The Curious Case of Floater


Awesome...I've been waiting a long time for the Mercury to write something about Floater. Perhaps it is the "grandiose intentions" or maybe it's their "strident devolutionary stance" but Floater has managed to do something that few if any Portland bands have been able to do: maintain a passionate and die-hard following of fans for over 15 years. Great bands abound here in PDX, but who among them have done what Floater has done? Clearly the fans of Floater are not as musically enlightened or stylishly trendy as those of you at the Mercury. If only Pitchfork would give Floater a positive review, then perhaps you would feel more comfortable acknowledging their work. Musical taste is infinitely subjective, and to not enjoy Floater's music is a perfectly appropriate reaction. However, to insinuate that they have not changed since their beginnings, is purely ignorant. Floater still makes music that sounds like Floater. That's not a bad thing, is it? Radiohead still makes music that sounds like Radiohead right? Then again Pitchfork likes them, so I guess you are clear to like them as well.
Hey Portland Mercury.....go listen to to Floater's album Angels In The Flesh Devils In The Bone (1998), Sink (1994), and than Wake (2010). Can you honestly tell me that any of those albums sound "grungy" or in fact completely like each other? Oh, I are just repeating what you have heard other music critics say. Have you even listened to their early stuff? They have evolved a quite a bit and have never sounded like a grunge band. Go make out with the Builders And The Butchers hipster fucks.
you suck
It's quite obvious why Floater is well liked, they make engaging rock music and have brilliant live performances whether it be acoustic or electric. Rob's voice has an amazing range which is far and few between in rock vocalists. They always keep live performances fresh by adding extended jam sessions and live specific musical interludes not found on studio albums and unlike many musicians, they still enjoy performing and it shows! I'm always amazed how large their sound is for a trio. Floater delivers the soft and the heavy and everywhere in between. There is nothing devolutionary in Floater's sound, like many great musicians they've always borrowed pages of those that came before them, but all Floater songs have that that inherent Floaterness that make them instantly recognizable. Floater's problem, which is ironically also their greatest strength, is that they're not pinned down to a particular style or genre, this is just one of the reasons why Floater has not been able to break out mainstream radio. Ultimately when introducing a band someone will ask what other bands a band sounds and doing that with Floater can be difficult, but I lean to lump them into a more progressive category, with the likes of Porcupine Tree and Opeth. They have the range, they can do anything or several anythings in the course of a single song. Floater is huge in the northwest but has the potential to be much more universal but unfortunately being with a small label, they don't have quite the promoting power and radio influence as the larger labels do. I've been drawing parallels between Wake and the self-titled Stone Temple Pilots album, both albums borrow heavily from classic and alternative rock peers and are absolutely great albums that i've had on repeat for several days and have never gotten stale, sadly Wake will not see anywhere the same record sales as the STP album, oh what a difference being on major label does...
Yeah, it's weird. They're not a terrible bar band, just pretty mediocre and uninspired. Their success shouldn't be surprising--people REALLY like music that's mediocre and uninspired.
I could totally tear this piece of "journalism" apart and point out its ignorance. But since it's just a hit piece, kindergarten rhetoric in other words, I'll pass. Mercury can whine and pout because Willamette Week got the dibs on the interview with Floater, but it ain't going to change their glaring lack of research into Floater's sound.

There there Mercury, it's okay... it's okay... just relax and suck on your baba.
Methinks the floater fans doth protest too much.
sorry mercury. I guess all the bands in this town can't be pussified, bearded, lazy, folksy hipsters. Just the ones you give favorable reviews of.
Portland Mercury, why do you have to be in lock step agreement with every other hipster mag out there? Do some research (ie listen) to their back catalog before you make grunge generalizations....after you do that I have a surprise for you: FLOATER HAS NEVER BEEN A GRUNGE BAND. Jesus Christ, what a horrible lack of research this article shows. Their first two albums were they are more of an art-rock band. Hey, maybe try one more thing: go to the show tonite and maybe you will see why they have so many damn fans before you trash them again......I could go on and on here....I will stop.
Ezra ezra ezra, I generally agree with you but your article here is all wrong. Floater is a completely unique band that has done something that is largely not happening in music anymore, which is completely maintain their fan base without it dying down whatsoever over the last 17 years. Their music and shows blow most people away the first time they experience it, thus the reason for their popularity. Go to a show buddy
If you like butt rock then you will like Floater, if not then don't bother. Pretty simple really.
Wow! What amazing disdain! You must be a god amongst hipster brethren! Quick! Someone tell Floater they're not allowed to play "straightforward rock" anymore!
I hate to say it, but some idiot at the mercury just did a cut and paste on the WWeek's article...
Hey guys...I'm from the South, and a lot of people there drink Bud Light, but that doesn't make it a particularly good or exciting beer. Also, a lot of people also buy coffee from McDonnalds, but that doesn't make it a particularly great cup of Joe. Lastly, a lot of people seem like Floater, know.
Over the last 19 years I can't say I gave Floater much thought, but with this typical Merc-hipper-than-thou article I'm more than willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. Pretty weak article overall, reeks of "I'm sooo indie" desperation.
What the #UCK MERC ???? SUUUUUUCKS!!!!!!!!!
Regardless of whether you like Floater's music (here's a hint: I do) you can't get away with making grunge or 90's alternative comparisons. Floater has never been a grunge band and sounds nothing like the bands normally associated with 'flannel' and FM radio. If you want to deride them, then Tornado's comment about butt rock is at least closer to the mark. Floater's sound comes from the 70's and 80's. Listen to their records, it's all U2, Pink Floyd and even some Rush and Police. Pearl Jam just isn't in there.

For a band that never gets good press, never gets radio play, never gets big promotions, they must be doing SOMETHING to convince hordes of fans to pack every venue they play. Maybe it's because their music touches people in a seriously emotional and cathartic way?
Hmm. I'm really beginning to think that the Merc is a Rolling Stone wannabe. If that's what you were aiming for, whooooo!

If not, I have two words for you--SUCK IT.
What the hell Caraeff? Tell me your not serious about wondering why a group named Floater doesn't make it outside their homebase of self important Portland? Hint: the name implies turds on top of water. Who else beside adolescent male centric Portlanders would find a band that conjures up images of shit remotely worthy of a marquee. Great music but shitty name. makes me gag everytime i see it. This is why Portland is known far and wide as a 'wannabe cool City'!
I own almost every Pearl Jam album along with all of Floater's albums, and I've yet to hear any PJ influence in Floater's music. I do hear The Police, Pink Floyd, U2, Tool, Primus and other influences, though. You really ought to listen to the music you purport to critique before making such ridiculous comparisons. And Godsmack? Hahahahahahaha. FYI, I'm from the East Coast and didn't need some shitty radio station to get me to listen to Floater. Word of mouth goes a long way, which is why Floater has managed to retain and even increase its fan base over the years. Ask Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree about word of mouth. Here's to Floater continuing to do it their way.
Floater got tagged early on for being grunge in the early 90's, despite the obvious bass-driven leaning-toward-metal sound. The Rocket had something to do with this. All grunge related criticism is biased, and fails to recognize that grunge was less a sound than it was a corporate ploy to tag and sell music in a new upcoming musical category that later emerged as "alternative." Anyone who has taken a few college courses in cultural/musical sociology knows better!
Yes, Floater has been around. And there are elements to what they represent today that are profoundly characteristic of both themselves, and what they produced in the mid 90s. But a band is a brand, and a group of musicians playing under that umbrella has both a need and a natural tendency to stay there. So are you saying they should NOT sound like Floater? That the lead guitarist should stop playing driving riffs on the offbeat, and filler arpeggios? That the drummer should simplify, stopping the subtle syncopated accents and obscurely spaced snare hits? That the lead singer should trade in the occasionally soaring/aggressive verse for a voice-box with new timbre inside? These things are what make them who they are. Apart from that, you obviously don't appreciate how they've managed to maintain their sound while continuing to please fans for so long.
floater are talented. the vocals are good but not great...the music is way better.
i have known floater since the beginning in eugene, worked close with them on many occasions, known all the different managment and inner workings and tactics. great guys personally.
what most dont know is these guys have a mountain of bad kharma...on all kinds of levels, but mostly within the industry of bullshit and fucking people over. bad bad business. no one ever calls them on it...mostly because the people that know the dark side, work in the industry and still want somthing from them in some form and dont want to burn bridges. fact. now im not busting on them or hating...just stating the facts. and if these guys dont get signed or make it too the top somehow, im not surprised at all.
BUT, truth in the big picture of rocking...they have had huge success. packing out giant venues and touring, developing and kicking heroin habbits...yaaaa... they have lived the dream.