For those of you unfamiliar with the Pacific Northwest, the state of Oregon is home to vast, luscious stretches of mystical green landscape. But underneath this sea of tranquility lies an invisible war of hideous insects of every shape and size imaginable.
And from underneath the rotten, moss covered logs deep inside the darkest, dankest Cascadian forest, one particular arachnid is making a name for itself, and fast... in the Oregon rock and roll scene.
The Cryptomaster Behemoth, until recently solely defined as an "opilionid arachnid, generally sticking to large woody d.ebris and bark microhabitats," has recently been discovered to harbor a nasty penchant for grungified rock tunes, with heady tales of dimensional displacement and losing your own body throughout time and space.
As murky, metallic echoes of both pain and salvation emanate from the four members, (which, coincidentally, is in fact made up of eight arms altogether) the bands sprawling, metallic sounds occasionally draw comparisons to other exotic species such as the Danzig, The Melvins or even The Mars Volta. But the Behemoth maintains a sweet, robotic sheen. As far as spiders go, their combined skills and formidable stage presence are beginning to surpass all recorded arachnid ability.
Though the side effects associated with the band have yet to be fully accounted for, known responses may include but are not limited to glowing in the dark, doing the worm, and involuntary throwing of the "devil horns" hand gesture.
The group consists of former members of various Portland projects, all from diverse taste and backgrounds, but their familiarity shines throughout their expertly crafted web; a hive mind of classic characters.
First, there's the supercharged singer on the edge of a breakdown, who goes by the name of Ian. Then there's Shawn, the nerves-of-steel lead axeman, who's web-like shred comes from years of experience using, you guesses it, eight fingers to play his guitar. The air tight rhythm section is held down by the dazzling Raina on bass, and Tim, the cool-as-a-cucumber jazz fusion beat slayer.
Though rumor does have it there was an actual spider playing the bongos in the band at one point.
As Cryptomaster Behemoth rises to full maturity, its hunger increases, and causes it to bare its fangs and cry out its signature deranged and melancholy mating call into the night. So it begins.
Walking Papers upped the sonic ante with their aptly dubbed second album WP2, released earlier this year from Loud & Proud Records. Once again deploying the in-sync production handiwork of mixmasters Jack Endino (Soundgarden, Nirvana, Mudhoney) and Martin Feveyear (Mark Lanegan, Kings of Leon, Queens of the Stone Age), and Justin Smith (War Paint, Eagles of Death Metal, The Ravonettes, Queens of the Stone Age).
WP2 builds on the promising template of the bandʼs self-titled 2013 debut, which Classic Rock Magazine called "a masterpiece of mood and tension," and Rolling Stone Magazine echoed "dark, alternately sensual and sinister." WP2 brings the band into their wholly ascendant second phase with aurally galvanizing statements like the savage, swaggering backbeat of "Death on the Lips," the anthemic buildup of "Red & White," and the delicate yet forceful declarative shuffle of "Donʼt Owe Me Nothinʼ." Walking Papers elevates Angellʼs signature character studies in songs like the explosive "Somebody Else" where he croons: "Outside the cityʼs waiting / for a chance to prove me wrong / Sheʼs trying to talk me into doing something stupid and doesnʼt seem to take her very long." "I live vicariously through the characters in our songs." Angell explains "Itʼs healthier for both society and myself that way." "A song can say in three verses what takes a novel 300 pages to say by what it leaves to the listenerʼs imagination," Angell concludes,
With WP2, Walking Papers have inked an indelible sonic contract that guarantees your ears will gladly come back for more.
On December 12th, 2012, with the end of the world looming as the Mayan Calendar wound down, 5 guys got together to play some music, and Dear Drummer was born. The band has been rocking the local Portland music since with their own brand of up-tempo, dance-able rock that keeps the audience moving.
Lead singer Justin Odom draws listeners in with his smooth vocals and high-energy performance, while the rest of his band mates keep the grooves tight. Dear Drummer has the ability not only to create their own unique tracks but also transform covers with chameleon-like expertise. Their funky vibe and dance-able songs make for a good time, every time.
Full band performances by Tanner Fenoglio and Ransom Rhodes. Acoustic show by Jordan Harris with more to be announced!
Nocona, TX native singer/songwriter Tanner Fenoglio is coming up on entering a new chapter in his life. Tanner is center stage in his life with the inception, culmination, and release of “This Town,” his first CD and recently "Lucky Man". He describes his songwriting as “down to earth,” and “true to myself and my life experiences.” Growing up in a small town and being influenced by those moments in life that seem insignificant at the time all helped Tanner forge those feelings into tunes.
Ransom Rhodes is a Fort Worth country artist who has created the perfect blend of 90's country fused with a contemporary crossover sound. His warm melodic vocal sound and the fashion of his writing style has dance floors filling up across Texas.
In any given setting, a striking performance can be expected from singer-songwriter Jordan Harris who’s on his way to achieving a reputation as a first class musician. Showing strong self-motivation to effectively build his name, Harris breezed into Portland, OR as a breath of fresh air freed from his small town youth. His dedication to the Alternative/Soul/Rock sound began at age ten with the drums when the guitar and his voice soon followed and have continued to push him forward.
Country music being played today has an identity crisis; Brass Tacks were a little surprised to find out bar owners and venues couldn't agree more by booking them to play their young, unique, and real sound. They have continued to bring their southern-rock, love-song, outlaw-country sound to all corners of the Oregon scene with a passion for music and an ever growing crowd.
The band started in 2014 when songwriter and frontman Andy Good met lead guitarist Eli Howard and harmonica player Cody Patey at a local open mic. The three were familiar with each other, Andy just stepping out into the music scene, and Eli and Cody having recently left their former band. "That's how I've always envisioned that song sounding." says Andy after playing an original of his for the first time, "and we instantly knew a new band had just formed after playing a single song together."
The band was soon joined by drummer Eli Taghon, who's heavy-hitting, in your face, but just right style of playing meshed seamlessly. "I've played with Taghon for over 8 years," recalls Howard, "and he was in the same band as Cody and I prior to Brass Tacks so it wasn't even a question of 'who will the drummer be?' it was Taghon." The prior experience playing together was one of the key factors that helped get Brass Tacks on their feet onto stages so quickly.
Excited as they were with their new sound they didn't let off the gas pedal, booking their first 4 hour live show a month later. By month 6 of being a band, they recorded their first album, The EP, and sold out of the initial 500 copies in two weeks. "We love this band," says Sarah Quier, owner of the Wild Horse Bar & Grill, "we can always count on a crowd when they play and they put on a great show." Local roadhouse and longest running honky-tonk bar manager Nic Rodio agrees, "Brass Tacks has such a unique sound. I get excited when it's time to book them and when I know they're going to play."
While being very happy with their success and their devoted fans in Oregon, Brass Tacks has set their sights on the entire Pacific Northwest Region. They label their sound as Oregon Country but they know it won't just be Oregon that will enjoy it. The band is currently in studio to record and release their first full length album, after which they are planning a tour from Southern California to Vancouver BC. "We just want to play at any opportunity we have, " says Eli Howard, "I've never been in a band with this much potential and we'll be damned if we let it go to waste."
"Above all else," says Andy Good, "we're about family, friends and the music. That's where I draw my inspiration from when writing. The hard working people of Oregon, the love I have for my family, and a couple band mates that sometimes I may want to strangle, but will always be my friends. We love what we do. Sure we hope some day it'll pay the bills, but even if it doesn't, we won't stop playing our songs."
Musical trends may come and go, but the Hangmen keep moving forward heedlessly with the headlong momentum of a runaway train. The quartet's new album on Acetate Records, East of Western (to be released in April 2012), smashes together lead singer Bryan Small's lurid love songs with unsparing, unsentimental blasts that shine a baleful and penetrating light into the dark and seedy corners of modern- day Los Angeles.
The Hangmen have always been a unique group that can't be easily pigeonholed, and East of Western captures all of their different sides. When they first got together in L.A. in 1987, the Hangmen were fiery and hard rocking enough to play with metal bands, but they also had a stubbornly rootsy and punk rock attitude that made them fit in just as easily with such legendary underground icons as the Gun Club and Tex & the Horseheads. Their trademark dual-guitar attack combines the classic-rock drive of the Rolling Stones and AC/DC with the hard-charging swagger of Johnny Thunders' Heartbreakers and the sinister allure of the Cramps.
But what really makes the Hangmen stand out is Small's gift for writing anthemic choruses with head- banging hooks, which he delivers with his distinctly feral and instantly recognizable snarl. On East of Western, he sneers his way through boldly hard-rocking romantic pleas ("I'm Your Man"), Western-tinged barn-burners ("Railroad Man") and insomniac tales of junkie self-destruction and ultimate redemption ("Drink Smoke"). With its big, fat and leering monster riff, "Big Red Rooster" is a fitting homage to the late Lux Interior of the Cramps, who Small lovingly describes as a "teenage bastard of the chosen one." Drummer Dino Guerrero (who has played in Jack Grisham's Tender Fury, as well as the supergroup Charley Horse with members of Nashville Pussy and Throw Rag) and longtime Hangmen bassist Angelique "Eek" Congleton (who also fronts the band Swamplands) give "Big Red Rooster" a properly menacing and scarily seductive groove.
Despite its title, "Homesick Blues" is more of a flat-out punk rocker than a typical blues song, as new Hangmen lead guitarist Ron Heathman (ex-Supersuckers) twists up a Godfathers-style lick. "This is the town of the cold blooded/Long gone, memories faded/Dug up and desecrated," Small declares on the garage-rocking nugget "Graverobbers," as guest star Jordan Shapiro conjures wispy trails of pedal-steel adornment. "'Graverobbers' is about the media in Hollywood and how everything is for sale and nothing is off limits, dead or alive," says Small. "Had a Girl" proves the old adage that the best and most memorable ballads are sung by punk rockers and those who don't usually sing ballads. "I had a dream, and it was overrated," Small croons in a world- weary voice. "I had a heart, but it was confiscated." Acoustic and electric guitars jangle softly together as Bryan rhapsodizes about a mysterious girl who "changes like the weather."
Over the years, the Hangmen have worked with several notable producers, including Vic Maile (Motorhead, The Inmates, Hawkind), who recorded the Hangmen's self-titled Capitol Records full-length LP in 1989, which is now a prized collector's item. (Good luck finding that one on eBay!) Radio Birdman singer Rob Younger helmed the group's lost second album, which was commissioned by Geffen Records but never released and is now an even greater rarity.
Fou Fou Ha is San Francisco's premiere cartoon performance ensemble mixing dance theater, character interaction and a bedazzled fashionista trixter magic.
Since 2001, the Fous have activated events, put on full game and variety shows, told stories (albeit in gibberish) and brought play and the absurd to events across the nation, having recently sprouted a NY branch known as Fou York.
Described as having a Fosse precision with a Jim Henson sensibility, Fou Fou Ha truly represents the mashup of San Francisco drag, mixed with witty political acts and a fashion forward paradigm blender with a twist of party monster. Part glitter, part Fool archetype, part dance company and inhibition annihilators.
Welcome to the Fou dimension...enjoy the ride!