Home Read Now Hear This: Forty Feet Tall | A Good Distraction

Now Hear This: Forty Feet Tall | A Good Distraction

The Portland-via-L.A. outfit serve up solid, searing modern rock on their second set.


THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Forty Feet Tall’s sound is hard and riff-based, aggressive and expansive, somewhere between The Strokes and Queens of the Stone Age, framing some of the most well-crafted rock songs out there with lyrics balancing between personal and political.

“All of these songs were written before the pandemic, but many of them already had a strong political bend and hopefully speak to all the bullshit that we’re going through now,” the Portland band say of their new album A Good Distraction. “There are definitely love songs in here, but the overall theme for this album, or what it came to be, was some sort of semblance of a welcomed distraction in the midst of chaos. In the end though, no matter how tempting it is to turn a blind eye, we have to confront these ills — the racism, sexism, xenophobia, classism and outright fascism we see in this country and throughout the world. We try and walk a line making our music a blast to listen to, get you to a place where you can let loose, but simultaneously challenging the listener to survey and contemplate the state our world is currently in.

“Musically, it feels easy to just say it’s just rock, but you can hear all the different influences, whether it’s punk, grunge, psych or jazz. We all have different likes and dislikes, but we come together on musical preferences where it counts and each one of us brings an element to the writing table. This album really showcases that. Since our move up to Portland, we desperately wanted to walk away from our blues-rock, riff heavy leanings when we were in highschool. Portland gave us a much more garage-y, fuzzy sound and that’s definitely where everything else is headed.

Photo by Billy Fortier.

“In a lot of ways, what we have now, though we kept the name, feels like a brand new band. The album has leanings to punk and psych and we started really diving into bands such as Parquet Courts, King Gizzard, Unknown Mortal Orchestra and The Oh Sees. There’s also a lot of influence from early Elvis Costello records. All in all, though this album took a while to finally release, we’re damn proud of it and can’t wait to see what comes next.”

As for what came before: In 2011, a group of 15-year-old high schoolers from L.A. — raised on healthy doses of ’90s-era post-punk and grunge but with just enough old-school classic rock thrown in — came together to develop their own sound and started writing and playing original songs nearly from Day 1. adopting the name Forty Feet Tall, they began playing around Los Angeles in classic venues like The Troubadour, Roxy and Whiskey. During their last years of high school, Forty Feet Tall built a loyal base of local fans by playing parties and shows throughout L.A.

College brought them to Portland, OR, where they continued to play locally while focusing on finishing up school. With the addition of bass player Brett Marquette in 2017, and new drummer Ian Kelly, childhood friends Cole Gann (lead singer/guitar) and Jack Sehres (guitar) had completed the circle of Forty Feet Tall. Today they are a force to be reckoned with, kicking out some of the best rock songs you’ll hear.”