Tag Archives: Portland

Silver Lake 66 Pulls At Listeners Heartstrings In Let Go Or Be Dragged

29 Mar

Silver Lake 66 makes listeners very aware of their full bodied sound that exemplifies the epitome of Americana sound. In their debut album, Let Go or Be Dragged, stories about Little Rock, life, and travels are prominent themes throughout. The effortless combination of Maria Francis and Jeff Overbo meshes together to form a signature and connecting sound within their music. The arrangement of the songs proves strong with Overbo’s guitar work and light percussion in the background of the prominent tracks on the album. The overall style of their songwriting definitely alludes to traditional country and Americana standards, but with a soulful and modern twist in the present.

For more listening:

Nobody Quite So True, Temporary Hero Delivers A Storytelling Anthem

8 Dec


Listening to the initial 1950s doo-wop opening track of the album “Chet”, Temporary Hero sweeps you away into another world. With folky undertones of sound of snapping fingers on tracks and ba da da’s, one can say the approach Temporary Hero takes in his music stands out. It should not surprise new listeners to the band, that he has already made two other albums previously, paying tribute to Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra. Some tracks on the album such as Time After Time, and I Get Along Without You Very Well, sound a little bit more electronic inspired than the soul and borderline hip hop sounding  I’ve Never Been In Love Before. The sum of the lyrics on this album point to that of more than your typical musician, it goes more alongside the thought of finger tips tracing outlines of a writer’s innermost thoughts, building upon the layers of surreal dreams. Without a doubt, Temporary Hero makes listeners experience a variety of emotions from the lighthearted heart thump to a sense of melancholic daydream.

Barra Brown Quintet For a Young Heart

16 Jul


July 16 is Jazz Day on The Music Court; Yes, I just extemporaneously made that proclamation. The reason? We need to talk about the Barra Brown Quintet. In order to do so, let’s all mentally travel to Portland, Oregon and join the youthful Jazz community who are making sweet, sweet music. So, who is Barra Brown? Trained flautist and drummer, member of four different musical collectives, composer of his aforementioned quintet, and all around tremendous musician. It should come as no surprise that the Portland Mercury wrote, “there are seemingly infinite amounts of up-and-coming musicians in Portland, but it’s very rare to find a universally talented musician with such promise.” I concur.

Interestingly, Brown’s quintet features Adam Brock, whose Indie/Folk stylings were featured on the blog back in January of 2014 (Read the post here) – he plays a fine guitar on the album. It also features the likes of trumpeter Thomas Barber, saxophonist Nicole Glover, and bassist Jon Lakey, all talented musicians in their own rights. These musicians, who are delicately put together by Brown, create an amalgamation of sound that is both daedalus, sensitive, and passionate. The blend is wonderful, and Brown’s quintet is carried with a youthful edge and trenchant maturity.

Back in 2013, the quintet released Songs for a Young Heart, which is the album I am highlighting today. The album, which seamlessly varies between vibrant effervescence and sun-drenched, dulcet warmth, is worth a full listen today, but if you only have time for two tracks, check out the two I include below.

“Song for a Young Heart,” the album’s title track, is my favorite on the 8-track album. It is a slow-moving, crescendoing piece that seems to echo the “young heart” as it swoons and gains emotion throughout its maturity. The song features an elegant guitar with a wonderful trumpet/saxophone interplay and crashing drums/bass. It’s a neat, cogent piece.

“How the West Was Won,” the first track on the album, is a quick piece, featuring a rock-inspired bass riff and a snap-your-finger trumpet line that is echoed by the saxophone. The bass is linked with an effective guitar solo. All of this, though, is carried by the drums, which are fragmented skillfully. It is not an easy percussion beat, yet Brown carries it effortlessly. It’s a cool piece to listen to.

Barra Brown and his quintet will release their new album – “Dreaming Awake” on July 29. Follow this link to a preorder 

Keep informed on Barra Brown’s activities on his website.


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.

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