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Casey Neill & The Norway Rats

Album release show for Portland's own folk-punk supergroup

Casey Neill & The Norway Rats

Swansea

Fri, March 23

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 9:00 pm

Doug Fir Lounge

Portland, OR

$12.00 - $14.00

This event is 21 and over

Casey Neill & The Norway Rats
Casey Neill & The Norway Rats
Record release show for Casey Neill & the Norway Rats new CD/LP ‘Subterrene’.

“Poly Styrene’s prophetic riffing on the alienation of modern synthetic culture is among my favorite lyric writing ever,” says songwriter Casey Neill, who named his latest album Subterrene (March 23 / Incident Recordings) as a nod to cult punk icons, X-Ray Spex (the lyric is from their great tune “Let’s Submerge”).

That familiar, ecstatic collision of hope and despair, romance and chaos, past and future, is at the core of Subterrene - the first album in five years from Casey Neill and the Norway Rats. The music was produced and engineered by their long time guitarist Chet Lyster (of Eels) who co-wrote the songs with Neill. The result is a collection of punk rock grit, storytelling and alt-rock abandon described by Neill as a work of “dystopian romance". From its very first moments, it's clear the band is tapping into new creative wells, where electronic elements weave in and out underneath razor sharp guitars.

While not a traditional concept album, Subterrene follows a distinct story arc, and the ominous-yet-defiantly-optimistic portraits it paints were inspired in equal parts by vintage sci-fi novels, our current political climate, and the globetrotting manner in which Neill’s lived while touring throughout the US, Europe, and Japan. Subterrene features guest contributions from Georgia songwriter Thayer Serrano, guitarist Dave Depper of Death Cab for Cutie, as well as R.E.M.'s Peter Buck and Scott McCaughey (who Neill frequently performs with as a member of The Minus 5).

Over the past five years, Neill’s had quite a bit of time to reflect on where it’s all taken him, so it should come as little surprise that many of the songs on Subterrene contemplate just what it means to truly find yourself. While the album offers no easy answers, it does manage find some of the magic in the madness. On tracks like “In the Swim” and “Deathless,” Neill reconciles the pain of loss with beauty of life, while on the hypnotic “Savages,” he’s able to look back fondly on the struggles of self-discovery from a safe distance, and “Everyone Wants to be Found” draws inspiration from the work of late journalist Matt Power, a friend who managed to capture the essence of characters from around the globe with his writing.

“When you make a living as a musician or a journalist or doing anything that involves a lot of traveling,” says Neill, “you get to know people all over the world and find out you’re linked to them in ways never even imagined. That song really draws on that feeling of being connected to people. It’s about finding your place in the world, even if it turns out that that place is everywhere.”

The previous Casey Neill & The Norway Rats CD/LP All You Pretty Vandals was produced by Chris Funk of the Decemberists and garnered rave reviews from national press, online blogs, and widespread radio play. Since it’s release they have performed on NPR’s Mountain Stage, Newport Folk Festival, and 100s of other shows.

WHAT OTHERS SAY:

“…teeming with rich lyrics that paint the glory and gutter of a wanderer’s struggle. Neill’s bellows pack the punch of white-capped seas, soaking the band’s big sky, prairie wind sound with a haunting graveness. It just may be Portland’s strongest brand of unfettered, contemporary roots rock." - Mark Stock, WILLAMETTE WEEK

"These are songs with stories well told. This is what it's all about" - STEVE EARLE

“a masterful songwriter” - PUNK PLANET

"Soul-searing songs "- UTNE READER

"An adroit lesson in ways to tear it up" - BLURT

“Be it through raucous rockers, fragile acoustic ballads, ragged country, passionate bursts of punk fury or soulful touches of Irish folk, Neill's narrative talent and concern for real people's struggles stand out. (Neill) evokes an epic feel that fits perfectly with the implicit grandiosity of this emotional material, delivered with a raspy, affectionate voice that recalls Life's Rich Pageant-era Michael Stipe. The results are so evocative, you'll be tempted to steep further in these memories, the better to share Casey Neill's particular blend of personal and historical experience.” --- SPLENDID
Swansea
Swansea
Swansea formed in 2011 when Portland, Oregon mainstays, musician/actress/writer, Rebecca Sanborn (Loch Lomond, Blue Cranes) and drummer, Ji Tanzer (Blue Cranes, Rebecca Gates) recruited Kansas City multi-instrumentalist/singer Kyleen King to expand the sound of their long standing duo project. As a trio, in 2012 the group released their first full length album “Old Blood” and completed multiple tours of the United States. Between 2013-2015, Swansea toured Europe and found significant success in scoring and licensing music for a diverse array of films, including the track & field documentary “We Grew Wings” (2013), the feature length, multi-award winning dramas “Light of Mine” (2013), “A Standing Still” (2014) and “Death On A Rock” (2015). With the engineering/production help of John Askew (Neko Case, Wild Flag), Swansea’s sophomore album, “Flaws” was released April 28th 2017 on the Self Group label. Stylistically, Swansea combine artful narrative and atmospheric sweep with a touch of dancey, off-the-cuff toughness–often drawing comparison to LCD Soundsystem, Feist and My Brightest Diamond.