Contemporary Band — An Interview with Colin Newman of Wire

If you don't have a ticket to see Wire, the legendary English art-rock band formed in 1976 by Colin Newman, Graham Lewis, Bruce Gilbert, and Robert Gotobed, we don't know what to tell you. The show's been out since late spring. Still, we jumped at the chance to discuss the band's adventurous career in a surprisingly long and thoughtful conversation with singer and guitarist Colin Newman, who spoke to the Phoenix via Skype from his…

Five of the Eyes drop sprawling first album 'The Venus Transit'

If I had a criticism prepared for The Venus Transit, the first full-length by Five of the Eyes, it would have been that the band registered too studiously as disciples of The Mars Volta, that cultish, amazing, inscrutable El Paso band. Based on a couple years-old live shows and scattered tracks online, I expected a total sonic fealty to the aughties post-punk prog group, maybe with a little At the Drive-In sprinkled in. But that…

Never gone — The unremitting spirit of Forget, Forget

One of my favorite lines on You’re Not Gone, the second album from Portland-based duo Forget, Forget, arrives midway through “Seashells,” track five. It’s when Patia Maule sings "let’s get takeout and go see a show.” Kind of a throwaway line, and an odd one to find refreshing or unique. But it’s unlike almost every other lyric on the album in that it’s absent some intention to move, to inspire, or to connect. The etymology of the…

My Record Store Pet Peeves

I don’t want to come off like a snarky music person. I know with some of my music rants, readers might think I’m a bit touchy with music. That’s the point, I guess. These articles come from someone who has something to say about music and all that goes on with it. When I rant, I rant because I care, my friends.  At the end of the day, do what works for you. I can…

Goodbye, Summertime — Time to Fall Back In Love With Local Music

It’s not super well-known, but I’m a very nostalgic, sentimental type of person. So as we approach the "end of summer" this Labor Day weekend I’m already looking back at all the live concerts that dropped on us for 2017. It was a super busy summer.  A reason for that is a competitive market. Big venues feature big artists fighting for big dollars. The addition of new venues like Aura also busied things up a…

Double Negative — Rap Artist Brzowski Drops Fiery Third Album 'ENMITYVILLE'

"When I was young, the art world was where you went to be a failure," says a mysterious audio sample opening the first track from ENMITYVILLE, a new album by Portland “post-rap” artist BRZOWSKI. “It was a chosen profession. You chose to be a failure.” For a Portland artist that’s been working in a genre as long as many of its most passionate adherents have been alive, this should sound like some next-level irony. But…

This Machine Kills Doubt — An Anderson's Incredible 'Very Machine' is more vital than ever

If you were to peer in on American life from the era of pre- and early-Internet, you’d have no idea what was going on. Back then, men who wanted to make complicated, noisy instrumental music were everywhere. All over the country, basements were deployed for the purposes of improving the sound of noisy, rhythmic instrumental bands, and the friendships of those who played in them. Disaffected rock fans wanted to little more than to come…

Missed Connection — Leverett Release Final Album 'Wires & Tubes'

For a band on the precipice of breaking up, the amount of trust and respect the four musicians of Portland rock band Leverett demonstrate is palpable. Evolved years ago from a solo project by bandleader Jesse Gertz, the cohort’s first official full-length as a foursome, Wires & Tubes, is both a ravenously complex modern record and a lesson in how to share and delegate responsibilities. A chirpy opener shows the group in full gallop, strutting…

Sounds Good, But Not To Me: Music We Just Can't Get Into

The most dangerous part of being a music fan is that I like so much music. At a young age in the '70s I can remember being exposed to bands like Spyro Gyra, The Platters, Devo, Cheap Trick, Buddy Rich, Claudio Villa, and The Bee Gees to name a few. As I grew up and started to make new friends, I watched MTV practically from day one, so I have all that pop and new…

Happy Anniversary Already — Why Do We Celebrate Music Before It’s Due?

Have you noticed music acts are celebrating album anniversaries all the time now? Between reissue releases, box sets and tours, there’s no way to dodge these anniversaries, and I have to be honest, it’s getting a bit annoying.  Why is there this need to honor and celebrate so much these days? And when we do celebrate why aren’t we waiting for a more appropriate, time tested opportunity? Every time you turn around lately some emo…
Subscribe to this RSS feed