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This show is All Ages
– Portugal. The Man
– Cut Copy
Portugal. The Man
Well, we’re two full months into 2017 and the world continues to burn like an avalanche of flaming biohazard material sliding down a mountain of used needles into a canyon full of rat feces. But hey, it’s not all bad: Portugal. The Man has a new album coming out called Woodstock.
PTM’s last album came out over three years ago-a long gap for a band who’ve dropped roughly an album a year since 2006. And in true, prolific band fashion, they’ve spent almost every minute since 2013 working on an album called Gloomin + Doomin. They created a shit-ton of individual songs, but as a whole, none of them hung together in a way that felt right. Then John Gourley, PTM’s lead singer, made a trip home to Wasilla, Alaska, (Home of Portugal. The Man’s biggest fan, Sarah Palin) and two things happened that completely changed the album’s trajectory.
First, John got some parental tough love from his old man, who called John on the proverbial carpet or dogsled or whatever you put people on when you want to yell at them in Alaska. “What’s taking so long to finish the album?” John’s dad said. “Isn’t that what bands do? Write songs and then put them out?” Like fathers and unlicensed therapists tend to do, John’s dad cut him deep. The whole thing started John thinking about why the band seemed to be stuck on a musical elliptical machine from hell and, more importantly, about how to get off of it.
Second, fate stuck its wiener in John’s ear again when he found his dad’s ticket stub from the original 1969 Woodstock music festival. It seems like a small thing, but talking to his dad about Woodstock ’69 knocked something loose in John’s head. He realized that, in the same tradition of bands from that era, Portugal. The Man needed to speak out about the world crumbling around them. With these two ideas converging, the band made a seemingly bat-shit-crazy decision: they took all of the work they had done for the three years prior and they threw it out.
It wasn’t easy and there was the constant threat that the band’s record label might have them killed, but the totally insane decision paid off. With new, full-on, musical boners, the band went back to the studio-working with John Hill (In The Mountain In The Cloud), Danger Mouse (Evil Friends), Mike D (Everything Cool), and longtime collaborator Casey Bates (The one consistent producer since the first record). In this new-found creative territory, the album that became Woodstock rolled out naturally from there
Remember that mountain of burning needles we were talking about? Good. Because Woodstock is an album (Including the new single “Feel It Still”) that-with optimism and heart-points at the giant pile and says, “Hey, this pile is fucked up!” And if you think that pile is fucked up too, you owe it to yourself-hell, to all of us-to get out there and do something about it.
It’s hard to believe that Cut/Copy once only existed as an idea in the Melbourne bedroom of frontman Dan Whitford, who was at the time running a very successful local design studio and immersing himself in club culture by night, both in front of and behind the decks. Whitford’s early blend of samples and newly learned instruments has since evolved into a full-fledged band with guitarist Tim Hoey, drummer Mitchell Scott, and bass player Ben Browning, with each member handling a multitude of instruments.
In the past decade, Cut/Copy has truly become an international act. Touring across the world, headlining massive sold-out shows, and slated on prime slots of prestigious festivals worldwide such as Coachella, Ultra Music Festival, and Lollapalooza in the US; Primavera in Spain, Pitchfork in Paris; Summer Sonic in Japan; and Big Day Out in Australia. They’ve released four critically praised albums and accumulated more than a thousand tour dates in the process, the great majority of which have been to sold out audiences.
Cut/Copy’s high-energy live show is matched only by the beautiful complexity of their songs. They layer large swaths of melody, sections with dissonance, nods to many genres, and package them into coherent pop songs. The result can make large groups of people gather together and explode with joy. There is a Cut/Copy song for everyone, and their songs tend to be ageless — suitable for both teenage angst and cocktail parties.
Each of their four records have garnered great critical acclaim, and Cut/Copy’s catalog has won or been nominated for such prestigious awards as the GRAMMYs and the ARIAs, in addition to underground Awards such as the Webbies or the J Awards. Cut/Copy’s diversity has also landed their songs into movies like 30 Minutes or Less and Savages, television shows such as Nip/Tuck and So You Think You Can Dance, video games including FIFA 12 and Madden, and ads for PlayStation, Blackberry, Levi’s and Orange.
DJing and mixes have also been a big part of Cut/Copy’s identity. From their famed Fabric mix, Fabriclive.29, to the release of 2014 Melbourne dance compilation Oceans Apart, Cut/Copy mixes are highly anticipated, often duplicated, and profoundly inimitable. Whitford and Hoey also perform as Cut/Copy DJs, and embarked on their first DJ tour in the summer of 2015. You’ll still hear the Cut/Copy sound within the songs they include in their DJ sets, but they’re known to include the best of underground dance music and perhaps-forgotten classics.
Cut/Copy is constantly full of surprises. With each album they’ve grown stronger as songwriters, performers, experimenters, and curators. As those who have been lucky enough to witness the ride can attest, it has been an amazing evolution for this Melbourne band and the journey is far from over.