Portugal. The Man is a prolific pop-rock band with psychedelic and jammy influences that never threaten to overwhelm the strong songwriting at the center of it all. MWL has covered the group before, but as they gear up for another release – Evil Friends - they’ve begun dropping new singles and videos. ”Atomic Man” is the latest, and by far my favorite.
Narrative: None, except the riveting story of you falling head-over-heels in love with Portugal. The Man.
Performance: The band barely so much as mouths along, and there’s not an instrument to be found. It’s weird video performance art at its most inspired.
Song: Produced by Danger Mouse, it’s no surprise that the beat kicks – but this isn’t hyper-polished dance rock. The bright acoustic strumming and handclaps tease shades of “Hey Ya” for a second, but as soon as the firey, fuzzed out guitar kicks the door in, it’s clear this is a rock song through and through. ”After you/I dunno what I believe in/After you/Hell will be easier” is as rousing as a chorus gets and you’ll probably be singing along well before the crash cymbals knock the walls down. There are hints of OK Go here – maybe it’s in the bass playing? – and I’m really interested to hear how diverse the rest of the album gets.
Why You Should Watch It: Because this is an entire video made out still frames. Technically, all videos are twenty four frames played in succession each second, but these frames appear to have been shot individually and manipulated in post to produce the illusion of motion in some really unexpected ways. It goes far beyond simple “stop-motion”: skin blurs and morphs, eyes roll with liquid laziness, the whole thing is unnatural in the fantastically compelling fashion.
If I was ever in for a shock, it would have been for covering Bayside. I had heard about this Queens based pop-punk band and had given them a listen in high school, but never would I imagine the show that was put on before me. With Anthony Raneri leading the charge as lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist and Jack O’Shea on lead guitar, Nick Ghanbarian on bass and Chris Guglielmo on drums, this band put on one hell of a show.
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Formed in 2000, Bayside have had plenty of time nailing down a good live act and it shows. With 5 albums under their belt, their most recent Killing Time in 2011, and quite an impressive list of former members, Bayside are veterans in the music scene. Their music can be found in movies as well as the iTunes top 10 charts and they are frequent performers at the summertime Vans Warped Tour.
Anyone that knows me knows I love when bands move around and interact with both the audience and each other. (As an added bonus, Raneri is obviously having a lot of fun with the size of the smile plastered on his face… and the audience can feel it) The amount of crowdsurfers coming through was nuts, and honestly, I could’ve sworn I saw people just repeatably surf to the front, get sent to the back just to surf to the front again. The band fist pumped with the crowd, and vice versa, the crown sang along to every word of the band’s set.
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I may have to go out and get a Bayside album now. I feel like Im doing my high school self a diservice for not looking these guys up when my friend gave me a handful of their tunes. I really enjoyed what I heard and saw, and anyone who enjoys an energetic show with catchy tunes will enjoy them too.