JoeMc on 09/17/2009 at 03:14PM
Plenty of bands from the magical city of Portland have had tracks featured on the FMA in the past year (see here, here, and here), but my current favorite is Explode Into Colors, a trio of young women whose percussion-heavy, post-punky music perks up my ears. Apparently, I'm not all that unique in my enthusiasm; for instance, in the Willamette Week, a local paper, they were voted best new Portland band of 2009, and the New Musical Express thought they were one of the ten best bands at South by Southwest this year. Clearly, they've got a few people in their corner.
Now, I have to admit that I'm not temperamentally inclined to put much stock in "best of this" and "best of that" talk, and I'd rather leave it to folks at other blogs to deal in over-the-top praise and too-cool-for-school backlash. Simply put, I just like the handful of records that this band have put out so far. In fact, they recently put out a pretty good one called "Coffins" b/w "Sharpen the Knife" on M'Ladys Records. Today I'd like to feature the b-side, which is the one I like best.
Explode into Colors consists of Claudia Meza, Lisa Schonberg, and Heather Treadway. They're not exactly new at this, previous associations including Tender Forever (a K records band from a couple of years ago), Hornet Leg, Thunder!Thunder!Thunder!, and Japanther. One of them even continues to moonlight as a member of Kickball. None of these bands really sound like Explode Into Colors, though, so it's clear that they are doing their own thing now.
What is that thing? Well, you can probably tell by listening to this track that they favor an open, energetic, rhythm-driven sound. I'm not too into playing spot the influences, but you can hear a smattering of Pulsallama and ESG in there, as well as some Brit post-punky types like Essential Logic and the Raincoats (who they will be opening for in October in Portland). "Sharpen the Knife" also has a lyrical edge (sorry) that reminds me of the late, great Au Pairs, who always injected a lot of the political into the personal. The current profile shot on Explode Into Colors' MySpace page features a woman in a tanktop bearing the slogan "Abuse of Power Comes As No Surprise," just in case you're in doubt about this dimension of the band.
These ladies don't believe in idle hands and they've got a lot of stuff going on in terms of art shows, fashion lines, and other musical endeavors, so who knows how much attention Explode Into Colors will get. For now, though, they seem to be gathering momentum. They've got a brand-new single out on Kill Rock Stars called "Eyes Hands Mouth," and if you're in Portland next Thursday (September 24), go to the free record release party for it at Jackpot! It's all ages. Actually, you're quite lucky if you're in Portland next month since you can see them with the Raincoats on October 13th, and then with another illustrious female trio, Shonen Knife, on October 27th. A full-length for Kill Rock Stars is rumored to be in the works, so there should be some more explosive audio colors on the way soon.