Logan Lynn describes himself as a “singer and songwriter, although probably singer/songwriter doesn’t really evoke the kind of imagery that I am wanting,” and much to his credit, the image his life’s work evokes is far more than this. With numerous singles, EPs and albums under his belt. the Portland artist is now bringing a new album, adieu, and a new campaign to fight stigma around mental health.
Adieu is a notable departure for Lynn, who describes the shift as a move from “electro-pop” to what he calls “organic music,” a process that was as much about music as it was about self care and awareness of mental health.
“The techno was probably a product of me not knowing what I was doing and just being a DJ, it was like an accident,” Lynn said, and it was after what he called a “public mental health breakdown” in 2010 and a period of reflection that the album began to take root.
With ongoing mental health challenges in his life, Lynn said he “didn’t really know what to do with those feelings, and so I did what I used to do with feelings and I wrote songs.” The process was difficult, Lynn said, adding, “I don’t think any of it was easy, which is why it was four years in the making.”
Stylistically, Lynn credits Liz Phair and the Sundays in part as guiding his musical style, and adieu’s style represents a type of music he feels he should have been making in the first place. Being homeschooled also contributed to his style today.
Phair, Lynn said, “Taught me everything I know about music, frankly—her and Amy Grant. It’s quite the mix.” Phair provided the antithesis to Grant, rounding out his early influences.
Other major influences for Lynn include Portland locals Elliott Smith and the Dandy Warhols and what he called the old Portland scene, a scene he described as dirty, grungy rock.
“[The Dandy Warhols] took me under their wing, just as Elliott had done,” Lynn said. The feeling of Old Portland, magical as he calls it, is evident in adieu.
“There is an element of Old Portland in the feeling experience of the record,” Lynn said.
During the long process toward adieu, Lynn kept himself busy in the community.
“I think my music led me into community work,” Lynn said, and that it drew him into work with the Q Center and then Cover Oregon for the Affordable Care Act rollout. It was this work that led him to being approached to start work on a community engagement program for Trillium Family Services, Oregon’s largest provider of mental and behavioral health care for children and families.
“If the whole city can get behind the social movement of ‘Keep Portland Weird,’ surely we could get people to rally around keeping Oregon well, and from there I launched it,” Lynn said.
Keep Oregon Well. Working with Sheila Hamilton, author of All the Things We Never Knew, a memoir about her husband’s suicide and her family putting their lives back together, Lynn began the campaign. Keep Oregon Well, is “a coming out movement” for mental and behavioral health discussions, Lynn said.
As with much of his life, music is a key part of the campaign.
Over the past year, Keep Oregon Well hosted over 100 shows with headliners like the Dandy Warhols, Walk Off the Earth, and even Kevin Bacon. The campaign uses music to start a conversation, with artists playing three songs and engaging on the idea of ending the stigma of mental health. Many of these shows in the concert series are at the Skype Live Studio, mere blocks from Portland State.
When asked what PSU students can do to help the campaign, Lynn suggested students take the pledge online to fight behavioral and mental health stigma with Trillium. Lynn added that he hopes people “feel inspired to honor every part of them,” and to recognize that “you can be successful and depressed.”
Adieu is set to be released on September 23 on CD and red double vinyl, and Lynn will be playing two live shows: one at Mississippi Studios on September 10 and another close to campus on September 30 at Skype Live Studio.
Portland’s Logan Lynn is no stranger to struggle. For over a decade Lynn has battled demons while climbing through a web of writing, touring, holding down a full time job, and most recently dealing with sudden heartbreak and loss. In years past, Lynn’s battles have imploded in the public spotlight, but Lynn’s last, self-proclaimed mental breakdown happened in private and into a voice recorder. The product of it all: Lynn’s new record Adieu. A record that is as much a story of healing for Lynn as an anthem for others who are struggling.
Over the last 15 years, Logan Lynn has seen myriads of ups and downs. Decidedly public break downs in 2005 and 2010 led to absences from music. During the years in between, Lynn lived a life of partying and substance abuse, scenarios that destructively affected his mental health and shined through in the music he was writing. Back then, those self-reflections were more unconscious than obvious to Lynn. “In my music a long time ago there was no way to hide it. I was writing about my own struggles but I don’t think I had language for it specifically being about my mental health.”
Another breakdown only a few years ago came shortly after the end of a relationship, and the loss of a beloved best friend. Lynn shut down for the third time in his life. But this time it was different. There were no public displays, no press releases announcing career suicides. Only Lynn and his thoughts, recorded into a phone as a coping mechanism. Here, Lynn came to find an overdue rationale.
“I didn’t want to break everything again. I had been sober and I wanted to find a different way to handle it. I started talking into my phone for six months and letting myself be in the misery and maintain composure away from the public sphere. I had to face what had happened in a different way. I got some clarity. I was sober still and feeling proud of myself,” Lynn describes.
This alone time led Lynn down a different path, that would eventually come to fruition as his new record. Adieu paints a clear and honest picture of Lynn’s struggles and their successful overcoming.
“I didn’t even know this record was going to happen,” Lynn jokes. After pulling through his breakdown, he and good friend and producer Gino Mari sat down and began going through over 500 recordings that Lynn had spoken into his phone during his three months of solitude. Mari saw something in Lynn’s recordings, and it wasn’t long before they brought them into the studio and began piecing them together cohesively. After almost 3 years, the amalgamation of these clips into Adieu is set for release this September.
Expectedly, themes of struggle and healing shine throughout the record. “Some songs are about the love and some songs are about losing the love. Some of it is about wanting to die and some is about wanting to stay. It feels like a journey to me,” Lynn shares of Adieu.
The record also offers a new sound for Lynn. During his days of partying, he wrote music that followed suit. Dancy, party-anthem style music are no more on Adieu, a record that’s coarse and led with more instrumentation than Lynn’s past records. Lynn describes the new sound fits better with themes in the album.
He explains that the music was as raw as themes themselves. “I was sick of making dance records; I’ve been doing that for 18 years. There are still dance elements on this record but I wanted to explore playing instruments. It sounds totally different. It’s organic. I think it’s the record I’ve been trying to make since 1998.”
This new sound is boasted on tracks like “The Most Wrong in the Whole World,” full of low-fi drumming and vocals reminiscent of 90s alt legends like Mike Doughty. Muffled in the background of the track is a raw clip from Lynn’s voice recordings, beautifully structured behind despairing overlapped vocals. This one, he says, was captured the night of his birthday after awaking in the middle of the night to a strange vision.
On “Break Down” we catch a glimpse of Lynn’s classic dance vibes, except, as Lynn describes, with much darker undertones. A juxtaposed anthem to breakdown, and seeing the positive on the other side, it’s a track about acceptance, and asking for acceptance.
“We Will Overcome” reflects Lynn’s struggles perhaps the heaviest on the record. With a bit of a country twang to it, the track depicts a reflection of young naivety and a series of longing dreams. Title track “Adieu” ties the album’s themes together, fitting the mold of the sadness Lynn described in his sound. Melancholy piano carries Lynn’s heartfelt vocals as he sings of questioning, but saying goodbye to the past.
Logan Lynn - "Can You Get Me Off?" from forthcoming record Adieu
Another goal of Adieu was to be a voice for those dealing with struggles like Lynn. When he isn’t writing and recording, he spreads his new clarity and dedication to understanding mental health throughout the Portland community and hopes this new record will be a working device.
An executive at Trillium Family Services, Lynn also runs the Keep Oregon Well campaign. Keep Oregon Well allows Lynn the opportunity to bring together music and mental health, offering free concerts and conversations with other musicians about their own struggles.
Combining these two elements has always been important to Lynn, being two massive parts of his own life. “Music has always been there for me in a way that tethered me to the world.” With his advocacy work he shares that passion with others. “I learned my ABCs through a song, so we are trying to teach the ABCs of mental health. That intersection of music to deliver a message, either through Keep Oregon Well or my own music, it hits people in a different place in their brains.”
Regarding Keep Oregon Well, Lynn closes, “If I accomplish one thing I would like to at the end of the campaign, I’d hope that people feel like it’s cooler to be honest and own your shit than it is to pull up your boot straps and fake it till ya make it. I put a premium on authenticity at this point in my life and I hope that we inspire other people to do the same thing.”
You can now pre-order Adieu before its release on September 23rd. You can also catch Logan Lynn at Mississippi Studios where he will perform new tracks from Adieu along with a live interview on September 10th (more info). If you are interested in learning more about Lynn’s mental health advocacy work, or volunteering with Keep Oregon Well, visit the website here.
There's some poetry in the name of Seattle indie-rockers Made of Boxes, as despite being able to be identified as indie-rock, they really don't fit into any one specific box, genre-wise. Rather, they’re made of many boxes, as their music contains elements of alt-rock, jazz, psychedelic-rock, and even ambient-rock.
The band will be releasing their self-titled debut album on July 8, and in anticipation of this, we have the exclusive premiere of the video for the album's lead single, "Mountains.”
Made of Boxes' frontman Luke Brown says of the song, "‘Mountains’ is about being haunted by loss and the memories of your past, whether they're good or bad memories. Even the good memories can become tormenting ghosts when you've lost the lover you were holding hands with, or the friend you were laughing with."
He notes the video is in a similar vein, saying, “It explores a woman's escape from an onerous relationship, and the suffocating memories of the city streets. As she escapes, the world as she knows it subtly begins to crack and crumble, but she continues to run anyway, away from the city, and into the mountains, where she can breath again."
The band's John Hage adds, "Just as the heroine of the song, we hope the listener will find it easier to breathe after indulging."
Tabloid tales of wild parties during tours are nothing unusual but it isn’t often that we get the inside track of life on the road during a major tour. Writer, composer, producer and violinist Andrew Joslyn has just completed a major tour with no less than hip-hop sensations Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. Joslyn has shared his tour diaries with louder Than War and gives us a fascinating insight into the European leg of a massive world tour.
Our journey with Joslyn begins in Vienna, seven dates into the tour, where Joslyn feels that the huge team that supports a tour like this have “finally slipped into a routine.”
“We rolled into Vienna, Austria early this morning, 9 semi trucks, and about 7 full tour buses – all full of crew, management, catering, band, talent, and staging. This is one of the first days though, that I feel fully cognitive of my surroundings, my current existence, and my state of being. I feel like this is finally the time that everyone in the crew has fallen into a somewhat regular routine.”
“We’ve been on the road for over two weeks in Europe, for the global release of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ “This Unruly Mess I’ve Made.” We flew into England at the beginning of March, and rehearsed for a couple of days in Leeds, in the frozen countryside of northern UK. Trying to adjust to a disorienting life on the road always takes time to acclimate to. Last time I toured with M&RL for ‘the Heist’, it took me close to a month to feel a sense of balance on the road.. and even then it was more a holding pattern for my sanity, before I got back home a couple of months later.”
After two-weeks visiting Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg and Poland, Joslyn is already lamenting the fact that tour life leaves little time to “see every sight and meet every person I can.” However Joslyn says that as the orchestral leader for Macklemore and Ryan Lewis “I’m here in Europe not to be a tourist. I have a job to do – and I have a lot of responsibility.”
“I am very aware of the exalted position I have in the life that I’ve chosen. As a musician, I get to perform in front of thousands daily. We’re just about to perform at Wiener Stadhalle, in Vienna for 11,000 people. The backstage is buzzing with energy, and adrenaline. Maybe despite my own reservations, this is the show that I will fully be present for, and at least for an hour and twenty minutes forget everything else, and lose myself in the performance high… Because I know I won’t have this opportunity forever.”
“I’m here for a reason. I’ve been doing this all my life. And I love this life. Time to live it.”
As well as coping with life on the road Joslyn is working on his debut album “Awake at the Bottom of the Ocean” and to top it all was struck by a bout of shingles as the tour rolled into Antwerp.
“When you’re in close quarters on a tour bus with recycled air, and shared spaces, it’s no mystery why disease spreads like wildfire. I had been feeling a sharp shooting pain in my right armpit for a number of days during our run of rehearsals in England, but didn’t think too much of it at the time. However, in Antwerp it became much worse… when I woke up one morning with a crimson red stripe wrapping around the side of my body. I knew immediately that something was wrong. The pain was excruciating, and I knew I needed to do something quick. When blisters started appearing a couple of hours later I panicked.”
“When you are abroad and get sick, it is an isolating feeling. You’re far from family, your home, and a medical system you’re used to.”
Thankfully a course of industrial strength anti-viral drugs allowed Joslyn to continue the tour, though doctors indicated that it was unusual for someone so young (Joslyn is in his thirties) to experience shingles. The stress of touring was thought to be the most likely cause.
Joslyn reminds us if any reminder were needed, that life on a major tour isn’t all sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll. Touring is exhausting, stressful and takes a huge toll on both body and mind.
As many will be aware shingles is a variety of the virus that causes chickenpox in children and as Joslyn was to discover he was putting other members of the tour at risk.
“I found out immediately that I would be a threat to Macklemore’s baby daughter, my hotel room mate on the tour Eric Nally who has never had chickenpox, and two of the string players that I coordinate for the show, if I were to make skin to skin contact with them. Well that’s just great… I start tour as a recluse, a leper, and a stressed out wreck. Maybe my sophomore year touring might not be off to such a great start.”
It is hard to imagine the degree of additional stress that Joslyn must have been under as the result of his illness. Being separated from the rest of the tour team so early in the tour must have been a huge blow to Joslyn in those early days when the team is still bonding.
To find out how Joslyn coped check out the second edition of his tour diary which will be published next week.
Portland rock bands will inhabit the Black Forest when Kool Stuff Katie, the Macks and Eugene’s One Smart Feller play on Saturday, June 4.
Portland’s Kool Stuff Katie is the garage-pop duo of Shane Blem (singer/guitarist) and Saren Oliver (drummer/vocalist). While KSK gets lots of the guy playing guitar and lady playing drums White Strips comparisons, the duo has their own vibe that features a minimalist sound, big guitars, American garage-rock with a stiff British punk-rock beat. They released their self-titled debut album in 2014.
“You’re going to the show, Willy.” Those are words every kid who has put on a baseball uniform dreams of hearing. Going to the show means getting called up to play in the big leagues. Willy Tea Taylor was never called up to the show in baseball, but he sure was in music.
An often poignant storyteller and singer-songwriter, Taylor first raised some dust at his hometown musical sandlot called the Strawberry Music Festival near Oakdale, California. Taylor often writes songs about baseball, or uses the game’s expressions as metaphors.
“I am dreaming every day. Hell, I dreamed my life away. Like when I was a boy, I’d grow up catching for Detroit. My brother was a Yankee, my buddy Whitey was a Met. We’d all win the pennant with a game-winning hit. Now Whitey’s digging ditches, and I’m unemployed. Grounded out on wishes, far from little boys. We never thought life would get so real. Because we all thought life’s a baseball field.”
Blend the harmonic sense of Innervisions-era Stevie Wonder with the skeletal downtempo beats of Portishead, and top it up with a scorching soul singer: that’s the magic recipe for Hello, Dollface, a southwest Colorado-based trio comprised of vocalist Ashley Edwards, Jesse Ogle on bass and multi-instrumentalist Dr. Easton Stuard.
We were enchanted and uplifted by this cut off the band’s new album, Warrior Of Light, accompanied by a colorful and compelling video. Enjoy!
Portland isnt' exactly known for it's hardcore scene. As a town that's had indie music on lock for years, the underlying scene doesn't get nearly the credit it should, especially when compared to how thriving it is elsewhere.
Aside from the genre's suppression, the obvious slow death of the music community as a whole has left many somewhat at a loss. Locals We the Wildfound inspiration out of this, using the current state as fuel for writing their upcoming debut full length From the Cities We Fled, to be released in August.
Today we're premiering "Exodus and Decay," which pulls direct influence from what's happening all around us. Speaking of the track, the band says:
"'Exodus and Decay' was written about the alarming state of portland's local hardcore scene, and the attitude of apathy that locals have taken to our passion for the music we create. Our city is letting what we've put all our heart and soul into simply rot away in the streets. And bands are finding themselves seeking opportunities in other cities with audiences that provide the support and attentiveness that we need to sustain ourselves.”
Singer Willy Tea Taylor always imagined he’d end up in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
“I knew I’d make it to the Hall of Fame. I thought it would be as a catcher, but it turned out to be as a folk singer,” Taylor said.
Taylor, who spoke by phone from his tour bus during a stop in Montana on Monday, will play at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday at the HOF’s Grandstand Theater.
Taylor’s love of baseball is consuming, his concert at the HOF fitting. He collects antique gloves, his entire family loves the San Francisco Giants and his new album features a baseball title, “Knuckleball Prime.”
Taylor said the title came from a conversation he had with a fellow musician about their impending middle age.
“I had hit 38 or 39, and he was a few years older than me,” Taylor said. “And we started talking about how you get these kids coming up in their 20s who can throw the ball 100 miles an hour, but every couple of years the guy with the most wins is a knuckleball pitcher who is in his 40s.
“The guy in his 40s is schooling the younger guys,” he said. “We called that a knuckleball prime.”
Response to the album has been positive, Taylor said, and he is cranking up a tour to support the work. This summer he will play a string of dates in Europe for the first time.
“I have never been there, but I am told there is a pretty good folk scene there,” he said. “I have friends that have been going and they say I have to go. I guess I have a pretty good fanbase there.”
Taylor said he has also never visited Cooperstown, but he is eager to see the HOF. He’ll have company, too.
“My old man is flying out. My brother is flying out. My son is flying out. We are a baseball family,” he said. “This is kind of like going to the Grand Ole Opry for us.
“There will be tears in my family’s eyes,” he continued. “It is pretty much an honor for me. I think a lot of people don’t understand it.”
Taylor grew up in Oakdale, California, a Central Valley small town, and he still lives there.
“It is a great place to play baseball and be on the river,” he said. “It is a great place to raise kids.”
The concert is a special non-subscription concert presented by the Cooperstown Concert Series. Tickets are available at Ellsworth and Sill, Riverwood, Church & Scott Pharmacy and The Fly Creek General Store. Tickets are often available at the door, but concerts sometimes sell out.