5. Bitch'n (60 points)
SOUNDS LIKE: A communal shouting party soundtracked by rhythm-heavy jams.
NOTABLE VOTES: Comedian Amy Miller; producer Skyler Norwood; Sun Angle and Mascaras drummer Papi Fimbres.
Last January, the five members of Bitch'n gathered in the middle of a studio with joints and Champagne to record some unscripted audio for "Funemployed," the last song on their debut album, Messed Out.
"We started to talk about political ethics and, you know, what a job means," says keyboardist Emily Overstreet. "It was really like one of the funnest nights I've had with these girls."
Getting together and hashing things out is pretty much how the band works. Already active musicians in the Portland music scene—the group's pedigree includes Point Juncture WA, Sallie Ford's band, Great Wilderness, Duover and Orquestra Pacifico Tropical—the members of Bitch'n first came together as a "jam club," which, over time, progressed into a full-fledged band. But its mode of operation remains loose. There's no clear frontwoman. Everyone sings, often at the same time. On Messed Out, no one instrument features more prominently than another, and every song is borne from improvisation.
The result is a harmonious hodgepodge of different genres. The band's head-on lyrics and raw drive could be labeled "punk," but that's a bit of an oversimplification. Messed Out dabbles in bits of everything, from garage rock to funk and even hip-hop, an influence that spilled over from a pre-Bitch'n project of drummer Amanda Spring and bassist Nefertiti Porter. With its echoing effect and Rebecca Rasmussen's dragging guitar, "Funemployed" opens in a psychedelic haze before launching into a sprint, with Spring savagely pounding her drums as all five members simultaneously yell the song's title.
"It's almost like the ethics of the band is more of what's punk than the actual music," Spring says. "I think of it as just groovy jams that you can dance to."
While the Bitch'n "jam club" has evolved into something more serious, the band says it does not intend to change how it operates. When asked if the jamming is going to continue, someone on the line responds that she "wouldn't have it any other way." It's hard to tell who's talking, but given the chorus of "yeah" following the statement, it's reasonable to assume the opinion is unanimous.
NEXT SHOW: April 9 at High Water Mark.