Sunday, March 14, 2010

Tapestry of Webs

I am a huge, huge Blood Brothers fan. Their 2006 post hardcore masterpiece, Young Machetes, was probably my favorite that year, and I remember not even caring that at 23, I was one of the oldest people at their show in Portland that year. They were just too magical, too intense for a lot of grownups to handle, and I mean that completely seriously.

The band broke up in 2007 and basically split into two bands, Jaguar Love, whose debut I reviewed for Spin, and Past Lives, whose first full length just came out and who is playing Portland tonight. I had a really enjoyable half-hour phone conversation with Jordan Blilie for this feature that appeared in Friday's Oregonian.

Since the focus of the piece is Past Lives, there were a couple of tidbits about Blood Brothers that I didn't get to include, so I'll share those now. The first one, and this may be old news to some, is that Blood Brothers was more Whitney's vision than Blilie's. It's funny, because when I first heard Blood Brothers, for some reason I assumed Blilie was the leader creatively. I guess Johnny Whitney's vocals were just so insane--I couldn't picture him focusing long enough to write the songs!

But when Blilie was talking about how he had to relearn how to write songs by himself, he said, "My process was always linked to working with someone else and I was always contributing to his vision of things" (emphasis added). So Tapestry of Webs is kind of the world's first look at Jordan as a songwriter. When I pointed that out, he joked about how they should have called it Shades of Jordan.

The second thing I learned in the interview that might be interesting to Blood Brothers fans is that Blilie and the Jaguar Love guys are on fairly good terms these days. I was pleased to learn this since in doing research for the piece, I had read on various forums and such that the former bandmates weren't on speaking terms. But Blilie had nothing but positive things to say about Johnny Whitney and Cody Vototalo. And in fact, Blilie apparently saw Jaguar Love play for the first time a few weeks ago and was impressed. "There's not another band like Jaguar Love floating around," he says. "I think that's a good thing."

He went on, "Our breakup wasn't without its rough patches, but I think enough time has gone by and enough room and space has been allotted. I was just talking to Cody a couple of days ago. I'm happy that the two of them have continued to play together and make records."

Past Lives plays at East End in Portland tonight.

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