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  1.  (2143.1)
    Portland, Oregon has a huge quantity of amazing, amazing music... that nobody outside the metro area has ever heard of, let alone heard. Every year Willamette Week, one of the city's two alt-weekly papers, polls the local music industry -- music journalists (like me), folks from venues, labels, etc. -- to determine the ten best "new" bands and musicians in town.

    The 2008 edition came out today. It's a diverse cross-section of some of the best music that people outside Portland probably aren't familiar with, accompanied by free mp3s and video of most of the acts. And on a personal note, it's really awesome for me because not only did two of the five bands I voted for get in (and I almost voted for Nick Jaina too), they're probably the two bands I've been championing the most this last year. Plus, The Builders and the Butchers are just a bunch of random Alaskans. Just like me. (And I got to write the article on Loch Lomond, which was great and a fun time.)

    Here's the break-down of the 10 bands that placed, accompanied by the brief descriptions from their respective articles, links to the articles, and free mp3s for your listening pleasure. Download them all and make your own Best Of Portland 2008 mix!

    1. The Builders and the Butchers

    WHAT: String- and percussion-laden gothic Americana.

    SOUNDS LIKE: A demon-possessed Southern Baptist preacher leading a requiem at a swamp-set, barn-burning hoedown.

    The Bottom of the Lake

    2. Starfucker

    WHAT: Analog-heavy dance punk.

    SOUNDS LIKE: Stuffed animals playing percussion-heavy analog techno in a squeal-infested underworld.

    German Love

    3. Valet

    WHAT: Acid-soaked psych-gaze.

    SOUNDS LIKE: Early Slowdive with longer hair and way heavier drugs, or Brightblack Morning Light and the Doors holding hands, walking underwater.


    4. Loch Lomond

    WHAT: Ancient-sounding chamber folk.

    SOUNDS LIKE: The harmony that unseen string section was playing in the misty forest just before you woke up—the one that haunted you for the rest of the day.

    Song In 3/4

    5. Tu Fawning

    WHAT: Indie-goth tribal cabaret.

    SOUNDS LIKE: The Raveonettes trading pills amid a West Texas drum circle.

    Out Like Bats

    6. Nick Jaina

    WHAT: Literate, moody balladry and acoustic-pop cabaret.

    SOUNDS LIKE: Ben Folds on an absinthe bender, or several indie-folk bands thrown into a blender—bloody outcome included.


    7 (tie). Weinland

    WHAT: Lush-’n’-thoughtful folk rock.

    SOUNDS LIKE: After the Gold Rush-era Neil Young fronting a whiskey-drenched, deep-woods Pickathon gathering.

    Sick as a Gun

    7 (tie). Fist Fite

    WHAT: Hyperactive spazz-core.

    SOUNDS LIKE: A perpetually party-crashing, female-fronted, high-on-ephedrine Devo playing spazzed-out games of Telephone.

    Raven of the Night

    7 (tie). Au

    WHAT: Experimental pop.

    SOUNDS LIKE: Animal Collective interpreting Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians for a modern opera. .

    RR vs. D

    10. World's Greatest Ghosts

    WHAT: Hook-laden synth rock.

    SOUNDS LIKE: Wolf Parade covering New Order songs in a muggy North Portland basement.

    Sleepwalkers (demo)
  2.  (2143.2)
    *sigh* Yet another reason to get my ass moved there....
  3.  (2143.3)
    Val, there are many, many reasons.
  4.  (2143.4)
    Like bacon donuts.