I Bleed for Porches

Aaron Maine’s first riff reverberates as I reach into my backpack. My hand dives into a vast puddle of Lagunitas, grinding against several shards. He takes an assertive step towards the microphone. Those of us standing in front glance at each other in anticipation. And then he gives us what we want. “I give you he-aaaaad / be-fore you he-aaaaad / to the-ra-pyyyy” resounds from the speakers, amplified by a chorus of boisterous audience members. Many drunkenly mimic Maine’s endearing hip-jerk and head sway. I am vaguely aware of the blood gushing from my left hand, but I haven’t the slightest impulse to relinquish my front-row standing. The guitar lulls. I swiftly unroll my knee sock, wrapping it tightly around my broken-beer-bottle-induced laceration just in time for the chorus. The SU erupts with, “what did you do when you want-ed to di-iiiiie.”

This is ‘Headsgiving,’ the opening track on Porches’ most recent LP, Slow Dance in the Cosmos. Porches and Frankie Cosmos recently played two Portland shows — one house show on October 2nd, and a second show in the Reed Student Union on the 3rd. These New York City-based bands were booked by sophomores Heidi Loening and Isabel Lyndon and funded by the student body and Big Toe Booking.

Often described as “sad rock,” Porches combines the foot-stomping, arm-swaying guitar grooves of a Julian Casablancas song with the emotional lyricism of Yo La Tengo. While many indie rock bands claim specific influence from the likes of Neil Young, The Pixies or Dinosaur Jr., Porches embodies an eclectic and inevitably ambiguous persona and thus draws a communal fan base.

Part of this community comes from Exploding in Sound Records — their Brooklyn-based record label — whose founders prefer their music “to be loud . . . and quiet . . . and that whole quiet/loud/quiet thing.” I found this community in Brooklyn this past summer, where four Exploding in Sound bands, including Porches, took the stage at Shea Stadium as fans moshed to their heart’s content. I also found this community 3,000 miles away in NE Portland last week, sitting around a fire pit while several bands took turns playing their respective sets in the garage.

Greta Kline, bassist in Porches and lead singer of her own band, Frankie Cosmos, took the stage at both Portland events. Greta Kline’s stirringly honest songwriting resembles that of Waxahatchee. These are lyrics that need to be written. While Greta’s audience may not always overlap with that of Porches, the intimate connection between Aaron and Greta tethers their respective fan bases. When introducing a new song on stage, Greta often turns to Aaron, the drummer in her band, smiles, and says, “This song is about him.”

Aaron Maine (lead guitar/vocals)

Greta Kline (bass)

Cameron Wisch (drums)

Kevin Farrant (guitar)

Seiya Jerell (keyboard)