Okkervil River - “Pulled Up the Ribbon”
When Okkervil River frontman Will Sheff set out to record “Pull Up the Ribbon,” the latest release from their upcoming album “In The Rainbow Rain,” nothing seemed quite right. But half way through the session, he realized “there was something in the melody and phrasing that seemed like it was about destruction and doom but also something else that felt like it was about creation and birth.” From there, the collaboration between the band and their mix engineer, Shawn Everett, brought the tune to fruition. According to Sheff, Everett added the final artistic touches that pushed it over the top, making “everything more aggressive and skeletal … the beauty amped up but also the spooky stuff.” Listen here and watch for the album’s release on April 27 via ATO Eecords.
Lithics - “Excuse Generator”
Although singer Aubrey Horner asks “Can I be myself?” repeatedly throughout “Excuse Generator,” this post-punk band from Portland are unapologetically themselves. Backed by drummer Wiley Hickson, guitarist Mason Crumley, and bassist Bob Desaulniers, the band strikes a chaotic balance, offering up jarring rhythms and brassy guitar that knock listeners out of their comfort zone and demand their attention. It’s harmony through disarray, and we can’t wait to hear the rest. Their new album album, “Mating Surfaces,” drops via Kill Rock Stars on May 26 with a release show at the Spare Room in their hometown on the same day.
Turtlenecked - “Underwear”
Portlander Harrison Smith is back with the first release off of his upcoming EP, “High Scores of the Heart.” On the song “Underwear,” Smith’s one man band, Turtlenecked, strikes a sweet tone, layering dreamy synths over wistful teenage musings about prom night, growing old, and (of course?) underwear. His skillful, self-produced pop maintains an unassuming air, perfect for an evening of melancholic reminiscing over lost loves. The album, from Good Cheer Records, comes out on April 27.