Magic Mouth
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Magic Mouth

Portland, Oregon, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2012 | INDIE

Portland, Oregon, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2012
Band Rock Soul




"Magic Mouth EP Release: Devil May Care"

Magic Mouth pulled out all the stops for their latest EP, Devil May Care. This funky, high energy release showcases a melding of soul, rock and r&b refined by clean production and precise tones. The musicianship is mature without being overbearing, the songs complex without losing pop appeal and the hooks as addicting as the vocal melodies are compelling. “Mother Lode” provides a break from the dance party, the fluid bass line grounding an emotive vocal melody and sparse guitar leads. The closing track, “Speak Softly After Dark (For Nina)” has the kind of driving, kinetic rhythm that could move any audience; the fact that it’s supported by some of the most soulful vocals to come out of Portland in recent years is the icing on the cake. - The Deli Magazine NYC

"Devil May Care: Magic Mouth Comes to San Francisco"

The group's electric Believer EP saw release in 2012, and now it's in the process of finishing up another, Devil May Care, which was funded with $10,000 raised through Kickstarter. The foursome worked on the record with Nathan Howdeshell and Hannah Blilie of the Gossip, who walked the band through the process, gave feedback, and connected Magic Mouth with a producer. Devil May Care will be released on vinyl in late summer.

"I'm really proud of this record," Trü says.

Drummer Ana Briseño says, "Yeah, I think it's taking us into the next level, a little more grownup, of taking this band seriously. The quality of the recording, and getting to put it out on vinyl, and being able to be involved in the artwork — I think we're really lucky and not a lot of bands make it to that point."

"In comparison to our first EP, which we recorded like, between two of our friends' bedroom studios," Trü says. "It's definitely been an evolution, and this time around I feel like we really captured the type of energy we bring to a live performance." - San Francisco Bay Guardian

"Guest Lists: Magic Mouth is Corin Tuckers New Favorite Band"

There's a new band from Portland called Magic Mouth that I really love. I met the singer [Stephfon Bartee] at a show I did with Portland Cello Project-- he's one of the most incredible singers I've ever seen. They're about to go on tour with the Gossip. It's indie rock, but with 60s elements in some of the songwriting. - Pitchfork

"From the Desk of Corin Tucker Band: Magic Mouth!"

A few times in my life I’ve had the chance to catch an act before anyone had heard of them, sometimes before they had really mastered the great live show, but with the raw talent still front and center. Mostly that is because of my band Sleater-Kinney. Some of the bands that opened for us: White Stripes, the Gossip, the Black Keys. Props to Janet Weiss; she really knows how to pick them! I actually was playing with Janet and the Portland Cello Project recently, when she introduced me to a singular singer with dizzying talent: Stephfon Bartee-Smith. His voice reminds me of Sam Cooke and Terence Trent D’Arby, but also sounds like we’re only hearing the tip of the iceberg. He only sang one song with that night, an Isley Brothers song, but all of the hair on the back of my neck stood up. Check out his band Magic Mouth; they are opening for the Gossip on tour. - See more at: - `Magnet Magazine

"'Devil May Care' An Interview With Gossip Protegés Magic Mouth"

On the heels of a tour with fellow hometown heroes Gossip, Portland's Magic Mouth is about to release their new EP Devil May Care on August 15. This record is the follow-up to their 2012 debut Believer EP, and will be available in limited edition 12' 33RPM format and digital download from Fast Weapons Records (the label owned and operated by Gossip's Nathan "Brace Paine" Howdeshell).

I met up with Peter, Ana, Brendan and Chanticleer -- (aka Magic Mouth) over at their practice space to interview them about the new record, their time on the road with Gossip, their take on the Portland music scene and more. Read our chat just below.

Logan Lynn: Where did the name Magic Mouth come from?

Chanticleer: It's about a boy who always gets what he wants. (Smiles)

Logan: (Laughs) Well, that makes sense. For a person who hasn't heard your music, how would you describe your sound?

Chanticleer: I feel like the core is just roots music. We all have a love and appreciation for that. It's blues and soul-driven. Even some jazz influences. There are lots of 50s and 60s influences, including post-punk...

Peter: It's rock music. You can site all of these different sub-genres but they all lead back to rock and ultimately when we put them all together it comes back to being pretty straight-forward Rock and Roll, even if we took a long path to get there through what we grew up listening to.

Logan: You were recently named one of Portland's "Best New Bands" by Willamette Week. Congratulations!

Peter: Something to send home to mama...

Logan: Does that title hold any meaning to you guys other than that? There seems to be a great deal of hometown affection toward you.

Brendan: One of my favorite things is we weren't mentioned as a queer band within that entire article, which was a blessing because it's like usually the forefront of our identity. People are like "Oh, you're queer." but we're just playing music.

Logan: Well, this is for Gay Voices so I am going to ask you about a lot of queer things.

Peter: We have fun doing queer events, and we are happy to put our name on that all the time but it's still nice when someone writes about your music.

Logan: So that kind-of parlays us into the question "Are you a queer band"? Is that queer piece part of the Magic Mouth identity?

Chanticleer: We are all queer. Yes.

Ana: I think wherever we identify depends on the month. Sometimes we'll go in and out of it.

Logan: Where you're Queer-ish?

Chanticleer: Day by day. I was queer-er an hour ago.

Peter: It is kind of contradictory. We, like I said, identify with it but then also wanna just be known for our music.

Logan: So is there a political motivation under the surface or is it just about music?

Chanticleer: I think making art is inherently political. Things bubble up, I mean, we talk about everything -- We talk politics, we talk relationships...

Peter: I'd say lyric-wise we are not focused on politics. There are certainly no policy suggestions in any of the content. It's more inherent in that sense. I wouldn't mind getting more political.

Ana: Yeah, I think we all have varying opinions about how political we want our band to be or whatever. I've been in girl punk bands where it's like "Fuck the patriarchy" kind of shit, like really overt; but that's not the case in this band.

Logan: Speaking of other bands, how would you describe the Portland music scene?

Peter: I think it's really accessible. That's kind of why it exists. There's low overhead, there's basements, there's a kind-of inviting culture for it. People try on lots of different styles and there seems to be something for everyone. You don't have to qualify it so much.

Brendan: I also think there's a lot of different scenes within Portland and we have been lucky to be intertwined between them.

Chanticleer: It's rich in musical diversity, that's for sure.

Logan: and you toured with Gossip recently! How did that come about?

Chanticleer: Yeah. We are pretty good friends with Hannah so when they were looking for openers she had us in mind.

Logan: Well, there you have it. Is there a favorite moment from touring with those guys that you'd like to share?

Peter: It was fun watching Chanticleer perform on stage with Beth Ditto. They would improvise parts. He would harmonize with her. It was cool.

Ana: Our last show of the tour in Los Angeles was sold out and I think that was my favorite show. The crowd was really with us.

Logan: How has it been to have your evolution as a band somewhat fast-tracked as a result of this Gossip endorsement?

Peter: It's exciting because I feel like when we release our recordings they won't fall on deaf ears.

Logan: While we are on the subject of recordings, as a band who is known for its liv - Huffington Post

"Afro Punk Reviews Magic Mouth EP "Devil May Care""

Portland's Magic Mouth may have gotten their start playing Nina Simone songs, but their latest EP Devil May Care pours their jazz roots through a fine mesh of post-punk. The emerging liquid is pure rock and roll. MC5 riffs collide with funky bass with a late 70's kitchen sink punk sensibility. Translation: without allying themselves with any one musical movement they've created something to make your body move.
The EP opens with “Swampy Seconds” which fits New York Dolls glam rock with soul vocals. The queer quartet of Peter, Ana, Brendan, and Chanticleer wear their influences on their sleeve, sure, but their influences are so vast and varied, they don't run the risk of being classified as retro. “Disco Song” may ride a dance beat, but it's pretty far removed from the pop cleanliness of the BeeGees. Fun as their dance tunes may be, it's the epic ballad “Mothar Lode” where Magic Mouth really shine. Chanticleer's vocals dance on top of a minimal bass line. The song rises and falls with a chorus of harmonies. Suddenly the Nina Simone influence makes a lot of sense. For a band to be equally capable expressing some soulful depth as they are with a fun rock-out is a rare thing.
- Words by Nathan Leigh - Afro Punk

"Magic Mouth on NPR's Heavy Rotation"

"Ain't you got no shame?!" So lights the fuse of "Swampy Seconds," the sonic stick of dynamite that kicks off Magic Mouth's new Devil May Care EP. "The song is ... a really militant protest about being who you are," lead singer Chanticleer Trü told us earlier this year. In some ways, Magic Mouth is still realizing its own identity, evolving from a band brought together by a shared love of Nina Simone to the post-punk funk outfit currently on display. Based on irresistible songs like this one, we're happy to be along for the journey. --Jeremy Petersen, opbmusic - NPR- Heavy Rotation

"Magic Mouth on NPR's Heavy Rotation"

"Ain't you got no shame?!" So lights the fuse of "Swampy Seconds," the sonic stick of dynamite that kicks off Magic Mouth's new Devil May Care EP. "The song is ... a really militant protest about being who you are," lead singer Chanticleer Trü told us earlier this year. In some ways, Magic Mouth is still realizing its own identity, evolving from a band brought together by a shared love of Nina Simone to the post-punk funk outfit currently on display. Based on irresistible songs like this one, we're happy to be along for the journey. --Jeremy Petersen, opbmusic - NPR- Heavy Rotation

"Rock and Roll Lives!"

Rock and Roll Lives!! This is a high energy tambourine and booty shakin' act that you do not wanna miss. Magic Mouth melds together seamlessly the influences of Punk, Rock and Soul ( plus a few spirituals) to deliver a powerful show that will have moving, shaking dancing into oblivion!! - PC-PDX

"Magic Mouth EP Release"

Full disclosure: There is video online in which I (very sloppily) sing "Bad Romance" along with an early incarnation of Magic Mouth at a birthday party. The fearless, fun-loving spirit of the initial duo—drummer Ana Rodriguez and Peter Condra on guitar and vocals—has since evolved into a powerful quartet that threatens to match the get-down soul power of any band in this city. Brendan Scott's bass undertones and Stephfon Bartee's jaw-dropping vocals and percussion add to the band's amalgam of influences, including Latin rhythms and the holy tones of spirituals, in what the band describes as "post funk"—music that is heady, sexy, eerie, and highly danceable. Tonight marks the release of their debut EP, surely to be celebrated with style. - Portland Mercury

"Magic Mouth Ad for Bishops Barbershop"

Us rockin' it for a Bishops advertisement. - Portland Mercury

"Magic Mouth, speaking (er, playing) your language"

You can tell just about all you need to know about a band by live performances. From on-stage chemistry to energy to precision of craft, most of what you see and hear during live sets serves as a sort of harbinger—a gauge of a group’s trajectory and direction. While Magic Mouth definitely boasts a certain amount of charming rawness—as most evolving acts do—they also possess most of the aforementioned qualities in spades; they are, undoubtedly, a band headed upward. If chemistry alone dictated success, they’d have already gone platinum.
Magic Mouth built their catalogue—and following—playing live sets all around town; since their inception, they’ve played a variety of disparate venues, slowly, successfully building a reputation. Though bands aren’t often best described with mere words, a few apt descriptors get tossed MM’s way repeatedly: high energy, booty shakin’, a seamless melding of multiple genres—punk, rock, and soul.
Peter Condra, one of MM’s founding members (also vocalist and guitarist), sums up their style thusly: “Punk, R&B, and American spirituals are for sure our biggest influences. We experiment with different sounds but we’ve wound up making really pure rock music.”
Magic Mouth formed in the summer of 2010 when Peter and Ana Briseño — a frenetic drum machine (listen for screams of “Ana!” from audiences at concerts) — put together a show for a surprise birthday party in Astoria.
“We got our shit together, threw together a set with a few originals and some Nina Simone covers, all of which we performed as a two piece — White Stripes-style,” Peter explained. “Ana had been in lots of local bands for years in Portland and was eager to do a project that was more queer-focused in terms of our audience and collaborations. We started playing gigs like Sundays at Aalto, Not Enough, Queerlandia, and the Miss Thing Finale with Chichi and Chonga.”
Once momentum began, so did the collaborations. After several, the original duo found Stephfon Bartee — whose stage presence is nothing short of otherworldly — and Brendan Scott, and soon settled on the pair as full-time band members. Stephfon adds impressive vocals and a relentless tambourine, Brendan the steady bass.
“Ana has a lot of history playing punk and Latin music,” Peter said, expounding on MM’s current dynamic. “Brendan has great rhythmic sensibility — since his main craft has been DJing.” (Most know him as the popular DJ Pocket Rock-It.)
Both Peter and Stephfon grew up choir boys with mothers as pastors, a background Peter credits for their vocal relationship. “Even though we have different voices and styles, we have chemistry in harmonies and phrasing that is hard to find.”
When it comes to songwriting and arranging, MM starts when one of the foursome comes to the group with a simple hook or bass line, and the rest of the band starts piling on parts. Peter and Stephfon trade off singing, often crafting lyrics on the spot together, working their now-signature call and response angle. “It’s always a mystery what we’ll come up with,” Peter said. “We go to practice and our sound keeps morphing.”
Fortunately, Magic Mouth is in the midst of plans to record new music — and a video — with big plans for spring.
“We’re recording a six-song EP with local musicians and producers Nate Otani [Boys on the Storm] and Damon Boucher [hip hop producer and MC],” Peter revealed. “We want to share and document what we’ve done and then keep writing new material.” The aforementioned video, for their single “Believer,” has Helmy Membreno at the helm, and should be released in April — along with the band’s EP. To celebrate all this goodness, Magic Mouth will make their Mississippi Studios debut on April 11 — their official release party. Stay with PQ for details.
But you don’t have to wait until April to hear their music again. You can check out one of Magic Mouth’s notorious live sets Feb. 24, when they, alongside a slew of local favorites, play a show at Rotture — one they’ve dubbed “Party Language.”
And, take it from us, if there’s one thing Magic Mouth can do, it’s show an audience a good time. Or maybe go just so you can someday declare: “I saw them when.”
“Party Language” starts at 9 p.m. sharp. For the latest on Magic Mouth, follow them on Facebook. Or check out We’ll have more MM on our blog. - PQ Monthly


Still working on that hot first release.



Born in the Rose City, Magic Mouth grew from the seeds of a mutual love of Nina Simone and a thirst for tequila. With feet firmly planted in the raw and dirty sounds of roots music, their thorny blend of punk, funk, and soul has catapulted them onto the front lines of Portlands explosive music scene. Their blossoming success is rooted in the power of their live performance; a swirling storm of sweat and groove that creates a subversively pentecostal experience that is more ritual than concert breathing life into the sentiment that music is more about connection to the audience than the song itself.

In 2012, they self-released a 5 song-EP, Believer and joined the Gossip in support of their North American tour. On the wings of this tour and with the praise and support of musicians like Corin Tucker, who heralded the band as her favorite new band of the year in Magnet Magazine and Pitchfork, Magic Mouth returned to Portland with new material written on the road, and many new and hungry fans. Jumping immediately into the studio with recording engineer Jeremy Sherrer (Dandy Warhols), producers Nathan Howdeshell and Hannah Blilie (Gossip),
and mastering engineer Sarah Register (Lou Reed/Andrew W.K.) they produced and recorded 4 songs for their most anticipated release Devil May Care, EP which will be released on Fast Weapons in September 2013.

They have been featured in Magnet Magazine, Pitchfork, Huffington Post, Tom Tom Magazine,, and The San Francisco Bay Guardian, and NPR, not to mention Ana Brisenos feature in Vice Magazine for her fashion on the road.

Band Members