Tag Archives: Music Review

Beats take listeners on a trip through space, color

Eskmo’s self-titled debut album was released in October on Ninja Tune. Eskmo will be performing Oct. 22 at Rotture in Portland. Photo courtesy of www.eskmo.com

Rising electronic music talent Eskmo (Brendan Angelides) released his first full-length record this month. The self-titled album arrives after putting out a slew of singles and EPs since 2005, and gaining the favor of electronica giants, such as Amon Tobin, Flying Lotus and others.
Exploring an array of sounds, beats and vocal effects, “Eskmo” invites the listener to dive deep into the world of what truly defines experimental trip-hop and down-tempo electronica. The album is rife with strange, imaginative melodies and glitchy beats that envelop the listener in a rich, spacey atmosphere.
For those willing to embark on an exploration of this odd environment, the album can be quite a bit of fun.
The warm, colorful, synthy melodies are the most interesting aspects of most tracks. These are backed by crunchy beats and other random percussion that provide the listener with some incentive to move around, although it’s certainly not “dance” music in the modern sense.
This combination is topped off by Angelides’ odd lyrics, such as “cloudlight/floating and magically colorful/pieces of sky,” with peculiar vocal effects that make the lyrics sound instrumental rather than lyrical.
Most tracks, such as “We Got More,” “Color Dropping” and “Become Matter Soon, For You,” are conducive to body movement, whereas those looking for some more eerie soul-searching should check out “You Go, I See That” or “Siblings,” which features an enticing piano melodies.
Altogether, the album sounds somewhat like a mix of Boards of Canada’s ambience, Flying Lotus’ electronics and melodies and Wagon Christ’s beats and percussion. Fans of any of the above will certainly find some appeal in “Eskmo.” The vocals are distinguished and can be an enjoyable or irritating experience, depending on the listener. They definitely add a personal feel to the music.
While “Eskmo” is a fun and interesting romp through an ethereal realm of colors and starships, it is a bit of a letdown for the prominent DJ, who has gained a sizeable following. The album is good but isn’t Angelides’ best work. Luckily, this is only his first full-length album, and he doesn’t seem to be losing any steam when it comes to producing music.
“Eskmo” was released on the influential, London-based electronic music label, Ninja Tune. Eskmo is an interesting addition to the label’s already outstanding lineup (Amon Tobin, Kid Koala) — assuming that he sticks with them. Either way, Eskmo is certainly an artist to keep track of in the future.
Eskmo will perform Oct. 22 at Rotture in Portland.
Tune in to KSLC 90.3 FM to hear tracks from the new album.

Braden Smith/KSLC 90.3 FM
Braden Smith can be reached at kslcmusic@gmail.com.

N.Y. duo puts forth disco funk

The Hundred In the Hands’ debut album was released Sept. 20 on Warp Records. Photo courtesy of www.thehundredinthehands.com

Listen up all you Linfield Review readers, you. You are strong in mind and soul. So keep that up. But I’d like to take this opportunity to urge you to support two other members of the Underappreciated Aspects of Easily Attainable and Completely Affordable Entertainment Crew (UAEACAEC for short).
The first, of course, is KSLC. Radio is a dying breed and commercial-free radio is the “dyingest” of all. But here at 90.3 FM, we few, we happy few, we band of college kids, we are doing what we can to bring you quality entertainment and information right here at Linfield. Every hour of the day. And guess what — it’s free and we provide you with good, new music, which leads me to the second member and the subject of today’s music review.
The Hundred In The Hands is a dark, disco-house duet from New York composed of the groovy Jason Friedman (guitar, bass and programing) and the lovely Eleanore Everdell (vocals, keys and synth). The self-titled, debut album, released late September on indie English label Warp Records, is a fresh breath of crisp autumn air that is just in time for the coming months of Northwest overcastness.
It’s opening track, “Young Aren’t Young,” lulls us in with cool acid chimes and thumping funk bass which set the stage perfectly for the song that unfolds. The track sounds like a sort of hip, flashy, sexy, nighttime Cadillac commercial. Only the Caddy is the song and the neon nighttime streets are your arteries, carrying The Hundred In The Hands’ infectious music all the way into that special place in your heart.
Rather than losing themselves in the inconsequential repetitions of modern ambient beats and techno break-downs, the duo draws upon their expansive talents and influences (which span all the way from New Order and The Cure to De La Soul and Black Star, including french house music, dub, disco and post punk) and bring together a myriad of sounds and styles to give us a darn good album.
Highlights include “Pigeon,” an anthem for late-nighters that is a perfect song to kick off a Friday night or to cap off a 4:30 a.m.-Sunday-morning-that-still-somehow-qualifies-as-a-Saturday night. “Commotion” and “Gold Blood” also stand out.
Lowlights are few, and are limited to only “Killing It,” a song that feels like it’s the three and a half minute outro to a song that we didn’t hear, and to “This Day Made,” which talks about zombies and vampires for a while, something that I thought went out of fashion during the 90s.
I eagerly await the subsequent releases from this duo as I am excited to see where they go and how they improve and mature.
Now, how is this underappreciated aspect of entertainment both easily attainable and completely affordable? They will be playing in Portland at The Woods. Tickets are $8 in advance and $10 at the door.
Make sure to tune in to KSLC 90.3 FM to hear The Hundred in the Hands.

Philip Yovetich/KSLC 90.3 FM
Philip Yovetich can be reached at kslcmusic@gmail.com.

‘Wild Go’ leaves listeners in the ‘Dark Dark Dark’

“Wild Go” comes out on Oct. 5 through Supply and Demand Music. Photo courtesy of www.brightbrightbright.com

It seems completely safe to say that Dark Dark Dark’s sophomore effort, “Wild Go,” feels like it was concocted by circus people in a back-stall after the cotton candy lost its lift.
Lopsided and strange, almost as if it was recorded on a merry-go-round, “Wild Go” just sounds peculiar. Whether that’s a good thing depends on the time of day and the amount of drugs in your system.
If you aren’t prepared for it, “Wild Go” can make you a little uncomfortable.
Consequently, after the first track the listener is prepared for something different, but, unfortunately, creativity doesn’t seem to be a major focus of this album. Dark’s sound is unoriginal and lyrically. There’s nothing special going on behind the scenes — no poetry or deeper meaning.
Sadly, creativity isn’t only lacking in these areas. Throughout, it sounds as though the band is attempting to channel a bit of The Dresden Dolls or The Cure (so much so that I actually thought that they may have been a cover band for either of these). If that’s what they were going for, they pulled it off beautifully. Fearful yet annoyingly self-satisfied, the lead singer, Nona Marie, oozes her fear and suffering into her songs befitting the best of the goth genre.
In this way, it’s not all bad, for although there are no truly strong points in this album, there aren’t any extremely weak ones either. It’s middling mediocrity throughout.
However, criticisms aside, there’s no denying that Dark’s musicians made a good call on some aspects — most noticeably the treatment of its vocalist’s sound: a silky, growling voice that sounds as though she has been smoking several packs of cigarettes a day and downing shots of warm gravy. Pair this with heavily padded, thudding beats, and you’ve arrived at the sort of music that Tim Burton listened to as a child.
Keeping in mind that they are signed to an indie label, Dark seems to distance itself so much from being just indie that it’s almost comical. Apparently indie is just too mainstream a genre for a band that flirts with cabaret and goth influences.
This mistrust of its label seems confusing until we remember where Dark is from: Minneapolis. Given its geographic misfortune, it’s perhaps not at all surprising that Dark sounds a little weird and removed from it’s roots. It’s harder to stay true to a genre when that genre is located mostly in West Coast basement garages where no one’s even heard of ice fishing.
All this skips over the most telling part of the album: the cover. The cover art, as with most albums, defines what you’re listening to. In Dark’s case, it’s a picture of a naked woman looking over her left shoulder, judging your counter-culture naivete in a way only the indie rockers can. The cover of “Wild Go,” naked, overweight and sardonic is a perfect metaphor of everything that went wrong with the punk movement and this album.
We should care that “Wild Go” doesn’t measure up or that it could be better, but, frankly, it doesn’t really seem worth our time.
“Wild Go” comes out Oct. 5 through Supply and Demand Music.

Eric Tompkins/KSLC 90.3 FM
Eric Tompkins can be reached at kslcmusic@gmail.com.

Sister singers deliver on sophomore album

The Chapin Sisters’ sophomore album, “Two” displays the folk duo’s raw vocal talent in a range of emotions as they continue their successful momentum since the release of their first album, “Lake Bottom LP,” in 2008.
These ladies can sing, and they know how to show it. The first track, “Sweet Light,” opens with strong and dark singing, followed by eerie instrumentation. It seems a little disconcerting at first, but it holds your attention and leaves you in a state of wonder.
Their voices are haunting yet comforting, and they harmonize beautifully.
Many of the songs on the album follow this example with powerful vocals and light, but profound, music backing them. Often only two or three instruments are used in a song.
“Paradise,” for example, features just a sweet, melancholy piano melody backed by a soft tambourine beat. It’s simple but holds interest and creates an appropriate atmosphere for the sad lyrics.
While most of the album has a somber tone to it, none of the songs are utterly depressing. The Chapin Sisters effectively emote subjects of loss and heartache without immersing themselves in them.
The sadness also has a beauty to it, which the vocals certainly enhance. It’s doubtful that anyone can make lyrics like, “Why do I keep trying at romance? I am hopeless; I’ll never succeed,” sound as sweet as the Chapin Sisters do.
However, the album has a genuinely happy ending as it takes a more lively turn with the last two songs, “Left All Alone” and “Trouble.”
The melodies in “Left All Alone” are fun and simple and the lyrics are almost playful.
“Trouble” is even more upbeat and includes a superbly utilized banjo and calls for some serious foot-tapping.
The emotions in every song on “Two” are easy to connect with, sometimes amusingly so, and create a strong relationship with the listener. This makes it a personal experience to listen through the whole album.
Abigail and Lily Chapin certainly have musical talent in their genes as they are the nieces of the late, popular folk musician, Harry Chapin (“Cat’s in the Cradle”).
They also often perform with their half sister, Jessica Craven, the daughter of film director and writer Wes Craven (“A Nightmare on Elm Street”).
It seems the Chapin Sisters will continue the legacy of artistic success with their sophomore album being just as good as their popular debut album.
Be sure to tune in to KSLC 90.3 FM to hear tracks from the Chapin Sisters’ new album, “Two.”
The CD is available at www.thechapinsisters.com, and the sisters will perform Dec. 2 in Portland; a long way off but worth remembering.

Braden Smith/KSLC 90.3 FM
Braden Smith can be reached at kslcmusic@gmail.com.

Punk band displays Mac talent

It is our duty at KSLC to provide you with a quality radio experience. Along with bringing you top-notch music and information around
the clock on 90.3 FM (listen to it, it’ll change your life), it is also our job to keep you up to date with new, rising and regional musical
artists through weekly music reviews.
Now, I know some of you are startled and, yes, may be even scared. Local music? Like, McMinnville? McMinnville, Ore.? No. Never.
Not possible! Music is a cultural thing, and the closest we get to culture here is 3rd Street, a statue of a deadbeat Ben Franklin and a
parade about UFOs.
Yes, this maybe true, but doesn’t Jack Ruby Presents count as a McMinnville band? Or how about current Linfield sensation, singer/
songwriter Jeremy Moll, a fine musician always eager to collaborate with musicians in the area?
To those of you who are still skeptical, today I prove you wrong. Good music can come from McMinnville. Today, it comes in the
form of Pete Deegan, who left the area more than a decade ago. But I promise you, ladies and gentlemen of Linfield College, tomorrow,
he’s coming back.
(Break for thunderous applause)
That’s right, folks, today’s CD review is not unlike the great vineyards of our area — got roots right here in Yamhill County.
The band is a female-fronted, melodic punk trio from Oakland, Calif., called Hooray For Everything (HFE) featuring singer and
guitarist Faith Gardiner, drummer Jamie Sanitate and McMinnville’s own Pete Deegan on bass. They will be playing at 8 p.m. Sept. 18
at the Deluxe Billiard Parlor on 3rd Street. (Told you, 3rd Street is happenin’.)
Our involvement with this band started about a week ago when KSLC was sent a CD, accompanied by a note describing the band’s
connection to the town and how it will soon be going out of its way to play the Mac (McMinnville not being the regular stop on punk
circuits). Included in the note was a request to do a bit of promoting for the CD and the upcoming show. So we did just that. Over the
past week, HFE has been getting some decent airplay on our dear radio station, and hopefully this article will shed some light on the
band and perhaps convince some of you more stubborn Linfield kids to get off your “tuckuses” (tucki?) and go out and see some stuff.
The CD in question is HFE’s 2009 self-titled debut. The band was created when Faith, Jamie and then-bassist Oscar joined forces
and combined their musical talents (and taste for quirky “Simpsons” jokes), resulting in the recording of their less-than-30-minute,
power-pop record.
Female-fronted punk acts always seem to have a leg up on the competition, and HFE is no exception. Faith’s voice conjures up
memories of Sleater-Kinney. Although cute, smug and comfortable (“I Don’t Agree With Me”), her voice also commands attention,
whether in the lethargically sultry pleadings of “Get A Life,” or in the strained shouts of “Cronander.” Although she may not have
the “Two-Pack-Of-Camels-a-Day-Brody-Armstrong” voice, she still has listeners’ full attention the whole way through the album.
While the guitar work may just be there to support the vocals and the music may be fairly standard punk, the drums are intricate and
imaginative and the bass does a stellar job moving the music onward in fun and exciting ways.
Although not the original bassist, Pete has had more than enough experience in rock music. He listened to KSLC growing up in
McMinnville, which is how he was first introduced to alternative rock acts such as The Cure and The Clash. He then attended Mac High
and started listening to punk, branching out to classics such as Minor Threat and Poison Idea. He graduated from McMinnville High
School with the class of ’92, but not before putting on one of the first punk shows in McMinnville.
After spending time in Portland, where he moved upon graduation, he moved down to California with his wife. It was there that he
heard HFE on the UC Berkeley radio station, KALX (see, isn’t college radio a beautiful thing?), and eventually was introduced to the
band. When Oscar left the band, Pete took up his mantle.
See Pete along with the rest of the band play Sept. 18 at the Deluxe Billiard Parlor. In fact, while you’re at it, pick up a CD. HFE’s more
than worth it, and that way, you can prove that, yes, good music can come from McMinnville.

Philip Yovetich/KSLC 90.3 FM
Philip Yovetich can be reached at kslcmusic@gmail.com.

Hooray For Everything will be performing at the Deluxe Billiard Parlor on 3rd Street at 8 p.m. Sept.18.