Another year, another new-and-improved rossbeach.com. I’m finally leaving behind the laboriously constructed 1990s-era HTML that I coded from scratch in favor of this newfangled WordPress gizmo. I’ll keep the old site online as a reminder of simpler times on the internet. In the meantime, enjoy the modernity!
Now Available For Free Download: the 1997 cassette release “Ross Beach: Tender Severity”
FREE DOWNLOAD HERE:
http://bit.ly/ai9TR9 (Zip Archive – 70MB)
My shows-per-year has dropped off almost as precipitously as my updates to this website. Trust me when I say that I’ve been hard at work writing new songs and making new recordings. And, when I’m not doing those things, I’m either working, sleeping, or just having way too much fun to be bothered. It’s a pretty good situation.
Ross Island Bridge
VOLUME ONE: THE PROCESS IS NOW-(A BOUNCING SPACE)
Portland’s Ross Beach has become somewhat of a pop scene godfather, an impresario-like figure who hosts some of the city’s best shows in his living room while lending his organizational skills and time to such efforts as the vaunted PDX Pop Now! festival. And along with being one of the city’s most beloved musicians, he’s also a top-notch songwriter. With Ross Island Bridge, Beach steps aside and gives other Portland performers a chance to vocally interpret his songs, a la Stephin Merritt and the 6ths. The music even sounds like the 6ths, with Beach employing a bevy of effects-laden arpeggio-filled synthy structures that would welcome any singer worth their diaphragms. The effect comes off as oddly psychedelic, a decidedly different direction for the head Hellpet. Ali Ippolito, of Heroes and Villains, gets the toughest assignment, having to turn around lyrical nuggets such as “Is that fucking hilarious or what?” that Beach himself might deliver on a dime. But Ippolito captures Beach’s intended phrasing perfectly, making the song, along with the frantic gear-switching ending, one of the record’s three gems. The others include Dreaming Of, sung by the etherally piped Kaitlyn NiDonovan, and Ifeelmyselfhoping, sung by Autopilot’s Adrienne Hatkin. Hatkin’s one-of-a-kind voice — sorry, can’t describe it, can’t even come close to any references, it’s just unusual without being atonal or gimmicky — fits, I’m guessing, with Beach’s project aesthetic: He gave them a template, be it through melodies or vibe, to follow, but didn’t suck the life out of their tracks by watching over them too carefully. The one thing about the release: Beach’s voice is a pleasant baritone that enunciates clearly and forcefully. I miss that on this disc, and am hoping he’ll put out a companion LP with his own interpretations of these tunes. That said, this 7ths CD is pretty damn good. www.rossbeach.com ANDY GIEGERICH
Courtesy of the local music documentarian, Mr. Luke Lefler, here is a review of our CD release show at Backspace and also A FULL LENGTH RECORDING OF THE SHOW! It features sets by Patrick Kearns, Ali Ippolito, Kaitlyn ni Donovan, Adrienne Hatkin and T.S. Brooks, with guest appearances by Grey Anne and Jon Ragel, all of whom are joined by the Hellpets house band featuring T.S. Hellpet on lead guitar. It was truly one for the ages.
You can download all 183.7 MB of mp3 goodness right here.
Read the full review at brokenhours.net
From The Oregonian
Pop Goes the Bridge
By Robert Ham
It should come as little surprise that Portland songwriter and producer Ross Beach was able to pull in singers from across a wide spectrum of musical disciplines for his latest project, Ross Island Bridge.
Beach is a co-founder of PDX Pop Now!, the free all-ages annual music festival that brings together bands and musicians of all stripes for a weekend celebration of the Portland scene. And as leader of the power-pop group Ross and the Hellpets — a band that has been gracing local stages for almost a decade — he’s also gotten to know a fair number of fellow performers.
With all these connections in place, Beach was able to pull in singers as varied as Kaitlyn ni Donovan, the breathy leader of shoegazer popsters the High Violets; folk phenom Nick Jaina; and beatlesesque crooner Pat Kearns of Blue Skies for black Hearts.
What makes the Ross Island Bridge album titled “Volume 1: The Process Is Now the Work,” such an eye-opener is quite simply how it sounds. Abandoning the acoustic-driven indie pop that has marked Beach’s solo efforts and the fuzzy rock of the Hellpets, he’s cranked up the synthesizers and drum machines for a bracing electro-pop approach, akin to Magnetic Fields and the Postal Service.
Beach does a remarkable job of crafting each song to complement its particular singer. He makes Chris Robley’s gruff vocals sound soulful, thanks to a rumbling disco beat and whimpering keyboard. And both ni Donovan and Adrienne Hatkin (leader of Autopilot is for Lovers) put in knee-bucklingly beautiful performances aided by shimmering music that feels like the work of a lost 1980s technopop act.
Artist: Ross Island Bridge
Label: A Bouncing Space
Web site: www.rossbeach.com
Coming up: CD-release performance, 9 p.m. Wednesday, Backspace 115 N.W. Fifth Ave.
From The Portland Mercury
(Backspace, 115 NW 5th) Ross Beach has a hell of a resume’. He’s frontman for Ross and the Hellpets and a co-founder of PDX Pop Now!, and he collaborated with a number of musicians from the Elephant 6 collective-even Neutral Milk Hotel-back in the day. Now he’s putting out an album under the moniker Ross Island Bridge, taking its name from the familiar Portland river-span. The album, Volume 1: The Process Is Now the Work, is Beach’s laptop electronica with the guest voices of Portland’s best and brightest, including Nick Jaina, Grey Anne, and Jon Ragel of Boy Eats Drum Machine. Several of the album’s collaborators will be on hand to celebrate its release, and the likes of Blue Skies for Black Hearts’ Pat Kearns and Leviethan’s Levi Cecil will elevate the sometimes chintzy sound of Beach’s watery backdrops for an evening that’ll pair some of the Portland music scene’s best singer/songwriters with one of its most prominent figureheads. NL
From The Willamette Week
[INDIE ROSS] Ross and the Hellpets frontman Ross Beach has chosen, as his new nom de disque, the familiar handle Ross Island Bridge. Joining him as vocalists–both on his debut album under that name, and onstage tonight to celebrate its release–are Blue Skies for Black Hearts leader Pat Kearns, a couple members of Heroes & Villains (one of each, perhaps?), the singers of Minmae and Autopilot is for Lovers, and perennial Portland fave Kaitlyn ni Donovan, each of whom will perform their own songs alongside their contributions to Beach’s new Bridge. Ross on! JEFF ROSENBERG. 8 pm. Backspace, 115 NW 5th Ave., 248-2900. $6. All ages.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ROSS ISLAND BRIDGE CD RELEASE SHOW AND LOCAL SONGWRITER REVUE TO TAKE PLACE ON WEDNESDAY, APRIL 22 AT BACKSPACE
“Ross Beach is simply, and honestly, weird. I salute him!” – JIM SANTO’S DEMO UNIVERSE
To commemorate the release of the first album under this new moniker, the ROSS ISLAND BRIDGE CD RELEASE SHOW AND LOCAL SONGWRITER REVUE will occur on Wednesday, April 22nd at the friendly and accommodating Portland venue, Backspace. The venue is home to all-ages shows, beer for the over 21 crowd, computers for the gaming crowd, and an enduring enthusiasm for all things creative in Portland.
The new album features lead vocals from eleven of Portland’s up-and-coming musical artists, six of whom will be on hand to perform. In addition to their own compositions, the singers will occasionally be joined onstage by Ross Island Bridge mastermind Ross Beach and his band, Ross and the Hellpets, performing garage-pop renditions of the electro-dance songs on the album. Closing the show will be short sets by Ross and his band.
The performers will include:
Kaitlyn ni Donovan, a solo musician and soundtrack composer and erstwhile High Violet
Levi Ethan Cecil of the bands Brothers Young, Heroes & Villains, and Leviethan.
Jon Ragel of the band Boy Eats Drum Machine
Adrienne Hatkin of Autopilot is for Lovers, Porches, and Wooden Indian Burial Ground.
T.S. Brooks of Minmae.
Ali Ippolito of When The Broken Bow, Heroes & Villains, Mr Frederick, Rainbow & The Kittens, Marmits, & Leviethan.
Patrick Kearns of Blue Skies For Black Hearts, who will be walking a few blocks to play Dante’s on the same night.
The event will be all-ages, with beer available for attendees over the age of 21. Admission will be a $4-$8 sliding scale, with the $8 level including a copy of the disc. The performance begins at 9pm and is expected to last two hours. The venue is non-smoking and handicapped accessible. For updates, check www.rossbeach.com.
The album, ROSS ISLAND BRIDGE – VOLUME 1: THE PROCESS IS NOW THE WORK is available for purchase at CD Baby: http://cdbaby.com/cd/rossislandbridge
ROSS ISLAND BRIDGE CD RELEASE SHOW AND LOCAL SONGWRITER REVUE
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 22 SHOW @ 9 P.M.
115 NW 5TH AVE PORTLAND, OREGON
$4 – $8 SLIDING SCALE ($8 PRICE INCLUDES CD)
My latest album, Ross Island Bridge – Volume 1: The Process Is Now The Work is completed and will be “officially” released on April 21st, 2009. However, since you’ve gone to all the trouble of finding this website, you can actually buy it now by going here.
There will be a cd release show at Backspace here in Portland on Wednesday, April 22nd. It will feature sets by me, by The Hellpets, at hopefully by some of the artists who sing on the album. Details will be posted to the shows page when available.
Really, it’s the same old website, only tidier, easier to navigate, and with this blog section a little more prominently placed (to make it easier to notice how rarely I post to it). Rest assured that the 1990s era technology, lovingly used to originally create this internet outpost, lives on into the 21st century.
On Saturday night, I saw an amazing and moving performance of Julian Koster’s band The Music Tapes at Backspace here in Portland. Static, the singing television, and the 7-foot-tall metronome all made their usual contributions. Meanwhile, the time-honored formula of horns, toy instruments, and having a dozen people on stage at once was worked to near perfection. If you have the opportunity to catch them, you absolutely should. It was a memorable show executed by truly sweet people.
The official release of Ross Island Bridge: Volume 1 will be in April. Release show details are forthcoming.
I’ve just completed recording the second song of my follow-up. This one will be a proper solo album. The tambourine is getting a workout.