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Vow of Volition Make the Final Round of the Battle for Warped Tour

The Vans Warped Tour was the first festival for many of us back in the day. As young'ns, it's likely we didn't necessarily think about all that went into figuring out the bands to book and play the whole shebang. Part of that process, at least locally, seems to be through a series "battle of the bands" style competitions specifically for landing a spot on the fest. Quite a few Portland bands have been furiously playing against one another for said spot, and djent/prog metal act Vow of Volition are one of the acts that made it to the finals.

Warped Tour was always the type of festival that included much in the realm of pop punk, punk punk, emo and metal, so Vow of Volition's advancement to the final round is no surprise. Their incredibly technical, at times jazzy metal stands out in Portland's pretty linear popular music scene, and is much worthy of the attention its getting.

Those that want to support Vow of Volition in driving home the permanent spot can go to the Battle for Warped Tour finals Saturday at the Hawthorne Theatre.





Debut Stoops EP Available for Streaming & Download

Kidhood, the debut EP from Stoops, was co-produced with Keith Abrams (Pine Barons, Tremellow), who also recently worked on The Districts' latest LP Popular Manipulations. Warping keys and a rhythmic bass, "Flashlight" shines through the darkness with its existential love song sound, while “Loser Denial” wants to break loose from its opening, but you get a sense that its protagonist feels trapped. There’s a tight, melodic, storytelling quality with a hint of instrumental force that makes one wonder where the next recordings will go.





Hi-Lo Jack (Dolapo Akinkugbe + Lawrence + Stolen Jars collab) unveils debut EP

Maybe the NYC indie scene has really entered a "post-white" phase, finally! When we started this blog back in 2004, indie rock, soul and hip hop really felt like separate scenes. The few notable exceptions, like TV on the Radio, paved the way to a rediscovery of soul music that reached maturity in the following decade, and that doesn't seem to slow down. Hi-Lo Jack, a collaboration between Dolapo Akinkugbe (of DAP The Contract), Clyde Lawrence (of soul-pop band Lawrence), and Cody Fitzgerald (of indie-rock band Stolen Jars, who graced our the cover of our last ever CMJ issue in 2015) is the latest NYC based project mixing the warmth of soul with the edge common to indie music. Check out single "So It Goes," streaming here.





New Power Animal Album Available for Streaming & Purchase

We've been enamored with the production abilities of Keith Hampson, who records and performs under the moniker of Power Animal, for years now. We remember receiving his early demos on CD-R (remember those!), and obsessively listening to the beautifully textured tracks on our headphones, in awe of the recordings' creativity and originality. We highly recommend that you grab yours and take Hampson's long-awaited, new album, Good Wind, Part. 1, for a spin below, and grab yourself a copy while you're at it because 50% of its Bandcamp sales will be donated to The Emergent Fund, "an organization launched in the wake of the 2016 election to support grassroots movements in marginalized communities." Enjoy!





gobbinjr's psychosocial drama takes stage at Mercury on 12.06

gobbinjr is the brainchild of Wisconsin native Emma Witmer, whose rawness and minimalism in 2016 EP vom night might bring to mind a more synthpop version of Frankie Cosmos. Atop self-produced tracks filled with ethereal synths floating over slow-pulsing drum machines, and bursting with a wide variety of influences, lay Witmer’s intensely antisocial lyrics (the irony being that the songwriting itself has become the vehicle for sociability). They paint a picture of a helplessly shy writer with the song as her one authentically viable communication outlet. Lines like “I feel creepy all the time / ‘cause I like everybody more than they like me” and “maybe we all end up in space / undeserving of this friendly place” serve as social critique cloaked in the aesthetic of teenage diary entries. In this light, vom night proves to masterfully balance the head and the heart, becoming a provocative witness of the times with a simple, pop-centered approach.

You can catch their next show on Wednesday, December 6th at Mercury Lounge. - Andrew Strader

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