2014 was an amazing time for music, and this year, rather than asking the Gina Altamura and Van Pham of the interdisciplinary Portland venue and nightclub Holocene to list their favorite up-and-coming Portland musicians, we decided to give them the opportunity to highlight their favorite shows of 2014, both local and international. The dynamic result is not exclusively Holocene-centric, and definitely gives ample nods to Portland's experimental music scene.
PHOTO: SZA @ Holocene, Courtesy of Red Bull Sound Select SEE ALL POSTS RELATED TO: PORTLAND MUSICIANS + HOLOCENE PORTLAND  

This week, I found myself at Portland's Doug Fir Lounge three days in a near row. While it is perhaps my second must frequented venue after Holocene, rarely do I have the chance to go so many times in one week, and to observe such varying acts. Hence, in celebration of today's full moon in Gemini -- just like our Intuitive Navigation event tomorrow eve at Holocene -- I shall endeavor a twin review of two notable female acts: Bay Area R&B singer Goapele and indie rock veteran My Brightest Diamond, both of whom put on great shows, but in vastly different ways and to vastly differing crowds. The full moon represents the femininity and intuition, and today's Full Moon in Gemini (during a Sagittarius month) looks to the twin sign for an outwards celebration of life.
My Brightest Diamond and Goapele Live Show Review at Doug Fir Lounge  

As music fans and college radio DJs descend upon NYC this week, those of us who are already here are taking stock on the music scene as it stands. Last year, the CMJ Music Marathon saw a heavy representation from indie bands that were making their festival debut, such as Speedy Ortiz and Hunters, who then took off in the media instantly after. This year shows great promise, with buzz bands like Twin Peaks, PAWS, Gem Club, Blue Hawaii, and Adult Jazz playing, as well as stalwarts like Obits, A Place to Bury Strangers, and Cold War Kids returning the to fray -- along with the anticipated reunion of shoegaze legends Slowdive (and Low opening!). And, of course, it wouldn't be CMJ without a slew of brand new band hoping to get their big break. CMJ Music Marathon 2014 As always, the lineup for CMJ 2014 is diverse -- but something we appreciated seeing was that there seems to be an increase of girl bands and female solo artists. It is notable to mention that this year's CMJ has also extended its reach to large group of new venues, concentrated mostly in Brooklyn. Here are our top picks, though many more are listed on CMJ.com!

Captured Tracks has figured out that the formula to creating a successful label is to have no specific formula: just do what feels right, and do it for the artists, not for yourself. The Brooklyn-based record label works hard at getting new artists exposure rather than getting themselves exposure; they've built up a reputation as a great label on word of mouth, and label owner Mike Sniper uses his intuition when making big decisions.
Captured Tracks Record Label Feature
"We're a young company going about the music industry in what we think is the standard way, but it turns out we've been doing it pretty differently. There's no ethos or philosophy, per se. We're not looking for our label to be the topic of a release; we want the artist to be the focus. If exploiting whatever C/T is helps get a new artist's music out in the world, than that's great." - Mike Sniper, Founder of Captured Tracks

 

Philosophy and spirituality intertwine in this amazing three-part narrative for How To Dress Well's latest record, What Is This Heart?. Directed by Johannes Greve Muskat, this three-part trilogy for "Repeat Pleasure", "Face Again", and Childhood Faith In Love" touch upon dramatic themes of "how to live and love and die right, in a world that makes these things so difficult." Read on for a compare and contrast interview between How To Dress Well's Tom Krell and Muskat, as they speak about the videos themes, symbolism, and more. REDEFINE will be co-presenting a night with How To Dress Well at Portland's Holocene on August 25th, 2014. Click the poster at right for details!

How To Dress Well - "Repeat Pleasure" Music Video (Part 1 of 3 of What Is This Heart? Trilogy)

You have an extensive scholarly background in Philosophy. This intellectual pursuit might at first glance seem incongruous with the deep mysticism of a shamanic figure like the one you play in “Face Again". How do you reflect on and make peace with your own relationship between the mystic and the intellectual, the cerebral and the spiritual?
“Whoa this is like 100% right on; I've always been interested in how to navigate these two modes, mystical-musical and the controlled-rational-philosophical. Not sure I have a full-blown answer yet. I think they are on the one hand incongruous modes and then on the other hand, I think they can contribute to each other obliquely." - Tom Krell, How To Dress Well

How To Dress Well - "Face Again" Music Video (Part 2 of 3 of What Is This Heart? Trilogy)

Speaking of Philosophy, your video for "Childhood Faith in Love" seems to point to an understanding of the child almost more akin to that "child" of Nietzsche's in Thus Spoke Zarathustra -- the Child as the final stage in a number of metamorphoses, as an advanced state of self-legislation and freedom that is only attained after a good deal of hardship and deep inner searching. Are we on the right track here? If so, why is this theme to be important to touch upon at this point in your life?
"I love you, you just so totally get me :) I've spoken before about a 'second naivete' as well -- something along precisely these lines." - Tom Krell, How To Dress Well

How To Dress Well - "Childhood Faith In Love" Music Video (Part 3 of 3 of What Is This Heart? Trilogy)

 

Candide - Don't Let Go EP Album Review
Heavily inspired by an extended trip to Berlin, Candide is the duo of Candice Strongwater and Adam Brodsky, who imported the city's European sounds to their home in Brooklyn, creating a brand of dark and sultry disco that is equally inspired by Rhythm & Sound as Donna Summers and Bee Gees. This could be the alternate soundtrack to the summer of 1977, if the disco clubs had acknowledged the paranoia and dread of the Son Of Sam running rampant, while still losing themselves in the sweltering heat of romantic dancefloor abandon.

Phone Call - I'll Get My Coat Music Video
It's been a hot minute since a Portland band has possessed so much of their own force and flair, but draw your attention to Phone Call, who are now bringing their sound outside of local view for the first time with their latest 12", out on Aerobic International. The duo, comprised of Johnny Ziegler and Bailey Winters, formerly of local dance heroes Strength, is swaggerific; Zeigler's throwback funkiness bears endless satisfaction, and Winter's ability to install any lyricism with mad steez is seriously impressive. Never before hath grabbing a coat from a coat rack sounded so damn enticing (read: so as to go home and get down and dirty), and such playful, loving filth is just what one can expect from Phone Call. (And all the better that no soul or legitimacy is lost along the way...) Below, you can view two video clips associated to "I'll Get My Coat". The first is the slick new music video, directed by Portland's Lymay Iwasaki and edited by the band themselves, with coloration by Benji Brucker that adds a great deal of polish and gravitas. The second is a live performance taken from REDEFINE magazine's 2014 Intuitive Navigation Show, where Bobby Smith of Sex Life DJs was on visuals duty. The all-around level of satisfying simplicity is almost too good for this modern age.