Portland Oregon’s music scene is pretty much sans sweat; it’s smarmy on occasion, and it’s fickle. One night, if you aren’t related to the bartender or know the names of her three cats, you might have a hard time getting a cocktail. On another night you might go to a venue and make a BFFF. Portland music was built upon a heavy African American foundation, as was Seattle’s. Hip Hop took a hit years ago as thin, white-as-a-ghost musicians took a stance on risers in clubs across the domain. I might argue that rock-n-roll is less Pearl Jam than Little Richard; less Sound Garden than Public Enemy. But that’s me, my opinion, and my opinion means naught. But recently, rock-n-roll has taken a turn in Portland. There’s a dozen or so bands playing some really good rock-n-roll, and they’re not fucking around. The Lovesores are one of those bands.
As Portland rules dictate, you go to a show as an observer and you stand your ground on the “dance” floor, your cubic 2’ x 2’. You subtly nod your head to the beat, tap your boot tip, maybe. This reviewer has visited many a venue that kicked his ass out for dancing. Kicked his ass out for fucking dancing! And by dancing I mean flailing arms and stomping boot heels and twirling and shouting out lyrics as loud as possible. The scene is a little stolid. And, while there are buttloads of Portland bands that elicit a zombie-like state, there are gangs of musicians making the local scene that make it impossible to stand still. One of these gangs is The Lovesores.
They hit ground in 2010, and they’ve been building forts since. Led by Scott Deluxe Drake, this gang makes appointments and arrives on time. A live show translates as atavistic pureness, not a single beat mislaid. The rhythm section (ah, ‘member the days when they used to call it the rhythm section?) grinds along like a rear bumper that’s been torn loose via a broken bolt, sparking along the blacktop of one of those long roads, maybe the one from Seattle to Idaho, or maybe the one numbingly lowbrowing it into Las Vegas, New Mexico. When you put speed to a vehicle and drop one side of its rear bumper, the most sincere backbeat comes out, in sparks and thumps. Eric Bennes hits the skins perfectly, leaving us no room to worry or misstep. Alex Fast marks every single moment of measure. And Adam Kattau, while splicing science and hammering vast shattered-glass chords and splendid riffs, makes rock-n-roll fun again. When was the last time you came up against a claim of someone who made rock-n-roll fun again? Wasn’t that Iggy Pop?
Also in the gang is Saul Koll.
Kneel and spread your arms and chant ommmm.
Google Saul Koll. Mastermind, wunderkind, a gentleman, and an incredible lead guitarist. A legend and a sought after guitar crafter. God damn, I wish I could have a guitar made by Saul Koll (as do a lot of fucking people).
But here’s the crux, a gang is only as good as its parts. Look at the Rolling Stones. Five dudes that really could not be further points of a spectrum. A jazz drummer, a guitarist that stupided-down his guitar tuning, a singer that had a hard time not making fun of his instrument, his voice. Those are facts, and the Stones are still huge. With that as a blueprint, The Lovesores are soaring toward stardom.
Their latest EP, ‘Rock and Roll Animal,’ is healthy with good gravy and noodles. The opening track, Rock and Roll Animal, is easily the most lame. But it opens the door. It inches the door open. The second track is more like getting up to speed. The Erotic Adventures of Coca-Cola Jones is what teenage angst is all about. We have no idea what this bastard is shouting, but the beat is onset, the momentum forward, and we’re all starting to get slightly upset at this cycle of the needle. The third track is where the album nears its peak. We get hints of what’s going on with “you look good with a bruise,” and the rock-n-roll keeps coming. And then When the Lights Go Out arrives, and, pardon my enthusiasm, rocks the arena like Queen. Simply one of the best rock-n-roll songs I’ve heard since Patton’s Italian album (but most folks don’t like Patton, or Italian, fuck). The simplicity of the song murders me; intro, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, outro. And that’s the fucking song! How could anyone write a song so simple! But it’s been done, and it’s more than okay.
I love this album. It must be bought. But what we must demand, as freak fans, is a live album. Imagine the Lovesores with a live album. And I’m probs speaking only to the tube-topped fanatics that support the band from county to county, the women and ladies that follow the band like a yoyo climbs a string, but damn if this gang is not headed for stardom. Think Led Zeppelin’s Rover. Cheap Trick’s Daddy Should Have Stayed in High School. That’s what Lovesores are. Plus a bottle of really good bourbon. Maybe some Buffalo Trace, fuckers.