September 2, 2010

til kingdom come get a buzz on, singing in tongues


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 doe bay
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.

The Doe Bay Sessions – Drew Grow and the Pastors’ Wives
from Sound on the Sound on Vimeo.

[top photo credit Aya Sato]


  • “The more I love you, the more I take the chance. Every failure serious at a glance. The more I love you, walking out a branch.”

    Great lines. At first listen these guys remind me of…no one really. Good thing for a starting band. Really can see myself becoming a fan, and I’m only four songs into the EP…

    lyrics guy

    Christof — September 3, 2010 @ 8:30 pm

  • Wow. That shit is ripe!

    Ed P. — September 4, 2010 @ 9:23 pm

  • and… HOOKED. thank you.

    rick — September 4, 2010 @ 9:57 pm

  • [...] . . . current Fuel/Friends favorite Drew Grow and the Pastors’ Wives made a name for themselves by releasing a steady stream of 7″ singles in the Portland music [...]

    Goodly Approaches To Indie Music Promotion « Heroes of Indie Music — September 9, 2010 @ 5:36 am

  • and then there’s this video:

    holy heck.

    browneheather — September 9, 2010 @ 9:59 am

  • That Mural they’re sitting in front of is on Leary Way in the neighborhood of Ballard, Seattle, WA! totally awesome. They must have played at the tractor or the Sunset that day!

    JonE — September 10, 2010 @ 2:37 pm

  • hey super! yay public art. i walked by the tractor when i was there a few weeks ago, on my way to the BalMar, but i did not see a mural. too bad. i did see the troll under the highway overpass, though, so not a total loss ;)

    browneheather — September 10, 2010 @ 2:46 pm

  • “Bootstraps” really grabbed me, soooo…Streaming the album now. It’s great, fresh-sounding stuff! Thanks for the intro!

    Marc — September 13, 2010 @ 12:16 am

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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