If you don’t already know, EL VY is an incredible collaborative project of The National’s Matt Berninger and Menomena/Ramona Falls’ Brent Knopf. A couple singles were released months ago to get people excited and on October 30th their album Return to the Moon was available for public consumption. With fans of both artists correctly anticipating the greatness of this collab, most of their US tour dates were sold out long before the album was released. This week they did their first shows ever for about 300 lucky Portlanders who crammed into the Doug Fir on Monday and Tuesday night. I was lucky to be at their first show on Monday and it was MAGIC.

Despite being an indie rock superstar, Berninger is endearing and incredibly awkward at times. He walked onto the stage at Doug Fir and said, “Uh, I haven’t prepared any banter so uh, we’re just going to get started” and jumped right into back to back songs off their album. Throughout the set, he kept talking about how fast they were playing through their material and how they really needed more songs; he’s obviously used to 16 years of material with The National. The 11 tracks on EL VY’s album and one cover of Fine Young Cannibals’ hit She Drives me Crazy felt like a perfectly crafted set with highs and lows, not like all the tracks were from one album. I was in awe of how amazing all the songs sounded live when backed by a bevy of talented Portland musicians and it couldn’t have been a more perfect night of live music…

Okay, the end of that last sentence was a slight lie…it could have been more perfect if we didn’t have this annoying couple in front of us on what appeared to be a first date. I got to a point halfway through the show where I was trying to listen to the music but anger was bubbling inside me, and it was palpable in concert-goers around me, so I couldn’t concentrate. I eventually tapped the girl on the shoulder and did the classic schoolmarm index finger to the lips, “Sshhhhhhhh!” She looked spooked and stopped talking for almost ten full minutes. Little win!

Pro Tip: Meet for drinks prior to a concert date so you don’t talk full volume about stupid stuff through an amazing show. Also, I’m no expert on what you should and should not say during a date BUT when the dude asks you if you like some band and you respond with, “No, that music is too white for me.”…and you’re white…and he’s white…and everyone around you tenses up because of that awkward and v confusing racism. It’s probably NOT something you should say on a date…or like, EVER. Hat tip to the gentleman who stayed the rest of that trainwreck of a date just so he could enjoy the beautiful sounds of Matt Berninger’s voice live while she talked his ear off.

After you completely binge listen to the EL VY record, here are ten other unrelated songs I really liked this past week.



P.s. If I had it my way, I would’ve forgotten a playlist this week and just posted this 45 minute fire track of Drake repeating “Jumpman” over and over.


This whole blogging once a week thing allows me to keep tabs on my social calendar and realize that some point soon I really need to just CHILL…I’m talking a pre-2015 chill sans Netflix. In addition to a very busy work week and two after-work events, I managed to go to four concerts in four days. I got wrapped up in a little music bender and it was magical as always. Try to keep up.

Night one, Jack Garratt at the Crystal Ballroom: This bearded nugget from London combines killer electric guitar, pulsing drum machines, keyboard, and a voice that moves from smooth R&B-eque falsetto to vocal polyp inducing screaming to produce some of the most exciting, raw, and ever-changing music I’ve heard in a long time. He was the reason I wanted to go to SXSW this year and, mark my WAS words, he’s going to be major soon and stop opening for all of these *yaaaaaaawn* artists on tour. He’s better than this.

Night two, Kool Keith at the Bit House Saloon: All-you-can-drink Hennessy and the self-professed “Black Elvis”. That is all. Life is a riot.

Night three, Marian Hill at Doug Fir Lounge: I made sure to see Marian Hill at SXSW in March and they were definitely in my top new artists to watch in the new year. This Friday night, running on little sleep and a foggy mind from all the previous night’s ‘yak, I was impressed to see them completely captivate a crowd of Portland cool kids at this sold out show. We can be a hard, jaded nut to crack but danggggg…it must be one of those artisan East coast nutcrackers.

Night four, MUTEMATH at Star Theater: The icing on a very delicious layered cake of concerts. It was my first time seeing these alternative rock veterans and they did not disappoint. Three hours of fast paced showmanship, incredibly talented musicians, excessive sweating, handstands on keyboards, and crowd surfing through the venue on a lighted air mattress spaceship because….actually, I have no idea why but that was rad. I highly recommend that you go see these guys next time they’re in your town and, for the sake of the concert-goers around you, slick on a nice layer of deodorant. I would’ve appreciated that simple personal hygiene step very much on Saturday night when a wall of excited fans in front of us decided to wave and clap their hands up high in the sky the whole show and bless the rest of us with their personal brand of eau de parfum. Je ne l’aime pas.

Phewf, what a week!

It’s a rainy Wednesday in Oregon but here is a v chill playlist of ten songs from the past week that I think might warm you up.



P.s. That new ZHU x Skrillex x THEY. track called ‘Working For it’ is THE JAM but the only version on SC had too much yapping at the beginning.