We closed out last week with a post on what will likely be one of the last summer jams of the year. It seems only appropriate to kick off Monday with a song fit for fall. We were big fans of the now defunct Bay Area project Port O’Brien. Fortunately, that break-up has given life to some terrific new projects. In 2011, Van Pierszalowski offered up one of the best records of the year in the debut release from his project WATERS. In Light remains in steady rotation, a timeless rock release with a brash confidence that was occasionally lacking in the Port O’Brien catalog.
Portland’s Ryan Stively represents the mellower half of the Port O’Brien offspring. His latest work, Soft Kingdom, has been available for streaming via Bandcamp for most of the year. However, the album’s lead-off track “Golden October” is built for fall. As I write this from Indiana, the state is in the midst of its most beautiful few weeks of the year. The trees and shrubs are bursting with color. In the right light – or given the proper influence – the canopy can appear as if it’s burning with deep reds, orange and bright golden hues. As such, “Golden October” has provided the perfect soundtrack for drives through the woods.
Connect with Ryan Stively via Facebook
Written by Rob Peoni
When Port O’Brien dropped the anchor on their 6-year career many loyalists, like myself, felt like the air had been slowly released from of our rafts. I floated along with this band through three separate releases and then suddenly the excursion was cut short. Feeling like a child that just jumped into the deep end for the first time, I did everything in my power to keep my fingers gripped to the wall that Port O’Brien had built for me. Revisiting albums The Wind and the Swell, All We Could Do Was Sing and Threadbare offered me a chance to keep my head above water while I treaded, reaching for more. While one ship had docked, my SOS was answered and two separate rescue buoys kept me afloat.
I was satisfied after embracing, founding member Van Pierszalowski’s release Out in the Light. He goes by moniker WATERS and the themes that Port O’Brien drew out remained intact. After consuming and covering the release I felt pleased that an extension of Port O’Brien was still available to me. While this proved to be the ultimate void filler, I discovered an additional spot on the extension of Port O’Brien’s dock with Ryan Stively’s release Soft Kingdom.
Stively now captains his own ship. He uses Soft Kingdom to expand upon the folk side of his Port O’Brien past. Stively ropes in the outstanding member of Port O’Brien, Cambria Goodwin, to the release that was recorded over a 6- month span. Song, “We Forget Everything” is a quiet, acoustic ode to erasing regret. Line, “Winters in the west, give blood to the over dressed” help display the rich song writing of Stively. As I listen to songs “Golden October” and “Psalms from the Kitchen” I can’t help, but hear the influential snippets of acoustic folk legend Jeff Tweedy. Strong song writing, folky goodness, and a quick reminder that Port O’Brien might have deceased, but their spirit is very much alive and well.
Friends in Indianapolis have a chance to hang onto the ghost of Port O’Brien when WATERS comes to town on March 23. Get your tickets HERE. I want to thank Pierszalowski, Stively, and Cambria for refusing to hang us out to dry. Drenched, floating, and headphones above water.
Written by Brett McGrath
Often, a new band enters my musical pipeline and my emotions quickly escalate, turning me into to a fanatic patron. When a new find impacts me at such an expedited pace, I always search for the reason. The quest for understanding my new partnership causes me to explore the bands differentiations in my musical marketplace. The best musical shopping spree occurs when I stroll down the aisles of my mind to find that what separates this new band from all the others. It is like putting your head under a warm faucet after a brisk winters walk. The experience is comfortable, soothing, and extended. The band drenches me with their sound. Once the sound has simmered and the songs have gained a certain validity, the post purchase discovery reveals connections to other artists in my library. I am proud to say that I have been sold and am now a new follower of WATERS.
WATERS is the project of Van Pierszalowski, lead singer of now defunct San Fran band Port O’Brien. This band won me over in 2007 with their release All We Could Do Was Sing. Their folky, indie rock twang filled a special spot on my list of favorites. If you have been in a funk after the Port O’Brien departure, WATERS will cause you to float back to surface.
WATERS’ debut Out In the Light was released earlier this fall and I cannot quit sailing with it. Their first single ‘”For the One” hit the Sirius airwaves and I was rocked. It brought Pierszalowski’s voice back to me with a rocking lo-fi sound. This formula makes me weak. The song ‘Take Me Out To The Coast” serves as the captain to my winter expedition. Pierszalowski’s inviting words: “I can’t belong to a scene with no one else” forces us all to feel as if we are setting to sea with a trusted skipper. I will continue to cruise with WATERS as their expedition has just begun. As I follow Van Pierszalowski’s lead, I continue to remind myself that once you buy-in, there always exists opportunities to be sold a second time.
Check out the wild video for “For the One”:
You Might Also Like:
Written by Brett McGrath