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Updated: 2016-12-30T08:46:27.807-08:00


PDX Pop Then and Now


PDX Pop Now! Is putting on its tenth free, all-ages, all-local summer music festival in Portland starting today. I wrote about it for the Oregonian. At age 20, I attended the first one. There were so many bands I'd never heard of and people I'd never seen (actually, subsequent festivals were like this too). I was relatively new to the Portland music scene, so while it felt special to be there

Top 10 of 2012


Although the world didn't end and Romney didn't become president, there was plenty of bad news to shock you in 2012 (see shootings, natural disasters). There were a lot of surprises coming through my stereo too, but they were mostly good ones. My top 10 list this year is full of albums that subverted my expectations. Father John Misty - Fear Fun. This album will be a contendor for album of

Killers Interview: Ballad Born


The Killers' new album, Battle Born, sounds like Meat Loaf. At first I hated it. Now I can't stop listening to it. In the course of writing this story about the band for The Oregonian, I got over clunky lines like "Don't want your picture on my cell phone," and found myself absent-mindedly belting them. The record is sort of like variations on a theme. I appreciate the

Blondie: Pretty Great For A Night With No Communists


Last month I got the chance to interview Debbie Harry for The Oregonian. I was a little nervous, so I I thought. I had 12 questions for the 10 minutes allotted and asked them all. Debbie is a pretty straight-forward conversationalist. I was busy covering MusicFest Northwest the night Blondie played in Portland, but fortunately, I was able to catch the very last show of their

Beach Boys: All Of The Things We Like To Do


Al Jardine is my favorite Beach Boy. I always liked his voice the best. Something about his hyper annunciation just always gets stuck in my head. When I wrote this article for The Oregonian about the Beach Boys' 50th reunion tour, I delved pretty deep into the song “Isn't It Time,” which, lucky for me, has a very cool part in it sung by Al Jardine. When the Beach Boys performed at

Mapping Witch Mountain


Witch Mountain has one of those stories that just writes itself. The Portland doom outfit is suddenly taking off after 15 years (minus some hiatus time) as a band. It's an extremely unique career arc and detailed in this story I wrote for The Oregonian. The piece focuses on their recent ascent and glosses over several previous break ups and reunions, but one is worth mentioning here. When

Stars and Satellites


Trampled by Turtles was first pitched to me a couple of years ago as "bluegrass shredders." It was intriguing enough of a concept to get me to a live show, and I was thoroughly impressed with the energy of the rowdy crowd, although the music wasn't really something I wanted to listen to at home. The Minnesota band's slower new album though, "Stars and Satellites," has been on constant

Another Brick in The Wall


Getting the chance to write about Roger Daltrey last fall and falling in love with Tommy, whet my appetite for classic rock Rogers. I was thrilled to get to write both a preview and review of Roger Waters' performance of The Wall at the Rose Garden for The Oregonian. The preview presented a challenge. Unlike most people in my generation, my parents did not listen to classic rock. So I never

That Metal Weekend


Last weekend, Eddie Trunk, Don Jamieson and Jim Florentine, the hosts of the longest-running and highest-rated show on VH1 Classic, "That Metal Show," came to Seattle and Portland and did their first ever live performances together. I was entrusted with handling the media coverage and the media was very kind to us. Eddie and Jim appeared on KISW 99.9 Seattle twice. Once on their metal show, "



The NBA All-Star game is this weekend, but it's been kind of an All-Star month for the celebrity English lessons I produce for English, baby!So far this season, I've enlisted the help of Dwight Howard, Steve Nash and Grant Hill in teaching a bit of basketball slang to students around the world. This, along with the pandemic of "Linsanity" that is sweeping the globe and has people everywhere

In Vino, Magus


When I first discovered wine, I was 19 and studying in Spain. While other kids liked to drink hard alcohol at the massive parties in the town square, I liked to drink wine straight out of the bottle. I would soak the label off so I just had the green glass with a cork sticking out. It felt like I was drinking a piece of history instead of just getting wasted, which was appropriate considering the

They Grow Up So Fast


Seems like only yesterday the Diskords were the talk of Portland punks who wondered how they could be both so good and so young. Now they're having their very own reunion show. At a bar. And not just any bar, it's the drunkest event of the year, the Slabtown Bender. Find the bit about the Diskords at the end of this preview I wrote for The Oregonian.

Top 10 of 2011


I, like most critics, have a top 10 list for the end of the year. See my choices below or take a look at my ballot on the Village Voice's poll. 1. Bright Eyes - The People's Key. For the first time ever, a fairly mainstream band tops my list. This was definitely my most-listened-to album of the year and I had the pleasure of reviewing it and a live performance of it. 2. Workout - Workout. I

Keeper of the High Rocks


Last summer, I spent a lot of time at a place called High Rocks. It's a park just outside of Portland, about 15 minutes from my house, where you can jump off a cliff into a river. It didn't take long before I got to know Tiger. He's sort of a volunteer caretaker of the park, cleaning up trash and making small changes to the landscape to make the diving safer. I wrote a story about him for The

The Bladesmith of Hillsboro


Last month I took the hour drive to the beautiful small town of Vernonia, Oregon, to interview one of America's best bladesmiths, Murray Carter, for a profile in The Oregonian.Murray is moving his Carter Cutlery operation to Hillsboro, just outside of Portland, and he's one of those treasures that when you learn about him, you just can't believe you didn't know he was in your community. Murray is

Pagan Holiday Gifts


I contributed to the Holiday Gift Guide in Friday's Oregonian. It occurs to me that some of the gifts I recommended aren't terribly festive. But everyone needs something for the bah-humbugger in their life.First of all, I'm pretty stoked I got the phrase "Satanic map of Oregon" in the gift guide. Though the analysis of Witch Mountain's new album that "Amy Winehouse didn't die; Uta Plotkin ate her

Ever Since He Was Young Boy, He Played The Silver Ball


From now on, when ever I hear "Pinball Wizard," I'll picture the "silver ball" being the ball at the end of the microphone. I recently previewed Roger Daltrey's performance of Tommy for The Oregonian, and focused on the return of his epic mic swinging, which took a break of a few years because of vision problems. The swinging was really over the top at the Rose Garden on Monday night, prompting a

Rose City Rose


For most bands with a vintage style, hindsight is 20/20. Not the Tomorrow People. This exciting new trio from Portland made a debut record that is a veritable time machine to the 1970s, quixotically imitating the Beach Boys and T. Rex baggage with the glory. And it is awesome.I wrote a preview of their CD release show last week for The Oregonian, and here is the extended ending that didn't make

Fall Is For Metal


It's fall, and for the fourth year in a row, that means it's time for Fall Into Darkness, Portland's underground metal festival. I took the opportunity to do a bit of a Portland metal scene report in The Oregonian this week, and music scribe Bob Ham invited festival organizer Nathan Carson, metal booker Carly Henry and yours truly to be guests on the latest edition (episode 6) of his podcast, For



Did you know there's a Golf Channel? I've recently been watching it. My dad used to watch golf when I was growing up (he still does, I'm just not usually around to see it). I never took much of an interest. But when I discovered how many international players there are on the LPGA tour, I went out to the Safeway Classic in the Portland area to do interviews for English, baby! and had a great time

MFNW 2011 Reviews: Archers of Loaf, Butthole Surfers, Kylesa, Off!, Dirty Mittens, Youth, Wild Ones


This weekend Musicfest Northwest took over Portland and my life and it was a beautiful thing. I reviewed seven bands for The Oregonian in three posts:Dirty MittensArchers of Loaf, Butthole Surfers, KylesaWild Ones, Youth, Off!Best discovery of the festival? Wild Ones. I had heard some good things about this local indie rock band and they blew me away. Their singer has a fantastic voice and the

Steve Berlin Q&A


Did you know a member of Los Lobos lives in Portland? I didn't until Chelsea Morrisey of Dirty Mittens mentioned it. Conveniently, Los Lobos was planning to play at the Oregon Zoo just a few weeks after that conversation--perfect timing to do an interview with saxophonist and keyboardist Steve Berlin for The Oregonian.Steve was extremely friendly and happy to do an interview even though he was in

The Black Scorpion


Acrassicauda--the only metal band from Iraq--reminds us why rock is important. I was honored to get to do an extended phone interview with vocalist Faisal Mustafa for this story in The Oregonian.A lot of good material didn't make it into the story, so I posted it below. In preparing for this interview, I listened to Acrassicauda's 2010 EP Only The Dead See The End Of War many times and was really

Heart of Town


Dirty Mittens really is kind of the heart of Portland. They sprang up with more gusto than skills (although I even liked them in their house party days) and after five years, many new members and lots of great shows, they finally released their first album, Heart of Town, last week. I covered it for The Oregonian.Though it's their first official album, even their demo made my top 10 albums of

True Blood Interview


When it starts stayng warm out after dark, I know it's almost time for True Blood. My favorite thing about the show is how much you can sense the heat. Everyone is sweaty and scantily clad. It's a great contrast with the all pale vampire action. Last season, a new character named Crystal Norris was introduced. She is a werepanther and the latest love interest of Jason Stackhouse. Crystal is