Home Read Albums Of The Week: Portugal. The Man | Oregon City Sessions

Albums Of The Week: Portugal. The Man | Oregon City Sessions

Alaska's favourite indie-rockers share a raw, raucous live recording from the vaults.

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THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “In 2008, Portugal. The Man had been a band for just over two years and were riding a creative wave that is rarely seen. In those first 24 months, they released three full lengths, one EP, and a couple of standalone singles while performing just shy of 500 shows. This young band from Alaska drove from city to city, bought bulk bags of rice, and seldomly splurged with their Taco Bell Feed The Beat bucks. PTM were committed.

They ended the tour in December of 2008 and instead of taking a much-needed break, made the decision to record the culmination of what their live performance had become. They found a rare gem of a studio in the suburbs of Portland, piled in with their live gear and a handful of friends with handheld cameras. Longtime collaborator and filmmaker Graham (Baclagon) Agcaolli and engineer/mixer Jacob Portrait (who would later join Unknown Mortal Orchestra) would help to document.

They performed their full set, one time through, with no re-takes or overdubs — just the band in its natural form. “The first few years of PTM were whirlwind,” says singer-guitarist John Gourley. “We didn’t have a place to live, so we were pretty much either recording or touring. We were so wide-eyed coming out of Alaska that every day was an exciting new adventure. I think you can see it in our playing.”

They were heading into the studio a couple of weeks later to record their next album The Satanic Satanist, and Oregon City Sessions was put on a shelf. There it sat for over a decade. A select few saw the full film. The band, their manager, or tour manager would occasionally offer to go over to people’s homes and screen it for them. Sometimes in the parking lot, the band would screen a handful of songs to the local supporters. They forged friendships but whenever asked, the answer would always be, “Yeah, we’ll release that at some point.”

Now the band has been off the road for well over a year, by far the longest break since they started — and the time just seems right. Here is Oregon City Sessions, dug out of the archives. Untouched, unchanged from the day it was finished. It is a time capsule of a band finding its way. A snapshot of young raw talent before they won awards, before they sold millions of records, before they headlined festivals. Just some kids from Alaska wanting to travel the world and play music.”