The Sort Ofs
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The Sort Ofs

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Jul
27
The Sort Ofs @ Holocene

Portland, Oregon, USA

Portland, Oregon, USA

This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos

Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


It’s rare for a band to come out of the gate with a debut as impressive and confident as “Anxiety on Parade,” the soon-to-be released album by the Sort Ofs.
The band wastes no time getting to the good stuff — opening track “Anxiety” is a jaunty, classic gem of a pop song that pulls you in immediately, and the hits don’t stop until the album ends.
Singer-songwriter Chris Robley’s melodic sensibilities aren’t the only thing that puts him above the vast majority of his peers. While the songs are guaranteed to stick in your head, they also have a brilliant, subtle way of getting under your skin.
Robley’s got an eye for detail, and when the protagonist in “Xmas Card From NYC to Anyone Who’ll Read It, 1946” ends her tale of life in New York with the lines “Don’t write back for I’ll be leaving/’Cause this city smothers dreams,” it’s affecting enough. It’s downright heartbreaking with the addition “ —just like my mom.”
Live, Robley and drummer John Stewart are joined by a crack team of Portland musicians who help flesh out the sound.
Tonight’s show is a warm-up of sorts: The band will celebrate its record release officially at the end of March. Catch the show now — you’ll be glad you did.
— Barbara Mitchell
- Portland Tribune


MARTY HUGHLEY
Everyone loves a parade. Or at least that's the cliche. The parade issuing from the mind and mouth of songwriter Chris Robley on the new album by his band, the Sort Ofs, however, includes hand grenades and hurricanes, frostbitten soldiers and faithless lovers, drownings at sea and bombings on TV.
As the album title, "Anxiety on Parade," suggests, Robley's worldview isn't exactly rosy these days.
"Oh, like sleeping with a hand grenade," Robley coos to open the album, and it's just the start of the tension and dread -- which arguably peaks halfway through with the track "Sitting Inside a Sinking Submarine (Watching and Waiting While . . ."). That title is as long as the lyric: "Cold water rising now. What are we gonna do?" A minor, minimal piano motif sets the dire and daunting mood.
Robley uses such brevity effectively again in "Our Bed's an Angry Ocean" but he's also adept at period storytelling after the manner of the Decemberists' Colin Meloy.
Meloy, a mostly a Brit-pop-influenced melodist, let some prog-rock affinities show through on an EP called "The Tain." Robley and his bandmate, drummer John Stewart, let their arty impulses run wild. There's a pop appeal to the tunes but broad instrumental flourishes and an almost arena-rock sense of drama break out frequently, as in the guitar break to "Head to Head With the Smarts of Our Leisure, Pt. 2." Or on "War, Thank You," on which Robley's voice rises to a Freddie Mercury-like wail as he gives thanks to CNN for lighting the lamp of a love affair with nightlong telecasts of "shock and awe" bombings.
Thankfully, Robley and Stewart put it all across with confidence and panache, aided by such Portland stalwarts as engineer Adam Selzer and the Imprints' Rob Stroup, both of whom help on production chores, as well as cellist Skip Von Kuske and singer Rachel Taylor Brown.
The current war in Iraq and the American political scene are the album's obvious thematic bed, a point the Sort Ofs hammer in at the end with "The Army of Democracy Is on the March," a bitter rewrite of "My Country 'Tis of Thee." Under the circumstances, it might be awhile before Robley can expect any sort of parade he'd really want to march along with. But at least he can be happy about his band's new album. - The Oregonian


Portland duo the Sort Ofs' debut, Anxiety on Parade, speaks volumes of its schizoid genesis. Recorded with Adam Selzer of fuzz-folkies Norfolk and Western and Rob Stroup of bliss-pop outfit the Imprints, Parade is an assured, well-crafted debut. Singer-songwriter Chris Robley's knack for hook-laden melodies finds a perfect companion in John Stewart's drumming, and the songs veer from lush soundscapes to heavier neo-punk pop fare. Given the eclectic blend of influences, you won't love every song, but you'll likely love the others enough to make the entire Parade worthwhile. KARLA STARR - Willamette Week


The Sort Ofs' new record, Anxiety on Parade, has the coolest Blue Note Records-esque album cover. Inside it's some fun, fun, fun Radioheady, old-school U2y (pre Bono's Jesus of Rock fixation) pop rock kicked out by two very talented Portland guys. Tonight's their CD release party. Go forth and support that noise. @ holocene w/Mike Coykendall, Quiet Countries - Portland Mercury


Why aren't the Sorts Ofs, like, the hugest, biggest, most famous-est indiepop band in PDX? Have you heard their newer songs? Have you heard the tight, magnificently perfect pop wizardry they wield? Totally. It's some sweet harmony tossing, smartly produced, futuristic (sorta Nintendo-y sometimes), hard smacking power pop. I guess they're getting a heap of college radio play right now. Here's to all that and more, yo.
GRANT MORRIS - Portland Mercury


Discography

1. Anxiety on Parade- debut LP (on playlists @ KEXP, KUGS, KPSU, KSLC, KDOX, and KBVR as well as The Mountain's Sunday Brunch program)
2. Enhanced CD-R. promotional item with 3 unreleased tracks, music video, 8 bonus MP3s, extras, etc.

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

The Sort Ofs are Portland duo Chris Robley and John Stewart, augmented by a cast of method actors and showmen (Rachel Taylor Brown, Rob Stroup, Drew Norman), bashing away at their unique breed of "agitprop-prog-POPulism for the individual".

Their debut LP Anxiety on Parade, on Cutthroat Pop Records, was released on March 28, 2006.
The album was recorded in Portland at the Type Foundry with Norfolk and Western's Adam Selzer (Decemberists, M Ward, Kind of Like Spitting) and at 8 Ball Studios with the Baseboard Heaters' Rob Stroup (Scott Fisher, Jacob Van Auken).

Barbara Mitchell of the Portland Tribune hailed the effort, saying, “It’s rare for a band to come out of the gate with a debut as impressive and confident as Anxiety on Parade”.

“Parade is an assured, well-crafted debut. Singer-songwriter Chris Robley's knack for hook-laden melodies finds a perfect companion in John Stewart's drumming, and the songs veer from lush soundscapes to heavier neo-punk pop fare,” claims the Willamette Week.

The Portland Mercury says of the record, “(It) has the coolest Blue Note Records-esque album cover. Inside it's some fun, fun, fun Radioheady, old-school U2y (pre Bono's Jesus of Rock fixation) pop rock kicked out by two very talented Portland guys.”

Throughout the summer they will be aggressively supporting Anxiety on Parade in front of audiences from Bellingham to Eugene. The album has been added to the playlists of many radio stations in the Northwest including KEXP, KUGS, KPSU, KSLC, KDOX, and KBVR as well as The Mountain's Sunday Brunch program(Seattle). Enlist Now!