Weekend Soundtrack: The Black Keys

It’s a rainy, slimy Friday in Portland. Looks like the weekend won’t get much better. Luckily, The Black Keys dropped their new album on Tuesday. This doozy, “Black Mud,” is just an instrumental track, but encapsulates the feel of the album – dirty, gritty, raw rock ‘n’ roll.

Pour yourself a single malt on the rocks, find a seedy recliner and play this album loud. It’ll be the best Friday night you’ve had in months.

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Episode 2 – The Power of PHAME

Ben Landsverk, choir director for PHAME, works with a student in preparation for their upcoming show, Once Upon a Mattress.

Last Saturday, I attended a rehearsal for the Pacific Handicapped Artists, Musicians and Entertainers (PHAME) in preparation for their upcoming performance of the musical Once Upon a Mattress.

While PHAME students were busy executing lines, learning choreography and hitting the high notes, I had a chance to learn more about the organization. These performers are dedicated, hardworking and focused. In PHAME, they’ve found a place to learn and grow in the performing arts:

Once Upon a Mattress opens Saturday, June 12 at Portland Community College.

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Weekend Soundtrack: The Heavy

It took a Cadillac commercial for me to discover hipster favorites Phoenix and their catchy single “1901.”

It took another car commercial — this one, for the Kia Sorento — to discover The Heavy.

Well, that’s not entirely true. I like to go through the top 200 albums on iTunes every Saturday. If there’s a band I haven’t heard of, I give them a listen. I clicked through a few songs from The Heavy’s album, The House That Dirt Built, and then I recognized this single from the Kia commercial.

I don’t get caught up in that fuss about “selling out.” Bottom line is their album is really, really cool. It’s a lot of dirty, funky, bluesy noisy rock that acts like kerosene poured on bad intentions. Makes me want to be a part of a heist or something.

Check them out. You won’t be disappointed.

Pass on the Sorento, though.

Weekend Soundtrack: Kid Cudi

When Kid Cudi pairs up with MGMT, only good things can happen.

Yeah, Cudi’s the consummate pothead and can’t go a song without pushing his pro-weed agenda, but “Pursuit of Happiness” features that big, whirling sound that made his debut album Man on the Moon: The End of Day a mainstay on every Top 100 list of 2009.

This song and album will improve your weekend by at least 13%.

Weekend Soundtrack: Phoenix

I’m late to the Phoenix party, but it’s true that their album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix was probably one of the best albums of 2009. (Hence, all the top 10 list mentions.) I’d heard their track “1901” in a Cadillac commercial, but for the most part, wrote them off as another hipster collective with tight jeans and bad intentions.

False. Phoenix is great.

They just might shake out to be the Kings of Leon of 2009. By that, I mean Phoenix isn’t exactly new on the scene, but this outstanding album will easily thrust them into the mainstream and win over the hearts of 16-year-old girls everywhere. I guess what I’m saying is if it works for the kids, it works for me.

It’s going to be a rainy one in Portland this weekend. This is my soundtrack for a rain-soaked weekend stuck in doors, spent cleaning and blogging and eating the same old same old with my good friend Chuck.

Have a listen. Buy the hype. As they so often say in Portland, “Cheers.”: