Not too long after the former Boulder, CO based, string-dominated outfit Strangers Die Everyday relocated to Portland, I managed to catch the band play at Holocene. I'd been excited to see it, what with knowing of an association with Denver's excellent DIY label Ash From Sweat Records and assuming that the group was very possibly named after an album by ‘90s hardcore heroes the Red Scare. And, sure enough, it was a great performance, subtly and delicately stealing the show from whichever bands I've since forgotten about that had the burden of playing subsequently. Now, after neglectfully missing each subsequent PDX performance, I read yesterday that a return to the Holocene on the 17th of this month will sadly mark the band's final show.
The music Strangers Die Everyday played was fairly stripped-down, cello-led chamber-pop—kinda like Godspeed on a crash diet—and which didn't get too lost in itself to forget that, all appearances aside, it was ultimately the output of a rock band. Indeed, despite having all the standard ingredients—being 100 percent instrumental, employing conspicuously anti-rock instruments, having songs longer than 5 minutes, etc.—the surprising part was that Strangers Die Everyday never really came across as sounding like outright “post-rock.” And for someone whose wank-alarm is easily triggered (eh!?!) by said genre, that's refreshing.
“Bicycle,” from the group's sole full-length Aperture For Departure
, released this past spring, demonstrates that point clearly. Based on riffs that could easily be transferred to the guitars of a ‘90s indie band and, accordingly, a song structure that's unmistakably rooted in rock, the result isn't too far off from a vocal-less version of what Cursive achieved during its cello-supplemented period.
Can someone please tell all my favorite Portland bands to quit breaking up, please!
Strangers Die EverydaySpace
Oh, and since this is my last COTD as a Willy Week intern, here's a bonus cut. The amount of (loud) rotations this has had over recent weeks is possibly the main reason I shan't be too badly missed round these parts...[All jokes aside, we're really going to miss David. And this song will live on in the music cove forever. -Ed.
Photo used courtesy of Strangers Die Everyday