Tag Archives: Alison Dennis

All I Feel is Yes’ New Double Album Dares to Sound Different

While most bands are putting out EPs and singles, All I Feel is Yes, takes a different direction with their new double full length album, Golden Noldies. This album, which incorporates improvisational and experimental aspects, requires commitment from the listener. Musicians can really appreciate the particularly solid rhythm section, topped with sizzling guitar leads, and jamming Hammond-tone keyboards.

The different band members, who call themselves a collective, are local music veterans and play in various projects. Keyboard player, saxophone player, and singer, Alison Dennis is known for her band sketches, which are featured on the Portland Notes website. Alison, along with bass player, Jacob Anderson, and drummer, Mike Chastain, also plays in another local band, Dr. Something.

The anchor of this band is multi-instrumentalist and singer, Jason Ferris, who plays some tasty guitar riffs. His bass playing is also notable, as exemplified in the short and catchy tune, Anti-Bionic, on the first of the two volumes. The song, “A Warm Bath at the End of Time”, wraps up this double album perfectly, with Jason riffing on the keyboard and Alison playing soothing sonic tones on the saxophone.

Alison describes the band’s recording methodology: “We’ve made recordings of most of our rehearsals. We usually jam for at least part of every rehearsal, occasionally we’ll spend an entire night just improvising.” While this recording method works pretty well for instrumental music, the vocals end up sounding a bit rough as compared to the type of productions that most people are used to.

As far as influences, I hear a similarity to Gong, a prog jazz rock band from the 1970’s, but my hunch is a bit off the mark. Alison cites “Crazy Horse, Flaming Lips, Amon Düül, early Pink Floyd & P-Funk” as influences. Jacob offers additional insight by explaining that bandmates share a “track of the week”. While not all of these are considered influences, it’s what they’ve been listening to over the space of a couple years: “Träd, Gräs och Stenar, Sylvester, Cherelle, David Bowie, Arthur Russell, This Heat, Limahl, Dragontime, Richard Youngs, Richard Harris, the Beach Boys, Yoko Ono, Komeda, Alice Coltrane, Paul Horn, Penny McLean, Wilson Pickett, Dawn of Midi, Queen, Gershwin, Wire, Single, King Crimson, Devo, Midlake, Floex, and the Five Racketeers.”

The two Golden Noldies volumes are grouped chronologically, with Volume 1 recorded in 2015 and Volume 2 recorded in 2016. The tunes are a great backdrop for scrapbooking and other crafty listening endeavors. Check ‘em out on Bandcamp.

Dr. Something – Rustic Machinery to be released 10/1/16! Poppin’ Fresh, Doc!!!!

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Alison Dennis made her rounds into the Hot Pink Portland Notes Studio to chat with me about Dr. Something’s new album Rustic Machinery – due to be officially released this October 1 at the Lombard Pub (formerly known as The Foggy Notion). She joins friend bands Lagoon Squad and Metropolitan Farms, who also are releasing a new set of tunes that night. Rustic Machinery comes out of a spurt of creative energy, with songs based on what Dennis refers to as “song sketches.” The album is full of fantastic imagery, and references to very specific experiences that Alison was gracious to share with me in her audio interview.

dr-something-at-portland-notes-03Dennis is a nerd at heart, a really helpful trait for a composing musician. Most helpful indeed, because working with a variety of instruments and playing in more than one active local band certainly requires a knowledge of technology and musical construction. She also has a very active imagination, which allows her to combine science (the Mars rovers), psychology (spiteful hoarding), and a melody – in order to translate the workings of her artist’s brain into a language we can understand.

dr-something-at-portland-notes-01Her song “Paper Tacos” has a particularly personal and sweet story. She is undeniably creative, turning life and relationship lemons into delicious Lemon Drop sweetness with imagery and careful lyrics. By her own description, Dennis combines seemingly random ideas and past experiences into melodic stories that are unique and very engaging. Rustic Machinery is carefully constructed pop music, just what the doctor ordered! In our audio interview, Dennis gives credit to her bandmates, talks about some of her many musical awakenings, and shares the specific inspiration for the song “Red Rover.” The conversation will give you a glimpse of some insightful songwriting processes.

Dr. Something’s Rustic Machinery is now available on Bandcamp, and you can see the band’s debut album performance live on October 1 at the LP. If you’d like to leave a message for the Dr, you can check them out on Facebook, Reverbnation, and Soundcloud as well. Please join us October 1 – music is the best organic medicine!

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