"He's like an ambient R. Kelly," describes one girl to her friend. Both are waiting outside of Portland's Holocene for How To Dress Well, the project of solo musician Tom Krell, to take the stage. As simultaneously flattering and unflattering any comparisons to R. Kelly might be, they are, in this case, not entirely appropriate or accurate. Tom Krell of How To Dress Well is not R. Kelly though he may have a cadence that is similar. Nor are the differences found in both musicians' adoration of '90s R&B, which in Krell's case, was evidenced by slyly inserted homages to songs like INOJ's "Love You Down" and R. Kelly's "I Wish". Obvious fact of race aside, what separates Krell from a musician like R. Kelly is stage presence. Whereas one might expect R. Kelly to sloppily fall on his knees and babble when seized by the power and might of soul music, watching Krell is arresting in a completely different way. Krell is certainly brimming with passion, but in a much more reserved sense, coming off sometimes more as a choir boy than a soul singer. One almost wishes at times that he would throw more caution into the wind, to not only sing words with conviction, but to get a little less controlled, more possessed, and more anything goes in his entire being.
Portland, OR @ Holocene - June 14th, 2012

 

When others introduced Geist & The Sacred Ensemble to me as "weird folk-psych," I knew immediately that I would find in them a welcome change from more common interpretations of modern psychedelic music. To my surprise, though, what I soon found within the gritty confines...

The short West coast tour pairing of Narrows and Retox answered the question, "What happens when supergroups and side-projects collide?" Can each individual entity within the group find content in wearing his new skin? Or will he shed it like a bloody husk once the tour is over to pursue past glories instead? As Narrows and Retox feature a smattering of individuals from the likes of The Locust, Botch, These Arms Are Snakes, and Unbroken, to name a few, your previous coveting of those names may implore you to read further.

 

Rotture -- Portland, OR -- 22 May 2012 Photography by Mitchell Wojcik

 

 

There is no real way to write this review without making it a personal journey of one kid's hardcore/punk ideals slowly but surely being whittled away by the realities of the world around him, until he finally realizes that as he grows older, the world doesn't necessarily grow old with him. For me, at least, that is how it seems. As the friend I attended the show with said it best, he first saw Rise Against opening for the Mad Caddies at The Vera Project in Seattle. I'm not one to generalize -- but I venture to say it's a fair guess that 99% of the crowd attending the arena spectacle of Rise Against and A Day to Remember at the ShoWare Center in Kent has no idea who the Mad Caddies are, or were even aware that at a time ska was actually a respectable genre. April 19th, 2012 @ ShoWare Center, Kent

 

What is there to say about a Dan Deacon concert that hasn't already been said? He's probably one of the most photographed and documented live acts in recent years -- and especially considering his studio albums are decent at best, covering the Baltimore native is...

Holocene - Portland, OR - 2011 / November 9 It's been a fascinating and, from a fan's perspective, incredibly fun year for Brooklyn disco-rock revivalists Holy Ghost! The band finally released their anticipated debut album on DFA Records, the label that has essentially raised the band...

This probably won't be the most "professional" review ever -- but in my shaky defense, I dare say that previous revisions were even more visceral and less sophisticated than this one...