I sat down with Forty Feet Tall recently to discuss their newest single releases and, as a native Portlander, I despise the onsalot of California into our economical and pseudo political ways but invite it musically and artistically. However amazing our music scenes are here we are but a fraction of some of these bigger cities in capita at least and therefore I’m all about migration here from LA, as long as you’re an artist, we can’t get enough of you here.
That said, Forty Feet Tall is a prime example of a band in search of greener grass or less people you know of as an ass. As Cole Gann, (guitar/vocals) stated, “Everyone in LA cares too much about being cool”. Which I will say, ego is definitely a problem here as well as it is anywhere people gather. But LA definitely has no shortage of douchebags. Hence the subject matter of their single they released, Grin. A song about a woman ridding herself of an unsatisfactory man with lyrics that are ever juicy and reminiscent of a bygone era in reverse. As many a song has been written, and as it was almost a testament of your blues and rock n’ roll chops to have a song about killing or at least leaving a bad woman. Classics like Hey Joe, Down by the River, and others were slightly more Frank then Grin is but these four guys flipped the switch a bit. Speaking candidly of a woman scorned and determined to rid herself of this sort of man.
“…Smiling in the corner
You alone listen to your teeth click
Can’t wear her on your sleeve
Can’t dress her up in silk
She takes the velcro off her mouth
Listen to her scream
Oh looks like now you see
No she won’t wait, no she won’t fake it
You ain’t healing shit, she says
No no no no no no no no…”
There is something ever so bitter about the lyrics but also so freeing. As sometimes you just have to walk away, other times you just have to watch the other walk away. This feels like more of a ballad to women in shit relationships then an attack on men per say, it’s no You’re so Vein, but it’s much better musically, being heavy on riffs as most of their music is. It reminds me of Hendrix with less blues and Neil Young without the voice and with four kids in their early twenties from LA. It’s raw and passionate, it’s well recorded, and it’s poppy but gritty and not overly catchy or soft. It’s a direction I wish more bands took as you can hear the many influences shining through of Jack White, Modest Mouse, and Built To Spill, as well as even harder bands like The Pixies or Soundgarden who can change tempo and transition rythmically very well with a great Drummer (Steven Driscoll), Bassist (Brett Marquette), and second guitarist (Jack Sehres). These gentleman are as kind as can be and will definitely be on my radar going forward so check out there social media sites and Bandcamp to find more. I got to see them live at one of the last performances at Ash St. Saloon which was bitter sweet as it was such a mainstay in Portland for so long.
Their newest single Cavalcade is possibly their best work yet with incredible time changes and breaks between the more garage fuzz sound that they are seemingly diving head first into now, but with their own style and with legible and legitimate lyrics that flow perfectly with their sound. Still bluesy and reeking of the white stripes but we all know that smells so good you can taste the gritty goodness between your grinning teeth. Beneath it all these guys are young but not dumb, they are pumping out singles like there’s no tomorrow because in this day and age, there may not be.
Be sure to check them out at their next show at Holocene may 23rd
with Holidae House
, (who’s releasing their EP “Fire and Ember
“) and Turtlenecked