interviews, music, nature, technology, Vortex Music Magazine

‘Through Frames’: Lorain Explores the Edges of Loneliness | Vortex Music Magazine

The debut album from Lorain captures the solitude of rural landscapes, the loneliness of towering cities, and the isolation of our lives on social media.

Lorain’s sound is like hard twilight glinting off a dusty windshield, a rain-swept prairie, the warm and soothing drone of tires on paved road rolling towards a foreign and endless horizon. It’s the kind of album you play in the car on a road trip as you leave home, on a night drive lit by a sickle moon and stars, or a sleepless wander under the kaleidoscopic glare of illuminated signs and passing street lights.

READ the rest at the Source: ‘Through Frames’: Lorain Explores the Edges of Loneliness | Vortex Music Magazine

interviews, music, Vortex Music Magazine, writing

‘You, Sir,’ Must Hear Abbey Hendrix Find Her Voice | Vortex Music Magazine

After years of making music, whether in school, bands or the industry, some encouragement from producer Adam Brock and Lenore.’s Joy Pearson helped push Abbey Hendrix to finally realize her full-length, solo debut of jazz-influenced folk.

You, Sir opens with a tender and twinkling piano waltz of a song called “Enough.” Hendrix’s voice lilts here and there like Mozart’s starling, while on others, you hear the strong jazz-influenced folk of Joni Mitchell (in the style of Court and Spark and Blue). Vocals soar and stack into choral symphonies and dissolve into classical compositions with jazz sensibilities—there are some decidedly expressive and cinematic soundscapes in this collection of songs.

READ the rest at the Source: ‘You, Sir,’ Must Hear Abbey Hendrix Find Her Voice | Vortex Music Magazine

interviews, music, Vortex Music Magazine, writing

Fake Fireplace: ‘School Spirit’ [Video Premiere] | Vortex Music Magazine

The former Willamina High School in Willamina, Ore., is in the middle of a transformation into the West Valley Community Campus, a new community center for arts and culture. In a state of somewhat disarray, what better place to film the new music video for Fake Fireplace’s “School Spirit”?

…making appearances in the video are all the visually poignant details of attending school in the ’80s—the chalkboard traced with penmanship lines, the sentimental grind of the pencil sharpener, jamming books into an overflowing locker, writing documents to a floppy disc drive, the IBM Standard Issue Clock ticking away endless hours, the world globe, and the school dance.

READ the rest at the Source: Fake Fireplace: ‘School Spirit’ [Video Premiere]

feminism, interviews, love, music, politics, psychology, Vortex Music Magazine, writing

Moorea Masa & The Mood ‘Shine A Light’ | Vortex Music Magazine

After touring the world with k.d. lang, the soulful 25-year-old is set to release her debut record on May 11.

All life seeks balance. Without an opposite—a contrary or complementary state—we cannot appreciate the cycles of nature and the way we move through life as people. All those negative and positive forces of change are illuminated on Shine A Light, the first full-length release from Moorea Masa & The Mood . . . Shine A Light is a collection of 10 songs reflecting a cycle of internal exploration and external conversations. It is equal parts personal and political. The album tackles the heavy topics of sexism, police violence and abuse, while balancing them with a profound sense of self, expectations, love and letting go. It is the essence of strength and vulnerability of a woman living in our very current and collective reality.

READ the rest at the Source: Moorea Masa & The Mood ‘Shine A Light’

 

art, interviews, music, nature, Vortex Music Magazine

Laura Veirs: Devotional Experiments | Vortex Music Magazine

The singer-songwriter observes where nature, science, art and activism intertwine on her 10th solo record ‘The Lookout.’

The Lookout is an electrified ecosystem of songs set under sapphire skies, in desert canyons and moonlit meadows, on sunlit oceans and over starlit landscapes, flush with color in burgeoning green, gold and red, and filled with the sounds of campfire, wolf howls and painted winds. Veirs’ harmonic vocals resonate like calls through a canyon . . .

READ the rest at the Source: Laura Veirs: Devotional Experiments | Vortex Music Magazine

holidays, magic

Christmas Sticker Miracle

A blonde curly-haired toddler refused to sit up in his bum bucket bus seat and squirmed away from his mother’s grip.

“Do you want to sit with Daddy?” she tried.

Daddy was next to me with an empty seat in between.

Mom sent the fussy little cherub over, red rover style. Dad pulled him up and he plopped down with bright aqua blue sneakers, kicking the air.

“Are those narwhals?” I asked excitedly, trying to make friends with the new mini monster to my right.

“Yes,” dad confirmed, “and they squeak, so we turned them off.”

“Like, electronically? Or with pressure?”

“Mostly when he jumps,” Dad said. It was not hard to imagine that this one jumped a lot.

Mom handed over a sheet of Christmas stickers and Squeaky Narwhal got to work peeling and sticking them to dad, the seat, the floor, himself, and me.

The first sticker he gave me was a small elf.  He stuck it to my work bag and looked up at me for approval.

“Oh, thank you!” I cooed. “Did you know that’s my nickname? Good job!”

He smiled and drew his fingers down around his mouth and chin, stroking an invisible beard.

“He’s saying “Santa,” his father interpreted.

“You’re Santa?” I asked, playfully.

He plucked another circle from the page and stuck it to his nose. A picture of a tiny Santa head in a red cap.  He giggled, pleased with himself.

“Smart boy!” I lavished. He played coy and giggled again. Little flirt.

I’m always amazed by how much children hear and understand, and cannot say with words, but can express in their eyes and body language, or in this case, sign language.

He proceeded to affix me with a set of snowflakes in blue, red, and green, a miniature reindeer, a candy cane, and a gingerbread man. I stuck them to the tips of my fingers and waggled them back at him.

“Hi!” he barked and we both laughed.

I peeled them off and lined them up the spine of my travel hairbrush like a Christmas Chakra, the elf at the root. Dad approved of the creative re-purpose.

His parents thanked me as I gathered my bag to leave.

“Of course,” I smiled. Hey—it was entertain and distract, or endure the screaming call of the Squeaky Narwhal, which, once heard, could be accurately described as a duck chainsaw.  I ventured that this little person, much like the narwhal, has a high-pitched biological sonar he could fire up on demand, and whether or not you turn his shoes off, he clearly doesn’t thrive in captivity, so we allow him to be his wild, sticker-covered self on the long bus ride home.

“Say bye!” mom entreated. Squeaky Narwhal stuck out his hand and waggled his fingers at me in his bum bucket and shouted “byeeee!”

It’s little bits of holiday magic like this that expand my heartspace ?

feminism, music, nature, Vortex Music Magazine

Lenore. Portland Artists to Watch | Vortex Music Magazine

Lenore. is a dark planet with twin satellites of ethereal voices orbiting around it…Nature-inspired, dark folk songs like “Ether’s Arms” and “Dig” are sharp and shining—the glinting edge of a spade in the garden. Songs about the moon, sun, ancient trees, the seasons, and explorations of darkness and light resonate throughout this purely Pacific Northwest creation of lyrical magic and vocal alchemy.

READ the rest at the Source: Three New Records from Three Portland Artists to Watch | Vortex Music Magazine

music, previews, writing

Sister Act | The Quebe Sisters bring their sweet sounds to the Tower

The first time I heard The Quebe Sisters, I was standing in the woods on Pendarvis Farm in Happy Valley, Oregon at the Pickathon music festival. It was a private session of stripped-down songs, played in a quiet setting away from the larger stage and big crowds—and very intimate, except for the film crew and microphones jammed into the 10 by 10-foot concrete and wood pumphouse. I didn’t actually see them directly until they emerged—but what I heard instantly transported me to another time. It was the romantic and sentimental song, “Going Away Party,” by Texas songwriter Cindy Walker. The sound coming out of that little shed was so pitch-perfect and golden-toned, I thought it had been pre-recorded and auto-tune processed. It was as if the Andrews Sisters of the 1940s had emerged from the fires of time with their close harmony style and dropped down to the forest, fiddles in hand.

READ the rest at the Source: Sister Act | The Quebe Sisters bring their sweet sounds to the Tower