Although I can confirm that the first three quarters of Owen Pallett's solo set as Final Fantasy at Someday Lounge the other week were truly breathtaking—filled with gorgeous violin and vocal melodies, rich textures, sharp humor, and the most virtuosic live loop work I have ever witnessed—I cannot vouch for the final quarter. This is because my mind exploded when, with only a few songs left to go, the Toronto-based Pallett, spirits apparently buoyed by the crowd's audible bonhomie, let slip that he would be moving to Portland next year to work on an album. The notion that Pallet who, on the strength of his arrangements for Arcade Fire and Beirut, has carved out a niche in recent years as indie music's go-to strings guy, would be gracing our already musically blessed burg was just too exciting to handle.But what album would he be working on? A new Final Fantasy record? Nope. The next LP by the orchestra-prone Decemberists? Uh-uh. When pressed for more information after the show, Mr. Pallett said that he would be working with "Khaela." One can only assume that the "Khaela" in question is none other than Khaela Maricich, AKA the Blow. Holy crap! Will Pallett fill the sonic vacancy left in the Blow by Jona Bechtolt when he departed the duo earlier this year to concentrate on YACHT? (Hey) Boy, that would be unbelievably awesome.
To inquire further, I emailed Maricich, who is on tour in Europe, and has publicly stated that she would be retiring the Bechtolt co-written Paper Television material at year's end. In response to my asking about the possible Maricich-Pallett partnership, she graciously replied, "Funny that Owen said we're making a record. For now, my only official statement is that I am going to come home from tour and take a nap." Okay, that's cool. Take a nap, you've been working hard. But when you wake up, please make an album with Owen Pallett.While I'm busy gossip mongering, here's another juicy tidbit of local music news I picked up at the Final Fantasy show, this one regarding the first performer on that night's outstanding bill: Dragging an Ox through Water. It seems that Whitney Museum-approved Mission School visual artist Chris Johanson, who moved to Portland in 2004, caught Dragging an Ox at a house show and was so taken by the circuit-bending solo folk project that he will be releasing the act's new 12-inch (as well as new recordings by Jackie-O Motherfucker and Flipper) next year on his Awesome Vistas label.
Oh, and rumor has it that several prominent Northwest indie labels are jockeying for position to put out the new Horse Feathers record, currently in production at Skyler Norwood's Miracle Lake Studios. Advance word on the album is that good.