Tag Archive: “Tender Loving Empire”

Dave Depper has made quite the musical career being a vital part of several Northwest bands.  Acts like Menomena, Fruit Bats, Mirah, Corin Tucker, and Laura Gibson have all called upon Depper to be part of their projects.  Today, Depper has solidified his role within the ranks of Death Cab for Cutie; after being a touring member for a year, Depper is onboard full-time. 

Now comes the next step of Depper’s musical progression-the long awaited release of Emotional Freedom Technique.  Written and recorded at his home in Portland during those short-term periods not being on the road, Depper went into shaping his debut.  Everything Depper did with Emotional Freedom Technique was done by himself on purpose, from the writing to the instrumentals.  Heavy on the synth pop and simple hooks, Emotional Freedom Technique brings to life the deeply rooted songs that were personal to Depper. 

Ghettoblaster recently caught up Depper to discuss the production of Emotional Freedom Technique, how a night with friends led to him to go about writing for the album, and more.  Here is what he said.

When purchasing a Farfisa organ from Chad Crouch (Hush Records/Blanket Music), he mentioned to you about playing bass.  Having never played before, you agreed to do so.  Now that some time has passed, have you ever confessed to Crouch about your fib?

Oh yes, I confessed pretty soon afterwards! It turned out that I kinda had a natural knack for bass playing, so it all worked out for everybody in the end.

You have played music with a long line of various musicians that all encompass different vibes.  Having the opportunity to be around such a wide range of sound, what you say was the similarity that pulls it together?

I’m naturally drawn to musicians who are committed to doing things their own way, who nurture a unique aesthetic and don’t follow the prevailing trends.

Before becoming a full-time member of Death Cab for Cutie, you were about the join Ray LaMontagne’s touring band.  What lead you to choose to go the other way?

I did join Ray’s touring band, and played with him for nearly a year!

Your lyrics for the album paint the picture of the struggle of being a traveling musician, relationship wise.  Do you feel as if recording Emotional Freedom Technique was therapeutic?  To help get some of those feelings out in the open?

Yes, absolutely. It’s probably the most therapeutic thing I’ve ever done, and that includes going to therapy! That’s a big part of why I gave the album the title it ended up with – it was an incredibly emotionally freeing experience.

You are stepping out as the lead singer/musician.  Especially after all these years being in the supportive role of the band, how does it feel?

It’s been alternately frightening, exciting, panic-inducing, and triumphant. I’m not naturally very comfortable being in the spotlight, and I’ve had to work really hard to find the confidence in myself to really do it the right way. I’ve never put lyrics out in the world to be scrutinized, and though I’ve played thousands of concerts in my life I have rarely been the focal point of anybody’s attention. That said, I am enjoying myself and its fun to have this little side solo career that I can nurture when time allows.

Was there any point when you thought about scrapping Emotional Freedom Technique because of your vigorous touring schedule?

Oh, for sure. There were several times where I’d be on a roll with recording, only to leave for a couple of months and then return to find that I absolutely hated everything that I’d recorded before I left. And after a few years of this I began to wonder if the recordings were simply too old and that I needed to start on a fresh project. I’m glad I stuck with it. I also like that these songs kind of neatly sum up a multi-year period in my life.

If you and your friends never came up with the idea to write twenty songs in twelve hours, do you think you would have ever recorded an album like Emotional Freedom Technique?

I’m not really sure! I do think that I would have eventually become interested in the recording of electronic pop music, but that game was a definite catalyst that resulted in a jumping-off point for the entire album, musically speaking.

You have been fortunate to take part in a lot of amazing things in your music career.  What is that you want to do next?

I’m very excited to be recording a new album with Death Cab later this year. And I’ve also begun working on my own next solo record. Emotional Freedom Technique is nominally a synthpop album, but I’m interested in taking some of the sounds I explored with it and just taking them as far as I can go on the next record- hopefully making something a bit darker and more avant-garde. There’s a lot of small song ideas that I’ve worked on thus far, and I can’t wait to grow them into whatever they’re meant to be.

Emotional Freedom Technique is out now via Tender Loving Empire

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Loch Lomond
Loch Lomond

Now a full decade into its existence, Loch Lomond is a band that has shaped the musical direction of the Portland, Oregon, music scene while also constantly challenging and redefining its own sound. Anchored by the versatile vocals of singer/multi-instrumentalist Ritchie Young—who can switch from high-pitched and fragile to thundering in the turn of a single phrase—the group builds dynamic soundscapes with swells and heartbreaking minimalist breakdowns.

Though Loch Lomond has undergone a handful of lineup changes, the band remains an institution in Portland and an influence far beyond, especially after years of touring in the U.S. and Europe. Loch Lomond’s 2011 masterpiece for Tender Loving Empire, Little Me Will Start a Storm, featured mixing and production work from five of the Northwest’s most sought-after studio wizards: Adam Selzer (M. Ward), Tucker Martine (The Decemberists), Kevin Robinson (Viva Voce), Tony Lash (Elliott Smith), and Jeff Stuart Saltzman (Dolorean).

Loch Lomond’s latest album, Dresses, was released by UK label Chemikal Underground in 2013. Loch Lomond is set to release its sixth studio album, Pens from Spain, in early 2016.

Today the band celebrates their forthcoming tour dates by sharing “A String” via Ghettoblaster. The song is part of Tender Loving Empire’s annual Friends and Friends of Friends compilation.  It is a double disc set of mostly north western bands.

Catch the band live here:

Sept 18th Visalia, CA @ The Cellar Door Sept 19th Santa Cruz, CA @ The Crepe Place Sept 20th Reno, NV @ Loving Cup Sept 22nd Santa Barbara, CA @ Seven (KCSB Presents) Sept 23rd Los Angeles, CA @ The Satellite  w/ Mimicking Birds Sept 24th San Francisco, CA @ Swedish American Hall  w/ Mimicking Birds Oct 9th Spokane, WA @ Bartfest Oct 10th Hood River, OR @ Cebu Lounge

The Domestics recently released their debut LP via Tender Loving Empire and were named an “Artist to Watch” by Spin.  Now the band is setting out on the road supporting fellow-Portlanders, Blitzen Trapper.  “I was introduced to the Domestics through mutual friends And And And and loved how unpretentious their songwriting was” says Blitzen Trapper’s Michael Van Pelt, adding “I was also super stoked to see Tender Loving Empire putting out their debut and I’m looking forward to being on the road with some solid Oregonian fellows.”

Watch/Post “It Came To Me” Video

Watch/Post “Tower Blocks” Video

What separates The Domestics from the escapism of so many other indie pop acts is the fearlessness with which Michael Finn and Leo London confront their own pain. London’s birth parents both battled with drug addiction in his early childhood before he was adopted by his grandparents at the age of two. Finn’s trials came later on, struggling with health issues, depression and dependency in his early adult years. Writing in the aftermath of infidelity, mental illness, substance abuse and child abuse, Finn and London have wrought songs as moving as they are catchy and as honest as they are loud. What The Domestics provide that so many other bands do not is something which all listeners can relate to: vulnerability.

Less than a year after assembling a live band, The Domestics have triumphantly emerged as one of Portland’s most promising new acts. Their energetic live shows, as well as the strength of their debut record have garnered them a dedicated fan base and maelstrom of critical attention from the likes of Spin, Paste, PopMatters, Hear Ya, the Nerdist, Willamette Week (who declared them one of Portland’s “Best New Bands”), Portland Mercury and more.

Catch the band on tour:

Sep 16 Portland, OR – Doug Fir^

Sep 30 Bozeman, MT – Faultline North*

Oct 01 Billings, MT – Carlin Events Center*

Oct 03 Fargo, ND – The Aquarium*

Oct 04 Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue*

Oct 06 Milwaukee, WI – Turner Hall*

Oct 07 Chicago, IL – Lincoln Hall*

Oct 08 Ferndale, MI – The Loving Touch*

Oct 09 Toronto, ON – Horseshoe Tavern*

Oct 10 Buffalo, NY – Town Ballroom with*

Oct 11 New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom*

Oct 13 Cambridge, MA – The Sinclair*

Oct 14 Philadelphia, PA – Johnny Brenda’s*

Oct 15 Washington, DC – Black Cat*

Oct 16 Carrboro, NC – Cat’s Cradle*

Oct 17 Atlanta, GA – The Loft*

Oct 19 Birmingham, AL – Saturn*

Oct 21 Austin, TX – The Parish*

Oct 22 Dallas, TX – Club Dada*

Oct 23 Norman, OK – The Opolis*

Oct 24 Lawrence, KS – Bottleneck*

Oct 26 Denver, CO – The Bluebird Theater*

Oct 27 Salt Lake City, UT – The State Room*

^ w/ Tokyo Police Club

* w/ Blitzen Trapper

Radiation City will release their sophomore studio album Animals In The Median, May 21, via Tender Loving Empire. Effortlessly bending genres, the quintet will take audiences on a journey through time as they kick off a national spring U.S. tour this month.
  
The band has also revealed a new live “Foreign Bodies” video shot by Into the Woods under the awe-inspiring span of the Astoria–Megler Bridge. Premiered with Portland Monthly, it’s the third in a series of videos celebrating Portland-based Fort George Brewery’s Tender Loving Empire Northwest Pale Ale.
 
“So Long” stream & “Foreign Bodies” video!

Here are the bands forthcoming tour dates:
 
5/11: Wenatchee, WA @ Performing Arts Center Of Wenatchee
5/21: Portland, OR @ Music Millennium
5/24: Davis, CA @ Sophia’s Thai Kitchen
5/25: North Leggett, CA @ Hickey Fest
5/28: San Francisco, CA @ Rickshaw Stop*
5/29: Los Angeles, CA @ The Satellite
5/30: San Diego, CA @ Soda Bar*
6/01: Tempe, AZ @ Sail Inn
6/03: Dallas, TX @ Bryan Street Tavern
6/04: Austin, TX @ The Mohawk
6/05: New Orleans, LA @ The Circle Bar
6/06: Atlanta, GA @ The Earl
6/07: Athens, GA @ The Georgia Theater [Rooftop]
6/08: Durham, NC @ The Pinhook
6/10: Washington, DC @ Black Cat
6/11: Philadelphia, PA @ Kungfu Necktie
6/12: New York, NY @ The Mercury Lounge
6/13: Brooklyn, NY @ The Paper Box
6/15: Chicago, IL @ Taste Of Randolph Street
6/16: Cincinnati, OH @ Motr Pub
6/17: Nashville, TN @ Cause a Scene House Show
6/18: Indianapolis, IN @ Do 317 Lounge
6/19: Milwaukee, WI @ Mad Planet
6/20: Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue
6/23: Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge
6/25: Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court
6/26: Boise, ID @ Neurolux
6/28: Portland, OR @ Wonder Ballroom *RELEASE SHOW!* !
7/23: Hood River, OR @ The Ruins at Springhouse Cellar
7/27: Seattle, WA @ Capitol Hill Block Party

* w/ Cuckoo Chaos to support
! Social Studies and XDS to support

BRAINSTORM’s new album Heat Waves is out this week on Tender Loving Empire. Produced by the legendary Robby Moncrieff (engineer of the Dirty Projectors’ Bitte Orca, Youth Lagoon’s 7″, and Ganglians’ Still Living), Heat Waves shines with inescapable pop melodies, polyrhythmic singing, thunderous drumming, and shimmering guitar lines. Catch the band at one of these forthcoming shows: 

10.03 Chattanooga, TN @ JJ’s Bohemia

10.05 Raleigh, NC @ King’s Barricade #

10.06 Greenville, NC @ Tipsy Teapot #

10.07 Charlotte, NC @ Snug Harbor ^

10.08 Roanoke, VA @ The Shelf House #

10.09 Charlottesville, VA @ Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar #

10.10 Washington, DC @ Black Cat #

10.11 Philadelphia, PA @ Goldilock’s Gallery #

10.12 Baltimore, MD @ Golden West Cafe #

10.13 Brooklyn, NY @ Shea Stadium #

10.14 Red Hook, NY @ Bard College

10.16 New York, NY @ CMJ

10.17 New York, NY @ CMJ

10.18 New York, NY @ Muchmores (CMJ Show)

10.19 New York, NY @ CMJ

10.20 Harrisburg, PA @ Little Amps

10.21 Bloomington, IN @ The Bishop w/ Sleeping Bag

10.22 Fayetteville, AR @ Nightbird Books

10.23 Denton, TX @ Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios

10.24 Austin, TX @ The Mohawk w/ Dignan Porch

10.25 Marfa, TX @ El Cosmico

10.26 Santa Fe, NM @ Betterday Coffee

10.27 Tucson, AZ @ Club Congress

10.28 San Diego CA @ Bar Eleven

10.29 Los Angeles, CA @ the Satellite

10.30 Santa Barbara, CA @ Muddy Waters

10.31 Fresno, CA @ Fulton 55

11.01 San Francisco, CA @ The Knockout

11.03 Sacramento, CA @ Bows and Arrows w/ Appetite

12.01 Portland, OR @ Doug Fir

# = with Dinosaur Feathers and Shark?

^ = with Dinosaur Feathers

House Arrest

BRAINSTORM is an experimental-pop group from Portland, Oregon, whose sound pulls heavily on cumbia rhythms, western African guitar, and nostalgic soul.  The band weaves their influences into a coherent fabric of art-pop, executed masterfully and endlessly compelling.  BRAINSTORM is set to release Heat Waves on October 2 via Tender Loving Empire. The record was produced by Robby Moncrieff (engineer of the Dirty Projectors’ Bitte Orca, Youth Lagoon’s 7?, and Ganglians’ Still Living), and  shines with inescapable pop melodies, polyrhythmic singing, thunderous drumming, and shimmering guitar lines.

Ghettoblaster recently caught up with BRAINSTORM’s Patrick Phillips to discuss another heavily playful, avant garde record that sparkles in its intensely experimental approach, Ariel Pink’s House Arrest.  Here is what he told us about it…

What is your favorite album?

It’s so hard to pick just one favorite record, but I’ll do my best. I have a favorite record for nearly every occasion. There’s a favorite record for rainy Portland mornings paired with coffee, bagel, and lox (Beneath Waves by Karl Blau); there’s a record for the moment you lose cellphone service while driving out to soak in hot springs (The Getty Address by The Dirty Projectors); and there’s the one for spacing out (Replica by Oneohtrix Point Never), one for freaking out (The Devil Isn’t Red by Hella), and one for making out (Pleasureby Pure X). Even those are hard ones to select. But of course there are serious stand-outs: the “classic,” or “life-soundtrack” records that hold together a specific moment in time shared with specific people. The first record that comes to mind is House Arrest by Ariel Pink.

 

Do you remember when you received or purchased the album?

I was first introduced to House Arrest on a road trip from Portland to Baja Mexico I took with a group of college friends right after our freshman year. It was a lot of long drives in a car full of highly opinionated, 19-year old music snobs who felt like they had a special knowledge of the world after a year of higher education. As we crossed the Oregon-California border, my friend Natalie (who also turned me onto The Glow Pt 2 by The Microphones, which changed my life in high school) put on House Arrest. I’d never heard Ariel Pink or such intentionally lo-fi pop music before, and once my ears adjusted to the tape hiss and sputter of Pink’s mouth-made drum tracks, I was immediately struck by the great songwriting mixed with heavy avant-garde playfulness and referential, post-modern shenanigans. Of those present in the car, I can’t remember who supported or hated the House Arrest in that moment, but by the end of the road trip it was a communal favorite. I still haven’t purchased a physical copy of the album, been searching for it on vinyl for a while. Let me know if you see one!

 

What is your favorite song on the album?

“Alisa” is a stand out song for me, but there are so many that I love on this record. It’s hit after hit after hit. The string of songs from “Helen” through “Almost Waiting” sort of blows my mind.

 

What is it about the song that resonates with you?

I love how unabashedly pop this song is, everything from the girl-name title to the angsty heartbroken lyrics. This is Ariel Pink at his best: tongue-in-cheek and totally sincere. The song also sounds like some weird, obscure artifact of pop from sometime in the 70s-80s. Like maybe discovering your reclusive uncle had a penchant for bedroom recordings when he was living at home with your grandparents in his late-20s.

 

Have you ever covered a song from the album?

BRAINSTORM hasn’t ever covered a song from this record. In fact we’ve very rarely done covers besides the songs by Nigerien artist Mdou Moctar, one of which we just released as a split 7″. But don’t get me wrong, I’ve definitely played along to all of House Arrest on an acoustic guitar in my bedroom a few times. Maybe that counts as a cover. 

 

What is it about the album that makes it stand out against the band’s other output?

I’m pretty stoked about where Ariel Pink is at right now with his music. Before Today is excellent, and I like that there’s a glossier production quality to his new records. However, I still long for the hazed-out, 4-track tape aesthetic of the Haunted Graffiti series of which I think House Arrest sounds the best. Also the songs are just more consistently good than say The Doldrums or Worn Copy. Being a very prolific artist, Ariel Pink definitely makes a lot of throw-away crap, but there’s none of that on Haunted Graffiti. Only gems.

 

Have you ever given a copy of this record to anyone?  What were the circumstances?

I’ve never given away a physical copy of this to anyone. But it’s definitely made its way through my friends in the fluid ways of the digital age. Mixtapes, CD-Rs, hard-drives etc. Like I said, I haven’t seen the 2006 Paw Tracks re-release in stores for a while and the vinyl was mostly sold out by the time I became hip to it. At least one track from House Arrest has appeared on the majority of mixes I’ve made for friends, crushes, and girlfriends.

 

Which of the records that you’ve performed on is your favorite?

Definitely our new record, Heat Waves, is my favorite thing I’ve made so far. I play quite a bit on it, guitar, bass, tuba and vocal tracks. It’s fun to have so much creative control on a record, but at the same time you have to live with your decisions. Sometimes I wish I had someone else play the bass-parts for example, just to have another musical perspective. But in the end I’m incredibly pumped on the performances on this album.

 

What is your favorite song on the album and why?

That’s a tough call but I think that “Flat Earth” may be a favorite in the sense that it’s exemplary of what we’re all about as a band. Over the course of the song we tap into old school soul tropes as well as ecstatic, African-esque harmonies and rhythms. This sort of confluence of seemingly disparate influences is what I think BRAINSTORM does best.