A number of the artists on this year’s Pickathon schedule have cruised through our doors for opbmusic studio sessions. This week, as we re-roll our sleeping bags and slather on the sunscreen, we’re listening back and looking forward to August.
Drive-By Truckers Explore Duality And Dirt - 1:20
With their double-barreled live sets and searing lyrical craft, the Drive-By Truckers are an easy add to top-10 lists of best American rock bands playing today. Formed in Athens, Georgia, circa 1996, the DBTs have had a lot of volatile personnel changes — Grammy-winner Jason Isbell was part of the lineup for a few years — but they’ve settled in nicely with partners in grime, Mike Cooley and Patterson Hood, at the helm. Their most recent record, “American Band,” continues Hood and Cooley’s exploration of duality in American identity. The band played the entire record through last October for a special NPR First Listen, hosted by opbmusic.
Tiny Desk, Big Sound - Tank and the Bangas - 14:17
Thousands of acts entered this year’s NPR Tiny Desk Concert, but the winner blew them all away: the New Orleans funk/soul/spoken-word outfit Tank and the Bangas. They visited opbmusic during their nationwide victory lap. Tarriona “Tank” Ball cut her teeth in slam poetry — no surprise when you hear her rich lyrical wordplay and sheer joy in storytelling.
The Last Artful, Dodgr Dips, Dives, and Delivers - 22:50
One of the brightest voices on the Portland hip-hop scene is Alana Chenevert, aka The Last Artful, Dodgr. With producer Neil von Tally, she released a delightfully trip, imaginative debut album on Martell Webster’s Eyrst record label. Dodgr and von Tally joined us for a studio session with tracks from the record, “Bone Music,” flexing both her rhymes and the singing voice that landed her a backup spot with Aminé, and helped launch her as a force to be reckoned with.
Charles Bradley Keeps Going Forward - 33:06
Charles Bradley, a crowd favorite at Portland’s Soul’d Out festival and MusicFest NW, cultivated his booming voice for years as a James Brown impersonator. It wasn’t until he was 62 years old that he found mainstream success, singing his own music. In this NPR feature, he tells how his relationship with his estranged mother informed his 2016 record, “Changes.”
From Bedroom Pop To SXSW - Jay Som’s Journey- 37:42
opbmusic stumbled upon this Bay Area rock band two months ago in Austin, Texas, at the SXSW music festival and were immediately impressed by their live show. The band is a project of 23-year-old Melina Duterte, who released her first music to the internet on whim, never guessing how people would hang on her painstakingly crafted melodies and broad grasp of styles.
Big Thief Steals The Show - 44:35
Adrianne Lenker and band have a warm, intimate folk rock vibe that brings home story after story — some primal, many heartbreaking. At Pickathon they’ll play songs from their second album, “Capacity,” but we caught the band touring for their first record, “Masterpiece.” Lenker and company talked about how they came together, the ethos underlying their romantic melodies, and the things they find, turning over emotional rocks, as well as played three songs.