Lose Yr Mind ’22

written and photographed by Jared/DJ Diamond J

As this beautiful summer draws to a close, I was fortunate enough to attend Portland’s Lose Yr Mind fest, a decidedly radical independent music showcase across 4 venues and featuring over 40 acts. This year is the festival’s 8th from starting in 2014 and has since ballooned into this beautiful, sprawling 2 day spectacle spread out all across SE Portland, featuring artists ranging from local acts to indie superstars with an emphasis on female fronted groups. I was initially dismayed to see the entire lineup would be split across 4 locations with sets that would be starting at roughly the same time, meaning I would only get to see a handful of the total artists. However as far as my coverage of the event was concerned this was undoubtedly for the best, as it dawned on me sometime during the 1st night how cumbersome and absurd a review of 30 something consecutive musical performances would be. So for both nights, I chose the venue with the most groups – the Vitalidad Movement and Arts Events Center which also featured some of the more prominent acts. Being new to the Portland music scene, I was eager to dive in and hear for myself if the festival lived up to the hype.

Kicking things off was Abronia, a local psych outfit with some interesting and unusual instrumentation. They had a lap steel player – an uncommon and interesting addition. Lead singer Keelin Mayer showed off both her incredible chops on the saxophone as well as her immensely powerful pipes, driving their set forward the entire time with her powerful vocals. Their music was an almost mysterious psych blend with overtones of surf and garage, with moments of lap steel and spaghetti western guitar sounding almost like something out of some acid drenched Ennio Morricone score. Their set, although somewhat punctuated in my opinion, was tight and felt akin to being on a massive clipper ship with all the riggings, sailing through the moonlit desert at midnight – almost primordial at times. Altogether an excellent performance from some of Portland’s own.

Next to the stage was perhaps my most anticipated performance of the lineup, Orquestra Pacifico Tropical. In my research of the lineup leading up to the festival, this group immediately jumped out at me and into my heart – I absolutely adore this band and everything about them, and you better believe they didn’t disappoint. The 10 piece group took the stage and delivered an explosive performance of their psych and fuzz flavor of cumbia that defied any person in the audience not to move their bodies. They are a band that almost compels the body to dance – it’s incredible to see in person, and the crowd (including myself) was more than happy to oblige. Married duo Papi Fimbre on percussion and lead vocalist Shana Lindbeck offered the most in the way of stage presence, between Shana’s infectious dancing and Papi’s aggressive and fast rhythms the rest of the band fills out this massive sound between a horn section, guitars and bass, an accordion, and of course, more percussion. The end result is a wonderfully tight and cohesive experience that effortlessly blends the almost contradictory heavy nature of psych music with the undeniably upbeat and danceable rhythms of cumbia. This is not a band to simply bob your head to, and I challenge anyone who listens to this group, especially live, to not uncontrollably and immediately break into frenzied dance.

OPT (11)
Orquestra Pacifica Tropical at Lose Yr Mind 2022
photo credit: Jared/DJ Diamond J

I felt for anyone who had to follow up OPT’s explosive performance, but to my surprise the next group, Art D’ecco more than held their own, perhaps owing in some part to the continued danceability of the music. One thing that struck me about this group off the bat was their impeccable style – the group all wore slick jackets but Art D’ecco himself had taken it to the next level with a more androgynous look, including a killer mullet and immaculate ascot. The look all fit the music perfectly, reminiscent of that 80’s poppy sort of darkwave style – in fact the band felt something like Iggy Pop meets New Order and was similar to the OPT in that it too compelled me to dance. It was music for voguing in front of the mirror in the club on a Saturday night, and was a great performance that the crowd warmed up to easily.

Next to the stage was Roselit Bone, another local act. By now the crowd was noticeably drunker, looser, and more invested in the music. This worked well to the band’s benefit, as they had no problem connecting the crowd to their emotionally driven “western” sound. The horn section and violin added a beautiful mariachi style to the music, which to me sounded like the backdrop to an apocalyptic prairie landscape. Have you seen that picture floating around on the internet of the guy playing guitar in this little cantina, and there’s a guy in the foreground who’s drinking a beer, smoking a cigarette and crying? That’s exactly how this band made me feel. 

Roselit Bone (3)
Roselit Bone at Lose Yr Mind 2022
photo credit: Jared/DJ Diamond J

Much of the band’s energy came sourced directly from lead singer and guitarist Charlotte McCaslin, whose SoCal punk scene influence could be immediately appreciated in her almost aggressively poetic stage presence. On paper it was not something I thought I would have dug as much as I did, but I came away enjoying their earnest and emotional performance and how well they worked together as a band onstage.

Penultimate act for the night was the more straightforward psych group Elephant Stone. They were a definite tonal shift from the last act, and it was obvious that the crowd was getting hungry for the closers. Elephant Stone was a heavy quasi stoner psych band, much more “cut and dry” to my ears than the previous acts, sort of a what you see is what you get situation. Not in a bad way necessarily, they had a very clear musical direction and worked within it well. The lead singer/bass player started the set with a solo performance on a sitar while the the projector shone a visual of a bunch of burning candles on the walls around them, a bit of a Woodstock callback (‘69, definitely not ‘99)… if OPT was the come-up, this band was definitely the peak of the trip. Heavy, distorted guitar dirges that no doubt appeal to fans of bands like Sleep or King Gizz… maybe not my favorite act of the evening, but still enjoyable stuff to nod and sway along to.

Last act of the night, the one everyone was waiting for. For the first 4 or 5 groups I didn’t have too much trouble getting a spot at the front of the stage to take pictures. By the time the Dandy Warhols took the stage, I had been relegated to the farthest left possible position in front of the stage, directly in front of the monitors and behind other, more legitimate photo and videographers who had waited around to stake out their much more centralized real estate. I stuck it out as long as my eardrums would allow before quickly ducking out to a less sonically catastrophic corner of the crowd. I snapped as many pictures as I could until it felt like my eyes were going to vibrate out of my skull. The Warhols were LOUD, louder than any of the previous acts, a quality which was a necessary choice for their particular flavor of catchy, anthemic rock. If I were more technically inclined I might suggest that this had something to do with the reason that the band was plagued by noticeable, screeching feedback throughout their entire set, a problem they tried to address multiple times in between songs but which they never were able to fully remedy. Nonetheless, they fully delivered on their set and rocked the house as the perfect “comedown” to the day. Everyone was ready to jump full tilt into the band’s easy-to-sing-along-with choruses, with lots of great heavy musical buildups and payoffs that really got the crowd going. They also seemed to have put more work into their visual effects as well, cuing up specific sequences for specific songs with the effects team throughout the set. This was to great effect, as they had a lot of cool video collages of old black and white movie clips that were a perfect visual backdrop to the music. The care and attention to detail put into blending the audio and visual aspects of their performance shone through visibly, which I appreciated. They ended on a certified banger, Godless, which had me and the crowd belting along with all the “Ba da da da da da ba ba ba” in the chorus at full blast. The Warhols ended our night around 1AM or so, closing out a night of amazing music from a very impressive lineup of artists. Heading home that night, ears ringing and with all the bands I had seen that night sloshing around in my brain, I wondered how the next day’s acts would compare with such a high bar set.

But I’m happy to write that the second evening lived up to the first. Starting off the night 2 lineup and setting the mood for the evening was !mindparade, Portland natives with perhaps the most avant garde set I’d seen at the festival. They had a very dreamy, poppy, slightly baroque quality to them with a few improvisational, dare I say Freeform, type moments. They ended on an almost eerie chamber music-esque piece that felt like an ethereal drift through the cosmos. They were very orchestral, string forward and polished… all qualities I appreciated in art rock. I would suggest checking this band out if you’re not averse to the occasional extended avant garde noodling breaks.

Next was Pool Boys, an all female quartet that also hailed from Portland. They had a snappy and fun set that followed a pretty simple but successful formula: short, punchy, poppy rock songs driven by fuzzy power chords and beautiful harmonies that, at times, impressively included every member of the band. The mood could range from upbeat to wistful to playful, and delivered a performance that to me felt like the soundtrack to an autumn road trip. They were the only band that color coordinated in blue, which I give props for, and had great chemistry between each other on stage that shone through in their playing together. Definitely a cool group and one that I hope I get to hear more from in the future.

After Pool Boys set was Tonstartssbandht, a very interesting duo from Orlando consisting only of 2 brothers, Andy on bare-footed guitar/vocals and Edwin on drums/vocals. They delivered on some bluesy electric boogie of the highest caliber. Between Andy’s impressive fingerpickin’ virtuosity on his 12-string Danelectro and his brother’s relentless rhythm and backup harmonies, they delivered a high speed, foot-tappin’ feel-good experience. The americana jam band vibe made it hard not to evoke comparisons to a kind of Jerry Garcia type element, although Tonstartsbandhht implemented a decidedly noisier, more experimental approach to this type of music. Andy’s fingerpicking on the 12 string gave him the sound of at least 2 guitarists, and Edwin was there every step of the way rhymically while singing harmony, to boot. The end result was extremely fun to watch and listen to, and they definitely stuck out to me as one of the more interesting and engaging performances of the festival, especially when considering how full their sound was for a 2 person band.

Tonstartssbandht (12)
Tonstartsbandhht at Lose Yr Mind 2022
photo credit: Jared/DJ Diamond J

Next on the bill was Vinyl Williams, a neo-psych group out of LA. Theirs was a pleasantly mellow, spacey, dreamy sound – very bass forward, bordering on almost funky at times. Their reverb drenched vocals contrasted well with their clean, echoey almost new wavey guitar. They also had great chemistry onstage, there was a lot of joking between members and they seemed quite comfortable playing together. At one point they mentioned the Turtles, also being from LA, after which I couldn’t help but hear (imagine?) the influence from the Turtles singer’s Flo and Eddie in some of the vocal performances from the band. It had a definite “California” sound, at least to my ears. Though this group was much synthier, much spacier… They weren’t necessarily reinventing the wheel, but altogether they gave a solid and enjoyable performance, fueled primarily by the hobbit cloak sporting bass player’s frenetic dance-jumping around the stage. Plus, they got bonus points for adorning their synth stand with flowers – always a lovely touch.

For night 2 I had made an executive decision to leave Vitalidad and walk over to the Get Down to catch at least the first part of Bush Tetras’ set. It meant I would have to leave after Vinyl Williams’ set and would have to unfortunately miss Holy Wave’s performance at Vitalidad. Bush Tetras also went on something like 45 minutes before Jerry Paper, another set I didn’t want to miss, so I’d only be able to catch the first chunk of Bush Tetras set. I felt bad about missing Holy Wave, like I had double crossed them or something, but being a big fan of Bush Tetras and not being familiar with Holy Wave, it felt like a concession I had to make. And they did not disappoint. They were composed of the 2 original members, singer Cynthia Sley and guitarist Pat Place who had been playing music together for over four decades, as Cynthia pointed out during the set. Backing them up was RB Korbet on bass who had joined in 2020, apparently a veteran of the New York rock scene (notably contributing to acts like King Missile and Pussy Galore), and Steve Shelley on drums, who I learned later was the drummer for Sonic Youth. And they went off like a live wire – an explosive, pulse pounding set replete with their trademark nervous energy and frenetic rhythms. Cynthia Sley especially killed it with her powerful, wailing pipes – her jerky, janky dancing matching the band’s performance perfectly. They were an absolute spectacle, just a massive wall of music that had to be heard to be reckoned with. An unforgettable performance, and one of my most anticipated, but one I had to curtail somewhat prematurely as I headed back over (somewhat wistfully) to Vitalidad for the final set of the night and the festival, Jerry Paper. 

Bush Tetras (11)
Bush Tetras at Lose Yr Mind 2022
photo credit: Jared/DJ Diamond J

And you couldn’t really ask for a better close to the festival. Another highly anticipated performance, Jerry was on tour promoting their laid back and liberating recent album Free Time, pulling selections for the performance like the single “U Don’t Know Me”, and the mellow samba-esque number “Shaking Ass”, as well as favorites from previous albums like “Cholla” off Abracadabra and “Grey Area”, their track with Weyes Blood from Like a Baby. It was all melty, drippy, neo-funk perfection – with Jerry’s passionate, pleading vocals and loose, freeform dancing providing much of the visual performance of the show. In contrast, Jerry’s band seemed almost….not lifeless per se, but demure? Slightly fatigued maybe? There was perhaps a restrained chemistry between Jerry and the rest of the band, who mostly seemed to be getting through the songs and never expressed more than a quick smile between them at some of Jerry’s onstage banter. Nonetheless, in spite of a backup band somewhat lacking in luster, Jerry was there to provide luster in spades and then some. Deciding at times to pick up a (killer) pink Stratocaster to provide funky, upstroke rhythm guitar to accompany their velvety smooth crooning, they would often divert into extended dance breaks in between verses, inviting the audience to feel free enough to join in – many of whom were more than happy to oblige. And after the set, Jerry practically ran offstage and immediately over to the merch table in the next room, where they were selling records and clothes and just generally taking the time to talk with appreciative fans, including myself whom they very sweetly signed a record for, after I asked for one like a total dork.

In all, this year’s festival looked at least to me like an unabashed success. I couldn’t have asked for a better baptism into the local music scene, and although I wish I had been able to see more of the lesser known acts I was still overwhelmingly impressed with the display of talent and culture put together for this year’s festival, not to mention the handful of killer local merchants, artists and food vendors that the festival had partnered with this year to provide a remarkable and uniquely Portland-centric experience. I recommend everyone reading this check out my accompanying Spotify mix to get a sense of some of these artists for yourselves – I was blown away by how much I enjoyed some of the groups that I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to experience otherwise. Lose Yr Mind Fest is a wonderful, uniquely local experience that I feel extremely grateful and fortunate to have covered –  and I for one can’t wait to see what the lineup next year looks like!

I chose some of the most fitting selections from the performers at this year’s Lose Yr Mind fest to give a sampling of the festival so that even those who didn’t get a chance to go can Lose Yr Minds (to a slightly lesser extent). Please enjoy the Lose Yr Mind Mix!

Offered here for your viewing pleasure are a few of my favorite picks of pix (and vids) I got at this year’s Lose Yr Mind fest. I tried to touch up the quality as best as I could so that you don’t notice they were taken on a cell phone! Of special note are the pictures of Bush Tetras and Jerry Paper’s sets – because I like how those turned out the most. Keep an eye out for Jerry Paper’s mad dancing skills and OPT’s incredible rhythm section! Enjoy.

Station Top 30 – Week of 9/5/2022

1. V/A – PDX Pop Now! Vol. 19 (PDX Pop Now!)
2. Automatic – Excess (Stones Throw)
3. Röyksopp – Profound Mysteries II (Dog Triumph)
4. Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith – Let’s Turn It into Sound (Ghostly International)
5. Rich Ruth – I Survived, It’s Over (Third Man)
6. V/A – Rare SSR Electronica 1988-1994 (Crammed Archives Vol.1) (Crammed Discs)
7. Panda Bear & Sonic Boom – Reset (Domino)
8. Horsegirl – Versions of Modern Performance (Matador) 
9. DOMi & JD BECK – NOT TiGHT (Blue Note)
10. Adrian Quesada – Boleros Psicodélicos (ATO)
11. ODESZA – The Last Goodbye (Foreign Family Collective / Ninja Tune) 
12. Brown Calvin – d i m e n s i o n // p e r s p e c t i v e (AKP)
13. Shilpa Ray – Portrait of a Lady (Northern Spy)
14. Working Men’s Club – Fear Fear (Heavenly/PIAS)
15. Meridian Brothers & El Grupo Renacimiento – S/T (Ansonia)
16. V/A – After Dark 4 (Italians Do It Better)
17. Salamanda – ashbalkum (Human Pitch)
18. Sun’s Signature – S/T (Partisan)
19. Meczup – Wir Sind Hyperboreer (s/r)
20. V/A – Too Slow to Disco 4 (How Do You Are?)
21. Art d’Ecco – After The Head Rush (Paper Bag) 
22. Brandon Coleman – Interstellar Black Space (Brainfeeder)
23. Ora the Molecule – Human Safari (B-Sides and Remixes) (Mute)
24. Kokoroko – Could We Be More (Brownswood) 
25. Superorganism – World Wide Pop (Domino)
26. Green-House – Solar Editions (Leaving)
27. Blod – Pilgrimssånger (Discreet)
28. SINE – Mantis 2 (Unity) 
29. Osees – A Foul Form (Castle Face)
30. Particle Kid – Time Capsule (Overseas Artists)

Station Top 30 – Week of 8/29/2022

1. V/A – PDX Pop Now! Vol. 19 (PDX Pop Now!)
2. Sun’s Signature – S/T (Partisan)
3. Meridian Brothers & El Grupo Renacimiento – S/T (Ansonia) 
4. Ora the Molecule – Human Safari (B-Sides and Remixes) (Mute)
5. Kokoroko – Could We Be More (Brownswood)
6. Viagra Boys – Cave World (Year 0001) 
7. Metric – Formentera (Thirty Tigers)
8. DC Gore – All These Things (Domino)
9. Working Men’s Club – Fear Fear (Heavenly/PIAS) 
10. Zoon – Big Pharma EP (Paper Bag)
11. BKO – Djine Bora (Bongo Joe)
12. The Dream Syndicate – Ultraviolet Battle Hymns & True Confessions (Fire)
13. Wylderness – Big Plans for a Blue World (Succulent)
14. Brijean – Angelo EP (Ghostly International) 
15. Automatic – Excess (Stones Throw)
16. Marci – S/T (Arbutus)
17. Russian Circles – Gnosis (Sargent House)
18. Art d’Ecco – After The Head Rush (Paper Bag)
19. Superorganism – World Wide Pop (Domino)
20. Loris S. Sarid – Seabed-Sunbath (Moon Glyph) 
21. Conan – Evidence of Immortality (Napalm)
22. Panda Bear & Sonic Boom – Reset (Domino)
23. The Brian Jonestown Massacre – Fire Doesn’t Grow On Trees (A) 
24. Horsegirl – Versions of Modern Performance (Matador) 
25. Dreckig – Digital Exposure (Broken Clover)
26. Freak Genes – Hologram (Feel It!) 
27. Florist – S/T (Double DoubleWhammy)
28. Carlos Severe Marcelin – Dance Your Body EP (Severe)
29. Mombi Yuleman – Hours Lost (ZeroK)
30. Blod – Pilgrimssånger (Discreet) 

Station Top 30 – Week of 8/22/2022

1. Kokoroko – Could We Be More (Brownswood)
2. Panda Bear & Sonic Boom – Reset (Domino)
3. Tomato Flower – Construction (Ramp Local)
4. Wylderness – Big Plans for a Blue World (Succulent)
5. Horsegirl – Versions of Modern Performance (Matador)
6. Automatic – Excess (Stones Throw)
7. Fashion Club – Scrutiny (felte)
8. Brijean – Angelo EP (Ghostly International)
9. Meridian Brothers & El Grupo Renacimiento – S/T (Ansonia)
10. Sam Gendel – Superstore (Leaving)
11. Perfume Genius – Ugly Season (Matador)
12. Lava La Rue – Hi-Fidelity (Marathon Artists)
13. Marci – S/T (Arbutus)
14. BKO – Djine Bora (Bongo Joe)
15. Dreckig – Digital Exposure (Broken Clover)
16. Viagra Boys – Cave World (Year 0001)
17. Metric – Formentera (Thirty Tigers) 
18. Ora the Molecule – Human Safari (B-Sides and Remixes) (Mute)
19. Loris S. Sarid – Seabed-Sunbath (Moon Glyph) 
20. Florist – S/T (Double Double Whammy)
21. Sun’s Signature – S/T (Partisan)
22. PENDANT – Harp (Saddle Creek)
23. Interpol – The Other Side of Make Believe (Matador)
24. Jaguar Jonze – BUNNY MODE (Nettwerk)
25. Boris – Heavy Rocks 2022 (Relapse)
26. Steve Lacy – Gemini Rights (RCA)
27. Airflow – S/T (Hype Pretension)
28. Sessa – Estrela Acesa (Mexican Summer)
29. The Wheel Workers – Harbor (Sinkhole Texas)
30. Superorganism – World Wide Pop (Domino)

Interview with the Organizers of Freak Freely Festival

By AK Freytag/DJ Main Squeeze

Freak Freely is the festival I’ve been most excited about this summer. With a strong emphasis on intentionality and building community through art, this fest is coming at a time in Portland that is absolutely crucial.

I sat down with the fest’s organizers, Corby Plumb of Totally Different Head, and Mara Appel Des Lauriers of LITTLE OBSESSIONS. The pair met last year through the magic of Instagram and pandemic boredom, becoming fast friends through their love of music, zine-making, and inclusivity.

“I like to surround myself with people who know more than I do about things,” Mara told me. “I heard about (Corby’s) zine, and I was just getting into zine crap; I’ve never done one before. I just felt like I had a lot to say that I have never given myself the opportunity to do.”

I met Corby in 2012 when he was organizing shows with the small group WHATEVER UNDERGROUND in Honolulu. Before meeting this group, I was a teenager very into DIY culture and eager to make art with others, but didn’t know if those people existed where I grew up.

“All this other shit sucks, how can I make it better? How can I make my own little world in it?” asked Corby. “That’s all DIY has ever been for me – alternatives to shitty things.”

Vulnerability is a big component of this fest. Many artists haven’t performed before in the way they will during the weekend; some have never performed in front of others, period. “It’s cool to see big things happen for reasons that have nothing to do with getting ahead or climbing the ladder,” said Mara.

When asked about the decision to start her zine, a risk that gave her the confidence to organize the fest, she told me, “I wanted to give a try talking about living with and through the art that you’re around. It’s good to have a point of view, to use your voice that’s yours, and to embrace the experiences you’ve had. It’s not something to be ashamed of.”

“We’re living through progressively more challenging times on all levels, and art puts iron in your back bone,” said Corby. “It gives you a shield; it gives you power in yourself.”

A strong component in Freak Freely is connecting parts of Portland that normally wouldn’t interact. Corby and Mara believe the organizers, artists, and audience all play an equal role in that connection. “That’s the thing – anyone can do this kind of stuff and be involved in it,” said Corby. “It’s just people realizing you don’t have to just be a spectator. People want to know that there is an interested community of fellow artists and musicians and people that care about music. You are a part of a bigger community, you can be a part of this, you can be a part of art, and you can make art.”

“I’m so excited to see something that is taking a slap at weaving together different cliques, mediums, everything,” Mara told me. “It’s not just diversity for the sake of diversity. It’s coming from a totally different place.”

Leading up to the weekend, there are several fundraising shows, including the one pictured above. 100% of proceeds of all events will be given to the artists performing. Tickets for the fest are $15/day or $25/weekend pass and can be purchased in advance. Freak Freely will be a one-time only event, but the pair hope to see more DIY events pop up around town in its place.

“Going through the pandemic, everyone that doesn’t fit into a certain mold is trying to find their place again,” said Corby. “Now they can start finding each other. Supporting this is supporting something bigger. If we can figure out this festival, we can figure out bigger things. Then we can figure out fixing the fucked up parts of the world, whatever that entails.”

Pickathon – A community of eco-conscious music lovers

By DJ Flor Violenta

After two years of patiently waiting for its return, Pickathon took place over the first week of August on Pendarvis Farms in Happy Valley, Oregon. By all means, Pickathon is not your average music festival! It’s a music and wellness festival for the entire family (minus the dog) with an environmental sustainability twist. It’s a festival that encourages you to bring your own drinking vessel (doesn’t really matter if it’s an old plastic water bottle or a reusable water bottle) to use each day or if you’re an unprepared person like myself, then you could purchase a Pickathon branded steel cup that becomes a nice souvenir afterward. With the extreme heat we all faced in the past weeks, I was really grateful for the countless free water refill stations across the farm! Additionally, all the food vendors used reusable dishware when serving up orders and there are stations throughout the festival grounds to rinse and return your plate for a token to then be used when ordering your next meal. It’s a cycle that takes a moment to get a hang of if you’re new to the festival but one that you learn to appreciate!

Let’s talk about the music side of this festival! First off, there were quite a few past Freeform Portland DJs that had played DJ sets at the festival. The festival included dozens of DJ sets and more than three DJ stages that had music going from 10 AM to 1 AM. As for artists and bands I saw at Pickathon, here are some of my favorite sets included; Sweeping Promises, Soul Glo, Deeper, Inner Wave, L’Rain, and Emma-Jean Thackray. A lot of where Pickathon’s beauty lies is in their selection of artists/bands/DJs. There is music for everyone and an opportunity for folks to fall in love with a newer sound. For example, I usually take a liking to alt-rock, post-punk, hardcore, and electronic and there were plenty of bands on the lineup that fell into these genres. However, I found myself really enjoying a set by folk singer and songwriter, Jake Xerxes Fussell.

Jake is a folksong interpreter of traditional “folk” songs by recontextualizing ancient vernacular songs and sources of the American South. He played the first set of the day for the Grove stage on Saturday before the heat set in for the day. The stage and surrounding area was encircled by large trees and the floor was covered in blankets with folks watching Jake perform with just an acoustic guitar and a microphone. At one point, the hairs on my arms stood up and goosebumps formed while Jake sang “Jubilee”. I quickly realized that the songs and his voice represented a different time in history and I felt fortunate to discover him at Pickathon. This is one of many memorable moments I experienced throughout the weekend. Below is a list of songs by artists that played at 2022 Pickathon: 

As someone who is a DJ at Freeform Portland and is passionate about sustainability, Pickathon did a great job at minimizing waste, supporting local food and artists, and fostering a safe space for music lovers. Thank you Pickathon for inviting our radio station so we could share this experience with our community of DJs and community supporters through Instagram and Facebook!

You can listen to my show, Vinyl Pleasures Radio with DJ Flor Violenta, on Freeform Portland every other Saturday from 6-8 PM. Playing you the newest and best rock, electronic, hip-hop, R&B, and everything in between. Listen to Freeform Portland on the radio at 90.3 FM, 98.3 FM, and 101.5 FM or stream from just about anywhere at freeformportland.org.

Interview with Night Talks

By DJ Main Squeeze
Cover Photo by Sarvey Tahmasebi 

I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with LA alt-rock band Night Talks over Zoom to talk about the chaos and new beginnings the last few years have given us. They are no stranger to navigating big periods of change together, as the three of them met in an after-school music program 13 years ago, and explored themselves through the lens of what Soraya, the vocalist, lovingly calls a “very high school kid rock band. Like, ‘oh yeah, these kids are definitely going to play some Cheap Trick songs right now!’” They all laughed when they told me they used to be called Black Top Saints. The affection for each other and their artistic journey was contagious to say the least.

The trio planned to release their newest album, Same Time Tomorrow, in 2020, and when the release and tour were put on hold, they invested that time into making fun, sweet music videos to accompany the record.

“When we couldn’t play live shows and do music, I got super into movies like a lot of people,” Soraya told me. “I became a film bro, but not in the toxic way. By doing the music videos ourselves, we got to work on something on a much smaller scale, compared to film production, but still create something cool.”

“When we couldn’t play live shows and do music, I got super into movies like a lot of people,” Soraya told me. “I became a film bro, but not in the toxic way. By doing the music videos ourselves, we got to work on something on a much smaller scale, compared to film production, but still create something cool.”

“When you’re sitting in your apartment, there’s not a lot to feel creative about,” said Jacob, the band’s guitarist and occasional synth player. “You open all your apps and just be like, ‘oh cool, I don’t wanna sing about that.’ It was just a way to stay inspired and stay creative and we had no idea what we were doing and it’s been super fun. We bought the camera, and they’re like ‘Jacob, do you know how to do any of this stuff?’ and I’m like, ‘no!’ I just figured it out, I learned editing, color, all that stuff.”

“I’ve always been a very big David Lynch fan. I think my favorite genres are spooky and horny, and any combination of the two”

Soraya and I spoke more about the crossover between music and movies. “I’ve always been a very big David Lynch fan. I think my favorite genres are spooky and horny, and any combination of the two,” she said. “Another thing I had was a list of every movie an old dude has been like, ‘I can’t believe you’ve never seen that!’ You’re like twice my age, so just give me a sec, guy! We like to have fun and not take our art visual stuff too seriously, and I think people enjoy it.”

“We were making a video today, about 10 minutes before this interview, and it was just clipart flying across the screen,” said Jacob.

The band releases monthly Artist Playlists on their Spotify page, mostly curated by Soraya, which showcase a vast range of influences like Wanda Jackson, Nine Inch Nails, FKA Twigs, and Metric, just to name a few.

Those influences are musical but also tie in to the band’s interest in film. “I was just listening to a podcast interview with Emily Haines from Metric on the Bob Lefsetz podcast,” Soraya said. “She was talking about them collaborating with Olivier Assayas, I forget which movie, but they’re in the movie as a band. That was cool, and I think that would be a fun thing to do! The other thing they did was they actually worked with Howard Shore on the score for Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis, and I also think that would be really cool!”

It’s clear that the group is excited to get back into touring after being stuck at home during the Doom Times, even if a lot of good came from that transitional time. The joy and silliness they bring to their videos definitely translates to their fun, upbeat live performances. “We played in Phoenix; that was our first time down there, and everyone was just super excited to be alive!” said Jacob. “We were just jumping on any show we could; there was a show in a backyard sort of situation. It was a sword swallower’s backyard; that was a whole other thing. I remember everyone was sitting down, lounging around. We played this one song that we haven’t put out yet that’s very fast, very dancey, and everyone just started jumping up and dancing around us. We finished playing the song, and everyone is yelling, ‘one more, one more!’ and we didn’t really have one more that would match that energy, but they were begging us so we played one more and everyone was kind of like ‘oh…’ I know! That’s what I was trying to tell you guys! All of our funnest shows have all been in LA, we’re all hometown kids, we love it here.”

Being around live music and other people again has really improved my quality of life, and I think it’s safe to say Night Talks feels the same. “We went to this festival in LA in July called Palomino – a lot of country acts. Willie Nelson, Jason Isbell, stuff like that, we all like stuff like that even though we don’t play it,” Jacob told me. “We’re standing there, everyone’s in their country boots, us included, and this guy walks up. He goes up to Josh, who has what’s considered a mullet, he’s like, ‘dude, where’d you get your hair done?!’ I couldn’t believe it, Josh couldn’t believe it. Girls always come up to him like ‘oh my god, how’d you get your bangs so bang-y?’ The guy is like, ‘I need that mullet! I need it on my head right now!’ He took a picture of Josh’s head, and then asked for the person that cuts his hair. So I wanted to leave off on this – if anyone looks up pictures of Josh’s hair and wants that mullet, he can set it up.”

The band has some shows around LA and Brooklyn this upcoming fall, and is eager to add more on the roster. They recorded recently at Avast! Studios in Seattle, and expressed a ton of interest in including Portland on their tour radar in the near future. We gushed about our love of our respective city’s local music scene, and I already have a few bands in mind I could picture them playing with.

“On a serious note, we appreciate anyone who still cares about music and who likes the kind of music we make,” Soraya concluded. “And all we can ask is for you to tell a friend if you like what you hear.”

Interview with Tomato Flower

By DJ Iridescence
Cover Photo by Marie Mechin

As I’ve mentioned on my show, the dream of my early years was to have a radio show.

…the dream of my middle years was to interview bands about their music.

Thanks (AGAIN!) to Freeform, this beautiful creative container of growth and community, I got to fulfill another dream on August 11, 2022, the night of the Aquarius Full Moon. It was our fourth supermoon in a row, and other cosmic energy was at play (if you know, then you know) on a day//night that marked a collective pivot point in our individual destinies. I’m going to relive the buildup to and pleasure of that night, so come along with me……

Tomato Flower is touring in support of Animal Collective, celebrating the 8/5/22 release of their EP Construction. Tomato Flower also released another EP earlier this year, Gold Arc. As an artist, knowing from experience inspired creation takes a balance of work and ease, I consider that a prolific output! My interest piqued, I seized the opportunity, volunteering to talk with this group of strangers, and was guided through by Freeform Portland station member disco diablo.

In preparation to interview them I spent some time with the presskit they sent to the station (thanks Jake Saunders @ Ramp Global), and did some virtual research to get a sense for who I would be talking to.

I came to the show feeling the intensity of watery cells in my body expanding, thanks to the moon and practiced awareness of nature’s lunar and seasonal cycles. The people near me were asking people if they had ever eaten tomato flowers and talking about how they taste.

From the jump-to of when their set started, Tomato Flower coaxed me into and through the feeling of flow, riding along with what felt like a vessel of well-cared for collaborative love. They were fantastic openers for the Animal Collective show to follow. Taking my time, embraced in Tomato Flower’s softness, I felt my mind and heart open and connect. The minor annoyances (which can feel like major annoyances in pre- and moreso, post- pandemi times) of being in close proximity to a large room filled to capacity with humans melted away. I became completely focused on where their creative output met my senses.

Once the entire venue had cleared out, I was able to conduct my first-ever band interview to the symphony of the show being broken down. The audio of that interview can be heard on Zozimos, airing at NOON Thursday 8/18, and afterwards on my mixcloud on the 10th episode of Zozimos, called COLLABORATE. 

What follows is a loose transcript of the interview plus some interaction with Tomato Flower’s responses I would have liked to make room for in the moment if time (and my time slot) were more elastic. Of course, I could have edited them in, but then what would motivate me to write this post? ; ) 

DJ Iridescence (I),
Austyn Wohlers (A),
Jamison Murphy (J),
Mike Alfieri (M),
Ruby Mars (R)

I: How does it feel to be on the road so far?
J: Feels amazing to be in new places, new audiences, on a larger scale, tremendously exciting
A: Truly unfathomable scales

I: Have you been to Portland before?
A: Not as a band.
R: I’ve never been to Portland but at the store today someone said they’d served me before

I: We are in a portal time, who knows?
A: Absolutely

I: What life experiences have helped you hone your voice individually or as a band?
?: That’s a toughie.
J: Tautologically, playing music my whole life, playing and trying to write songs when I was nine, I wouldn’t be doing it now. It sounds circular, the thing that informs the music is playing music, it’s been a lifelong practice. I think it’s like this for all of us, it’s a deep practice that’s been going on as long as we can remember.

I: So you’re lifelong friends who have also been playing music together for…
J: I mean the practice of making art in some capacity has been with each of us…

I: Right
M: We’re lifelong musicians
J: Yeah
M: To add to that, being part of different music scenes and living in different cities for substantial parts of time and participating in those communities is really informing what we’re doing now. So like, living in New York, living in Atlanta, now being in Baltimore, that’s all our experience that we’re bringing to the music we’re making.

I: So you’re not from Baltimore, you came together there?
A: Yeah. Yes, Mike! Yes, Jamison! The practices we maintain, the company we keep, how we relate with our environment, we bring all of this to our creative process! I feel that’s true for any artist. I love how well you all articulated the ways you embody your life experience and fold it, together and apart, into the music you make as a group. I feel that awareness in how your music resonates deeply, beyond words.

I: At the show, during your set, I experienced a heart and mind activation, plus dance vibes, then your (Austyn’s) guttural emotion, which was so intense. First of all, well done, across the board!
A: Thank you

I: What organ do you each feel you write or perform from?
M: In my bones, I perform with my hands and feet, all the music is coming from my bones
A: For me, the songwriting process feels very cerebral, it’s much less bodily for me than maybe other musicians. I tend to be thinking about what I want to make before I sit down and play, it doesn’t happen organically. Performing, I’m thinking a lot about breath and diaphragm especially. Focusing too much on the keyboard or guitar parts can be a catch 22 but I feel like I’m always very conscious of trying to stay full of air.

J: I would also say the lungs. I really value the [quick suck in of air], teetering feeling, a vertigo gasp feeling, and that feels like a breath related thing, some of it comes out of that.

I: Your goal is to get to that vertigo-type feeling of being at the edge?
J: When it’s best it’s like that, or when composing, when it’s truly from outside, or something I can’t fathom it’s [quick suck in of air], it’s a quick zoom out, you know?

I: Yeah, like you’re out-of-body for a moment, coming in and out?
J: Little bit, yeah

R: Thinking about it, the eyes and solar plexus

With these parts combined, you all make a functional body!

I: How do you get in//experience flow. To me, it felt like y’all were really riding it together during the show, how do you do that, especially together?

R: To me, it’s listening as hard as possible, that’s the number one key, is I can access that if I’m truly actually listening with all my mind.
A: I think also reacting to the energy of the rest of the bandmates. There’s something to be said for playing wrong notes, right, but in terms of the actual energy of the set, I don’t think there’s a wrong way to do it, as long as we’re either in agreement with each other or in productive tension with each other. So we can play a sleepy set and as long as that developed in an interesting way in a live setting, that doesn’t necessarily make it a worse set than a very energetic set.
M: Yeah, listening is supreme.

I: How do you distinguish productive tension from unproductive tension?
R: One feels good
(All agree, laugh)

I: How have you surprised yourselves?
J: Anytime I write a song, if it’s good I have surprised myself. It is in some way, not something I could have thought through, and so the surprise is the thing that makes it worth keeping, versus not. Surprise–surprising myself is an essential part of any worthwhile creative thing I want to keep.
R: Really, just what Jamison said.
A: I am surprised that I’m getting up in front of all these people, I don’t feel like a natural performer in my heart. I’m very shy. I thought I was going to be vomiting in front of thousands of people, and instead I’m playing songs which is cool and surprising.

I: Ruby, what is it like to join an existing collaboration?
R: Completely natural, because Jamison and Austyn and I have been playing music together for a long time. It’s a rejoining for me to be on this project, so it feels like getting in bathwater (laughs).

I: I noticed in the press material across multiple platforms that you center collaboration as part of your band identity. All bands are a collaboration but not all bands put it so forward. How did you learn or choose to center collaboration as part of your identity as a band?
J: For me, I always want the content of the music to lead first, the actual stuff of the songs, and that necessarily also means decentering the self a little bit. So, collaboration is almost a shorthand for saying it’s not any individual person, it’s not an image of a person. It’s this specific unit of people, right here, right now, doing this particular thing. And then to say collaboration, so pay attention to that thing. It’s not about a speaker or a personality, it’s about the stuff we have collaboratively made. It’s also literally true that songs get put together from disparate parts of different things we all come in with. So it’s also honestly how it works, it is quite collaborative, even when someone comes through with most of a song.

I: What practices help make sure that everyone has a voice?
J: Just trying to make it as good as possible. Naturally, other peoples’ ears allow that to happen. Other people can hear your own stuff better than you can most of the time.
I: Yes, I hear that.

In preparing for the interview, I noticed how consistently Tomato Flower presents as a cohesive unit. I appreciate how comprehensively Jamison explored the conscious intention in space and time to be in collaboration, how that intention can be represented and influenced by the representative appearance, as both part of and distinct from the actual dynamic of collaborating. While speaking about what works for Tomato Flower, the band members were tapping on so many important truths about how every facet of creating work together is dependent on the setting and intention, and the importance of recognizing the quality of the tension as it comes up.

I: How do you navigate the stickiness when tension starts to push into unproductive, how do you catch it from going over the edge?
A: Take five (laughs)
R: Yeah (laughs)
M: Take a little break
J: Let a song sit for a month
A: There’s one song, for instance, we’ve been in the shop on the bridge on, so we’ll bring it up and if it isn’t feeling right we put it back down again. We don’t really ever force it when it’s feeling bad, but we’ll let it rest.

I: I got very new world collective empowerment vibes from your lyrics and especially from the sound, and it feels very fortuitous to be interviewing you on the full Aquarius moon. I don’t know if any of you feel in tune with the moon, but how does it feel to channel that energy, can you feel it?
R: I feel pretty in tune with the moon
(everyone laughs)
R: My granddad was like this too, whenever it was a full moon, he would get really keyed up, and anxious and tense, and that definitely happens to me. So, that happens today, because it’s the full moon
(everyone laughs)
I: You feel anxious and tense? Or you flow through that?
R: I feel like a certain heightening of cells.

Tomato Flower was in for my request they say the station’s legal ID, which I remember hearing bands do and loving to hear how they did it. Tomato Flower chose una voce style, meaning in one voice, how angels speak.

I: Is there anything else you want to say?
J: We’re having a great deal of fun and thank you very much for interviewing us and giving us interesting questions. Which is really appreciated and it’s really fun to talk it through.

 I: Yeah! Thank you!

Tomato Flower, thank you for opening your sweet, delicate blossomy underbelly to my inquiry about the mechanics of your magic and talking it through. Thank you for being present for my questions as a group, after a day of traveling and performing, and answering with such earnestness. Thank you for previously sharing this playlist with the world for me to find and listen through and get to know you. I was pleased to feel resonance in several tracks which I featured throughout the show COLLABORATE.

This interview was truly a collaboration, as was the radio show I put together. Have a listen to the conversation in the next installation of Zozimos airing at noon this Thursday, August 18, 2022 at freeformportland.org/listen, or afterwards on my Mixcloud. Check out Tomato Flower on their bandcamp, insta, or twitter.

Station Top 30 – Week of 8/15/2022

1. Dreckig – Digital Exposure (Broken Clover)
2. Röyksopp – Profound Mysteries (Dog Triumph/PIAS) 
3. Lava La Rue – Hi-Fidelity (Marathon Artists)
4. Sessa – Estrela Acesa (Mexican Summer)
5. Metric – Formentera (Thirty Tigers) 
6. Wombo – Fairy Rust (Fire Talk)
7. Art d’Ecco – After the Head Rush (Paper Bag)
8. 700 Bliss – Nothing To Declare (Hyperdub) 
9. Viagra Boys – Cave World (Year 0001)
10. Tonstartssbandht – An When (Fire Talk)
11. Sound of Ceres – Emerald Sea (Joyful Noise)
12. Hercules & Love Affair – In Amber (BMG)
13. Jaguar Jonze – BUNNY MODE (Nettwerk)
14. Longboat – The Cold War 1 (AchduliebeZeit!)
15. Belief – S/T (Lex)
16. Interpol – The Other Side of Make Believe (Matador)
17. The Dream Syndicate – Ultraviolet Battle Hymns and True Confessions (Fire)
18. Gymnasium – Hansen’s Pop ‘n’ Rock ’22 (Red on Red)
19. Steve Lacy – Gemini Rights (RCA)
21. The Range – Mercury (Domino)
22. Obongjayar – Some Nights I Dream of Doors (September)
23. Body Void – Burn The Homes Of Those Who Seek To Control Our Bodies (s/r)
24. The Sons of Adam – Saturday’s Sons: The Complete Recordings 1964-1966 (High Moon)
25. Horsegirl – Versions of Modern Performance (Matador)
26. The Wheel Workers – Harbor (Sinkhole Texas)
27. Bastien Keb – Organ Recital (Gearbox)
28. Kokoroko – Could We Be More (Brownswood)
29. Superorganism – World Wide Pop (Domino) 
30. Orbital – 30 Something (London)

Station Top 30 – Week of 8/8/2022

1. Horsegirl – Versions of Modern Performance (Matador)
2. Fashion Club – Scrutiny (felte)
3. Steve Lacy – Gemini Rights (RCA)
5. Shamir – Heterosexuality (Antifragile)
6. Denzel Curry – Melt My Eyez See Your Future (Loma Vista)
7. The Sons of Adam – Saturday’s Sons: The Complete Recordings 1964-1966 (High Moon)
8. Kuedo – Infinite Window (Brainfeeder)
9. Sessa – Estrela Acesa (Mexican Summer)
10. Moonchild Sanelly – Phases (Transgressive)
11. Ben Shemie – Desiderata (Joyful Noise)
12. Metric – Formentera (Thirty Tigers) 
13. High Castle Teleorkestra – The Egg That Never Opened (Art As Catharsis)
14. V/A – Visions of Darkness in Iranian Contemporary Music Vol. II (Unexplained Sounds)
15. Obongjayar – Some Nights I Dream of Doors (September)
16. Superorganism – World Wide Pop (Domino)
17. Automatic – Excess (Stones Throw)
18. Petrol Girls – Baby (Hassle)
19. black midi – Hellfire (Rough Trade)
20. Saatjak – For the Makers (American Dreams) 
21. Röyksopp – Profound Mysteries (Dog Triumph/PIAS)
22. 700 Bliss – Nothing To Declare (Hyperdub) 
23. Working Men’s Club – Fear Fear (Heavenly/PIAS)
24. Steve Roach – What Remains (Projekt)
25. Paris Combo – Quesaco? + Remixes (Six Degrees)
26. Pizza! – We Come From The Swamp (Tenth Anniversary Edition) (Vanity Projects)
27. Ebi Soda ft. Yazz Ahmed – Honk If You’re Sad (Tru Thoughts)
28. The Wheel Workers – Harbor (Sinkhole Texas)
29. Gallegos – Sycophantic Manic EP (Curving Track)
30. Viagra Boys – Cave World (Year 0001)