The Right Time
Listen to the song "Vibrations"It’s one thing to make a 60’s throwback record. It’s another thing to have been there in real-time singing backup alongside legends Stevie Wonder, Otis Redding and James Brown, to name a few. In the case of 78 year old Ural Thomas, it’s never too late to find The Right Time.
- 1. Slow Down
2. No Distance (Between You & Me)
4. You Care Very Little
5. Smoldering Fire
6. The Right Time
7. Gotta Say (I Love You
9. Show Ya
10. Eenie Meenie
- If life was at all fair Ural Thomas would be a household name, his music slotted into countless sweet, seductive mixtapes between James Brown, Otis Redding, and Stevie Wonder (all of whom Thomas has performed with.) Straddling the line between hot soul shouter and velvety-smooth crooner, Thomas released a few singles in the late 60’s and early 70’s; most notably “Can You Dig It”, which featured backing vocals from soul luminaries Merry Clayton, Mary Wells and Brenda Holloway. Thomas played over forty shows at the legendary Apollo Theater before turning his back on an unkind business and heading home to Portland, OR. It goes without saying that a man practically built out of rhythm would never stop playing music. Thomas began hosting a regular Sunday night jam session at his home that ran for nearly twenty years. A de facto mentor to many of the younger players, Thomas reminds us all that “If you care about what you’re doing, you need to build those muscles and do the work. Don’t get discouraged, do it for love. Even if you’re digging ditches, do it with passion.” In 2014, local soul DJ Scott Magee sat in on drums. The two became fast friends and at Magee’s urging Thomas decided to give his musical career another shot. Magee became the musical director, they put together a band, and in 2016 released a self-titled album on Mississippi Records. In 2017 Thomas signed with Tender Loving Empire and began work on what, in many respects, will be his debut full length. Diving deep into lifetime of melodic creativity, Thomas and his band got to work. Recorded in Magee’s studio Arthur’s Attic, The Right Time features the air-tight work of Magee on drums, percussion, and backing vocals, Bruce Withycombe (The Decemberists) on baritone sax, Portland jazz scene fixture Brent Martens on guitars and vibraphone, Arcellus Sykes on bass, Steve Aman (Lady Rizo) on piano and organ, Dave Monnie on trumpet, Willie Matheis (Cherry Poppin’ Daddies) on tenor sax, and Jasine Rimmel, Joy Pearson, Sarah King, Rebecca Marie Miller on backing vocals. The Arco Quartet performed the strings, and the record was engineered and mixed by Jeff Stuart Saltzman (Blitzen Trapper) and mastered by JJ Golden (Sharon Jones, Ty Segall). One might think after a sizeable taste of early success Thomas would be more than a touch bitter – yet the opposite is true. “We have to be positive if we want the world to get better” Thomas advises. “We’ve come a long way, but if you carry a grudge with the whole world you’ll stop your growth. We’re a family, all just brothers and sisters, descendants of Adam. You can’t get anywhere without an open heart.” A developing artist at nearly eighty years old, for Thomas music has always been about bringing people together. “If we play for twenty people we cook it like it’s twenty thousand” says Thomas. “If we make someone smile we’re satisfied. They’re ain’t no difference between us. It’s all love and brotherhood. If folks listen to my record and feel that I’ll feel very blessed.” Standing in bold defiance of the idea that aging is a reason to slow down and stop living, for Thomas the right time to get down is the next time someone plugs in a guitar or puts on a record. Ural is ready – are you?
Friends and Friends of Friends Vol 12
Friends & Friends of Friends is an annual 2-disc compilation of music curated by Tender Loving Empire. We collect submissions from our friends and (as the compilation title might suggest) from their friends. We request specific songs that we love and include our favorite jams from bands on our own record label. This year it's time for number 12, and we've put together 40 songs that reflect the best of what we're into now.
1. Vita and the Woolf - Sun Drop
2. Bells Atlas - First Gen Pisces
3. Ural thomas & the Pain - Smoldering Fire
4. Arthur & The Antics - Jennifer Said
5. The California Honeydrops - Live Learn
6. Aftercare - Still Love
7. Slow Corpse - Lonely 3000
8. Blossom -Moi å Moi
9. Ripley Snell - Manifinessea (ft. Old Grape God)
10. SISTERS - Y Do U Take So Long ft. Sol (Budo Remix)
11. Brijean - Show And Tell
12. PALMCO - Don't Let Me Down
13. Small Skies - Faces
14. Pure Bathing Culture - Moonrise
15. New Body Electric - Peaceful War
16. Human Ottoman - Maraca Who
17. Martha Stax - Rock and Roll
18. Jeff Bond - We Are Getting Closer
19. Little Wins - Let Me Into Your Heart
1. Y La Bamba - Boca Llena
2. Neptuna - Las Margaritas
3. The Shivas - Turn Me On
4. Elly Swope - Habits
5. Balto - Black Snake, Mojave Blues
6. The Rare Forms - Under The sheets
7. Help - Skeletons
8. Mega Pacific - Weed Police
9. Laundry - Junkyard Robot
10. Patrician - Your Friend
11. Sama Dams - Mounted On The Wall
12. Rum River Cult - Strangers Now
13. Melt - Snow
14. Shadowgraphs - Sun Is Rising
15. Mo Troper - Never Dream Of Dying
16. Perhapsy - 34th & West
17. Souvenir Driver - Admire
18. The Jerry Cans - Makiliqta
19. John Craigie - Virgin Guitar
20. Kelly McFarling - Pacific
21. Perlo - Masters
- The players: Vita and the Woolf, Bells Atlas, Ural thomas & The Pain, Arthur & The Antics, The California Honeydrops, Aftercare, Slow Corpse, Blossom, Ripley Snell, SISTERS, Brijean, PALMCO, Small Skies, Pure Bathing Culture, New Body Electric, Human Ottoman, Martha Stax, Jeff Bond, Little Wins, Y La Bamba, Neptuna, The Shivas, Elly Swope, Balto, The Rare Forms, Help, Mega Pacific, Laundry, Patrician, Sama Dams, Rum River Cult, Melt, Shadowgraphs, Mo Troper, Perhapsy, Souvenir Driver, The Jerry Cans, John Craigie, Kelly McFarling, Perlo
Listen to the song "The Situation"Paradise Hotel was borne out of years of collaboration in the Portland music community. The thirteen-track vinyl compilation was produced by Jesse Bettis of New Move Studios, in tandem with each featured songwriter, and is built on the sense of discovery between Bettis and each artist. “The reason collaboration is so powerful is the vision that every person brings to the table—and the result is much greater than the means,” says Bettis.
Thematically, each artist comes from their own place of struggle; the songs range from feminist anthem (Y La Bamba) to melancholic ballad (Aan). The sonically eclectic and exciting collection melds under shared production values and instrumentation, like the synthesizer, for a common aesthetic. Paradise Hotel’s distinct sound palette is a groovy, upbeat vibe, a la vintage 70s vinyl.
The seeds for writing and producing Paradise Hotel were planted over two years ago, when Bettis heard a demo of Boone Howard’s “Limit Of Love,” and was inspired to record it. More recently Cameron Spies (Radiation City, Night Heron, Gold Brick Studios) and Bettis became neighbors and joined forces on two songs, “The Situation” and “Astronaut Lover.” Bettis says, “New Move Studios was formed for the Portland music community. It’s a space dedicated to supporting creativity and releasing music and videos regularly.”
With Portland undergoing increasingly more change every day, it’s important to carve out a place where ingenuity and collaboration happen. The neon sign atop a decaying building on Paradise Hotel’s cover is reminiscent of Portland’s past, while looking ahead to a hopeful future. “The picture of decaying leisure class culture is also a new beginning,” Bettis says.
Paradise Hotel is a pillar of the Portland music community and its amazing creativity, and it represents just the beginning of a new, exciting body of work to come out of New Move Studios. Bettis says, “Everybody needs a community, and the more you can connect with the people around you, the better off everyone is.” .
- 1. Dan Dan - Circuit
2. Michael Finn - Good Heart & Full Support
3. Y La Bamba - Something Wild
4. New Move (feat. Night Heron) - The Situation
5. Tribe Mars - Ya Yea Yeah
6. Minden - Turned
7. Melt - Saltwater Taffy
8. Night Heron (feat. New Move) Astronaut Lover
9. PG-13 - Happy Birthday Trevor
10. Laura Palmers Death Parade - Heartbeats Dancing
11. Mat & Ritchie - Get It On
12. Boone Howard - Limit Of Love
13. Aan - Fell Into A Hole
- Paradise Hotel is a pillar of the Portland music community and its amazing creativity, and it represents just the beginning of a new, exciting body of work to come out of New Move Studios. Bettis says, “Everybody needs a community, and the more you can connect with the people around you, the better off everyone is.” .
Listen to the song "Career Suicide"Seamlessly blending elements of hip-hop, electronic, and dream pop into one beautiful neo-soul album, Maybe is Blossom's strongest work yet.
RIYL: Lauryn Hill, Solange, SZA, Beyonce, neo-soul
- 1. King Kai
2. Career Suicide
4. Betty Rizzo
6. Moi å Moi
10. More Than
11. Honey, if You Hear (ft. Ripley Snell)
- With roots in Trinidad and Tobago, Blossom was born into music and spent a portion of her childhood performing alongside her uncle's steel drum band. Today she creates beautiful and unique neo-soul music in Portland, Oregon.
There's a Place for People Like You
Listen to the song "Short Run"Featuring local legends like Dodgr and Ripley Snell, and produced by Eyrst's Neill Von Tally, There's A Place for People Like You is the fantastic 2019 album from Portland rapper ePP.
- 1. Preamble
3. Bleu City (Go There) ft. Dodgr
4. Short Run
5. Come My Way
6. Even? When?
7. 5R ft. Dodgr, Ripley Snell, & Neill Von Tally
8. Sofa Successful
9. Out of Place
10. Away Interlude
11. One You Can Save ft. Uel
12. Bricks ft. SQVTCH
- ePP has been making music since he first banged on a Casio keyboard as a toddler. You might recognize his name from his features and collaborations with fellow Oregonians like Dodgr, Bocha, or Calvin Valentine. His music lives somewhere between dark and playful, creating catchy tunes for the perfect summer soundtrack but grounding them through undeniably genuine lyrics that deal with real life issues.