Two weeks ago, Westside venues Someday Lounge and Towne Lounge were left aesthetically rudderless by the sudden departure of booking impresario Chantelle Hylton for New York's Knitting Factory. Order has now been restored, with Hylton's booking mantle haven been taken up by Joshua Blanchard, Hylton's collaborator in her days at Satyricon. Blanchard, of free-folk duo Plants and the defunct Church of Psychedelia series, says of the venues, "I'm going to slowly morph the Towne Lounge into the gritty-chic kind of rock 'n' roll venue it's always wanted to be. The plan is to have fewer oddities there and concentrate more on fun, party music. The Someday Lounge is a great new club with a totally clean slate. I have bundles of ideas for unique theme nights and over-the-top multimedia events the likes of which Portland has never seen."
When we checked in with skittery electro-funk auteur Panther in February, he had just released his outstanding debut full-length Secret Lawns on local label Fryk Beat. Apparently everything in Panther's world moves as fast as his frenetic limbs: He has signed to storied Olympia label Kill Rock Stars and is releasing a new album of "punk world beat" next spring. Oh yeah, and "he" is now "they." Charlie Salas-Humara, who historically flew solo as Panther, has enlisted drummer Joe Kelly, formerly of 31Knots and Pseudosix, to accompany his wild cello loops and yelping. Fans of Leti Angel, the rock trio of Salas-Humara, Kelly, and bassist Maggie Vail, needn't worry unduly, as they will continue to play, albeit less frequently. Portlanders of all ages can catch the two-man Panther at Berbati's on Wednesday, June 20.
Due to the logic of some cosmic mathematics, just as Panther is expanding from a solo project to a duo, local laptop pop standard-bearer the Blow is now once again officially the solo project of Khaela Maricich, as Jona Bechtolt (AKA YACHT), who collaborated with Maricich as beat-master on recent Blow efforts, has quit the band. Bechtolt explained his departure and future plans: "The Blow was always a side project for me; although I'm happy to have made those records and proud of the work that I did, I'm done with that level of collaboration. I'm really excited about making new YACHT records and performances. I'm already thinking about the territory the next record will live in and I'm planning on moving to Marfa, Texas for a couple months in the beginning of next year to vibe out and make it."
Lastly, patrons of East Burnside's Ozone Records should stop by the store to pay last respects and take advantage of the 40 percent off sale, as Ozone will close for good sometime in the next week.