The three sisters of Joseph: Allison, Meegan and Natalie Closner

The three sisters of Joseph: Allison, Meegan and Natalie Closner


This is it, folks: We’re in the peak heat of the summer music season. PDX Pop Now! Festival is this weekend. Pickathon plucks through Happy Valley next weekend. Then there’s MusicFestNW, the Britt Festival and Sisters Folk Festival. It’s a never-ending cavalcade of lawn chairs, beer gardens and singers backlit by spectacular sunsets.

Which is why we’re going to spend the hour hearing from some of the bands that are currently ruling our playlists and also happen to be touring through this summer.

  • 1:21 - Last week, we traveled to Joseph to record a show from the annual writers’ festival, Summer Fishtrap. In preparation, we started looking at some of the amazing artists linked to the area, and one in particular stood out. The band Joseph is made up of three sisters: Allison, Meegan, and Natalie Closner. Unlike many musical siblings, they didn’t grow up singing together, but you can’t tell from their pristine harmonies. You can watch videos of Joseph’s performance in the OPB studio, or you can catch them live at Pickathon and then in Portland and Eugene come September.
Calexico at McMenamins Edgefield during an opbmusic session

Calexico at McMenamins Edgefield during an opbmusic session


  • 10:40 - The band Calexico is named after the California border town of the same name. The group’s music is all about crossing borders, mixing Americana, indie rock, Tex-Mex, jazz and Latin rhythms. This month, opbmusic caught up with them before a performance  at McMenamins Edgefield. You can watch the videos here.
  • 17:46 - Edna Vasquez first made her name in the male world of mariachi music, but now her fingers strum through bands and genres as easily as they do chords. There’s a solo project, a four-piece called “No Passengers,” and frequent collaborations (watch her opbmusic session). Vasquez is in the middle of a crowdfunding campaign to finish a new album. She plays Pickathon next weekend, Cottage Grove on Aug. 6, and then on Aug. 12, she’ll perform a special two-set show at the Washington Park Rose Garden Amphitheater called “The Many Colors of Edna Vasquez.” There will be mariachi, No Passenger, Vasquez solo and guest appearances by the likes of Luz Elena Mendoza.
  • 24:28 - Speaking of which, Oregon Art Beat produced this story about Luz Elena Mendoza. She’s best known for her band Y La Bamba, which caught the national ear with its infectious blend of Mexican folk and indie rock, and her newest project, “Tiburones,” was voted one of the city’s best new bands in Willamette Week last year and has an album slated for November. This summer, Mendoza will play a Spanish set at Secret Society on Aug. 7. And rejoice, all ye Y La Bamba lovers: 2 1/2 years after disbanding the group, Mendoza is picking the mantle back up with a new lineup. She is currently crowdfunding to record a new Y La Bamba album, and you can hear some of the music on Aug. 28 at Revolution Hall.
  • 32:35 - Lost Lander broke onto the Portland scene in 2012 with the album “DRRT.” It was one of those dreamy local collaborations — singer-songwriter Matt Sheehy and producer Brent Knopf, the acoustic and the electronic. As Lost Lander toured, it evolved into a four piece. The band stopped by for an opbmusic session after the release of its second album, “Medallion,” in February. They play MusicfestNW on Aug. 21.
  • 37:18 - Historically, The Helio Sequence has disappeared into its studio for months — if not a year — to fine tune its albums, which is why the duo only has five albums under its belt after nearly 18 years playing together. But the band changed the rules of the game for its eponymous sixth album. Forget polishing in secret; the group decided to take on a little challenge called the 20-song game and then let friends vote on the track list. The band told us about letting go during an opbmusic session. The Helio Sequence will play MusicfestNW on Aug. 23.
  • 41:18 - We close the show with a goodbye to someone who breathed joy into Portland’s music scene. Dave Camp was a renaissance artist, Portland style. He played and sang with a slew of bands. He was a central figure in the colorful, art rock project the Nowhere Band, which performed the Beatles’ White Album every Christmas. He had his own band — a psychedelic, disco glam extravaganza, Stereovision — and was in the middle of writing a graphic novel trilogy with the same name. And by day, he composed music for commercials and documentaries like “Andy Warhol’s Factory People” and “The Wanted.”
    Camp had one of those prolific Facebook feeds that reads like the intimate musings of a modern mystic. It was there where he described his months-long struggle with stomach cancer in posts of extreme candor and grace – posts that rallied a community around him and continue to deeply affect friends and strangers both. (You can read a compilation here.)
    His friends and longtime collaborators Sarah King of Love Gigantic (the group plays Aug. 5) and John Averill of MarchFourth Marching Band share what made Camp such an extraordinary artist and human being.    

 The opening music for this show was Ratatat, who play July 29 at the Roseland (sold out). Break music by Kamasi Washington and Ernest Ranglin, who are both at Pickathon.