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.
Cool American, who are on tour with Turtlenecked and also Good Cheer labelmates, and Bryson Cone completed the bill on the Thursday night.