Every New Years Eve The Parson Red Heads cover a different album and invite friends to do the same, creating a night where everyone dresses up like someone else to listen to bands playing someone else’s songs. These kinds of tributes are very popular in Portland, which is odd given the huge amount of talent and original music coming out of this city. But I guess it’s also a fun way for some of these bands to wear their influences (or at least their interests) on their sleeves.
Those influences linger just below the surface in the band’s new single, “Coming Down” from their upcoming fourth studio album, Blurred Harmony. According to their press release, the new album is “the overdriven jangle of Teenage Fanclub and Big Star power-pop, the skewed psychedelics of the Paisley Underground, the bittersweet energy of New Zealand’s ‘Dunedin Sound’ movement, and the muted twang of Cosmic Americana, all crammed into 44 minutes.” All of which is true, but mixed up into a stew of its own.
Singer-songwriter Evan Way describes the track as “a song about anxiety, about how life and all it’s mania can start to make you feel like you’re losing it, and how in those moments the people that you love can sort of ground you and bring you back to reality and that sense of safety.”
Blurred Harmony is out on June 9 from Fluff & Gravy Records.
Video: The Parson Redheads – “To the Sky” (Live on OPB)
Parson Red Heads: web, twitter, fb, amazon, wiki.
*This article has been edited to correct the title of their album and the night they host their covers show.
AA Bondy at the Doug Fir
Portland, February 27, 2009
AA Bondy is tall and lanky with dark curly hair; somewhat Tom Hanks and somewhat Johnny Cash. When he sings, a touch of his Alabama accent seeps through. When he plays guitar the whole history of southern folk music rushes out. It’s tone and style and fingers and it’s the soul of America. AA Bondy, like M. Ward, channels as many elements of American popular music as possible without sounding kitschy or patronizing—no, AA Bondy does not dress like he just walked out of a Depression-era film.
Continue reading AA Bondy: Live in Portland
M. Ward and Musée Mécanique at the Doug Fir
Portland, Oregon, February 14, 2009
When everyone is talking “Buy Local” Portland is living it like nobody else. Everywhere you look are signs and bumper stickers imploring you to Support Local Businesses, and that applies to music. When people here tell you to Grow Your Own, it’s not just weed they’re talking about.
M.Ward is Portland’s own and everyone knows it. Sure, he moved to New Hampshire for a while but he’s back now and everyone just acts like that New England excursion was just an extended vacation but now he’s home…where he belongs.
Continue reading M. Ward: Live in Portland
Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings at the Crystal Ballroom
Portland, Oregon, January 30, 2009
Sharon Jones makes you sweat. Her moves and voice pull sweat from your skin like blood rising in a hickey. Even in the damp cold of a Portland night, Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings had hundreds of hipsters dancing and sweating like they were extras in a 60s soul revue.
As has been documented here, I recently moved to Portland, Oregon. Now that GLONO’s Northwest office is up and running I finally got out to a show. We made our way through the fog and drizzle to the Crystal Ballroom in downtown Portland. For over 90 years, the Crystal Ballroom has been a premier music venue in this city. Everyone you can think of has played there; from Little Richard to Buffalo Springfield to the Grateful Dead to Liz Phair. I was excited to see it as much as I was to see one of my favorite bands.
The first thing anyone in Portland tells you when they hear you’re going to the Crystal Ballroom is, “the floors bounce!” And it’s true, they do. The floors are spring-loaded because along with hosting bands all these years it’s also been a dancehall. What better combination to entice a hall full of kids in baggy pants and hoodies to shake they asses and lose their detached cool, if for just a little while.
Continue reading Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings: Live in Portland