When you think of Portland, you might think of good coffee, food trucks, people riding bikes and doing nature-y stuff. And sure, a place that raised Courtney Love has got to have some punk roots, but today the Oregon city churns out either expansive folk or, on the opposite end, hell-raising metal. So where does garage-pop band the Angry Orts fit in?
“I don’t think we’re really what people envision as a Portland band,” explains lead vocalist Sara Hernandez. “I’d guess they usually think of quieter bands like Typhoon or Blind Pilot, or
if they’re into metal, they think of Red Fang or Witch Mountain.”
The Angry Orts—Hernandez, her husband, Matthew (drums), Aaron Ettlin (guitar) and the band’s latest edition from London, Emily Seabroke (bass)—has figured out how to create its own vibrant style of danceable garage punk-pop within the wide range of local sound, eloquently laid out on the band’s 2008 LP, The Purple Rhino Squad Versus The Blue Whale Super Heavy Assault Troops, and self-titled LP from 2010.
Portland has the local live music scene on lock with venues like the Doug Fir, where the Angry Orts had its self-titled record release party and what became its most inspirational show yet. The venue helped create a night of genuine good vibes as Hernandez wailed out her breathy, high-pitched vocals while sporting a corset, ruffled panties and fishnets, and was supported by backup singers and thunderous guitar riffs.
“We were surrounded by a bunch of sweaty, drunk, dancing people, some of whom were our close friends and family, and the vibe of the entire night was just pure energy and ecstatic-ness. It made us realize how lucky we are to make music with some of our best friends in a town that we love,” said Hernandez.
And the love is reciprocal: Angry Orts was invited to contribute its cover of Quarterflash’s “Harden My Heart” on Let It Rain, a compilation put together by the Oregon Historical Society and PDX Pop Now!, presenting current Portland bands covering older Portland bands. All proceeds of the compilation, set to be released February 19, will go to PDX Pop Now!, a volunteer-based organization dedicated to the Portland music scene.
Until the group’s next release in late 2012, check out the Angry Orts’ live album, recorded in the cozy Banana Stand, due out April 10.
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