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The Courtneys

The Courtneys

Photo by Tara Dwelsdorf

The story begins in Calgary, where Jen Twynn Payne (AKA “Cute Courtney”) and Sydney Koke (AKA “Crazy Courtney”) were roommates who ended up parting ways when Koke moved to the States to attend grad school in North Carolina. Shortly after, Payne moved to Vancouver, BC, where she met the one true Courtney of the band, Courtney Loove (AKA “Classic Courtney”). Nearly a year later, Koke dropped out of grad school, hopped in a car, and drove to Vancouver to start a band with Payne. Immediately, the thought of Loove as a third came to mind and the trio jammed together throughout the summer of 2010. They wrote a bunch of songs and recorded at their practice space before another wrench was thrown in the mix—Loove landed a job in Montreal and the band went on an indefinite hiatus. Payne and Koke decided to start a different band, but as fate had it, Loove returned eight months later. At this point things got a little more serious, and The Courtneys played their first show at a friend’s birthday party.

The twenty-somethings’ self-titled 2013 debut was an indie success story: made on a shoestring budget and released on their friend’s small label (Hockey Dad), the three-piece reached their audience by word-of-mouth. With tight musicianship and tough but sugary hooks, the album sold out the day before it was scheduled for release. Needless to say, The Courtneys were astonished, but their ’80s/’90s Flying Nun-esque sound qualities, unintentional riot grrl gusto, and short and to-the-point songs had won over a solid fan base.

Influenced by ’90s bands like Pavement, Dinosaur Jr, and Fugazi, and fueled by a mutual love of Coke Slurpees, ’90s boy bands, and Keanu Reeves, The Courtneys have shaped a perpetual summer with their feel-good poppy tunes. So as the never-ending rain falls down on Portland, you can supplement your vitamin D with a healthy dose of The Courtneys. »

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– Wendy Worzalla