Fell Runner is a Los Angeles-based rock band formed in 2012 by four music students at the California Institute of the Arts. Originally started as an independent study in applying West African rhythms to western song forms, the band developed to encompass a broad range of influences and create music that is asymmetrically rhythmic while simultaneously melodic and danceable. They have performed at venues such as The Echo, The Bootleg Theater, and The New Parrish and will be releasing their self titled debut CD accompanied by a tour of the west coast in the late summer.
ALAMEDA is a fourpiece folkrock band out of Portland, Oregonbut instead of allying with the obvious of whatever that means, they carry connotation like a suggestion, are built of accents and colloquialisms from every corner of the country. To call them folkrock is only shorthand; they’re assembled in layers, in quilts to burrow under when it’s cold. They sound like pine needles smell—or taste—gintinged and airy, never from one place in particular, or one region at any one time, but tactilely nomadic. This means that were the band to take some time to talk—which they’d do—and if you were to ask—which you might—where it was they called home, when they answered you’d just be all like “OK, that makes sense,” and instantly imagine them there, in that space, playing this music that sounds made of sap and dirt and sweet liquor and worn leather and whatever else perfumiers aspire to nowadays.
Founded by singer/guitarist Stirling Myles and cellist Jessie Dettweiler, now complemented by Barra Brown on drums and Phil Nelson on electric guitar, Alameda has grown to be this way like so many Douglas firs: patiently watching what surrounds them, allowing influences to collect on their instruments like mossy halos, or halogen glows. Myles’ songwriting, and the band’s arrangements, owe equally to Bonnie “Prince” Billy and Deer Tick as to Iron and Wine and Sufjan Stevensthe line blurs between rhythm and melody, each chord a universe unto itself, each beat a vast space in which the cello and electric guitar find one another amongst an inky breadth of possibilities. Fortunate Vices is Alameda’s third fulllength record, but its first with Brown and Nelson. In other words, there is newness here, the record bred on the restless energy of a group of musicians not so much compelled to tell you something important, but intrigued at how change can be woven into the folds and fabric of what Alameda has already established itself to be. It’s a good thing, too. These songs narrate a metamorphosis, a series of experiences that, taken separately, might seem like disjointed events, but reviewed in sequence become a revelation.
Their sound is both restless and content, mannered but shaggy, a contradiction of terms but without ramifications. Duality. Because, does folk ever truly rock? A hyphenate is just an excuse, a way for the electric guitar to commingle happily with a cello, one not so much disrupting the other but just gently rubbing the membrane of one warmly against the other’s until they slip calmly together under the covers and rise early the next morning with a Venn diagram that best describes what Alameda’s music actually represents.
Those Willows was forged in the melodic fires of the Motown jazz scene, and eventually, they followed their folk-infused hearts Westward to Portland, OR, where they received acclaim for their nostalgic melodies and soul-driven performances. Those Willows' first full-length album, Rivertown, released in February 2012, gained national recognition with songs airing on ABC, MTV, VH-1, and Bravo. Since moving to the Pacific Northwest, they’ve recorded two E.P.s; Existential Folks (2013) and Three Books (2015) and have quickly become a local favorite as Deli Magazine’s Artist of the Month (Portland, OR and National Editions) and featured artists on Tender Loving Empire’s “Friends & Friends of Friends Compilation,” alongside The Family Crest and Wampire. In 2014, they embarked on a West Coast tour and humbly accepted comparisons to Simon and Garfunkel, Fleet Foxes, and She & Him. They’ve recently expanded to a five piece band and look forward to getting back on the road to tour the midwest.