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Point Juncture WA

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Portland's Best New Indie Pop Acts to Enjoy this Year

Last year was a pretty good year in local music. We've seen many faces tackle few genres, battling it out for the top spot in all our rotation of shows we attend, merch we buy and band pages we like. Of all the Portlander crusaders in Indie Pop, Reptaliens won the yearly reader's poll for the category, but there are a handful of other bands that caught the eye of our jurors and voters. 

At the top of that list is Little Star (pictured), the Good Cheer Records band that pulls the best from 90's college radio indie and emo, giving a modern spin to the classics of sad pop. Spawned from the ashes of a romanticized detriment, as are some of the best contributions to music ever, Little Star's small but estimable discography models moments of tender affection and soft aggression sonically and lyrically as a well rounded product to share with the masses. 

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Next up we've got Mini Blinds, whose angelic twee pop quickly made them a favorite. Just in their first year of existence, their debut release Air Signs captures an innocence many long to hold on to.

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Newer to the Portland scene, synthpop duo My Body hauled their danceable beats across the country from New York to share their creations with us. We couldn't be more happy about it, or their Seven Wives EP, released yesterday.

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With one of the best guitarists in the city right now, Two Moons is an enigma of sorts. Their albums reflect a temperate delivery, but their live shows are a brute force to be reckoned with. They'll surprise you in all sorts of ways, but all of them pleasantly.

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We've can't forget to show some love to our Honorable Mentions Small Million, Plastic Cactus and Point Juncture, Wa as well! 

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Premier: Orquestra Pacifico Tropical's Rio Frio

Before I dive into describing the intoxicating mix of sounds that Orquestra Pacifico Tropical have etched onto their debut record, Rio Frio (cold river), I would like to offer a brief history of the music they play so passionately, Cumbia. Cumbia has been around for hundreds of years, historians believe that the pulsing rhythms in which the genre is founded originated in African tribes and brought to Central America by slaves during the Spanish colonization in what is now Columbia. There these rhythms met claves, flutes, guitars and, eventually, accordions to create the cross-cultural dance music that we now call Cumbia.

The rhythms of Cumbia have been evolving since their inception, yet always retaining a groove that makes the style universally danceable. Orquestro Pacifico Tropical have taken this groove and added hazy guitar tones, roaring horns and a storm of percussive dexterity to create an album that is completely contagious. The opening track, “Macondo” sets an energetic tone with sweeping rhythms, blasting horns and anthemic vocal shouts. It got me dancing around my apartment immediately, and I didn’t stop moving my feet until the last note was hit and the cacophonic introduction to “Andalucia” began. From here the album moves through surfy guitar leads (“Petrolero"), hypnotic drumming (“Negra”) and vocal shouts that made me wish I spoke more Spanish so that I could sing along. The music that Orquestra Pacifico Tropical have created on Rio Frio is equally traditional, novel and undeniably fun. Join them for their record release show with 1939 Ensemble and Point Juncture, WA at Doug Fir Lounge on Wednesday, June 25th to pick up a copy on vinyl for yourself. 

- Ben Toledo 

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