Fri May 9
Sat May 10
"We hate our other records. We all hate 'em and think they're shitty," says Nathan Howdeshell, of soon-to-be-Portland-based, The Gossip.
Self-criticism notwithstanding, give one listen to Movement, the soul-punk band's second full-length on Kill Rock Stars, and you can't deny the bar has been raised. The Gossip has officially self-actualized, with a raw noisy grit stamped onto their swampy, mis-tuned party stomp, and Beth Ditto's rich vocals so fully imbued with incredulous chilling soul, it's a frigging revelation. I listened to it, and was inspired to take a job as a snake handler.
"We've always wanted to create 'noise and melody,' and we did it. I actually think Movement sounds really good," admits Howdeshell. "We worked with John Goodmanson [Sleater-Kinney, Nirvana]; he is just the raddest dude, and he let me hit all the wrong notes. We'd play a song, and he'd be like, 'Let's fuck it up more.'" On Movement, fuck-ups result in crunky bluesy skronk with amazing intensity. On my favorite track, the incredible break-up lament "Yesterday's News," a low-end guitar melody and drums crash against Ditto's clenched caterwaul in a whir of feedback. Much of the noise comes from Howdeshell's guitar benders, whose antics sprout from more noisepunk-oriented soil. (He also plays in PDX squawk legends Die Monitr Bats.) "The guitar playing is way more expressionist than before. 'Cause I'd never been in a rock band, and when The Gossip started, that was the idea, but I never tuned my guitar in the standard way. It was never like The Hives or some shit. It's definitely 'noise and melody.'"
The "noise" plus "melody" equation makes for a primal live shows: notoriously sweat-hot, debaucherous dance parties. "We listen to a lot of soul music, and it's the rawest, simplest music but it's totally danceable. It's super minimalist music, and we were really drawing from that," explains Howdeshell. "I like the idea of being this band, that every time we play is a wild dance party. Especially when you used to pay $12 at a club and every band was four dudes in like, a Pavement rip-off band. I'd rather pay five bucks somewhere to see a bunch of crazy girls screaming. "