Gillian Frances – Tickets – Mississippi Studios – Portland, OR – September 12th, 2018

Gillian Frances

$5 Bill with the lyrically imaginative Portland experimental folk-pop songwriter and guitarist

Gillian Frances

Sex Park, Vari Vice

Wed, September 12, 2018

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 9:00 pm

$5.00

This event is 21 and over

Mostly Standing / Limited Balcony Seats

Gillian Frances
Gillian Frances
Not all lullabies are meant to lull. Portland songwriter Gillian Frances knows this well, and her debut EP Born Yesterday is proof. Muted piano, horns, and subdued percussion stitch together the quilt squares of Frances’ hushed singing and rolling finger picking. But a minute or so into the EP’s opening track, just when you’ve started to settle in comfortably to the dense blanket of sound, Frances drops a couplet that snaps you out of your stupor: “Another round, let’s drink ourselves awake / A hundred pounds of blue shit in my veins.” The record is littered with these jolts to the system, lines delivered with a disarming frankness that cuts immediately through the fog of Born Yesterday's opaque production. This is Frances’ great strength as a lyricist—direct, piercing, a little unsettling—and it’s the perfect foil for the EP’s sonic neverland—oblique and nearly impenetrable but somehow tranquilizing.

That dichotomy cements Born Yesterday as a thoroughly contemporary update to the dense, dreamy sounds of the Pacific Northwest’s not-so-distant past, artists like Mount Erie, Dear Nora and Grouper whose idiosyncratic recordings and compelling performance styles set them free from the huddled masses of forward-thinking folk and Americana. Frances’ take on the style welcomes a host of updates: the disquieting sing alongs of Girlpool, the lyrical directness of Sharon Van Etten, Angel Olsen’s strength in vulnerability. It’s also awash in something that’s uniquely Frances’, a wistful, inviting melancholy that feels right at home in the unsure modern moment.

-Nathan Tucker, Cool American
Sex Park
Sex Park is:
Paul Burkhart
Daniel Blumenthal
Colin Buckley
Vari Vice
Vari Vice began in the fall of 2016 when Alix and Dan started writing the songs that would become WHAT REALITY WILL THEY USE OVER YOU? in Dan’s old bedroom on a bass and an acoustic guitar. The intention was to make dancy pop music by way of THE CURE and NEW ORDER. Eventually by the summer of 2017, they had created 6 songs they felt good enough about and started recording them in Alix’s old practice space. Through lots of road blocks and technical problems, the recording and mixing process wasn’t completed until around the spring of 2018. VV had their friend Niko Zaglaras mix their recordings, which really brought the songs way more to the vision they had originally sought out. Even though Vari Vice only has these 6 songs and two shows to show for their almost two years of existence, they are hard at work on the next record and have plans to play more shows soon and to tour.

Over the past year, Portland's Vari Vice have quietly put together WHAT REALITY WILL THEY USE OVER YOU?, a debut of laser-sharp post-punk melodicism boosted by the overdriven circuits of modern electronic. Saturated drum machines and imposing synth lines buttress REALITY's tunefulness, fusing the totalitarian macabre of Bauhaus with the more plaintive side of modern emo. Second track "Teeth" finds Byers lamenting the drama of everyday life in fits and starts over nervous energy borrowed straight from Seventeen Seconds. The closer "We'll Never Have Solitude" leaves the audience in a meditative state, mourning cycles of abuse over a looping bass melody, bound to seemingly endless repetition. While goth traditionally teases listeners with images of defiled icons and B-movie stars to evoke a grim existence, Vari Vice skip a few steps and focus on emotions a little closer to home. Relationships, power dynamics, gender dysphoria, and body image are all abound in REALITY's lyric sheet. Visions of Bela Lugosi, these are not.

Two songwriters propel REALITY's vision: Dan Byers, of Little Star, supplies dour goth tunefulness, while Alix Beyer brings energy from a litany of punk groups into the Vari Vice's more charged numbers. Portland's Good Cheer Records is releasing the tape, placing Vari Vice in the lineage of rain-soaked post-everything including label-mates Floating Room and Little Star.