Instead of running yet another best-albums-of-the-year list (snooze), we asked Portland musicians, bookers, writers, and other fine folks in the local music scene to share their favorite moments in music of the past year. A pantload of those memories—of great shows, songs, and other occurrences—appeared in last week's issue. This week? We'll run down the clock on 2013 with a second pantload. Here's part two of our scrapbook of the year 2013 in music—and it was a remarkable year.
A packed summertime bill at Angelo's on upper Hawthorne turned into a goddamn punk-rock redneck booze bath, courtesy of some rowdy dudes who hurled beers all over the bands (the Shivas, Mean Jeans, et al) and then lit fireworks and threw Black Cats in a makeshift pit. There was this pungent smoke everywhere and everyone was going apeshit. I let myself be doused with some rando's beer and silently (somewhat embarrassingly) thought to myself, "Punx not dead." Then the show ended and I turned back into a 30-something.
—Ryan J. Prado (Mercury contributor)
Seeing Tartufi's set in San Francisco in March at the Hemlock Tavern. I was super stressed and bummed from tour van problems. They made me forget all my worries and transported me back to a place where only music mattered. Their latest album, These Factory Days, does that on every listen. House burning down? Hurricane about to set down? Police at the door? Fuck off, I'm listening to Tartufi!
—Jason Rivera (Gaytheist)
Things People Do, a well-attended, absolutely inclusive talent show put on by Shannon Rose Steele at an antique store in Southeast. The moment was when Kimya Dawson showed and played an epic 10-minute-long song. We all thought someone was just ripping her off that mysteriously looked like her too. Very special to all of us!
—Lane Barrington (Machinedrum, the Ocean Floor, Snowy Plover)
Every December to Remember show is special and amazing, but something about Grouplove's set this year was truly magical. Joy honestly permeated through the Crystal Ballroom as the band turned the audience into their sixth band member. It was just incredible to behold—my favorite concert of 2013.
—Katy Moore (94/7fm)
Upon seeing Lilacs and Champagne's debut show at Mississippi Studios, I said the following: "If I didn't know these assholes, this would be my favorite band in the world!"
—Jake Morris (Blesst Chest, Street Nights, Jicks)
The artist formerly and currently known as Prince strolling out onstage at the Roseland Theater in April, picking up his guitar, and proceeding to burn through a 90-minute funk-rock workout with more solos than hits, a roof-crumbling guest appearance from Stumptown-bred New Power Generation backup singer Liv Warfield, and a "Play That Funky Music" cover that could only be interpreted as a sly jab at Portland's demographics. The best part? Looking up at the increasingly crestfallen faces that paid $300 for balcony seating as each successive song failed to be "When Doves Cry" or "Little Red Corvette." Personally, I was happy just having my eyebrows singed off.
—Matthew Singer (Willamette Week music editor)
Meeting Ural Thomas for the very first time, and playing with him at his Sunday jam that very same day, changed my life!
—Scott Magee (Ural Thomas and the Pain, DJ Cooky Parker)
Rvivr's The Beauty Between record release show on May 19 at Slabtown. I knew ahead of time that seeing Rvivr tear through the entirety of The Beauty Between would be a delight. The album was one of my favorite releases of the year and it's impossible for me to hear a track like "Paper Thin" or "Party Queen" and not get chills from head to toe. What really struck me about this evening was that everyone in attendance seemed to be just as drawn in. Enormous smiles on the faces of the band were mirrored back as they looked out over a sea of sweat-drenched, pogoing fans, all shouting along to a set of new songs. The energy in the air was utterly infectious. As icing on the cake, Slabtown was able to make the show an all-ages affair. In a year that claimed much-loved venues Boom Bap and Backspace, it was great to see the bar go to bat for under-21 music lovers on nights like this.
—Chipp Terwilliger (Mercury contributor)
My top five favorite releases of 2013:
1. Glass Cake, Lunar Caustic
2. Marriage + Cancer, No Sum (single)
3. Neo Boys, Sooner or Later
4. Megabog, Gone Banana
5. Habibi, Habibi
—Jem Marie (The Ghost Ease)
I was in San Francisco for Noise Pop and my wife had interviewed Greer McGettrick of the Mallard for a feature she was writing for Vice. Greer was a bit miffed over the bill she was put on, as it was all shiny dance-pop, and so she decided "to put the noise back in Noise Pop." She assembled a band to only perform one song, a cover of Throbbing Gristle's "Very Friendly" (all 25 minutes of it). We saw her right before her set and she admitted that she was nervous and had spent the last month memorizing the 25 minutes' worth of ranting lyrics. As the band set up on stage... Greer was nowhere to be seen. The music started and it was pummeling, squalling, and heavy as fuck. Then she stepped onto stage in a thick mist and almost no lighting and began to chant more than sing. The venue was near capacity and fans that were there to dance and be merry were fighting one another to get as far away from the stage as possible, but there was nowhere to escape.
The energy was incredible and the show felt dangerous, beautiful, and invigorating! At the 20-minute mark the crowd was getting angry and starting to heckle her. Watching her onstage you saw her slowly coiling up all of the mic cable in loops in her left hand and then she did it... she leapt from the stage and started running in circles, tying the crowd up, drinks spilling everywhere, people yelling, and all the while Greer tugged the noose tighter. When she ran out of slack, she dropped the mic and left the venue. The band continued to play the same droning beat for five more minutes and then exited the stage without a word.
The band broke up a month after that. RIP, the Mallard.
—Nathan Walker (Riot Act Media)
At this year's MusicfestNW I went to the Star Theater to see Vice Device (Portland) and Diana (Toronto). I was really looking forward to the show because I loved what I had heard of each band up until then, but once the show began, the intensity of each band's performance just blew me away. The gripping tension that Vice Device created built up to an ecstatic fury that gave way superbly to the lush abandon of Diana's super- sensual synth pop. I felt like I was ratcheted up by rusty chains to a perfectly cool and fluffy cloud upon which to lay my exploded head. I left that show positively in awe of the power of music to transport one to another dimension.
—Christina Broussard (Mercury contributor, SciFiSol Music)
My favorite moment in PDX history this year came recently. December 9's Y La Bamba and Ural Thomas and the Pain show destroyed Rontoms. Hands down the best show I've seen all year. Slid right in before the door closed on 2013.
—Kevin Leigh Robinson (Woodlawn Studios, Electric Ill)
Your Rival's record release show for Here's to Me. They were already halfway through their set when I ran up to the window at Anna Bannana's and to my surprise saw Mo [Troper] without a guitar, frontmanning it. My jaw dropped and I filled with excitement. It was packed inside (and too loud anyway) so I watched the rest of the set through that window, a view from behind the drum set. The front row of kids lost their shit more with every song, and Mo's performance was incredibly compelling, high energy, and spot on.
—Clayton Knapp (Wild Ones, Trash Treasury Studio)
Top Five Records of 2013:
1. Courtney Barnett, The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas
2. Parquet Courts, Light Up Gold
3. Rhye, Woman
4. Milk Music, Cruise Your Illusion
5. Sturgill Simpson, High Top Mountain
—Anna Jensen (Doug Fir)
Watching Fuzz tear it up at Bunk Bar. I'd seen Ty Segall rip apart multiple Portland venues as a singer and guitarist, but seeing him get behind the drums and tear into some heavy psychedelic proto-metal was pretty damned inspiring. He also yelled at some drunk idiot in the crowd because he was smashing into girls. If Ty Segall is yelling at you, you've done something very wrong.
—Gordon Keepers (Levon's Helmet)
Fruit Bats decided to call it a career, but first went out with a three-show run playing Mouthfuls in its entirety. Their final stop at the Aladdin on November 16 ended things properly—full and loud.
—Brandon Day (Marmoset)
Sifting through the 8,500 or so hours thus far in 2013 in search of a single musical moment is hard... life is hard! So I'm picking two, 2013! The first has to be my maiden voyage to Pickathon, a festival I'd been avoiding for years. Turns out it was well organized, had a diverse lineup, and even the camping was fun. I have to say the highlight was seeing Parquet Courts in the cozy confines of the Galaxy Barn at 1 am. It was packed, sweaty, and I was thoroughly lubricated by that point.
The other came unexpectedly during a trip to Southern California for my friend Barbara Manning's wedding. The night before the wedding I happened to catch via Facebook that the Old 97's were playing in Hermosa Beach, about a 20-minute drive from where the ceremony was. "Should we do it?" I asked my wife. After working around the fact that the show was sold out, we did it. Following a beautiful ceremony, food, drinks, dancing, and musical performances, we made our way to Saint Rocke, and saw the Old 97's dig deep in their catalog for one of the best sets I've seen them play. A day with Barbara Manning and the Old 97's. Pretty magical.
—Mark Lore (Mercury contributor)
My top five records of 2013:
1. James Blake, Overgrown
2. Machinedrum, Vapor City
3. Disclosure, Settle
4. Jon Hopkins, Immunity
5. Beyoncé, Beyoncé
—Natasha Kmeto (musician)
My favorite Portland musical moment of the year was the Norfolk and Western reunion show at the Doug Fir the day before Thanksgiving! Totally tits to hear those songs live again! Especially "Barrels on Fire."
—Adam Shearer (The Alialujah Choir, Weinland)
Few albums knock me off my socks, but this year Rhye's Woman did just that. I loved the album's sensual appeal and mesmerizing vocals. For that, and the fact that their live show wasn't bad either, in 2013 my ears and my love life greatly benefited from this compilation of beautiful music.
—Lex Chase (ex-Mercury music intern)
Being on tour and at SXSW and seeing the Portland Gnar fam (White Fang, the Memories, the Shivas, Guantanamo Baywatch, Boom!, etc.), who all started in PDX basements, now playing to thousands in different cities and states.
—Phil Salina (Love Cop, Gnar Tapes)
I went to see Albert Hammond Jr. perform his solo tour in Bologna, Italy, in a little discotheque called Covo Club. It was small but packed, and Albert gave a great performance. After the show, I met up with Albert and his band backstage. Since it was Albert's last show in Italy, he suggested we all go downstairs and dance. He changed into his custom Adidas "AHJ" tracksuit, put on a baseball cap, and we headed down.
Twenty minutes later we're dancing and singing along to Queen's "Don't Stop Me Now," when suddenly DJ cuts the music and begins blasting "Under Cover of Darkness," the lead single from Angles. Albert stopped dancing for a moment, and looked at me like "really?" I thought he was annoyed. But then he gave a little shrug, laughed, and began jumping around.
—Christina Cacouris (Mercury contributor)
The all-grown-up Tame Impala completely destroying the Crystal Ballroom crowd last May. Even their sound guy was a rock star. Dude was processing shit they were doing live through the PA, like flanging and chorusing the entire drum mix for sections of songs, emulating the mixes of Mr. Dave Fridmann. The last time I saw them at the Wonder, they took half the set to warm up. This time it was pure magic from the get go.
—Kevin O'Connor (Talkdemonic)
Watching Morrissey hand the mic to someone in the front row at the Schnitz and after they'd made a fool of themselves, say "Is that all?" and gently take back the mic.
—Tony Starlight (Tony Starlight's Supperclub and Lounge)
Here are my top five records of 2013 in no particular order: Sun Angle, Diamond Junk; William Onyeabor, World Psychedelic Classics Vol. 5; Quasi, Mole City; King Crimson, Road to Red; Red Fang, Whales and Leeches.
My favorite moment in music of 2013: Metallica's 3D IMAX movie. What?!!?
—Isaac Slusarenko (Jackpot Records)
My favorite musical moment of 2013 came in late May, about halfway through a Sigur Rós concert at Les Schwab Amphitheater in Bend. It was the best show I saw all year, a powerful mosaic of gorgeous highlights from the band's back catalog, sinister renditions of new songs from 2013's Kveikur, and the biggest, baddest light show I've ever witnessed. But the peak of this feast for the senses was a mid-set performance of "Svefn-g-Englar" that set the song's glacial pulse and gentle crescendo against a stunning sunset and the silhouetted Cascade mountains. It was one of those moments when you should try to forget everything else in the world and simply soak it in. Except I didn't have to do that. Instead, I felt enveloped by the band, the music, the environment. Rather than soaking in the moment, it felt like the moment was absorbing me.
—Ben Salmon (Mercury contributor)
Joining the Honky Tonk Merry-Go-Round concert in Louisiana, with Reeb Willms, and getting to meet my hero from the Grand Ole Opry, Jimmy C. Newman. He gave us the thumbs up to sing his old songs. We even got to sing with him. Jimmy is 85 years old and joined the Opry in '54. He is still on it today.
—Caleb Klauder (Foghorn Stringband, the Caleb Klauder Country Band)
Broncho at Dante's for MFNW. Totally went to that show on a whim and by the last song I wanted to break shit out of pure rock joy!
—Eric Mueller (Bear and Moose)
For me it was definitely the Phoenix show on December 10, and most specifically when they played the ending to "Funky Squaredance" off their first album United.
—Tim Skerpon (Melville)
First-place musical moment: Like a Villain at Bunk Bar on March 12. The soundscapes became so intense that they actually increased my heart rate. Runner-up: Sharon Van Etten at Pickathon, featuring Portland's own Heather Woods Broderick on keyboards and backing vocals. The two sang amazing harmonies, despite being on the verge of cracking each other up for much of the set.
—Ross Beach (PDX Pop Now! co-founder)
I finally saw Nine Inch Nails after chronically missing their shows. I could list every technological marvel NIN used to enhance their stage presence, but it would never replace the experience of watching them play inside abstract Techni- color holograms of texture. Impressions of analog static, binary code, and Dream Machine-looking patterns encased the band. Each sound was so crisp that the music crystallized in every cell of my body. I'm convinced the NIN crew consists of not only top-notch musicians and artists, but cutting-edge experimental scientists tinkering with time machines and biotechnology.
—Jaime Dunkle (Music Millennium, PSU Vanguard)
Woe to all of you who were forced to endure the cavernous Wonder Ballroom for your first time seeing the fierce post-punk combo Savages live. We lucky early adopters squeezed into Bunk Bar, kept our smartphones in our pocket, and had the hair singed off our faces by an all-black clad, all-female quartet who were loudly channeling the likes of Siouxsie Sioux, Gang of Four, and the Au Pairs.
—Robert Ham (Mercury contributor)
Best local records: The Ghost Ease, The Ghost Ease; Summer Cannibals, No Make Up; Scout Niblett, It's Up to Emma.
—Em Brownlowe (Cassingle and Loving It Records)
Seeing Eyelids at the Doug Fir during MusicFestNW. This is the unsung supergroup of Portland if there ever was one. John Moen, Chris Slusarenko, Jonathan Drews, Jim Talstram, and Paulie Pulverenti really have some songs up their sleeves. I am a sucker for this stuff and they pull off the pure power pop with aplomb.
Runners up: Savages at the Wonder, Yeah Yeah Yeahs at Edgefield, the National at Edgefield in the rain, and Pearl Jam at Moda Center. Damn!
—Mike Jones (A to Z Media)
When Charles Bradley played the Crystal, and in the middle of a song, went into the audience and spent about 15 minutes hugging as many people as he possibly could!
—Ben Darwish (Morning Ritual, Ural Thomas and the Pain, Mackintosh Braun)
K Records putting out the Neo Boys on vinyl.
—Tim Janchar (Hovercraft Records)
Beyoncé sideswiping everybody and casually dropping the ALBUM OF THE YEAR two weeks before we close the book on 2013. Such an opus. Bow down, indeed! Long live Queen Bey!
—Gina Altamura (Holocene)
Blue Cranes' Streetcar Mobile Music Fest set! Highlights included bassist Jon Shaw keeping his upright upright, drummer Ji Tanzer adding every surface of the streetcar to his drum kit, a saxophone solo that incorporated the distant ambulance and the automatic doors, and an audience ranging from babies to old folks that couldn't stop smiling for the entire loop of the journey.
—Adam Brock (musician)
Recently, angry at how my day was going, I went to the treadmill to let off some steam and typed "Wrecking Ball" into the Spotify search bar. What can I say? I become a pubescent diva when I'm angry.
By alphabetical chance, the app followed Miley's ballad with the quick punch-to-the-gut explosion "Wreckin' Bar (Ra Ra Ra)" by London's Vaccines. Ms. Montana's heartbroken wail segued perfectly into the Vaccines' three-chord two-fingers to the sky. In those five minutes, I released more anger than I did in the whole other hour.
Miley's hiphop appropriation is misguided. Her rebellion is all kinds of punk. Despite being in her 20s, she's really a pissed-off teenager sick of being told what to do. Since it's the 21st century, she's paying other people to tell her what to do, but let's be honest, Joe Strummer probably had handlers, too.
—Jamie S. Rich (Mercury contributor, comic book writer)
There may be a touch of schadenfreude in this as I've never really been a believer, but it was inspiring in its own way to see Animal Collective at the Primavera Festival in Barcelona, in front of maybe 40,000 people, with the best outdoor sound system that I've ever heard, dick around like they were at Valentine's on a Tuesday night. Got to admire sticking to one's guns, no matter how unlistenable they may be!
—Matt Dabrowiak (Dat'r, Menomena, Gallons)
As they simultaneously crisscrossed North America on tour, Kanye and Drake's contradicting entertainment ideologies were the musical highlight of my year.
Wading deep into the waters of inexplicable symbolism, Kanye bombarded the Seattle audience (two hours late, naturally) with undulating nude-suited interpretative dancers, ominous glow-eyed monsters, artificial snowfall, massive splitting mountains, haphazardly levitating ledges, and a malfunctioning-mic-wielding Jesus. Donning a variety of impressive masked costumes, and behaving more like a cult leader than a rapper/producer, Kanye's muddled and raw musical performance was very much an afterthought to the indictments being levied upon the audience, who left the building in a silent processional daze, changed forever.
Drake's slick production, on the other hand, was a showcase in execution and craftsmanship. Devoid of concept, Drake instead drew upon a multitude of time-tested performance pieces and elevated them for maximum impact: Bringing up a mother and serenading her, dropping innumerable Portland references, and running around a massive levitating ring which oscillated 100 feet above the Rose Garden floor as he seemingly pointed out and acknowledged every individual member of the audience. The music and performance were airtight and had the entire audience completely charmed.
—Minh Tran (Mercury contributor)
All those mornings waking up to "Thuggin'" by Freddie Gibbs and Madlib. Never taking no for an answer.
—Jarad Miles (Jarad Miles in Ancient Wave)
How do you pick out one memory of the whole year as "the best"? Was it the night I saw Buke and Gase for the first time at the Doug Fir and was so mesmerized that I couldn't tear my eyes away? What about the intimate, warm, and awe-inspiring Evens show at the Mission Theater? Pickathon, always and forever? I'm reminded of the set that Sun Angle played for the Bastille Day party at Pix Patisserie this summer. The sound was terrible, but it didn't seem to matter. There was magic in the air that night—bolstered by heat and rosé and confetti and sparklers. Looking around the crowd and seeing so many familiar faces smiling and dancing, and realizing that could be any night, any week in this town. It's the beauty of the people in this music community and the amazing friendships that happen because of it that is always the best.
—Katie Summer (Mercury contributor)
Metalachi at Doug Fir, December 14. I've seen a lot of shows and could even give Bim Ditson a run for his money, but I've never seen anything like Metalachi. What a beautifully perfect (and hilarious) synthesis of Mexican culture and popular heavy metal culture. Despite all the incredible shows I've seen and have been privileged to be a part of in 2013, this was by far the most magical experience I had this year. Seeing Metalachi served as a beautiful reminder that when live music is at its best, it can bring people together in a state of pure love that transcends all of the socio-political problems that plague our culture today.
—Jeff Simmons (sound engineer, Radio23, XRAY.fm)
August 30—a trip in the Wayback Machine or, the real Deal(s). On one night I saw the Breeders play Last Splash in its entirety at the Wonder Ballroom, then ran over to Doug Fir for the Southern-baked climax of Brothers and Sister (the Allman Brothers/Live at Fillmore East tribute). The Deal sisters were effervescent, delivering their 1993 classic like it was 1993. And then, Anita Lee Elliott and Lewi Longmire's Marshall-powered Allman/Betts "guitarmonies" just plain slayed me. That was a fun night.
—Mike Midlo (MidLo, Pancake Breakfast)
At a First Friday community event hosted by Oregon Universal Zulu Nation at Salmon Street Studios, after doing my set, the front of the dance floor was taken over by all the youngsters—from toddlers to aspiring b-boys and b-girls, all totally connected to the live music, dancing and vibing out to the fullest. I saw how important it is to have this kind of community-supported environment.
—Quincy Davis (Soul Minor)
Any show I made it to at PALS Clubhouse. Portland may never again see house shows as great as theirs were.
Here are five of my favorite Portland records of 2013:
1. Genders, Get Lost
2. The Woolen Men, The Woolen Men
3. The We Shared Milk, Lame Sunset
4. Radiation City, Animals in the Median
5. Modern Kin, Modern Kin
—Louie Herr (Banana Stand)
Chill Crew, Stewart Villain, and Load B destroyed the Ratchet Fest in Northeast late last summer. Shortly thereafter, Luck-One amassed hordes of new acolytes at the PDX Pop Now! festival before his recent relocation to Brooklyn. The Resistance brought their North Portland underground style to downtown in early September with an explosive, straight-out-of-the-sewer ninja turtle energy that proved they're a force to be reckoned with. But at the end of the day, Kendrick Lamar's bars on Big Sean's "Control" made my year. "I'm important like the Pope, I'm a Muslim on pork/I'm Makaveli's offspring, I'm the king of New York/King of the coast, one hand, I juggle them both." K Dot went in hard and blew up the internet, creating a massive narrative about what it means to be an emcee in 2013. Love it or hate it, for a brief moment, Kendrick made everybody pay attention.
—Ryan Feigh (Mercury contributor)
My favorite musical moment of 2013 was Rio Grands at Rontoms on May 13. It was their second show playing selections from their A-Z record; 26 tracks named after different girls. The show was quite crowded and I couldn't see the band. As I made my way through the crowd I found frontman Colin Jenkins dressed as a priest, crooning and dancing around like Smokey Robinson. It was perfect.
—Michael Rowan (Charts)
Attending Patrick Watson at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco.
—Ezza Rose (Ezza Rose Band)
Repeatedly listening to the ultimate creative combustive pairing of Killer Mike and EL P joining forces as Run the Jewels. It blew my mind hearing these veterans come together to push boundaries even further with such veracious intensity.
—Danny Diana-Peebles (Neo G Yo, Futro Records, Dual Mode, Serious Business)
The first, and every consecutive time I listened to Jon Hopkins' Immunity.
—Beau Sorenson (producer/engineer, Strange Noises)
Dancing to Juvenile's classic "Back That Azz Up" with Joan Baez and Ian Lyles on her tour bus careening down a highway somewhere in upstate New York. Shit got real real.
—Leonard Mynx (musician)
The packed !!! (Chk Chk Chk) show at Bunk Bar. Watching Nic Offer get off stage mid-song and go over to the ATM (in the middle of the crowd), pull out his debit card and insert it into the ATM, all the while dancing furiously, get a few $20s out and proceed to rip them up and shower the surrounding audience with their pieces. He then climbed atop the ATM and went berserk. Most hilarious/epic stage move I've ever seen!
—Jason Oppat (Levon's Helmet, Old Town Music)
I couldn't settle for one thing, so here are my top five albums from 2013.
1. Jesca Hoop, The Complete Kismet Acoustic
2. Morning Ritual, The Clear Blue Pearl
3. Denim Wedding, Fancy Diving
4. Anna and the Underbelly, Brimstone Lullaby
5. Laura Veirs, Warp and Weft
—Anne-Marie Sanderson (musician)
Stumpfest! Rynne and Sara Stump's two-day extravaganza on April 20 and 21 at Mississippi Studios. Not only was this an insane two-day party of great friends and bands (Tweak Bird, Danava, Diesto, Saintan, Regular Music, Floor, Lord Dying, Norska, Black Pussy, and Hot Victory), my favorite drummer of all time, Danny Carey, bought me a beer! No way!
—Ben Stoller (Hot Victory, live sound engineer)
Working alongside the dedicated volunteers at PDX Pop Now!, Portland's annual nonprofit music fest. It was our 10th anniversary this year, and it could only have happened thanks to the year-round volunteer efforts of over 100 local music fans. Wading into the buzzing community of volunteers before the music even started, tears welled in my eyes and I realized the true success of the festival lies in the community it creates.
—Chris Cantino (PDX Pop Now!, music video director)
We were lucky enough to see a bunch of great music this year, although as always we wish we could've seen more. The standout live shows were Sonny and the Sunsets at Bunk Bar, Will Oldham and Phil Elverum at the Aladdin, and Angel Olsen (both her full band set at Bunk Bar and her solo set at the Old Church). We also had some great film/music moments: Mark Ribot did incredible guitar accompaniment to Charlie Chaplin's The Kid at the Whitsell Auditorium and the Les Blank festival at the Hollywood Theatre was amazing! His music films are all worth seeing and hearing.
—John Gnorski & Katie Bernstein (Houndstooth)
Steve Gunn, Time Off
William Tyler, Impossible Truth
Brokeback, Brokeback and the Black Rock
Mavis Staples, One True Vine
Still waiting for the Questlove-produced new D'Angelo album to drop!
—Rebecca Gates (musician)
My favorite musical moment has to be dancing hard at the Orquestra Pacifico Tropical and Ural Thomas and the Pain show at the Doug Fir.
—Aaron Robert Miller (wantstogiveyou.com)
Favorite song: "GMF" by John Grant.
—Jim Meyer (Melville)
Daft Punk brought back disco and reminded me why people in the '70s thought it was a good idea to blow up disco records.
—George Schultz (Adventure Galley)
Top Portland comps of 2013:Stumptown Rock City, 10-inch EP (Ghost Highway)
Eolian Empire, Keep Our Heads
Hovercraft Records, More Songs for Friends
Relapse Records Sampler 2013
—Alex Fast (Lovesores, Satyress)
King Khan at Dante's!
—Jessi Garver (The Suicide Notes)
Juana Molina's Wed 21 release and America's soul pop revival!
—Abbey Hickman (Walker, Adam Brock Band)
Losing my last life after rocking through the first nine killer levels of Dirtnap's 14th anniversary at Slabtown, when on the final boss stage, Marked Men downstroked their dreaded FMB attack. Doom was inescapable as the hydra-headed smile pile. (Honorable mention: Waiting half a lifetime to finally witness Godspeed You! Black Emperor with good weed. Worth it.)
—Jimmy Joints (Divers)
Seeing Meredith Monk perform at Reed College in November was one of my favorite musical moments of this year. The way she controls her voice is so singular, and seeing her perform live really adds an important level of appreciation. Her duets with Katie Geissinger were astonishing.
I also want to mention that the Pulse Emitter record release show at Little Axe was beautiful. Daryl Groetsch is making some of the most transcendent electronic music out there right now. I think many people left that show feeling a bit of a renewed sense of wonder.
—Michael Yun (WL)
In a year of epic music festivals on foreign islands and Coachella pool parties, my favorite moment in music is decidedly local—the moment I would've previously never seen coming: a Drake afterparty at Portland's own Black Book. Make that Drake DJing his own afterparty at Black Book. Typically, NW 3rd resembles something of a cesspool, but on a Tuesday night this December it was transformed into a vision of grandeur. While members of his OVO entourage poured bottles of champagne into each other's mouths, Drake stood and danced behind a MacBook Pro to a setlist made up almost entirely of his own music, plus a little Yeezus for good measure. And other than the champagne and fat blunts, the party carried a down-to-earth air, even with Kevin Durant and Miguel in attendance.
—Nilina Mason-Campbell (Mercury contributor)
I was one of the (lucky?) few in attendance at the Giant Giant Sand show on March 16 at SXSW. Billed as one of the event's grand finales, I made sure to get to the venue plenty early and got a great spot, center stage. In hindsight, the video-screen backdrop should have been the first clue. In between sets, the video screen came up, showing a laptop screen and an apparent ongoing text conversation between Howe Gelb and the club's sound engineer.
When it finally came time for Giant Giant Sand to take the stage, his band slowly gathered while the video showed a shaky webcam image of a glass of bourbon and a bedroom. Howe's faced then filled the screen, and he told the audience that he was back home in Tucson and had spent the day waiting in line to buy a pair of Air Jordans for his 13-year-old son. I still thought it was a joke. Surely, he was backstage and would shortly be joining the band.
He broke into "We Don't Play Tonight" and his band awkwardly tried to follow him. Ten minutes later he called it a night, asking his band to "play a few more" while he waved his glass of bourbon in front of the camera. The band, of course, didn't—they were as uncomfortable as all of us were in the crowd, and that was the end of the show.
I stood there in disbelief for a while, and when I finally realized that it was, indeed, over, I was fuming. There were countless other shows that I could have taken in, but I had planned my entire evening around this one. After taking some time to process it, though, I realize that I was witness to one of the greatest moments in music that I had ever seen. Performance art at its finest.
—John Shepski (Fluff and Gravy Records)
Being turned on to new country music by my gal. It seems to be where rock (at least musically) is still being made.
—Dylan Magierek (Badman Recording Co., Type Foundry Studio)
The Sonics, Pierced Arrows, and the Pynnacles at the Hawthorne in February.
—Andy Holland (Live Nation)
I had a lot of favorite moments in music this year, too many to mention. From a purely musical standpoint, I got to sit with Todd Roper and watch Sedan play "Patronized" at our show with him and White Glove at Record Room (RIP). That got me pretty good.
—Garth Klippert (Old Light)
Seeing Juicy J "Turn Up" in Portland at the Roseland Theater.
Top five albums:
Jay-Z, Magna Carta Holy Grail
Dom Kennedy, Get Home Safely
Jhene Aiko, Sail Out
Drake, Nothing Was the Same
Kevin Gates, The Luca Brasi Story
—Cool Nutz (emcee, POH-Hop, Northwest Breakout Show)
The supergroup performance of Chris Funk, Laura Veirs, Storm Large, Sallie Ford, Jenny Conlee, Ben Gibbard, John Wesley Harding, Eugene Mirman, Colin Meloy, KD Lang, Monica Drake, Lydia Yuknavitch, Peter Buck, Nate Query, John Moen, Scotty McCaughey, and Jon Neufeld all playing at John Wesley Harding's "Cabinet of Wonders," a benefit for MusicRx at the Aladdin on February 13. A most incredible night of music, where they covered Michael Jackson, Kenny Rogers, and many more. Quite the special night of music for a great cause.
—Connie Wohn (First Lady of Hustle)
Being turned on to new country music by my gal. It seems to be where rock (at least musically) is still being made.
—Dylan Magierek (Badman Recording Co., Type Foundry Studio)
I wanted to nominate Fanno Creeks' latest record and the release show at Mississippi Studios that happened on December 4 with Hands In and Sama Dams.
—Nalin Silva (Revolver Studios, Kelly's Olympian, Mississippi Studios)
Without a trace of irony, my favorite moment in music this year was Miley Cyrus scrambling everyone's brains at the VMAs. There have only been a few moments since the advent of modern music that really caused a national ruckus. When they happen, these moments take music out of the background of our everyday lives and thrust it to the foreground, where we absolutely must form an opinion. They are touchstones that we remember for a lifetime and that go on to shape music culture in ways that no one expected.
Oddly, these moments never really have much to do with the actual playing of music but rather the way the artists act. But without fail, these moments make everyone perk up and start chattering about "where we're headed as a culture" and "isn't it a shame," causing massive polarization and public condemnation of the artist. This condemnation almost always turns to adoration a few years later when everyone realizes, "Wow, that was totally amazing!" Elvis the Pelvis' swingin' hips, Jimi Hendrix's setting his guitar on fire, the Sex Pistols swearing on live TV, Kurt Cobain in a wheelchair, Janet Jackson's nip-slip, Britney and Madonna's kiss, Kanye's "Ima let you finish" diatribe and now... Miley's twerking and foam-finger waving.
It's moments like these, for better or for worse, where music is truly important to us because it brings up issues like race and sex and identity (and foam fingers) that are difficult to discuss without an extreme example on which to base our opinions. These silly songs and silly actions by truly silly people become very, very serious and in the process change all of us somehow, hopefully for the better. But the change only happens because the artist has the courage to act in such an obtuse, offensive, and incalculable way as to draw us out of our everyday lives... if only for a moment.
—Jared Mees (Tender Loving Empire)
I was feeling a little "burnt" on shows this past year; struggling to thoroughly enjoy a lot of those I attended or worked, and it wasn't for lack of quality. Looking back through the calendar I was reminded of how many killer touring bands made it up to Portland over this past year, and how fortunate I was to witness and/or host so many of them.
It was local band Adelitas, however, that left the strongest impression. Their European tour kick-off was a sight to behold. The night defied almost every "rule" in the book, with a super diverse line-up and an even more diverse group of attendees, all of which were engaged and participatory from start to finish! By the time Adelitas took the stage, the audience was nearing total frenzy. Dancing and drinking ensued during the band's set of rollicking Latino punk, highlighted by complementary male/female vocals. To say that Adelitas have "found their stride" is a massive understatement. They've become unfuckwithable and not to be missed!
—David Rose (The Know, Bulkhead Records)
June 30 was one of the hottest days of the month, possibly of all time. My wife, Mirabai and I were already late. We are nearly ready to go when I get a call from a friend. "Where the (expletive) are you? I'm standing next to Stevie Nicks' mic." We rush into the car, drive faster than we should, park somewhere we shouldn't, and get out running, on the hottest day of the year. And am I in shorts and flip-flops? No! You can't meet one of the greatest bands of all time looking like an extra from Saved by the Bell!
After what seemed like an hour of sprinting through the clinical corridors of what is now the Moda Center, we found our way. Our tickets permitted us onto the floor and headed straight for the stage. My friend, who plays keys in the band, is waving at us from the side of the stage. Moments later we are getting the full Fleetwood Mac stage tour: the epic drum kit with solid gold hardware; for each guitar seen on stage, a dozen duplicates lined up in the wings, just in case 40 strings are broken; Stevie's private stage quarters replete with Fiji water, vanity mirror, oxygen tank, several dozen bohemian witch shawls, and of course, at center stage, her mic, draped in jewels and scarves. The only thing you can do on a stage of the size, literally and metaphorically, is take a moment to look up and put yourself in their shoes.
The show started and they proved that hype and gimmicks are fleeting, and talent, perseverance, and a damn good song can make you and your music timeless. We were so close to Lindsey Buckingham that we could see his reaction to the girls on our right and left, shirts at the ready, to flash a man that could easily be their father, or grandfather. But we could also see the real pain as he and Stevie hugged after "Landslide," wiping away real tears from a real time that must still seem like only yesterday. After the show we were treated to the backstage, which is no more than a locker room with plenty of food and drink, and little party. It's clearly not the '80s. This is a business, and it runs smoothly. As we were sitting on the couches eating chips, in walks Lindsey Buckingham to say hello to an old friend we were with. Seeing that all the seats were taken he decides to sit cross-legged on the floor in front of us, all smiles. He asks how we're doing, totally used to the star-struck faces staring him back. After the obligatory Instagrams are grammed, I finally get my opening. I ask about his orchestral style of guitar playing, and his lack of a pick. We talk about our mutual love for Chet Atkins and Scotty Moore. It was great.
—Nathan Trueb (Tango Alpha Tango)
My favorite musical moment was seeing Gary Clark Jr. at the Doug Fir in February. I'd heard his EP and read the hype about his new/old school blues, and he (and his band) was incredible. Face melting. Tasteful, honest, and real. Not just blues—deeper and soulful.
—Tom Yates (Melville)
I left Portland last summer, and I do miss it from time to time. I wasn't around in 2013 for my favorite music moment. However, I helped make it happen. The Portland Party at SXSW this year was epic. Thanks to our amazing team and the (even more) amazing bands, it was simply awesome. I'm proud we pulled it off two years in a row! I might be gone but I still have so much love for what Portland musicians are doing. For Portland and for the rest of the world. Now... get on tour and come play my stage in Anchorage!
—Brooklyn Baggett (Octopus Entertainment)
With my job, sometimes you just get lucky, which is the case for my favorite moment in music this past year. Storm Large and her band played our 75-seat venue on June 1. Longtime Portland guitarist Scott Weddle is in Storm's band. He is also the bandleader of Sarah Gwen's band. Sarah and Scott invited Storm and Bruce Beaton to perform some songs at their show. It turned out, Storm decided to play a full set. The setlist ranged from cabaret-inspired music to musical theater and rock. During one of her climactic rock anthems, Storm jumped from the stage to a briefly empty chair in front and towered over the crowd, then bent down and pointed at everyone in the audience. It was a total rock-star move, a grand gesture, creating an excited audible response from the crowd. It was thrilling, powerful, and dangerous, all things that make great rock 'n' roll. Her vocal range amazed me, and the show, including Sarah Gwen's performance, reminds me of how damn lucky we all are in Portland.
—Dan Eichler (Mississippi Pizza Pub)
Friday, September 6 at MFNW was an important night for me musically. It started with getting caught up in Dan Deacon's canvas of audience participation. Animal Collective followed, inspiring me that you can be successful being a fucking weirdo. FIDLAR took over the Backspace later that night and rekindled a genuine and raw youthful energy that can never be emulated. The night ended with a set from Prefuse 73 at Holocene. It was a beautiful moment where scenes didn't exist, and people were unabashedly dancing and enjoying themselves without insecurity or walls. I left tired, content and rejuvenated.
Honorable mentions: Fulfilling a bucket-list dream of seeing Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Also, seeing my musical mentor and idol Hiss Golden Messenger. Basia Bulat's "Tall Tall Shadow" has also been stuck in my head since listening to it. Incredible year for music.
—Stirling Myles (Alameda)
Hands down—sharing the stage and night with so many friends and peers for my release show.
—Steve Hefter (St. Even)
My favorite music moment of 2013 is literally a single moment. Four notes, in succession, falling and tumbling over themselves, like a multiplayer game of Mario and everyone's racing for the flagpole. The comparison is apt, as the moment occurs in the title track of Anamanaguchi's breakthrough album, Endless Fantasy.
The band long ago learned how to dodge the pitfalls other chiptune bands succumb to; the sounds come from a specific era of childhood, but the music does not rely on nostalgia to get over. It's not just "hey, look, my guitar sounds like a Gameboy," or "this obviously started as a cover of Mega Man 2 music." Anamanaguchi knows how to wring legitimate emotion out of those tones and how to twine them together tightly, cutting at the wall of square sounds with their sawtooth waves like sonic sculptors.
At the end of "Fantasy"'s first minute, the main melody has arrived, chin tilted skyward, winsome and hopeful. A couple variations on that melody skitter throughout the second minute as the drums chase it along. It's determined—wait, now it's floating. Things are shifting and bouncing, but the track has yet to stop building; two minutes in and it is still relentlessly chugging towards something, as the instruments pile on, the melodies are wall-jumping and crisscrossing, propelling themselves forward in trickier motions.
And then, right around two minutes and 30 seconds, where there should be a downbeat, where everything should land on the one, the bottom falls out. There is nothing underfoot anymore. Someone has tripped over a cord or something, accidentally pulled a plug out of the wall. Four notes go falling, in succession, down an electronic abyss. Just a hint of disorientation starts to waft in before they simultaneously land with a loud smack on the snare drum, as everything comes crashing around it on the two. The song tears off again, sprinting towards the next change, grinning back over its shoulder at me.
The whole moment lasts less than half a second, but nothing in 2013 topped that half-second. Not Kanye asking for croissants, not Hans Zimmer figuring out how to get Superman in the air again.
—Bobby Roberts (Mercury Calendar Editor/Office Manager)
The night that me, Barna, Josiah, Philippe, and Vincent Bancheri swapped new songs around a campfire in my brother's backyard in North Portland. It was nice to hear very new songs by these fellows in the best environment. Alternatively, floating in a pool in my underwear and listening to Sallie Ford play the Portland Party at SXSW was pretty right on, too.
—Sean W. Spellman (Quiet Life)
My favorite musical moment of the year—maybe of my lifetime—was on the full moon of September 2013 when I realized Nirvana's In Utero held a puzzle for us to solve—and I have the skeleton key. My next favorite moment was when I realized that opening the heart-shaped box would raze the wasteland, release an army of angels, and coax new life from dead roots. Hell yeah!!! ROCK 'N' ROLL FOREVER!
—Erika Meyer (Boo Frog)
Other than Working Late being released and all the rad shows we got to play this year, I think it's a tie between the feeling I got when I'd put on Kurt Vile's Wakin on a Pretty Daze, and learning that Dylan's Another Self Portrait was getting released. All the day-to-day noise just kinda mellowed out and faded away for me when that Kurt Vile opening track would start rolling. I'm also a huge fan of that early '70's Dylan/the Band era, so getting to hear new stuff from that time with those vibes was a real treat.
—Patrick Bayliss (Night Mechanic)
I honestly have no idea what happened this year in music at all. I think the only new album I listened to that was put out by a recognizable band was Vampire Weekend's new album. I had never heard them and wanted to see if the hype was justifiable and I really enjoyed the album. But, I recorded a fourth Druggist album with my friend Blake (he recorded and mixed Butt 2 Butt's first two albums and lives in San Francisco) early this year that of course I think is great and I listened to nonstop for about a month. Not sure that counts.
—Zach Dunlap (Butt 2 Butt)
The KEXP video of Typhoon's "Morton's Fork" from Pickathon. Typhoon is probably my favorite band. This year saw a huge leap forward for this 26-piece outfit from Salem. This video is a pretty straightforward expression of all my favorite things about Typhoon; it is a combination of sun, sadness, and an apparent affinity for the Blazers.
—Peter Neal (Nike)
Headlining the Vancouver International Bhangra Celebration in Vancouver, BC. After having spent more than a decade trawling the Panjabi music stores in Vancouver and the surrounding suburbs for Bhangra music, it was quite an honor to be asked to headline the premier Bhangra festival in North America and take the stage after Saini Surinder, one of my favorite current Bhangra singers. Getting rave reviews from the dedicated Bhangra heads and listening to DJ Anjali promote miscegenation from the stage made it all the sweeter.
—Stephen Strausbaugh (The Incredible Kid)
My favorite musical moment of 2013 was having the opportunity to play with Amanda Palmer last August. At the last minute, we were asked to play a private party at a farm on the corner of Hillsboro and nowhere, opening the show to about 40 strangers. Then Amanda killed it with an amazing one-woman ukulele/piano set. Later, she asked me to play a Jason Webley cover with her, which I failed at miserably. Still, the night was surreal and amazing, one I'll never forget.
—Jared Jensen (Bombs into You)
I'd never flown cross-country to see a band before. What kind of idiot does something like that? But when the British band Wolf People announced that their first-ever show on American shores would be at the Knitting Factory in Williamsburg on October 11, I knew I had to be there. My friend JPK shared in the folly, booking a flight from Seattle to New York to be there, too.
Upon hearing Wolf People's 2010 album Steeple by sheer accident—it mysteriously arrived in the mail one day, and I still can't tell you what compelled me to try it out—their tangled, virtuosic version of stoned-out, folk-flecked prog-rock infatuated me instantly. Weeks, months, eventually years went by without any news of a Wolf People show on US soil. When their album Fain was released earlier this year, my frustration and fascination were compacted.
But Unknown Mortal Orchestra, god bless them, brought Wolf People across the pond to open a leg of their Midwestern tour, and Wolf People took advantage of their shiny new work visas by adding a couple headlining shows in New York before the tour kicked off. As soon as those chiming opening bars blasted out at full thunder, JPK and I—parked directly in front of the stage—came to the happy realization we had made the right decision.
Joe Hollick might be the best guitarist I've ever witnessed. Playing without a pick and plucking the strings with all five fingers on his right hand, he performs miracles, pushing moan and fuzz and banshee-wail through a wall of sizzling electricity. His bandmate, Jack Sharp, might only be the fourth best guitarist I've ever seen. Their dueling interplay is remarkable enough on record; in the flesh, it's demonic.
I saw Wolf People again two nights later at the Mercury Lounge in Manhattan. Whether you take them together as a whole or bust them up into a billion tiny instants, those two shows were the most gratifying experience of my year, musical or otherwise. Both nights, I walked out with a million volts singing through my chest, high on a buzz that had brushed against every nerve ending in my body. The older I get, the more I hear people say that there's no good music anymore, that all the good stuff is buried in the past. And each year, the grumbling gets a little louder—the complaining gets a little easier to succumb to. Don't believe it for a second. The best music is the music right in front of you.
—Ned Lannamann (Mercury music editor)