Slutty Hearts live in Portland

WHERE: East End – Portland, OR
WHEN: February 27

HIGHLIGHT: “Lo-fi, dark, vampy garage rock”

If there is a renaissance of ‘60s-style garage rock bands happening in Portland right now, the Slutty Hearts are the sexiest. On stage this Wednesday night, a big heart lit up with pink lights on the bass drum head blinked behind the petite, bleach blonde vocalist, Marisa Laurelle. She is, like their music, both sassy and sweet. The 4-piece opened coolly with “Get You Back,” followed by the more seductive “Killer,” which Marisa introduced by saying, “This next one is about murder.” Their music is gritty and upbeat, danceable and dark. There is a hint of cabaret or strip tease in their lo-fi, organ sound, but with the sweet vocal-style of indie pop. 

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Their sound is driven by organ and riffy guitar, punctuated with tambourine, which the vocalist uses to strike a cymbal standing by the microphone. “Perfect” is impossibly twee, in the vein of The Kinks’ “Sunny Afternoon.” Marisa referred to “Lonely Me” as their “most emo song,” touching on the more traditional themes of attraction and heartache. But other songs, like “Helicopter,” explore seduction, sex, and the darker sides of love, with lyrics like, “Get me to a doctor, I’m a dangerous degrees/Can’t you see, baby, how you bring me to my knees.” Every so often, there’s also an element of Swamp-Rock in their sultry and suggestive music, self-described as making you “wanna do bad things and make out.”

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