SOUNDS LIKE: Martians hosting a psych-rock festival inside a funhouse.
Most people who've been to Eugene know Sam Bond's Garage. The small, rustic bar's rickety old stage has played host to an impressive cast of characters over the years. It was from that stage that art-rock act Talkative discovered its identity—literally overnight.
Back in 2010, frontman Cody Berger and bandmate Cason Taft were students at the University of Oregon, playing bizarro experimental music at their friends' house parties. "We would do things like run an AM radio through an effects pedal for an entire show," Berger recalls, laughing. He and Taft were booked to play with a bunch of punk bands at Sam Bond's, and decided to try writing an entire set's worth of appropriate songs just hours before the show.
In that moment, the sound of Talkative was born. Berger refers to it as "space punk"—a kaleidoscope of cosmic droning, mathematical buildups, percussive instrumentation and Animal Collective-like bounciness colliding in a great psychedelic ballet.
It's a sound the band refined on last year's Hot Fruit Barbeque. Officially Talkative's fourth release, the record is fun, inventive and detailed. "We like to get wild in the studio," Berger says. "There was a lot of impromptu overdubbing and shit going on while we recorded Barbeque." With Chad Davis and Chad Heile filling out the lineup, though, the band is now more equipped to step away from some of the pedals and dials it relied on as a duo and impart some trusty rock 'n' roll—or, at least, its interpretation. Opening track "Mongoose" is a perfect example, a raucous punk number thrust into orbit via Berger's blown-out vocals, yet grounded by a neat bassline.
Berger graduated from college in 2011, Taft two years later. The band is all in Portland now, practicing often, with Berger splitting his time arranging songs and working at the Firkin Tavern. The space-punk realm seems to be Talkative's sweet spot, but Berger is not ruling out another reinvention.
Portland's Best New Band Poll Winners
Finalists: No. 2 | No. 3 | No. 4/5 | No. 4/5 (tied) | No. 6/7
No. 6/7 (tied) | No. 8 | No. 9/10 | No. 9/10 (tied)
SEE IT: Willamette Weekâs Best New Band Showcase, featuring Divers, The Domestics and MÃ¡scaras, is Friday, May 15, at Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi Ave. 9 pm. Free. 21 and up.