Belgium's Kabul Golf Club sound like a less frenetic version of The Locust combined with a less sassy version of The Blood Brothers. This isn't meant in a bad way on either account. The band pulls in some grimy sludge that The Locust can't take the time to create and The Blood Brothers were too polished to want around. It is an oddly approachable jam that has a perfect low-cost music video to accompany their sound. They've recently released an EP called le bal du rat mort, and you can check them out further on Facebook and their website.
What some of us might call the Pacific Northwest's best music festival -- and maybe the next and more relaxed SXSW -- is Musicfest NW, a multi-day spread across Portland's best venues. Featuring diverse and exceptional booking, we've split our coverage this year between indie staples, unconventional dance acts, and heavy riffers. Over the course of four days, we gush about everyone from Hot Snakes to The Helio Sequence, Mean Jeans to Omar Souleyman, John Maus to Pure Bathing Culture... and many more, including Swans, Beirut, and Chelsea Wolfe, to name a few.
TEXT BY VIVIAN HUA & ERIK BURG; PHOTOGRAPHY BY LYMAY IWASAKI & NATHAN WATTERS
SEE FULL FESTIVAL RECAP & PHOTO GALLERY
When Red Fang’s beardy, Pabst-swilling selves took the stage at Roseland Theater, the crowd thundered with a hand-clapping, foot-stomping welcome as driving as the band’s opening notes. In a bill consisting of them, Hungry Ghost, and Hot Snakes, Red Fang were easily the crowd favorites of the night. They built off of the unintentionally playful sonics of Hungry Ghost by one-upping similar rhythms and stylistic shifts into much gnarlier and more interesting territory. With every seemingly mediocre or white bread songwriting move came the crust of a more delicious lick; their beastly instrumental slaughtering led to their carving out juicy hunks of musical turkey, next to what had previously been cold and bland deli meat. Red Fang have gained an extensive following locally and beyond in recent years, and the ease with which they toe the line between accessibility and unpredictable manipulation is one main reason. Even those who can’t stand their brand of rock can appreciate that they do what they do with a high caliber of professionalism and an impressive display of confidence. - VIVIAN HUA
SEE ALSO: CHARITABLE MUSICIANS: RED FANG BENEFIT PORTLAND ARTS EDUCATION (W/ INTERVIEW)
What some of us might call the Pacific Northwest's best music festival -- and maybe the next and more relaxed SXSW -- is Musicfest NW, a multi-day spread across Portland's best venues. Featuring diverse and exceptional booking, this year's picks have been written by three writers, each with unique tastes, to do the festival justice.
Wednesday, 11:00pm @ Roseland Theatre
Relatively newly reformed band Hot Snakes saddened the post-hardcore world (and beyond) when they exited the scene after the release of their last record, Audit In Progress. Catch them while you can. - VIVIAN HUA
Thursday, 11:00pm @ Berbati's
Canadian electronic duo Purity Ring released a fantastic debut album called "Shrines" on 4AD this summer. Though full of mystical electronic layers, the duo's music has a very fresh and pristine sound apt for their band name. Megan James' tender voice sparkles among a bright and absorbing waterfall of percussive sounds and beats. - KARLA HERNANDEZ
Friday, 6:30pm @ Holocene
This panel will explore how dance and movement intersect with modern music videos. Select music videos will be screened, followed by an open community dialogue with associated dancers, directors, and musicians. Topics covered may include differences in dance styles among different musical genres, trends of modern dance in contemporary music video, and spontaneity versus choreography in the creative process. A related brochure, featuring Q&A with directors and musicians, will be distributed with further information about the participants and videos screened.
SEE ALSO: MOTION & MOVEMENT IN MUSIC VIDEOS EVENT ANNOUNCEMENT
Friday, 11:30pm @ Doug Fir
Black Mountain are one of the best psych-rock bands out there because no matter how far out the songs get into space, the band always keeps your feet grounded onto Earth. - PETER WOODBURN
Saturday, 12:00am @ Dour Fir Lounge
The lesser of Spencer Krug’s numerous projects, Moonface have quietly put out three impressive albums over the course of the past few years. It’s less Wolf Parade and more Sunset Rubdown, if you’re familiar with Krug’s other work, but it also brandishes its own dark, loud mystique. This year’s With Siinai: Heartbreaking Bravery showcases the groups imaginative and unique song writing skills, a heavy and heady album that deserves praise. With all the rotating, busy pieces in the band it’s worth catching Moonface when you can, as they might not ever come around again. - ERIK BURG
It is no secret that the economic depression that has commanded the nation for the past four years has taken its toll on everyone. School districts nationwide are especially feeling the budget crisis, as falling tax revenues has forced some to get creative. Be it via hacking a month off of the school year or forcing teachers to take furlough days, it is, in the end, students who lose out most from these funding struggles.
Portland's favorite beard metal band Red Fang are more known for their PBR-swilling music videos and heavy riffs than they are their level of social engagement. But when the Grant High School art department needed some funds to keep the art flowing, Red Fang did what all good metal bands would do: threw a benefit show. Like a carwash fundraiser, only with less bikinis, more beer, and more beards.
In this interview, Red Fang's vocalist and bassist Aaron Beam talks about why the band got involved, and Maliq Rogers, a Sophomore at Grant High School, explains what impact the budget cuts have on his band, Hell's Parish, and the other students at the school.
"I think we need to re-program society to put a bigger emphasis on the arts, so that it would be inexcusable to cut an arts programs funding in the public schools." -- Aaron Beam
The Bumbershoot Festival always throws together one of the more eclectic line-ups in the nation, with a fair combination of "must see"'s, "I've heard about them"'s, and "who the hell are these people"'s spanning across all genres in the musical world. So, with a packed...
One of the best aspects of Musicfest NW is its intimate club settings. Whereas most music festivals are synonymous with enormous outdoor stages designed to fit tens of thousands of people, Portland sticks to its quirky Portland roots and packs seething masses of people into sweaty, energy-filled bars and venues. One major perk of this indoor setting is that the festival can book major metal shows without scaring off the locals and more timid music listeners. And with that said, that is where I found myself most of the time -- in the face of thrashing riffs and flowing locks of hair.
Portland's Red Fang had a big night at Musicfest NW. The band was opening up for eventual metal legends Baroness and had also just inked a deal through Relapse Records to bring out their drink-ariffic metal tunes to the masses. So, inside the cozy confines of Dante's, tall boys of PBR and Tecate in hand, the crowd was ready to let Red Fang fly. But Red Fang didn't so much as fly as they steamrolled. The Portland quartet plays an interesting type of metal, less confined by creative riffs and more in the constant search of the ultimate head-banging guitar line. Personally, I think they found it with their beer drinking anthem of "Prehistoric Dog" (seriously, just watch the music video), which closed out a set that was equal parts old stuff, equal parts new stuff, and a bit of the stuff in between.
Not to mention one of the best music videos of the year in all of its cheap beer glory. Portland's Red Fang are one of those stoner metal bands that are all the rage right now but oh my oh my if this song...