Tag Archives: Harmony

Up Fanno Creek with a Paddle – A Band on Its Way

3 Feb

Fanno Creek

One of the definitions of the word monument is “something venerated for its enduring significance.” It is also the title of Portland Indie-Rock staple Fanno Creek’s new album, and one listen to the band’s music proves the definition apt. A beloved sing-along band in the city of roses, Fanno Creek is ready to spread its arms and fly over the musical waves of all 50 states and beyond … and maybe soon become a monument. While I am admittedly overwhelmingly kind on the Music Court, I reserve the 50-state praise for the bands I feel are ready to spread rapidly, and this trio consisting of Quinn Mulligan, Evan Hailstone, Dane Brist is more than ready.

Bands that depend on harmonies need to maintain a closeness that other bands may get away with lacking. Fellow Northwestern harmony-kings Fleet Foxes formed by way of two long-time friends. Fanno Creek shares a similar tale. Evan Hailstone and Quinn Mulligan knew each other in diapers and started making music together in their mid-teens. In college, the duo expanded to include drummer Dane Brist, and after several incarnations formed Fanno Creek in 2009. Since then, the band has toured the local circuit, forming a loyal following of music lovers who know good tunes when they hear them. With Monuments, it is time that the word spread.

“On My Way” is a quintessential example of why I cannot stop listening to Fanno Creek. The song starts with an infectious harmony pasted over a pounding singular drum. The vocals are intricate. The incipient harmony leads into a pure layered vocal over a gospel clap, an element slightly unconventional to Indie/folk music but quite refreshing and unique. Brist’s drum is not far behind, and it crashes into a culmination of symphonic sounds and this majesty diapason of harmonies and electronics. It is a wave of sound. It’s just really damn impressive!

“Trilithon” is my second favorite track on the album, and while ostensibly it expresses similar qualities to “On My Way,” the reverberating drum and swooning harmonies (and soft vocal howls) almost sound Beach Boys-esque, and this adds a whole new element to the music.

So … you know what to do; spread the word of Fanno Creek to all of your friends!

Check out the rest of the album at Fanno Creek’s Bandcamp. You can follow the band on its Facebook and Twitter.

Taking a Ride with Calaca Strides

7 Mar

Calaca Strides

Calaca Strides bends genres with a created blend of low-fi, lugubrious melodies joined with bluesy acoustic riffs and upbeat vocals. In some ways, the music may represent a subtle contradiction, but Calaca Strides blends the music together with precision.

Hailing from England, Calaca Strides released Brittle Breeze  back in September of 2012, and the four-song EP is impressive in its musical scope. Specifically, the first and last track feature the intriguing musical concoction I mention above.

“Monster,” the concluding track on the EP, begins with a plucked acoustic guitar drenched in strung-out background sound. The song creates an ethereal atmosphere, like an enigmatic sky with clouds vacillating between rain and mist. The consequent euphonious vocals over the rapid playing of acoustic guitar notes creates a medieval aura (much like Amazing Blondel did in the early 70s with “Sinfonia for Guitar and Strings”). The song is an ode to progressive rock and modern folk.

“Row By Row,” is the nearly seven minute opening track on Brittle Breeze. It is an impressive song. I appreciate its multifaceted musicality. The listener is introduced to tremendous melodies that naturally transition into an eccentric mixture of folk/blues (almost like Amos Lee). The sounds introduced throughout the piece are fascinating.

Check out the rest of the album by clicked on it above. Stay up on Calaca Strides on Facebook and Twitter or visit the website.

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