Sometimes when summer ends it takes a whole bunch of other stuff down with it. People move away, bars close, the rain sets in, maybe you even get your heart broken. No matter the reason, the changing of seasons kinda sucks until it doesn’t anymore. I’ve made a playlist with equal parts depressing indie music and vindictive pop to get you through the turbulence. Honestly, I went from crying to feeling kinda okay while listening to it. Hope it does the same for you.
(Note: Playlist has best effect if listened to IN ORDER.)
Track list, with key lyrics for your reference:
- Sad Girl – Lana Del Rey
- Calico Man – PHOX “And I will shout it from these corners that I may never love again”
- Pretend You Love Me – Sonny and the Sunsets
- Dark Parts – Perfume Genius
- Not Your Lover – Blitzen Trapper “In my sleep I’m not your lover anymore/ When I wake I have to remind myself that I’m sleeping on your shore.”
- All Too Well – Taylor Swift “You call me up again just to break me like a promise/ So casually cruel in the name of being honest.”
- The Good That Won’t Come Out – Rilo Kiley “I think i’ll go out and embarrass myself by getting drunk and falling down in the street/ You say i choose sadness, that it never once has chosen me/ Maybe you’re right.”
- Burn – Usher
- It Is What It Is – Kacey Musgraves
- Starring Role – Marina and the Diamonds
- Saltwater – Beach House “Love you all the time/ Even though you’re not mine.”
- One By One – Billy Bragg and Wilco
- Unfucktheworld – Angel Olsen “Here’s to thinking that it all meant so much more.”
- In Due Time – PHOX “And for years to come in the mornings/ You may think that I’m the best thing you’ve almost had/ In due time if I gain some self respect/ I could smile upon the day that we first met.”
- Tangled Heart – Luluc
- We’re Just Friends – Wilco
- Stay – Rihanna
- You Are What You Love – Jenny Lewis
- The Mermaid Parade – Phosphorescent
- Don’t Apply Compression Gently – Courtney Barnett “I may not be 100 percent happy but at least I’m not with you.”
- Stupid – Kacey Musgraves “Love is stupid/ Don’t know why we always do it.”
- If It Makes You Happy – Sheryl Crow
- I Won’t Share You – The Smiths
- I Care – Beyonce
- Dancing On My Own – Robyn
- The First Cut is the Deepest – PP Arnold
- I Go To The Barn Because I Like The – Band of Horses
- Really Don’t Care – Demi Lovato and Cher Lloyd
- Tears in the Typing Pool – Broadcast
- If I Needed You – Emmylou Harris
- Chasing A Ghost – The Morning Benders
- There Will Be No Divorce – The Mountain Goats “If i ever want to drive myself insane/ All i have to do is watch you breathing.”
- Love Hurts – Roy Orbison
- Happiness/The Gondola Man – Elliott Smith “What I used to be will pass away and then you’ll see/ That all I want now is happiness for you and me.”
For the four years that I’ve lived in Portland, I’ve attended Musicfest NW. It’s always been a long weekend of thought-out adventure and time management that culminates in too little sleep, ear ringing, and general euphoria of seeing dozens of bands across town in venues as small as Bunk Bar to big blow outs in Pioneer Square.
This year, things were different.
I’ve been throwing shade at this year’s incarnation of MFNW for many reasons (“American Apparel stage” alone is making me gag). But why should I be a grumpy? Portland is truly blessed to have such an established and rowdy fest, and even stuck in one place without the cut-throat at-capacity competition, MFNW is bound to be unforgettable. Here are a few shows that I wouldn’t miss:
Modern Kin (Sunday, 2:20, American Apparel Stage)
Portland’s prodigal front man Drew Grow has put his all into every project he’s been a part of. It seems this city is finally throwing him a bone with his latest, Modern Kin. The band, made up of Grow, Kris Doty, and Jeremiah Hayden, have undeniable energy and are band that just seem to click. Their self-titled album is strong. Produced by Janet Weiss, it’s a force of electric guitar, stand up bass, and haunting lyrics.
Run The Jewels (Saturday, 6:25, Moda stage)
If you haven’t taken the time to appreciate this honest, no-holds-barred hip-hop duo, now is the time. El-P and Killer Mike deliver beats and lyrics that will stop you in your tracks but, at the same time, make you want to dance. It’s abrasive, it’s heavy at times, but it’s fun, and it’s real.
Tune-Yards (Sunday, 6:25, Moda stage)
Tune-Yards’ weirdo pop makes waves across musical circles for its innovation. 2011’s Whokill was a a revelation; an intoxicating take on drum loops, synth, and lyricism. Merril Garbus returned this past year with the much-anticipated follow up Nikki Nack, which doesn’t miss a beat. I’m sure Tune-Yards performance will be a stand-out at MFNW. If not only for the energy, for the spectacle.
Haim (Sunday, 7:25, American Apparel stage)
The premiere album “Days Are Gone” from this group of LA sisters was the earworm of 2013. But beyond their Urban Outfitters appeal and Normal Girl aesthetic, this group of women is seriously talented, and seriously loved (for good reason). Even if you aren’t a fan of their take on pop music, it’s hard to deny their spirit, energy, and depth of sound. Perhaps one of the buzziest bands to play at MFNW this year, or at least one of the “big names” amidst quirkier headliners, Haim is sure to pack a punch.
Honorable mentions: I have every confidence that Girl Talk will deliver the most fun out of all MFNW performances. You’d be a fool to miss Spoon, the critically acclaimed, tenured group who just released a new album. And, if you want to cry, don’t miss The Antlers. You might also consider RSVPing now to the slew of Red Bull Sound Select shows throwing down some local love this weekend (cheap!), and make your way to the Doc Martens store tonight for some Pain.
While MFNW might be different, and making changes is scary, the fest will fall into step and carve out a new place for itself in the Portland scene. Don’t let your bitterness outweigh your willingness to experience something new.
Any music fan in Portland knows about PDX Pop Now! It is the vicarious dream of a music festival where everything is free, everything is all ages, and everything sounds amazing. A cluster of local bands that span genres come together, and it’s so exciting. This weekend’s PDX Pop Now! festival was the first time I’ve truly devoted my weekend to the whole shebang, and I figured I should document that in some way.
Full disclosure: I was tweeting and instagramming for Rip City Review, and I was a PPN! volunteer.
When I was thirteen or fourteen, I remember visiting Strawberry Fields on a trip to New York. I had not yet reached the point in my life where I was desperately obsessed with The Catcher in the Rye, and I have never much cared for The Beatles beyond listening with my Dad in the car. All I knew was that John Lennon was shot, and there was a lyric in a song I loved that went,
Last week I had the strangest dream
Where everything was exactly as it seemed
Where there was never any mystery
Of who shot John F. Kennedy
The song is “Sleeping In” by The Postal Service, from their iconic album Give Up.
I may have been a young, careless kid in my post-Avril Lavigne phase, but I loved this album. I played it to fall asleep. I listened to it walking home from school. Beyond Transatlanticism, which was the first album I ever purchased digitally, it is the first record that made me feel things that I couldn’t understand, but that I so strongly identified with.
In the ten years since Give Up’s release and the seven or eight years since I had it on heavy rotation, I have grown in many ways: my music collection has grown exponentially; my taste has expanded infinitely; and my wardrobe is no longer composed of solely band t-shirts and angst-y accessories. But I still feel similar things about Give Up that I always have.
At the time of it’s release, Give Up was important, and it stood apart. In a post-90s power-pop and emo world, I think that Give Up was a breath of fresh air. It did something different. It was a palette cleanser. These days, I don’t think The Postal Service would survive brand new. That just goes to show how influential Give Up was.
Tonight I’m seeing The Postal Service perform at the Rose Garden Arena in Portland. Though I am not as excited as I might have been when I was thirteen or fourteen, I am looking forward to cementing these feelings at long last, and giving my thirteen-year-old self some sort of closure to this singular, hanging album that meant so much to me.
Besides “Sleeping In” my favorite song on the record is probably “Brand New Colony”:
And just for good measure, a song about my hometown:
Hello all! After painstaking negotiation with Spotify, Bandcamp, etc, I am finally ready to present this playlist I’ve made entitled, “Summer @ Whiskey Kiss.” Is it the first of many? Maybe!
I tried to stack this list with new/current music that will put you and keep you in the mood for summer fun. I threw in one summer standby that I’ve had ringing around in my head. Enjoy the YouTube playlist I’ve created, and let me know in the comments if you’d like me to share the Spotify playlist with you! I’ll be posting that on Facebook and Twitter shortly.
1.) The Way It Is – Denver (Denver, 2012)
2.) Unbelievers – Vampire Weekend (Modern Vampires of the City, 2013)
3.) Steady Rollin’ – Two Gallants (What the Toll Tells, 2006)
4.) Sand Talk – Akron/Family (Sub Verses, 2013)
5.) City – Thao & The Get Down Stay Down (We the Common, 2013)
6.) plamreader – Sonny & The Sunsets (Antenna To The Afterworld, 2013) [Note: This is the live at Pickathon version from KEXP. The album JUST came out, so I couldn’t find a video. The version here is really good, but be warned that the album version sounds a bit different!]
7.) Am I Wrong – Mikal Cronin (MCII, 2013)
8.) Dream Captain – Deerhunter (Monomania, 2013)
9.) Helicopter – Wooden Indian Burial Ground (Wooden Indian Burial Ground, 2012)
10.) In The Darkness – Foxygen (We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic, 2012)
11.) Toe Cutter – Thumb Buster – Thee Oh Sees (Floating Coffin, 2013)
12.) Demon to Lean On – Wavves (Afraid of Heights, 2013)
13.) Where I Stand – The Thermals (Desperate Ground, 2013)
14.) Mayonnaise – The Woolen Men (The Woolen Men, 2013)
15.) It All Feels Right – Washed Out (Paracosm, 2013)
16.) Plastic Cup – Low (The Invisibile Way, 2013)
Coming up on Whiskey Kiss: This week, I want to review some albums that’ve just come out. Get ready for that and maybe a show calendar… oh, and some tips and tricks for being a music fan in the summer in Portland. Until then–cheers!
On Friday, the Doug Fir was jam-packed with whiskey-guzzling bumpkins and country-fried music fans. The occasion? Blitzen Trapper and Denver, of course!
I’ve been through a lot with Blitzen Trapper. In 2007 I journeyed to Seattle, Washington for the first time on a trip that would become a precursor to, well, this blog. I was 15 years old, and in love with everything new and hip, and anything having to do with music. It was on my then-new-favorite radio station KEXP that I first heard, “Sci-Fi Kid.” I flew back to Maryland, culled through the KEXP website, podcasts, etc. and finally found the track; found Blitzen Trapper.
It’s no shock that part of the reason I came to Portland in the first place was to be near bands like Blitzen Trapper. And so I’m a bit biased, but I think it would be hard to give Blitzen Trapper a poor review. In their 13 years as a band, their sound has changed, developed, and evolved into a grown-up version of what they were celebrating Friday–their first LP Blitzen Trapper.
BT is a gold mine of early-2000s experimental folk. It’s easy to listen to this record, reissued for Record Store Day this past April, and understand how Blitzen Trapper have become what they are today. There’s trippy long-form jams, tender songwriting, nonsensical weirdness, and a dose of banjo.
Friday’s show was a tribute to Blitzen Trapper’s journey as a band. Tight as ever, they played songs across their catalogue, including a personal favorite, “Texaco.” The band also debuted two new songs, “Heart Attack” and “Thirsty Man” which showcase Blitzen Trapper’s dedication to the sound they cultivated on 2011’s American Goldwing. The 70s-influenced, classic rock-infused sounds mesh well with the folk type persona the band has always held on to.
The new record is set to drop in September, and I am looking forward to ample opportunities to see Blitzen Trapper play around town.
Friday’s show was the first time I had the pleasure of seeing Denver live. The band’s held my interest in the year since releasing their self-titled album because they are the most country band I know of from Portland. My east coast ears appreciate this.
I really like Denver and think that their live show does great justice to their album. They’re getting ready to tour with James McMurtry, so check them out.