Tag Archives: Psychedelic

All I Feel Is Yes to release recordings: Live At The Blue Room


Listening to the new album Live at the Blue Room, I was hit with a couple of distinct impressions. All I Feel Is Yes has a variety of complementary musical influences – I was loving the keys and melodic instrumental vintage sound of the 60’s and 70’s psych rock bands, but there is also something more in the way of modern layering and complexity. The keyboard work on this particular set of recordings is outstanding, and immediately drew my focus. Thankfully, when I reached out to the band, keys player extraordinaire Alison Dennis was the member who answered me! In this Q&A interview, you’ll get an insight into the band’s musical influences, and their motivation to create and release this collection of live recordings.

The band is very busy preparing to release the live album this June 10, while simultaneously working on recording a studio album. Members Jacob Anderson (Bass), Mike Chastain (Drums), Alison Dennis (Keyboards/Vocals), Alex Deussen (Violin/Percussion/Vocals) and Jason Ferris (Guitar/ Vocals) aim to inspire and engage the imagination by creating a lush aural experience with a carefully crafted combination of all their instruments. All I Feel Is Yes’s music explores ecstatic, humorous and melancholy themes and will likely appeal to fans of Grandaddy, The Flaming Lips, and early Pink Floyd. The band enjoys experimenting with sound, and letting the music guide them – they embrace the idea of improvisation, and love the passion and energy of a live performance.

Kelly: Who would you say are your older musical influences – I hear some 60’s psych rock coming through…

All-I-Feel-Is-Yes-to-release-recordings-01Alison: I have baby boomer parents, so I grew up listening to the usual suspects: The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Jefferson Airplane, and Pink Floyd as well as stuff like Pamela Polland/Gentle Soul, It’s a Beautiful Day and Moby Grape. As I got older, I became interested in more proggy and/or kraut-y stuff like King Crimson and Amon Duul II. I think a lot of my “psychedelic” tendencies were also heavily influenced by neo-psychedelic music of the 90s and early aughts like Elephant 6 groups and bands such as The Flaming Lips, Grandaddy and The Super Furry Animals that fused more modern synth music with psych rock to create really lush sounds.

I know Jason is a big Parliament Funkadelic and Neil Young fan, which is a huge part of our sound. We’re not afraid of being a jam band. I don’t think we’re concerned with being an authentic throwback 60s band and we all have a lot of influences beyond psych, but we all have a deep appreciation for the grandiose arrangements, spacey sounds and intense emotiveness of psychedelic music, which is reflected in our songs and performances.

Kelly: Your keyboard work is insane (in a very good way)! What are you using as your instrument?

Alison: I play a Yamaha CS1x digital synthesizer and a Casio CT-202 keyboard. The latter has a lot of very combo-organ-type sounds, which is a great fit for 60s/70s psych style.

Kelly: Why would you choose to record live rather than have the tight control of recording in a studio?

Alison: I think we’re strongest energy-wise when we are playing live (and also improvising),although the first set of recordings that became part of this album weren’t initially intended for a release. Our drummer, Mike Chastain, has a small, portable stereo recorder and we figured we’d record one of our shows for posterity and to get a better sense of our live sound, what we liked and what we’d maybe like to change/try differently. When we listened back we enjoyed the tracks and figured we should release some of them. We decided to record at another show so we could choose our favorites from a larger pool of live recordings.

All-I-Feel-Is-Yes-to-release-recordings-02We release a lot of “live” recordings of us rehearsing and jamming in our practice space. I think it captures the energy and real-time collaboration that happens when we play together incredibly well. We have everything routed into a DAW so we can easily record all our practices and we usually choose a few tracks to upload to our tumblr for streaming: aifiy.tumblr.com. Mike also sends out an email newsletter periodically with a couple of our favorite recent mp3s attached for fans.

Live at The Blue Room was a good way to capture the feel of a live show with an audience, which is always different and, I think, often a bit more kinetic than just playing by ourselves. It also serves as as a convenient excuse to have a more “official” release. We also have a “studio” album in the works (using our practice space recording set-up) involving a lot of tinkering and overdubs, and I think releasing both a live album and a studio album, both created on our own terms, allows us to showcase our various abilities and sensibilities as a band in very different ways.

You can catch All I Feel Is Yes live at the actual Blue Room (8145 SE 82nd Ave) ,where the album was recorded, Friday June 10. The show begins at 9PM, and is free – fantastic opportunity to experience the band live, and take the joy of your experience home with the new record! They’ll be playing with Ross Beach and Dr. Something. Come check out this unique local band! You can also find their music on Tumblr, Soundcloud and ReverbNation like them on Facebook, and follow the band on Twitter.

HEARTS OF OAK – Songwriter Nate Wallace speaks with Portland Notes


Nate Wallace has been writing original music since he started “late in the game” at the ripe old age of twenty-four. He has so far, been the creative force behind the lyrics and melodies of Hearts of Oak, a Portland-based psychedelic country band. However, as the band continues to hone their already unique sound, Wallace is encouraged to realize that other band members are contributing more and more to the writing process. The new album they are currently working on will reflect this collaborative style, and is hopefully to be released late 2016.

Hearts-Of-Oak-at-The-Deer-Lodge-in-May-2016-01Rehearsing and recording at The Deer Lodge under the label of the same name, Wallace and his bandmates build personal relationships as they work together. Wallace used to focus more on typical country and folk instrumentals, but together, the band have now created a new, evolved style that translates well to me as “intentional wandering.” The band crosses genres in each song from country to psychedelic rock to folk easily with ease, relying on their skill and musical connection to blend it all together. In live performance, this flexible and adaptive instrumental style allows the band to adjust to every audience, extending solos, adding additional bridges – responding to the room and allowing them to follow the path the music itself is directing.

Wallace walked me through his musical mentors – his dad introduced him to some great music, which he returned to after his teenaged hair metal years. He found inspiration with Traveling Wilburys, Bob Dylan, and Neil Young. A favorite songwriter who means a lot to him, and has been a great influence recently is Jason Molina from Magnolia Electric Company. The band give each other credit for inspiration – this is a group of people who truly respect and value each other as musicians and friends, as you will hear in the interview.

Hearts-Of-Oak-at-The-Deer-Lodge-in-May-2016-02With Nate Wallace (vocals/guitar), Ezra Meredith (electric guitar/vocals), Aron Christensen (bass) Barry Walker (pedal steel), and J. Leaver (drums/harp), Hearts of Oak has many options to vary their sound from song to song. There is a consistent Americana sound throughout, with raw, honest vocals presenting heartfelt lyrics and melodies. The addition of fuzzy toned electric guitar and eerie bends create a psychedelic atmosphere that brings the listener back several decades in time. It’s a great experience, even without the mushrooms! This is a group of people who truly respect and value each other as musicians and friends, as you will hear in the interview.

Check out the audio interview with Wallace, recorded at Hearts of Oak’s label house/recording studio – The Deer Lodge. Please enjoy the link to their YouTube video “Used to it Now” Special thanks to Alex Steininger of In Music We Trust, for bringing this inspiring group of musicians to our attention.


The Pining Hearts at Twilight Cafe May 26. Get your Groove on!


Sharing a pint or two with Kivett Bednar at The Portland Cider House on Hawthorne, I reminisced with him over our first musical conversations at the Portland School of Rock. We had been talking about our mutual passion to connect with an audience at their level, trying to read what makes an audience want to get up and dance – or simply get lost in the song. Both of us wanted to move people to have an emotional experience through music. Kivett has been on that journey throughout his life, and believes he has found partners to achieve his artistic dream. The Pining Hearts is the new project, and you can catch them this month at the Twilight Cafe! Playing with his partners Eddie Steele [Drums], Fabio Prieto Veiga [Bass] and the very charming Joshua Davis [Saxophone / Vox], the band creates an incredibly full and balanced sound that seamlessly crosses quite a few genres.

The-Pining-Hearts-at-Twilight-Cafe-02Kivett’s goal of connecting musically with audiences has been consistent. He’s been an instructor, a solo artist, a front man for his Land of the Living Project, in addition to having been a youth music instructor. His desire to be emotionally accessible and relatable was evident at every show as faithful fans made repeat appearances to dance and enjoy the experience. Kivett always managed to convey his personal experiences in a completely accessible and endearing way. He introduces songs with a bit of a history lesson – I always felt like I had gained some new gem of knowledge at every show. Now, the new project The Pining Hearts, is allowing the band to educate us about an entirely new genre! In the audio interview, you’ll notice that the music refuses to be labelled, and that’s absolutely wonderful. (There are references to Philly Cheesesteak and Chex Mix…)

The-Pining-Hearts-at-Twilight-Cafe-03The Pining Hearts is a Psychedelic / Blues / Rock band hailing from Portland, OR and Austin, TX. Eddie Steele of Entendre Entendre and Kivett Bednar from Land of the Living started sketching out the framework for a new act in the Summer of 2015. But the ball really started rolling when Kivett and Johnny Holliday happened to be sitting in together for Ed Cohen’s New Year’s Eve show at Slim’s Lounge in St. John’s, and decided they should jam with Eddie. The mix felt great, and when Johnny brought in Fabio Veiga, Cuban native and music school grad, they knew they had the makings of a band. Adding Joshua Davis on saxophone was an obvious choice to make the seemingly wide-ranging music genres blend together.The music emerging from the group ranges from patient and exploratory to dynamically emotive and exultant.

The-Pining-Hearts-at-Twilight-Cafe-01The full band were just featured on Robert Richter’s Local Roots show this month at Alberta Street Pub. You can listen on Soundcloud to some of the pre-Joshua music, and catch the full band this May 26 at Twilight Cafe. They’ll be playing alongside touring act The Dead Woods (Chicago), and filling out a killer bill with Portland hard-hitting favorites Foxy Lemon and Patrimony.