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MUSIC, COMMUNITY, AND CULTURE IN PORTLAND

ISSUE 84 | MAY 2018

ELEVEN PDX MAGAZINE - VOLUME 7, ISSUE 12

COMPLIMENTARY


contents

ELEVEN PDX MAGAZINE VOLUME 7

THE USUAL 4 Letter from the Editor 4 Staff Credits

ISSUE NO. 12

FEATURES Local Feature 14 Blackwater Holylight

Cover Feature 18 NEW MUSIC

Beach House

5 Aural Fix Moaning Le Butcherettes Yonatan Gat Curtis Harding

COMMUNITY Literary Arts 26 Portland poet and bookseller David Abel

8 Short List 8 Album Reviews Lithics Jo Passed Michael Rault Parquet Courts

Visual Arts 28 Portland artist Jesse M. Ellis

LIVE MUSIC 10 Know Your Venue Alberta Rose Theatre

12 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!

EXECUTIVE STAFF EDITOR IN CHIEF Ryan Dornfeld (ryan@elevenpdx.com) CREATIVE DIRECTOR Dustin Mills (dustin@elevenpdx.com)

With this eighty-fourth issue, we conclude the seventh volume of our humble magazine. Seven years is a long time to be doing any one thing—longer than any relationship I’ve been in, and certainly longer than any job I’ve held—but ELEVEN forges ahead, riding the ebbs and flows of burnout and passion. While this old doggie may need a vacation, I have ample grounds to keep the posi-vibes and motivation flowing—from a proposed nuclear-free Korean peace treaty, to bike rides on 84 degree April days, and landing big AF cover features like Beach House. Inside, discover simple truths of the universe with Beach House’s Victoria Legrand, and learn about how four witchy Portland babes overcame their intimidation of each other to form Blackwater Holylight, the heavy-psych female super group that we didn’t realize we needed. Plus, this month keep an ear out for wonderful new music from local post-punk outfit Lithics, with their debut on Kill Rockstars; a new fulllength from Vancouver, BC’s Jo Passed; and a timeless new sound from Michael Rault. Dutifully yours,

- Travis Leipzig, Managing Editor

4 | ELEVEN PORTLAND | www.elevenpdx.com

MANAGING EDITOR Travis Leipzig (travis@elevenpdx.com) SECTION EDITORS LITERARY ARTS: Scott Mchale, Morgan Nicholson VISUAL ARTS: Mercy McNab GRAPHIC DESIGN Dustin Mills CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Cassi Blum, Tyler Burdwood, Matt Carter, Brandy Crowe, Mandi Dudek, Liz Garcia, Eirinn Gragson, Jameson Ketchum, Christopher Klarer, Kelly Kovl, Samantha Lopez, Scott McHale, Gina Pieracci, Nathan Royster, Kelsey Rzepecki, Ellis Samsara, Tyler Sanford, Eric Swanson, Matthew Sweeney, Charles Trowbridge, Henry Whittier-Ferguson

PHOTOGRAPHERS Mathieu Lewis-Rolland, Molly Macalpine, Mercy McNab, Katie Summer, Todd Walberg COVER PHOTO Shawn Brackbill

ONLINE Mark Dilson, Kim Lawson, Michael Reiersgaard

GET INVOLVED getinvolved@elevenpdx.com www.elevenpdx.com twitter.com/elevenpdx facebook.com/elevenmagpdx

GENERAL INQUIRIES info@elevenpdx.com

ADVERTISING sales@elevenpdx.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

AURAL FIX

up and coming music from the national scene

1

MOANING MAY 12 | STAR THEATER

Riding the fuzzy reverb-filled wave of their self-titled debut, Moaning is the living, breathing DIY success story of multi-artistically-gifted CalArts alums Sam Solomon (vocals, Photo by Michael Schmelling

guitar), Pascal Stevenson (bass, synth) and Andrew MacKelvie (drums). After releasing a music video for their demo track “The Same” in 2015 (since re-recorded for the album), the

same sonic DNA as past shoegaze, droney and super fuzzy

trio grinded through the hours to transform their local music

guitar projects. As a result, their stripped back production

scene notoriety into a trip to SXSW in 2017, where they caught

choices can either be viewed as a strength or a weakness.

the eyes and ears of Sub Pop bigwigs. The rest is happy history.

Yet, despite sharing musical similarities to bands that have

Unfortunately, it’s hard to describe Moaning’s sound on

gone before them, Moaning’s debut caries an authenticity and

paper in a way that doesn’t make them sound like practically

vulnerability that prevents it from feeling like a derivative

every other post-punk band that’s come out in the past 10

affair. This is largely due to Sam Solomon’s willingness to

years. Glazed and distorted vocals? Check. Shimmering and

get personal with his emotions and anecdotal lyrics, which

enveloping guitar soundscapes? Check. Punchy and driving

give the already well-crafted songs a real palpable sense of

rhythm section? Check. Bleak lyrics that leave you feeling

catharsis.

hollow? Double check.

While in the grand scheme of things, Moaning’s emotional

Given their DIY mentality and less-is-more aesthetic it

debut might not change the annals of music history, like any

should come as no surprise that Moaning share a lot of the

self-respecting punk band, they don’t care. » - Eric Swanson

Photo by Lyndsey Byrnes

2

LE BUTCHERETTES MAY 16 | WONDER BALLROOM

A powerful and ominous energy exudes throughout the anthology of Le Butcherettes. Since Teri Gender Bender (vocals/guitar) started the band in 2007 they have been making lasting marks that inevitably leave scars. Getting their start in Guadalajara, Le Butcherettes’ provocative approach, playing shows with stage theatrics–including ‘50s fashion and various props such as an apron soaked with fake blood and even a real pig head–has gained them acclaim in Mexico’s underground punk scene and beyond. This power pop/punk rock expression has found the band opening up for the likes

of Yeah Yeah Yeahs in 2010–a great match as the two groups are seemingly sister bands, Le Butcherettes definitely being the darker of the two, but the power between them must have been an experience. Their 2015 release A Raw Youth found the group creating a sadistic and depraved collaboration with punk rock legend Iggy Pop on the track “La Uva.” This month finds Le Butcherettes supporting the visceral hardcore group Hot Snakes at the Wonder Ballroom. Just imagining the explosive energy of these two bands makes adrenaline course through my veins. Notable bands that the two founders of Hot Snakes were involved with before they joined up in 2005 include Pitchfork and Rocket From The Crypt, two bursting and smoldering bands from the ‘90s and early 2000s. Le Butcherettes have been doing the road thing and in the interim recording new tracks. The newest addition that has been released is their single “spider/WAVES” in 2018. Their last main release was in 2015, but they haven't lost their drive, producing this seductive yet maniacal and terrifyingly beautiful track. The vocals twist and tear while provoking a sense of anger and sweet style. This show is for danger-seekers and unsuspecting, vulnerable bystanders. Be careful, this one has the potential to tear it all down. » - Ellis Samsara

www.elevenpdx.com | ELEVEN PORTLAND | 5


new music aural fix

3

YONATAN GAT MAY 19 | BUNK BAR

Yonatan Gat’s previous band Monotonix was known for their wild performances, playing on the floor surrounded by the crowd, shows that caused so much bedlam–throwing garbage, crowd surfing in trash cans, swinging from rafters– that they were banned from venues in their hometown of Tel Aviv. They instilled an uncertainty around the physical space, but come their breakup in 2011 Gat wanted to explore what an improvisation like that would look like in the music itself. His solo debut, 2015’s Director, is the manifesto, fusing the garage/punk instruments of his past with a freeform jazz execution. Unlike the more structured songs of Monotonix, his solo work follows a melody, ravages it apart until it is unrecognizable and moves on to the next song. Tracks collide traditional rock instruments with each other, mixing to a static froth, where kick drums and cymbals raise to combative tempos, only to drop out abruptly into a lonesome piano or a breezy classical guitar. Order into Chaos, chaos back into order. The new album Universalists is exploring those extremes with more than a hint of spirituality taking form as organic, softer sounds. Where Director was a heavy focus on

instruments, here we find Gat testing the use of the voice to convey a warm humanity. On “Post-World” and “Chronology,” Gat puts south asian prayer vocals front-and-center, backing them up with droning guitars. “Cue the Machines” begins the album with in-unison throat singing and throughout its three minutes will fold in a speeding snare drum, surf-rock guitars and saxophone, then end at the big ohm that brought us in. “Fading Casino” reincarnates “Casino Cafe” from the last album, adding vocals. It’s this willingness to keep playing around with a sound–even across albums–that gives Gat’s garage/punk influence its jazz edges. It’s music that’s at times a meditation, other times a cathartic release, but always in flux. » - Nathan Royster

MY LIL’ UNDERGROUND PRESENTS

EVERY SUNDAY 11AM-2PM @THE TOFFEE CLUB 1006 SE HAWTHORNE BLVD

6 | ELEVEN PORTLAND | www.elevenpdx.com


new music aural fix

4

CURTIS HARDING MAY 27 | DOUG FIR

Artists like Curtis Harding are becoming a rare breed in music today. With his buttery, soul-filled vocals, this Atlanta-based singer/songwriter started off as a backup singer for CeeLo Green. Harding had a peripatetic childhood, where his family spent a lot of the time touring with his Gospel-singing mother, so the lifestyle of a musician already coursed through his veins, and it shows. After years of performing as a backup singer, Harding knew he had to break out strong with his debut album,

shows Harding’s extensive knowledge of music. The album was co-produced by Danger Mouse and Sam Cohen, so you can bet there’s some Motown pop weaved through the album, as well as rock ’n’ roll, psych and a whole lot of rhythm and blues. Curtis Harding produces music that pays homage to the greats of soul but with his own energetic twist and genre-blending ways. There’s an authenticity of emotions and timeless sound that lies within his music. » - Mandi Dudek

Soul Power, in 2014, and he seamlessly delivered with his retro-vintage and wavelike falsetto–reminiscent of his namesake, Curtis Mayfield. “Surf” gives the record a contemporary twist with its indie guitar chords sprinkled throughout and “On The Drive” has TV On The Radio-esque vibes. But more often than not, Soul

QUICK TRACKS A “NEED YOUR LOVE” This toe-tappin’, old-school jam shows Curtis Harding’s ability to crisply nail every syllable and combines soul with a funky bass line, making it hard to sit still when listening.

Power produces a feeling of stepping into a time machine. On his latest work, Face Your Fear, Harding shows the world that he has much more to offer than his soulfueled debut album. Although he sticks to his souledout roots, Face Your Fear

B “GO AS YOU ARE” Psychedelic rock is at the core of this irresistible addition to Face Your Fear as Harding channels his inner Jimi Hendrix with electric guitar riffs and crooning vocals.

www.elevenpdx.com | ELEVEN PORTLAND | 7


new music album reviews

ALBUM REVIEWS THIS MONTH’S BEST R REISSUE

L LOCAL RELEASE

Short List Acrtic Monkeys Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino The Sea and Cake Any Day Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks Sparkle Hard Courtney Barnett Tell Me How You Really Feel Snow Patrol Wildness Jenny Hval The Long Sleep

L Lithics

Mating Surfaces Kill Rock Stars

Mating Surfaces, the second full-length project from Portland post-punk four-piece Lithics, is one of those albums whose cover offers an interesting contextualization of the music contained within–an arrangement of lines and figures whose real meaning lies not in

the shapes themselves, but in the relationships between them. Postpunk as a genre often seems this way, simplified into the barest of elements and existing mostly in the spaces left behind, and Mating Surfaces seems to self-consciously occupy this niche with resolve. The album is all driving drum and bass grooves in the center of the mix beneath two tritone-heavy guitar lines hard panned to either side, set against Aubry Horner’s half-sung vocals, which are characterized by rhythmic repetitions, fixations on objects and death, and strange lyrical juxtapositions between the two: “Glass of water, spilling over/glass of water, spilling over/getting the boys to go outside/getting the boys to my suicide,” she sings on “Glass of Water.” Happy music it’s not, but with Mating Surfaces, Lithics give us a set of forms that seem to stand for our deepest inner doubts and paranoias, demanding to be heard and examined. » - Henry Whittier-Furguson

Slow Corpse Fables

L

The album is jarring and beautiful:

Chvrches Love Is Dead

frantic melodies, dreamy riffs and chaotic transitions. Their Prime feels

Tents Deer Keeps Pace

L

like the ‘70s Beatles and early ‘90s Kurt Cobain crawled from the grave

Belly Dove

and merged, walking the earth anew

Leon Bridges Good Thing

in a skewed, off-kilter form. Yet reminiscent of a psychedelic past, Jo

Matt & Kim Almost Everyday

Passed has somehow formed their own fresh sound: taking unpredictable

Black Moth Super Rainbow Panic Blooms Buy it

Stream it

Toss it

turns from soft to hard, and low-key underwater melodies to fast-paced

Jo Passed Their Prime Sub Pop There’s something intrinsically unique in how music can morph emotions and contort ideas as easily as hands bending a wire coat hanger. It leaves remnants of its own past; it throws its listener into oceans of sound waves with little regard. It is this electric drive, two fingertips meeting inexplicably charged, that unfolds

facebook.com/elevenmagpdx @elevenpdx

8 | ELEVEN PORTLAND | www.elevenpdx.com

full force in Jo Passed’s newest album, Their Prime.

grunge. The album kicks off with “Left,” showcasing soft tones equipped with orchestral strings. Other tracks, such as “MDM” and “Millenial Trash Blues” burst out in Sonic Youth-esque post-punk anthems. The band, lead by Jo Hirabyashi of Vancouver, Canada, draws not only on influence of revolutionary music, it throws modern culture under the bus by mocking self-obsession and human tendency to want more and more garbage. Their Prime is a refreshing hit that allows for both self-reflection and dancing away the world’s crazy. » - Eirinn Gragson


new music album reviews

Michael Rault It's a New Day Tonight Daptone/Wick Records

In a vacuum, it might be difficult to place Michael Rault on a timeline that could stretch from maybe the mid-’60s to as far in the future as they still make guitars and fuzz pedals and shred on them. The Edmontonian rocker certainly does his part to invite this temporal ambiguity, following

Parquet Courts Wide Awake! Rough Trade

Parquet Courts has made a habit of creating music. Before you laugh at the obtuseness of that statement, consider the group’s sheer output. Since 2013, they’ve made or collaborated on at least one album per year–sometimes two–and demos as well. For the postpunk quartet, music creation is simply a constant. Last year’s Milano found the group working with noted Italian composer Daniele Luppi to produce an ode to the “drinking city” of Milano,

up his 2015 debut, Living Daylight, with the similarly titled It’s a New Day Tonight, another LP that sounds like it might have been released 40 years ago, or tomorrow. Between the two albums, however, there is a clear progression, both musically and sonically. Living Daylight revels in its simplicity, wearing the garage-fuzz aesthetic like a lo-fi badge of honor, and while It’s a New Day Tonight certainly doesn’t shy away from that, the songwriting makes use of more complex progressions, rhythms and instrumentation accompanying a more nuanced vocal performance throughout. The production mirrors this added complexity through subtle layering and an overall depth that comes from the live-to-tape recording process done in the Daptone House of Soul in Brooklyn, and although this is hardly the first review to make the comparison, Rault’s development really is akin to the Beatles from Help into Rubber Soul, Revolver and beyond.

Much of the Beatles comparison comes from the way Rault writes melodies and arranges harmonies, which have a distinct LennonMcCartney feel, especially on cuts like “Oh Clever Boy” and “Dream Song,” but It’s a New Day Tonight also takes notes from contemporary acts, most notably fellow Edmontonian Mac Demarco, whose influence isn’t tough to pick up on in a lot of these songs. Ultimately, the question posed here is “Is rock really dead, or is it, in fact, immortal?” With It’s a New Day Tonight, Michael Rault makes a compelling case for the latter. In a lot of ways it feels as though he’s treading familiar ground, and criticism of the project is likely to fixate on that familiarity, but from the opening riff of “I’ll Be There,” the album exudes a kind of comforting warmth that can only come from the familiar–the things we know will be there day in and day out, bathed in the light of the newly risen sun. » - Henry Whittier-Furguson

Italy. The pairing, while unexpected, seemed to instigate an added layer to Parquet Courts’ sound–a softer side; a side that found a little room to breathe in between the typically ferocious drumming and relentless guitar work the group is known for. Wide Awake! seems to pick up where they left off. The instrumentals are just as intense as ever, but the craft of the individual tracks, as well as their line-up on the record, demonstrates that some of Luppi’s sensibilities stuck with them. Interestingly, a common thread also connects Parquet Courts and Luppi: the producer Danger Mouse. Luppi collaborated with Danger Mouse on 2011’s Rome, a spaghetti Westerninspired soundscape that tapped into reverberating space to generate a motion-filled sonic narrative. Parquet Courts is continually unafraid to pursue the unexpected: witness Danger Mouse collab, exhibit one. Although Wide Awake! eschews the same expansive finality, it finds the band taking a slightly lighter touch to its songs. Perhaps that is due to Danger Mouse’s pop sensibility, but rather than it feeling like the group went pop, it

feels as though they simply absorbed the polished traits of the producer to develop, frankly, an album full of thrashy excellence. “Almost Had to Start a Fight/In and Out of Patience” is a twitchy two-parter that finds A. Savage ripping through throaty vocals matched by chords, startling breaks and a pounding beat that still somehow manages to feel laid back right before it kicks into the double-timed part two. The eponymous title track is probably the funkiest thing Parquet Courts has ever done, in the truest sense of the word. If you find the possibility of a punk/funk crossover intriguing, this one’s for you. This speaks to the unexpectedness of the album as a whole. Closer “Tenderness” even busts out an acoustic piano– acoustic! Parquet Courts doesn’t know how to take steps backward. Each album is exemplary of a group that pursues new sounds with an obsessive fervor. Wide Awake! embraces a heads-up exploration of sounds and structures outside of the band’s normal élan, culminating in a fully listenable and sincerely stellar record. » - Charles Trowbridge

www.elevenpdx.com | ELEVEN PORTLAND | 9


live music Photo by Molly Macalpine

And of course, a lot of music. The venue’s sound qualities makes it a popular choice for indie, opera, folk and neo-classical musicians. The curvature of the room amplifies the sonic range naturally, allowing a perfectly clear sound that resonates from the stage to the back row of the space’s 300 seats. As booker/engineer/do-it-all colleague Adam East tells us, “The sound reverberates all of the molecules in the room. We have a lot of symphony offshoots that love it here because they can have completely unamplified classical shows for chamber music. You can hear an instrument as if it’s right next to you. It’s a great place for smaller acoustic shows, because the vibe is right for a seated thing and the acoustics are right for a low volume thing.” Upcoming events include Grammy award winner Booker T. Jones, alt-country with The Jay Farrar Duo, the annual Dolly Parton Hoot Night, Science On Tap, Think and Drink, Mortified Portland, an aerial acrobatics show called Obscura, jazz composition From Maxwell to Vanport, Robin Jackson & The Caravan and local artist Soriah performing with his Tuvan throat-singing masters. You can take advantage of the seated theater

KNOW YOUR VENUE Alberta Rose Theatre | 3000 NE Alberta

experience while also enjoying finger foods like sweet and savory hand pies, fancy pizza rolls, chocolate truffles and cookies. Wash it all down with teas, beer, wine and spirits, or go with the sparkling Prosecco cocktail trend (Kir Royals, Mimosas, or add absinthe for Death In The Afternoon). Last year the future of The Alberta Rose suddenly became uncertain, as the building went up for sale.

W

However, as part of the Alberta Rose’s lease agreement, hen you enter the very heart of the Alberta

manager and program coordinator Joe Cawley luckily

Arts District, The Alberta Rose theatre

had first dibs to purchase. Even through his reach to

is there to greet you. It opened in 1928 as The Alameda Theatre, a silent movie

and performance house. Later, it became Portland’s only black-owned movie theater, where you could see films like Shaft and Superfly until 1978. Then the theater became a church and eventually shuttered. In 2010 the building’s theater roots were revived as The Alberta Rose, a fixture that encapsulates an array of Portland’s community-based programming. Here you can find theatre and dance performances, nuevo-circus and vaudeville via The Umbrella Festival, science and sociology lectures and live tapings of OPB’s Live Wire Radio.

10 | ELEVEN PORTLAND | www.elevenpdx.com

Photo by Molly Macalpine


live music

Photo by Molly Macalpine

secure the venue seemed “cut and dry,” as East puts it, there were a lot of unexpected hurdles to complete the transaction and save the theatre. On his own, Cawley was short a seemingly impossible sum of money, so he decided to turn to the community for support. And support they did. Cawley exceeded his financial goals through the help of a successful GoFundMe campaign. Patrons, artists and fellow business owners banded together to help purchase and preserve this little piece of North Portland, ensuring that it will continue to flourish within Portland’s live music and performance art scene. Long Live The Rose. » - Brandy Crowe

Photo by Molly Macalpine

www.elevenpdx.com | ELEVEN PORTLAND | 11


live music MAY

1

2

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ROSELAND THEATER 8 NW 6TH

SKIDMORE ST.

MLK BLVD.

830 E BURNSIDE

MISSISSIPPI STUDIOS

FR

RUSSELL ST.

ON

TA VE

NORTH WEST BROADWAY ST.

5

PEARL 2

BURNSIDE ST.

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405

24 18

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GRAND AVE.

12 | ELEVEN PORTLAND | www.elevenpdx.com

5

MLK BLVD.

Want to have your show listed? E-mail listings@elevenpdx.com

14

OLD TOWN

3939 N MISSISSIPPI

Penguin Prison | Little Monarch Futurebirds | Whiskerman Cedar Teeth | The Maldives | Bryan John Appleby Kid Koala | Adira Amram & The Experience | DJ Jester Sallie Ford | Mike Coykendall | The Floating Easements Ezra Furman | Shannon Lay Jerry Joseph & The Jackmormons Courtney Marie Andrews | Taylor Kingman An Evening w/Stephen Ashbrook Kendall Core | Maita | Sarah Parson Amenta Abioto | Night Heron | Arthur & The Antics Jeff Crosby & The Refugees Andy Frasco & the U.N. Laura Veirs | The Hackles Hotel Ten Eyes | Todd Albright Lauren Ruth Ward | Yip Yops All Our Exes Live In Texas Aquilo Wooden Shjips | Prana Crafter Ezra Bell | Motopony | Johanna Warren Little Sue | Lewi Longmire | Skull Diver | Wonderly Fritzwa | David Barber w/Radio Phoenix Big Business Josh Rouse

15

.

23RD AVE.

Erika Wennerstrom | Josh T. Pearson Pink Mexico | Miss Rayon Mipso | Anna Tivel Baby Bushka Frenship | Yoke Lore Lissie | Van William Michigan Rattlers Born Ruffians | Little Junior The Family Crest | Goodnight, Texas Tents | Hustle & Drone | Siren & The Sea Field Report | Sontalk 14-15 Pokey LaFarge | Al Scorch 16 Brent Cobb & Them | Savannah Conley 17 Pickwick | Smokey Brights 18 The Main Squeeze | Pigwar 19 The Posies 20 Moorea Masa & The Mood | Raquel Rodriguez 21 Stuyedeyed | The English Language 22 TV Girl | Wished Bone 24 Gang Of Youths 27 Curtis Harding 30 Ocean Alley 31 Damien Jurado | Naomi Wachira

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WILLIAMS AVE.

DOUG FIR

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

4

VANCOUVER AVE.

3

4

MISSISSIPPI AVE.

Electric Wizard Papa Roach | Nothing More | Escape The Fate George Ezra | Noah Kahan X Ambassadors | Jacob Banks | SHAED Unknown Mortal Orchestra | Makeness Joey Bada$$ | Boogie | Buddy | Dessy Hinds Built To Spill | The Afghan Whigs | Ed Harcourt Andre Nickatina | Six Fif | Speaker Child | Rell Money The Glitch Mob | Elohim | Anomalie Fever Ray

INTERSTATE AVE.

2 5 6 7 9 11 14 18 20 23

1332 W BURNSIDE

An Evening w/Steven Wilson Ariel Pink | DIIV | Nick Hakim | Suuns | JJUUJJUU As The Crow Flies | Once & Future Band Ether | Desert Dwellers | Random Rab | Plantrae The Brian Jonestown Massacre | Cat Hoch Natalia Lafourcade

DOW NTO WN

9 10 13 18 22 31

CRYSTAL BALLROOM


live music WONDER BALLROOM 128 NE RUSSELL

ALBERTA ST.

13

ALBERTA ST.

ALBERTA ARTS

26

42ND AVE.

15TH AVE.

11TH AVE.

PRESCOTT ST.

FREMONT ST.

HOLOCENE

24TH AVE.

HOLLYWOOD 33RD AVE.

28TH AVE.

D. BLV Y D AN

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BROADWAY ST.

1800 E BURNSIDE

LAURELHURST

BURNSIDE ST. 8 11 6

20

STARK ST.

MORRISON ST.

HAWTHORNE

27

LADD’S ADDITION DIVISION ST.

19

CLINTON ST.

POWEL

L BLVD.

28

CESAR CHAVEZ BLVD.

17

HAWTHORNE BLVD. 25

BELMONT ST.

23

11TH AVE.

8TH AVE.

12

RONTOMS

EASTBURN

32

GLISAN ST. 3

Loom | Mike Gamble 4tet | Old Unconscious And And And | Thick Business | Bryson Cone | Ah God An Evening w/Buddy Wakefield Pianos Become The Teeth | The World Is A Beautiful Place Talk Modern | Leo Islo | Small Million SLow Corpse | New Move | Astro Tan Roselit Bone | Autopilot Is For Lovers | Paper/Upper/Cuts Holidae House | Forty Feet Tall | Turtlenecked Arc Iris Carla Dal Forno | Tess Roby | Golden Retriever

600 E BURNSIDE

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6 2 3 7 8 9 10 13 23 24 29

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Toyboat Toyboat Toyboat | Future Historians | Holy Tentacles Gold Casio | Ayla Ray Layperson | Oh Rose! | Deathlist Brown Calculus | Schaus

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84

5

Mike Love | Cas Haley Editors | Pllush Nada Surf Peter Hook & The Light Floater Tricky | Young Magic Washed Out Hot Snakes | Le Butcherettes Rogue Wave | Dear Boy Pop Tone | Automatic Sofi Tukker | Kah-Lo | LP Giobbi Hinds The Wonder Years | Tigers Jaw | Tiny Moving Parts Wet Godspeed You! Black Emperor | KGD

1001 SE MORRISON

KNOTT ST.

MAY

6 13 20 27

8

DJs in The Taproom (weekends)

KELLY’S OLYMPIAN 426 SW WASHINGTON

9

Eye Candy VJs (Mondays) Party Damage DJs (Tuesdays) KPSU DJs (Wednesdays) The Doomies | Average Pageant | Lab13 The Thesis w/Cassow Rasheed Jamal | KI$ | Mal London The Juice w/Carter Anderson Head The Hive | Ned & The Dirt | Neon Culpa Small Leaks Sink Ships | Patient Zeros | Mighty Missoula B.R. Mount | Kiki & The Dowery | Old Outfits Triple Lutz | Ghost Ring | Snailbones | Less Than Blossom | Sus | All Star Opera | SXLXMXN The Urban Shaman | The Dark Backward | Alminiana Christopher Wilson Band | Jon Garcia | Jon Meyer The Strid | Head Dead | Honeybender La Cerca | Ten Million Lights Sarah Wild & The Watch | Helvie | Run The Risk Skull Diver | Sun Blood Stories | Sweeping Exits Fat Sun | Average Pageant | Low Fives Randall Wyatt | Mostafa | Quincy Davis

NO VACANCY 235 SW 1ST

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King Louie & LaRhonda Steele The Cary Miga Trio Goldroom Richard Basi & The Red Hot Stompers Numatic Retrograde: LBGTQ Dance Party Born Dirty Trio Subtonic Avicii Tribute Night + Fundraiser

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www.elevenpdx.com | ELEVEN PORTLAND | 13


features MAY NO VACANCY (CONTINUED) 23 24 25 26 30

Photo by Eirinn Gragson

Lloyd Jones Band NVL Soul Night Throttle Will Clarke Red Bird

REVOLUTION HALL 11 1300 SE STARK Rob Bell | Pete Rollins Stephen Stills & Judy Collins | Kenny White Pedro The Lion | David Dondero Horse Feathers | Dead Horses Portland Cello Project Marchfourth 25-26 Weird Al | Emo Philips

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TOFFEE CLUB 12 1006 SE HAWTHORNE 4 6 11 13 18 20 25 27

Sticky Toffee: House & Disco Indiepop Brunch w/My Lil Underground Waves: Hip Hop, Trap, & R&B Indiepop Brunch w/My Lil Underground Parklife: Britpop, New Wave, Post-Punk Indiepop w/Freeform DJs Old Skool: Funk & Soul w/DJ Cisco Indiepop Brunch w/My Lil Underground

ALBERTA STREET PUB 13 1036 NE ALBERTA 10 11 16 17 18 23 24 25 31

Peace House Sessions Live fea/Michalangela Brad Creel & The Reel Deal | The Suds Goldfoot | Kip LaVie's Future Kathy Kallick Band Camp Crush | The Cabin Project | AM Clouds Phil Ajjarapu & His Heart Army Freddy Trujillo's Bob Dylan Tribut fea/The Don of Division DJ Sugarfoot Birger Olsen | Anita Lee & The Handsome Three

THE SECRET SOCIETY 14 116 NE RUSSELL

4 11 18

Not So Secret Family Show (Sundays) Zydeco (Wednesdays) Swing (Thursdays) Andrew Paul Woodworth | Berahmand | Wonderly Aurora Velour | Ruby Rocket | Ivana Mandalay The Pariahs | Alexander Anderson | Thelastgekko

WHITE EAGLE 15 836 N RUSSELL 10 12 15 17 18 19 22 23 24 25 26 27 29 31

Human Ottoman | Book of Colors | Reed Turchi J-Moses & Ragged Sunday | The Low Bones | Mech B & The Hive | Soul Impression Jack Maybe | Maurice & Stiff Sisters | Bitches of the Sun Root Jack | North Twin | Michael Dean Damron Amy Guess Trill Lebeau | Bre Paletta Hot Damn Scandal | Sarah Parson Zen Hunter | Erin Adkisson & Tanner Cundy Good Morning Bedlam | Lumberjack Sarah Parson | Sharlet Crooks Hunter & The Dirty Jacks | Dodgy Mountain Men Chris Margolin Mic Check Hip Hop Showcase

14 | ELEVEN PORTLAND | www.elevenpdx.com

LOCAL FEATURE Blackwater Holylight

M

ythology mentions the sirens leading sailors to their deaths with their songs, the muses responsible for the brilliant creative works of men, but the stories fail to mention Sunny Faris, Sarah Mckenna, Cat Hoch and Laura Hopkins, the womyn of Blackwater Holylight. Known as the witches weaving the styles of goth, doom, grunge and psych in a flawless musical execution that demands the attention and hearts of anyone in the room, these bad bitches were some of the most pleasant people I’ve ever had the chance to encounter. ELEVEN: How did this combination of people come to be Blackwater Holylight? Cat Hoch: Sunny and Laura have known each other a long time. Sunny Faris: We met in like, 2010, though Mark (of Grandparents) or somewhere around there, and then also through Mark met Cat after that. I knew who she was and I knew that she played music, and she made Mark this burned psych CD and I was like, “Damn,

this bitch is so fucking cool. How did she know all this awesome music!?” And then I met Sarah in 2014 when I started working at Bunk Bar. Laura Hopkins: In the beginning it was just me and Sunny and she was like, “I want to ask Cat to play drums.” We were just jamming because Grandparents broke up and then I wanted to play with her. Me and Sunny had a band together. SF: Wildwoods! CH: 4 babes, no instruments, all girls, just singing a cappella. 11: Wait, really? SF/LH : [laughter] No, no, no. LH: I played the banjo, it was like that. SF: I had a hair wrap. CH: They were really good. They were like, folk girls. Sarah Mckenna: Oh god, I wish I met you girls back then. CH: These girls were like the hottest, coolest, most intimidating babes forever ago when we all met in the beginning. SF: We all were like, hot and intimidated of each other, I think that’s kinda how that went down? I guess?


LH: Yeah, I was actually really intimidated of Sarah. SM: What! I was intimidated by all

11: What surprised you after you started playing out? Did you find the momentum continued?

of you! True story, I almost didn’t join (BWHL) because I was like, “Uh, I’m a lot older and they’re so good and so amazing!” SF: Yeah, she was like “I don’t know if I can do it!” and I was like “Shut up, you’re coming to band practice!” SM: I know, and I didn’t want to, I was so terrified!

SF: I feel like the momentum kept going, yeah, because to me, the most surprising thing was that I don’t think people expected it to be as heavy as it is. Not like we’re a crazy metal band, but it’s just a sound in our community of people, hadn't really been happening yet. A lot of it’s just been psych.

SF: You’re coming into this basement and you’re gonna play these keys! My old basement had mold growing on the ceiling. 11: Perfect. SF: I mean it was pretty magical, because that’s where this was birthed. And then we took that picture outside of the garage next door and put it on Instagram and everyone lost their shit. LH: They were like “What are you doing?” SF: Yeah, we took one photo and that’s how we told people we were in a band. LH: We just put my cell phone on top of my car and pushed it in neutral into the middle of the street. We set it to a self-timer and took a photo and everyone is like, “What is this band?” SF: and then we put it on Instagram, so now we have to at least play a show. LH: We didn’t have any music out or anything. SF: Yeah, and everyone was so curious, like, “What the fuck are you doing?” and we were all just like, “It’s, like, heavy.” [laughter] LH: And then we sold out our first show. No one had heard us play at all, they just knew who each one of us was. SF: Because everyone had seen our other projects, you know? So everyone was like, “It’s a crazy supergroup,” and at the time my ex boyfriend had kind of made a dude supergroup and everyone was like, “Oh that’s helpful,” so in the back of my mind i was kind of like, “Fuck you boys, you want a supergroup, bitch? Lets fucking make one.” LH: and we’re gonna do it all in white dresses. SF: and that’s how that started [laughter]

11: Girls can do that? LH: Yeah, they don’t just sit there and look pretty? CH: Well I feel like i was really surprised that we all had such good chemistry, and how talented you guys are in your songwriting capabilities, because I don't think we had ever played in a band proper, together, right? Like, we had seen each others’ stuff, but putting that all together was really cool. It was like “Whoa, this is what we all sound like.” SF: Yeah, I think everything was surprising, but nothing was surprising at the same time. I was kind of like, “What the fuck is happening,” but at the same time I was like, “Of course this is fucking happening.” 11: In everything that I’ve read previously, all I find was how your band broke up and you wanted to see how it would be to work with women. How is that? SF: It’s the shit, I’m never going to be in a band of all dudes ever again. LH: Dudes are so whiny and they have so many problems and they’re like, crying all the time. 11: The irony is beautiful. BWHL: I know. 11: How long have you been working on this record? When it came time to come into the studio, what was it like? SF: The thing about the record is that we recorded half of it, and we had four songs done, and I wanted to shop it around to some labels. I sent it to RidingEasy, because at the time

features TURN! TURN! TURN! 8 NE KILLINGSWORTH

MAY

16

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features Photo by Eirinn Gragson

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16 | ELEVEN PORTLAND | www.elevenpdx.com

they were my dream label, and I didn’t

that I was like, “How did we even fucking

know anything about them besides all

do that?” Because what?

the bands on there were bands I liked

LH: She plays guitar on that song.

listening to. I just liked the overall vibe

I play bass. And all the music on the

of what I saw. I was intrigued. So I sent it

album, we all wrote our own parts to.

to them, they were into it, but they don’t

(Sunny) would come in with a song, and I

do EPs, they just do full-length albums,

came in with a song.

so we had recorded half of the record one summer, and then the next summer we did the other half. CH: The EP felt like it came together really quickly, for some reason, to me. But maybe mostly because I… well maybe having most of the songs written going in was like, quicker, and then adding in synths and drum overdubs and stuff, but it did feel... LH: Like “Sunrise” we wrote in the studio. 11: Really? LH: Yeah, like we’ve never played it live. SF: I pulled it out of my ass. I started writing that song on a trip that I took a few months before that session. I ate acid on the beach with my friend and wrote the basis of that song on acid on the beach while the sun was setting by myself. It was really awesome. I had it in my pocket as this working acoustic on this trip, and then we needed to record something so I was like, “”Well,

SF: She wrote “Wave of Conscience.” LH: And then Sunny would come up with a bass riff, and then we’d write a song around her lyrics and a bass riff. Then Sarah writes her part, Cat writes her drum part. SM: Just kind of fill it out as it goes. It kind of just comes together organically. SF: This is just what we’re doing and it’s working so whatever. 11: Have you acquired any cool new gear lately? SF: Well, when we started the band I was playing through a Sunn 300T. But after we played our first show, I was like, “This sounds like shit” because it was too small. Recently, now I have a Sovtek Mig 100, and I play out of a matching Sovtek 4x10 cab. SM: It’s so fucking cute. LH: Recently when we all had our practice, when she first got it, and we all had our earplugs in–which now I know

what about this? Let’s just learn it really

to wear earplugs–but I was standing,

quick,” and yeah we just sort of did it in

and her amp was facing me, and my

the studio, but that’s one of the songs

pants were vibrating.


11: I think it’s working. LH: I had no idea, I couldn’t hear myself at all, and I play out of a Fender Deluxe, which gets pretty loud but it doesn’t vibrate my pants off my body. CH: My vagina was vibrating, honestly. SF: Didn’t you get that Micro Korg at some point? SM: Oh I did! The Minilogue. It’s been fun, it’s teaching me a lot about how oscillators work, and filter is your best friend. It’s funny that since I play synths people think I know what everything is, but I just learned what an oscillator was, and like I said, filters, low frequency, on and on, and honestly, I just kind of bullshit and tweak things so every set that we do is different. It’s fun though, it’s taught me a lot. SF: Didn’t you get your strat?

LH: I recorded the EP with that noname strat. LH: The whole EP was on a strat. It was black and out of line. The intonation was fucked, so on our EP, every high note that I hit, it was a little bit off. SF: Dude so much is out of tune. LH: Yeah, it sounded kind of cool. The solo of “Willow” is all out of whack because of intonation. SF: But I kind of liked it, it sounded kind of creepy. It wasn’t so off tune that it sounds like shit, it was just like a hair, so it was like, “This is making me feel uncomfortable but I don’t know why.” CH: Sometimes that can work out really cool, you know? When it’s not quite perfect, like a style. SF: Yeah, like all of the “mistakes” on the record are what I like about it. » - Cassi Blum

track, “Willow,” lulls you in with a call-and-response guitar riff and vocals that are just as graceful as they are moody. Around the twominute mark the tempo picks up a bit and the drums become more prominent. “Paranoia” is by far the heaviest track on the album, building slowly like sparks turning into dancing flames. The synth adds an eeriness to the track perfect for the song’s

L Blackwater Holylight

Blackwater Holylight RidingEasy Records

theme. If you didn’t already feel like you were being watched, you definitely do now. If you were expecting to get an anecdote by the end of the

Blackwater Holylight is an

album, think again. Closing track,

all-woman four-piece led by Alison

“Jizz Witch” cycles back to the

Faris, previously of the now defunct

ominous and mysterious energy

psych-pop ensemble Grandparents.

that the album opens with, adding

BWHL also includes guitarist/

kaleidoscopic synth to the mix. This

vocalist, Laura Hopkins, of Laura

eight track debut could easily be the

Palmer’s Death Parade; synth

soundtrack to your next adventure

master, Sarah McKenna, of Dan

under the full moon.

Dan, and Cat Hoch, who has been

Blackwater Holylight isn’t your

killing it in the local scene with her

average dose of psychedelic rock;

own solo career.

it goes beyond the temporary state

The band’s self-titled debut

of haze. Every track on their debut

album is a witch’s brew of psych

oozes with a syrupy sinisterness. If

rock. Just a bit over the 40 minute

you find yourself hitting the replay

mark, the album is really more like

button at the end then their spell has

one long entrancing spell. Opening

definitely worked. » - Liz Garcia

features MAY SPARE ROOM (CONTINUED) Dylan May & The Message The Reverends Lithics | Honey Bucket | Scorch Weske Son De Cuba

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PORTLAND’S MUSIC MAGAZINE SINCE 2011

www.elevenpdx.com | ELEVEN PORTLAND | 17


| ELEVEN PORTLAND Photo by18Shawn Brackbill

| www.elevenpdx.com


fter thirteen years and six records, Beach House has continued sounding fresh with each release without significantly changing their formula. This is actually pretty commendable; they’d be justified in feeling like they’ve reached the apex of what they can do, but still they push forward. It’s almost like there’s this perfect articulation of their sound floating out in the ether, and each record is an attempt at tapping into its voice. For Victoria Legrand, it’s “scope and scale” that sets each record apart, which makes sense. Sometimes Beach House is absolutely cosmic, like in Bloom, perhaps the band’s most grandiose recording to date. There are moments on that record that make you feel tiny, like the music is happening all around you and you’re just living in it. But the scale doesn’t necessary grow chronologically throughout their catalog, which is evidence of intention. Their most recent record, Thank Your Lucky Stars, was a return to some of the lighter, more whimsical pre-Teen Dream Beach House that sounds like it would be at home being played from a dollhouse victrola. The new record, aptly titled 7, is a return to the more lush and stylish sound that made the band famous, but it’s

refreshingly off-kilter. It’s at the larger scale of Bloom, but with all these new, more warped and discordant flourishes. In fact, the second half of “Dive” is probably the closest the band has ever come to sounding noisy or aggressive. It’s a fantastic record full of the swirling arpeggios and haunting vocals you’d expect from Beach House, but with some psyched out twists that separate it from the rest of their catalog and demonstrate that the band is still very much evolving. This new sound came about in large part because the band completely blew apart their previous creative process. Much of the album was written (and even recorded) in the newly outfitted recording studio built into their Baltimore practice space, providing them the freedom to take risks and capture the vitality of new ideas in the moment. In the past, some of what made things feel electric during the songwriting could get lost in translation through the lengthy process of taking ideas from conception, to demoing, to studio recording. Collaborating with coproducer Peter Kember AKA Sonic Boom of Spacemen 3 also encouraged the band to follow their instincts and enabled them to go a little farther out than usual, resulting in the “newest” sounding Beach House album since Teen Dream.

www.elevenpdx.com | ELEVEN PORTLAND | 19


Photo by Vincent Philbert

ELEVEN: You’ve been a band for thirteen years. Are

up, get all stale, and be bored with what you're doing. I

there any particular challenges or rewards you've found

think it depends on the person; how curious you are, how

come along with being a part of a collaborative project

undeniably playful your relationship is with the world.

for that amount of time?

Part of getting older is that it seems like a lot of doors start shutting. People you're friends with disappear.

Victoria Legrand: One of the greatest gifts I've got in this life is having found a musical partner that can understand what I'm trying to achieve without words and help me find it. Same thing with Alex; he's looking for something that I'm able to provide. And James Barone– who's been drumming with us for over two years and really contributed a lot to this album–he has wonderful amounts of energy and creativity. And then working with Sonic Boom, all of that invigorated us at a point in our career that I think is vital. We have seven albums, and I think we're really lucky to still be discovering new potentials. It's easy to just dry

20 | ELEVEN PORTLAND | www.elevenpdx.com

People pass away, people get married, have children. Things start to get very serious. You know, the obvious things we all encounter; you look at yourself in the mirror and notice a new line or a new dark circle. But there's another way of looking at it. When the physical realm is going down on the rollercoaster, the internal world has to go up. It's who you are as a person, it's the energy you put out, the kindness you emit. You have to work a bit harder as life goes on. Even if you get more tired you have to work harder at certain things; find more activities and exercises that help excite you so you don't just crumble.


features national scene 11: How do you think the band has changed sonically, musically, or aesthetically over the long arc of your career? VL: There is this core to the band that has been there throughout, an elemental core, that is Alex and I and our love of music and our love of

“DARKNESS IS ALWAYS PART OF EVERYTHING. EVERY LIGHT IS BALANCED WITH SOME FORM OF DARKNESS; THAT’S A SIMPLE TRUTH OF THE UNIVERSE.”

the experience of creativity.

you only have a wire and some clay, but the way you can cut the clay with the wire or use the wire to build the clay upon itself and keep making new forms is maybe never ending. 11: With that in mind, what feels new about 7? VL: We've always found

Then there are these waves that are every album, each

rhythm and beats inspiring, and I think we were really

one representing a period of time in our lives and an

focused on how they can create different feelings with

expression of many forces. When I say waves, I mean

this record. Rhythm is a big force that has developed for us

the direction that the albums go and their different

overall. We keep discovering new colors and new energies

sizes. They all have a different scope and scale. I think

from the various rhythms that we explore.

scale is one of the most fascinating artistic concepts; I think it's everything. It's how big or small something

11: What excites you about the record?

is, and how big or small it makes you feel. I think every album has a different scale. We're continuing to explore

VL: I’m most excited about being able to convey the

the possibilities of scale in what we do. When you have

ideas that have been inspiring us for the last couple of

limitations, like two people playing and writing all the

years. That’s about the amount of time it takes to incubate

music... It’s some buddhist thing, like "less is more." It’s like

and filter everything that's been speaking to us the

www.elevenpdx.com | ELEVEN PORTLAND | 21


features national scene strongest from the outside world. The things that inspire

VL: I think for everyone in 2017–well not everyone I

us–the melodies we hear, the things we write, the books

guess, but most humans that have a heart and emotions

we read, the movies we watch–these things are expressed

and are in tune with nature–felt a kind of darkness move

in the music we make. And I'm excited about the live show

in. Darkness is always part of everything. Every light is

and all the energies that have yet to combine and happen

balanced with some form of darkness; that’s a simple truth

around that. I'm excited for those moments when we play

of the universe. But recently there's a feeling of chaos and

a show and there's all this energy. I'm excited to hear

a feeling of not knowing what is real. What does it mean

people's interpretation of the music, their feelings and

to tell the truth? There're all these questions that have

reactions.

historically cycled over and over again that we're dealing with. Not in an overtly political way, though. I don't think

11: You were thinking a lot about dualities with this

this is a "political" record. Like all the other records we've

record, like how beauty can be an unexpected result of

made, we're touching on human emotions, issues, feelings,

dark times or how shared trauma can inspire empathy.

and shared experiences like heartbreak, love, curiosity,

What kind of experiences drove you into that thematic

outer space, whatever; the things we all dream about at

territory?

night.

22 | ELEVEN PORTLAND | www.elevenpdx.com

Photo by Vincent Philbert


features national scene 11: How do you see the context of our current place and time seeping into the actual music? VL: The night Alex presented me the beginning of “Black Car,” I was very much taken aback. I thought it very much had a feeling of nighttime and darkness, like there was something very unknown about it; there was almost a futuristic feel to it. It sparked all these new realizations and ideas that completely made sense to me in the present context. That's kind of how we work. We're kind of observing all the energies in the world, but we're also artists and musicians so we have this freaky thing that occurs where we hear corresponding melodies and are constantly playing with things, throwing them up in the air and seeing where they land. I think it’s all about the combination of those two dimensions: daily life that we all are a part of and then the bigger things that transpire that our antennae are picking up. 11: You created a studio in your practice space in Baltimore to demo out some of the stuff you'd ultimately record for this record, what kind of creative doors did that open for you? VL: It opened a lot of creative doors. I think this record happened as quickly as it did because of the liberty and luxury of having our own studio. With previous records, we’d do demos and then we’d re-record all of the songs later in a professional studio, so they're being recorded multiple times, and that got really old. By the time we got to Depression Cherry, there was this fatigue. We wondered why things in the songs would change by the final recording. It was just really frustrating having someone between us and the recording. Even though we were there and we were participating, it felt like there was always a gatekeeper, and we were finally just sick of that. We were finally like, "No! We're cutting out as many middlemen as we can!" The home studio really facilitated that process because we were writing and recording at the same time and were keeping a lot of the things we recorded in Baltimore. The album is really a hybrid of things we recorded in Baltimore while writing the songs and what we did in the more professional studios. 11: And you worked with Sonic Boom as well, what did he bring to the table? VL: He co-produced the record with us. He was a very necessary energy that we didn't know we needed until we had it. He just helped create a space that was not overly intellectual, that was more about feelings and experimenting and just letting the music sit. We were still

www.elevenpdx.com | ELEVEN PORTLAND | 23


features national scene very much predominately the writers of all the music. We've never worked with a producer that would get in the way of that. I think working with us, people understand what they're dealing with, which is that there are two people who write and who have a lot of production ideas already. We're not looking for someone who's going to do that for us, and I think Sonic Boom understands that because he's the same kind of artist. He has a wonderful aesthetic sense, and he's had an incredible career. He's just a really respectful, wise, human being. He contributed many moments on the record that helped boost certain parts of songs. He has the ability to experiment with sounds and find the things that will add that particular little moment that's really wonderful; it really helped us find more magic. 11: You also said he helped you shed conventions and not let yourself get carried away with the higherlevel production tools at your disposal when you're in a professional recording studio, what kinds of routines or aesthetic conventions from previous records were you wary of? VL: We've never really been gearheads. We don't particularly care much about expensive vintage gear, or newer stuff either. If we find a new instrument, it could be a broken piece of trash, but we keep it if we can find

making waves at Portland State since 1994

KPSU

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something about it that works. It’s always been about what the instrument has to offer, not about the dumb value of it. In past recording situations, we’ve made demos we liked, but in some producer’s mind some aspect of it sounds horrible. They’re like, “Ewe! All this noise, all this grit; it sounds like shit. It's too lo-fi.” We love it because it has character, it has something to it that feels very raw and real to us, but the person recording it for us is like, "No no no. We need to put it through this, this, and this." Nothing changed in the way we work and what we love. We'll always love things for what they are. We're not trying to be fancy about things. I think Sonic Boom is the same way. He's a tasteful person; we're tasteful people. He really was like a reminder to just have fun with things. He reaffirmed these ways that we've always tried to work. No one fucking cares if there’s some specific microphone to record this one little thing. It's about how it makes you feel in the end. It's a little bit of a punk way of doing things. Just do it, and if you like it, you like it, and there's no questioning that. It really bothers us as artists when we get away from that. We like to move quickly, and we were finally able to do that with this record. »

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community literary arts bookstore was called Bridges, which he opened in the early ‘90s in New York City. He later moved to Albuquerque, NM, where he opened his the first incarnation of Passages. After that, he worked in book production as an editor and typographer until his wife Catherine Kuehn took a job teaching Book Arts at Oregon College of Arts and Crafts here in Portland. David spent fifteen years as a freelance copy editor and bookseller in different buildings until he landed the current space near the Oregon Convention Center on MLK Jr Blvd. When I met him for this interview, I was struck by the sparseness of the store, but the Photo by Scott McHale

LITERARY ARTS

Portland poet and bookseller David Abel

contents of his shop reflects what David is interested in—poetry,

avant-garde art, artist’s books, and fine printing. “It’s like being inside of your head,” said a friend when first seeing his store. After talking with David Abel or a few minutes, I began to understand what that friend was talking about. ELEVEN: Can you speak about the repetitive nature of your poems in XIV Eclipses? It reminded me of Beckett where he repeats the same lines in different ways.

A

t a recent reading at the IPRC, David Abel read several of the poems from XIV Eclipses (Couch Press) to a packed house. The experience was similar to a musical performance where one is

seemingly suspended in time due to the cadence and rhythm of his poetic delivery. Like a guitarist playing a solo with slight variations of the same note, David mesmerized the audience by proving that the written word can transform from something visually expressed on the page to something quite powerful and alive when read aloud. What made the performance more astonishing is that his eclipse poems are essentially the same sentence repeated in different forms, which are uniquely centered on the page, and create writing that resemble shapes like vases or bottles, or whatever the reader imagines. David opened up Passages Bookshop two years ago, but he has a long history of selling books before that. The first

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David Abel: For me, I come to it through an interest in music. I was a wannabe composer and played music and studied music in school for a while, but really language and literature became what dominated. There’s a whole body of minimalist music that I was interested in. It was very powerful and influential in many ways, and still is. The particular piece of music that influenced these poems was by a composer named Frederic Rzewski. He was part of Musica Elettronica Viva, which was the first live improvising electronic music group in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Frederic Rzewski’s uses a text from a letter written by a man named Sam Melville who was in prison for sending several bombs as part of a political activity in the ‘60s. He ended up in Attica and became one of the organizers of the uprising there, and was among the people killed by the guards after the prison was retaken. Parts of his letter were published in a political magazine called Ramparts. Rzewski


community literary arts put part of that letter in a piece called “Coming Together.”

but I do think that it’s possible to have something that has

The way the piece moves through the text–it begins with

some of that character when listening to one of these pieces.

a section and extends and extends it, and then at a certain

That you can get into a trance state, where your experience

point it starts truncating it from the beginning, where it’s

of time is different. I’m certainly curious about getting to a

repeated and getting longer. At the end, it catches up until

place where reading has a different character.

you reach just a single line again. So you start with a single line, it grows, reaches its maximum and then it moves like a window through to the end and then it closes again. 11: That reminds me of digital editing software, where you trim an image to fit into a frame.

11: Can you explain why these poems are called eclipses? DA: If you think of an eclipse–on the one hand, an eclipse is the obscuration, but on the other hand, an eclipse is the gradual movement across—the light moving in one direction

DA: That sense of a moving window going across the

and then coming back from another direction. And so the

text is exactly how these poems function. They’re actually

window moves across the text like the shadow moves across

simpler than that in that they take a window of a certain

the moon. So that’s how they became eclipses.

length and certain number of words, start at the first word and move one word at a time to the end of the text. It’s very simple and rigorous, but it doesn’t sound that way in the reading because of the grammar and the syntax, or the way that the text folds back on itself and words end up functioning in other clauses within the sentence. 11: What made you want to create this book? DA: These pieces come out of my desire to want to read in different ways. It’s a little different than the kind of writing that begins with something that one wants to express–a feeling or an idea. They’re more attempts to explore and discover something unexpected. I don’t want to make it sound like a grand ideology, but there is this idea of an approach to making art that is more about discovering than inventing. I write a lot that comes from the familiar kind of inner prompting to write something down that I’m thinking, but there are pieces that really begin with the idea of “What will happen if I do this?” Like a tinkerer. Someone we might think of who works in a technological field. But the materiality–that it’s possible to treat text and language as a material that you can manipulate, the way that a sculptor manipulates material. One has a feeling for it, has a familiarity with it, but at the same time there are things that arise that are unexpected.

11: Can you talk about the shapes of each poem? DA: I came to that while searching for a way to put those on the page that would make it easier to read or more interesting to read, or less rigid or programmatic to read. Initially, when they were just flush left, the way in which the words appear and move into a different place in each line and then disappear is the overwhelming visual thing that you see. You see these diagonals. Where the same word moves. You see that as well in the centered version, but in the flush left versions, it’s so dominant that when I looked at it I wouldn’t even want to read it. One of the things that interests me in these poems, is partly because of the language itself, and partly because of how I read them. I try to suspend or undermine that sense of the rigid process. So on the one hand you have this very methodical and rigid process, and then you have this counterpoint. You have this one thing that’s very regular and this other thing that’s irregular on top of it. It’s really the tension between those two things that for me is where the power of the pieces come from. 11: So it’s almost like a crosscurrent? DA: Yes, the two things pulling, and you’re aware of them simultaneously. I wanted something visually that would do the same thing. So when I hit on the centered version, where you have this visual shape that has to do the length

11: What is the effect of this kind of process? I

of each line–which has to do with the number of letters in

experienced a feeling of being suspended in the moment,

each word–causes that constantly fluctuating shape. And

through the rhythmic nature of the reading.

they evoke objects, whether they are bottles or chair legs or statues or urns. That runs counter to or obliquely to the

DA: People have described the experience of listening to it as something that takes them out of the ordinary sense of time. I’m not pushing hard toward an ecstatic trance state,

sense of that methodical diagonal that’s there. So for me, it’s a visual analog for what I want to happen in the readings. » - Scott McHale

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community visual arts Photo by Naomi Ellis

VISUAL ARTS Portland artist Jesse M. Ellis

11: You appear to have a beautiful fascination with the human/female form. What do you find intriguing and what inspires you as a muse? JME: I am fascinated by the human form and continue to

ELEVEN: Have you had formal training as an artist? Where did your passion for art stem from? Jesse M. Ellis: I’ve never had any formal training as an

study it so that I can better portray our experience through art. It is one of my major goals as an artist to effectively capture the emotion and our experience through gesture. I have always appreciated the feminine form and gravitated

artist. I’ve spent a lot of time researching and studying different art techniques, and I found that my best method for learning is figure study and life drawing. I spent a year or so doing that under my own regiment before embarking on larger works and deciding to put my own work out there. I am driven by some sort of creative imperative. At the risk of sounding dramatic, I feel like my whole existence will fall apart if I can't be creative. At least that’s how it was, but luckily I've found a creative avenue in visual art that has allowed me to express myself, and the further along I get the more my drive evolves into a celebration of creativity and art. I find inspiration in nature, fantasy, science, and the human experience and the struggle that goes with it. I've definitely become more focused on the latter recently, even if it hasn’t fully manifested in my art yet. My art is always evolving.

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"Tyrannosaurus" (ink, 2017)


community visual arts portrait sketches–a kind of juxtaposition of detail–simple shapes and a free form flowing background. The process of creating the background is messy and mostly unpredictable. I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that I may ruin the work in the process, but I’ve learned what to expect and often the results are pretty sweet. Learning to lose some control with my art has been a new, and I think necessary endeavour. 11: You have an absolutely spectacular dinosaur skull series! Your attention to detail is captivating. How did you decide on which species to feature and how long would you say it took to complete each of them? JME: I had a ton of fun doing this project! I chose the T. Rex because it was my favorite when I was a kid, Triceratops was my kid’s pick and the Brachiosaurus I picked because it is so interestingly weird. This series was one of my first serious art projects, and I learned a lot about what it takes as an artist to commit to something and finish it. This series took somewhere around 70 to 80 hours of pen to paper time to complete all three.

"Enchanted" (ink and graphite, 2018)

toward female figure study for sure. It is the strength and intelligence of woman that I am most inspired by, and my recent sketchbook series is a way of visualizing that strength in thought and creative energy. I want my art to be a celebration of the human experience, and especially woman. 11: Does most of your work stem from live models or are the characters in your sketches purely imagined? JME: I always work with live models or reference photography. As much as I am trying to create something new with my art, I am also striving for a better understanding of form and gesture. I’ve found that when I’m drawing from reference,there are unique details in every person that I could never come up with on my own. There are so many subtle gestures that I don't want to miss, and I discover new things every time I work on a portrait or figure drawing. 11: You work with a lot of pen and watercolor. What is it about this medium that you find so appealing? JME: I love the fine detail obtainable in ink/watercolor and graphite illustration as well as the chaotic and messy nature of the mediums. I have been obsessed with this idea

"Enlightened" (ink and graphite, 2018)

of controlled chaos when using ink washes with detailed

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community visual arts 11: Do you have any current projects you're working on? JME: Yes. I have been working on a large scale ink illustration that I’m really excited about! This piece is more about storytelling than one subject or figure study. It is an epic tale of struggle and the human condition. It’s called “Leviathan,” and I can't wait to finish it and show it. I've already put somewhere around 200 hours into this thing and it has very much so become my own struggle and test of my skill and patience as an artist. I am also a bit obsessed with process, and I like to document my work and make timelapse videos. It is a lot of fun, but adds a whole other dimension to the work that makes things take a bit longer. If I count filming and video editing on this one it's probably been more like 250 hours. 11: Art is not your “day job,” what advice or encouragement do you have for artists that are struggling to find that balance between day-to-day obligations and the “call of creation?” JME: It’s always easier said than done, but putting one line on a piece of paper is better than nothing. I try to set

"Lucid" (ink and graphite, 2018)

up small goals so I can celebrate small victories. Eventually things get done. I try not to pressure myself too much either. I think it’s good to get some work done and spend time chillin’ with my people, rather than get no work done and be sucky around my people or work too hard and neglect my people. Stay busy, but not too busy. 11: Where can we find some of your work? JME: I will be hanging some work at Coffee Time in NW and some other shops this summer but I am mainly in create mode. I’m trying to focus on finishing big projects so I can break ground on some new large projects that have been floating around in my head. For now the best place to see my work and get updates on shows and current projects is on Instagram. » - Mercy McNab

FIND THIS ARTIST ONLINE WEB: JESSEMELLIS.BIGCARTEL.COM INSTAGRAM: @JESS.M.ELLIS

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Jesse M. Ellis's "The Flame" (ink and graphite, 2018)

Eleven PDX Magazine May 2018  
Eleven PDX Magazine May 2018  
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