FROM: Portland, OR
Alameda is a four-piece folk-rock band out of Portland, Oregon - but instead of allying with the obvious of whatever that means, they carry connotation like a suggestion, are built of accents and colloquialisms from every corner of the country. To call them folk-rock is only short-hand; they’re assembled in layers, in quilts to burrow under when it’s cold. They sound like pine needles smell—or taste—gin-tinged and airy, never from one place in particular, or one region at any one time, but tactilely nomadic. This means that were the band to take some time to talk—which they’d do—and if you were to ask—which you might—where it was they called home, when they answered you’d just be all like “OK, that makes sense,” and instantly imagine them there, in that space, playing this music that sounds made of sap and dirt and sweet liquor and worn leather and whatever else perfumiers aspire to nowadays.
Founded by singer/guitarist Stirling Myles and cellist Jessie Dettweiler, now complemented by Barra Brown on drums and Phil Nelson on electric guitar, Alameda has grown to be this way like so many Douglas firs: patiently watching what surrounds them, allowing influences to collect on their instruments like mossy halos, or halogen glows. Myles’ songwriting, and the band’s arrangements, owe equally to Bonnie “Prince” Billy and Deer Tick as to Iron and Wine and Sufjan Stevens - the line blurs between rhythm and melody, each chord a universe unto itself, each beat a vast space in which the cello and electric guitar find one another amongst an inky breadth of possibilities.
Fortunate Vices is Alameda’s third full-length record, but its first with Brown and Nelson. In other words, there is newness here, the record bred on the restless energy of a group of musicians not so much compelled to tell you something important, but intrigued at how change can be woven into the folds and fabric of what Alameda has already established itself to be. It’s a good thing, too. These songs narrate a metamorphosis, a series of experiences that, taken separately, might seem like disjointed events, but reviewed in sequence become a revelation.
Their sound is both restless and content, mannered but shaggy, a contradiction of terms but without ramifications. Duality. Because, does folk ever truly rock? A hyphenate is just an excuse, a way for the electric guitar to commingle happily with a cello, one not so much disrupting the other but just gently rubbing the membrane of one warmly against the other’s until they slip calmly together under the covers and rise early the next morning with a Venn diagram that best describes what Alameda’s music actually represents.
Fortunate Vices available on CD, Digital Download and limited edition vinyl via Florida's New Granada Records on Friday March 4, 2016.
"Alameda, sports a fluid lineup that crafts melancholy, atmospheric songs that teeter between folky simplicity and chamber-music lushness. Besides stepping up to the microphone, [Stirling] Myles has switched from bass to guitar; Alameda's debut EP, The Floating Hospital, reveals his hushed and tranquil songwriting, a solid core around which revolves the outfit's baroque yet stark multi-instrumentalism."
- Jason Heller, Westword
"You have your acoustic guitar singer-songwriter backed by a lush group of musicians. This is a formula that when done well, I do not tire of. There are a few people who do this around town, most notably Horse Feathers. But I assure you there is no Horse Feathery occuring in this music. It is its own thing. Perfect for the current cold and rain filled atmosphere that has take[n] Portland over."
- Ben Meyercord, Crappy Indie Music Blog
"...currently enjoying the release of their EP The Floating Hospital, a stoic four-song set of moving, minimalist acoustic-based tunes. Vocalist/guitarist Stirling Myles (also of Autopilot is for Lovers, also a contributor to The Deli Portland) stirs lush melodies with ample yet subdued accompaniment from bass clarinet, violin, viola, cello and other various effects-laced gadgets that, when dialed in correctly, evoke a melancholy, though cathartic kind of slow-burn orchestral-folk."
- Ryan Prado, Deli Portland
Stirling Myles (vocals, guitar)
Jessie Dettwiler (cello, vocals)
Phil Nelson (guitar)
Barra Brown (drums, percussion)