Tag Archives: Dr. Something

Dr. Something’s “Beaverton TC” is a Quick Pick Me Up

Dr. Something’s new single “Beaverton TC” is adorable, effortlessly enjoyable, and worth listening to on repeat. The chamber pop tune kicks off with a rolling piano riff, evoking the cheery demeanor of the Peanuts theme song “Linus and Lucy.” The contortion of language in support of rhyming makes some of the verses sound almost Shakespearean.

Where do I go
When I’m looking to catch the bus to Tualatin?
Where do I go
When I’m aiming for the heart of the county known as Washington?”

The tune conjures up visions of a musical about suburban Portland, something along the lines of the Simpsons with a twist of Dilbert. Somehow a musical or TV series on transit centers seems timely now that the Portlandia TV series and the Portland culture of the ‘90s are officially over with. Beaverton TC could inspire a TV series about minivans, high school sports, and very friendly naïve people who are barely aware that a city called Portland exists, except for a few restaurants and an airport. I can already imagine a series of entertaining skits depicting Portland musicians, exiled from the city due to high rents, embarking on Tri-Met seeking affordable apartments in the suburbs. These seemingly related species, city-dwelling musicians and suburbanites are largely unfamiliar with each other’s existence, with the exodus of musicians to the suburbs providing fodder for endless parodies.

It is also worth noting that Dr. Something, a.k.a. Alison Dennis, wrote a worthwhile bonus track to promote the new song. She calls it a “jingle for the single”. Alison is working on an entire transit center collection, which I can’t wait to hear. In particular I’m looking forward to hearing about my own suburban neighborhood transit center, the Sunset TC.

Besides being a multi-instrumentalist and songwriter in Dr. Something, Alison also plays keyboards and saxophone in All I Feel is Yes and is a live music sketch artist. Her sketches are a hand-drawn documentary of Portland’s live bands and venues, capturing fleeting moments of an endangered cultural pastime.

Catch Alison with her band featuring bassist Jacob Anderson, drummer Michael Wilding, and back-up singing, go-go dancing sensations Amy Baxter, Erika Garlock and Christie Welsh at the single release party on Thursday, Sept 13, at Kelly’s Olympian. Follow her on fb, check out her website, and stay tuned to Bandcamp and SoundCloud for the rest of the transit center series.

P.S. If you enjoyed reading this, please subscribe to the Portland Notes blog. Also, we are looking for a few more writers who are enthusiastic about sharing their stories about Portland music culture, including album and live band reviews. Thanks for reading!

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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