Vow of Volition Make the Final Round of the Battle for Warped Tour

The Vans Warped Tour was the first festival for many of us back in the day. As young'ns, it's likely we didn't necessarily think about all that went into figuring out the bands to book and play the whole shebang. Part of that process, at least locally, seems to be through a series "battle of the bands" style competitions specifically for landing a spot on the fest. Quite a few Portland bands have been furiously playing against one another for said spot, and djent/prog metal act Vow of Volition are one of the acts that made it to the finals.

Warped Tour was always the type of festival that included much in the realm of pop punk, punk punk, emo and metal, so Vow of Volition's advancement to the final round is no surprise. Their incredibly technical, at times jazzy metal stands out in Portland's pretty linear popular music scene, and is much worthy of the attention its getting.

Those that want to support Vow of Volition in driving home the permanent spot can go to the Battle for Warped Tour finals Saturday at the Hawthorne Theatre.

Spirits of Leo share single “Eden” + play album release show at Tender Trap on 3/22

With its title referencing the biblical world without sin, Brooklyn's Spirits of Leo's new track “Eden” (streaming below) creates a dreampop impression of that earthly temptation garden. Having relocated to Brooklyn from California, the band's creative force Ryan Santos Phillips weaves in a nod to Steinbeck's “East of Eden” as well. However, much like the human struggles in that literary tale, the prevailing focus here is of a paradise lost. Built around a driving bass line, melodic guitar riffs and clearly defined percussion, the vocals cascade in layers that create an atmospheric motion. “I wonder where we're going again” serves as the songs catchiest repeated lyrical refrain providing a glimmer of hope for another chance at paradise. Included on the full-length album “Equinox,” the band will play its release show on March 22 at Tender Trap, with the record available everywhere on the 23rd. - Dave Cromwell

Lavender Blush brings atmospheric noise rock to Shoegaze Fest (4.15)

One way to describe Lavender Blush is a diamond in the rough soundscape of San Francisco shoegaze. Another, more simple (and perhaps even more meaningful) descriptor is just good. Like their sound, there’s no need for over-complication. This is the type of band that sneaks up on you, that stuns you into a silence with driving guitar parts, fuzzy production, and haunting vocals. The track “Misdirection” (streaming below) is an exercise in the genuine, one that is meant to be listened to over and over again. Lavender Blush will be playing at the EB Shoegaze Fest on April 15th at The Fireside Lounge in Alameda. - Lilly Milman

New The Soft Spots LP Available for Streaming & Purchase

Rainy Daze is the new full-length album from synth-pop outfit The Soft Spots. Positioned underneath a soothing waterfall of dreamy psych-pop, the LP glides in a natural sway, slowing down the constant whirlwind. A sunny outlook is at the core of these songs, albeit with noise-adjusting, shoegazing moments lodged in between. One easily adjusts to the daydreaming waters. You can catch the four-piece at The Fire on Friday, April 6, where they'll be joined by Distant Voices, The Phonies, and Tubey Frank.

Trace Mountains celebrates album release at Alphaville on 03.30

Under the Trace Mountains moniker, Dave Benton makes folky, lo-fi tunes that blend in synthesizers and post-production effects for quirky and occasionally noisy compositions. Benton, who’s also a songwriter in beloved indie rock quartet LVL UP, sings with a tender delivery fit to the gently building arrangements of his tracks while crunched up drum machines and softly strummed guitar propel his voice onward. On A Partner to Lean On, due March 30th on Figure 2 RC, he brings together recordings of new material and updated versions of previously released songs. The album release will coincide with a show at Alphaville where Trace Mountains will be joined by Operator Music Band and Spirit Was, which features Benton’s LVL UP bandmate Nick Corbo. – Cameron Carr

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