Soft Paws. Oh, Soft Paws. I love this album a lot. We at the 'Stand have been able to listen to this live album for a bit of time now. While entertaining a visitor from Indiana several months back, this (and our recently released live album with Alex Arrowsmith and his Pugs) was our chosen road music. It had everything we were looking for during our long, strange trip up and down the Oregon coast. Energy. Drive. Weirdness. It was fantastic.
I've listened to this album dozens of times now, and always enjoy the experience. It's an extremely well constructed set. Softer songs like Easy Rider pace out more driving tracks like Gyped very nicely. (Gyped, by the way, has my very favorite tambourine of all time. Listen for it. It fucking rocks.) The closing three tracks of the album, including the audience-requested Genderslam, deliver a climactic ending to the set. Soft Paws came to the 'Stand ready to play, played well in space, and delivered a phenomenal performance. 'Stand mixer Alex Arrowsmith did exceptional work on this release. Everything sounds ... well, just right. Guitars jangle, drums crash, harmonized vocals fall in perfectly.
Soft Paws - Live from the Banana Stand is another example of everything coming together just-so to make for a great live release.
There are so many talented bands that come to play at The Banana Stand that I don't want to pick a favorite. But, if I had to pick, it might be Soft Paws. The group is like a jammed-out, nerd-western version of the Violent Femmes, and if that doesn't make you want to listen to them, well, fuck you. Nah, I'm kidding, you're alright. Seriously though, Soft Paws live set is incredible.
Soft Paws came to our attention through former poster and album designer Tony Ong. Tony's since moved up to Seattle to work for the awesome comic company Fantagraphics, but we're forever grateful for his contribution to the project, and for introducing us to Soft Paws. I first caught the group at The Langano Lounge on Hawthorne, and knew immediately that they needed to document their songs.
The band opened for Alex Arrowsmith and His Pugs in June of 2010, and Alex mixed down the set, which is great because he was there to hear exactly how the band performed, first-hand. 13 lucky tracks came out of the set that night, each pretty damn good. As the album continues, the songs get more intense. "Someone Else's Friend" is particularly rad.
I really don't have much else to say other than you should get this music right away and enjoy it. Take a listen, and if you like it, please consider supporting the artist who create the music by donating a few dollars for the download.
Soft Paws - Live from the Banana Stand was recorded in front of a live audience on June 26th, 2010 at the Banana Stand in Portland, Oregon. The album was mixed and mastered by Alex Arrowsmith. Tony Ong handled design and layout for album art, which includes original photography by Jott Robertson and the original show poster by Brian David Smith. The Banana Stand would like to thank Soft Paws (Ethan, Brandon and Justin) and all who participated in this album's creation and anyone that has helped us out along the way.
Check out more of Soft Paws on MySpace.