Category Archives: Notable Review

Densmore’s 2019 Kicks off with an Undeniable Hit

Sam Densmore’s new single “Damn the Consequences” puts him squarely in the genre of pop philosopher. The new single has sensibility of Elvis Costello, but with the rich instrumental layering of R.E.M., and a vocal timbre that sounds just a tad like a combination of Michael Stipe and Tom Petty. But the lyrics are what make this song really special. It’s a kind of coming of age song, a song with brilliant lyrics that shine with the wisdom gained from making it to middle age. He rhymes “love, like time, is a construct of the mind” in catchy and insightful opening lines. The chorus, “live like there’s no tomorrow,” and “damn the consequences, and regrets too” could be a calling to pursue the frivolous behavior of youth or to set out on a full on mid-life crisis.

Densmore released the song on Feb 27 with an entertaining video featuring Sam and a naked Portlander riding around town on scooters, which means that it must have been filmed last year when scooters were still legal in Portland.

Check out Sam’s discography, including his 2017 album, Open Marriage, which was also expertly written, on Bandbody typecbody typeamp and his website. Follow Sam on FB, and stayed tuned for his upcoming EP, Black Velvet Unicorn, to be released in the fall. His next gig are guaranteed to be awesome. April 13 he is playing a rare all-ages music video festival and concert alongside Skulldiver and Camp Crush at Clinton Street Theater. Congrats to Sam for kicking off 2019 with such a great single and amazing upcoming gigs!

Last but not least, if you’ve enjoyed this music review, please consider clicking on the sidebar to subscribe to the Portland Notes music blog so you can stay in tune with Portland’s amazing local music.

The Cabin Project’s Decenter is a Quiet Roar

The Cabin Project is one of Portland’s best bands, and if you haven’t heard of them yet, then get yourself to Bandcamp or your streaming service of choice and get listening. Their sound has evolved over five albums and could be described as ethereal folk or symphonic comfort music.

The new album, Decenter, which I’m guessing is a play on the word dissenter, consists of ten songs that are remarkably consistent with each other and with their previous 2016 release, Unfolded. The songs are layered compositions of soft falsetto vocals and light harmonies soaked in reverb and nested into the textures of violin strings and orchestral percussion. Characteristic to their style, many of their songs start with a delicate whisper, move into rolling polyrhythmic beats, and then crescendo in a quiet roar. The songs on this album were written in response to the current socio-political situation, though it’s hard to know that simply by listening to the lyrics. The band says “Given our political times and witnessing the exponential wrongs and beauties that people are capable of bestowing upon each other, we decided to make a record that was bold.” They further explain “We set out to make a record that represents who we are as musicians, as people, as fighters, as friends, as partners, as women, as queers, as outcasts, as people who hold privilege, and as humans who also exist in narratives outside the dominant. A piece of music that honors and holds space for all these stories.”

Check out their website, follow them on facebook, and keep an eye out for one of their stunning live performances. And if you’ve enjoyed this music review, please consider clicking on the sidebar to subscribe to the Portland Notes music blog so you can stay in tune with Portland’s amazing local music.

Toughboy is extremely relatable with new single “Sleeves”

Get your 2019 started off right and chill by checking out a new single by Toughboy titled “Sleeves”. Did you work way too hard in 2018? “Sleeves” has a great mood: it’s got a relaxed beat, but also feels determined and confused. As someone who cuts all of my clothes up and down in order to find a way to make them fit my body in a way that makes me feel gender-a-okay, I related to this song a lot. Musically it feels like a way better and more interesting version of Weezer, but if Weezer hadn’t turned terrible and had the epiphany to stop turning up places they weren’t wanted.

You can find this single, as well as a slew of other work by this artist, on their bandcamp page, and follow them more on instagram at @toughboy.online

The Sexbots Release The Powerful Cat-Lady Album “I Always Knew You Were A Bitch”

Some people will make the point about electronic music that anyone could make it, and I would agree: it is a span of genres that can be incredibly accessible to make music creation more available to more people so that we can have more awesome music in the world. However, I would argue that while it is, perhaps, “easier” to make electronic music, it takes a special kind of creative person to take it in a direction that is both boundary pushing and familiar at the same time. Sure, anyone can make a beat, a bassline, and slap vocals over it, but it takes someone with a real great set of visions to make a work of art that will be talked about for years. The Sexbots’ Ilima Considine is one of these minds, and “I Always Knew You Were A Bitch” is a one of a kind Album.

Vocally, she has the incredible ability to whisper with the power of seven tornados that have captured freight trains ‘Wizard of Oz’ style. Musically this album is a really interesting mix between hard hitting pop and mellow avant garde hip hop, and all dance party. The hooks are incredible, and lyrically really engaging, from the Sexbot bandcamp page:

Towards the end of 2017, The Sexbots’ Ilima Considine called her work as she walked out of the courthouse with a stalking order against a co-worker. The Sheriff’s Department was going to serve him during his shift the next day. Her workplace responded by cutting her schedule to 5 hours a week- virtually firing her, because, “You’re the one with the problem.” Ilima was so mad that she went home and wrote a rap album about losing all her fucks and becoming a cat lady. Recurring themes of violence, street harassment, choosing loneliness over sleeping with the enemy, and quietly watching one’s life disintegrate – The Sexbots’ seventh full-length album “I Always Knew You Were a Bitch” is titled after a common response to a sexually unavailable woman or one who protects other women.”

As someone who has the experience of being in art circles, music circles, or really any social scene, and being present and part of the quiet whispers & warnings between folks about dangerous men who do dangerous but “normalized” things to us, I felt a lot of things while listening to this album. It really hit home and reminded me of all those hushed conversations, all those times that I and others have tried but failed to hold someone accountable, and the times that I have entirely left music networks altogether. One would think that would make me feel bad, but instead these songs makes me feel really powerful, like screw it, I am doing my own things right now. I am not sure that is how everyone would react to it (everyone has their own reactions of trauma) but I loved this album.

Give a listen to “I Always Knew You Were A Bitch” today, buy it, and go see The Sexbots live at the CD release show on Feb 9th at Bit House Saloon!

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.