By the time you read this, I will be in Los Angeles. I think I'm going to stay there a while. So this marks the end of my 13-month attempt to keep tabs on Portland punk rock. My first impulse was to write a long essay about how fucking punk my navel is, but I've done a lot of that since last August, and rest assured my self-involvement comes into play plenty in the appreciations that follow. 

Instead of an interminable personal history, I decided to write about nine recent (2011-2012) Portland-made punk (or close enough) songs (plus one sentimental favorite) that got me through one really rad and difficult and beautiful year. While I could have made a list five times as long, I stuck with the first 10 perfect songs that came to mind. 

I've listened to the following tunes dozens, hundreds, maybe (in the case of the final song on the list) thousands of times. They represent everything I want music to be and everything I wanted my column to be: pretty and sad and fucked up and invigorating and shot through with undeniably real feeling. I don't know if I succeeded at any of that, but the bands here most certainly did.

I'm sad to be leaving Portland, but I'm so incredibly happy that I get to take these songs with me. 

Thanks for reading my column. Now listen. 

Divers: "Glass Chimes"

With the exception of Mean Jeans, to whom I am basically legally married at this point, I probably wrote about Divers more than any other band in Portland over the last year. Which is a bit strange, considering ex-Drunken Boat dude Harrison Rapp’s newish concern has only a single two-song 7” to its name. But the thing is a fucking miracle, and wringing hundreds of words out of its beauty has not been difficult. A-side “Glass Chimes”, which features guest vocals from RVIVR’s Erica Freas, bobs and weaves like peak Ted Leo and builds to a cathartic final minute that would make Springsteen proud. It’s reminiscent of RVIVR’s soulful sincerity, although Divers takes the bike-proud punk spirit into classic rock ‘n’ roll realms. It’s simply stunning. I try to avoid saying shit like this, but I must: this band is gonna be huge. 

Your Rival: “My Canary (Was Sure to Run)”
Anne: “Lower Faiths”
Batmen: “Doje Don’t Surf”
Freedom Club: “Gimme A Taste”
Company: “Rising Up”
Die on This Island
Arctic Flowers: “Fall To Pieces”
Youthbitch: “Heart Attack”
Don’t Fuck This Up
Mean Jeans: “Anybody Out There?”
The Thermals: “St. Rosa and the Swallows”