2007 Festival Schedule
Friday, August 3
6:00-6:30: Typhoon (description) | [mp3] Live, 2007 Festival
6:40-7:10: The High Violets (description) | [mp3] Live, 2007 Festival
7:20-7:50: Hooliganship (description) | [mp3] Live, 2007 Festival | [mp4] Live, 2007 Festival
8:05-8:35: Pocket Parade (description) | [mp3] Live, 2007 Festival
8:45-9:15: The Beauty (description) | [mp3] Live, 2007 Festival
9:25-9:55: Junkface (description) | [mp3] Live, 2007 Festival
10:10-10:40: The Blow (description) | [mp3] Live, 2007 Festival
10:50-11:20: Braille (description) | [mp3] Live, 2007 Festival | [mp4] Live, 2007 Festival
11:30-12:00: Hey Lover (description) | [mp3] Live, 2007 Festival | [mp4] Live, 2007 Festival
12:10-12:40: March Fourth Marching Band (description) | [mp3] Live, 2007 Festival
Saturday, August 4
12:00-12:30: The Pink Snowflakes (description) myspace | YouTube
12:40-1:10: Hurah Hurah (description) myspace
1:20-1:50: The Vonneguts (description) myspace | [mp4] Live, 2007 Festival
2:05-2:35: Dragging an Ox through Water (description) | myspace | YouTube
2:45-3:15: Corrina Repp and Tu Fawning (description) [mp3] Live, 2007 Festival | [mp4] Live, 2007 Festival
3:25-3:55: Gulls (description) [mp3] Live, 2007 Festival (Recorded during Portland Towne Lounge Series [mp4] Live, 2007 Festival
4:10-4:40: AristeiA (description) myspace | YouTube
4:50-5:20: The Soda Pop Kids (description) myspace
5:30-6:00: Point Juncture, WA (description) website
6:15-6:45: Per Se (description) myspace | [mp4] Live, 2007 Festival
6:55-7:25: Ethan Rose (description) [mp3] Live, 2007 Festival | [mp4] Live, 2007 Festival
7:35-8:05: Starfucker (description) myspace | [mp4] Live, 2007 Festival
8:20-8:50: The Maybe Happening (description) [mp3] Live, 2007 Festival
9:00-9:30: Swim Swam Swum (description) [mp3] Live, 2007 Festival
9:40-10:10: Hungry Mob (description) | [mp3] Live, 2007 Festival
10:25-10:55: The Ocean Floor (description) | [mp3] Live, 2007 Festival
11:05-11:35: Black Elk (description) | [mp3] Live, 2007 Festival
11:45-12:15: Copy (description) | [mp3] Live, 2007 Festival
12:25-12:55: The Snuggle Ups (description) | [mp3] Live, 2007 Festival
*Sunday, August 5*
12:00-12:30: The Sort Ofs (description) | myspace | YouTube
12:40-1:10: Libretto (description)
1:20-1:50: Here Comes a Big Black Cloud (description) | myspace | YouTube
2:05-2:35: Bright Red Paper (description) | [mp3] Live, 2007 Festival
2:45-3:15: Kele Goodwin (description) | [mp3] Live, 2007 Festival
3:20-3:55: Gejius (description) | [mp4] Live, 2007 Festival
4:10-4:40: Ape Shape (description) | [mp4] Live, 2007 Festival
4:50-5:20: Blue Skies for Black Hearts (description) | myspace | [mp4] Live, 2007 Festival
5:30-6:00: System and Station (description) | [mp3] Live, 2007 Festival
6:15-6:45: Blue Cranes (description) | [mp3] Live, 2007 Festival | [mp4] Live, 2007 Festival
6:55-7:25: The Robot Ate Me (description) | [mp3] Live, 2007 Festival
7:35-8:05: Laura Gibson (description) | [mp3] Live, 2007 Festival | [mp4] Live, 2007 Festival Pt. 1, [mp4] Live, 2007 Festival Pt 2
8:20-8:50: Nice Boys (description) | [mp3] Live, 2007 Festival
9:00-9:30: Dat'r (description) | [mp3] Live, 2007 Festival
9:40-10:10: The Shaky Hands (description) | [mp3] Live, 2007 Festival | [mp4] Live, 2007 Festival
10:25-10:55: Evolutionary Jass Band (description) | [mp3] Live, 2007 Festival
11:05-11:35: Yellow Swans (description) | [mp3] Live, 2007 Festival
11:45-12:15: Sandpeople (description) | [mp3] Live, 2007 Festival | [mp4] Live, 2007 Festival
12:25-12:55: Blitzen Trapper (description} [mp3] Live, 2007 Festival | [mp4] Live, 2007 Festival
*A NOTE ON "SECRET" BANDS*
As with last year's festival, every band playing PDX Pop Now! 2007 is listed on our schedule and described in the festival program. Nevertheless, many people still inquire and speculate about the appearance of "secret" bands or "surprise guests." This is largely due to a non-tradition that began and ended with the 2005 festival. That year, a contract that The Thermals had for another performance barred their appearance at PDX Pop Now! from being advertised; consequently, they were advertised only as a "Surprise Guest," as were Lifesavas and Talkdemonic - the other two evenings' final acts - to maintain consistency on the schedule. We have not needed, or chosen, to retain this practice for subsequent festivals. To see who's played the festival in the past, check out the 2006, 2005, and 2004 schedules.
Naming themselves after an ancient Greek word meaning “a warrior’s prowess – excellence,” this quartet reaches for the heavens with epic, largely instrumental post-rock in the mighty vein of Explosions in the Sky. If the Battle of Thermopylae had a guitar-driven soundtrack, AristeiA could well provide it.
Like UK star Jamie Lidell (for whom it has opened), the lovely duo of Matt Zimmerman and Todd Fadell introduce old-school R&B and soul, a little funk and some dramatic Prince-style falsetto to the new-school digital arts of IDM and glitch. Ah, this retro-futuristic sound – it’s a beautiful thing.
One of the premier names in Portland’s ascendant metal scene, this noise/punk/metal/math-rock beast comes ready to paint the Rose City black with an artfully-layered din cut with knife-sharp riffing, guttural Jesus Lizard-style howling, and Hella-interesting dynamics. Watch you don’t get trampled underfoot.
Pitchfork darlings for its newest album, Wild Mountain Nation, this sextet whips up an adventurous, free-wheeling gumbo of pop, bluegrass, country, and varieties of rock from the deep south, California, and all points in between. The group has well earned comparisons to early Beck, Pavement and Yankee-era Wilco.
Nationally-acclaimed visual, performance and – of course – indie music artist Khaela Maricich brilliantly chronicles the kinks and quirks of human relationships over cool electro-pop backdrops, some her own and some courtesy, as on last year’s dazzling Paper Television, of former collaborator Jona Bechtolt (YACHT). Also responsible for one of 2006’s greatest songs, the sublime “Parentheses.”
Local rock fans, don’t be afraid of this young experimental jazz quintet, since they’re one of you, having covered both The Kingdom and Elliot Smith on their 2007 debut, Lift Music! Flown Music!. Like The Bad Plus – who’ve given them props – the Blue Cranes swing with both jazz tradition and current pop music sounds.
Blue Skies for Black Hearts
This melancholic bunch creates a warm and brooding mix of indie rock and the 60's-style pop of bands like The Kinks and The Beatles, layering lush vocal harmonies and intricate guitar, electric piano, and mellotron lines over songs filled with emotionally-fraught lyrics.
Also a member of the venerable hip hop trio Lightheaded, Braille has earned a dizzying amount of attention for his solo efforts (check Shades of Grey and Box of Rhymes, his newest LP) and been tagged as an MC to keep one’s eye on by Urb and Mojo for his passionate, introspective rhymes.
Bright Red Paper
A haunting and hypnotic chamber-rock group driven by classical cellist Douglas Jenkins but also informed by the other members’ eclectic tastes and experiences in jazz-funk, indie-rock and punk. BRP was a largely instrumental quartet until joined last fall by classically-trained vocalist Anna Byers.
Voted #1 in Willamette Week’s 2006 Best New Band poll and a crowd favorite at last year’s festival, Copy (Marius Libman) has earned this town’s devotion with two spectacular albums, Mobius Beard and Hair Guitar, of baroque 8-bit electro-pop that when performed live – and look out for the keytar! – will get even the most tentative to move more than just their heads.
Party-starting drums, lap-top and vox duo Dat’r (also two-thirds of the Binary Dolls) offers a stripped-down Stumptown take on the indie dance-pop of groups like !!! or Hot Chip; it’s infectious Talking Heads and Prince-jacking funk that will corrupt your whole system.
This quartet surely possesses one of the most appropriate, and honest, names in town. Its lovely, layered acoustic/electric folk-pop has tempos that rarely rise above a light jog, cryptic lyrics gently delivered, and a generally gauzy ambience; it’s stuff that’ll never have you raging into that good night, but it’ll move you nevertheless.
Dragging an Ox through Water
An erudite folk singer with an affinity for both Old-Time and adventures in noise and found sound, Dragging an Ox (Brian Mumford) performs experimental lo-fi Americana with one hand on the strings of his acoustic guitar and the other on the knobs of a turntable.
Evolutionary Jass Band
You have here one awesome avant-jazz ensemble, led by incomparable saxophonist Jef Brown (Jackie-O Motherfucker), that tips its hat to everything from old depression-era jazz and torch music to contemporary classical, experimental improvisation and various forms of world folk.
Alum of Boston’s famed Berklee College of Music, electronic music artist Gejius (“Jee-jus,” in case you wondered) crafts soulful IDM compositions which draw on some usual suspects – Aphex Twin, DJ Shadow – but also post-rock, contemporary classical and Japanime. Check his “Makkuro Kuroseke,” a superb cut which sounds like RJD2 remixing the Go! Team.
Gentle, elegant folk from a singer-songwriter whose talent inspired the members of several great bands (Norfolk & Western, Horse Feathers, Dolorean) to contribute their own to her debut, If You Come to Greet Me. Lauded by everyone from NPR to the New York Times, the album has quietly trumpeted the arrival of a rising star.
Heavily influenced by Leonard Cohen, Nick Drake and “particular cloud formations that he happens to see if he happens to look up,” Goodwin writes and performs sparse and haunting folk that borrows images and themes from the natural world. A kindred spirit to friends and fellow guitar pickers Alela Diane and Mariee Sioux.
Industrious musician Jesse Johnson (Evolutionary Jass Band, Die Bomb Shelters, Modernstate contributor) calls his Gulls project “classical” and “crunk,” and why not? It’s hip hop-flavored ambient, bewitching compostitions built with trumpets and bells and guitars, loops and field sounds, and, of course, the beats.
Here Comes a Big Black Cloud
Haunted-house/sci-fi southern rockabilly garage, or what Screaming Jay Hawkins scoring an Ed Wood film about alien-possessed Pentecostals might sound like – disturbing and awesome! The Cloud promises to send you home with nightmares; after all the dancefloor perspiration finally dries, you’ll have the night sweats to look forward to.
Lovers’ rock, pure and simple. Like other past and presently married duos – The White Stripes, Viva Voce, Mates of State, Quasi – Hey Lover finds sweet music in matrimony, in their case a high-energy pop-punk born of Tera Beth’s manic drumming wed to husband Justin’s six-string fireworks. And in this partnership, the couple shares vocal duties.
The High Violets
Led by lush-voiced Kaitlyn ni Donovan and guitarist Clint Sargent, The High Violets produce a warm, shimmering rock that recalls – with its danceable rhythms, layered guitars and ethereal textures – the ‘90’s shoegaze of My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, Lush, and Ride.
Players in Portland’s 8-bit revolution, this bass and keyboards electro-grunge duo locates a musical sweet-spot, like Copy or Ratatat, where classical baroque, hair guitar, ‘80’s synth-pop, and NES theme music aesthetics all converge – only with some grimy distortion thrown in for good measure.
Veteran hip hop/soul/funk outfit that has torn up stages at home and abroad (with the likes of The Fugees, Outkast, and Ice Cube) for over a decade. With leader Mic Crenshaw’s passionate raps and a full band of improvisationally-minded pros, the Mob could be called Portland’s answer to The Roots. And let’s not forget Toni Hill’s silk-smooth vocals.
These button-cute teens (forgive me, Hurah Hurah!) play indie folk-pop complete with catchy tunes that could double as campfire sing-a-longs and – better yet – feature the glockenspiel. Though young, the band has already shared the stage with PDX faves like The Shaky Hands, Alan Singley and Sexton Blake. They’ll soon have you standing up and cheering ‘em on.
As the Portland Mercury said of one of its shows, “You like things that are good, right? Local kids Junkface are good, good, good!” This powerful punk-pop trio has been trashing stages around town and elsewhere with sidewinder rhythms, explosive guitars and the occasional wrestling match between band members.
This founding member of the Misfit Massive (Lifesavas) comes at you with one of the best handles in hip hop, some deep West-Coast G-funkified boom bap, and smoothly-delivered conscious lyrics that you best not doubt since the man has – with an ex-Black Panther for a dad and childhood spent in Watts – the background to back ‘em up.
The Maybe Happening
An excitable, endlessly exciting good-time indie-rock trio where the violin stands front and center with the guitars and drums, not off to the side waiting to add the occasional string flourish. Maybe if Isaac Brock and Andrew Bird got together, this is the kind of sound that would happen.
March Fourth Marching Band
Portland’s premier (and, well, maybe only) surrealist marching band, a beyond-festive kinetic carnival offering Mardi Gras-style mayhem, big band music, afro beat, the samba and Mexican hustle, gypsy folk, booty-shaking beats and high-flying horn arrangments, and its own troupe of stilt-dancers, fire-spinners, and costumed beauties.
Led by guitarist Terry Six (Exploding Hearts), the Nice Boys execute pitch-perfect power pop and glam rock that would make Cheap Trick, Alex Chilton and Marc Bolan proud. Their self-titled debut album, released last fall, made critics at publications from Spin to Pitchfork take notice.
The Ocean Floor
Songwriter/arranger Lane Barrington, accompanied by his “floorchestra,” creates a singular sort of jazzy, proggy orchestral folk with sophisticated arrangements and whimsical tales – like their album title says – both tall and small. One music publication called them the “collaborative audio equivalent of a Wes Anderson flick.”
Bolstered by bassist Rachel Sakry and drummer Lindy Wood, Per Se is the musical vehicle of singular folk-pop singer/songwriter Anne Adams, whom the Willamette Week calls, “this sweet-voiced angel … one of Portland's quirkier offerings and one of its greatest unknown pop treasures." We couldn’t agree more.
Forget the psychotropics and let the Pink Snowflakes take you to a higher plane with their epic psych-pop, which comes cut with some Black Sabbath-style riffing and generously laced with a mind-bending dose of psychedelic grandeur worthy of the Flaming Lips or Pink Floyd.
Another perfect moniker here. This two piece (Kate Walsh and Liam Kenna, also of The Snuggle Ups) concocts a sound that seems at times to issue from a mini-pop orchestra, with big rock drums, grandiose synths and horns, energetic boy/girl vocals, and addictive melodies that could have you marching for days.
Point Juncture, WA
Epic art-rock/dream-pop in the Broken Social Scene mold, with pretty male + female vocals, dub underpinnings, and well-placed vibraphone and trumpet action to compliment the angular guitars and droning keyboards. And for the record: while their talent is for real, the town of “Point Juncture, WA” is not.
Golden-throated chanteuse and songwriter whose gorgeous, stately work has been backed by players like Adam Selzer and Rachel Blumberg (Norfolk & Western), Joe Haege (31Knots) and Keith Schreiner (Dahlia). Singled out by the famed Mark Kozelek to provide the inaugural release (Repp’s The Absent and the Distant) on his new Caldo Verde label.
Rose, also of ambient pop crew Small Sails, crafts hypnotic music concrète from broken music boxes, taped-together player piano rolls, and other found sounds, objects and instruments. His fusion of modern and archaic music technologies has delighted everyone from the New York Times to Wilco drummer Glen Kotche, who called Rose’s Ceiling Songs his favorite album of 2005.
The Robot Ate Me
Indie experimentalist Ryland Bouchard can charm the pants off you anytime he chooses with a pefectly accessible pop gem, but he’s more likely to lure you down a Lynchian rabbit hole of obscure lyrics and spare, off-kilter instrumental arrangments (drum machine and clarinet, anyone?). Head-scratching, toe-tapping fun.
Call ‘em the PDX Wu-Tang Clan, this collective boasts 11 members (Mo-B, Sapient, Only One, Ethic, Iame, Gold, Al-one, Simple, Illmaculate, DJ Delay, DJ Spark) who’ve taken over the town with a shotgun assault of amazing individual projects. And when they band together on one stage? Unstoppable.
The Shaky Hands
There’s nothing shaky in the least about these Hands, whose jangly, sunkissed brand of country-tinged indie-pop has been winning over the entire country, one blog and music magazine at a time, since the band last played PDX Pop Now!. Also voted Best New Band in this year’s Willamette Week poll.
The Snuggle Ups
Warning: you may find yourself jumping and fist-pumping uncontrollably to this duo’s effervescent electro-pop and its glitchy beats, catchy keyboard melodies and passionate paeans to love and friendship. We’re sad to announce, though, that this will be one of the group’s last performances.
The Soda Pop Kids
Like a furiously shaken can of Mountain Dew cracked open. Highly-caffeinated old-school rock ‘n’ roll in thrall to the twin spirits of ’77 and ’57, with glam-punk guitar riffs, hard-charging drums and crazed rockabilly yelps that’ll keep the party up all night long.
The Sort Ofs
The duo of singer/songwriter Chris Robley and drummer John Stewart produces urgent, prog-influenced power-pop distinguished by some sweet keyboards, sweeter harmonies and perfect craft. “Why,” asked the Portland Mercury, “aren't the Sorts Ofs, like, the hugest, biggest, most famous-est indiepop band in PDX?”
We already knew about songwriter Josh Hodges’ stellar talent from Sexton Blake and gladly welcome his new guise. SF finds him playing one-man-band with the samples and synths and guitars, but now, with the drums more centrally located, his wispy bedroom pop swirls around an even bigger beat.
Swim Swam Swum
This trio has been compared to last-decade indie rockers like Knapsack and the Promise Ring, but forget about the references and let yourself get caught up and carried away in the current of their bright and catchy post-punk. Don’t worry: their loping rhythms and buoyant melodies will keep you afloat.
System and Station
Let’s call it that classic Pacific Northwest indie-rock sound. With its sophisticated multi-part song arrangements, intricate guitar and keyboard lines, and twitchy sense of urgency, System and Station may evoke Built to Spill, Sunny Day Real Estate or Modest Mouse. The band remains, though, a destination unto itself.
Fast-rising young indie orchestra with nearly a dozen members (whose median age is 19) and which – with its grand instrumentation and alternation between sepia-toned ballads, twisted sea chanteys and epic rockers – can resemble a fresher-faced The Decemberists or Arcade Fire.
Inspired by its namesake – the beloved Slaughterhouse-Five author – and a slew of eclectic bands (everyone from The Ronettes and The Small Faces to Wire and Daniel Johnston), this ensemble offers a sharp and unique gloss on minimalist post-punk.
The electro-noise duo combines dense digital skronk, pummeling drum machines and feedback-laden guitar to stir up oceanic waves of psychedelic sound. Sometimes serene and sometimes full of apocalyptic fury, the music of Yellow Swans is never less than riveting.