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ISSUE 80 | JAN 2018





THE USUAL 4 Letter from the Editor 4 Staff Credits


FEATURES Local Feature 14 1939 Ensemble

Cover Feature 18 NEW MUSIC

Ty Segall

5 Aural Fix The Cool Kids Mega Bog Kinski The Octopus Project

COMMUNITY Literary Arts 26 Portland poet Carl Adamshick

8 Short List 8 Album Reviews Shame No Age Typhoon Mimicking Birds

Visual Arts 28 Portland artist David Castle

LIVE MUSIC 10 Know Your Venue Local Celebrity

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



As we begin the new year, I’m reminded of a lovely quote by Aldous Huxley from his final book Island, in which he offers the timeless advice to tread lightly. “There are quicksands all about you, sucking at your feet, trying to suck you down into fear and self-pity and despair. That’s why you must walk so lightly. Lightly my darling…” The evil and noise that surrounds us every day is not going to taper, so I encourage you to heed Huxley’s advice and take both the good and bad with stride. Some good to help start off 2018–January brings some wonderful new albums for us to appreciate. Local indie powerhouses Mimicking Birds and Typhoon return with new albums after nearly four and five years, respectively. Ty Segall is back with a new double LP that will drastically combat everything you’ve come to expect from him–read our interview with him in the cover feature. Plus, 1939 Ensemble celebrates the release of a new EP on January 12 at Mississippi Studios. Read about what they have in store for the rest of the year in our Local Feature.

Dutifully yours,

- Travis Leipzig, Managing Editor



ONLINE Mark Dilson, Kim Lawson, Michael Reiersgaard



CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Rosie Blanton, Cassi Blum, Laurel Bonfiglio, Tyler Burdwood, Matt Carter, Crystal Contreras, Brandy Crowe, Mandi Dudek, Sarah Eaton, Eric Evans, Lou Flesh, Jameson Ketchum, Christopher Klarer, Kelly Kovl, Samantha Lopez, Scott McHale, Lucia Ondruskova, Gina Pieracci, Kelsey Rzepecki, Ellis Samsara, Tyler Sanford, Stephanie Scelza, Matthew Sweeney, Charles Trowbridge, Henry Whittier-Ferguson

PHOTOGRAPHERS Patrick Chapman, Eric Evans, Alexander Fattal, Eirinn Gragson, Greg LeMieux, Molly Macalpine Mercy McNab, Andrew Roles, Todd Walberg, Caitlin Webb COVER PHOTO Katie Summer


SPECIAL THANKS Our local business partners who make this project possible. Our friends, families, associates, lovers, creators and haters. And of course, our city!


new music aural fix

up and coming music from the national scene



Antoine “Sir Michael Rocks” Reed and Evan “Chuck Inglish” Ingersoll met via MySpace in 2005, and after hitting it off came to form the group, The Cool Kids. Though being released solely through their MySpace page, their early mixtapes garnered the attention of DJs like Flosstradamus and Diplo. The group has seen steady interest and momentum over the past six years since their debut album, When Fish Ride Bicycles, was released in 2011, and even in years prior, were fairly successful as they toured through parts of the world and alongside acts like M.I.A. for her Kala tour. But following the album’s release, the duo sort of parted ways and pursued successful solo careers as producers and artists. Special Edition Grand Master Deluxe is The Cool Kids’ first album since reuniting after a hiatus in 2014, and holy shit, was it worth the wait. The most appropriate homage to the golden age of hip-hop, The Cool Kids deliver us a new album that belongs with your Bilal and Roots records, dialed in to give you a new take on what you missed so much. Looped beats with a fresh hi-fi ‘90s style, The Cool Kids have matured in their sound. They made an album they’d like to listen to. The beats aren’t about a bangin’ party, they’re about the vibe, and the musicality is there to serve. It's lyrically full of quips and Photo by Adam Gundersheimer



Erin Birgy, front woman for Mega Bog, has a life most can’t even imagine. She’s kin to a former metal guitarist, and left home during high school to live in various collectives, so it’s no wonder her foray into sound has created some of the most intense and curious audio heard these days. Originally from Washington, but currently living in Brooklyn, Birgy continues

Creative Direction and Design by Neil Bardon

pop culture references that are fun to catch, not to mention everyone you’ve ever loved is featured on every song. Their newest album is packed to the brim with collaborations, and it ensures that no two songs are alike. In addition to the awesome news of The Cool Kids’ reunion, their upcoming tour with Big Boi (you know, the other guy from Outkast) brings your chance to hang and listen to hiphop that’s crafted to sound like how it used to be. » - Cassi Blum to mystify and bring strong opinions through her musical exploits. One might go cross-eyed once or twice listening to their latest offering, Happy Together, released last February. It’s everything music should be, yet nothing you have ever listened to before. The best way to describe her work is like an audio representation of a Dalí painting; or a misshapen chaos of well-seeming forms. Read any review and commentary always drifts toward her lyrics. While her life and literary experiences lend her plenty of themes to discuss, I barely hear of any of them. That’s because it’s like a magic trick, my ears and brain are overwhelmed with her (sometimes) old timey voice over new-age dream-pop, synth-y, guitar-laden experimental arrangements. Not knowing where to listen and having no idea what she’s doing, trust that she knows exactly where she’s taking you. A great example is “192014” from the Happy Together album. The vibrant saxophone, played by Jacob Zimmerman, is like the line of best fit on a scatter plot. New songs, made in Brooklyn since Birgy’s arrival, have been recorded and cult fans will delight in this new playground of influence. Mega Bog’s brain works in mysterious ways and the end result is consistently original. Sure, there is inspiration and comparison to Nico and Bowie, but Birgy really is her own thing. Mega Bog isn’t for everyone and listeners must choose for themselves to let go and dive in. Fair warning: you might not ever want to go come back up. » - Kelly Kovl | ELEVEN PORTLAND | 5

new music aural fix



Reverberations from a distortion-saturated past scream loudly and with power throughout the anthology that Kinski has released in a nearly twenty year time period. The power grunge style, which spawned their creation in 1998, reveals a rhythmic trail leading back to bands like Sonic Youth and Helmet. There are definitely flowing ambiances involved in the mostly instrumental trajectory that the band comes screaming out with that relate to instrumental bands such as Mogwai and Explosions in the Sky. For someone that is nearly overtaken by the space-rock atmosphere that these bands create deep inside the subjective mind, the addition of Kinski is a welcomed asset. Kinski’s 2007 release Down Below it’s Chaos rips right into things, nonverbally for the most part, and finds its way into eerie and flowing crevices, weaving a tale that has no intelligible explanation. The songs that do include vocals throughout the extensive list of records come in unexpectedly and appropriately placed. Of course, the volatile and explicit energy source of our sister city to the north, Seattle, has something to do with the authentic trenches that Kinski navigates musically. Kinski shapeshifts and manipulates the musical canvas with sounds that remind the listener of a wide array from fast-paced, distorted surf-rock, through head banging power chord gutters and occasionally leaving us to question as we find ourselves in the midst of what feels

Photo by Shane Williams

like a Vincent Price horror flick as we listen to the 2006 release, I Didn’t mean to Interrupt your Beautiful Moment. It's impressive ground to cover. There is a certain message that is carried inside the world of mostly instrumental bands like Kinski, and for most it is hard to understand the profound relevance involved in such a creation as it dances on the edge of logic and mysticism. Some things are better left unexplained in order to be understood. As the band celebrates their 20th anniversary, they will be re-releasing a double LP version of their 2001 release, Be Gentle with the Warm Turtle, followed by an expected brand new release in 2018. This is a big year for these veteran dirt rockers from the NW. » - Ellis Samsara




new music aural fix Photo by Michael Thad Carter



The Octopus Project remain as whip-smart and mischievous as their namesake; the Austinbased quartet (multiinstrumentalists Lauren Gurgiolo, Toto Miranda, Josh Lambert and Yvonne Lambert) have been knockin’ 'em dead with a mixture of psychedelia, post-rock and electronica all their own since 1999. Crossover appeal is the name of this band’s game; an early talking point from the band’s career was Yvonne Lambert’s theremin, which gave tracks like “I Saw the Bright Shinies” a ghostly halo. Albums like 2007’s Hello, Avalanche were mostly comprised of post-rock with a cinematic feel, with high-tempo tracks bookended by sentimental ambience and calming electronic beats. Though some lyrics managed to sneak in here and there, most of their songs were instrumentals, which made them fitting openers for the likes of Explosions in the Sky. The Octopus Project’s newest, Memory Mirror, released through the band’s label Robot High School, however, follows the format of a collection of pop songs; though it makes a break with their more experimental past, it does so without sacrificing their exploratory sound. Reverb-laden guitars, an insistent rhythm section and dreamy keyboards abound

on an album of psych-pop tunes with lyrics that could’ve come straight off of a Yes album. The Octopus Project have said goodbye to postrock melancholy and wholly embraced a high-energy mixture of psych-pop, prog and krautrock, weaving electronic beats throughout the fabric of the album. Looking at the incredible amount of diversity from track to track, it is clear that though they’ve shifted gears, they’re staying hungry. You can still hear Lambert’s theremin trailing out on the tail end of “Leven,” after all. » - Matthew Sweeney

QUICK TRACKS A “REMEMBER REMEMBERING” This standout track, with its creepy riffs on the keys and fantastical lyrical imagery, makes sure the album lives up to the cheeky credit to Horry Manqs III Esq. PhD for “spiritual advising” in threeand-a-half exhilarating minutes.

B “SMALL HUNDRED” The house-influenced pulse of “Small Hundred” is as good a showcase as any for the Octopus Project’s unique and charming fusion of styles. An earworm for sure. | ELEVEN PORTLAND | 7

new music album reviews



Short List Cadence Weapon Cadence Weapon Fall Out Boy Mania Porches The House Ty Segall Freedom's Goblin Django Django Marble Skies Calexico The Thread That Keeps Us First Aid Kit Ruins

Shame Songs of Praise Dead Oceans It doesn’t take much for UK punk rockers Shame to leave an impression. From the group’s thrashy guitars to the unpredictable eccentricity of its frontman, Charlie Steen, Shame has the makings to be both a literal and figurative showstopper. Songs of Praise, the group’s debut full-length, effectively channels that manic energy into a tightly wound, 10-track

Black Veil Brides Vale

the misfits that 2017 couldn't kill to

Kimbra Primal Heart

and beyond the glow of the chemical

blast under the shadow of the big boot horizon. This is driving music, and

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club Wrong Creatures

you're the designated shotgun rider– get in!"

tUnE-yArDs I Can Feel you Creep into my Private Life

Lead single “Soft Collar Fad” is true to their noise-rock sound

Sleeping Giant I Am Buy it

experience worthy of the hype built on three years of relentless live shows. “Concrete,” the first single released earlier, is a snarling sojourn into the experience of someone who’s trapped in a relationship and being "pummeled into surrender," according to Steen. Its call-and-response style structure takes full advantage of the angsty theme to provide a bedrock of alternating contempt and self-doubt. “One Rizla,” the lead single from the album, finds the group dialing back the aggressiveness in favor of a clean guitar hook and a straight ahead beat to give Steen’s vocals the space to hang in the open. He sings, “I’m not that much to look at... but if you think I love you, you’ve got the wrong idea”–a perfect encapsulation of the raw emotionalism mixed with wounded hubris juxtaposition that plays as a theme throughout the album. Although running only 39 minutes, Songs of Praise hits enough high notes with its pithy instrumentals and visceral lyrics to make each one of those minutes a force to be reckoned with. » - Charles Trowbridge

Stream it

while literally trying to shake the listener awake with hammering drums, rough, scuzzed-out guitars

Toss it

and pulsing feedback. On the other

No Age Snares Like A Haircut Drag City

end of the spectrum, “Send Me” offers a more laid-back, psychedelic instrumentation that carries drummer/vocalist Dean Spunt’s playful, slacker-style vocal delivery.

LA noise-rock/punk duo No Age @elevenpdx


Immediately following, title track

are set to release their fourth studio

“Snares Like A Haircut” is one of

album, Snares Like A Haircut, this

two instrumentals on the album

month on Chicago’s Drag City records.

and arguably the most beautiful

It’s their first release in five years,

sounding with its ambient electronic

and their first since parting ways with

experimentation. Snares Like A

Sub Pop. Their album bio offers some

Haircut is a strong release and

conscious insight on how they feel

showcases No Age’s ability to be much

about the songs: "Rock and roll for the

more than just a punk band. »

black hole–reimagined rippers, for

- Rosie Blanton

new music album reviews As frontman Kyle Morton writes on

utter shock of losing one’s memory,

the perspective of a mind losing its

and ends with “Algernon,” where he’s

memory at precisely the same time the

being interrogated by a woman that,

world is willfully forgetting its history.

unbeknownst to him, is the man’s wife.

The urgent question becomes: without

L Typhoon

Offerings Roll Call

The first movement goes through the

Typhoon’s website, “It’s a record from

The next movement, called

causality, without structures of

“Flood,” begins with “Unusual,” an

meaning, without essential features of

acoustic guitar, falsetto-ridden track

rational thought, is there anything that

that showcases the orchestrative

can save us from violence/oblivion?”

production sound of Typhoon. On

Offerings is a journey of hanging on

“Chiaroscuro,” the violin, keys and

to the miniscule string of hope that

orchestrative strings bring optimism to

remains before everything is said and

the record. During this movement, the


character realizes he can’t fight the

The record is divided into different movements: “Floodplains,”

feeling of losing oneself. The final movement is about

“Flood,” “Reckoning” and “Afterparty,”

the peace of mind that comes after

representing the mental phases a

losing one’s mind. The last few songs

fictional man goes through after

of the record–especially “Bergeron,”

is nearly a dozen members, created

waking up in a bed with no recollection

“Ariadne” and “Sleep” portray a more

in Salem, Oregon over a decade ago.

of what happened. It’s an album about

euphoric, celebratory atmosphere,

Known for their dark lyrics and

losing memory, struggling with the

where the character has officially

thunderous sound, the band has a deep

mayhem of his new reality and finally

accepted his fate.

appreciation for all of the stages of

accepting his unfortunate fate

Typhoon is a beast of a band that

Offerings is a seventy-minute

life. Typhoon expands their existential

Offerings starts off with “Wake,” a

ruminations into a stunning theatrical

chill-inducing, mid-song explosion of

an euphoric album that pushes the

production in their fourth studio

drums and horns. The lyrics explain

boundaries of innovation from the past

album, Offerings, and this is the band’s

that the character wakes up in a bed

decade. » - Mandi Dudek

most complex and vulnerable record

of his own feces with absolutely no


recollection of what had happened.

exploration of life, loss and fate. It’s

city from Mount Tabor, his visible

less folksy feel than the band’s first

breath spreading out like reverb

two full-lengths. On those records, a

toward this year’s crisp and sun-bright

relatively naked acoustic guitar and

winter sky. The featherlight guitar and

piano predominated, and while both

synth work are artfully orchestrated

instruments are present on Layers of

to weave in and out of each other,

Us, they have a more affected sound

creating multi-instrumental melodies

that downplays their natural acoustic

that might float off to space if they


weren’t tethered to Earth by a hooky and sophisticated rhythm section. Fans of Mimicking Birds’ previous

Lacy first started Mimicking Birds in the aughts as an outlet for his solo work, catching the attention of Isaac

work will rejoice in finding much

Brock of Modest Mouse, who took

of what they liked about the groups

him under his wing as a producer and

first two records on Layers of Us.

released the band’s first two records on

The same general vibe of brooding

his imprint, Glacial Pace Recordings.

beauty is produced with thoughtful

On Layers of Us, Brock doesn’t act as

and melancholic vocals accompanied

producer, but makes an appearance as

Portland stalwarts Mimicking

by atmospheric instrumentation,

a performer on “Island Shore,” invoking

Birds’ lush and melancholic third LP,

but there are more layers of that

the freakiest mood on the record with

Layers of Us, sounds like winter. While

instrumentation, ultimately giving

some dark and heavily affected vocals.

delicate arpeggiated melodies finger

the record a less sparse sound

pick their way around spacy synth

overall. With the exception of “A

roughly halfway through a month-long

flourishes, you can almost imagine

Sound,” which features banjo and

tour with fellow Portland indie allstars

singer Nate Lacy looking out over the

slide guitar, this record also has a

Typhoon. » - Christopher Klarer

L Mimicking Birds

Layers of Us Glacial Pace

Layers of Us comes out January 26, | ELEVEN PORTLAND | 9

live music and curved booths to gather in. There’s a sunken livingroom arcade, and outside a patio that runs the length of the building, where there’s a patch of open sky and a view of the bridges. There’s an extensive bourbon and scotch list, with warm winter drink specials including hot toddies, a “Hot Rye Ghost” (Ghost Owl rye, chai, cardamom and grapefruit bitters, and a spicy pepper-infused screwdriver. Chef Warren Kirk has put together a menu of bowls and a great mix of ingredients to build-your-own. Think falafel, fried chicken, yams, seeds and greens. Leussler says they picked food in bowls as a theme because it’s incredibly

Photo by Molly Macalpine

KNOW YOUR VENUE Local Celebrity | 820 N Russell

convenient for a music venue, “When the music kicks off you just take it with you while you watch/listen.” On a frigid December evening the Local Celebrity’s “bar side” is quiet. You can barely hear what’s going on in the room next door, where there’s a small group of people bundled in coats, hats and gloves, nodding along to Farrago on stage. It’s a cozy room, with a small, tall stage, and the music sounds really good. When I ask Luessler about the sound system, he totally nerds out on me and begins talking digital interlinks, sidechain compression for creative control and mics with “high


gain-before-feedback characteristics.” But what should I ravel along Russell St. in Northeast Portland and you’ll pass quite a few breweries, eateries and places to catch a show. The

expect from a guy who went to school for audio engineering and even designed and operated a PA for the prime minister of Norway while in Antarctica?

newest stage on this strip is

dedicated to new and local talent–it’s the Local Celebrity. Local Celebrity is just before the Willamette river and mere steps away from The White Eagle Saloon. You’ll find a big “LC” frosted onto the doors. It’s a two-fer–owner Daniel Leussler had been vying for property to open a venue when he came across 820 NE Russell, the building that had recently housed a bar called Mint. It’s an expansive building with deep dimensions, and it’s split right down the middle into two long, narrow rooms. There's a bar on one side, and a room for live music right next door. The bar features exposed brick and rustic ambiance, with plenty of seating


Photo by Molly Macalpine

live music

Local band A Certain Smile playing Local Celebrity. Photo by Molly Macalpine

He’s also the man behind the Killingsworth House, a video podcast series of interviews and performances with local artists. Leussler says in time, they may do something similar to Killingsworth House at Local Celebrity. To name the venue “Local Celebrity” was originally manager Kyle Perez’s idea. As Leussler puts it, “The name was intended to reflect what we saw as one of this city's most endearing traits. Portland isn't a small town any more, hasn't been for a long while, but it still seems to love the ‘local boy makes good’ attitude. Our focus for the venue was to be a place that helps that local talent be a star, even if they're in a smaller pond.” It’s all new names on the show calendar, and open mic is every Monday night to give our next local celebrities a place to play. » - Brandy Crowe

Local band Star Club playing Local Celebrity. Photo by Molly Macalpine | ELEVEN PORTLAND | 11





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The Thermals | P.R.O.B.L.E.M.S. | The Ransom Steel Panther Wolf Parade | Charly Bliss Randy Rogers Band | Shane Smith & The Saints Hippo Campus | Sure Sure 22-23 Excision | Liquid Stranger | Dion Timmer | Monxx 24 Josh Ritter & The Royal City Band | Nicki Bluhm 25 Meshuggah | Code Orange | Toothgrinder 26-27 80s Weekend at The Crystal




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Built To Spill | The Only Children New Move | Ezza Rose | Mero Rocker T & The 7th Street Band | Heavy City Charley Crockett | Jaime Wyatt 1939 Ensemble | Golden Retriever 13-14 Steve Gunn | Julie Byrne 15 Willy Tea Taylor | Tommy Alexander | Taylor Kingman 16 Coco Columbia | LiquidLight | Childspeak 17 Alan Doyle | Donovan Woods 18 The Mynabirds | Lenore. 19 The Secret Sisters | Smooth Hound Smith 20 Sallie Ford | Mike Coykendall | Harlowe 21 Ceschi & Factor Chandelier | Sammus | Heron 24 Circuit Des Yeux 25 Surfer Blood | Terry Malts 26 Filthy Friends | Eyelids 27 Cash'd Out | Road Noise



The Decemberists | Peter Buck | Dharma Bums Big Boi | The Cool Kids Destroyer | Mega Bog Reverend Horton Heat | Big Sandy | Voodoo Glow Skulls School of Rock & Prowus: Best of Portland 6 K. Flay | Sir Sly Luna | Daydream Machine Rebel Souljahz The White Buffalo The Wombats | Blaenavon | Future Feats

Want to have your show listed? E-mail



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The Weather Machine | Mosley Wotta | Kulululu Bowievision | SOS Emily Wells | Like A Villain The Domestics | Kacey Johansing Foreverland | Power of Tower Railroad Earth Suzanne Santo (of HoneyHoney) | Mapache Cambrian Explosion | Sol | Lasagna Palace | Urchin Tango Alpha Tango | The Parson Red Heads | Fort Atlantic Unchained | Bad Ellie That 1 Guy Magic Giant | The Brevet Jen Cloher | Mia Dyson Queen Chief | Fire Nuns Banditos | Ezra Bell




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The Green | Sammy J | Leilani Wolfgramm Railroad Earth BØRNS August Burns Red Passion Pit First Aid Kit | Van William Iration | The Movement | Tyrone's Jacket


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Mingus Dynasty John Maus Karl Denson's Tiny Universe | The Dip




The Ghost Ease | Mascaras Candace | Bitch'n Black Belt Eagle Scout | Nsayi Matingou Slotface Deathlist | Plastic Cactus The Octopus Project | New Fumes




Eye Candy VJs (Mondays) Flickathon: Sets from Years Past (Tuesdays) Party Damage DJs Comedy Trivia Night Samuelthe1st | Andrew Waymond | Chris Lee | Verbz Cedars & Crows | Bridges for People | The Angry Lisas The Juice fea/Samual Thompson | Jon Belz | Shain Brenden YouVees | Fleeting Few | DJ Missing Mei Souvenir Driver Kinski | Havania Whaal | Galaxy Research RiverCity Podcast Federation presents: Spec Script Jahdi Levvi | Nemo | Get it Squad | Tyler Martian Coloring Electric Like | Masta X-Kid | Jumblehead Metropolitan Farms | Plastic Shadow | Milstone Grit Fahari | DJ Action | DJ Phreek | Clokwork The Forever Agos | White Knife Study







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DJs in The Taproom (weekends)






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Turtlenecked | Mo Troper | Little Star Laura Palmer's Death Parade | Heavii Mello




Holidae House | Bermuda Love Triangle | General Mojo's Tribute Night Her Portland Launch Party Girlfest: Gifted Gab | Wynne | Fritzwa | Dreckig | Sheers Fin de Cinema School of Rock performs Elliot Smith & The Beatles Gang$ign$ | Purple Scott | Dirty Deeds The Moth: Portland Storyslam Underwatermelon | Sappho | Olde Toby | Spin Jong Ill Frankie Simone | Doubleplusgood | Tents Vnprt | Grump | Bryce Lang | Eric Fury Pleasure Curses | My Body | Schaus Phone Call | Night Heron | Colin Jenkins School of Rock: Tribute to Sub Pop Arco-PDX Barna Howard | Ryan Oxford | Kele Goodwin

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Sticky Toffee: House & Disco Indiepop Brunch w/My Lil Underground Waves: Hip Hop, Trap and R&B Parklife: All-vinyl Britpop w/Huff & Green Old Skool: Classic Hip Hop, Funk & Soul

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Photo by Molly Macalpine

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Dust & Thirst Jet Black Pearl Jaycob Van Auken Cascade Crescendo Scarlet Town Matthew Zeltzer Chez Stadium Laryssa Birdseye | Emily Chambers | The Ian James Band Scratchdog Stringband | Alder Street Julie & The WayVes The Hillwilliams Aw' Mercy! Cary Novotny Band Arran Fagan & Co. | Anomelea | Jeffrey Martin James Low

THE SECRET SOCIETY 14 116 NE RUSSELL 5 6 8 11 13 18 19 20 25 26 27

Zydeco (Wednesdays) The Barn Door Slammers Pete Krebs & His Playboys fea/Rusty Blake The Moth Storyslam Portland The Cherry Blossom Hot 4 | Pink Lady & John Bennett The Adio Sequence | Sarah Wild | Fortune's Folly Reggie Houston | Pete Krebs & Rocking K Ranch Boys Glass of Hearts | The Wanna B-52s Melao De Cuba Salsa Orchestra 12th Avenue Hot Club | The Hot Lovin' Jazz Babies Freddy & Francine | Beth Wood The Newport Nightingales


atching 1939 Ensemble earlier this year, I had this idea that there are two types of musical performers. The first is the kind of musician whose act involves them taking the spotlight, playing the music but also dancing around, going crazy, physically making themselves into the focal point of the performance. The second kind of performer is the kind who is so focused on the creative act that the WHITE EAGLE music itself that becomes the focal point 836 N RUSSELL for the audience. TK Revolution Jam This second type is characterized Bakersfield Rejects perfectly by 1939 Ensemble, Portland’s Rainbow Electric percussion-driven instrumental quartet Jane Deaux | Tied to a Grizzly | The Weird Kids Stephanie Anne Johnson | Wicked Shallows | Naked Luck whose sound, though it has evolved The Jack London Trio over the years, has always remained the Miller & Sasser group’s sole focus. The Ensemble started Bri Cauz | The Junebugs The Sam Chase | Five Letter Word | Rascal Miles as a multi-instrumental percussion Postwar Radio duo and has since added two members Band of Comerados and a host of new instruments–notably Stereo RVs | Anna Gilbert | Bo Baskoro Thin Rail trumpet, synthesizer and guitar–and is Shae Altered | Tara Velarde | Hayley Lynn set to release both an EP and a fullKathryn Claire length album in the coming year. I visited Ojos Feos Portland's Folk Festival the band at their North Portland practice Tumbledown | David Pollack space, where they were busy unloading Joe Hein | Mise from a weekend spent playing up in Trox | Madgesdiq | Randal Wyatt Seattle with BADBADNOTGOOD. The Brothers Jam | This Years Model Holy Smokes & The Godforsaken Rollers Speaking to them, it becomes clear David Luning | J.M. Long that they think of music in a way that’s Global Folk Club less about parts or players than it is simply about sounds and their relations, the balance of layers and textures that come together to give any musical work PORTLAND’S MUSIC MAGAZINE SINCE 2011 its sense of depth. This is also what it’s

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1939 Ensemble

like to watch them play, four guys not so much playing as manifesting something there between them, a presence composed of sound. ELEVEN: Since you all play multiple roles in the band, can we just go around and say what all you do? Jose Medeles: I’m Jose, I play drums and a little bit of moog. Dave Coniglio: I’m Dave and I play drums, vibes and moog. Knate Carter: I’m Knate, that’s K-NA-T-E, and I play guitar and vibes. Josh Thomas: I’m Josh, I play Trumpet, moog, and a little pocket piano. 11: 1939. What’s the significance of that year? JM: It’s the year that Chick Webb died, one of the greatest drummers of all time, and it’s also the year that a set of our vibraphones were made. It just made sense at the time. It’s hard to get a band name, The Red Hot Chili Peppers was taken, Queens of the Stone Age was taken... 11: So Jose and Dave, you were the original members, and you’ve since added another member, Josh, and then another member, Knate, since 2012? DC: Yeah, Howl & Bite came out in 2012. Jose and my first show as a duo was

December of 2010, 2010 was when we started rehearsing. JM: Yeah, we had the duo, but I always wanted to have a trumpet player, I love the trumpet. Dave knew a trumpet player, so that’s when Josh started to come sit in with us, and then he officially joined the band when he moved to Portland. 11: And now you’ve got Knate on guitar as well. Four is a pretty round number, is that about how many you’d like to stay with, or do you see yourself expanding further? It might be tough to say. JM: Well, you know, it is tough to say. We would never say yes or no to anything, you know what I mean? But I love that we are a quartet. I feel like we’re a gang now. [laughs] Three, you could put up a fight, but four? You’ve got pretty good odds. 11: And Currently you’re working on your next LP, New Cinema? DC: It’s done now. That’ll be coming out hopefully around April of next year. 11: I heard some of the tracks, and the main thing I noticed with the guitar was that you’re working now with more chord changes and progressions, whereas in your earlier stuff it seemed like the melodic aspects kind of became this base layer and the real changes were primarily rhythmic ones. Could you speak a little bit on that development? DC: Yeah, when Knate got into the fold, I felt like we were able to make more like, songs, whereas before we had more like, movements. I think Knate could speak more on that, but yeah, good ear, you’re totally right. JT: I also have a thought on that. One other big development in terms of our chord progressions was the introduction of the Moog, because the band didn’t really have a bass element, except for noise or effected vibraphone, so when we had an instrument playing the role of low end, that caused us to have to choose bass notes, and got us thinking about harmonic structure, at least for me playing that instrument. KC: I think it’s pretty well documented that on the first record

especially, Howl & Bite, everything was a bit more thematic, there were expressions and plays on these themes, and those were the works, and I’ve been enjoying listening to the band since they started, but there was definitely a change when Josh joined and they had the Moog and the Trumpet, and I felt like at that point it started moving into more structure, and then when I came in, just having four people capable of playing multiple instruments, the options were really available, because you can have texture, and you can also have a driving instrument. But it all flowed really naturally, I felt like we were coming up with material very quickly, and it was easy for anybody to take the reigns, and then give it up to everybody else to add their interpretations. 11: The way you guys talk about music, you’re talking not so much about each of your specific parts, but just the different elements that the song needs to have, and whoever is able to contribute those elements with the instrument you have. Do you guys just sit down and jam stuff out, or do you write things and try them? DC: I think it’s a combination of both, everybody brings things to the table. It could start off as Jose coming up with a rad beat on drums, and then we’ll build around that. We do jam, for sure. And sometimes someone might come in with a melody line, and the other people will destroy it and turn it into something else. KC: Yeah, once there’s a thread to follow, it’s great to be able to sit back and listen to what we’re working with, and at that point it becomes clear what needs to be added, and none of us are precious about needing to be in the spotlight, or anything like that. We’ll listen back and say “Wow, the core of the song is really there, it just needs some texture.” So then you can add, say, some skitterscatter delay elements, or a white noise element, just to fill out the atmosphere. JT: I’d like to piggyback off that and say that I’ve been really impressed with the way that this group works in terms of the lack of attachment from each member when it comes to preconceptions about musical ideas. I’ve been in so many bands where that person that brings the idea to the table will fight tooth and nail to maintain their own vision of the song,



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but we’re all ready to shift gears if a better idea comes along. 11: There is a really playful, improvisational feel to what you do live, how much of your live performance is improvised? DC: As far as the song structures, it’s pretty thought out ahead of time, but I do think in any song there are moments where you can take a chance and do something you’ve never done before, I feel that way definitely while playing drums. With the vibraphone, that’s not as much the case. Since we’re running pedals, that improvisation might just be me hitting a pedal I haven’t used before, or some effect. I’d say that it’s pretty thought out what we’re going to perform, but there’s definitely room for everybody to have a moment or two to experiment. KC: Yeah, I think there are structured sections to be able to improv, you know, one of the tunes ends with Jose really just having his way with the drums, and that never sounds the same, but there’s this allotment of time where he can do whatever he wants. With vibraphone and Moog, those are for the most part locked down parts. I think the trumpet probably has the most freedom, it’s just Josh’s whim, what he feels like he should contribute to that particular moment. JT: I feel very lucky that I get to improvise a lot in this group. A big goal of mine is to not overplay, to play for the song, but yeah, I get to do electric Miles Davis every night, it’s great [laughs]. 11: For the most part the horn occupies the space that might be taken

up by a vocalist. It seems like a decided thing that you’re an instrumental group, have you considered working with vocalists at all? JM: Yeah, on Black Diamond Pearl, we worked with a vocalist, Holland, on “Like a Villain,” she added this soaring vocal on a track, so that was really exciting and fantastic. The door is always open to back up someone, or have someone sit in with us. I don’t know if it would be a permanent thing. I really do love being an instrumental band. 11: And you guys just got done playing some shows with another instrumental band, BADBADNOTGOOD. How did that go? JM: Fantastic! Both shows were sold out. We met them a few years ago when we played with them at Mississippi Studios, and they asked if we wanted to do a few shows together this year, it was great. 11: You just played the tenth anniversary of Banana Stand media. Can you speak a bit about your relationship with Banana Stand? DC: Yeah, they’ve always been really supportive of us. They’ve asked us to go down and participate in the basement, and they’ve always been really kind. I just love what they do, we all do, they celebrate local musicians, and it’s just incredible. 11: That’s Beats & Saints, the EP, and that’s coming out before New Cinema? Were you guys writing those

at the same time? Was the EP separate? How do you characterize those two projects? DC: They’re definitely separate. The EP was kind of an exhale for us, and a chance for us to work on other people’s music, since we worked so hard on our full-length. It was fun to pick out some songs to cover, and rework them and bring in friends to play on them, and to do it in our own space. We didn’t go to a studio, per se, we just did it in our environment, which was great just to have fun with it, to say, “Let’s do a Mingus track and have no upright on it.” That’s crazy, you know? [laughs] 11: One thing I always like to ask is who are some groups or artists who you think are doing really important work, who are you listening to? DC: Locally I’ve been really into Kelli Schaefer, I saw her at The Banana Stand last week, and I think her album is fantastic, so that’s what I’ve been listening to. I get into an artist and I just listen to that for a month or two straight.

L 1939 Ensemble

Beats & Saints Jealous Butcher Records

The new EP by Portland experimentalists, 1939 Ensemble, is comprised of six tracks. Four are listed as covers, although the resemblance they bear to the originals is comparable to John Coltrane’s My Favorite Things. That is to say the band takes a main theme and runs rather far with it. The covers come from Bjork, Charles Mingus, Stereolab and The Breeders. I don’t know if

KC: Locally for me there’s a singer/ songwriter named Johanna Warren that I’m blown away by, her songwriting ability, and her voice is otherworldly. As far as bands, I really like what Cat Hoch and Bryson Cone are doing, I think they’re pushing some cool boundaries, the way Cat has really enveloped herself in a shoegaze revival is cool, she’s got kind of a My Bloody Valentine thing going. As far as outside of Portland, pretty much anything Nels Cline does is going to be inspiring to me. JT: I really like the stuff that Steve Lacy is doing, from the band The Internet. He’s only 19 and records on his iPhone, but it’s really cool. I’ve listened to a lot of Vulfpeck and Thundercat over the last few years. As far as trumpet players, Jose really got me into Rob Mazurek. He’s amazing. Dave Douglas has always been a huge influence. JM: Bullet Boys, Rat, Faster Pussycat, Van Halen, Bang Tango, The list goes on. Kiss. The Melvins. Sabbath. » - Henry Whittier-Ferguson 1939 ENSEMBLE CELEBRATE THE RELEASE OF THEIR NEW RECORD JANUARY 12 AT MISSISSIPPI STUDIOS

these four acts are the titular saints, but I sure like to think so. It would make a twisted sort of sense as 1939 Ensemble is lead by former-Breeder Jose Medeles. The drums on the EP owe a lot to hip-hop, as well as jazz, which is the best word I have to describe the melodic components of the music (although it really isn’t that simple). The musicianship displayed on Beats & Saints is of a very high order. Multi-instrumentalist and experimental composer Ralph Carney (who passed away a week ago at the time of writing) contributes to the EP, along with Josh Klinghoffer, who’s best known as the guy who replaced Red Hot Chili Peppers Guitarist John Frusciante. The music was made in the spirit of improvisation and collaboration, which leads to some special musical moments at the expense of a general sense of aimlessness. It’s good music to play at a party, by which I mean a classy, low-key soiree. I might not put it on in a traffic jam. » - Tyler Burdwood

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between. The record’s versatility owes something to Ben Boye on piano/organ, guest vocalists including Ty’s Wife, Denée Segall, and a breadth of storied producers and studios (the best combination of these being Steve Albini recording at Ty’s house). If his 2017 self-titled album hadn’t already, Freedom’s Goblin fully shakes off all the prefixes (garage-, psych-, punk-, glam-) that have been used to describe I like interviewing musicians because they

Ty’s brand of rock over the past decade. Freedom’s

have no talking points and they tend to be good

Goblin is a rock album. It encompasses elements

listeners. They answer the question you ask them,

from too many subgenres to belong to any one of

not the one they wish you’d asked. This describes

them. Like King Tuff, who joined Segall for the

Ty Segall, who’s just as happy to talk about his

Emotional Mugger lineup, Ty has been making it

inner life as his career. I found him to be a very

okay again for cool people to love guitar rock with

warm person, relaxed and casually profound, while

awesome riffs and bold, simple lyrics.

still sounding like the California surfer he grew up

But Ty himself does not seem to hold such grand visions for himself, nor does he seem to care who

as. The new record, Freedom’s Goblin (out Jan 26

likes his music. In longer interviews, I hear him

on Drag City), is incredibly ambitious, a double-LP

struggle with the amount of self-centeredness

that spans the freaky id of the Melting

inherent to being a big, touring, solo musician.

Ty Segall, to the open-hearted

Maybe it’s that the lessons of rock star personas

Sleeper Ty Segall, while also

in the bloated hard rock realm which provoked the

adding in a new country-

punk movement have really stuck. Maybe it’s that

waltz Ty Segall, among

rock itself (as Ty rather cheerfully points out) has

a whole other spectrum

long ago passed its expiration date.

of Segalls in | ELEVENPhoto PORTLAND 19 by Katie |Summer

features national scene

Photo by Denée-Segall

ELEVEN: So I know Mikal Cronin and Charles Moothart are pretty consistent, but across the albums there’s a bit

TS: Basically after we recorded the last record, the selftitled one.

of a rotating lineup. What kind of work goes into putting a band together?

11: Do you recall when you recorded the album? I guess I’m wondering if the election played into your thinking

Ty Segall: It’s like a puzzle with different components

about freedom.

and varying degrees of involvement. It’s an interesting thing to do, to put a band together. It has a lot to do with having

TS: To be honest, I almost called the self-titled record

fun for me. If it’s not fun, then don’t do it. Obviously, I think

“Freedom.” There’s a huge concept of freedom on that record

everyone I play with is great—they’re all great musicians––

as well. And yes, I mean the political landscape is a massive

but it’s all about having fun.

influence and a daily, giant monolith in my brain. But it’s not just the political thing. The abstract idea of freedom is

11: I imagine you’re not putting out Craigslist ads or anything—it’s probably people you know pretty well.

what interested me initially, and now it can be taken many different ways. It’s an open concept, talking about freedom. There’s freedom from one’s self, essentially creating your

TS: [laughs] I’ve never done a Craigslist ad for somebody,

own mind, different perspectives, subjective vs objective

but I should do that, that might mix it up.

realities–all interesting platforms to dive into and trip out.

11: Could be a good concept album.

11: On the new record, you’ve got a track called “I’m Free” that sounds like it’s largely about when you’re most

TS: “Oboist Needed.”

alone, you can be, in some ways, less restricted, like a different person. Would you consider yourself more of an

11: When did the current lineup start going by “The Freedom Band”?


introvert or extrovert?

features national scene TS: [Off the phone] Guys, am I an introvert or an extrovert? I guess I’m an extrovert, but I think maybe musically or during shows and stuff I don’t like to be extroverted, to verbally extend myself. As a person, if you were to meet me, I’ve probably had too much coffee and will make a really strange joke and who knows if you would think it was funny. It’d probably just make you feel like, “This guy’s weird.” That’s probably me. 11: Your music can be pretty vicious, but everytime I hear you in an interview you’re very mellow, So it’s interesting that you’d be more introverted in your music, which I think of as super out-there and in-your-face. You’ve

11: Do you have any rules in your head about how you should operate or what a producer should be? TS: The only rule I have as a producer is you have a discussion with the band about what they want and their comfort level and you stick to that. If a band wants you to be extremely involved in a different way, and help mold things differently, that’s very cool. If they just want you to help them record their sounds to tape that’s also extremely cool, so you know I don’t have any strict rules with that. It’s more about what a band wants. I feel extremely uncomfortable over-inserting myself into someone else’s art.

done stuff like Twins that’s all about dualities—how do you reconcile these different sides of yourself?

11: A few of the tracks on the record share titles with other famous songs, and that happens all the time, but I

TS: Oh man. I’m sure there’s really aggressive people that want to, like, punch people [laughs]. And then they go for

wonder if any of this was intentional. Is it something you were thinking about?

a run. They go exercise and they get that aggression out of their body. I was a very angry person—extremely angry—and

TS: I think it’s a coincidence, but it’s also a play on trying

very emotionally wound-up as a kid. For me, it was playing

to make more stereotypical lyrics, that are either lopsided or

the drums. I’d play the drums for an hour straight and I’d

you interpret them in a different way, you know?

listen to Bad Brains and I’d try to learn Bad Brains songs and I’d try to play fast and hard and when I was done, you know,

11: More universal, maybe?

I’ve lost hearing and it feels like I hit myself in the face with a baseball bat. But I felt good. It’s self medication using musical therapy. Music for me has always been that way—whether it’s escapism; or it’s that you make something, and you reflect on it; or that you’re in a communal space having an experience with other people, and you let out some energy that you need to. You get to have a different kind of relationship with people. All these aspects could be one side of the aggressive or the reflective side of my personality, which is just trying to be a normal person that doesn’t make people upset.

"I consider myself a total, obsessive, music freak" 11: Steve Albini played a hand in some of these songs on Freedom’s Goblin. He’s someone that’s famously opinionated about what the role of the engineer is. And you’re still producing bands—is that correct? Is it a home studio? TS: Yeah, I have a studio at my house. | ELEVEN PORTLAND | 21


Photo by Katie Summer

features national scene TS: I like to write lyrics that can be taken many different ways. I don’t like to spell it, you know [singing] “Trump is bad, Truuump is baaadd.” Probably not a good song. But there’s another way to say that that will probably hit people harder, or longer. 11: Yeah especially because you can’t change people’s mind if you’re just saying something exactly as you see it. TS: Yeah, for sure. 11: I’ve seen you as someone who came around at the tail-end of a time when, to be a cool rock band, most people would have to be a little cute or ironic about it. Do you now or have you ever paid attention to how your music fits the landscape, the times, or what people are expecting? TS: I used to. I don’t anymore because I think it’s not good for me as a musician. I think it’s more interesting to stick to what I want to do. I don’t like to let what other people want or what’s going on in the rock world influence the direction I’m going. 11: Do you think about rock as a genre, like apart from yourself? Do you have any predictions about where you think it might be going? TS: I mean, rock is dead, my friend. Rock’s been dead for a long time. Pop music and rock ‘n’ roll and punk and all these things—a lot of them are on life support in a populist way, but they’ll never die to the true music freaks. And I consider myself a total, obsessive, music freak, so I have lots of fun rethinking all that stuff. I have no comment about the future of the music industry and I don’t care, to be honest. 11: To talk about you as a music listener for a second— are you familiar with the Voyager I probe, when Jimmy Carter sent this golden record into space in case aliens find it? TS: Yeah. Oh yeah, totally. That’s up for a Grammy. 11: Oh really? TS: Yeah I knew the guy that put that out, yeah. 11: Amazing. So the question is—if you could curate a new record for aliens, what would definitely be on it? TS: That’s a very, very difficult question to ask. I would need a long time to really dig in. | ELEVEN PORTLAND | 23

features national scene 11: Hot take—what’s one thing? TS: Fuck, man. Culturally or musically? What are we talking here? Recorded audio? 11: Recorded audio that can be pressed to gold. TS: Hmm… I would put on “Signed Curtain” by Matching Mole, which is Robert Wyatt’s band after The Soft Machines. I would put on some fucking Enter the 36 Chambers Wu-Tang shit. I’d put on some…. fuck man, I don’t know. There’s so much. I can’t answer. 11: I imagine you have kind of a lot of stuff in a vault or in in your home studio. You ever think about if there’s a time to release a rarities album or alternate takes or anything like that? TS: Yeah, actually we’re kind of discussing that stuff now. It’s been like ten years since I started making music, so I thought it would be a good time to do something like that. And, if I’m alive ten years from now, maybe we can do something like that again. 11: Well, this is morbid, but it kind of seems like most of those albums come out once you’re dead. TS: Yeah. Selfishly, I like how all that stuff sounds, so I’d like to have a copy myself. 11: I don’t think you should wait, but do you ever think about… is there a plan for who gets those recordings when you’re dead? TS: [laughs] My wife does. And my sister. 11: Oh OK. And your wife sings on one of these songs, right? TS: Yeah, she sings on “Meaning,” the hardcore song. 11: I could have looked this up, but does she have her own band? TS: She’s been in a few, yeah. She’s in a band called Vial and she’s in this band called Lamps now. 11: There’s a lot of noise and jamming on the record. “Prison” jumps out to me as something that might have been felt out. Are there any happy accidents that you can point to? TS: There’s that song “The Last Waltz.” That was fun—it was an experiment in not showing the band how the song went at all. Basically, we went to the studio and I just went, “Alright,


features national scene Charles play this beat and every four you switch beats to this.

11: When I first heard the album, and I think when

Guys, here are the chords—this, this, this. Alright, go.” And

I saw you at Pickathon, too, you play this Hot Chocolate

take 1 is on the album, which is pretty amazing. There were a

cover, “Every1’s a Winner.” If it was both times, I didn’t

couple false starts, to get the feel and get the timing right, but

recognize it as a cover either time. So I think that speaks

that was literally the first real time we made it through the

to it fitting in well to the band and on the album, but I was


wondering how Fred Armisen ended up playing percussion on it.

11: With this one and the self-titled, it sounds like your vocals are getting less distorted as a rule. Is that something

TS: [laughs] Well, I know Fred. I’ve known him for a

you’re thinking about or something that just keeps

minute. He’s an amazing guy. He interviewed me once for


a magazine and I’ve randomly hung out with him a couple times in various scenarios. And, actually, he’s really old

TS: Yeah, definitely very intentional to make them more clean and less effected. At least, a lot of the time, you know?

friends with Steve Albini. He was in town when we were recording that song at my house—Albini was engineering at my house, my home studio.

11: There are tracks like “She” that sound like old Ty

It was just really fun, a totally different experience. I

Segall to me, but there’s other stuff I could play for my

was telling Steve I wanted to rent congas and timbales and

parents and they’d like it. Is your audience changing at all?

shit. I was like “I want it to have this Latin percussive feel, kind of go for a bit of a War type thing.” And he was like,

TS: Um… I don’t know. I can’t really tell if the audience is

“Well, hang on man, you know Fred went to school for that.

changing or not. I don’t know, maybe there’s less, like, true

He knows how to do that shit.” So it was a no-brainer. Fred

garage rock heads that are like, “Oh it’s not trippy enough, it’s

came over, laid it down in forty-five minutes, drank a cup of

not effected enough” or something, but I don’t even know. I

coffee and flew out to The Seth Meyers Show or something.

couldn’t tell ya. I can’t tell.

It was pretty rad. »

WEST END 412 SW 10th Ave HAW THORNE 3541 SE Hawthorne Blvd NW 23RD 525 NW 23rd Ave PORTL AND AIRPORT Concourse D | ELEVEN PORTLAND | 25

community literary arts from all over the world, breathing new life into poetry that could escape today’s readers. His work at Tavern Books comes from his love of poetry that needs to be experienced for quality and posterity. Those include new and original releases by phenomenal female poets as well. All of which are nurtured and cared for thanks to Adamshick’s endearing poetic acuity. Keep an eye on Carl Adamshick. Even with his strong interest in poetry from the past, something tells me he’s very much focused on the future. ELEVEN: Let’s start by talking about Receipt: Poems. Can you talk about your collaboration with Andy Buck and how that project materialized and its inspirations? Carl Adamshick: My friendship with Andy is inspirational. He’s known to be a furniture maker. And when he began whittling these figures we saw an opportunity to collaborate. I named and gave voice to the little people he carved—sort of a Spoon River Anthology, but everyone talking is still alive. 11: Receipt sounds like it was a lot of fun to make. How did that collaboration differ from your other work in the terms of the writing process? CA: The writing for the biographies was a lot looser and a lot quicker than usual. There is something about Andy and his playfulness, his trickster nature that brought out some Photo by Jessie Hibbs

LITERARY ARTS Portland poet Carl Adamshick

humor from my darker recesses. 11: It seems like you are an economist of content, with each poem carefully curated right down to the last page, and each piece feels intentionally placed for the reader to find at the right moment. What’s the curatorial process like for your poetry collections? CA: The process is still a mystery to me. I just ask myself questions, a lot of questions, but mostly I ask myself “Why?” 11: You are also one of the founders of Tavern Books.


What drove you to start such a diverse and unique poetry ortland poet Carl Adamshick captures striking


microcosms of human nature in everyday places, surfacing beauty from the ordinary in the flickers of life he poeticizes. Curses and Wishes,

CA: Tavern Books started out of a love of reading. We wanted to share and talk about books in a public space.

which won the Walt Whitman Award in 2010, Saint Friend

That’s why it’s Tavern Books—A public house—everyone is

and 2017’s Receipt: Poems showcases his ability to tell us

invited to read and to create. Our printer’s mark is a crow

there’s something more to whatever the hell is going on in

with a skeleton key, because we thought “The Crow and Key”

the day-to-day occurrences we experience. That could easily

sounded like an Irish pub we could hang out in all day.

be the trend of Adamshick’s career. As a founder and editor of the great Tavern Books, Adamshick proudly excavates aged works in translation


11: You are also the editor at Tavern Books. How do you approach editing other poets?

community literary arts CA: I love Portland. It’s easy to make work here. At times it seems it’s a city full of artists! All knights—no pawns, kings or queens. That’s a reference to the great Russian and Soviet critic Viktor Shklovsky. 11: What are you reading now? Are there any books or poets we should keep an eye on? CA: Mostly I just reread Grace Paley—her poems! And Tavern Books always has me reading works in translation from Li Qingzhao to Bhartrihari. I say keep your eye on the poets, if you want and need change. 11: Do you have any upcoming projects? Can you tell us what you are working on next? CA: I have another book slated for publishing in January of 2019. So for now, I’m writing and trying to figure out what is next. » - Morgan Nicholson


CA: We don’t do much editing here at Tavern Books. We find books we think are engaged, and engaging, so we let the poets speak for themselves. Sometimes if we are confused by a phrase or curious about a transition or juxtaposition, we will ask about its intention and usually leave it at that. Overall, I guess, we believe people who write the book know best.



11: How do you see the poetry landscape of today? Do you feel like the rise of Rupi Kaur and the success of novelty poetry is offering poets a chance to reach wider audiences? CA: The Tavern Books office is on the second floor of Union Station—an incredible building to work in everyday! The windows look out onto the post office (where we spend



a surprising amount of time) and the Broadway Bridge. I mean to say, we aren’t in a tower perched on a rolling hill with a grand view of poetry’s landscape. We try and keep it simple in the office. Whatever gets people into the poetry section and thinking about their lives sounds good to us. 11: How have you experienced Portland as a poet having lived here since 1990? Does the city have any influence on your writing?



community visual arts DC: This is a pretty literal process for me, whether from a daydream or sleep dream. The content of sleep dreams is typically hard for me to remember except those where I dream of a completed painting. Since I rarely sleep dream about the process of creating that finished piece, I’ll remember vivid sections of the completed paintings from my dream. I can then recall these completed sections in my studio and make into the beginnings of an actual painting. Daydreams tend to work a bit harder for me–I usually can envision my painting process, daydreaming the making of a part or whole painting. Interestingly, I never see myself in any of these dreams–my dream canvas paints itself with no apparent artist tools. Either way, all of these dreams give me a starting point, and often an ending to what I’ll paint when I get to work in my studio. Photo by Mercy McNab

VISUAL ARTS Portland artist David Castle

11: What has your background in computer science brought to your life as an artist? Did you find the transition from such a left-brained career to something so rightbrained to be challenging?

ELEVEN: All of your pieces seem to have a natural element to them. What is it about nature that captures your attention, over portraits or other subjects? David Castle: I’m a rather introverted, quiet guy and shy away from the “man-made,” whether noise and chaos or clunky structures. Nature offers a quiet retreat from all that is man-made and I’ve always embraced it. For much of my childhood I grew up on a farm, where nature became my natural habitat and I learned to love all it has to offer–especially the woods and forests of my native Colorado. My favorite colors are also found in the cool spectrum of nature–greens, purples and blues–so I’m naturally drawn to what God’s earth has to offer. Finally, I’m drawn to striking vertical and horizontals on the scale that nature does the best–towering trees, and the horizon line between sea and sky that stretches as far as I can see. 11: You’ve said that your paintings arise from your dreams. Can you explain that process from dreamscape to canvas?


"Near Oceanside, OR Around 10:30am" (oil and metallic watercolor, 2017)

community visual arts DC: My former IT career has heavily influenced the business side and logistics of being an artist (planning, budgeting, operations). Creatively, I know that the structure and geometrical aspects of “old fashioned” computer programming have shown up in my art. Nothing used to satisfy me more than programming a piece of structured software, with neat, nested lines of code and boxes. Equally satisfying is painting one of my “Pacific Rains” series with neat-but-organic vertical lines and geometry. Or, painting one of my abstract watercolors from my “Elementals” series, which are fields of squares and rectangles. I believe I’ve always been a “rightbrained” guy, even though I took such a technical path in college and with my first career. Transitioning to my artist career felt like an abrupt, but easy, shift into gears that I was always meant to be cruising in. 11: When did your artistic career begin and how did it come about? Have you always been artistic or considered yourself an artist? DC: I was a rather artistic child–some art and lots of music is in my background. My “real” introduction to making art, and specifically watercolor painting, came when I lived in Belgium as a computer consultant. An artist in my apartment building held weekend art classes, and although I spoke little French and she spoke little English, I took a class in watercolor and we just painted–little abstracts and landscapes. As an adult, after 15 years in a technology career, I knew that technology wasn’t going to be my “forever” passion. I had moved from hands-on work developing software to project management, which put me further away from the details of technology that had interested me most in the first place. So, I knew I needed to plan a career change someday. When my last IT job was eliminated rather abruptly, I decided to make my career change happen at that moment rather than a future moment that may never arrive. I began to explore both landscape design and my art in search of a new career. With some immediate, positive feedback from family and friends on small watercolor abstracts I was painting, I began exhibiting in local and regional art festivals. More positive feedback "Claudia's Jewels" (watercolor, 2012)

"Oregon Sunstones" (oil and metallic watercolor, 2016)

from festival crowds (and encouraging sales) helped make my new career stick. I also was fueled by my new-found need to not go back to the corporate world, and struck out on my own artistic path. I’ve taken many classes and workshops from national and international artists over the years to help develop my skills and own style. 11: You have dedicated several series to the Pacific Northwest, choosing to focus on several elements we are known for–rain and trees. There is a vertical/linear aspect to both of those elements that you have captured in your work. What about that linear aspect intrigues you? DC: What is more perfect than a line? Or four lines made into a square (my most favorite shape)? My love of nature has shown me some of the best examples of linear components. Trees are a great example of both the vertical and linear aspects that I’m drawn to. And trees often inspire the vertical shapes in my abstracts, and sometimes even appear as recognizable components–such as tree trunks–in my more representational abstracts. Interestingly, one component of nature that I find most compelling is the horizon line between sea and sky–about as horizontal as you can get in nature. Sometimes a horizon line appears in my more landscape-themed abstracts, but most of my paintings really have a vertical energy to them. The vertical comes from my favorite painting process and a very satisfying vertical gesture motion that I use when I paint, particularly with oils. There is more for me to discover with the horizontal influence of nature’s horizon line and I’ve more work to do to unearth that. 11: Congratulations on your recent acceptance into the 2018 Autumn Arctic Circle Residency Expedition! What are you most looking forward to in your growth as an artist on | ELEVEN PORTLAND | 29

community visual arts this expedition to the Arctic Circle? Do you have a specific project in mind for your time there? Is it a time for creation as well as reflection or do your art supplies stay here in Portland? DC: Thanks! I’m super excited for this unique opportunity and will begin gearing up in early January. The Expedition is on a Barkentine tall ship and I’ll be sailing around the arctic with nearly 20 other artists and scientists from around the world for three weeks! The departure point is from an old mining town–Longyearbyen, Svalbard (Finland). Hundreds of artists from across the world apply for only a few openings each year, so I’m thrilled that the selection committee chose me! It’s a small ship with limited space, so I’m not yet sure what materials I’ll bring. I’ll have minimal space for making art, so I’ll hone in on the necessities. While I have ideas for how I’ll use this journey and time artistically, I’ll tackle many of the logistical components of the trip early in the process. First, I must raise funds to pay for a portion of the Expedition, travel to Finland and gear for subzero temperatures–upwards of $10,000. I’ll be doing a Kickstarter campaign with different levels of pledges offering contributors a range of benefits from receiving a postcard from me mailed from the most northerly post office on the planet (Longyearbyen), to receiving an original painting that I will paint while on the Expedition in the Arctic Circle.

"Moss and Sky" (oil and metallic watercolor, 2017)

Artistically, I’ll use the Expedition as an opportunity to explore my continued fascination with water and ocean landscapes. But in this case, I’ll be looking for how I’m inspired and affected by a mostly frozen water landscape and horizon line of ice and snow. I can’t wait to see what I’ll paint after putting my eyes and hands on an arctic iceberg! 11: Where can we see some of your pieces locally, either on display or for sale? DC: In Oregon, I’m represented by RiverSea Gallery in Astoria, right on Commercial Street in downtown Astoria. At RiverSea, you’ll see several of my “Pacific Rains” and “Oregon Birch” paintings in a variety of sizes and price points. In Portland, I have an exhibit of “Pacific Rains” paintings hanging in the Mezzanine at Bridgeport Brewery in the Pearl through the end of February. Coming up in January, I’ll have several larger-format paintings on exhibit at Bridgeport Family Medicine in Tigard. Finally, my studio in Portland’s Garden Home neighborhood is always open by appointment for folks to check out my creative space and see my most recent paintings, call or email me anytime to schedule a visit! » - Mercy McNab



David Castle's "Near Windsor Lake" (oil and metallic watercolor, 2016)

Eleven PDX Magazine January 2018  
Eleven PDX Magazine January 2018