Saturday, June 16, 2012

Pitstop: Port St. Willow


With the amount of coverage they seem to be getting lately you might ask me why I'd even entertaining the notion of covering Brooklyn's Port St. Willow myself and the answer is pretty much obvious: They're that good. Live, recorded, any which way really. While I became aware of them sometime last year through their tour with The Antlers, it's taken me quite a lot of time to act on the namedrop (I wasn't actually at any of those shows) and it was worth it if only because Port St. Willow's most recent Spike Hill live show was one of the most glorious things.

Have you ever been to a concert where no one clapped? It wasn't because they weren't good but rather because you physically couldn't. Port St. Willow enshrouded you in a tapestry of layered sounds and a rush of raw emotion so much so that the only available option was to stare in awe. It was about three or four songs into their set at We Listen For You's Northside Fest showcase when the band took a small break from their spellbinding when the first bout of raucous applause happened.

Port St. Willow is the project of Nick Principe and on this particular night he was joined by Hip Hatchet's drummer Jake Nussbaum and the results were simply too beautiful for words. The technical precision of Nussbaum's percussion with Principe's stratospheric vocals and immersive textural landscape weaving inspired a scene of total and complete emotional devastation. Brought me to actual tears song after song. Which is exactly what Principle is going for - music that shakes you down to your very foundations and awaken  an emotional wellspring. A feat Port St. Willow achieves not by attempting to force it out but by gently coaxing them out in his subtle mastery of your heartstrings.

Port St. Willow's latest album Holiday is out now, you can hear it as well as buy it (which you totally should) on Bandcamp as well as from other digital retailers.

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