And And And is Portland’s Best New Band for 2011

I doubted the Willy Week last year when they picked Sallie Ford over Typhoon, and I ended up eating a lot of crow once I got into Sallie Ford (review of her new album forthcoming, which is amazing, btw). So they’ve earned the benefit of the doubt based on their track record.

I’m not too familiar with a lot of bands on this year’s list, because, well, I don’t live in Portland anymore. But And And And is their top band this year. They describe them as, “orchestrated version of Wowee Zowee-era Pavement made by kids who grew up listening to hip-hop instead of the Fall.”

Here’s a bit more on the band.

So And And And turned to another gimmick, earning its street cred by becoming one of Portland’s most prolific bands. In an era of overnight Internet fame, And And And gets by on old-school hustle: Since March 2010, the six-piece outfit has released two full-length albums (We’ll Be Better Off With the Plants and sophomore effort A Fresh Summer With And And And), four EPs, and Life Ruiner, a split cassette tape with friends the Woolen Men. For most bands, 50 songs is a legacy—for And And And, it’s just another year.

“I think we release music like all the rappers Tyler likes do,” Radin says. “It’s like, we could just hold onto this material, or we can just go out and hustle, drop demos for free, and release songs as we finish them. We would love to release Lil Wayne mixtapes forever.”

Amazingly, quantity has not trumped quality with And And And. Most of the band’s material strikes a perfect balance between dueling aesthetics: feverish, frantic lo-fi punk and cleverly arranged and orchestrated pop aided by trumpet and harmonica (and, oddly, the clarinet—perhaps the least-punk instrument in the world). Keene and Baumgartner trade off lead vocals, but they have similar vocal approaches that have more in common with Isaac Brock’s early Modest Mouse yelps than the bottled intensity of current lauded indie-rock singers like Wolf Parade’s Spencer Krug.

If you’re so inclined the band has made all their albums free to download, so what’s the harm in checking them out right? Not sure how long the generosity will last however.

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