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Dharma Beatdown: Lo-fi Americana warning

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Lo-fi Americana warning

So, after a crushing cancellation of a visit with my kids, and a hellacious migraine, I decided to tag along with my little bro and his friend Mia to see some friends of his at PDX Pop Now!

Now, I'm not crazy about indie music, but this turned out to be quite a nice scene. A section of street, roughly located between Office Depot, the porno shop, some industrial food warehouses and the music venue Rotture, was closed off and a bunch of scrappy-looking indie kids had congregated for the ultra-short sets of various local bands. And by kids, I mean kids- there was a cute little two-year-old dancing about.

The band we were there to see, Wooden Indian Burial Ground, surprised me by being pretty darn good. The promo material had this to say about them: "With music made for waltzing in the kitchen or stomping barefoot in the grass, this boy/girl band presents lo-fi Americana tunes without cute boy/girl vocals." Blah blah blahblah... I'm sorry, that just screams pretentious. I was pleasantly surprised by a minimalist stage setup scattered with functional random percussion. They added a drummer for this set and some of the rhythmic constructions were just phenomenal for how little was actuall going on, and I really grooved on their next to last song, which was about as edgy as a song with a banjo can get. However....

I cannot say enough about how bad the frontman sucked. Doughy and clad in the worst flannel hipster garb, he warbled and screeched and wrapped his petulant lips around an overly processed SM-57 like it was Jack White's diseased cock. Seriously, I think we've all had enough with this Tiny Tim vocal fad. He was a competent guitarist, but should have shut the hell up and let his hot bass-playing girlfriend sing more.

So that was that. It was nice to hang out with my bro and have fun before he returns to Humboldt. I would also recommend that everyone come out Wednesday night to the Fez to see the Bears and the Bees. Faith is out from Arizona and we should all come check it out.

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Anonymous Adrienne Hatkin said...

Who. The Fuck. Do you think you are? I am sick and tired of seeing my talented, amazing friends be publicly ripped apart by "critics". Who ARE YOU? Are you making yourself vulnerable every week by screaming your ideas and dreams in front of strangers? It takes a lot of balls to try to be an honest musician in a town that gives less and less of a fuck about honest music, and the most you can do is comment on the singer's weight? If we're going to being making shallow assumptions here, I could come up with a few about nasty reviewers like yourself: You are talentless, insecure hacks who write cruel irrelevant things about bands because they think it makes them sound smart. You come nowhere close to being as creative, thoughtful and intelligent as someone like Justin Fowler, and you never will.

September 22, 2008 at 4:30 PM  
Blogger Jess Gulbranson said...

I wonder if Wooden Indian Burial Ground is aware that they are cultivating such hysterical friends, or if this is vigilantism? Well, I made an honest critique, and I will give you an honest rebuttal even though your poorly-thought-out rant doesn't deserve one. Well, if you're going to challenge amateur reviewers, then you have to expect a curriculum vitae.

Speaking as someone who has struggled with weight issues, I really wasn't attacking the man's weight. He certainly seemed to be going for an unhealthy look, though. And let's face it, they're not studio aces at the moment, they're a rock band playing a festival. So a certain amount of charisma and pulchritude should be expected. You don't have to be Barbie and Ken, but you might not want to go out looking your worst.

So... Who AM I? Well, I certainly have been there screaming ideas in front of strangers. Mid-late '90s, I was in a fairly successful art-punk band here in PDX, back when it was not popular. When the band got offered a tour by a promoter, I was kicked out because I didn't fit the dope-smoking hipster image. Early 2000's, I was in a jazz fusion band, when it wasn't popular. Had to quit that one to focus on my family. And right now?

If you'd read the other blog entries, you could have learned that I am in a pops choir. I am teaching myself the basics of electronic music and composition- not out of some Luddite fetishism like your idol Fowler, but because I want to. I play in a duo at open mics. I've been doing studio bass work for a local singer/songwriter- a guy old enough to be my dad who sings '60s soul and doo-wop. And not the retro hipster kind, either.

And that's just the music...

Do you really want to get me started on how I'm a novelist, actor, visual artist, poetry reader for a respected local journal... the list goes on and on. I do these things because I enjoy them, and because I like to share the products of my art with other creative people. Not just to show how cool I am or how tight a flannel shirt I can squeeze my abused body into.

Everything in my critique of Wooden Indian Burial Ground was relevant, and overall I liked them as I seem to have to remind you. Your slavish devotion to their singer, despite his shallow attempts to be hip, doesn't make them a better band.

So that's who I am. Step to a Buddhist and that's what you get. We named it Dharma Beatdown for a reason.

September 22, 2008 at 6:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

welcome to the northwest. it gets chilly so people put on a flannel. you attacking some guy for his body type/ appearance is pathetic.

and, judging by yr comment to ms hatkin, it seems like you need to ditch the ego bullshit, quit explaining how yr projects are more legit than 'hipster' trends and ahead of some imaginary cultural curve and go back to buddha for some enlightenment.

April 10, 2009 at 8:05 PM  
Blogger Jess Gulbranson said...

I am guessing by your archaic spelling of 'Yr', your inability to comprehend blog comments or followup posts, and your general level of ignorance, that you are some sort of 17th century yeoman mystically transported to our time and struggling with the technology of the analytical engine. So, I will give you the benefit of the doubt.

Actually, nevermind. You guys are petty and ridiculous, and since you couldn't leave well enough alone, my blog is going to fucking obliterate you:

April 14, 2009 at 9:16 AM  

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