I begin this column with a heavy heart and the sad news that Scott Barr Moritz, better known as the frontman and songwriter for local Americana band Scotland Barr and the Slow Drags, passed away at the age of 43 on September 1 after a yearlong battle with pancreatic cancer. Though the new album he and the Slow Drags had been working on—which may still see completion in some form—was to be called We Will Be Forgotten, fans of his music and of the beloved Secret Aardvark hot sauce, which Barr created, would most certainly disagree. Four of the final five songs the band finished together can be heard at scotlandbarr.com.
Given that, by all accounts, Barr's two passions were food and music, he may have been excited by the ways the musician's do-it-yourself creative ethos has been manifesting itself as "cook it yourself" recently, with a number of local bands shooting instructional cooking videos. Production company Potlatch Presents (potlatchpresents.com) has posted a clip of Guidance Counselor and Wampire collaborating on some gluten-free asparagus salad, as well as one of soul-folkie Sallie Ford crafting some crêpes (sweet and savory, natch), with more to follow. I can't wait to try White Fang's Cocoa-Puffs-and-Five-Hour-Energy-Shot Muppet satay.
Tapping into this culinary zeitgeist, new Portland label Brave Records held its semi-private, late-August preview event in the form of a catered concert at which food and music alike were provided by the imprint's roster and brain trust: promising young pastoral soul bands the Old Believers and Congratulations (also known as Eskimo and Sons version 2.0). The night went by the title "Menu for the Evening," and the Brave crew plans to hold many more soundtracked soirees, film them, collect the recipes, and release a music-and-cookbook twofer down the road. For now, though, Brave Records, blushing debutante of the local label community, will be throwing a public coming-out party on Sunday, September 13, at the Old Church that will serve as a release show for Congratulations, the Old Believers, and Los Angeles' the Red River, whose split double 7-inch with Olympia band LAKE comes out that night.
Taking another step toward the audio-gastronomic surreal, we now journey to Burgerville. The one at SE Hawthorne and 11th, to be precise, which has apparently been hosting concerts on a regular basis, recruiting performers by leaving notes on tables, next to the condiments and napkin dispensers, that read "Want to play at Burgerville? Come be a part of our Tuesday live music series!" It was just such a sign that caught the attention of Jordan Dykstra—AKA avant-garde violist DASH!—and led to his playing a well-received show to post-game Little Leaguers and parents in late July. Like experimental arts ensemble Oregon Painting Society who also brought their act to Burgerville, DASH! was fairly compensated with a free value meal. Interested? Inquire within.
Dykstra's been a busy margin-walker this summer, collaborating not only in the dining room but also in the crafts room. As DASH!, he's one of five musical acts that local artist and ex-Rererato curator Stephanie Simek worked with on sound/jewelry mixed-media pieces she calls "sound lockets." Each locket consists of a steel pendant around which audiotape of a specially commissioned song by one of Simek's five collaborators—including locals DASH! and Hexlove—is spooled. Simek explains, "I'd been interested in incorporating sound into a piece of jewelry, and eventually arrived on this design as a symbolic, direct way to communicate the idea of using the body to relate to music in a conceptual, intimate, and maybe even romantic, way." Sound lockets are available for $45 at stephaniesimek.com and come with a CD with all five songs.