Updated: Jan 15
As we all hunker down for the holidays and prepare to check this bizarre year off our calendars, Curbside Press knows that art is what we all turn to when we're trying to make sense of the world. With these great local music releases, you can get into those fall vibes or get a virtual dance party going in your own living room. From the latest release from Typhoon to other hidden gems from local musicians, we've got all you need right here in our Fall 2020 Release Roundup.
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Have a safe and happy holiday season, everyone!
Typhoon - “Welcome To The End Game” (Portland, OR)
One of the biggest bands to come out of Oregon in the 2010’s, Typhoon has toured the country and played venues big and small, from The Ike Box in Salem to The Late Show with David Letterman in New York. “Welcome To The End Game,” released just before Halloween, seems to encapsulate the year 2020 in a nutshell. It waits for a build that never comes, instead emphasizing the protesting lyrics that look back on a year of sickness and vigils. It’s a tender, more stripped-down single than many of the group’s other well-known songs, which typically showcase the loud, orchestrated sounds of the nearly dozen regular band members -- including multiple percussionists, violins and trumpets. Instead, this song is a somber plea, with simple synth keys and ambient guitar strings wailing behind frontman Kyle Morton’s whispering melodies. The accompanying video, featuring footage from in and around Portland, is a truly artful accompaniment to this song, which ends with the camera pushing inside of a dark tunnel along with the lyrics, “Here we go into the cauldron/I’ll see you on the other side.”
Christine Nguyen - “Finding Happiness” (Portland, OR)
This is the song to listen to when you’re feeling down and you want to turn to other distractions instead of sitting inside your own head. Released as part of a short EP of the same name, “Finding Happiness” is Nguyen’s stand against falling into toxic external pleasures instead of searching for happiness within yourself. Despite its at-times somber lyrics and minor-key instrumentation, the theme of this song is about overcoming negative thoughts to realize that you’re strong enough to find happiness on your own. It’s a fall anthem that fits the sleepy mood of the season while still managing to be a feel-good tune.
Wild Ire - “Dirty Hands” (Salem, OR)
Written about a regrettable situation where a houseguest defecated in the lead singer’s bedroom (yeah, seriously... ), this music video thankfully doesn’t re-enact the occasion. Instead, it centers around the band planning a birthday party for drummer Nick Turner, with a regular double-chocolate cake serving as a subtle nod to those who are in on the joke. The performance portions of the video were filmed outdoors during the Oregon wildfires, which the band jokes about with a disclaimer at the beginning of the video, “In other words, getting lung cancer for your enjoyment.” The track itself features a funky bass line and brat-tat-tat snare that matches the ever-quickening vocal performances that are a staple of Wild Ire’s sound. An almost scat-like rap verse takes center stage during the middle, showcasing how much the Salem band enjoys just playing around with their sound.
DoublePlusGood - “In The Wee Small Hours” (Portland, OR)
A cover of the Frank Sinatra classic of the same name, this performance by DoublePlusGood frontman Erik Carlson shows exactly the kind of crooner era sound that the band typically adds to dancey numbers and indie rock jams. This single is a more direct cover of the sound, however, with slow, building verses that slide up and dip back down on the scale in celebration of the sultry vocals that Ol’ Blue Eyes was known for. They didn’t call Sinatra “The Voice” for nothing, and Carlson pays homage while showing off his own powerful range.
The Ferenjis - “Where U At” (Salem, OR)
This is just the kind of jazzy, funky standard that The Ferenjis are known for and, while the group released it earlier, they are celebrating the release of this self-produced video. It’s got a peppy beat that’s accompanied by fun choruses that encourage us to shout “Where U At?” along with the group. As the tempo builds, the electric guitar gets fuzzy and leads to a well-executed instrumental breakdown. Highlights also include a bluesy solo by guitarist Trevor Fischer and a trancey key solo where vocalist Andrew Norman is shown pecking it out with the large keyboard held in his hands without the aid of a stand. If this band is your jam, you can check out their social media pages for frequent livestreams, like the group’s Halloween set from this year. The Ferenjis also produced an entire record inspired by the COVID pandemic as part of the band’s Quarantine Challenge. Simply put, they’ve produced a ton of music this year and it’s worth checking out.
Jeshua Marshall - “Life Of A Snake” (Bend, OR)
Bluesy guitar and ballpark piano give bounce to this latest single from Bend solo artist Jehua Marshall. Marshall’s voice, which also fronts the Bend funk band Guardian of The Underdog, contains a faint huskiness in the tradition of old blues singers from New Orleans and Motown, which he seems to draw lots of inspiration from. For a more targeted taste of the jazzy, funk sounds that Marshall channels, you can check out a previous single, featured in our Summer 2020 Music Roundup, titled “Go Go,” which contains references and inspiration from lots of 20th Century jazz music.
Camp Crush - “Fangirl” (Portland, OR)
A virtual dance pop anthem from Portland pop veterans, Camp Crush, this video features other local artists like local dream pop act Jame Doe (a group we’ve written about several times before). Fellow musicians, friends and family of the band each join in on a video call to dance it out, with cute pets and kiddos in tow. For a band that had to put its new music on hold this spring thanks to the upheaval caused by COVID-19, it’s fitting that this video is the virtual dance party that we could all use right now. Come for the vibe, stay for the gorgeous synth keys and power pop choruses.
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