Our first night at Bottom of the Hill, chock full of familiar sounds from not so familiar bands.
Photos by Matt Kowal
Words by Blake Gillespie
I missed Stephen Malkmus on Wednesday, but got rewarded with Pavement-esque songs from Portland's The Dead Trees on Saturday night.
It wouldn't be prudent to call The Dead Trees' sound a derivative of '90s alt-rock, but the influence lingers in the chords. The difference is it's from a colder environment, that subtle presence of rainy months, of brown leaves and leafless trees. Yeah, I maintain a firm belief that weather is an emperical factor in a band's aesthetic.
I'm almost embarassed to make this ambitious comparison, but “Sit Fuzzy” has a Beatles quality that impresses the living shit out of me. I don't recall if they played this song Saturday night, but I've had it on repeat since The Dead Trees caught my attention.
It's a big deal for a festival to throw a record release party for a local band, but Sholi has earned it. This debut is not your run-of-the-mill effort, in which young musicians discover themselves from song to song. Sholi seem to approach its music with educated precision and method. I thought of Talk Talk's Laughing Stock and its sweeping drums as I listened to Jonathon Bafus of Sholi. He has a patience back there and it impacts Sholi's performance greatly.
Sholi closed with a dedication cover. Lead singer Payam Bavafa celebrated his Iranian heritage with a cover of Googoosh's “Hejrat,” a song title that translates to “migration.” Googoosh is Iran's Barbara Streisand. She enjoyed a successful career in the 1970s before the Iranian Revolution banned women from singing. Bavafa dedicated the night to her and the silence she endured for 20 years. Sholi has a 7″ featuring this cover.