ROGUE SOUNDS: So Many New Local Albums
It’s generally not that hard to choose what to write about in this column. But this issue there was too much solid new work from local bands to pass over. So here’s a flyover of new releases from the Southern Oregon music scene.
Experiment Station, by Of Addicts and Dramatics
One of Medford’s best new bands released a 7-track collection to Bandcamp this month that is less an EP than an expanded demo, with both acoustic and electric versions of three songs, and a bonus acoustic track.
The acoustic versions of “Get Me Out,” “Lost in the South,” and “My World,” are a bit of an odd fit, especially in the business of the drums, which slays in the full versions, but are too crash-heavy to deliver an acoustic vibe. But when the band turns the volume back up, it’s a spot-on punk-metal hybrid, with blazing guitar work from Corey Striley, melody-centric vocals from Gabe Weather and stellar riff-syncopated drumming from Tyler Philips.
The tunes on Experiement Station aren’t really pushing the genre, but show a local band that is playing with the same precision as national acts in its genre. Someone put these lads on Warped Tour.
The Dead Shall Rise, by Confia
Local hip hop fans may know Lxor as the host of The Undercurrency hip hop showcases in Ashland, a hotbed of local and visiting talent. In October, Lxor, and collaborator Trust One, dropped a new 7-track collection called The Dead Shall Rise to Bandcamp under the name Confia.
Both the beats and rhymes don’t bother much with the hook-focused pop-format, but pull heavily from more psychedelic influences, with lyrics focused on abstract themes about consciousness and mysticism. With the spacey beats, and Lxor’s somewhat monotone, often fast-rap style, much of the EP has a feel somewhere between hypnotic chanting and Black Elvis era Kool Keith. The album’s fifth track, “Slow to Anger,” is its best, with an irresistibly head-bobbing beat based around a synth harpsichord bass line, and breathy ’80s style synths.
Cutting Loose, by Daniel Austin Sperry
Daniel Austin Sperry can be found most days in Lithia Park in downtown Ashland, his bowed cello pairing with the tree-filtered sunlight to create a reasonable approximation of paradise.
But with a 12-track collection released to Bandcamp in early October he went a very different route, creating an album-length tribute to former Oregon Poet Laureate William Stafford. It features words penned by Stafford read by Sperry over soothing pairings of cello, piano, guitar and pedal steel. It’s soothing as scented candles, with top-notch production value, and musicianship, and Sperry’s reading of Stafford’s poetry is solid enough that he may find himself with a backup career doing audio books.