by: Samantha Allen
When you walk into the Anarres it doesn’t initially look like much. It has the air of typical Portland safe spaces with a “f*** Donald Trump” sticker on the front door, needle disposal and condoms in the bathroom. While places like Anarres are a great addition to our ever diversifying neighborhoods, they have also become a sort of refuge for budding musicians; and that is how I found myself there on Saturday night.
I went to see local bands Arbor Daze, and Party Apartment (fka Quone). Arbor Daze, a solo project from Aspen Koch, opened the evening with slow shoegaze. Arbor Daze has a shyness to it, which Aspen herself matched, opening her set by requesting the lights be turned off. Each song began slowly, with Aspen singing and playing guitar or keys. At first her voice feels slightly hollow, singing with maybe a little less conviction than you’d expect of a solo artist. Where Arbor Daze truly shines is with the use of her loop and reverb pedals. She creates an incredibly full sound at the crescendo of each song, adding layers of distortion and her own voice. Towards the end of each song she has journeyed from a small girl to a tangible presence filling the entire room. Her lyricism is simple but relatable with lines like, ‘Tell me will our bodies open up like petals in the sun?’
Party Apartment was the loud to Koch’s soft. Where Arbor Daze was slow and melancholy, Part Apartment was fast and energetic. While I’d qualify them as math rock, they had a heavier sound than is typical for the genre. Their music hopped easily from math rock technicality to orchestrated drum rolls. Their second song of the night had a distinctly pop punk feel to it, with aggressive vocals, not unlike the early work of Brand New.
The evening was surprisingly delightful, and I cannot wait to see what these bands bring us next. You can check out both Arbor Daze and Party Apartment on Bandcamp, and be sure to check the Anarres Facebook page for more shows in North Portland!