Rare Monk
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Rare Monk

Portland, Oregon, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2011 | INDIE

Portland, Oregon, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2011
Band Rock Indie




"The Morning Mail: 05-Nov-12"

The title track from this EP is a catchy indie pop/rock number with a nice hook. This is a bit more traditional rock than you would expect from a Portland-based band (I mean where are the horns?–j/k) that gets a little adventurous on the track “Underground” and turns up a post-rock jam on “Mama Bear.” Methinks these Portlanders like to rock out when they have the chance. Did I mention this is a FREE DOWNLOAD? - The Dadada

"Weekly Download 10/31/12 (The Watermark High, Rare Monk and more)"

This week, there’s just way too much good new indie music in our Weekly Download. While we sifted through everything in our inbox, we picked up some gems below. Gems which include the five-man group above called Rare Monk who just released their Death By Proxy EP on Bandcamp. Their track below, “Death By Proxy” is overwhelmingly infectious. Stunning stuff… I can’t emphasize that enough. - Music Under Fire

"Top DIY Singles from Rare Monk, Suzerain, The Rosy Shades, Action Jets, Moths & Locusts, Silicon, Unknown Components"

It never ceases to amaze us. That is, the number of DIY singles and albums that are dropped each month by unsigned artists and bands that get little to no coverage on popular indie rock blogs and music sites. As our long-time readers and listeners know well, IRC constantly publishes impressive music from talented musicians and bands that even die-hard fans of indie rock have never heard before. The past week’s DIY releases are a clear example of that.

Even though they’ve opened for bands like Yeasayer, Starfucker and Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band, and been featured in a number of publications and blogs, mainly in Oregon, Portland psych pop quintet Rare Monk remain an unsigned, and largely under the radar, band since starting out in 2009. Their eclectic style of music, covering genres such as indie, rock, pop, and psych, is experimental and compelling, adding violins to the forefront of their songs surrounded by swirling guitars and a solid rhythm section. This week the band dropped their new EP, Death By Proxy, which they’ll be going on the road to promote in a couple of weeks. Rare Monk plans to drop a full length release in February, followed by a nationwide tour. Their major musical influences include Modest Mouse, Phoenix, Of Montreal, Bjork, Sigur Ros, and Bosnian Rainbows. - Indie Rock Cafe

"Daily SoundByte: RARE MONK – Death By Proxy"

Holy. Shit. This is what I like to receive in my inbox – it has ups, downs, hooks-aplenty, and then suddenly: dance party into Sigur Ros prog breakdown. - The Indie Machine

"MP3: Rare Monk – “Underground”"

Rare Monk make a triumphant return with their new Death By Proxy EP, which showcases three songs appearing on their upcoming full-length, due out in February. The consuming “Underground” trembles with excitement. A buzzing bass and vocoder have an immediate presence, but the stirring violin arrangements lead the track to dizzying heights. The strings’ dominance over waves of guitar and clamoring percussion is surprisingly comparable to the grandiose emotional heights of Clint Mansell, whose scores include Requiem for a Dream and The Fountain. For all the bad placements of vocoders in songs, “Underground” actually does it right. Its inclusion is in the playful vein of Electric Light Orchestra, like the vocoded section of “Mr. Blue Sky”. This is an engaging, powerful effort that shows the band in full form.

“Death By Proxy” is more in the upbeat vein of punchy indie-rock, comparable to past Rare Monk successes like “Shoot Me Down“. The concise crunch of guitars and abrupt vocal additives on “Death By Proxy” remind of The Helio Sequence, and their knack for glistening choruses following swiftly rambunctious verses. There’s still some of that Isaac Brock snarl, but Rare Monk continue to craft a unique sound that separates them from easy-to-spot influences. Some of it has to do with the stellar inclusion of strings, which they do with enjoyable frequency. But it’s just the quality songwriting that speaks volumes. I’m extremely excited for their full-length in February. - Obscure Sound

"Space Warriors"

Though Rare Monk is now technically a Portland band, we still love ‘em, and claim bragging rights for ‘em. Check out their psychsperemental/indie-rockin gem, “Astral Travel Battles” for a headphone-happy experience.
- Exiled in Eugene

"Sonicbids Artist of the Week: Rare Monk"

Rare Monk is a collective of five Portland musicians that have been playing in and around Eugene and Portland, Oregon for the past two years. With a sound that has continued to evolve since the band’s formation, their repertoire combines elements of pop, rock, psych, jazz, and funk. In 2011, they completed a west coast tour, had their music featured on the X-Games and Dew Tour, and even had their music in a DC Shoes commercial. We recently chatted with bassist Forest Gallien about how the band all came together, their favorite music blogs, and where you can see them next.

When did you decide to make a career/focus of music?

We all met in college at the University of Oregon in Eugene and when we all graduated about a year ago we decided to make the move up to Portland to focus on our career as musicians. Within the first year we booked and went on several tours spanning over ten states as well as released our second EP “Astral Travel Battles”.

What’s the best gig you ever played?

One of the best gigs that we’ve ever played is this past years Halloween show. We played at one of our favorite local bars in Portland, Eastburn, and had the place packed past capacity with a 20-minute line out the door. We played almost three hours of music to hundreds of people all while dressed as Nuns. It was a great night and one of our best gigs in recent memory.

Back in the day, most people found music on the radio or MTV. Obviously, today there is a plethora of ways to hear about new music. How do you find new bands or artists that you like to listen to?

We find music through blogs these days. We have some of our favorites including Syffal.com and Indie Rock Cafe, but bigger sites like Pitchfork usually have great bands to check out. Also the local papers are always a good source to keep up on the music scene in our area. We think it’s important to know what’s going on in your local music scene.

What’s the most challenging thing about being an emerging artist personally, for you?

Exposure. Getting your music to the listeners is really hard to do these days. With the emerging digital media platform it’s become really easy for artists to submit their music to music reviewing sites and magazines, but the problem with this is that all these outlets are getting hundreds of emails a week, so getting them to actually listen to your music has become a challenge.

What’s your next big gig coming up? When/Where?

We are playing a showcase at NAMM 2012 at the Anaheim Convention Center on January 20th. It’s a big opportunity for us to be exposed to industry professionals from all over the world.

Check out more on Rare Monk here.
- Sonicbids Blog

"A Monk of the Rarest Kind"

The job for new bands out there is just getting harder and I’m not just talking about the fact that they must compete with washed-down mainstream garbage. The root of the problem is monotony. Too many bands sound exactly alike. This was easy to get around in the 60s because, well, even mainstream was good music. But today, listeners with keen ears are always searching for something different, something exceptionally unique. Music that when it comes on the iPod captures the listener. Indie music has become increasingly popular because of the bored listener. Now, if you are a new band, you better bring something new to the table. And, if you do infuse some originality into a worn genre, well, you will hopefully succeed – because you are worth it.

These are the bands that I like to focus on in the New Band Palace section of the blog, and I am not going to stop today. We travel to Eugene/Portland, Oregon, to seek out a collective of talented musicians who have decided to tackle a bushel of genres and create an eclectic blend of jazzy rock n’ roll that can blow your socks off with its productive sound, professionalism, and absolutely sick riffs.

Rare Monk released a 7-track album called Astral Travel Battles in June of 2011 and have been playing shows around their area of residence. The album deserves recognition. It is a small featurette of the effervescent sound that the band produces and it hits on so many layered elements you can lose count. The band is Dorian Aites: Vocals, Guitars, Keys, Percussion; Isaac Thelin: Violin, Tenor Saxophone; Jake Martin: Guitar; Forest Gallien: Bass, Keys; Rick Buhr: Drums, Percussion. Thelin rocks the afro in the photo above.

The best way to explore a band is to dive right into their music, so let’s take a swim in Rare Monk’s synthesis.

“Shoot Me Down,” which tells the story of a hardened escaped prisoner who is hunted down and (well listen to the song to find our what happens), is track one on the album, and, while the lyric features gem lines like “If my soul’s spending on credit, oh please Lord, don’t send the bill,” I want to focus a little more on the structure of the song itself. It’s important to start any album off with a strong composition, and “Shoot Me Down” begins with a kick-ass guitar riff that blends with some light percussion and Dorian Aites’ clear, guttural voice. At around 25 seconds, the band introduces a violin that gives the song this interesting western ditty feel – a little Modest Mouse-like. The song moves quickly through the chorus and then Thelin actually shreds on the violin. It is a refreshing solo – s0 different and well-done. A violin can work in hard rock songs and I’m glad Rare Monk employs it. At around 2:35, Rare Monk provides me with the first example of their originality. Many bands would have ended the song at that mark. Instead, the band displays true professionalism and slows the song down entirely into this Ska-like reggae beat that leads into a David Gilmour-like guitar solo from Jake Martin, splattered with soul and effects. Then a moving drum and bass lead to the culmination of the song which is the quick chorus.

“Somnifero” gives Rick Buhr an immediate drum solo and Forest Gallien a wonderful, jazzy bass riff that complements Thelin’s tenor saxophone. Martin’s guitar fits into the ska category again and the effects give the fills a 70's progressive rock feel. Dorian Aites’ vocal is strong and contained, and I like its tenderness. Tthe tenor sax solo is the best part of the song. It is paired so well with the chaotic drum – like wine and cheese – and I absolute adore the little sampling of “These Are a Few of My Favorite Things.” The runs at the end with the bass is a perfect way to end the album.

My favorite song off of the album, though, is “Mama Bear,” and although it is an instrumental, I feel it may say the most about the band’s originality. The riff is simple, a droning, effect-saturated melody, that leads into a violin run that says more than any word could. This leads into a brief guitar and violin riff. What I find so spectacular about this song is the band’s competent use of melody layering, an aspect of music that can be difficult to master. If you close your eyes and listen to one part of the song, say 2:35 into it, you can hear everything. Listen for the violin over the initial riff, and then keep the background in mind when Thelin loses his mind on the violin.

Listen to more of Rare Monk’s music on their Bandcamp and check out their Facebook for more details - The Music Court

"Rare Monk- Astral Travel Battles"

Rare Monk is a five piece band out of Portland, Oregon that immediately pulled my heartstrings with their special brand of violin smoked indie rock that floats through galaxies of psychedelic guitars, 90s alternative, and indie rock. On their most recent album, Astral Travel Battles (self released, June 2011), the band shows off its collective dexterity and schizophrenia by jumping through an array of musical genres over seven oddly cohesive tracks.

The album's spirited opener "Shoot Me Down" sets the standard as lead singer Dorian Aites wails a simple tale of an outlaw on the run over a catchy background of pulsating guitars and saloon table slapping strings. "Teak" then steers in a different direction. The band's unpretentious political side emerges through Aites' banshee screams and metaphorical imagery, playing with your analysis of what Rare Monk really is, before bleeding seamlessly into the dreamy, Minus the Bearesque "Declaration of Entropic (In)Dependence"; an infectious song with a classic indie rock sound that pairs well with the soaring foundations of "Crystalline Logic".

The morphing face of Rare Monk continues through the rest of the album, but you are never left bewildered with their motives. Astral Travel Battles is a cornucopia of post-90s alternative influences cultivated within a pristine rhythm section's superior skills, the charisma that strings bring to rock and roll, and the voice of a compelling lead singer that demands attention like the two lead singers he reminds me of in Isaac Brock and Matt Shultz.

The "rare" in their name is as authentic as their arsenal. This is a band to keep your ear on. - BandSoup

"Sonic Bids Spotlight: Rare Monk"

“We actually started out as more of a ‘jam’ band, and I’m using that definition very loosely,” says Forest Gallien, bass and keys player for Rare Monk. The Portland, OR, band fits that description half the time. The other half of the time it fits the image of a loud, boisterous rock band. The best moments of Rare Monk fall somewhere in between. Layering saxophone and violin to what would otherwise be straight-up rock jams is uncommon, but in the case of Rare Monk, it’s very successful. This has everything to do with the musical makeup of the band. Both Dorian Aites (vocals, guitar, keys) and Issac Thelin (violin, saxophone) are trained concert violinists. All the members have backgrounds in rock, some studied jazz, and the resulting split between improvisation and fundamentals makes up the dominant colors of Rare Monk’s sound collage.

A song like “Shoot Me Down” serves as a best example of respect for head-on rock and one of its enduring features: the rock character. Like Kenny Rogers’ “Gambler” or the Rolling Stones’ Lucifer in “Sympathy For The Devil,” Rare Monk spins its yarns off of a ne’er-do-well figure living out on a dangerous and wild edge. “Shoot Me Down” plays out like if No Country For Old Men were a rock opera. There are sheriffs to outrun, lines to cross and a mattress full of cash waiting just beyond the border. “Through the story we can experience something that’s normally out of our reach,” says Gallien of the song. “Fiction is an extra appendage—another hand to grab with.” That idea lives in the track “Teak” as well, where a metaphoric man of the Earth gets beaten and abused but as Gallien points out “can also exact his revenge…”

The narratives are accompanied by blistering guitar lines courtesy of Aites and fellow guitarist Jake Martin. They blast out rock chords one moment and segue off into echoing psychedelic solos the next. Aites’ voice fits the bill with its rock-squawk tone and attitude of the Mick Jagger school of singing. Drummer Rick Buhr handles the back-beat while bandmates shoot into jam-space for a few minutes. It’s Thelin on violin and saxophone who stands out most on the jammier tracks. Guitars can generate circular riffs and loops, but it’s Thelin’s swirling and chaotic fiddle playing and sax blowing that give the songs a much-needed layer of texture. The song “Mama Bear” is a near four-minute jam with the band settling into a deep groove, but it proves to be Thelin’s time to shine as he breaks through the song’s cloud cover.

“We don’t put any limits on ourselves as to what influences we are drawing from when writing music,” says Gallien. The band’s inspirations are drawn from Chopin as easily as Cheap Trick. Mixing backgrounds and tastes is to let a lot of free radicals loose in the musical laboratory, but it produces in this case good results. Even when the band is soaring into a long jam, it doesn’t sound excessive. “We use these instrumental pieces to explore the musicianship within the band and allow everyone to speak with their respected
instruments,” explains Gallien. “Sometimes we start writing a part or a song that we decided doesn’t need vocals because we feel it takes away from music itself.”

The band is heading to the studio in February to record a 7? EP and after that on the road through mid March. Doing their own booking and managing can be tough, which is why the group members are looking for some kind of management or representation. The music? They’ve got that part under control.

"Rare Monk's Astral Travel Battles Album Review"

Rare Monk resemble a mix of Celtic punk, avant-garde rock in the vein of Man Man, and southern gypsy-pop complete with quick-moving strings and snarling vocals. For a more concise comparison, think Modest Mouse with an extra shot of caffeine. Considering the high-throttle burst of energy their second EP Astral Travel projects, it’s not surprising that a few of its songs were recorded at a brewery. Oregon’s Ninkasi Brewing Company, which has a history of supporting their independent music scene, accommodated the Portland-based five-piece. The infectiously upbeat nature of the material makes it apt drinking music, but the group’s further reaches into elements of psychedelia, jazz, and funk makes their body of work much more than candidates for a party playlist.

GroopEase is currently offering the EP at $3, a 50% discount. It expires in two days, so make sure to grab it now. Opening track “Shoot Me Down” is an enjoyable embodiment of what to expect: a voice highly reminiscent of Isaac Brock showing great ferocity over a dexterous array of punk-tinged guitar riffs, southern-cooked string solos, and an indestructible rhythm section that serves as the backbone to such frenzied instances of experimentally fused rock.

“Shoot Me Down” is greatly infectious, but listening to the rest of Astral Travel Battles is vital to get a feel of the group’s overall talent. The outstanding “Teak” is demonstrative of their lyrical chops, approaching non-pretentious political commentary through metaphorical imagery. The music is fast-moving and exciting here, as it is throughout the entire EP, but Rare Monk’s wide arsenal of genres makes it hardly feel like one big blur. Epic closer “Somnifero” implements jazz and funk with surprising effectiveness, resulting in a rock-jazz-funk hybrid that the five-piece should pursue more with their next release. Whichever stylistic direction they choose to pursue, Rare Monk seem poised for success.

Pick up the EP for $3 on GroopEase.

RIYL: Modest Mouse, Man Man, Built to Spill, Why?, Pixies, The Unicorns, Minus the Bear, Cap’n Jazz, Ugly Casanova, Menomena, Akron/Family, The Dodos, tUnE-yArDs
- Obscure Sound

"Rare Treat"

Mission one: Don’t seem like a prostitute. Mission two: Don’t get mugged. Mission three: Interview Rare Monk at AudioCinema, a defunct warehouse in Portland’s southeast industrial district that now acts as a rehearsal space for local artists.

Isaac Thelin and Forest Gallien are the first of the Rare Monk band members to arrive for tonight’s practice session. The tall, well-dressed man-with-Afro Isaac Thelin plays violin and tenor sax. Forest Gallien dons a quilted plaid jacket, a ponytail, and his bass. Forest unlocks the door I’ve been loitering around and leads us inside onto a flight of shadowy stairs.

Jake Martin, Rare Monk guitarist, joins us. His Wolverine sideburns stand out. The last two members of Rare Monk (drummer, Rick Buhr; and vocalist, key boardist, guitarist, and occasional violinist, Dorian Aites) arrive a few minutes later, toting their instruments. The band mates lob sarcastic witticisms between each other while Aites finds a seat. He’s small and unassuming, with pin-straight dirty blonde hair. He doesn’t exactly scream lead singer, but when he gets on stage, he adopts a rockstar swagger, with growling vocals reminiscent of Modest Mouse’s Isaac Brock.

I can tell that the dynamic between the group members is brotherly. They finish each other’s sentences, laugh over inside jokes, and share stories as easily as if they’ve known each other their whole lives. In reality, they’ve only been together as a band for two years.

When they originally started playing, they classified themselves as a “party” band. Loose structures of songs guided their shows, but most of their material was improvised. “We struggled a lot to move from jam- based stuff to actually writing songs because when we first got together, it was just so fun to jam,” Gallien says. Now the band members describe themselves as a rock/jazz/funk/ indie band that is “unpretentiously eclectic,” as Martin puts it, half-joking.

Evidence of that focus was clear last year when they won “Bandest of the Bands,” a Eugene-based competition that showcases the best up-and-coming local bands. Extended instrumental jams punctuated by catchy choruses urged the crowd to jump to Buhr’s driving beats. Thelin’s sax solos stood out during the instrumental diversions. He struck an artful balance between soul and precision that reveals his classically-trained roots. Aites’ wailing vocals and keyboards reverberated through the gyrating crowd. The guys wrapped up their sweat-inducing set with one last sound from Thelin’s violin.

“It probably wasn’t our best performance technically, but the energy was great,” Martin reflects on their winning set.

“We had our first little mosh pit,” Gallien adds. “That was exciting.”

After the competition, and before moving to Portland, Rare Monk went out on their first tour through Oregon, California, and a little slice of Nevada, playing 14 shows in 18 days. “It was definitely part trial,” Gallien says, “to see if we would implode spending three weeks together in a van.”

Deemed a success (the van breakdowns were kept to a minimum and no one died), the group now wants to focus on expanding their fan base. Gallien says they’ve written and developed drum tracks to nine new songs, and they’re working on finishing up their first full-length album. “We’ve been recording the bass, guitars, and vocals and we’ve been taking the necessary time to complete the album,” says Galien. “ So far, it’s a really big sound.”

The album is scheduled to debut in early July. They’re also booking their second month-long tour to promote the album, which will go through Eastern Oregon, California, and the South and Midwest.

I say farewell to Rare Monk so they can get on to their late-nig

ht practice session. The big sound follows me down the stairs and back out into the night.

Image by Jenna Westover

The name “Rare Monk” is an allusion to one of the band’s influences, the jazz pianist Thelonious Monk. - F Magazine (Portland, OR)

"Rare Monk- Astral Travel Battles"

Astral Travel Battles by Rare Monk is all over the place. It is almost as if they took a giant roulette wheel with a shit ton of genres and gave it seven spins to see what they came up with. On paper what they came up with makes not a lick of sense, but to my ears and my tip-tappy feet it makes all the sense in the world.

Every one of the seven tracks are different. They shouldn't fit together but then you realize it is the supreme musicianship and song writing that brings a cohesiveness. Much like the four-tool player in baseball, these pricks can do it all. Whether it is the classic indie sound of tracks like Crystalline Logic and Declaration of Entropic (In)Dependence, the more straight forward story telling of Shoot Me Down, the whimsical funk of Teak, the post rock braininess of Mama Bear or the straight up Zappa-esque Somnifero; they bring an effortlessness to the proceedings that rings true throughout.

Singer Dorian Aites' voice fluctuates between sensual silk and a Sebastian-Bach-of-Skid-Row-like-banshee-scream. The rhythm section stays steady and focused throughout anchoring a sound that could quickly turn erratic if not for their discipline and cocksure persistance. The guitar playing of Dorian Aites and Jake Martin is what sealed the deal for me. Ethereal and raw yet some how classically gorgeous. The sound alone made me want to run off with Irish travelers for a life of dedication to the lord above and his name is Dorian-Aites-Jake-Martin Christ. Throw in a dash of horns for good measure and you are looking at one of the most flawless cluster-fucks I have ever encountered. It is bands like Rare Monk and albums like Astral Travel Battle that give me infinite hope in music and the imagination of my fellow man. - syffal.com

"I'm Gonna Rare Monk Your Ass""

Mission one: don’t seem like a prostitute. Mission two: don’t get mugged. Mission three: interview Rare Monk. Waiting under the Haw­thorne Bridge alone at night, mission three somehow seems the most accomplishable. I knock on the door that reads “Audio­Cinema” in faded white stencil letters. No response. AudioCinema is a defunct warehouse in Portland’s southeast industrial district that now acts as a rehearsal and production space for local artists.
A sedan pulls into a parking spot three cars down from me. I hesitate to acknowl­edge its existence, as it could contain any array of shady characters. Or it could be a member of Rare Monk. When a tall, well-dressed man with an afro emerges from the driver’s side, I know it’s the latter. He squints at me.
“Oh, yeah, I remember you,” he says. “I didn’t recognize you with all the shadows. Kind of a sketchy place.”
Isaac Thelin plays violin and tenor sax for Rare Monk. While he unloads instruments from his car, a small truck pulls up and parks to our left. A man wearing a quilted plaid jacket, his long hair strapped back in a ponytail, steps out with a large guitar case: Forest Gallien, Rare Monk bassist. Gallien unlocks the door I’ve been loitering around, and we climb half a flight of partially lit stairs into AudioCinema.
It’s a large drafty space broken up by rows of bus station seating, mismatched couches and chairs, and wall panels featur­ing art from AudioCinema founder Guy Ilan. Whitewashed walls are adorned with framed vintage rock posters and painted canvases lit by gallery lights. Instead of rugs, artificial grass is used to cover sections of the worn wood floor; instead of vinyl, AstroTurf upholsters a few cushioned benches. An abandoned stage occupies one corner, and instrumental rock music can be heard eerily emanating from one of the practice rooms.
A dark-haired man with Wolverine sideburns and big eyes joins us on the little patch of turf we’ve chosen to situate ourselves around: Jake Martin, Rare Monk guitarist.
The last two members of Rare Monk (drummer, Rick Buhr; and vocalist, key­boardist, guitarist, and sometimes violinist, Dorian Aites) are stuck on the wrong side of the tracks behind a train. They arrive a few minutes later, toting their instruments. Good-natured ribbing is tossed between band mates while Aites and his pin-straight, dirty-blond hair finds a seat on what looks like an old bus station bench. Buhr, with his mop of wavy brown hair, parks himself at a tall retro cafe table.
Nearly a week earlier, Rare Monk is on stage at Eugene’s WOW Hall, playing to a throbbing crowd. Fans push up against the stage, holding their arms high above their heads. They jump and dance against each other in a friendly mosh pit. Extended instrumental jams punctuated by catchy choruses urge the crowd to jump, jump, jump to Buhr’s driving beats. Thelin’s sax solos stand out during the instrumen­tal diversions. He strikes an artful balance between soul and precision that reveals his classically trained roots. Aites’ Modest Mouse-esque vocals and keyboards reverber­ate through the gyrating crowd.
They’re competing head-to-head (to-head-to-head-to-head) with five other Eu­gene-based bands in Ethos’ “Bandest of the Bands” competition. For the second year in a row, Ethos teamed up with Ninkasi Brewing Company and the University of Oregon’s Cultural Forum to pit six local bands against each other for a grand prize of $250 and studio time with topsecret productions.
Before the band relocated to Portland and found AudioCinema, where they can practice at all hours of the night, they had to maneuver around neighbors, police, and homework schedules in Eugene.
“We practice twice as much in Portland as we did in Eugene,” Martin says.
“Now we have the practice space and with all of us having different work sched­ules, sometimes we have practice sessions from like one in the morning to three in the morning,” Buhr adds. The dynamic between the group members is brotherly. They finish each other’s sentences, laugh over inside jokes, and share stories as easily as if they’ve known each other their whole lives.

Lead vocalist Dorian Aites also adds keyboard, guitar, and violin to Rare Monk’s multifaceted sound. Photo courtesy of Sreang “C” Hok.
In reality, they’ve only been together as a band for two years.
“I was introduced to Isaac in the back of Roma,” Aites says referring to a local coffee shop just down the street from the Univer­sity campus. “Back when you could smoke back there,” he adds, tossing his head to the side in an attempt to knock his hair away from his face.
If members of Rare Monk are spokes on a bicycle wheel, Thelin is the hub. Nearly everyone was brought together through Thelin. When their original drummer moved away six months after their concep­tion, the search was on for a replacement. Enter Buhr.
“I was in a band with Rick before, so I just kind of grabbed him,” Gallien says. “We had fake drummer tryouts, but we kind of knew Rick was - Ethos Magazine (Eugene, OR)


Still working on that hot first release.



Hailing from Portland, Oregon, the young turks of Rare Monk have a sonic resilience that’s like everything and nothing you've ever heard. While the obvious signposts are there to guide you (Modest Mouse, Sonic Youth, Phoenix), Rare Monk combine their love of both 90s and contemporary Indie Rock with a fevered Pop intensity, before shooting the whole thing into outer space to see what comes back. As frontman Dorian Aites puts it, “Although we draw upon many genres for inspiration, we’ve been creating our own thing based on nothing other than the idea that, ‘these are the songs we wrote cause they sound cool’”. The psychedelic insanity can be traced back to their college roots, when the guys were the go-to band for drunkin‘ dorm rooms and sonic exploration. 

In 2012 Rare Monk teamed up with noted producer Skyler Norwood (Blind Pilot, Horsefeathers, Talkdemonic) for their self-released EP, ‘Death By Proxy’. The giddy pop thrill of the title track and the funky, slow burn of “Underground” act as the band's mission statement, and according to Dorian, “Is pretty genuine. I think the important thing here is not to try and fit a compartmentalized soundscape, or to try and be different from everyone else; the importance lies in doing what you are passionate about. Passion is genuine.” 

In 2014 Rare Monk release a limited edition 7” AA-side single with new songs “Splice” and “Sleep/Attack” via B3SCI Records. The release was recorded and produced late Summer 2013 in Los Angeles at Wax LTD Studios by Wally Gagel (Best Coast, Muse, Family Of The Year, Folk Implosion). The songs showcase the next frontier for a band who venture toward a lauded career, capturing the sheer energy of an incredible live show, and bridging a sound for the masses with that of music appreciation. 

- Appearances at SXSW 2012, SXSW 2013, SXSW 2014, The Great Escape 2014
- Sponsors: Gallien-Krueger, Ninkasi Brewing, Zon Basses
- National tours in Winter 2010, Summer 2011, Fall 2012, Winter 2013, Summer 2013
- Self- Managed, Unsigned

Band Members