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Alt Pop

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Guantanamo Baywatch defies genre with new album

Portland’s favorite power trio Guantanamo Baywatch has made a big leap since the days of their previous album, Chest Crawl. Most notably, there is an almost complete disappearance of their trademark surf sound. On their new record, Darling…It’s Too Late, the band has made the transition so easily it’s as if this shift of direction was where they have always been headed.

The album is a myriad of varying genres and styles, sounding like a tribute to the golden age of early Rock ‘n’ Roll. There are still quite a few instrumentals here, even the occasional glimpse of their old selves as on “Raunch Stomp” or “Mr. Rebel,” but even then they’re injected with a grittiness closer to country-fried Rockabilly.

The production is bigger and cleaner, and the band sounds more confident than ever, with Jason Powell’s vocals coming to the forefront for the first time where it had previously been buried or served a secondary role to his guitars. The guitars, as always, still play an integral part to their sound as does the thunderous rhythm section, especially shining on “Beat Has Changed” with a solo not unlike something from early Ricky Nelson.

The record feels like a glimpse into the world of pop music and Rock ‘n’ Roll in America during the late 50s and early 60s. The band explores everything from Country gospel à la Don Gibson on “Boy Like Me” to R&B torch songs on “Too Late,” and the Live at The Whiskey a Go Go swing of Johnny Rivers on “Sea of Love.” In fact, it’s like the band’s history lesson ends just before the advent of the British Invasion. The album even closes with what appears to be the sound of the Fab Four on the not-so-distant horizon with “Do What Want You Want.”

While their albums and singles have always been stellar, Guantanamo Baywatch up until now has always been best experienced as a live band. But Darling…It’s Too Late is a statement, proving they can be just as potent of a force in the studio. Every second of the record feels like it was handled with care and made with a deep enthusiasm and love for music. Darling…It’s Too Late is out now on Suicide Squeeze. 

-Cody Alexander

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Michael Rault @ Silver Dollar

Shake, Rattle and Roll with Michael Rault. He is a talented, multi-instrumentalist that gives his listeners an era-blending modern take on familiar sounds from the 50’s , 60’s and 70’s. A recent Toronto transplant from his native Edmonton, Michael Rault puts his creative perspective into perspective with his latest album release “Living Daylight”. There is nothing fuzzy about his sound, he commits to claim it! A pioneer of dynamic rock n’ roll, transforming rhythms and beats with an undeniable brilliant pop vocal and heart piercing guitar riffs, every track is is a hit! So put your dancin’ shoes on, “Living Daylight” has us moving from top to bottom. The opening track ‘All Alone (On My Own)’ is captivating, shaking you up with tambourines, clapping hands and familiar charming vocal harmonies. ‘Real Love (Yeah)’ coats you with heavy guitars that peak and valley to talkative keys that beat to the oohs of “real love”. ‘Too All My Friends’ takes it down a notch with vocals that sway to romantic keys and easy-acid guitars. Michael Rault is currently on tour, see him Saturday May 23 @ the Silver Dollar before he jumps the border showcasing his sounds in the USA.

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Texas King @ Drake Hotel

Pop enough to sing-a-long to, rock enough to jump around to, and just enough groove to soothe your soul to. Texas King, hailing from London Ontario, got the crowd enlivened during the CMW showcase at the Gladstone last week. With lush, sizzling guitar tones, raspy vocals, and an on point rhythm combo, these guys became an energetic delicacy to see perform live. With their catchy lyrics the crowd sings-a-long alone to, “Come Find Me". They’re tight, greasy, and there’s - without question - no shortage of dance moves. Head on out to The Drake Hotel @ 05/17 and see on hell of a show!-Courtney Chalapenko 

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The Dead Bees

Music is all about the song, and The Dead Bees live by them. Playing genre-blurring, old fashioned rock n’ roll, they would be home on just about any stage. Delicate harmony, laid back rhythm section, stripped down electric guitars and bare-bones melody, they don’t overdo anything because they don’t need to. Somewhere between the Killers and Joel Plaskett is where these Ottawa-dwelling boys live. Their song Cannonball from their second album “2” is the perfect soundtrack to a weekend at the cottage, or skipping work and just hitting the road. Between the folk-lectric guitar lines, and the lovely light chorus line, it’ll get you to forget about your woes and just sing along. With 2 records under their belt, they’re well on their way to finishing a third, to be named and then released, hopefully in that order, at some point in 2015.-Cody Wright

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PDX Weekend: Whiskeytown, Catherine Feeny, Roselit Bone

Today marks the beginning of WhiskeyFest NW's Whiskeytown USA festival--which pairs whiskey with a natural friend: music. Tonight catch Jackson Boone for a hot, psychadelic mixer. Tomorrow, Blitzen Trapper brings their seasoned folk rock to the stage, a perfect soundtrack to your sippin'. Check out the full schedule and band lineup here.
NW 17th & Front Ave, doors at 4 p.m. Friday and 12 p.m. Saturday, 21+, tickets

Start your Saturday night early with Catherine Feeny, Chris Johnedis, and Big Haunt at Tender Loving Empire. Catherine Feeny and Chris Johnedis will cool you down with their soulful, compelling tunes. Feeny and Johnedis are celebrating their new release with airy, dark-pop outfit Big Haunt.
Tender Loving Empire (3541 SE Hawthorne), 5:15 p.m., all-ages, free

 

If you're in the mood for something a bit more bloodthirsty, head to Double Barrel on Saturday to catch a free show from Roselit Bone. Their haunting, chaotic Western music will leave you with whiplash--and they've added an accordian player to the lineup. The band embarks on a West Coast tour this month, and won't be playing in Portland again until June.
Double Barrel (2002 SE Division), 5:30 p.m., 21+, free

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