— L.T. PAGE —
I found L.T. Page through Phoenix of Soul Psych records and so happy I did because I’ve literally been consuming it ever since in my daily car travels. There is truly not many with a range as wide as L.T. in the dreamy psych pop/rock realm. His 2018 release Snapshots is his best yet in my opinion. Following his debut album release of Framents of a Dream which has more Beatles meets Animal Collective. Compared to his newest stuff which is more similar to Kevin Ayers, Brian Eno, David Bowie, Flaming Lips, and Spacemen 3 if anything it’s so unique and yet so great it feels like listening to a supergroup from the early 60’s and it’s just a guy. When I say just a guy I mean that in the realest of ways, yet I don’t even believe it myself.
2014 L.T. released the album The Orange Room which took me by surprise the first time I heard it. More similar to his first then latest but replace The Beatles with Daniel Johnston and Ozzy. He truly is a musical genius and he’s so underrated for his wide array of skills. Okay, he is from Vancouver… But so are The Shivas. I’d honestly say snapshots is now one of my favorite albums of the year. If only we could convince him to come play it for us all because I will definitely be at the next show he puts on, even if it is in Vancouver. (😊😂😉) Maybe, just maybe, he’ll let us host his return to live shows. I’d pay for that myself.
— The English Language —
I found The English Language awhile back and officially moved them up closer & closer to the top of our best bands in town list to now reside in our top 10 as the closest thing I’ve heard in town to Thee Oh Sees With hints of the best sounds of blues/pop hitmakers such as the Beatles and Stones or even the Velvet Underground. With amazing riffs that range from soft to hard in the same riff. Beautiful transitions and rock hard passion and heart behind every song and album.
Their newest “Mother Tongue”, released in July of this year, is hands down their best LP yet, saying quite a bit after they’re self titled debut release and their next two “This is Science/ Rock & Roll” and “Happy Horror” which are all spectacular works of psychedelic garage punk at its finest. This album is a hard one to pick a favorite from because it’s entirely amazing and I’ve never stopped it once from playing all the way through.
If I were to choose one band to put my money on in this genre it’d be these guys. And that’s saying a lot with bands like Black Fruit and others that easily are well deserving of that nod as well.
When you need to pass time in this place we all call home; The English Language is a recipe for lost thoughts and long nights in trances of musical turbulence and treacherous tensions of strings. The English Language has me strung out on what is to come next from this Portland Powerhouse_ purely appropriate at any time.
Kyle Langlois – Guitar
Patrick White – Bass
Drew McKenna – Drums
— The Swamp Boys —
I stumbled onto The Swamp Boys not long ago and was blown away by their sheer passion and skill at such an early age and stage in their music careers. Michael Phillips, the lead guitarist, has an essence of Eric Clapton with a backbone in blues and a vision that blends the past with the future like a well filmed movie, it just all works well and comes together in the end. A blend of surf meets blues meets country with a hint of punk makes for a wide range and a recipe for great rock and roll.
Bahked is likely the first of many more to come and this is definitely a band to keep your eyes and ears on going into the future of blues today. You can feel the eagerness and yet sense little nervousness from the entire crew and even though they’re EP is amazingly clean all the way through, they’re live shows are even better and will have your body not knowing what to exactly do consistently but that it better be doing something. Had me wanting to do the twist and mosh within the same song or even sit aside a creek with a keg of beer and a big bag of weed, maybe slide down a mountain or drive down a long country road without a care in the world but the freedom in front of you and the girl beside your side.
MELT is a great local psych band in town that has influences in blues, post punk, and surf and will keep your mind and feet moving. They have released 3 EPs since their inception in 2014, all released 2016 or newer. Fun House, their first EP, is full of jams including “Take a Walk” and “Crawlin”. Their 2nd EP Black Gold was anything but Sophomoric and shows their progression in sound while still staying true to their roots and giving us another great jamming trip album with only hits like the title track “Black Gold” , and the remaining jams; “ I Got A Gun” , “The Sikha” , and my personal favorite “Can I Get Yr Flavor” a cool climbing melody.
They have just released there newest Album titled Pick a Fight with a some amazing songs like “Bedroom Blues” about taking acid alone in your bedroom and “Can’t Pick a Fight (With a Ghost) with great melody and chorus “…I don’t know what you want me to do…” Well I would never tell ’em to change a thing. MELT is certainly one of the best newer bands in town!
—- PRIDS —-
are a local band influenced by Bowie and Sonic Youth among many others and have a great unique sound of their own. Just had the pleasure of speaking with their lead guitarist and vocalist before their Bunk Bar show yesterday. They had two great local bands open for them as well (Pacific Lattitudes and Motrik) to start the show off without a hitch. I was truly captured by them first at Psych Fest as they had the crowd in the palms of their hands the entire time. Their new 2x LP is self released and is incredible. Soon to be added to our featured new albums it’s titled Do I Look Like I’m in Love with great tracks throughout such as “English Treasures”, one of my favorites. These four have their shit together to say the least. An amazing show and what a year so far for one of the best bands still around in town after almost two decades of music. Finally getting Willamette Weekly’s Album of the year this year. You can only purchase it at their shows at this time. So get out and go to one!
—- THE SHIVAS —-
The Shivas are a garage psyche rock band that have crept into my psyche ever more over the years being a local band to me in Portland. Rachel and I truly discovered them a bit later then I can imagine we should have at a concert at the Liqour Store with the Death Valley Girls and the Tamed West.
The Shivas began recording in 2008 and are fronted by lead guitarist and vocalist Jared Molyneux as well as drummer and vocalist Kristin Leonard and Bassists/ vocalist Eric Shanafelt. They have a unique blend of mellow and flowy surf melodies and riffs along with the occasional surge of passion that protrudes from their sound with such pressureless and pure freedom. Their 2012 debut vinyl LP Whiteout holds true to that feeling of perfection without structure. The ultimate chillout album for the end of your trip to relax and remember not everything has to be rushed and even when its not it can be overlooked and forgotten. Though i cannot say either can or will be done with regards to their work.
You know what to do is their 2014 lp that has reminders of nancy sinatra guitar riffs that are reminiscent of songs you’d hear in Quentin Tarantino films. Beautiful harmonies and melodies that transition into post punk bursts of energy with timing that is essentially kept to keep their groove. The Shivas can put you to sleep and wake you up.
The Shivas play sets quite often in Portland and the NW in general due to their locality. They are opening for Shannon and the clams on the 13th of September @ the White Owl Social Club @ 9pm, doors @8. Only $17 after fees and well worth it for two amazingly awesome bands at a chill venue.
If you havent seen them yet definitely make it a must!