New Music Monday: Monoliths

In a very special New Music Monday, we present the naturalistic indie rock of local boy — and PQ reader — Monoliths.

Have we told you lately how much we love to hear from you, readers? No, really, it makes our day. One such day-making communiqué suggested that we highlight local marvel Tim Yates, who performs under the moniker Monoliths:

A monolith could be described as an object of singular solidity. In this way, the project Monoliths represents the solo musical experiments of Portland, Oregon based (and English exported) artist Tim Yates. He admits to unexplained inspiration; a view of distant lights blinking from a bridge, rusted cabinet-maker’s tools, hotels swept away by the sea, faceless abominations dressed up like people, and the dreams of cats. The music he gleans is often haunting, textural, and melodic, with roots as contrary as 8-bit electronica and psychedelic folk. Buzzing synthesizers mingle in a darkened lounge with a stately bass guitar, an old harpsichord, and thousands of home-recordings of captivatingly familiar oddities.

In 1999, shortly after immigrating to Portland from Winchester, England, Tim taught himself the bass guitar in order to form a rock n’ roll band with co-conspiritor Chris Nelson. Gigging around the Pacific northwest under many revisions of bands, Tim formed an unusual style of bass playing and composition (based on “bad habits,” he might tell you). It wasn’t long before gleeful experimentation took full hold, and he began to explore electronically originated sounds and toy with whatever tangible instruments he could get his hands on. Longing for a new outlet for somewhat uncontrolled creativity, he began making music privately at his home, with just a cup of tea as company. Today he often plays music with good friends, but always finds time to record and perform his personal work. He hopes you find this music enjoyable, inspirational, or perhaps even educational.

His latest album, Bayocean Spit, was recorded entirely outdoors at a secluded beach on the Oregon coast; however, don’t let the back story trick you into thinking it’s some sort of strum-the-guitar-and-sing-Kumbaya affair. The album is a captivating mix of melodic art-rock and swirling psychedelica, evoking Arcade Fire and Sigur Ros by turns. Bayocean Spit is odd, unique, heady, clever — and one of the best albums released by a Portland-based artist so far this year.

Head over to the Monoliths website and download “The Ambassador” and other tracks from Monoliths. If you dig his sound, think about heading down to the Someday Lounge at 8:30 PM on Sunday the 29th for the Bayocean Spit album release party, when Mr. Yates himself performs along with friends Paul Notley and Gamma Repeater.

Want to make our day yet again? Follow this PQ reader’s lead and send your suggestions for future New Music Monday acts to Who knows — it might just be the thing that propels your creative friend to mega-stardom. Worth a shot, right?