Andrew Saltzman isn’t slouching in his throne. In January, he released an instrumental album, Tape Lonely Boy, under his production alias, Blacktop Megaphone, and he hasn’t stopped there. February saw him spearheading a benefit project for Planned Parenthood–a series of singles put out by Throne Age, the label he co-founded with his brother (stage name: dug., who also released an instrumental tape in January). They aren’t slowing down, either. I caught up with Saltzman to talk tapes, beats, and the artist’s relationship with loneliness, and to get a taste of what Throne Age has in store for the rest of the year.
White Bear Polar Tundra is, I guess, alternative rock. They didn’t invent the term, but they’ve embraced it. I’ve always been a little confused by it, myself. Alternative to what, exactly? Alternative to pop rock? Classic rock? Hard rock? Glam Rock? Punk Rock? Alternative to choral music or rap music or jazz? Of course it’s an alternative to all of these things–everything is an alternative to everything. I try not to get too caught up in sub-genre micro-distinctions, but this one kinda bugs me, because it seems to set up an opposition that doesn’t really have to exist.
“I didn’t ask for this!” growls a hysterical Andrew Lincoln in a monologue sampled on the intro of Doc ILLingsworth’s latest release, which takes its name from the line in question. In the original context, Lincoln plays Rick Grimes in The Walking Dead. The lines are from a pivotal scene where he outright takes control of the group of survivors. “Let’s get one thing straight,” he says, his tone now grim. “You’re staying? This isn’t a democracy anymore.”
Have you ever dreamed that you were wide awake, or gone through a day feeling as though you might actually be sleeping? That’s kinda what it’s like listening to Wake Up, the debut release from Toothbone, a project springing forth from the mind of multi-instrumentalist Dan Rossi.
I first came to Portland as a fresh-eyed eighteen year-old cellist whose interest in the formal world of classical music had all but disappeared. I began playing the cello at the age of six and remained immersed in music throughout my teens, but by the time I was a Junior I no longer harbored an intrinsic motivation for etudes. My desire to improve my classical chops had steadily waned. I stopped taking lessons–they had become something I had to do as opposed to something for which I yearned.
Talking to Matt Takiff, you get the feeling that every word he says is true, or is a truth, or is not a lie, even if he made it up. The difference between those three things is subtle, but that difference lies at the heart of good songwriting, which could also be called something like emotional honesty.
I first heard Goldlink way in the backseat of Baltimore producer Tek-Lun’s 2014 release, Ridin’ Round. One of only two passengers, his verse on the penultimate track, “Hip Hop,” is the climactic moment of the ride. Goldlink is still on the road. This past November saw the release of his sophomore album, entitled And After That We Didn’t Talk.
There is a strange door in the soul which only opens in the presence of one voice and one guitar. It can be another instrument, but it’s usually a guitar. Usually acoustic. The door is old. Many have sat outside it, idly strumming, hoping one day it might open for them, too.