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“Everyday Use” by Appendixes

“Everyday Use” by Appendixes


Imagine you come to and your eyeballs have just been fogged over with an 80s movie filter as if you can’t quite open them; all you can make out around you amidst the sparkles and bad stage lighting is a seedy nightclub. Onstage, in a glamorous haze of smoke and sequins, croons a woman in red, and what few patrons there are have not taken their eyes off her since she took the stage. The band is in the pocket, hanging back, and wearing sunglasses to keep the glare of nostalgia from blinding them. This is the scene I fancy Portland’s lo-fi dreamy pop group Appendixes warped in from. They just released a polished and pro-sounding EP entitled Everyday Use back in January and are set for a string of shows around the northwest to promote it.

The music of Appendixes is spacey and undemanding on the listener, but the arrangements on the five song EP are clean, and have few loose ends distracting from the mood. Beth Morgan’s voice is wide open and straight, with a nostalgic youthfulness that sends you back to that last dance on prom night. But this sweetness can turn into a taste of bitterness when the band’s instrumental backdrop turns harmonically eerie and edgy in songs “The Plan” and “Stolen.”

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One of the best parts about this music is how uncrowded it sounds. Two of the strongest songs, “Moonwalking” and “Burn,” both feature consistent bass and drum grooves that are the epitome of simplicity done well. Over this rise and fall the arpeggios of fuzzy guitars and padded out synth notes. This is music that is confident in capturing a mood, never schizophrenic or confused, though the mood may be of melancholic disposition. If you’re looking for tunes to bring memories only partially remembered into stark relief as you cruise down freeways or lie in bed at night unable to sleep, check this unique Portland project out; you’ll be aching for old loves and summer breaks long gone before the first tracks up.

– Ethan Martin