It's Showtime For Aura!

I’m sure I’m one of many who drove down Free Street or up Center Street since last summer and started cursing after passing the Civic Center seeing all the road blocks and re-directions. At first, it was a barrage of loud unmentionables coming from my mouth. Then a nice peaceful realization crossed my mind as I saw the reason for the hold up. I stared up at a three story mountain of glass windows and…

Down the Path with a Flashlight: An Interview with Chad Clark of Beauty Pill

In 2015, the D.C. artist and musician Chad Clark released his band Beauty Pill's new album, Describes Things As They Are, a full 11 years after the group's previous release.   In that time, Clark was writing for NPR, composing musical scores for theater projects and art museum exhibitions, and recovering from surgery to fix a heart condition that nearly took his life. It was that event in particular that infuses Clark's sprawling and gorgeously…

Teach your children well

My folks are the best. I was extremely lucky to have the greatest parents growing up. They treated me so well, always looked out for me, taught me the right lessons and I think instilled a great perspective on how to go about life. I owe everything to my mother and father and I love them with all of my heart and soul. That being said, I’m still pretty pissed off they never put a…

Matt Cosby and Jeremiah Freed’s Light Flickering Life Change

Just prior to the starting collapse of the music industry as we know it about 15 years ago or so, our music community got to sneak a few acts in the door before all hell broke loose.  As some of you may remember, toward the end of the '90s we had a couple of shots. Unfortunately, the lack of follow through on some of those shots (Rustic Overtones, As Fast As, 6Gig) was no fault…

Joe Royland: Death of a Music Salesman

Earlier this week, Transworld (the music and DVD retail company that owned Tape World, Record Town, Coconuts and Strawberries) closed its FYE location in the Maine Mall after 34 years of business. The big “SALE” signs, the pop culture toys and the “Ask Me About Pre-Ordering The Fast and the Furious 27 dvd” name tag buttons are all packed up for good. The only thing that remains is the ghostly cries of a former customer,…

Myles Bullen urges Portland to Wake Up in latest music video

It’s probably easy for you to show compassion to someone who’s similar to you, pleasant, or successful. But are you willing to offer someone support when it’s difficult or uncomfortable? Most of us consider ourselves to be good people. To those that virtue signal on social media, or claim to be filled to the brim with positivity, do you extend those good vibes to a homeless person on the street or a refugee that can…

Foam Castles' Dark and Fluttery 'Bird Death'

Over the decade since Tyler Jackson began writing and recording as Foam Castles, his weird-ass songs and structures have evolved into something definitively his. Of course, the 10 songs and 29 minutes of Bird Death, Jackson’s eighth full-length album, have a lineage too. A Bob Pollard vibe is inarguable; thinner traces of Robyn Hitchcock show up. Portland’s sadly dead Metal Feathers made a dent. This album’s “Inside After the Gold Rush” betrays less Neil Young…

Would there be rock 'n' roll without Chuck Berry?

Here's a story on possibly the biggest regret of my life in the music industry. A few years back, I read some wonderful news. I read that Chuck Berry still maintained a performance residency at Blueberry Hill, one of his favorite nightclubs in St. Louis. Since 1996, Chuck played there once a month, every single month. For almost two decades, the man most people credit with being the father of rock ‘n’ roll was right…

A chat with the vaporwave wizard behind Lyokha

James Cooper is a self-described sonic alchemist and electronic music producer of the otherworldly trio Lyokha. Specializing in a dreamy, synth-and-sample heavy style of music borne out of a close-knit but all-inclusive subculture, Cooper creates sounds as amorphous and layered as the people listen to them and the culture that surrounds them. Everyone reacts to his music in his or her own unique way, pulling from personal memory banks to connect to whatever nostalgia the…

An Interview with Martin Barre of Jethro Tull

This week, the classic rock guitarist Martin Barre, who played with the iconic classic rock band Jethro Tull for 43 years, comes to Portland. Now 75, Barre is fully focused on his solo career, after tensions between band members of Jethro Tull — most notably lead singer and flute player Ian Anderson — have splintered the group. The Phoenix spoke with him about a life in music and reckoning with history.   Hi Martin. You…
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