Drew Grow and the Pastors’ Wives make their home in Portland, and meld together a scuzzy, squally blend of rebellious gospel/folk that at times possesses the radiant buoyancy of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, and in quieter moments the seeping warmth of M Ward or intelligent, lovely meanderings of Elvis Perkins. It’s wild and sharp and smart. Their album is so unrelentingly good, top to bottom, that I feel like it holds me down with no air from the time it cues up until it fades out and I restart it. I must have listened to it at least ten times through in the last week.
First garnering notice around the Pacific Northwest for the series of 7″ singles they released on the Amigo/Amiga label, they’ve gathered those songs together finally onto one ace album. Every song is so different, but this one immediately grabbed me:
Bootstraps – Drew Grow and the Pastors Wives
Before I even listened to the album, I read this marvelously visceral review in the Seattle Weekly, and I instantly wanted in on this action. I even wrote the reviewer a fan email. She says:
“Two weekends ago, I had one of those rare, game-changing live music experiences, the kind when you’re watching a band and your chest swells up big and red and raw like a great frigatebird during mating season and there’s a lump in your throat and an ACME anvil could fall on the person next to you and you probably wouldn’t even notice the blood spatter because HOLY FUCKING SHIT this band is amazing.
These are the sorts of experiences that turn people from casual listeners into lifelong music fans. But as you get older and rack up thousands of shows in your mental music arsenal, these moments become increasingly rare. And in 13 years of show-going, I’ve never felt this way about a performance from a band I wasn’t familiar with until I saw Drew Grow and the Pastors’ Wives at [the] Doe Bay [Music Fest].”
Drew Grow & The Pastors’ Wives @ Doe Bay 2010 (photo credit Hilary Harris)
After listening to this album enough times to see the sterling streak of quality all the way through, the wild weirdness of it, all laced with the smart, smart songwriting, I think I need to see these guys live. They are touring this fall – more dates as I have them.
For now, stream the whole self-titled debut album here (out on vinyl LP and mp3 download, Sept 14 on Amigo/Amiga Recordings), and since you know I am a lyrics gal, I recommend reading all the lyrics they have posted on their Bandcamp page as you listen.
The first three songs are all completely different, but this track 1-2-3 sequencing here is the most solid I’ve heard in a good while.
Finally, from that same festival, I just came across this breathtaking live video via from the Seattle blog Sound On The Sound. In the middle of the forest rife with twilight mosquitoes (bastards), this is a rousing acoustic version of the final song on the album — the anthemic and heartening “It All Comes Right.”
The communal pouring-out of spirit from about 3:30 onwards reminds me of The Head And The Heart video that I posted last week, which is somewhat fitting because both bands played the festival, and The Head And The Heart told me to listen to Drew Grow in the first place.
I think we got ourselves a solid musical brethrenhood here.
[top photo credit Aya Sato]