Something must be wrong. I had been pondering the sad possibility that I could look forward to less and less truly mind-blowing music as I got older. I felt like an addict who had suddenly been denied his drug.
And then, as if to prove that there actually is a deity (yeah, right), and that he/she/it is capricious as all get out (more likely), I come across not one but three amazing artists in the space of as many weeks (give or take a few days).
First: Electric Ladyland. Wow.
Next: Django Bates. Wow. (And another one of those weird instances where I have somehow previously missed actually hearing the music of a major artist working the same side of the street as the Industrial Jazz Group. Duh! (Thanks to DJA for the tip.))
And now, thanks to Casa de Durkin-Robinson, which I have touted as a home-away-from-home for IJG members passing through Portland with their various other groups, the third band in this personal okay-so-music-is-not-really-dead-after-all triumvirate: Wiener Kids, from Oakland. The group is led by drummer Jordan Glenn (who writes all of their music), and features Aram Shelton and (IJG's) Cory Wright on reeds. When they made their way up to the Pacific Northwest last weekend, for shows in PDX, Eugene, and Seattle, they crashed here for a night.
And now is the point in the post where you click on the previous link and go listen to their music over on MySpace.
I'm luckier than that. I got to see their show at galleryHOMELAND (along with an equally strong set by PDX's own Better Homes and Gardens) on Saturday night.
Here's a short video by Michael Buchino; it captures one of the more introspective moments of the show:
Of course (as Michael notes), that sort of thing (still beautiful) was more the exception than the rule at this show. The rule was more like this:
That video (and the one below) are (apparently) from a previous incarnation of the group.
You can find more stuff on your own. Anyway, for me the appeal here is at least in part the same thing that perked up my ear with Acoustic Ladyland -- a real capacity for doing "more with less" (you know the cliche). An ability, in other words, to pare away all the potential wankery, and go straight to the idiosyncratic core. The tunes are simple, direct, short -- like good punk rock, I guess. And yet, unlike bad punk rock, they're not stupid and boring. And they're not really "simple," either.
My only regret of the evening is that I was unable to get over to hear Mike Richardson's indie rock extravaganza, the Minor Canon, which actually happened to be playing PDX the same evening (also on tour). I am quite sure they were totally bitchen, and my regrets should be duly noted. (At first it looked like there would be a schedule conflict, as both bands were slated to go on at the same time in different parts of town. As things turned out, the Minor Canon ended up going on way too late for my heat-stroke afflicted body. Blah blah blah. Anyway, sorry Mike.)