Starfucker isn't the only Portland band to have put soy ink to post-consumer label contract this year. Like a shark turned maneater after its first taste of human blood, revered label Kill Rock Stars (KRS) has been ravenously gobbling up Portland bands since moving to town. Their latest morsel: summer-lovin', reed-in-the-water-voiced janglemeisters the Shaky Hands. KRS and Holocene Music (who put out the band's debut album last year) will be jointly releasing Lunglight, the Shaky Hands' second LP, on September 9.
Coincidentally, that very same day, Parenthetical Girls—Portland's purveyors of the disturbingly suggestive, reverb-and-percussion-rich anti-lullaby—will birth their new album Entanglements, thanks to the midwifery of European imprint Tomlab, respected for its work with the likes of other post-post-rock outfits like the Books, Final Fantasy, and fellow P-towners the Blow. As to why the ensemble is, for the first time, releasing an album on a label other than founding member (and former Mercury music editor) Zac Pennington's own Slender Means Society, Pennington pragmatically explains: "Creating abstract and creative business models to sell my own records for very marginal return is more energy than I care to expend away from actually making new music."
Yet, as we know, not every band in 2008 thinks a label is the place to be, particularly if they have a large established fanbase, and such appears to be the case with indie-pop titans the Shins. Billboard reported this week that the Portland-based band—who have sold more than a million-and-a-half albums on Sub Pop since 2001—will likely be leaving the label to release the follow-up to last year's Wincing the Night Away on frontman James Mercer's own, apparently new, Aural Apothecary imprint. The band's manager elaborated that the Shins would, however, likely team with other forces, possibly Sub Pop, for distribution and promotion.
But even as we ponder the creative and commercial futures of hometown bands still on the march, let us take a moment to recognize the contributions made by two local acts, distinguished in their own ways, who have recently disbanded: noise-pop duo We Quit, and Elephant Six-affiliated melody masters the Minders. You shall be missed.
Lastly, in the event that you were planning on attending the 3900' Festival, scheduled for June 27 and 28 at Horning's Hideout, please note that it has been cancelled.