This Week in the Mercury

Pricing Out Portland's Artists


Pricing Out Portland's Artists

Can Portland's Creative Community Survive Development, Price Surge?

Broccoli, Ballads, and Barry


Broccoli, Ballads, and Barry

An Interview with Barry Manilow

Monday, March 18, 2013

Music Monday! Night Mechanic, Kelli Schaefer, Heather Woods Broderick & More

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Mon, Mar 18, 2013 at 12:16 PM

Here are some local musics for your Monday!

First up is a killer track from the amazing new Night Mechanic album, Working Late. It's the Portland band's second album although it's the first one I've heard. This band has it all: Knotty dueling guitars, heat-seeking pop chops, a singing drummer! I had a rough time picking a track from Working Late to post, as the whole album is terrific, but here's track 3, the fantastic "Attempt to Steal." The nasal vocal in the opening verse reminds me of a late-'70s/early '80s-era band I can't put my finger on (someone help me out here?), and the song slowly builds in intensity to a terrific chorus. Except to hear more about Night Mechanic in the coming weeks, including, hopefully, details of an album release show. Working Late comes out April 1 on AIO Records.

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Here's a much-awaited new one from Kelli Schaefer, the opening track from her new EP 601, which comes out May 28. "Giants" begins in an elusive manner, a chunky shaker concealing the downbeat until Schaefer's skeletal arrangement fleshes itself out over the track's ticktock rhythm and thick tom toms. The track opens up to surprising depth and fervency, with Schaefer's remarkable voice given plenty of opportunity to shine. "Giants" is available as a free download to those who pre-order the EP, available as a download and on clear, 10-inch vinyl.
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Here's a cover of a former Portlander covering another former Portlander—in this case, Heather Woods Broderick covering a song by her brother, Peter Broderick. While both Oregonians have left town (Heather is currently based in New York and is part of Sharon Van Etten's band; Peter resides in Berlin), we're still hanging onto 'em as ours. Heather's "Outside in Here"—her cover of Peter's "Inside Out There," from his recent These Arms of Mine solo album—is absolutely, stunningly, shiveringly good. With a wall of overdubbed vocals and a butterfly piano pattern, this rides a lengthy introduction to the song's lyrical section. While Peter has been happily prolific, this track is a reminder that we need to hear lots more solo stuff from of Heather Woods Broderick; her 2009 album From the Ground was a masterpiece.

More after the jump!

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Here's another pretty one: Morning Ritual is a new name with some familiar faces. Helmed by local jazz/funk/everything pianist Ben Darwish, the band also includes guitarist William Seiji Marsh and drummer Russ Kleiner. "The Drought," a lackadaisically gorgeous track, also features vocals from the Shook Twins, and will appear on their debut album The Clear Blue Pearl, which will be out in the summer. Morning Ritual plays this Wednesday, March 20 at the White Eagle.

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There Is No Mountain is another new name with some familiar faces; the Ascetic Junkies have changed their moniker (possibly in homage to Donovan?). The duo of married couple Kali Giaritta and Matt Harmon now offer the first track under their new name, the unbelievably catchy "Owl Hymn." I first heard them play this during the Ascetic Junkie's guest turn on Action/Adventure Theater's Fall of the Band; it was lovely then, and it's great now to hear the recorded version.
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Ready for one more new band from familiar faces? This is Snowy Plover, the duo made of Daphne Faison and the Ocean Floor's Lane Barrington, who have also collaborated under the name Sprinkles. "Frozen Dessert Adventure" will please listeners with a sweet tooth, a giddy electronic pop song with synthesizer shimmers and Faison's inviting vocal. Snowy Plover play this Saturday, March 23 at Kelly's Olympian.


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