Wednesday, July 6, 2011

In Print: Washed Out Trades Sampling for Songwriting, and More

Posted By on Wed, Jul 6, 2011 at 8:58 AM

click to enlarge Washed Out's Ernest Greene
  • Washed Out's Ernest Greene

After Portlandia, Washed Out trades sampling for songwriting: Washed Out might be the most perfect band name ever conceived: It captures the gist of Ernest Greene's music in two simple words. Bright, explosive hues could have easily ruled his synth-driven pop, but he takes a different tack, toning down his songs by surrounding them with liquidlike reverb. His sound is wrapped in a chewed-up, low-key feel that turns otherwise summery melodies blurry and ambient. These muted hues give a sense of sleepy, distant nostalgia. Washed Out is such a fitting name that if you added "pop" right after it, the phrase could be a good substitute for "chillwave," the blog-bred subgenre Washed Out and contemporaries like Neon Indian and Toro Y Moi have been tied to. The fact that Greene's project carries some name recognition is at least partly because of the hype that accompanied the rapid rise of chillwave in late 2009 and early 2010. But that's not to say that the material isn't fascinating in itself.

Back when he was in high school, the Georgia- and South Carolina-based musician messed around with jazz, going for experiments like creating a backing track, looping it onto a cassette, and then playing over it. In college, he tinkered with instrumental hip-hop. Eventually, he landed on more structured pop, which aped personal favorites like Radiohead. Then, in 2009, he made some songs in his bedroom using a mic and electronic equipment, posting them on MySpace under the moniker Washed Out. His initial boost in profile came when a London-based blog called No Pain in Pop, which had become interested in Toro Y Moi, spied Washed Out on that band's MySpace friends list and decided to cover Washed Out. That inspired other bloggers to do the same, and soon, e-mail after e-mail was tumbling into Greene's inbox. "Over the course of a month or so, I went from relative obscurity to having blogs write about the songs on a daily basis," he says. "I had maybe like 80 friends on MySpace and within a month, it was probably a thousand." Soon, the buzz translated into invitations to perform live -- and while he turned them down at first, his self-confidence increased and the offers got too good to deny... [continue reading]

Also, we recommend shows from Maus Haus, Buckethead, and Dirtybird's summer party.

----

Follow us on Twitter @SFAllShookDown, and like us at Facebook.com/SFAllShookDown.

  • Pin It

Tags: , , , ,

About The Author

Ian S. Port

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook

Slideshows

  • Nevada City and the South Yuba River: A gold country getaway

    Nestled in the green pine-covered hills of the Northern Sierra Nevada is the Gold Rush town of Nevada City. Beautiful Victorian houses line the streets, keeping the old-time charm alive, and a vibrant downtown is home to world-class art, theater and music. The nearby South Yuba River State Park is known for its emerald swimming holes during the summer and radiant leaf colors during autumn. These days the gold panning is more for tourists than prospectors, but the gold miner spirit is still in the air.

    South Yuba River State Park and Swimming Holes:
    The park runs along and below 20 miles of the South Yuba River, offering hiking, mountain biking, gold panning and swimming. The Highway 49 bridge swimming hole is seven-miles northwest of Nevada City where Highway 49 crosses the South Yuba River. Parking is readily available and it is a short, steep hike to a stunning swimming hole beneath a footbridge. For the more intrepid, trails extend along the river with access to secluded swim spots. The Bridgeport swimming hole has calm waters and a sandy beach -- good for families and cookouts -- and is located 14 miles northwest of Nevada City. Be sure to write down directions before heading out, GPS may not be available. Most swimming holes on the South Yuba River are best from July to September, while winter and spring can bring dangerous rapids. Always know the current before jumping in!

    Downtown Nevada City
    The welcoming, walkable downtown of Nevada City is laid back, yet full of life. Start your day at the cozy South Pine Cafe (110 S Pine St.) with a lobster benedict or a spicy Jamaican tofu scramble. Then stroll the streets and stop into the shop Kitkitdizzi (423 Broad St.) for handcrafted goods unique to the region, vintage wears and local art “all with California gold rush swagger,” as stated by owners Carrie Hawthorne and Kira Westly. Surrounded by Gold Rush history, modern gold jewelry is made from locally found nuggets and is found at Utopian Stone Custom Jewelers (301 Broad St.). For a coffee shop with Victorian charm try The Curly Wolf (217 Broad St.), an espresso house and music venue with German pastries and light fare. A perfect way to cool down during the hot summer months can be found at Treats (110 York St.) , an artisan ice cream shop with flavors like pear ginger sorbet or vegan chai coconut. Nightlife is aplenty with music halls, alehouses or dive bars like the Mine Shaft Saloon (222 Broad St.).

    The Willo Steakhouse (16898 State Hwy 49, Nevada City)
    Along Highway 49, just west of Nevada City, is The Willo, a classic roadhouse and bar where you’re welcomed by the smell of steak and a dining room full of locals. In 1947 a Quonset hut (a semi-cylindrical building) was purchased from the US Army and transported to its current location, and opened as a bar, which became popular with lumberjacks and miners. The bar was passed down through the decades and a covered structure was added to enlarge the bar and create a dining area. The original Quonset beams are still visible in the bar and current owners Mike Byrne and Nancy Wilson keep the roadhouse tradition going with carefully aged New York steaks and house made ingredients. Pair your steak or fish with a local wine, such as the Rough and Ready Red, or bring your own for a small corkage fee. Check the website for specials, such as rib-eye on Fridays.

    Outside Inn (575 E Broad St.)
    A 16-room motel a short walk from downtown, each room features a unique décor, such as the Paddlers’ Suite or the Wildflower Room. A friendly staff and an office full of information about local trails, swimming and biking gets you started on your outdoor exploration. Amenities include an outdoor shower, a summer swimming pool and picnic tables and barbeques. Don’t miss the free vegetable cart just outside the motel in the mornings.

    Written and photographed by Beth LaBerge for the SF Weekly.

  • Arcade Fire at Shoreline
    Arcade Fire opened their US tour at Shoreline Amphitheater to a full house who was there in support of their album "Reflector," which was released last fall. Dan Deacon opened the show to a happily surprised early audience and got the crowd actively dancing and warmed up. DEVO was originally on the bill to support Arcade Fire but a kayak accident last week had sidelined lead singer Mark Mothersbaugh and the duration of the west coast leg of the tour. Win Butler did a homage to DEVO by performing Uncontrollable Urge.