Is it possible that national media conglomerates are beginning to understand the implications of "the long tail" and the advantages of community-specific programming? I wouldn't bet on it, but the good news locally is that Entercom Communications, our nation's fourth largest radio broadcaster and operator of six FM stations in the Portland area, is giving one of their Rose City holdings some leeway for regional music programming. Self-described alternative station KNRK 94.7 FM has launched an HD Radio channel called 94.7 Too, specializing in the sounds of Portland and the greater Northwest, programmed not by a robot in Texas, but by our city's own Jaime Cooley. For the uninitiated, HD Radio is a semi-proprietary digital transmission standard that allows broadcasters to fit more than one station in the same frequency band, creating a greater variety of programming. However, to access the multiple offerings, you need to pick up an HD radio, which generally costs $200. Thankfully, 94.7 Too is also available streaming over the web round the clock at 947.fm.
Someone over at legendary Olympia-based art-punk label Kill Rock Stars is certainly keeping a discerning eye on Portland this year! Mere months after signing the Fryk Beat-oriented, two-man Panther, KRS has inked a deal with the queens of the PDX house show circuit: violin-bass-and-drums trio the New Bloods. The scrappy group has amassed a legion of devotees locally with their buoyant, Raincoats-by-way-of-Bikini-Kill stomp in the past year. Look for their first full-length on KRS in spring '08.
Those of us who have not yet caught the revised two-man Panther lineup will have a very special opportunity to do so at Holocene on the first weekend of September, as they have been tapped for the wonderfully left-of-center lineup for the second annual Halleluwah Festival. The festival's organizers, Blackbird Presents maven Chantelle Hylton and Yeti magazine mastermind Mike McGonigal, have played their Halleluwah cards close to the chest, but are now beginning to show their hand. The local contingent of the lineup is pretty stellar, including Panther, Evolutionary Jass Band, the Joggers (who, apparently, will be "doing something nutty"), Tara Jane O'Neil, the Builders & the Butchers, Cexfucx, Modernstate, and Plants (which now features Modernstate main dude Sam Schauer on drums). Oh yeah, and Damo Suzuki (frontman for legendary Kraut rock band, Can, whose song "Halleluhwah" was the source of the festival's name) will be playing the fest backed by a band of Portland music all-stars. One performer rumored to be part of the mystery ensemble is Adam Forkner, whose psyche-noise-fusion project White Rainbow (also playing the festival) is quietly releasing a hotly anticipated new album Prism of Eternal Now on vinyl this week through Marriage Records, with the CD due out on Kranky in the fall.