We first heard the brilliance of Brian Coates’ music on our trip to Portland in February 2004 to meet The Out Crowd. Brian’s songs played inbetween sets at Slabtown and our curiosity was more than piqued. Little did we know then we would meet two kora artists that weekend.
Brian moved to New York in 2004 where the music/art project that is to become The Great Northwest begins. It grows to involve over 20 people including Portland ex-pats Noah and Nathan Rice (the Christopher Twins), Josh Kalberg, and Dale Winston. After a year+ in NYC, Brian’s wanderlust leads him west to California. At his friend Armando’s house in Fresno, a musical beacon was sounded. Joe Kaczmarerk, Brent Fellows, Courtney Taylor Taylor, Brent DeBoer, Ray Gordon, Sean “Gothman” Addams, Poopy Simons, Louise Fenton, and a load of new friends converge for a blowout of a party. Brian Richburg, owner of Studio 9 in Fresno makes them a deal for studio time and recording commences. More than an album’s worth of music is made.
Brian, working with Dead Meadow, ends up in the Mt. Pleasant neighborhood of our nation’s capitol in 2006. We meet up with him at a bar in our mutual ‘hood to hear some unmixed mp3s on his laptop and are awe-struck. We sign him straight away to put out an LP. During a summer pitstop in Portland, with longtime bandmate Randall Crush, the songs receive mixing treatment at The Dandy Warhols’ Odditorium and then get mastered back east by TJ Lipple (Aloha) at Inner Ear in Arlington, VA.
The 13 track album brims over with lush soundscapes and ambient modulations. Pop melodies and slowcore pacing coalesce seamlessly throughout the record. Lavish and haunting vocals woven with Brian’s savvy wordplay complete the sonically induced mind altering experience. After the mixing session, Coates said warmly, “there’s guitar, there’s bass, there’s drums, there’s trombone, there’s Leslie speakers, practice amps, Jew’s Harps, drum loops, tambourines, ebows, harmonicas, pie tins. There’s thought, there’s love.”
Love of the Great Northwest is all we truly need.