When We Met’s New Single and Music Video are Oh So Relatable

The dynamic duo, When We Met, has been playing in Portland for several years now, and is well-known for their high energy live set. The duo, consisting of Melissa Dorres on bass and vocals and Bryan Casey on guitar and vocals, cite influences as diverse as Cyndi Lauper, Devo, and Ween. Recently Dorres became Portland-famous with an in depth article called “Getting Bass-ic” in She Shreds magazine on all the things to consider when buying a bass guitar.

Photo Credit: Roderick Allen Photography

The duo released a brand spanking new single and music video on January 13. It’s the third cartoon-style video that they’ve done with cartoonist/director/actor Zachary Whitmore. Melissa explained that the song, Falling Apart, was “inspired by depression, the hopelessness and acceptance of it all.” She described the song as “an ode to social anxiety.”

The song starts with their characteristic guitar riffs, blissed out vocals, and the lyrics “I don’t know. I don’t care”. The following verses become more driving and the lyrics describe what it’s like to be a recluse and hiding from reality- “I just live my life. I don’t go outside.” Whitmore’s interpretation and cartoon skills are a highlight of this new must-watch music video.

When We Met’s next gig is at the Hawthorne Hideaway on Saturday March 9. Check out their website for more info and links to their albums and videos. If you’re still enjoying this music review, please consider clicking on the sidebar to listen to the Portland Notes on-line stream and subscribing to the Portland Notes music blog so you can stay in tune with Portland’s amazing local music.

The Colin Trio at McMenamins Grand Lodge

The Colin Trio is songwriter Colin Hogan on vocals, guitar, and piano; Brian Link on bass; and Matt Ramsdell on drums and percussion. The Trio combines jazzy, country blues with Southern soul, led by Colin’s sultry vocals. In early December, they played the middle set of the evening, as a guest of Tara Valarde, who enjoys a once-a-month residency at The Grand Lodge, and often has guests in tow. The trio’s music is being played on the radio stream, and Colin was interviewed by Kelly Jones in early 2017.

This being Colin’s first visit to The Grand Lodge, there were a couple of things she didn’t know. First, the “Garage Door” location actually *has* a garage door. Knowing this would have made trekking in the gear much easier for her and the band. Second, there is an outdoor soaking pool down the hall, so it is commonplace to see people wandering about in white bath robes. With those wandering robes in mind, let’s join The Colin Trio on stage doing “Simple Sweet Something”.

Link to video

Dakota Slim’s “Cactus Crown” is Incredible, Artistic, and Astral

I have read a lot of reviews about Dakota Slim’s most recent release, title “Cactus Crown”, which came out over this past summer. I have taken that summer and the proceeding fall to exist within its haze, letting it weave a tapestry of astral environments for me to meditate around, a map that corrects itself somewhere between it’s original intentions and my own perspectives and paradoxes. It is easy to see where many folks get visions that produce reactions to “Cactus Crown” like: “Spaghetti Western”, “Cinematic”, and “Psychedelic Folk”. But there are some other reactions that my body has when I consume it’s creation. It is intentional. It is painstakingly crafted and recrafted. Dakota Slim has placed so many intelligent incracisies into this great work that every listen has a different dimension to it. Beyond all that it sounds professional: every part of this album is exactly as it should be, finding its way somewhere at the perfect intersection between overdone and creatively interesting. At the bottom of those waves it finds its home as a wonderful piece of artistic integrity: of someone finding themselves and sticking to their guns, and becoming exactly who they want to be. A lifelong process, surely, but albums like these are very nice waysigns, guide posts, and rest stops which can help us along the way.

That last paragraph had 222 words in it, which I decided was a neat enough looking number to look up the Occult Meaning of. I don’t know this kind of information off hand, because my memory is awful, but I came up with a ton of awesome information: “Serpent’s Eye”, “Good Mountain”, and many more. I have not taken up the time to decide which one of these I like, but I get a good feeling like I am on the right track when I see or hear something that gives me a fuzzy feeling on the back of my neck, somewhere below the backside of my crown and just in between the bottom of my shoulder blades. I am not %100 sure of the rituals that lead to the creation of “Cactus Crown”, but I do know that when I listen to this album I receive that sort of “ASMR” feeling that lets me know I am somewhere on the right path. These Eight Songs come together, in my listening experience, as a sort of meditative and forward moving ghost opening up that which is closed. The rhythms are just the right cradle between odd and familiar, the vocals are a whispering secret that can be heard voiced both in sands and alleyways. Spirituality aside, there is a lot of ambiance and alchemy between genres in this record, combining what sounds like a mixture of electronic beats on some songs, sampled drums, sampled horns, sampled everything. As a creator myself, I can feel certain parts that build and jive on themselves, and I can visualized the sort of cheshire smile that might have appeared on the songwriters face before a nod that signifies a “yeah, I got it that time”. This album, despite being artsy as hell, transcends being too pretentious because it sounds like it was extremely exciting to make. When music is just plain FUN to create, you can hear it when the record eventually comes out.

So pick up this indie-acoustic-spaced out but rhythmically interesting album soon, and support Dakota Slim’s other projects: such as the Open Source Art Religion & Collective We The Hallowed and Podcast “Pragmagick”. He always has something interesting up his sleeve, and I for one, am always interested to see just how deep those magicians robes go!

Evan Knapp’s Musicianship Shines through in an Impressive Debut

Evan Knapp wrote most of the songs for Green, his debut record, when he was 18 or 19 years old. The whole album conveys precious innocence and a shared sense of nostalgia through Knapp’s well-crafted songs and impressive musicianship. Knapp is an astounding bass player who plays in several local acts. His R&B and jazz sensibilities come through in all dimensions of his songwriting, singing, and multi-instrumental playing. Knapp’s good friend and collaborator, Salvatore Manalo, brings a Latin jazz feel to Knapp’s grooves by adding guitar or keyboard playing on all the tunes.

In “Today” Evan sings with the smoothness of Dido and the swing of Sade, starting the song with a sweet croon “Baby. How’s your day been?” Knapp continues his smooth swing and creative rhymes in “House” with an earworm “you know I ain’t hard to satisfy.” “Windmill,” a jazzy track describing Knapp’s bike trip from Salt Lake City to Portland and a love that he can’t shake out of his mind, is only available on the CD and Bandcamp.

In my favorite tune on the album, “Frosted Flakes,” Knapp joins great songwriters in using a breakfast theme- but Jack Johnson’s Banana Pancakes has nothing on Evan Knapp. Frankly, Knapp could sing the phone book to this funky riff, but even better, he describes an entertaining perspective on getting repeatedly stood up by the girl of his dreams, talking himself back up with the lyrics “you are what you eat, so enjoy them frosted flakes.”

“Take Your Time” has a funky vibe with an affirming message for those who are impatient to get to where they want to be “Take your time. Your opportunity will arise.” “Matter of Thought” describes the beginning of his journey westward and ends with Knapp saying to himself “what you’re doing with your life ain’t enough.”

It’s worth adding that Evan is a remarkably considerate person. I guess this is what might happen when someone grows up working on their parents’ organic farm and living abroad as an exchange student. When I first met Evan he was checking out all sorts of bands and venues, getting to know local musicians and their music. He supports other artists by playing in their bands and attending a lot of gigs. He has become woven into the fabric of the music community. His immense talent and supportive attitude make him one of Portland’s shining stars.

Get to know more about Evan through his brand spanking new documentary video on the making of the EP.

Check out Evan’s website, which includes links to all the major streaming services. The next opportunity to hear him play live will be on February 6th at Kelly’s Olympian with Sweet N’ Juicy and There Is No Mountain. And if you’re still enjoying this music review, please consider clicking on the sidebar to listen to the Portland Notes on-line stream and subscribing to the Portland Notes music blog so you can stay in tune with Portland’s amazing local music.

#WomenCrushPDX Supports Music and a Safe Community

Last month on the evening before Thanksgiving Day I had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with #WomenCrush Music, an international non-profit organization whose mission it is to support rising women songwriters by hosting showcases, workshops & networking events, all while creating a safe community. I have to admit that I was there to perform with my band, Avalanche Lily, and that I wasn’t very familiar with #WomenCrush Music before then. What I found was a warm welcoming community of musicians and an incredibly talented lineup of performers and a mission that’s about a lot more than music.

Katelyn Convery
Katelyn Convery

The November showcase at the White Eagle included several singer-songwriter performances, starting with Katelyn Convery who sings aching songs with a strong buttery voice and bass-y acoustic guitar. I also really dug the darkly seductive piano pop from Lauren Kershner, who recently released a new single and music video, Wicked, that matches her intriguing persona perfectly. Special guest, EmZee, the co-leader of the Missoula, MT chapter, closed out the night with a spirited performance. The sheer talent of these three performers was impressive, reminding me and everyone in the audience of Portland’s bounty of incredible local music.

Lauren Kershner, photo by Lambda Lion Media
Lauren Kershner, photo by Lambda Lion Media

The next #WomenCrush Music event coming up on Wednesday, December 19, at the White Eagle will be a holiday party and an educational workshop about treating music like a business, taught and sponsored by lawyer Michael Jonas of Rational Unicorn Legal Services. The event will also feature live performances from Acoustic Minds, a well-known local band led by two sisters, and Complementary Colors, a duo of brilliant married musical ladies who recently released a new EP.

Complimentary Colors
Complimentary Colors

Hannah diMo, leads the Portland chapter of #WomenCrush and wants “to help other women and women-identifying humans achieve their dreams.” Her new single is coming out on Feb 23 with a release-party at Holocene and she will be playing with her band at the White Eagle on January 3.

#WomenCrush Music was founded in Portland in January 2017 by then-local musician Ashley Kervabon. In two years the movement has expanded to 15 chapters in 12 cities across the United States and in Vancouver, BC. You can learn more about the history of #WomenCrush Music by checking out their fb page, their website, and this article in Vortex Music Magazine.

If you’re still enjoying this music review, please consider clicking on the sidebar to listen to the Portland Notes on-line stream and subscribing to the Portland Notes music blog so you can stay in tune with Portland’s amazing local music.

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