Portland songwriter Ryan VanDordrecht releases Beast of Love today, the solo debut album from the former member of Castella and Sidestar. It's a warm, inviting of Americana produced by Rian Lewis (Crosstide) and featuring Blitzen Trapper's Brian Adrian Koch on drums for three of the tracks. Among the highlights are the jaunty lead single "Great American Life" and the pointed "Wild Ones." What VanDordrecht keeps to the forefront are a sense of melody and songcraft, enabling this collection of songs to sit comfortably alongside both meditative singer/songwriter affairs and mud-spattered, beer-drinkin' country singles. Ryan VanDordrecht plays an album release show next week, on Wednesday, January 29 at the Doug Fir.
Also out today is TxE's newest, TxE vs Prtlnd, which the rappers use samples from Portland's bounty of bands: Sallie Ford, Typhoon, Starfucker, Nurses, Brainstorm, Blouse, Ocean Age, Monarques, Tyler Keane, and Ocean Age all provide the foundations on which Tope, Epp, and producer G_Force make hiphop that is a perfect embodiment of the Rose City. "The Town" features Vursatyl of Lifesavas and reworks its Sallie Ford sample, while "Bitter Sweat" turns Nurses' yawning psychedelia into something urgent and ready for breakin'. You can listen to the whole thing on Bandcamp, and it's also available as a name-your-price download.
This isn't an album, but the Zags have a new single out today as well. It's called "Tattoo" and while it's not a cover of the Who song, it's still quite catchy, boasting a power-pop backbeat, with a zooming melody that throws in a few chord curveballs. Download it for free. The Zags play a release show for the single this Friday night, January 24, at East End, and speaking of that show...
This one's not new, but it's a damn good time. Honey Bucket presumably take their name from the fabled local line of portable relief stations—a Portland success story if there ever was one—and their self-titled cassette offers a Brian Eno cover and lots of full-bodied burrito rock. (I don't know if burrito rock is a genre, but it's one of the tags on their Bandcamp page, and to be fair, their music is fast, hot, cheap, and full of beans.) Enjoy this one if you haven't already—it's also in physical form via Gnar Tapes and Burger Records—while Honey Bucket prep another one, due out March 21. Meanwhile, they're also on the bill this Friday, January 24, at East End. Honey Bucket and the Zags share the bill with the Pynnacles and Hurry Up, two of Portland's most formidable live bands. That show's a must.