128 Northeast Russell Street
Portland, OR, 97212
Doors 8:00 PM / Show 9:00 PM
This event is all ages
Watch & Listen
According to Bernoulli's principle, when an incompressible fluid passes from a large area into a
smaller one, as when a wide pipe funnels into a narrow passage, the fluid's velocity rapidly increases.
That idea has dozens of practical uses, from the operation of airplane wings to the function of your
automobile's carburetor. It's a key part of computer production and the basis of cutting-edge work in the
field of hydraulics. And, as strange as it might sound, the legacy work of 18th century European
mathematician Daniel Bernoulli also adequately describes the process behind and product of Moms, the fifth and best album to date by Portland's Menomena.
During the last decade, Menomena has become its own reference point. From hooks wrapped
around plummeting baritone saxophone lines and nearly inhuman rhythms to serpentine lyrical
frameworks and high-concept album art, Menomena has established a singular and unmistakable
aesthetic. No one else sounds quite like this band. They embed magic and mystery within pop songs that have never sat still or taken the path of least pressure, just as Bernoulli would have had it.
Since 2010's irrepressible and intricate Mines, though, the pipe has narrowed: Menomena cofounder
Brent Knopf took his leave to focus on his solo project causing Justin Harris and Danny Seim—
close friends since high school and now well into their second decade of making music together—to
recast Menomena as a duo. As science might have predicted, they didn't slow down; they actually sped
up, writing, recording and releasing Moms with more focus and speed than ever before.
Harris and Seim didn't invite loads of friends or collaborators to replace Knopf; they made these
songs as a duo, intent on proving—directly to themselves, and by extension, to everyone else—that
Menomena essentially remains the same brazen band responsible for Friend and Foe, Under an Hour and all the gut-punch, pop-ambition moments therein. They added new instruments, like flute, cello, more of Seim's synthesizers and the tap-dancing that actually laces through the teasing-then-charging opus, "Don't Mess with Latexas." For the first time, Harris and Seim, who each contribute five songs here, talked about what they were writing, too. Seim explored the death of his mother when he was but a teenager, while Harris investigated the way his own family dynamic—a single mom, with a departed
dad—left indelible impressions on everything he's done since. The album's pieces connect, then,
addressing how people must rise to face or flee circumstances beyond their control. It's perhaps the most appropriately imaginable prompt for a band whose last two years have depended upon their ability to explore, adapt and improve.
The result, Moms, is tragic and intimate, comic and endearing, personal and motivated. In 10
songs and just less than 50 minutes, Harris and Seim cast pop cascades into noise kaleidoscopes
("Baton"), chop and twist a melody until it becomes a big dance beat ("Capsule"), and build inescapable arrays of tension and texture that finally release ("Tantalus"). Opener "Plumage" couples its surge of energy with a cleverly playful study of sexuality, while "Pique" turns the same sort of seemingly impossible tessellated-rhythm tricks that have become a Menomena trademark.
At the close of it all, the slow strangle of "One Horse" arrives as the most poignant moment yet in
Menomena's catalogue, piano plinking and strings sliding beneath Seim's existential evasion. It's the
perfect summary statement for Moms, an album that explores both a new vulnerability and resiliency
within Menomena, a duo that's taken change not as an excuse to opt out but instead as a catalyst for
Moms is out September 18th via Barsuk Records
BRAINSTORM is an experimental-pop group from Portland, Oregon, whose sound is big and hard to define, yet strikingly elegant in its variety. Pulling 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. 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. With influences ranging from ecstatic African-highlife, to soulful AM-radio nostalgia, the result is a unique brand of art-pop that is energetic, eclectic, and undeniably engaging. There is something for everyone in this music, and something of everyone in it as well. BRAINSTORM was once described as "an eight-dollar smoothie of ecstatic art-rock, Sam Cooke, and African highlife." That's an expensive smoothie, but worth every sip.
BRAINSTORM has been touring the country for three years, attracting attention from such tastemakers as NYLON Magazine, local publications Willamette Week, The Portland Mercury and online sites like Get Off the Coast. The band delivers a truly impressive live performance: guitar, drums, tuba, keyboard, and three-part harmonies are sewn masterfully together into a compelling brand of art-pop that BRAINSTORM can truly call its own.
Voted a Best New Band of 2011 by the Willamette Week, BRAINSTORM headlines some of Portland's most raucous shows and tours nationally, sharing the stage with acts like Portugal The Man, Best Coast, Akron/Family, Tame Impala, The Thermals, Surfer Blood, Thee Oh Sees, and more. This past April, BRAINSTORM toured in France, and played in Paris along with fellow PDX accolades YACHT, Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks, Nurses, AU, Miracles Club and Lovers.
BRAINSTORM formed as a duo in the summer of 2008, when Adam Baz and Patrick Phillips met while playing with Ohioan & the Native Kin. Upon exchanging a series of mix tapes containing an array of their favorite music, the musical chemistry between the two became obvious, and the band was born. They have been sculpting and refining their sound as a duo for four years, and just recently added Tamara Barnes to the band, playing bass and singing. Now a trio, the band's sound is full, fleshed-out, and ripe for the picking.