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May 9th, 2012 WW Staff | Cover Story
 

Best New Band 2012

10 local acts that Portland’s music insiders think you should hear.

     
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IMAGE: Matt Ross

5. Youth

  • 57 Points
  • Formed: 2010
  • Sounds like: That moment when wide-eyed romantic longing dissolves into world-weary resignation.

Well, this is awkward: For the first time in Best New Band history, one of our winners disbanded during the ballot-counting process. Bummer.

That Youth is the freshly sundered band in question makes the pill even harder to swallow, as this young quartet just barely stumbled its way into toddlerhood before calling it quits. And, according to Youth guitarist-vocalist Maggie Morris, “The split was less than amicable.”

It’s sad because much of Youth’s charm derived from the sound of sweet voices bound together in lament and celebration. 

Mostly unswayed by contemporary currents, Youth picked up where Northwest favorites like 764-Hero and Red Stars Theory left off 10 years ago, with a melancholic yet hopeful take on swirling guitar interplay and homesick bedroom voices. Some of that throwback style will live on in the form of Cascades Genders, which three-fourths of the Youth crew—Morris, drummer Stephen Leisy and bassist Matthew Hall—have joined.

Cascades Genders won’t exactly be Youth Part Two, though. “The only Youth songs we will continue to play will be ones that I wrote or sang on and ‘Virginia City’, a song that Stephen wrote,” Morris says. 

Youth’s other songwriter, Elec Morin, the lone member on the opposite side of the split, is more keen to leave the past behind. “It’s tough to give up the songs that I wrote for Youth,” he says, “but I just don’t feel like it would make sense to continue playing them, and I feel like there is a lot of new material to write at times like this, when everything is changing.”

To that end, Morin is working on an “as-of-yet-untitled solo project” a new band, Cascades, that will find him “recording all of the instrument and vocal parts, with friends helping out from song to song.”

Music’s not everything, though. “We hope that once we are all working on the creative projects that are right for us, we can rebuild our friendships,” Morris says. Which, of course, would be great for the friends formerly known as Youth.

And then maybe a reunion? Please? CHRIS STAMM.

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