A month or two ago, the National's Matt Berninger and Brent Knopf of Portland's own Ramona Falls announced a new collaborative project called El Vy (as in, "many Elvises"). Last night, the band made its television debut on Conan, and as it turns out, the live iteration of the group is full of faces familiar to the PDX music scene. In addition to Wye Oak's Andy Stack—who moved here from that band's home base of Baltimore in 2013—there's also Matt Sheehy of Lost Lander on bass and a trio of local backing singers, including Allison Hall, Margaret Gibson Wehr and Moorea Masa of Ural Thomas and the Pain.
The group performed the title track off its upcoming full-length debut, Return to the Moon, which sounds something like the National covering "Young Americans." While Berninger and Knopf (who, you may recall, was once in Menomena) are old hats at the late-night TV thing, it was a new experience for Sheehy, who admitted on Facebook to to being a bit nervous. "But they treated us really really well and Conan was disarmingly generous," he wrote. "Oh, and he smells like rose pedals (in case you were wondering)." Why yes, Matt, we were.
Return to the Moon is out Oct. 20 on 4AD. El Vy plays Doug Fir on Nov. 2-3.