[DRAMATIC PSYCH POP] "First off, there's the opportunity to play and record in your own house, which doesn't really exist anymore in [other] cities," says Seth Lorinczi, half of local psych-rock duo the Golden Bears. "Secondly, it's almost a cliché, but there is a real DIY ethic here." He's talking, of course, about the merits of being a musician in Portland. "People do things themselves," he continues, "in terms of the actual production—like printing, recording—that other folks would send off to 'experts' without knowing they could do it themselves."
And the Bears—rounded out by vocalist-drummer Julianna Bright—would know, as they adhere to the DIY philosophy in all aspects, from filling every instrumental role themselves to recording in their own basement. In fact, the duo's current basement project—which ranges from melodramatic folk pop to near-operatic, metal-tinged rock—is set for release on psych-pop duo Viva Voce's label, Amore!Phonics. Even the artwork of Bright, who is an illustrator by day, will adorn the cover of the Bears' full-length debut.
Introduced by a mutual friend in the mid-'90s, Lorinczi and Bright played in a handful of bands together before becoming romantically involved and welcoming daughter Evie into the world this past March. One band was San Francisco-based, New Wave-oriented outfit the Quails, which toured with Sleater-Kinney for six weeks in 2002. It was playing a show at the Ash Street Saloon just before relocating to Portland in '04, though, that forged the band's most meaningful connection—it was the gig that introduced the Golden Bears to Viva Voce.
"I think we found kindred spirits in [Viva Voce's] Kevin and Anita [Robinson]," says Lorinczi, who writes for various San Francisco publications for a living, along with cooking and catering, most recently at Valentines. "They [too] were a couple who had recently moved to Portland to pursue their artistic dreams." Viva Voce shares the sentiment. Ask Kevin why the Golden Bears were brought into the Amore!Phonics fold and he says plainly, "It would be criminal for more people not to hear [their music]." It's worth noting that, up until the spring release of the Bears' LP, the label will have only showcased releases by Viva Voce and Kevin's solo side-project, Electric iLL. Robinson, who sometimes helps round out the group's lineup live, goes on to describe Lorinczi (guitar, bass) and Bright's sound as "tripped-out meaty psych rock with a brilliantly gorgeous crust. Served to perfection!"
"I suppose, on a spiritual level, Julianna pushes me to live and play music in the moment," offers Lorinczi, explaining why he and Bright have worked so well together through several former bands. Robinson puts it a bit more comically: "Julianna and Seth are brilliant separately and together—and that comes out in the music...the rest is tabloid fodder."
The Golden Bears play Thursday, Dec. 20, with Nick Jaina and the Builders and the Butchers at Doug Fir. 9 pm. $8. 21+. Also see Music listings.