Joe Haege has never been easy to pin down. Whether making fractured art-rock in Portland cult legends 31Knots or moody, noirish torch-pop with Tu Fawning, the guy's made the people who have my job work extra hard to even get close to pigeonholing him.
Naturally, he doesn't make things any easier with his latest solo project, recorded under the delightfully cumbersome alias Vin Blanc/White Wine. In Every Way But One, an album of predictably unpredictable songs processing the dissolution of his relationship with his Tu Fawning bandmate, singer Corrina Repp. Sounds rattle around inside unconventional structures while Haege contorts voice around with them, approximating something like a tropical storm breaking out inside a Toys R Us warehouse space.
"Ease Up!!" functions as a preview track about as well as anything else on an album that deals more in mood than any single, strict aesthetic. Over scattershot percussion and a horn sample, Haege catalogues the moment of personal free-fall he apparently recorded the album in: "Shift your weight/C'mon, have faith/Do you really think someone will catch you?" Desperate times produce desperate art, and Haege's desperation makes for one particularly thrilling listen.
In Every Way But One is the latest release from Party Damage Records, the label started by former WW music editor/current managing editor for The Believer Casey Jarman and his Morals bandmate Ben Hubbird, which put out Wild Ones' Keep It Safe last month. Both artists, along with fellow signees Your Rival, play a showcase tonight at Bunk Bar.