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Feature Story- Anberlin

I interviewed Deon Rexroat of Anberlin about the band’s final album, Lowborn, and its farewell tour for The Oregonian. You can also read this article here.

Alt-rock quintet Anberlin ends on its own terms with a farewell tour that hits Portland on October 14

Come December, Anberlin bassist Deon Rexroat plans to sleep. A lot.

For the time being, sleep will have to wait as the band finishes up the home stretch of a monthslong world tour, which brings Anberlin to Portland’s Wonder Ballroom on Tuesday, Oct. 14.

This tour is so extensive — including stops in the UK, Brazil, Australia, Singapore, and the Philippines — because it’s the band’s last. After 12 years together, the Florida-based alt-rock quintet has decided to call it a day.

"I think we realized at a point that our five personal lives were pulling us in different directions," Rexroat said in an email. "Had we tried to fight against that, I think Anberlin would have suffered. It seemed more natural to accept the end and close this chapter of our lives on our own terms."    

Those terms included releasing one last album, a farewell to fans called “Lowborn.

When it came to “Lowborn,” the band’s seventh release, Anberlin wanted to do things a little differently.

For one thing, the band members recorded their individual parts with producers of their own choosing, an endeavor that took the quintet to studios in Georgia, Florida and Tennessee to work with Matt Goldman (Underoath, Meg & Dia), Copeland’s Aaron Marsh and Aaron Sprinkle (Acceptance, Relient K).

According to Rexroat, the band also incorporated more electronic beats and loops into its alt-rock sound, especially on album-opener “We Are Destroyer” as well as the tracks “Armageddon,” “Birds of Prey” and the closing song, ”Harbinger.”

Anberlin also returned to Seattle-based Tooth & Nail Records, the label that released its first three albums, after several years with Universal Records, a move Rexroat said brought the band full circle.

"Tooth & Nail was where we started and they were very good to us," he said. "It felt appropriate to finish our career with them."

As the final moments of Anberlin draw near, Rexroat said he is trying to stay in the present and revel in the individual moments of each show, rather than focusing on the end. But that hasn’t stopped him from reflecting on the legacy the band is leaving behind.

"Everything we have done is far more than I could have imagined in the beginning," he said. "The people we’ve been able to meet and play for, the places we’ve gone, the achievements as a band. It’s been an amazing 12 years, and I wouldn’t change a thing."

— Azaria Podplesky, Special to The Oregonian



With: The Weather

When: Tuesday, October 14; doors open at 7:30 p.m., show at 8:30 p.m.

Where: Wonder Ballroom, 128 N.E. Russell St., www.wonderballroom.com

Tickets: $22.50-$25, ticketfly.com, all ages

Website: www.anberlin.com

Filed under Anberlin Lowborn Deon Rexroat The Oregonian music wriiting music journalism freelance writing journalism

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Concert Preview- Chvrches

I wrote this brief to preview Chvrches’ upcoming Seattle shows for Seattle Weekly. You can also read this brief here.

The last time Chvrches played Seattle, the Scottish electro-pop trio kicked off 107.7 The End’s Deck the Hall Ball at the un-rockly hour of 3 p.m., thanking the crowd for coming early to see its set. This time, after nearly a year of touring and the popularity of its debut album, The Bones of What You Believe, and singles like “The Mother We Share” and “Recover,” the band has expanded its Seattle stop to two nights. That’s two chances to hear this group’s synthy, layer-upon-layer rock, topped by lead singer Lauren Mayberry’s ringing, crystal-clear voice. Through Friday. Showbox SoDo, 1700 First Ave. S., 652-0444, showboxonline.com. 9 p.m. $30. All ages. AZARIA C. PODPLESKY

Filed under Chvrches The Bones of What You Believe The Mother We Share Recover Seattle Weekly music writing music journalism freelance writing journalism

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Feature Story- Rags & Ribbons

I wrote about an incredible Portland-based melodic rock trio called Rags & Ribbons for The Inlander. You can also read this article here.

Searching for Symmetry

For Portland’s Rags & Ribbons, it’s all about balance

By Azaria Podplesky

Portland melodic rock trio Rags & Ribbons takes a measured approach to everything it does.

From incorporating darker elements into its piano-heavy sound to finding the right people to add to its team, the band strives to find middle ground between heavy and light, emotion and business, excitement and intimidation.

Guitarist/vocalist Ben Weyerhaeuser, 29, formed Rags & Ribbons with pianist/vocalist Jon Hicks after they graduated from Willamette University in Salem, Oregon. A mix of Sufjan Stevens and synth-pop marked the band’s early years, which Weyerhaeuser calls the “weird, figuring-out stage.”

"Jon really wasn’t too much into harder rock music at the time," Weyerhaeuser says. "And I was just trying to balance out whoever I was working with at that point."

The addition of drummer/vocalist Chris Neff, who has a background in hard rock, added a heavier aspect to R&R’s piano-driven music.

"We started writing and the three pieces came together to make the current sound," Weyerhaeuser says.

Read more …

Filed under Rags and Ribbons Rags & Ribbons Magnesium Dreams Portland music writing music journalism journalism freelance writing The Inlander Ben Weyerhaeuser Jon Hicks Chris Neff

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Feature Story- Paper Cutout Crew

I wrote about an awesome Spokane-based break dancing crew called the Paper Cutout Crew for The Inlander. Huge thank you to Khay for all of her help :) You can also read this story here.

Step by Step

The Paper Cutout Crew wants to introduce Spokane to break dancing - one move at a time

By Azaria Podplesky

You can hear them before you see them. Past balance beams and uneven bars at Spokane Gymnastics, tennis shoes squeak on hardwood floors. Long after typical workout hours, four break dancers practice intricate footwork and tricky spins. Eventually, four more dancers arrive.

This is the Paper Cutout Crew.

For the next hour, the dancers — five PCC members and three breakers visiting with EWU’s Asia University America Program — take turns throwing down a few moves. At various points, a member steps away to work on a move, rejoining the group when they’re ready to try again.

It’s a small but supportive community, one the dancers want to introduce to as many people as possible.

Read more …

Filed under The Paper Cutout Crew break dancing Spokane killa-khaymera PCC feature writing journalism freelance writing

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Concert Preview- Thunderpussy

I wrote this brief to preview Thunderpussy’s Seattle show for Seattle Weekly. You can also read this brief here.

Thunderpussy is your new favorite Seattle supergroup. Since late last year, bassist Leah Julius (Cumulus, Sundries), guitarist Whitney Petty (The Grizzled Mighty), vocalist Molly Sides (This Bitch Don’t Fall Off), and drummer Lena Simon (La Luz, Kairos) have been writing rock ’n’ roll jams with a sultry blues twist. This is only the band’s second public show, but, judging by footage from its first, the quartet has the chemistry and stage presence of a group that’s been playing together for years. This show is a fundraiser for Hangin’ Tuff, a wonderfully wacky online music variety show in which host DJ Bobbi Rich, who is also emceeing this event, interviews local bands in, of all places, a hot tub boat. With Lozen, Dusty Lips, Un-Protected Sax. Chop Suey, 1325 E. Madison St., 324-8005, chopsuey.com. 8 p.m. $10. 21 and over. AZARIA C. PODPLESKY

Filed under Thunderpussy Leah Julius Whitney Petty Molly Sides Lena Simon Seattle Weekly music writing music journalism journalism freelance writing

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Concert Preview- Wye Oak

I wrote this brief to preview Wye Oak’s Seattle show for Seattle Weekly. You can also read this brief here.

The carefully crafted Shriek, the fourth full-length from indie-rock duo Wye Oak, belies the fact that the band traded ideas while singer/guitarist/bassist Jenn Wasner was in the duo’s hometown of Baltimore and drummer/keyboardist Andy Stack split his time between Portland and Marfa, Texas. What’s even more impressive, though, is the shift in sound the pair has accomplished with this album. From 2011’s Civilian to their latest, Wasner and Stack have exchanged guitar-focused jams for a softer take on synth-pop. There’s a dreamy interplay between Wasner’s lush vocals and Stack’s vibrant-yet-hazy keys throughout the album, especially on singles “The Tower” and “Glory.” Shriek’s not as boisterous as its title suggests, but Wye Oak’s rejuvenated sound still makes a statement. With Pattern Is Movement. Neumos. 8 p.m. $18 adv. 21 and over. AZARIA C. PODPLESKY

Filed under Wye Oak Shriek The Tower Glory Jenn Wasner Andy Stack Seattle Weekly music writing music journalism journalism freelance writing

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Quick Hit- 4,000 Holes 25th Anniversary Celebration

I wrote this brief to preview 4,000 Holes’ 25th Anniversary Celebration. You can also read this brief here.

Bob Gallagher never thought his record store, 4,000 Holes, would make it this far. Opened in 1989, the store was hit hard by slow music sales in the early aughts and was on the brink of closing. But with a resurgence in vinyl’s popularity over the past few years and older customers introducing their children to the store, 4,000 Holes is now better than ever. To celebrate, Gallagher is holding a 25th anniversary event with music from local alt-country act Cursive Wires and giveaways from labels like Sony and Sub Pop. “I think our future looks good, which, in the past, I wasn’t able to say,” Gallagher says. “It was pretty iffy, but I think we’re going to be around for a long time.” 4000 Holes, 1610 N. Monroe St., 325-1914. Sat., July 12, 11 a.m. -Azaria Podplesky

Filed under 4000 Holes 4000 Holes 25th Anniversary Celebration record store The Inlander journalism music journalism music writing freelance writing

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Concert Preview- Slim’s Cornbread Ball

I wrote this brief to preview Slim’s Cornbread Ball for Seattle Weekly. You can also read this brief here.

There’s no shortage of festivals this time of year, but Slim’s Cornbread Ball isn’t your average one. Now in its fifth year, the fest showcases some of the Pacific Northwest’s best Americana and country roots acts. This year, Knut Bell and the Blue Collars, an alt-country quartet that describes its sound as “Honkahillarockabilly,” tops the roster, along with blues-rock duo Dead Man (featuring Slim’s own Mike Lucas) and the Disco Cowboys, an outfit that adds Southern flair to disco hits. Presented by Slim’s with John “Hamhock” Hagan, who will perform with his band The Rooster Run, the ball is a benefit, too—for Childhood Cancer Sucks–The Jakob Ellis Foundation, an organization working on finding a cure and easing the financial burden on families of cancer patients. With Twang Junkies, Hartwood, Earle Thunders and His So-Called Friends, Darci Carlson, Michael Scott Thomas, Tom Howard. Slim’s Last Chance, 5606 First Ave. S., 762-7900, slimslastchance.com. Noon. $15/$12 with new, unwrapped toy. 21 and over. AZARIA C. PODPLESKY

Filed under Slim's Cornbread Ball Knut Bell and the Blue Collars Dead Man The Disco Cowboys Twang Junkies Hartwood Earl Thunder and His So-Called Friends Darci Carlson Michael Scott Thomas Tom Howard John Hamhock and the Rooster Run Band journalism music journalism music writing freelance writing Seattle Weekly

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Concert Preview- The Antlers

I wrote this brief to preview the Antlers’ Seattle show for Seattle Weekly. You can also read this brief here.

There’s an understated elegance to Familiars, the fifth album from Brooklyn indie-rock trio the Antlers, which makes it both unassuming and breathtaking. The mid-tempo instrumentation, including a wistful trumpet and twinkling keys from multi-instrumentalist Darby Cicci, shifts between cinematic and somber, and Peter Silberman’s emotionally charged vocals and lyrics on the theme of identity add to the moody atmosphere. With Yellow Ostrich. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9442, neumos.com. 8 p.m. $18 adv. All ages. AZARIA C. PODPLESKY

Filed under The Antlers Familiars music writing music journalism journalism freelance writing Seattle Weekly

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Concert Preview- Lauryn Hill

I wrote this brief to preview Lauryn Hill’s Seattle show for Seattle Weekly. You can also read this brief here.

Step aside, Mariah; Lauryn Hill is the real elusive chanteuse. Since releasing her critically acclaimed first (and so far only) solo album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, in 1998, the former Fugee has graced the world with more controversy than the handful of singles she’s dropped—most recently 2013’s “Consumerism,” which debuted the night before she left prison after serving three months for tax evasion. Her Tumblr page claims the track is an introduction to a new project, Letters From Exile, which she wrote during her incarceration, but a release date has yet to be announced. The Paramount. 8 p.m. $35 and up. All ages. AZARIA C. PODPLESKY

Filed under Lauryn Hill The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill Consumerisn Letters From Exile journalism music writing music journalism freelance writing Seattle Weekly