Record Review: Tender Loving Empire Records Sampler

Tender Loving Empire Records
Friends & Friends of Friends, Vol. 4
Portland, OR

“Great collection of songs from Portland and beyond”

Portland, Oregon: the Oregon Trail, Redwood trees, and rainy weather come to mind, but there is also an active music scene tucked away in the Pacific Northwest. Tender Loving Empire, a Portland-based independent record label, introduces many bands from the Beaver state with Friends & Friends of Friends, Vol. 4. The two-disc set includes 47 tracks from PacNW artists.

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TLE Sampler by tender-loving-empire

Typhoon, the 14-piece orchestrated rock band begins the collection with “The Honest Truth,” one of the best tracks on the compilation. Other notable tracks are the catchy garage-rocker “Knife in the Sail” by Adventure Galley, based in Eugene, OR, but sounding influenced by the New York scene; and the slow-tempo, distorted “Bad Energy” by San Francisco’s Slow Trucks. Other appealing songs are “Library Books” by the Casio-tone, female-led Upsidedown Cat. The last track on Disk One is the catchy, ’60s pop-sounding “Please, Please George,” from Brooklyn’s Dinosaur Feathers.

The second disc has more easily digestible, grooving tunes than the first. Highlights include the instrumental, funky, loop-filled “Silverskate Gateway” by the one-man act Boy Eats Drum Machine; “Centrifical Farce” by E*Rock; and Austin’s Agent Ribbons’ “I’m Alright,” sounding like it came straight form a Cold War era spy flick. “Employment Bored,” by the breakbeat Portland duo Sweater and also the dynamic indie electronic pop band Mnemonic Sounds “Keeping it Quiet,” were also very pleasant to the ears. And lastly, the Mutineers’ “Give it a Rest,” is a fun, drunken pirate sing-along.

The in-depth compilation of 33 artists is worth checking out if you’re looking for new music, and don’t want to die of dysentery. (Tender Loving Empire)

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