At first glance, Greg Glover seems a pretty easy read.
The thirtysomething co-owner of Arena Rock Recording Company has just moved to Portland from Brooklyn's Williamsburg neighborhood--the capital of Hipstervania. He's brought with him a roster of some pretty damn hip bands, including Portland's own Swords (formerly known as the Swords Project). When he sat down with me to go over a stack of his favorite albums he wore a weathered Kansas T-shirt.
A dyed-in-the-wool hipster, right?
Well, actually, he's not. Glover's actually an Alabama native, and his accommodating good ol' boy demeanor shows it. His label might have über-hip bands like On! Air! Library! and Calla, but Arena Rock's most popular album was the totally unhip--but completely catchy--pop of Harvey Danger. And that Kansas T-shirt? He's adamant that neither it, nor the name of his label, is ironic. The guy was raised on arena rock and isn't shy about singing the praises of Alice Cooper or Steely Dan. Need proof? Read on. (Mark Baumgarten)
Verbena, Souls for Sale
"When it was released in 1997, neither the label [Merge] nor the producer [Dave Fridmann] had done anything quite like it. It sounds like [X's] Exene Cervenka singing backup with mid-period Stones. One of the best "rock" records, ever."
The Beatles, Revolver
"'And Your Bird Can Sing' and 'She Said She Said' are my two favorite Beatles tunes. They were both penned by John Lennon. I know Paul McCartney wrote some good ones as well, but let's not fuss and fight. We could discuss over a pint sometime, however."
Steely Dan, Aja
"The cynicality of their songs is criminally overlooked. Besides, a bearded mesh-capper wouldn't be caught dead with an armload of 'Dan vinyl (he's likely weighed down with A.R.E. Weapons and Deerhoof). It wouldn't surprise me if [Walter] Becker and [Donald] Fagan have written a song about just that. Aja was given to me by my mom, along with Alice Cooper Goes to Hell, when I was, like, 8 years old."
Talk Talk, Spirit of Eden
"This was the gateway drug, for me, into the more ambient side of rock music. I went from here to [Brian] Eno. It's like when someone says, 'I don't know much about jazz, but would like to' and you give them Miles Davis' Kind of Blue and send them on their way."
Check out the ARRCO website at www.arenarockrecordingco.com .
Swords play with Manta Ray and Dolorean Saturday at Berbati's Pan, 231 SW Ankeny St., 248-4579. 9:30 pm. $7+ advance. 21+.