Volume 2-2012



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  • Icon Power - RAR waxes on the powerfully unique qualities that trigger our emotional responses


(Click here)

New Releases on RARadio: "Darkness" by Leonard Cohen; "Sweetbread" by Simian Mobile Disco and "Keep You" from Actress off the Chronicle movie soundtrack; "Goodbye to Love" from October Dawn; Trouble in Mind 2011 label sampler; Black Box Revelation Live on Minnesota Public Radio; Apteka "Striking Violet"; Mikal Cronin's "Apathy" and "Get Along"; Dana deChaby's progressive rock




"The Musical Meccas of the World"









Original Musical Compositions and Select Covers

Fiction and Non-Fiction

Special Projects






From Season 1, in which Fred Armisen takes a bike ride through the streets of Portland, Oregon. Besides being a funny parody of the bicycle culture, it is a nice slice of Portland street life.



The Parson Red Heads

The Parson Red Heads seem to have a nice idea and the musical integrity to express it, witness this charming travel video from their recently released LP, Yearling, on Arena Rock Recording Company. A vinyl version is available on Parson Farm / Timber Carnival Records. The Portland-based group began touring the northwest after the LP release and is now branching into a national run, which began September 16 with a show at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. Watch for them in your home town. Or, cheat and visit their Websites - The Parson Red Heads Facebook, The Parson Red Heads Site, or The Parson Red Heads MySpace - where they probably post things like tour schedules.



Portland's Paradise debut the black & white, Small Faces '60s homage video for the title track off their upcoming LP Diary of An Old Soul.


"Part garage, part psych pop and all pure energy, Diary of An Old Soul is a collection of catchy, '60s fuzz-soaked fully-formed jams that explode out of speakers. Propelled by a rowdy and infectious enthusiasm and driven by an unhinged howl and chuggingly clever Farfisa lines..." So goes the press release issued with the Paradise video above.

To our eyes and ears, this video is interesting in a few ways. The best part is that it looks great and it has an idea about what it wants to portray. The down side is that this same super-conscience feels a little turned inward on itself relative to the song, leading one to wonder if Paradise is selling a song, which would be the assumption, or an object of art, which is more what it feels like: a work that must be taken as a whole.

Paradise is working the sound pretty hard in what feels like an effort to replicate a sonic imprint that may have been picked up from some '60s influence but sounds to us a lot more like Elvis Costello and the Imposters. They may have been '60s hackers, but Paradise feels more like Costello's presaging of Modern Rock. One hears all the familiar sounds of the petulant young Elvis Costello, which tells the listener that Paradise is an artful cover band, which is probably not the message they would have preferred to send.

The other significant problem with "Diary of An Old Soul", however catchy the performance - which we at RARWRITER like quite a lot  - is that it is just not a very strong song. Still, there is a lot of intelligence and style at work in Paradise - more than you see in most bands these days - and it gives you the sense that they may pull it altogether in short order, given better material. - RAR


Blitzen Trapper

Portland-based favorite Blitzen Trapper is touring with fellow townspeople the Parson Redheads in March, hitting some spots in Northern California before moving onto this year's SXSW Festival. It'll the their first visit since 2009. You can find there tour dates here.

BT drummer Brian Adrian Koch directed the video below for the band's American Goldwing track “Takin’ It Easy Too Long”.



Paradise out of Portland
This is going to sound an awful lot like Elvis Costello and the Imposters

Use this link to hear Paradise' "Diary of an Old Soul"

And then there is the political edge, described in a mythologically-inspired recitation, as if someone in this quartet found a ring while diving for fish one day...

"Their eyes burnt by the glowing landscapes of the electronic revolution. Their teeth sharpened to the sounds of a youthful uprising. Hating the Beatles before they loved them. Blood brothers to their instruments, idols of procreation and pro-creation. Aged by the sun. Singing the sounds of a now-nameless generation.

Raised in the cornfields of the Bible Belt, the industrial wasteland of Cleveland, OH, the rolling hills of the Lake Michigan coast and the burnt desert of the Golden State. The four members now emerge from the dark hollows of Portland, OR.

It is the sound of flux. The response to a United Federation of States run by the few. A response to growing up tormented by idols and enemies. Their sound is a refuge from data, meetings and humans. In a world of mindless pop culture, we offer you an escape from the masses. Mass media is no longer the cure. What we offer you is our cure. A sound we call Paradise."

Editor's Note: One hardly knows whether to laugh or to don the uni.


Elke Robitaille

Elke Robitaille is another young Canadian born singer/songwriter who has come south to establish a major following built on regular appearances on the L.A. folk club scene. She produces a rhythmic acoustic sound that features strong pop hooks and matches the quality of plaintive honesty one hears in her voice. She is tough, challenging, profane and confident.

Elke released her first LP, Doors, in 2002 and then followed up with last year’s Naïve. A graduate of the Musicians Institute of Hollywood, California, Elke is trained in recording engineering and music business management and runs her own Indie-Folk label, Rag Veda records.

She was did well in the 2006 Rock City News Awards, with nominations in the Outstanding Solo Artist category.





BOTTOM RIGHT: I love this photograph of Elke from her MySpace site, with the caption - "This was my faithful Tour Van. We spent a lot of great miles together!" Elke has been something of an itinerant musician in her young career, fitting for a folkie. 

Pictures Courtesy of

Elke Robitaille MP3:


Together Alone

Please Stay

I'd Rather Fly

So Lost

Copyright © 2006-2007 Elke Robitaille. All rights reserved 

* Elke also has MP3s on her website, as well as on her MySpace site at






©Rick Alan Rice (RAR), March, 2012