Down Gown, Down Gown (Cavity Search)
[NOISE-ROCK REVIVAL] In today's music climate, Down Gown's brand of throwback '90s guitar rock is charming and somewhat singular in a city that has forgotten how rooted it once was in that style. In the wake of the grunge era, Cavity Search championed the loud, so it's nice to see the local label reactivated to give some local linchpins a platform. Most recognizable here is the guitar-playing of Dave Blunk, who longtime Portland scenesters will remember from his days in Thirty Ought Six, and former Satyricon curator Ben Munat, who lays down the bass. All 10 songs on Down Gown are well-composed, and the production is fantastically full. Twenty-five years ago, these songs would have dripped with the spirit and angst of youth. Today, these men have unsurprisingly matured and mellowed. At various points, Down Gown sounds like early Foo Fighters without the radio ambition, like Unwound without the raw urgency, like Sunny Day Real Estate without the intricate chops, and like Jesus Lizard without the reek of danger. Will Hattman's vocals do recall Dave Grohl, while sometimes sounding like Michael Stipe. The '90s revival is upon us, and anyone disgusted with the pop music of today or missing the days of heart-on-sleeve noise-rock anthems would do well to get down with the Gown.
SEE IT: Down Gown plays Kenton Club, 2025 N Kilpatrick St., with Queen Chief and Excuses, on Friday, Jan. 27. 9 pm. Call venue for ticket prices. 21+.