7. bed. (48.5 points)
SOUNDS LIKE: An early-'90s garage-rock 45 set to 33 1/3 RPM, with the volume turned down.
NOTABLE VOTES: Jackpot Recording Studio owner Larry Crane; Thermals bassist Kathy Foster; former Habesha Lounge booker Brandon Nikola.
As members of a self-described "slow-fi" band, Sierra and Alex Haager aren't apt to rush into anything. Well, except marriage.
The brains behind Bed met in San Francisco in summer 2013. Within months, they relocated to Portland, got tattoos of each other's names on their wrists and became husband and wife. Somewhere in there, they penned "Bother," their first song together.
The Rose City rains set in right away, imparting a certain gloominess to the duo's sound. "We're not very good at being outside," Sierra says. She describes the Portland climate as both miserable and beautiful—perhaps the perfect combo for a pair of shut-ins channeling the best of the disenchanted down-and-outers, from the sluggishness of shoegaze to the nuanced numbness of Sonic Youth or Young Prisms.
Marriage inspired them, too. "When you're married, the disagreements you have are so much more vulnerable," Sierra says. "You get into some deep shit." It's the ideal recipe for a classic duet: two perspectives on the same experience. (The two also own and operate boutique label Breakup Records.) That potent type of partnership seeps into their sound. The vocals are shared while the guitars pace between slumberous and searing. The overall feeling is deeply melancholic and unhurried, but imbued with the comforting familiarity of domestic idle.
While the pace of the music is slow, that's the beauty of the band's work. Bed plans to release its debut EP, Klickitat, this spring and just finished its first proper full-length with Larry Crane at Jackpot Recording Studio. It'll certainly pair well with the next downpour.
"No one thinks we're a new-sounding band or that we're innovating," Sierra says. "It's more of an exercise in re-creating something special."
NEXT SHOW: June 12 at Mississippi Studios.