Strange Hotels is the duo of Nick Sadler and Ben Braden, also known for playing in Portland rock band The Lower 48. In Strange Hotels, they harmonize over a breezy, soulful stew of keys, guitar and saxophone with the intimacy of a bedroom pop record. And that’s fitting, since Sadler and Braden reportedly made their latest EP, “Mixtape,” entirely on an iPad.
In a performance last December opening for Billie Eilish at Crystal Ballroom, the duo filled the room with this wildly kinetic and joyful version of “Jacknife.” As they told us, the song relies on creating something new each time.
“Jacknife is basically a dance song with a disco back beat inspired by Daft Punk and William Onyeabor. It was a fun one to learn live because there is so much room for improvisation. If you watch closely near the end, you can see us talking about which sections to switch to and when. We’ve never played it the same way twice.”
You can see Strange Hotels at The Liquor Store in Portland July 6 at 9pm.