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Now Hear This: May 2022 edition

Soothing experimental music; distressing black metal; heartfelt folk-pop; nasty, brutish, and short punk rock.

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Now Hear This is a monthly column that scours the pages of music distributor Bandcamp, looking for new work from local artists that would make fine additions to your digital library. This time around, that includes soothing experimental music, distressing black metal, short and nasty punk rock, heartfelt folk-pop, and more–just in time for the next Bandcamp Fee Free First Friday.

Typhoon, Underground Complex No. 1

For the better part of two decades, Typhoon has been one of Portland’s finest musical ambassadors–thanks to the unwavering passion that the group’s many members pour into every last note they play, and bandleader Kyle Morton’s dynamic songwriting that calls upon the spirits of Richard Thompson and Lucinda Williams. On tracks like the stormy “Up Again” and the weightless “Mind of God” — both found on the new album Underground Complex — the band uses waves of volume and swelling emotions to crash against the coastline in thrilling fashion. 

Devin Gallagher, Caterpillar

Speaking of Typhoon, Devin Gallagher–one of the band’s founding members–has all the while maintained a quiet side hustle in the world of experimental music. He once ran a fantastic tape label that released work by Arrington de Dionyso and Charlie Salas-Humara and has snuck some of his own compositions out into the world. The latest collection is out under his own name: four simple and lovely ambient pieces that flicker to life like a candle and maintain a constant glow through Gallagher’s use of guitar drones and the soothing tones of various mallet instruments. 

Eosphoros, II

There ain’t nothing relaxing about the music of black metal trio Eosphorous. Theirs is a sound of pure agitation and distress expressed through blood red guitar work and the wraith-like vocals of the musician identified in the liner notes only as JD. On your first listen, skip straight to the final track, “The Hunter.” Over the course of that song’s 13 minutes, the thick oozing riffs and shifting layers of volume evoke the aftermath of an ancient conflict, all scorched earth and suppurating wounds. 

Triple Lutz, X

Punk group Triple Lutz refer to their latest album X as “a split with ourselves.” Which is to say that there are two different lineups present on this short and nasty release as the group underwent some serious changes between their first recording session in 2018 and the next in 2020. Will you be able to tell the difference? Maybe, but what remains constant is the rage and angst that seeps through songs like “My Body” and “Not Enough Likes” like a fever. 

Clara Dunklee, Volvo Ville

Is the title of this short collection of heartfelt folk-pop a winking little bit of mockery at Clara Dunklee’s hometown of Portland? I truly hope so, because it is chef’s kiss perfect. Much like the music on this self-released delight. Dunklee’s lyrical concerns are poisonous relationships and the boys who would scrunch their noses up at an independent woman — pretty standard fare, but here it is lifted beyond the indie fray through the lo-fi production and Dunklee’s warm sting of a voice. 

Robert Ham is a critic and journalist living in Portland, Oregon’s outer reaches. During his time in the Rose City, he has contributed to The OregonianWillamette WeekPortland Mercury, and Portland Monthly, while also amassing a healthy amount of clips for print and online publications including PitchforkDownBeatBandcamp, and Village Voice. In 2019, he was the recipient of the SPJ Award for Best Sports Feature. In addition, Robert produces and hosts Double Bummer, a radio show focusing on new and newly reissued experimental music from around the world that airs every Tuesday night at 11pm PT on XRAY-FM. To read more of his work, visit his portfolio site or follow him on Twitter at @roberthamwriter.

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