’m doing and getting really lost. And the first thing I did was get lost, in the Swedish airport, not even in Latvia yet. This man with snow-white hair came up to me and said, “Pardon me, but you look very lost.” I said, “Yes I am, as a matter of fact." And he

Portland author Gina Ochsner

said, “Allow me to help you, I also am going to Riga. This is the

G

on the right plane. ina Ochsner's first story collection, The Necessary

right bus.” And he gets me on the bus, and he makes sure I get So we arrive an hour and a half later in Riga and I’m

Grace to Fall, won the Flannery O'Connor Award

looking at my instructions to get to the hostel, and I can’t

for Short Fiction, one of the most prestigious

figure out the bus system. And I hear the same voice, “Excuse

awards given to a debut work of fiction. But the

me, but you look ridiculously lost again.” And I say, “Yes, I

early award, far from blunting her ambition, seems to have

am,” and I’m showing him the map. And he says, “Well, I’m a

galvanized her toward ever more exotic subject matter and

rather important person. I have a car that’s come for me. I

locales. Ochsner, an (almost) life-long Oregonian, has written

will take you where you need to go.” And I’m thinking for a

stories that range from Alaska to Texas and Siberia to the

minute... and he must have read my mind and he says, “By the

Czech Republic. Her most recent book, The Hidden Letters of

way, I’m not a dirty old man.” [Laughs] He says, “I have four

Velta B., follows multiple generations of a Latvian family as

grown children.”

they deal with the secret, and not so secret, history of their

So it turns out that he’s sort of a diplomatic.. something.

family and their country. Not content to stop there, Oschner

He lives in Sweden. He’s a very famous poet in Latvia and

threw in a pair of enormous ears, a little magic and a handful

in Sweden. He’s Latvian. His name is Juris Kronbergs. He’s

of the Latvian song-poems known as "dainas," to create a

involved in the Latvian Institute, which helps translate and

beautiful, tragic and mesmerizing account of a fascinating

publish work by very well known Latvians in Latvia, but it

place and people.

doesn’t often get past Germany or Sweden, we don’t get it in the United States. So he’s kind of in this cultural liaison

ELEVEN: I know it was a fairly strange experience that drew you to Latvian culture. Care to elaborate on that?

25 | ELEVEN PORTLAND | www.elevenpdx.com

position, and it turns out he knows everybody. Everybody. So he arranged a series of meetings with some pretty


community literary arts amazing people.

Some of them have a melodic line. But it’s in the dainas that

One of whom is

their culture is really codified and maintained and preserved

the current Poet

because they describe all of the pantheon of gods and

Laureate in Latvia

goddesses. You know, who does what. Laima is the goddess

Knuts Skujenieks.

of fate and people will say, “Oh Laima, spinner of my fate...”

Knuts spent

When you read them you get a sense of what they believed

several years

in, what they valued, why they thought the way they did. It’s

in a Gulag work

a record of their history of being occupied by the Poles, the

camp. He was sent

Swedes, and then the Germans. In the dainas they describe

there for having

the proper way of going out and how to plow your field. Some

a single issue of

are instructional, some are warnings, some are laments and

the Encyclopedia

dirges. Some are history.

Britannica in his library.

11: There are also some magical elements to the book which were so subtly interwoven that you almost forgot

11: At what

that it wasn’t a straight realist work. Is that indicative

point did all

at all of Latvian culture? Do they live with a little of that

the stories you

magic?

collected start to weave themselves into a story you could tell in a relatively contained book?

GO: I think some do. Again, it depends on where you go. There’s an acceptance of superstition, of belief, of this blended world crossing over. The world beyond this world

GO: It took about four years to gather, and then start to

that is perceived but not seen. So I just had a lot of fun

see where the through line would be and I realized, I need

pulling on the different traditions: Jewish, Romani, Latvian

to create a town that did not actually exist with people who

and Russian.

were modeled after real people but did not actually exist. I did some research in the eastern part of Latvia. I heard there

11: And the son has very large ears…

was some contention over the Latvian language law. There was a little bit of tension between Latvians and Russians

GO: Enormous ears. And this is something else; Lāčplēsis

over which language is going to be spoken more often,

is a huge myth that every Latvian knows. It means bear

which is the official language, what language is used in the

slayer. The story is that there’s this man who has these

schoolroom.

enormous ears and because of these ears he has special powers, he’s super-duper strong. He’s like Superman. The

11: So you were fascinated by the idea of languages as culture?

idea is that any time Latvia is ever threatened by a foreign invader... at the time it was written, I think it’s during that first Latvian uprising, and Latvian nationalism, in the early

GO: Yeah. So I went to the East and hung out with some

1800’s, Germany was threatening Latvia, Germany was

of the families. I kept waiting to hear them talk about how

occupying. So the idea is that the Bear Slayer can wrestle

tense things are, how people are always up in arms, because

to the ground and defeat any foe. In the story there’s a bear

it’s a small town. There are Jews and there are Romani,

that comes charging out of the woods and he grabs it and

gypsies, that seem like a homogenous group of people. It’s

rips its jaws apart. He’s that strong. So he’s a huge symbol for

not a homogenous group of people. I guess after asking a lot

Latvians, even today. National Independence Day is Nov. 18

of leading questions, my hostess said, “It looks like you’re

and people wear the bear ears [Laughs] It's akin to our Paul

looking for something that isn’t here.” I realized that I was

Bunyan stories, but Paul Bunyan wasn’t a rallying, unifying

trying to write a book with all this conflict and tension that

figure for all, he’s just a fun folktale and nobody really

doesn’t exist. I needed to write a different book. It became

believes that. This is something that during the Soviet era

then a story about how people can be reconciled with a lot of

they could tell this story. “You know who the bear is now?”

contradiction, which is how a lot of us have to live in the real world.

11: Well, if you want to sing us a daina, we could get it up on the website.

11: I wanted to ask about the dainas. They felt like poems, but they are always referred to as songs.

GO: I’m gonna pass on that, but I’ll leave you with one that’s in the book. "My little wolf rumbles/my little wolf

GO: So they’re sung, and usually performed in a group, but not always. Some of them are almost like a droning chant.

hums/my little wolf has a white paw/if this doesn’t make it better/it won’t make it any worse." » - J.P. Kemmick

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community visual arts in Eugene once you graduate so we decided to move to the big city where her parents live. We moved to Portland in about 2000. 11: How did your idea of making the prints and eventually the business involving these prints come about? RB: It was a weird idea and accident that kind of became our lives. The animal portrait series started when we got invited to the very first Crafty Wonderland show, when it was still really small and in the basement of the Doug Fir. I remember sketching in bed and just doodled like a koala bear with lamb chop sideburns and like an old western

Photo by Mercy McNab

VISUAL ARTS Portland artist Ryan Berkley

R

outfit. I thought that was kind of funny and then I decided that maybe I could just use that kind of theme for the show. I thought of the style as a type of ancestor theme, but with animal ancestors. We went to another Crafty Wonderland show further down the road and a show in Seattle and we sold some. Eventually Lucy’s dad ended up giving us a loan for an archival printer, and we were able to get started

yan and Lucy Berkley are Portland’s dynamic entrepreneur team, gaining notoriety on Etsy where they sell anthropomorphic animal portraits. Inspired by their love for animals, they

have created adorable portraits that are sure to remind you of at least one person you may know. There is little in the small business world they haven’t overcome, whether it’s starting and sustaining a family or maintaining a business where they draw, scan, clean up, print, cut, package and ship every one of their products all from one room in their house. ELEVEN: How did you meet your wife and business partner, Lucy? Ryan Berkley: I met her back in the late 1990s when I lived in Eugene and I worked at the University of Oregon bookstore in the art supply department. We both worked in the art and school supply section, since we are both very interested in art. She was a photography major and I was working two jobs at the time, at the bookstore and at Dominos. Lucy is a little taller than me and I remember saying, "This girl is really cool and tall and intimidating," because she only wore black. I actually asked her friend out first but she was really not in my league. Hanging out with Lucy, it turned out we had a lot more in common. We discovered that we liked the same music, and we started dating and eventually moved in together. After she graduated, we realized there is really nothing going on

27 | ELEVEN PORTLAND | www.elevenpdx.com

making prints. In November 2007 we started our Etsy shop with our new printer and we posted some of those new prints. One day, I think closer to Christmas, we woke up to a bunch of sales, like over a hundred. We were wondering what was going on and discovered that


community visual arts Etsy featured us and had a

11: How does the fact

little blurb to look out for

that you are largely self-

the "up and coming" work of the Berkleys. From there we had that little

taught influence your art or the type of work that you do?

snowball that led to us getting a lot more sales and recognition, we got invited to big shows, renegade craft shows, and we traveled to different cities in the US as far out as Brooklyn. We also started to realize that since the pieces looked good together, people would often buy more

RB: I really wish that I did have some formal training and sometimes feel there is a lot I missed out on when it comes to concepts such as color theory. My work looks a lot like paintings, but they are actually done with markers and colored pencils. Still, I feel like if I learned to paint it would give my art a different feeling, maybe make it more

than one. In 2011, I quit my full time job at Reed College

lively, so I would love to learn to do that one day. If I had the

because the business was doing so well. After we had a couple

opportunity to take some classes I definitely would.

kids and it was too difficult to take them to the studio space everyday so we finally were able to buy a bigger house out in Southwest where we could raise a family and run our

11: What is the most challenging aspect of having your home, family and work space all in one spot?

business. RB: It’s definitely finding the time to work. I remember, 11: Why did you guys choose these animal type portrait themes?

before we had kids and it was just Lucy and I, business was at its peak and we would be able to just work all day. We

RB: I have always been a huge animal person, my mom was very into pets and animals and that really rubbed off on me. My wife and I are both vegan; she has [been] for a long time and I [have] since 2004, and I think that has some say in why I draw animals. Sometimes people will comment about how different portraits remind them of different people and they know just who to buy each picture for. The art work appeals to all age groups and generations, which was unintentional. 11: How hard was the business aspect to adopt? RB: This business really caught fire without us ever really realizing it would. My wife runs the business side of it, but neither of us knew anything about that side of doing this project. Lucy had to learn all of that business side, from taxes to customer services. She was actually fortuitously laid off just around the time that our work really took off so she was then able to focus her energy on making our business work. I make a lot of the artwork and Lucy is behind a lot of the creative ideas and she writes the animal bios for each one. She definitely has to sacrifice creative time to make the business side happen, whether responding to emails, dealing with wholesales, or any of the other business stuff that runs along with running our shop.

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community visual arts would make our own

with my drawing.

schedules, we could

Then a month ago one

pick the days, we

of our best friends,

could work late at

Kathy, was in London

night or randomly

and at a market and

throughout the day

there was a girl who

but now with the kids,

had a booth entirely

we are a little more

made up of my stuff!

at their mercy. We

She was like, "That’s

take advantage of

my friends stuff!

nap time as much as

Where did you get it?"

possible, when they go

and the lady didn’t

to sleep from 8 p.m.

know, she just said

to midnight is our

she was selling it for

biggest window. I am

someone else. We are

definitely not complaining though, because we get to have

lucky we have a large international fan base out there that

our kids with us all day and we have the leisure to work and

alerts us of this stuff. What they do is they wholesale it out

take a break and play with our kids, which is great.

to people and then we see it pop up on Etsy, like earrings with my cats on them. These are usually U.S. sellers and they

11: You’ve mentioned before how one aspect you have to

don’t even know what they are doing and think they are just

deal with is rip-off artists. What’s the craziest experience

getting the products from a single person, so we have to

you’ve had dealing with that?

write them and let them know that it is our stuff.

RB: A friend of mine who was living in Singapore was walking down the street and saw someone wearing a shirt

11: Are there any exciting highlights from your work at Etsy? RB: Last year, Etsy invited 14 sellers to New York because Etsy was going public, to stock holders through the NASDAQ. I was one of the shops that they invited out to ring a bell and make it official, and we were televised on CNN. Etsy bought all the people invited vintage bells from their shops on Etsy and we all got our own one to ring, which we got to keep. Our bell was a really cool one with Pegasus on it. It was a big deal for the company and I was very proud to be one of the people that they asked out of everybody else and I remember drinking champagne in the morning on an empty stomach. Afterwards, they arranged a small marketplace in Times Square where they set it up for each of us to have our own booths with our stuff displayed, and we could sell prints to passersby. It was a really fun trip. I don’t know where we would be without Etsy, I just wasn’t ever ambitious enough to hone in on my art when I was younger. When I met Lucy though, she kind of paved the way for me. She was ambitious, and really encouraged me to make something with my art. » - Lucia Ondruskova

FIND THIS ARTIST ONLINE BERKLEYILLUSTRATION.COM INSTAGRAM: @THEBERKLEYS

Please enjoy Ryan's piece "You Got It" (markers and colored pencils, 2014) decorating our inside back cover this month.

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Eleven PDX Magazine September 2016  
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