It’s Impossible Not to Fall in Love with RILLA

RILLA is a four piece psychedelic rock band that will wow you with their musicianship, humility, and comradery. All the bandmates happen to be women, but they resist being labeled by their gender. They are one of the best bands in town, and are a fantastic example of why Portland is a great place to enjoy local music. Their first incarnation was in 2011 as a five piece called the Vandies. After the departure of their lead singer, the four remaining band members regrouped, wrote all new material, and reinvented themselves as RILLA in 2014.

RILLA released their first EP, I Am Not a Robot, in 2016. The five tracks shine from start to finish. They released a second standout EP, Cutthroat Bingo, in August of this year. The third track, Sorry to Bug You Late, is a great example of their killer guitar riffs, dreamy vocals, honest lyrics, dynamic jams, and danceable beats. These women have a quirky sense of humor as well, with song names such as Summertery and Mindfork.

They are in music for all the right reasons- for a creative outlet, friendships, and shared adventures. They cherish their friendships and it shows. A recent exclusive interview with the band reveals how they think about themselves. Check out their music and videos on their website and see them live this Friday, Dec 1, at Kelly’s Olympian.

Interview:

Portland Notes: Do you market yourselves as an all women band, or as a band that happens to be all women, or do you think that gender should simply not be part of the band description at all?

RILLA: Unfortunately, our culture is hyper aware of gender. We happen to be women, we support women in music, and our focus is on the music we make.

Portland Notes: Do you have a band leader, or is it a band democracy?

RILLA: We all follow the Ways of RILLA. 

Portland Notes: I’ve noticed that you have band huddles before you start your set, and maybe after you finish too. Whose idea was that, what are you doing, and why?

RILLA: You noticed that eh? We like to play. We have fun.

Portland Notes: I know that you also have other priorities in life, like organic sustainable farming, that take away from band time. Any comment on that?

RILLA: We all live full lives! The band is the glue that holds us all together and keeps us sane(ish).

Portland Notes: You went on tour and posted a video of the experience. When was the tour, where did you all go, and what were the best and worst parts about it?

RILLA: We did a West Coast Tour around Halloween of last year (2016). We loved it, it was really fun to spend so much time together, singing in the van. We all loved the hotel breakfasts!

Big Brim Birthday Bash – Ettabration! with Arietta Ward!

How about this: a celebration that lasts all month long, a party that is for everyone, and an epic musical and visual event to bring it all together? Arietta Ward celebrates her birthday in style, December 8 at Mission Theater – come as you are, and be prepared to be surrounded by fabulous people in formal frocks and big brimmed toppers!

Arietta Ward is not one to stay in the background! In true artist form, she takes important mileposts in her life, and turns them into shared experiences through song. What might have seemed to be devastating to one person can turn into an encouraging experience for another. In the interview below, you’ll have a chance to walk along with Ward in her musical journey, truly one of discovering her voice.

For a few years now, Ward has included as many people as possible in her all-month-long celebration called “Ettabration.” It’s a good solid month of parties, events, friends, fellowship, love and music, of course. Everyone with or without a birthday is welcome to join in. All over Portland in December, you’ll see groups of people celebrating – keep an eye out for Ward and her troupe of party people! Then, join the fun at the Big Brim Birthday Bash at Mission Theater on Ward’s actual birthday Friday 12/8.

The Bash will be a chance to dress up! Not the average non-committal bedazzled jean shorts and Birkenstock night, but a rare opportunity to put on an evening dress or a suit, shine the shoes, and find THE best hat! Music, drinks, dancing…a party to get the good times rolling!

Ward’s music will be featured, so we’ve given you a little taste here too. We’d love to see your hats ahead of time too- I’ve included my dream hat photo. It’s not a big brim, but it’s inspiration!

 

A conversation between Kelly Jones and Arietta Ward

 

Feeling Cooler with Kool Stuff Katie

Kool Stuff Katie is one of Portland’s iconic power pop bands. The duo consists of Shane Blem on guitar, Saren Oliver on drums, and both of them on vocals. Shane’s guitar tones and riffs are reminiscent of Cheap Trick. Saren’s drumming provides reliable pop beats. Great songs, tight harmonies, and iresistible pop hooks make them one of Portland’s best pop acts.

Kool Stuff Katie recently played a set at the new Know, which relocated from Alberta Street to the Hollywood District earlier this year. The new venue retains the original punk rock spirit and serves up excellent and affordable drinks to a wide range of clientel that somewhat resemble characters on London’s Kings Road in the mid-1970s.

KSK played many of their reliable hits, and also debuted several great new songs that make for a greatly anticipated third album. Check out them out live, on Spotify, Bandcamp, and everywhere that you access music.

Link to video

The duo has several excellent professionally produced videos on YouTube. “Cars”, in particular, is one of my favorites. The song resonates, especially on the brink of the upcoming holiday travel season. It’s easy to sing along to the words and dream about going somewhere where there are no cars, no people, and no noise…

Christopher Worth’s Pardon Me release at Doug Fir 11/22/2017 – a show WORTH seeing!

This Wednesday, on what Christopher Worth aptly dubs “Thanksgiving Eve”, a show of gratitude and community love will be presented at the Doug Fir lounge. WORTH shares the stage with long-time musical friends Fox and Bones and Moorea Masa & The Mood. Three groups, who all have been outspoken about self-truth, community, and a positive spirit of unity – join together for an evening of celebration and encouragement. This is not JUST your typical feel-good show, however. These artists are urging us to “come together”…a familiar artist’s plea throughout the decades. There will also be dancing, laughter, and lots of hugs!

The 11/22 show will celebrate the release of WORTH’s third album (special version) in a series. Pardon Me is a consistent look at what happens internally as we go through life, but also an encouragement to examine and question what ideas we have held on to out of habit or blind acceptance. WORTH asks us, in this third album, to think about the concept of “Glory”. As he completes the next version of the album, Worth will incorporate fan, family and friends’ ideas into the songs. It’s an approach I haven’t experienced before – where an artist accepts and incorporates, without judgment, others’ ideas as “worthy” of participation. .

The interview below was an emotional one for me. Worth has a way of speaking that encourages an open and honest conversation – we can hear this tone in the music of Pardon Me as well. Having released “Glory” from the album as a video single, Worth also shared a very touching acoustic version with us live in the studio.

Passion flows throughout WORTH’s music – the instrumentals on Pardon Me are light and airy with flowing vocals that gently express relevant and purposeful lyrics. Check out the “Glory” video, listen to the live version, and then experience it out in person at the 11/22 album release show. You can also find WORTH, Moorea Masa, and Fox and Bones music online. This show will be more than music and dancing – prepare to have your heart softened a little! We’d love to see you there.

Crystal Lariza at McMenamins Grand Lodge

At the heart of the band Corner, is Crystal Lariza. Even before the band was formed in 2012 by employees of the Portland Grill, she and her sister Angela played as an indie duo for years around portland as The Lariza Sisters, and still do. Every once in a while Crystal will grab her guitar and fly solo, which was the case on Sunday, November 5th at McMenamins Grand Lodge.

Every good singer/songwriter as a good-love-gone-bad song, and Crystal is no exception. It’s called “Goodman”. Enjoy!

Link to video

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