The warm souls over at KEXP dropped a previously recorded session with Portland’s Blouse late last week, adding yet another gem to their collection. Blouse’s self-titled LP was released earlier this year via Captured Tracks and, in my eyes, has to be one of the most underrated releases to hit the indie scene over the past 9 months. The performance shown in its entirety below is intriguing in a multitude of ways, mainly being that it does not feature member Jacob Portrait (also of Unknown Mortal Orchestra) and was performed at a time when, according the lead singer Charlie Hilton, the band has only played live about 15 times. Despite the short list of rehearsals in front of breathing human beings, the group’s sound is pretty spot on with the album, especially during hit “Into Black”.
2. They Always Fly Away
3. Nights & Days
4. Into Black
Portland trio, Blouse released their dark electro-pop ridden, self-titled debut late in 2011. While this release did not spread much further than the borders of the Pacific Northwest, I would expect them to acquire many new converts as they prepare themselves for a larger stage this year. The first audition will take place as Blouse heads down to Austin for SXSW. This will provide them with the proper platform to introduce many new listeners to their glowing gloom. I would not be shocked to see Blouse use SXSW to catapult themselves into many of your playlists much like Yuck was able to accomplish last year. I notice an undeniable attractive quality as I listen to each track on their release. Blouse will see success this year because of their intangible talent and commitment to their authenticity. I am confident in any band’s success when I notice these two important qualities from the beginning.
It should be noted that Unknown Mortal Orchestra bassist, Jacob Portrait moonlights in this project. As he travels from one start-up to the next, his “never sleep” attitude is appreciated by buzz band connoisseurs like myself. The combination of Portrait’s technical excellence combined with the dark tones of Charlie Hilton’s voice makes a formidable pairing. Track, “Videotapes” does the best job of displaying Blouse’s potential. Rich synths, deep bass, and a voice that sounds like it is coming from a shadow make “Videotapes” special and give Blouse a great deliverable for conversion. While it is not as friendly of an introduction as UMO’s “Ffunny Frends” it invites in listeners in a different way. Its melody absorbs my memory and makes me want more. A good first impression proves its value.
Blouse most likely will remain silent for a bit as they tour Europe, but expect the buzz to pick up as they land back in Portland for a show at the end of February. Consider this show along with their Eurotrip to be used as preparation for their biggest test, the monster that is SXSW. This will not be the only time you hear about Blouse this year, but if it is your first, make sure you do not let this one fall through the cracks. If you do, then I am sure Blouse will find a way to jog your memory as they begin their 2012 campaign.
Written by Brett McGrath