This week we feature Oakland’s Port O’Brien, a terrific indie rock band incorporating elements of folk and Americana into a sound some critics have compared to indie luminaries like Will Oldham and Bright Eyes. We first witnessed Port O’Brien opening for the latter artist–at the behest of singer-songwriter M. Ward, who has identified them as one of his favorite new bands–one of a number of well-deserved successes for the group in ’07, which also included opening for Modest Mouse in Europe, and supporting Rogue Wave on a nationwide tour.
As we noted in a review earlier this year, the group’s successes are richly deserved, with an energetic live show and a couple of fine self-recorded releases. Last summer’s The Wind and The Swell collects the band’s favorite songs from those two records, and it’s an excellent introduction to their signature catchy group vocals and loose-but-energetic style of playing. Lyrically, singer-guitarist Van Pierszalowski’s songs address themes of isolation, relationships, and nature influenced by the summers that he spends working in Alaska on his father’s fishing boat, a trip that other band members now join him in.
We spoke with Port O’Brien at the Rickshaw Stop in December, discussing their whirlwind year just before their first show back after their cross-country trip. In addition to the interview, this episode features three songs from The Wind and The Swell and an exclusive demo of a song which will be on their upcoming first studio-recorded album.
The band has a few upcoming shows, and you really should try to check them out if you can:
Saturday, February 2nd
Swedish American Hall
with Nada Surf
7:30pm, $20, All Ages
Saturday, March 1st
Cafe du Nord
with Delta Spirit and What Made Milwaukee Famous
9pm, $10/12, All Ages (part of the 2008 Noise Pop Festival)
Hear more Port O’Brien over at their web site and on their MySpace page. The band periodically updates its Alaska blog as well. You can purchase The Wind and The Swell directly from American Dust Records as well as on iTunes.
Thanks for listening!
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