The Trench, Nervous Operator, Blankets, Pathos Mathos, and Lady Secrets @ the Laughing Horse Book and Film Collective 7/10/2014

The other night I went out and did something I haven’t done in far too long: I went to a show completely blindly. I hadn’t heard anyone on the bill– the only semblance of familiarity would be in the fact that I was going to the Laughing Horse on 10th and Burnside. I had no idea what to expect and it turned out to be a really great, really interesting night for music– the night was something of a hybrid between noise and emotive hardcore.

I showed up around 9:10 and chatted for a couple minutes with Pathos Mathos, a two-piece screamo/punk outfit from California. They were apparently on their first tour (if I remember correctly), had some awesome t shirts for sale, and it was pretty entertaining to shoot the shit with them about Iron Maiden– real nice guys. At around 9:30 we all got called in for the first group, The Trench.

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So I would say that The Trench was in that vague musical area of emotive hardcore, post-rock, and slowcore. I feel like I should resist the urge to label bands like this, but you may get my meaning. The Trench are Austin transplants whose emotive, soft-spoken, and somewhat gloomy rock hits the spot. Music like this has such an air of romance to it– hope, dreams, memories, all that good stuff. The American Analog Set has it in spades, if you still don’t get what I mean. I’m sort of annoyed that I currently can’t find a bandcamp for The Trench to direct my readers to…hopefully you will keep your eyes peeled for them.

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Next up came the two headlining acts, Nervous Operator, followed by Blankets. Nervous Operator’s set got off to a somewhat rocky start: a few minutes in, his set actually blew out the power on one side of the room! However, he kept his cool, and after a little tooling around, he was back in action. The set built very slowly, dark ambience with little voltage spikes of harshness and behind it all, an ominous beat. A lot of modern noise music is influenced by EDM, but I definitely think that Nervous Operator handles this rhythmic aspect of his music very interestingly when compared with his contemporaries. I talked to him briefly after his set, and it turns out that Nervous Operator is this really nice Canadian guy named Spencer Davis. Here is his soundcloud. I hope you check it out!

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Blankets continued with this very dark, exploratory vibe that Nervous Operator had started.  An eerie hum, obscure rustling and scratching, and towards the end an odd sample of a woman’s solemn voice. Ghostly music that put me in an interesting head space. At times, seeing experimental music can be almost like going to church. Blankets is really top notch dark ambience and noise– here is her bandcamp. I am hoping that both Nervous Operator and Blankets will be able to come to Slabtown for Meanwhile, Elsewhere… one of these days.

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This otherworldly spell was broken temporarily by Pathos Mathos. Like I said, these two were stand-up guys and they made some pretty damn good screamo. Here is their bandcamp.

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Last but not least was Lady Secrets (maybe named after a women’s clothing store in Gresham, maybe it just had a nice ring): a drillingly harsh wall of noise. It was a fine conclusion to the evening. I walked up and introduced myself, and invited Lady Secrets to come to Meanwhile, Elsewhere…. He was kind enough to gift me with one of his tapes. Here is his bandcamp, on which you can listen to said tape.

One of the best ways to support local music is blind showgoing. What have you got to lose? Build up those connections and support local art. Until later, happy listening!

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