PDX Pop Now. They’ve sponsored an annual compilation and festival in representation of Portland’s music scene every year since 1998, and it just gets better every time. To be real, we can’t claim to love all these tracks. I mean, we’re into the scene here, but Jesus Christ–some of this shit makes our blood boil. We pretty much rip on everyone. That said, the last twelve months have been the best in recent memory and after hearing all these tracks there’s no doubt that Portland music is fucking over every other scene in America and we’re about to cash in on our best year ever.
So what does PDX Pop 2012 actually sound like? This year, ITW staff writers teamed up with their parents for a track-by-track review of each of the 41 (whoa) songs on this year’s double-disc compilation, available now for for a scant $10 with admission to tonight’s release show at Holocene.
1. M. Ward - “Watch The Show
ITW: Midlife dudes rocking themselves and crying to this shit.
Mom: “I think there’s something wrong with this - his voice is coming through twice? Did I hit play twice? Am I playing it twice at the same time? He sounds like a nice young man, I think your father would like this.”
RIYL: Golf, The Voice
2. Wild Ones - “It’s Real”
ITW: Not everyone’s cup of twee..
Mom: “Now this I can bop my head to. Come on ladies, let’s get in the Sebring!”
RIYL: Electric cars, popsicles
3. Archers - “Super Blues”
Mom: This sounds a lot like the racket the teenage boys next door do in the garage on Sundays. The same boys that teepeed our house Halloween 2010.
RIYL: Richard Hell, The Clash
4. Sex Life - “Soul Damage”
ITW: I might want to take some ecstacy and groove on this song on repeat about eight times. No, actually this makes me want to lay in my bed on Xanax and bed dance til I fall asleep.
Mom: “Dancing in the living room or road trip music… My bobbing head is happy.”
5. The Ocean Floor - “The Last Four Years”
ITW: Put the horns down and come out with your hands up #pdxcopnow
Mom’s friend: “Falsetto really?”
RIYL: Banging yourself
6. Youthbitch - “Cool California”
ITW: Woah, greaser fetish. East End boys playing Edward Fortyhands burning their hair off with Roman candles huffing paint and ditching their girlfriends for boy mischief.
Mom: “Snot-head singing garage band.”
RIYL: Pomade, Mick Jones
7. Cloudy October - “Live @ Pioneer Square”
ITW: This doesn’t do justice to his super sample-heavy trax. Ugh licensing. This guy is amazing why isn’t he getting his shit out of Portland?
Bandcamp: “LL Cool J doing audio commentary of an arm wrestling match between Frederick Kreuger and Edward Scissorhands on BET.”
8. Brooke Parrott - “Call It Done”
ITW: Welcome to Applebee’s.
Mom: “Even without the twang, it’s comfy.”
RIYL: 2 for $20
9. Trio Subtonic - “Garage & Grace”
ITW: Macy’s vibes.
Mom: “Love the jazzy song.”
RIYL: Sbarro, Pinterest
10. Jeffrey Jerusalem - “Hug Me”
ITW: Can’t type, busy Risky Business-ing it to this song in my living room right now. Samples are sooo nut. This dude plays in Yacht but maybe he should quit and focus on this shit. One of the best tracks on the comp.
Mom: “Electronics I actually like.”
RIYL: Teen Wolf Michael J. Fox, Scritti Politti, Hentai
11. Big Black Cloud - “Wastoids”
ITW: BRUISER. I think they’re saying the whole town is so reckless so bored? Okay these guys get it. Maybe everyone can stop smoking hella weed and start working harder.
Crusty: “It REALLLLY burns me when Red & Black runs out of non-dairy creamer.”
Dad: “Proof that the music has died.”
12. Pardee Shorts - “Happy Ghosts”
ITW: Me and my ADHD can relate to this. Skipping back to Jeffrey Jerusalem.
Mom: “Lounge music meeting the 21st century.”
13. Y La Bamba - “Bendito”
This girl is going to murder me. After laying me.
RIYL: Orgasms, tragedy
14. Charts - “We Got It Good”
ITW: FUCK this tape is sooo melted and it rules. I wanna smoke so many fucking cigarettes and make Charts my summer boyfriend. Effortlessly cool.
Mom: “Terrible sound quality on this recording.”
RIYL: Velvet Underground, Modern Lovers, smoking indoors, sunglasses
15. Palmas - “While We While”
Dad: “I am so glad I’m not 20 and starting a band. I think most of these groups suffer from trying too hard; they should listen to Nick Drake, Bob Seeger, and all those others who had something to say and just put it out there in their own way.”
16. Dusu Mali Band - “Munde Ba Be Mali La”
ITW: My mom is freaking out right now.
Mom: “Let’s dance crazy!”
RIYL: Saharan guitar, Dugout pipes
17. The Cry! - “Modern Cinderella”
ITW: All evidence indicates these guys are posers and not real mod cult life. Still nice to see more PDX bands doing this shit. The doowop though.. and the fucking lyrics..
Dad: “I prefer Blondie.”
RIYL: Exploding Hearts, Reverb Nation
18. Like A Villain - “Glass Watch”
ITW: More like “Philip Glass Watch.” Which is fucking great don’t be an asshole.
RIYL: Lord of the Rings, modern dance
19. Onuinu - “Happy Home”
ITW: Discoed chill hop
Dad: “Somebody got a synthesizer for Christmas.”
RIYL: High heels after 4 drinks, Klonopin
20. White Orange - “Middle Of The Riddle”
ITW: NO. SKIP.
Dad: “The most boring yet.”
21. Future Historians - “Golden Age”
ITW: Off of Rhett Miller’s 2002 smash-hit The Instigator.
Dad: “Listenable, but familiar like a VW commercial.”
RIYL: Old 97’s, Pete Yorn, am I really typing this right now? Impotence, Vacation Bible School, $3.46 on a Starbucks gift card
1. Pancake Breakfast - “PortlandtownUSA”
ITW: Community theater ensemble cast Oregon Trail musical.
Mom: “Ironic music for Portland Who would have thought a Mexican beat/country song could describe my native town and still be endearing? Makes me laugh and tap my toes. A novelty.”
RIYL: Bearded lady, fetish porn
2. AU - “Get Alive”
Mom: “They should play Leno!”
RIYL: Nice boys, smart boys, Arcade Fire
3. Rose - “Ride For My City”
ITW: MC Rose is a stupid name, go back to Chloe. I don’t give a fuck if you’re 15 years old.
RIYL: Lloyd Center
4. Federer - I Wanna Do (What You Wanna Do)
ITW: I did a market research study when I was 10 and in return I got a Barbie cassette tape that sounded exactly like this. Add girl voice, minus sexaphone. This is on repeat thought it’s dope.
- RIYL: 80’s R&B, Barbie
5. Sons of Huns - “The Wanderer”
ITW: “I GOT SOMETHIN TO SAAAAAYYYY I KILLED A BABY TODAY AND IT DOESN’T MATTER MUCH TO ME.”
RIYL: Tongueing your guitar neck, body fluid, 1968 Detroit except it’s metal
6. Boyscout Discovery - “Secret Language”
ITW: Whoa, Boy Scout? Discovery? Secret language? I think you know here I’m going with this. Jesus, I liked this better when it was called The Books.
RIYL: Fruityloops, NPR, dorm rooms
7. Sun Angle - “Timesnakes”
ITW: Everyone’s on mushrooms jumping up and down to this song and that one dude is slam-dancing and throwing punches ruining it for everyone. Which is fucking rad.
Mom’s friend: “What is the drummer thinking, smoking, doing?”
RIYL: Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors
8. Grandparents - “Arrows”
ITW: Nurses meets Spaghetti Westerns.
RIYL: Sour Patch Kids, LSD, Morricone, paisley
9. My Body - “Gentle Friend”
ITW: WB TV pilot - It’s raining and a really hot girl (like really hot) broke up with her boyfriend, now she’s wandering through the city and the camera spins around in a circle then she looks up at the sky and drops to her knees and starts crying. End scene.
Mom: “Way too gentle. Falling asleep gentle. Oh, duh. It’s for helping people get to sleep.”
RIYL: Carly Rae Jepsen, Moesha, Enya
10. Neal Morgan - “Father’s Day”
ITW: You think this is cool? Wait til you see his forthcoming Feels Like Home episode.
Mom: “What’s with the African beat and then the monotone voice guy. OMG. They sing ‘Ooh-ooh’ over a hundred times.”
Mom’s friend: “Not music.”
RIYL: Ayahuasca, Powell’s
11. Hollywood Tans - “Wish I Could Love”
ITW: UU|||||||||||||3 Narc-rock
Mom: “Probably not innovative, but a kick. Want to hear more of Hollywood Tans. Hope their other songs are this lively.”
RIYL: Fountains of Wayne, Guy Fieri
12. Radiation City - “Winter Blind”
ITW: Going back to your hometown in the middle of winter in a snowstorm and getting drunk at the local bar and embracing your childhood BFF, swaying back and forth arm in arm singing along to this song–then you get a call that a horrible car accident happened and you run through the streets cause there’s too much snow to drive.
Mom: “Intriguing. Draws me in. Refreshing, soothing, edgy. I want more. They’ve got it.”
13. Lynnae Gryffin - “Abigail III”
ITW: Waking up in a teepee, but you can hear the people next to you discreetly fucking.
RIYL: Sibylle Baier, NE Alberta Last Thursday
14. Luck One & Dekk - “Introduction”
ITW: This keyboard jam 1:38 I’m 16 again riding in my brother’s ‘88 Benz selling weed to kids from Grant HS.
Mom: “Sounds like so much other rap.”
15. Mark McGuire - “When You’re Somewhere (You Ought To Be There)”
ITW: It’s 3:30am about to go listen to this on repeat til I’m dreaming–you gotta see this shit live with visuals it’ll get you high.
RIYL: Old Jade Tree and Polyvinyl guitar records, girls grabbing your nuts out of nowhere
16. Pure Bathing Culture - “Ivory Coast”
ITW: Portland’s next big band?
Mom: “Blah blah blah, let’s go to the ‘60’s.”
RIYL: Erotic massage
17. Smegma - ”It’s Just The Beginning”
ITW: UHHHHHHHHHH coke den. Oversaxed. Smegma’s still cool tho.
Mom: “Large women are doing a slow striptease in a dark bar.”
18. Blood Beach - ”Dead Maester’s Tongue”
ITW: “…10-4, we’ve got a theremin situation over here”
RIYL: Bath salts
19. Tu Fawning - ”Anchor”
ITW: Gluten allergy epidemic is disproportionately affecting so many white liberals in the PNW, I wonder why?
Mom: “Haunting, celtic-like. A song that might be enhanced with drugs? Not that I would know.”
RIYL: Seated venues, chilled wine, websites with Flash intros
20. Glass Candy - ”Warm In The Winter”
ITW: One time at a Glass Candy show they brought a bunch of exercise balls and were throwing them at the audience and one knocked my camera into my lip so I started bleeding profusely all over myself but it was way too good for me to leave even tho it hurt so bad.
Mom: “Visions of Japanese school girls and pandas for some reason.”