brittle bones
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brittle bones

Portland, Oregon, United States | SELF

Portland, Oregon, United States | SELF
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BRITTLE BONES could have been one of those bands with too many cooks in the kitchen. With every member contributing songwriting duties, those myriad influences and personal tastes could have clashed, resulting in uneven, unfocused, and unsettling sounds. However, the Portland four-piece have stuck to a recipe for short, two-minute-long indie rock morsels that are flavored just right, baked up quickly, and served fresh, before they have time to get stale.

What's surprising about Brittle Bones, who only came together six months ago, is how dialed in they were with each other. But of course, the band already had some creative history—singer/guitarist Tasha Trasher had just moved back to Portland from North Carolina and started fleshing out songs with her former Heart Beats Red bandmate Mike Angell. He then brought in his former Skeleton Coast bandmate Steve Gevurtz, who was working on songs with Margaret Johnson. From there, Brittle Bones was fully formed.

According to Trasher, splitting up songwriting duties among the bandmates hasn't been as difficult as one would imagine. "I definitely love that everyone contributes. If I wrote all the songs they'd sound the same," she says.

That collaborative spirit and laidback energy has allowed the band to pool their influences and channel a common thread, as is evident on their new self-titled full-length CD. Brittle Bones is a time capsule of the mid-'90s indie rock that started sprouting up around Chapel Hill, and what was already blossoming in Olympia. There are loud/quiet rhythm dynamics that get coated with crunchy guitar distortion, and slightly pitchy harmonies filled with optimism, fronted by Trasher's Liz Phair-meets-Ida vocal inflections. It's indie rock at its purest and sweetest, and it's over before you know it.

The initial run of Brittle Bones will come in a booklet handmade by Trasher, retaining the DIY ethos of the band. "I feel like it represents what our music does, too. It's not super professional. But we're not super professional people to begin with." At least they know how to share the kitchen.
- Portland Mercury


(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) It's Brittle Bones week in Portland! In addition to the band's three shows this week, singer/guitarist Tasha "Trasher" Christensen will see double duty tonight as a member of billmates Secret Century. The all-female trio debuts their Pleasures Treasures LP tonight, a concise offering of upbeat pop numbers orchestrated by the band's founding member, Heidi Hull. Pleasures Treasures ricochets from straightforward rock and roll to electro-tinged pop numbers, all of which are capped by the desperate voice of Hull—the Secret Century frontwoman sings every word as if it's her last. EZRA ACE CARAEFF Also Read our article on Brittle Bones. - Portland Mercury


(Blackbird) If you attend this show, not only will you see the increasingly awesome harmonies and distortion of Heart Beats Red, the gorgeous, faint-inducing crooning of the interminable Tami Hart, and the weirdly slutty, beat-empowerment sex-rapping of Polkadot Chokealot... you will be benefitting Bradley-Angle House, a domestic violence program that believes social change will end violence more effectively than anything else. With all King Bush II's attacks on women's rights lately, this is the best place to spend a small fraction of your unemployment check. JS - The Portland Mercury


It’s been nearly seven years since sarahbrown, Tasha Trasher and Todd Weakley relocated to Asheville (sarahbrown and Trasher from Portland, Ore., and Weakley from Boston) and began playing their first round of shows as Hope & Anchor. Since then the trio’s subdued sets filled with sweet melodies and heartfelt lyrics have become a staple of Asheville’s musical landscape. Trasher also plays with local bands Little Nervous and Boys of Summer.


Asheville’s hope and anchor play at Pete’s Candy Store in Brooklyn. Photo by Jenene Chesbrough.
So it comes as something of a gut punch to the scene then that the band has announced a final performance: Friday, April 17, at the Grey Eagle. Following much deliberation, Trasher resolved to return to Portland; born and raised in PDX, she misses the town and her friends there.

“I think all three of us will play music until the day we die,” says sarahbrown, assuring that she and Weakley will still be playing music in town and resurrecting an old side project, Desperate Pilot, to fill the void. “I’ve already written new songs for Desperate Pilot ... We played around town for a couple years before it kind of tapered off and went on hiatus, but it never really died.”

(Desperate Pilot is very different, sarahbrown says, though the songwriting is similar to hope and anchor, DP is louder and has different arrangements and instruments, including a drum machine).

There will also be a final hope and anchor album. Oddly enough, the final show will also be a CD release.

“We still haven’t reached consensus on a title,” says sarahbrown with a laugh, “but we’ll have copies the night of the show.”

The album collects the final 14 previously unrecorded hope and anchor songs. Local audio engineer Darren Stroup recorded the whole thing in the classroom where Weakley teaches—all in a one-day marathon session. “It was kind of an impossible scenario, but Darren was incredibly patient and we got it all done,” Brown says.

As for the final show itself? It promises to display the band’s same intimacy and unamplified (literally—the three play utterly acoustic with no amps) simplicity. “It’s just going to be us. We decided to keep it a simple, all-ages kind of deal,” sarahbrown says. Two sets, starting at 9 p.m.

Then that will be it. At least for the gestalt known as hope and anchor. Certainly there will be solo performances galore and a plethora of other exciting projects. Trasher already has several possibilities lined up once she’s settled in Portland. “I know she’s got a lot of ideas and she’s been talking to a lot of different people,” sarahbrown says. “It might not happen right away, but she’ll have many projects to come.” - The Mountain Xpress


Discography

The Wolves Are Out (expected release date 12.21.10)

Photos

Bio

Brittle Bones is a salute to the idea of personal, heartfelt rock. Each of the four members of the band have a long standing history with each other and are excited to finally have to opportunity to play music together. Tasha Christensen (vocals/guitar) and Mike Angell (drums) grew up in the far suburbs of Portland, Oregon and, as teenagers began playing music completely inspired by the creative electricity of the 90's in the Northwest. It wasn't until 2000 until the two finally played music together in the well received Heart Beats Red. After Tasha moved to North Carolina in 2002 to form the band Hope and Anchor, Mike joined with Steve Gevurtz (guitars/vocals) to make the musical magic that was Skeleton Coast. In 2009, Tasha returned to her hometown of Portland and came together with Mike and Steve to create a band that would represent what each of them had grown to appreciate and love about live music and sincere songwriting. To complete Brittle Bones, asking long time friend and pianist, Margaret Johnson to play keyboards, was the obvious answer. Brittle Bones plays music that is sometimes loud, sometimes quiet and always honest.