Back in the early days of the Portland Mercury, we wrote an article on Glass Candy, and Sean Tejaratchi--the Mercury's first art director--wanted to run an accompanying picture of the band. Unhappy with their press photo, Glass Candy's Johnny Jewel asked if Sean could run a collage instead. Sean accused Johnny of being a pretentious primadonna. Johnny accused Sean of being a hypocritical conservative. A tiff ensued.
Sean ended up publishing a photo of Glass Candy with faces of hillbillies superimposed over their faces. It was so funny, even the band laughed. This anecdote epitomizes the relationship Portland has with the band: they are popular enough to warrant press and word-of-mouth praise, but are constantly accused of being a pretentious, overly fashionable, image-conscious glam band.
The question is: why is Glass Candy liked everywhere except their hometown of Portland? The answer is hard to pinpoint. The band consists of two thin, pretty kids with highly stylized hair, clothes and make-up; their music is minimal and dancey, an unironic launch of '80s new wave and art-pop with moody vocals.
Glass Candy doesn't seem to be out to convert anyone to their music. The band has no website, press kit, or label promotion, running almost entirely on word-of-mouth fandom. Portland's indierock history is full of earnest, singer-songwriter types, but it doesn't mean the Portland audience is too unsophisticated to understand the vibe of Glass Candy. It seems more likely that they are an unpretentious band with a very pretentious face.
Regardless, after tours of Europe, the US, and sold-out shows in New York, Glass Candy returned home to play three shows--at the fucking bowling alley. (No offense to Grand Central.) If you're interested in seeing one of Portland's most controversial bands get out of the gutter, they're at Nocturnal this weekend, opening for the Gossip, dividing fans and not really giving a shit either way.