EXPO Adventure Festival // MUSIC
Friday// Aug 26th // 6-11pm // $10
The Mattson2 // Denver // Bitch'n
SaturDAY // Aug 27th // 6-11PM // $10
Little Wings // Cat Hoch // Ozarks
Twins are known to develop their own secret language. The phenomena is called "cryptophasia," and it begs the question: could twins bring that preternatural communication to music?
The Mattson 2--identical twins Jared and Jonathan--say yes.
"They obviously have a deeper connection than most bandmates since they have been together since birth," says Guerrero, who has performed frequently with the Mattson 2. "They know what the other is thinking or going to do before they do it--sometimes before they even know what is coming next. Since they have that mysterious 'twin power' it seems to enhance their E.S.P. ability."
For their part, the Mattsons are just as likely to credit their musical education as their DNA. Both have M.F.A.'s in music from U.C. Irvine.
"We really wanted a degree," says Jared. "We think that degrees are valuable. A lot of people say they can't find work with their degree but that doesn't mean that the process of getting the degree isn't going to help your overall approach and outlook on life. We wanted that balance."
"Jazz is kind of a touchy subject," Jared says. "I think there's some really great modern jazz artists out there. But I think sometimes a lot of people try to uphold the traditions more than use the traditions as a creative foundation."
And indeed the duo branch out, to twangy surf, atmospheric indie rock, and swinging, pounding, improvisation. The recently-released "Agar"--which is "Raga" spelled backwards--employs Indian drones as the seed for their flowering explorations. What unites the Mattson 2's numerous stylistic inspirations is a tight, propelling energy, and snaking, swelling flow. -Andrew R Tonry
The five-some of Bitch'n sharpened their teeth with of a handful of renown Portland acts. Members have played with Orquestra Pacifico Tropical, Point Juncture WA, Ioa, Duover, Great Wilderness, and Sallie Ford. What emerges from that divergent cross-section is a lot tougher than the roots might suggest. Bitch'n's gumbo is a ripping, pointed, thrumming and livid post-punk, equal turns hummable and aggressive. "Strut'n Tough" stacks fuzzy guitar jabs, bleepy keyboards and multiple vocalists over crisp, driving dance beats. "Bulldozer" is a thudding, gnarled, wash that gives way to dry drum machines, glossy synths and airy group vocals. The singles are from a forthcoming EP, 'Messed Out.' Should similarly raw, immediate and hip-shaking hooks fill the record, we'll be hearing a lot more from Bitch'n in the days and months to come. Just don't call 'em a "girl band." No word yet on how they feel about "supergroup."
The ho-down quality of Denver extends beyond the thumpin', pluckin', twangy country folk jams--it's that they fill the stage up with singers, guitarists and so on. Using the vernacular of classic country the Portland-based group open the barn to collaborators. Despite the influx of players--the banjos, the multiple guitars, keyboards, slides and so on--Denver never gets too cluttered. Even with strength in numbers, they're still lilting, crooning and, every now and again, stomping.
Cat Hoch floats over psych pop's sugary mountain peaks, her gaze piercing through dark clouds. And while she's no stranger to chunky riffs, rippling synths and lilting layers, Hoch's taught, wormy and melodic compositions to stand on solid ground. Strip away the swirling atmospherics and the songs remain sturdy. Hoch released 'Look What You Found,' a dreamy, phantasmagoric, four-song EP, last fall. It was produced by Unknown Mortal Orchestra's Riley Geare, who added drums and keyboards. The hook-laden title track moves briskly beneath waves of coo-ing vocals, stacked synths and fuzzy guitar. From the cloudy bookends of "Celestian" a dreamy, uptempo groove emerges. It's crisp debut, whose chords, colors and choruses are constantly changing. It also makes Hoch's ambition clear. "I'd like someone bigger to take an interest," she told the Willamette Week last May. If the band Hoch's assembled can keep up, it's not too hard to imagine--she's certainly got the chops.
As a photographer, Robbie Auspurger has a penchant for glamour shots--posed studio portraits with a soft focus, hazy sparkle and odd charm. In them, a sun burnt desaturation suggests the passage of time. Auspurger's band, Ozarks, value similar aesthetics: a light but highly-sculpted touch and a surreal, backwards-looking melancholy. Both fetishize worlds bygone--turtleneck sweaters, leather gloves and shag carpet. But where the glamour shots toy with irony, Ozarks' music, while occasionally playful, is quite earnest. Over twinkling harpsichords, lilting synths and snappy percussion, Auspurger's falsetto is mostly unadorned--wispy, naked and vulnerable. Meticulously recorded with studio-mate Eric Adrian Lee, Ozarks take on a bit more heft in person. Either way, a wistful longing prevails. Ozarks and Auspurger dream of a future past--of delicate, outsider pop. For more of that, see Auspurger's Tumblr: Beach Boys Beards.
Kyle Field is Little Wings, and he's been flapping away since turn of the millennia, keeping good company all the while. His 2000 debut came by way of the venerable K Records. His latest, 'Explains,' arrives courtesy of Woodsist. Each label represents a strong co-sign, of freaky, DIY arts warriordom and sturdy craft. Folky in nature with forward songwriting chops, Field is unafraid to drop trou and waggle free of convention. Every so often he'll slice through the easygoing, warbling lilt with a wry jab or funky non-sequitur. It's a sense of humor that is at once hardened and childlike--though the world is indeed on fire, its gardens are nonetheless delightful. It's art as life--taking the long view and having a few hoots along the way.