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Monday, August 12, 2013

Music Monday! Blouse, Vikesh Kapoor, & More

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Mon, Aug 12, 2013 at 12:28 PM


This new Blouse track premiered last week, another taster from their upcoming sophomore album Imperium, which comes out on Captured Tracks on September 17. "A Feeling Like This" follows up "No Shelter" with an unassuming guitar riff and straightforward drumbeat, as singer Charlie Hilton rides a single note for the opening couplet, finding a jagged chasm in between the song's two primary chords back. A droning, siren-like guitar and the sound of water drops are later introduced, and what is initially Blouse's most immediate-sounding song to date becomes a layered production of depth and mystery.


Oregon-based singer/songwriter Vikesh Kapoor has a new one: a stark, stunning track from his upcoming album The Ballad of Willy Robbins, due out on October 15 on Portland label Mama Bird Recording Co. If "I Dreamt Blues" tips the scales more toward "dreamt" and less "blues" from a musical perspective, it remains a florid, fluid song that has one foot in the grinding reality of workaday existence—informed by Kapoor's own experience growing up with first-generation immigrant parents in rural Pennsylvania—and the other foot in the dizzy, tumbling, interior world of escapism. Its seeming fragility belies the strong, steady heart beating beneath its fluttering wings—Kapoor has made an extraordinary piece of music here.


Battleme's new EP Weight of the Brain comes out digitally and on 10-inch vinyl on October 8 via El Camino Records. Here's the first single, the larger-than-live "Just Weight," characterized by sonic slabs of guitar and tumbling drum fills, providing a supersized backdrop to the radio-ready melody. Battleme perform a Portland release show for the new EP at Bunk Bar on Friday, September 20 at Bunk Bar.


Summer Ono's new album Planes is streaming in full over on Bandcamp. Here's track #2, the steady simmer of "Christian Radio," which the band characterizes as sounding "a bit like Real Estate." The rest of Planes is remarkably diverse, with stabby synth pop meeting mellow yacht rock. Check it out.


Subterranean Howl have a full-length (West of Zanzibar) planned for later this year, but the four-track EP If I Were the Devil functions as an opening course. The title track, which I'm posting here, is also the album's advance single. It's a demented, slow-burning bit of junkyard blues, iced with a hollered vocal and a squawking solo from what might be some sort of synthesizer? The track and album stem from Subterranean Howl's stint providing a live soundtrack to Tod Browning's 1928 silent film West of Zanzibar and explore the thoughts of the film's magician character, played by Lon Chaney. Subterranean Howl play this Friday, August 16, at the Annex in North Portland (5242 N Lombard).


Northern Currents got their start in the tiny town of French Lake, Minnesota, way back in 2004. They've since moved to Portland and picked up some new members along the way, and their debut EP Raven & The Magic Pill came out last month. Here's "Bigger Than Rock & Roll," which boasts a friendly, warmly shaggy, classic-rock Americana sound. The group has a full-length planned for later this year, and is playing on September 13 at Katie O'Brien's.


Au Dunes—the band of Graves' Greg Olin—have a groovy new cassette out on Curly Cassettes. Take a listen to the stream, seven short songs in the folk-garage vein with extra dollops of freakiness. It's also over on Bandcamp, where you can buy a copy of the tape in its limited edition of 100.

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