Thurs Jan 8
When asked about his new band Note Notas, singer/guitarist Sean Croghan likes to say, "We're a weirdo band." He's joking, but it's also true; they're all over the map. They're basically a rock band, but beyond that, the guitars might chime and ring, or maybe they'll bend and twist into dissonant whines, or stab and chop; the vocals howl and yelp, or break into anthemic choruses; the rhythms can be solid and driving or slow and sparse. There's some early/mid-'80s punk in there--a little DC, a little LA.
Together since summer 2003, Note Notas consists of Croghan, plus three guys (Nicholas Thorp on bass, Neil Everett on drums, and Jarred Decker on guitar) who also make up the entirety of another band (Bigfoot Lives). All four have divergent tastes. Says Croghan, "We all like different stuff, and it kind of shows up in different ways." It would be very easy for something so varied to sound strained or unfocused, but here the different elements fuse together. The reason, says Croghan, is the band's inclusive approach to collaborative songwriting. "When we started playing, the one rule was that you can't say, 'We can't do this. If anyone has an idea, you have to at least try it.'" Also, according to Decker, "We all have a great appreciation for the kind of things the other guys are all into." As a result, there's enough diversity to breathe life into the music, but enough cohesion to ensure the energy isn't wasted.
Croghan, a longtime presence on the Portland music scene (Crackerbash, Jr High, Moustache, others) offers what you might've come to expect from him in performance: the full vocal histrionics of a guy putting in his all. If Note Notas had a record out, which they don't yet, it would most likely be on Olympian Shadow Farm (.com, check it), which is home to a fairly diverse bunch of bands and a lively mini-community within the larger Portland music community. Oh, and just for the curious, the name Note Notas came from the trilingual front of a box of Post-It notes/notes/notas.