Loud Feelings: A Review of Girlpool’s Powerplant

Since their inception, Los Angeles-based band Girlpool has embraced a concise and minimalistic sound. The duo, consisting of Harmony Tividad and Cleo Tucker, have previously featured simply guitar, bass, and vocals in both their studio recordings and live performances. This limitation has often aided them in creating an intimate sound, yet they have never struggled with achieving moments of intensity. In 2015, with the release of their first full-length album Before the World Was Big, Girlpool solidified their place as a notable name in the area of west coast indie rock.

Powerplant, Girlpool’s recently released sophomore effort, expands on their established sound in a way that feels mature and natural. Upon first listen, an obvious and recognizable change is the addition of drums. I’m sure Tucker and Tividad have become interested in exploring the possibilities of a larger band, which in turn has also resulted in a more layered approach to Girlpool’s guitar sound. “123,” the album’s opening track, embraces this change. It begins with a a simple and quiet intro, just before diving into a loud and impactful chorus, with an energy that endures for the remainder of the song. As lyrics and melodies found in the intro are repeated towards the song’s end, this time in a louder setting, it is suggested that even in Girlpool’s quieter moments there lies a drive and restlessness waiting to be uncovered.

Some of the songs on Powerplant bring to mind those moments of childhood where you were sad and unsure why, while others convey the feeling of being an adult and knowing why you are sad. Much of the lyricism on the album refrains from detailed descriptions of specific events, but rather focuses on the offhand thoughts and emotions of the passing days. The song “Your Heart” features a jangly guitar with the lyrics, “you’re louder than the kitchen sink, I’m louder than the thoughts I think,” along with mentions of driving through the rain as well as staring at the counter. These mundane yet emotional moments, scattered all throughout the album, allow the listener to reach the band on a personal level.

The song “Corner Store” feels like an aimless summer day, but soon delves into an abrupt change with a loud and distorted guitar tone that would fit in comfortably on any early Built to Spill record. The title track “Powerplant” also achieves that perfect happy-sad feeling found on a lot of Elliott Smith songs. In fact, it may be a little hard to listen to this album and not be reminded of a lot of music that came out of the 90’s, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The band may touch on influences that have long since ran through indie rock, but that does not stop them from creating something that feels unique and their own.

In my opinion, the album’s high point is not reached until the very last track, “Static Somewhere,” with chugging guitars and subtle vocal harmonies. By the song’s end, the band has built up to a chorus that begs to be screamed along to. And then it ends, possibly too soon. With Powerplant, Girlpool has succeeded in creating both a nuanced and cohesive album, something that won’t soon grow stale.

Nic Castillon

sasquatch! music festival reminisce

by natalie miano

KWVA DJS love Sasquatch! Music Festival. We take pride in this PNW festival being one of the best music festivals to go to in America. Between the beautiful Gorge, the killer lineups, and the wonderful people that flock to this festival every year, it is no wonder why we keep going back.

BEST SASQUATCH LINEUPS:

Every year Sasquatch! brings the jams. This year LCD Soundsystem is headlining!!!!!!! Not only does Sasquatch! have huge artists on the Main Stage but they have the scoop on who is up and coming. The smaller stages showcase incredible new artists that will headline festivals 2-3 years after they perform here. They are always ahead of the game.  A Eugene favorite, Corey Harper, will be at Sasquatch this year along with other amazing PNW artists. Check out he full lineup for 2017 !

photo: joseph peila      

Yeah thats James Murphy doing a DJ set back in 2012 and now LCD Soundsystem is headlining. Dreams do come true.

David Anhalt meets the Internet at the artist booth after their performance on the Main Stage in 2016!

photo: natalie miano

Fauna Shade eating an apple before they hit the stage. 

VIEWS: 

Location. Location. Location. You cannot beat the Gorge. There is no better feeling than seeing artists performance, with the sun beaming through the main stage, and the Gorge looking like something out of Westworld!

photo: joseph peila                                          photo: natalie mianophoto: brinkley rose capriola

BUDDIES

The people you go to festivals with aren’t just friends, they are buddies. Festivals are marathons and you need the right crew to help you get through the weekend.

photo: siobhan mead

Hype Buddy: It is important to be with people who keep the hype up and dance with you from sunrise and far beyond sunset. Those people are the key to maintaining enough energy to make sure you see all your favorite artists and get the fullest experience possible.

photo: david anhalt

“Trust Me” Buddy: The responsible buddy. This buddy is crucial to a successful weekend. They are the ones that make sure everyone is drinking enough water, have the designated meeting spots, and keep the group together. The responsible buddy is not a fun sucker. They are there to keep the fun lasting.

photo: natalie miano

Snap Snap Buddy: The photographer buddy. Yeah I said it. You’re gonna need someone to document these memories. I am not talking about the friend who annoyingly makes you take 378 photos of him/her in front of the Gorge “pretending” to look at it in awe. But a friend who sees you having the time of your life, smiling from ear to ear at St. Vincent, and snaps a genuine photo of you. The photograph buddy is who you’re going to talk about when you show your future kids all your amazing photos at this amazing festival.

photo: joseph peila

“They Were On My Discover Weekly and Are Super Dope” Buddy: The music buddy. This buddy is going to be at the front row with you at all your favorite shows and know the best shows to go to when you have a break in your schedule. This buddy keeps you in the loop about the up and coming artists so you do not look like a loser when the next big artist hits the scene and you have to say you passed up their show at Sasquatch!

DANCING:

This is Sasquatch! Music Festival. You can stand and frown in your bedroom when you’re listening to music any day of the week. At a festival you smile and move your feet. It is super contagious! If you start others will follow. The power of dance is unstoppable.

photo: david anhalt

The GLITTER GANG getting down. The most important accessory at a festival is glitter. This is the kind of energy you see at Sasquatch!

photo: alyssa louise

HANDS UP. If you’ve seen Sylvan Esso you know she gets down. Follow her moves!

This festival is the best. Check out the link above to see for your self. Listen to KWVA 88.1 Tuesday 10-11 to hear some of the artists performing this year.