Indie Rock

Breathtaker Actually Did Give Me a Shock

It’s been a while since a song happily shocked me with a good screaming section, but local band Breathtaker just did it. This group, of which I had been previously ignorant, submitted their music to us this week, and I put on their newest album Revelations without knowing what to expect. The submission was listed as Indie, the album art suggested maybe something a little avant-garde; only the name seemed a bit more dramatic than most indie groups, but even that, I thought, I could see from some indie groups.

Partway through opener track “Kingsbury,” when I was thinking Breathtaker might be going for a kind-of dreary, melodic indie with a post-rock bent kinda thing (which I was digging, by the way), a wild dissonant note hit and the screaming began . It was actually a little hair-raising in a literal way, after me not expecting it. And that's because it was good screaming, earned and welcome and well-done, exceptionally balanced against the instrumentation and used as one ingredient in the wider paradigm of a well-structured piece of music. I liked it, and the rest of the 11 track album was thought out with equal attention and care if not quite as surprising as that initial screaming shock.

I wouldn’t dream to genre a band differently than they do themselves, but indie here more represents the “independent musicians” definition than it does a sound for Breathtaker, at least in relation to what “indie” bands in Austin typically sound like. If, however, I were to try and describe Breathtaker to one of my high school friends from Amarillo who were into the surprisingly extensive screaming music scene there in the mid 2000s, I’d say that they’re a band that’s on the artsier side of what some people call hardcore, and which some just call emo. That last term is culturally deficient to describe these guys - it is far too broad and I really doubt they use it to refer to themselves at any point - but it does the trick in 2015 to get you in the right mind of what to expect from Breathtaker. If you are or ever were the kind of person who thought that screaming rock music had something awesome to offer (like we do), Breathtaker is a new entry in that particular segment of Music with Screaming. That people keep making interesting things happen with music like this proves that it's a segment that is a powerful space where quality experimentation can occur, and out of which some damn good tracks, like "Kingsbury," can come. Get listening below.

   

Radio Free Universe @ This Ain't Hollywood

Radio Free Universe struck gold at the Horseshoe Tavern Monday night, putting on a fierce and bold rock n’ roll showcase performance. Stopping you in your tracks with a wickedly large vocal by front man, George Panagopoulos; his voice is layered and carried by pure rock n’ roll sounds. RFU showcased their pre-release single “American Gun” , it’s a huge track that rushes you like a speeding train. It opens with familiar throbbing drum beats that get your boots stompin’, then rolls sweetly into an unforgettable vocal that rips hard to wailing guitars. Stay tuned this Sept for RFU’s EP release of Casa Del Diablo. But you don’t have to wait too long to see them again, Radio Free Universe is playing Friday 4/17 @ This Ain’t Hollywood.

   

Deli Video Premiere: Get "Hot & Heavy" with Molasses Jones' New Video

Boston-area blues rockers Molasses Jones have released a new video into the vastness of the Internet and if you know what’s good for you, you’ll watch it, listen to it, and tell all your friends about it. Shot in-studio at Ugly Duck Recording Studios in Allston during the recording of their new single, “Hot & Heavy”, the production quality of both the song and video are extremely well-done. Carried by a ridiculously catchy main riff and strong, smooth vocals from lead singer John Zapato, this song is the perfect soundtrack for a warm-weather BBQ, lounging in your backyard, or cruisin’ down the highway to nowhere in particular.

 For more info about Molasses Jones, check them out here.

-Dan McMahon (@dmcmhn)

Photo credit: @bengebo
  

Live at Ugly Duck: Molasses Jones - "Hot & Heavy" from Corey Fein on Vimeo.

   

Expert Alterations change cassette EP to 12", tour.

In early 2014, Expert Alterations self-released a self-titled cassette EP. Now they've teamed up with Slumberland Records for a limited edition vinyl release. It's as solid a collection of contemporary post-punk as you can hope to hear. It's got jangle and drone, energetic guitars and lackadaisical vocals. The low-fi sound and vocal delivery are reminiscent of Sebadoh, but the songs are quick, their structure and the rhythm section, alternately bouncy and insistent, channel punk like Minutemen and Wire. They jam econo, and the EP is over much too fast, prompting repeated listens.  

You can pre-order now for a June 1st release. In the meantime, Expert Alterations are going on a short tour, starting April 18th at Baltimore Soundstage (where they will be opening for The Buzzcocks--Yes!). You can also catch them April 21st at Metro Gallery (w/ Peach Kelli Pop--also Yes!--along with Baltimore's Boy Spit and Moist--mmmmm), before they head to the boroughs of NY for some Fests.  --Natan Press

   

The Hunt is On: Record Store Day 2015

Record Store Day is on Saturday—the best day of the year to stand in line and fight over rare vinyl releases while supporting local businesses. This year, Portland record stores will stock hundreds of RSD exclusive releases, including some local treats.

In October, Blitzen Trapper recorded Neil Young’s Harvest in full at the Doug Fir. Score the live album Live Harvest on Saturday. Listen to their take on “Heart of Gold” before you buy the record.

Eyelids, Portland’s psych-pop super group, are releasing a split 7” with The Phoenix Foundation, produced by Peter Buck.

Pickathon partnered with Easy Sound Recording Company to release a split 7” of Those Darlins and Diarrhea Planet (both from Nashville) recorded live at the festival last summer. Preview the tracks here.

Jackpot Records is releasing a limited edition record of short-lived Portland band No. 2’s No Memory. Mixed by Elliott Smith, the album is “the missing link between the end of Heatmiser and the beginning of Elliott Smith’s major label debut,” according to Jackpot.

In store performances abound throughout the day. Everyday Music on the Westside will feature DJ sets by members of Typhoon, Modern Kin, Laura Veirs, Summer Cannibals, and more, plus performances by Edna Vasquez, Ryan Sollee (Builders and the Butchers), Sam Coomes (Quasi), The Shivas, The Ghost Ease, The Ganders, and the Dandy Warhols. See the full schedule here.

Tender Loving Empire will host an officially unofficial RSD party at their SE Hawthorne store featuring Genders, Ali Muhareb, and Run On Sentence.

Jackpot will pour you free coffee if you peruse their shop or stop in for their DJ sets.

Across town, Music Millennium will host Portland punk legends, Dead Moon.

Make sure you check out early opening times for your favorite record store, and study the release list ahead of time.

Happy Record Store Day!

-Zibby Pillote