Posts Tagged ‘Or The Whale’

[Video] Or, the Whale at McMenamins

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

I didn’t get to see as much of the San Francisco roots-rock band Or, the Whale as I wanted to last night at McMenamins, but I saw enough to know those folks know their way around a swooning country song. The mini-set I saw was a bit twangier than I expected, but really beautiful. (And now, I’m sitting here listening to the band’s self-titled sophomore album and wondering what I was expecting. This is some mighty fine twang.)

The key components to Or, the Whale’s sound are the lovely harmonies of Alex Robins and Lindsay Garfield, plus the prominent, mournful pedal-steel guitar playing of Tim Marcus. All are on display in the videos below, in which the band plays a couple tunes from its debut album “Light Poles and Pines,” plus their glorious cover of Britney Spears’ hit song “Toxic.” Enjoy.

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This week in GO! Magazine’s music section

Friday, May 27th, 2011

Seattle’s Death Cab for Cutie kicks off the summer concert season at Les Schwab Amphitheater tonight. I spoke with drummer Jason McGerr about the band’s new album, “Codes and Keys,” which comes out Tuesday:

Several factors influenced the sound of “Codes,” McGerr said. The band took longer to make it, and, for the first time, brought in an outsider (Alan Moulder) to mix it rather than having Walla do it.

And, the members of Death Cab went through significant personal change after “Narrow Stairs.” Gibbard and Harmer got married. McGerr is now a father.

“Our approach as players and Ben as a (songwriter), it has to be different,” McGerr said. “We’re just at a different time in our lives. There wasn’t much that was the same other than the individuals making the music.”

I hope you’ll read the whole thing by clicking here. Better yet, pick up a copy of GO! Magazine to check out a nifty graph of Death Cab’s history, record sales and big moments over the years.

On Sunday, Portland’s The Decemberists close out Memorial Day weekend at Les Schwab Amphitheater. Bassist Nate Query was nice enough to give me a call to chat about the success and sound of their new record, “The King is Dead.”

After nearly a decade making catchy, highly literate, history-obsessed music , “The King is Dead” is a return to the band’s rustic, American roots, a shift even more striking in the context of The Decemberists’ previous album “The Hazards of Love,” an epic, 17-track rock opera that mines British folk and prog-rock influences.

Query said “Hazards” is the concept of a narrative song-cycle album “taken … to its extreme,” and when it was time to think about a follow-up, that side of the band was tapped out.

“It felt like we didn’t have any of that left in us and it was time to make a record like ‘The King is Dead,’” he said. “(The folksy) stuff was in us the whole time, it’s just that we didn’t put any of it on the last record, so it was all just sitting there waiting to be (released).”

Click here to read the whole thing. And we’ve got a cool graph of The Decemberists’ sales and milestones, too!

Elsewhere in this week’s music section: A great band called Or, the Whale plays at McMenamins next week, plus an all-day concert and party at Maragas Winery, the Ron Steen Band brings jazz to The Oxford Hotel, The Dead Ringers do their tie-dyed tribute thing at the Tower Theatre and Silver Moon hosts The Staxx Brothers and Empty Space Orchestra on Saturday, and Yamn on Thursday. Plus, there’s a Last Band Standing update.

Have fun this weekend! Stay warm…