In a city where everyone seems to be in a band, I could name more Swedish music makers that prick up my ears than the ones who are cranking out records within a five-mile radius of my dwelling. It could be because I'm a Nordicphile. It could be because I long for something that's not near. Or it could simply be that I don't feel an innate connection with the bulk of the music produced here in Portland. So when I discovered Turtlenecked, it was like witnessing a solar eclipse.
Harrison Smith, the wizard behind Turtlenecked, is barely old enough to legally drink but his songs are anything but green. On his new LP, Vulture, the Lewis & Clark student takes the listener on a plush rollercoaster ride of a kaleidoscopic span of rock: punk, emo, pop, garage, avant-garde. If Smith can keep up the brilliance, soon he'll be traveling to Sweden to perform. But for now, Turtlenecked is on a month-long tour through the US.
The Vulture release show went down on Thursday, June 15 at the musician-preferred venue Mississippi Studios. In a city that nurtures all things local, I don't recall the last time the crowd was so enthusiastic at this dimly lit space. While my expectations for some type of Bowie-esque theatrics were extinguished, the live set delivered in its sonics—even in spite of a technical hiccup, which actually felt in tune with Turtlenecked's artful meandering.