Tag Archives: Pop

Foreign Talks, No Ceilings Release 7/1/16 at Dante’s Portland – Exploring, Experiencing, and Exuding the love of Rhythm and Rhapsody


From the shores of sunny California to the beaches of Hawaii, from the rocky coasts of Oregon to the pure sands of Jamaica – there is a common love of a certain kind of roots music – the kind of music that you enjoy while kicking back with a cold cerveza on the wet sand with your surfboard beside you. The music you listen to while you drift away into daydreams – and maybe most of all, the kind of music that you listen to in order to take a journey to a more relaxed, happier place. Foreign Talks has captured this sound in their new album No Ceilings, and is prepared to officially release the music and the ideas behind it to the world at Dante’s Portland Friday night, July 1.

Foreign-Talks-No-Ceilings-Release-03Foreign Talks is composed of a group of very young men, who formed their band while still in high school together in Vancouver, Washington. Five years later, they are still together, writing cooperatively, touring, and making plans for the future of the band. It speaks volumes about the band that they are still together despite families moving, college offers, employment opportunities and the like. These young men are dedicated to their music and to following wherever the path leads them. At the core of the band are 2 brothers, Madison Fischer (lead vox/percussion) and Marcus Fischer (lead vox/guitar/bass), who are less than two years apart in age. Their bandmates, however, are also as close as the siblings. Tanner Steinmetz (guitar/bass/backing vox). Kevin Downes (guitar/backing vox/percussion), and Jeff Wagner (drums) are also founding and current members of this unusually loyal group. Like brothers, they argue, tease, challenge, and encourage each other constantly. It takes a close bond to hold a band together through high school and young adulthood. These guys are literally growing up together in every way, especially musically!

Foreign-Talks-No-Ceilings-Release-02At their formation in 2011, Marcus Fischer says that the band was “finding their voice” and exploring the music they loved – a very vocally and melodically-driven indie sound. With a strong exposure to jazz, R&B, rap, pop, rock, and any other kind of music you can name, the Fischer brothers are able to absorb genres like sponges. Since the release of their self-titled album in 2013, the band has been immersing themselves in island roots music.The new album No Ceilings shows that the band believes there are no boundaries to music, and they are presenting a fusion sound of pop and reggae, R&B with surf, and just general “chill out” music that is catchy and relaxing. They have not just incorporated the reggae sound, either – it’s more of a lifestyle choice. The band has taken the time to appreciate the driving force and emotion behind the laid back reggae beat and island tone. Marcus explains that life today is hard, and music is a way to express and escape internal struggles that might otherwise be too difficult to bear. Foreign Talks wants to bring peace, joy, and love wherever they go, while getting people on the dance floor with a bottle of beer.

In the audio interview, Marcus really does a great job to explain the versatility of Foreign Talks – they are expressing a lifestyle of acceptance, observation, exploration, and sharing. The band wants to be relevant by expressing that we all live in this same world and we all have negative obstacles to our happiness being placed in our path every day. Foreign Talks’ music is an encouragement to live today to its fullest, enjoy every minute, and share your love with a love-starved world. Check out the very talented and entertaining band this Friday night at Dante’s.

Special thanks to Alex Steininger of In Music We Trust for introducing Portland Notes to this band. And a huge shout out to Isaac Brock and Woods Entertainment for helping to create the amazingly produced tunes on No Ceilings. The album is available for purchase now on CD Baby and ITunes. You can also listen on Spotify.

Wil Kinky at Grand Lodge on 06-23-16


Well, it was supposed to be an outdoor show last Thursday, but mother nature just didn’t cooperate. (In fact, this whole Spring has been either too hot or too wet, eh? I digress.) The good news about coming inside is we could enjoy the music in more comfortable surroundings. The bad news is Wil Kinky‘s big sound was a little overwhelming for the small room downstairs at the Grand Lodge. But, it didn’t matter – nobody went anywhere!


Wil was raised near Cornelius on Blueberry farm. He learned early on the value of hard work. He brings those values to his music. If you look at his show schedule, you’ll quickly realize this man isn’t idle much. That hard work and commitment to his craft really comes through. Most of Wil’s music during a show is original. He also tosses in several interesting covers from the Doobie Bros, Al Green and others.


Wil has mastered the art of making his guitar not sound like a guitar. I was amazed and the sounds he was able to create. None of it was noise for noise sake – all the effects were carefully crafted to paint the moods he intended. No doubt he will be playing near you soon. Be sure to check him out.


The Whiskey Darlings – Live Sessions Album available now!


Rob Rainwater and Michele Van Kleef, each very active in the local music community, have come together to create a project based on a common love of thoughtful, emotional stories and incredibly tight harmonies. Finding a bond over the music of Simon and Garfunkel, this duo has created beautifully conceived lyrical songs with a comfortable, familiar feel. The Whiskey Darlings are quickly creating fans and friends all over the Northwest and beyond!

The-Wiskey-Darlings-Live-Sessions-01They’ve recently submitted their new song “Why, oh Why?” To the NPR Music 2016 Tiny Desk contest. The Whiskey Darlings have booked a variety of shows over the next few months – and they’ve been written up in The Starlight Music Chronicles and featured in an article on Portland Radio Project.

The-Wiskey-Darlings-Live-Sessions-02Both Rob and Michele are show hosts at Portland Radio Project, where they support and encourage local musicians to pursue their musical dreams. Michele hosts the Monday Music Muse show at 11 AM on Mondays, while Rob is the host of his own show, Songs From the Source, on Sunday afternoons at 1PM

The-Wiskey-Darlings-Live-Sessions-04Listening to the album, I am moved by the longing, sadness, hope, and connection that I hear in the lyrics. Even Rob’s harmonica carries such a strong sense of emotion, that it is impossible to miss. Though Rob and Michele have only been working together for a short time, their harmonies sound like they grew up in the same house as children. Perhaps that is due to Michele’s extensive background as a harmony singer, but I also give credit to the strong friendship that is so visible between these two musicians. The harmonies on “Moonlight Falls” give me goosebumps every time I hear the song!

The-Wiskey-Darlings-Live-Sessions-03You can purchase their album, Live Sessions on ITunes. Check their calendar for upcoming shows! They are just delightful in person, performing surprise covers, and interacting with the crowd in a most amusing way. Two very real people who perform some touching and memorable music…The Whiskey Darlings!

The Junebugs at Grand Lodge on 03-12-16


Originally from Vancouver, BC, Moses Barrett migrated to Portland and formed The Junebugs with drummer Kyle Owen and bassist Sean Vinson. It would appear requirement number 1 to being a member is wearing a beard! They describe their music as high-energy pop with Pacific Northwest folksy goodness. At times I felt like they were like a modern day Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. About a third of their musical selections were covers from the likes of Red Hot Chili Pepers, Neil Young, Paul Simon, Tom Petty and the Eagles. Their presentation is tight and the vocal harmonies are outstanding. During the show, Moses talked about his love for folk music, which this crowd at McMenamin’s Grand Lodge was eating like candy. Based on the reception, they will certainly be back. We recently reviewed their album, “Home To Me, and have posted this Photo Album.

My Brothers and I – Don’t Dream Alone


With a new album release and an 11 stop tour going on now through the end of March, you’d think this band might want to sit back and relax, but NO! Their dream is expansive, and it’s carrying their audiences and fans right along. My Brothers and I will never dream alone! Portland Notes was invited to attend soundcheck and the concert at their March 3, Mississippi Studios tour kick off, and we were impressed by what we saw and heard. This band is on the rise – check out the podcast to hear about their debut album, their first full-length tour, and the challenges of balancing fame with…finals…and flip-flops…you’ll also hear what originally inspired the band to unite, and what they are planning for the next few months.

My-Brothers-And-I-02Don’t Dream Alone features 11 beautifully produced, soulful yet dancy songs, that are impossible to avoid singing along to. The album is available on Itunes now…but wait! There’s video! The Dream video is a beautiful tribute to the value of relationship, and the corresponding “making of” video explains why – the participants, band members, and producers are all friends, living out this musical dream together. Granted, their newest video, was just released on USA Today, and featured on the hit television series Pretty Little Liars (Season 6, Episode 19).

My-Brothers-And-I-01Their tour is going well, even better than anticipated! According to manager Kyle Kuhns of XX Artists – advance tickets are selling extremely well, even in cities the band has never previously visited. This is not surprising, given their success on Spotify – with several hundred thousand listeners, the word is spreading, and dreaming alone is no longer even an option. So much attention so fast might overwhelm a band, if they weren’t deeply connected as brothers and friends – this project is a labor of love, and it is sweeping audiences off their feet in a major way! Front man David Wurgler is somehow managing to balance a series of engaging performances with studying for his college finals, which take place immediately upon his return! Their stories are personal, the connection with the audience is real – it’s what we are all wanting from our favorite artists!

My-Brothers-And-I-04David (lead vocals), Scott (drums), and Erik Wurgler (bass) are actual brothers, who play alongside childhood friends Jordan Roach (guitar) and Johnny Iliyn (keys). The band is finding the value of collaboration – working with experts to get their message out. Alex Steininger, of In Music We Trust, along with Kyle Kuhns, are making sure the mates connect with people who want to help them. The band gives a HUGE shout out to their resident technical genius, David Iliyn, Johnny’s cousin. Knowing who to turn to has really propelled the band to greater heights.

My-Brothers-And-I-03Portland Notes was honored to spend time behind the scenes with this outstanding new band- the conversation with the group was so entertaining and informative – we know you will enjoy learning about this band of brothers – My Brothers and I!