Portland’s garage rockers hit up the Tin Can July 25
By Logan Broyles | SDUN Reporter
Don’t let their name fool you; the New York Rifles are actually a Portland, Ore.-based three-piece 1960s-style garage band that will be swinging through town Thursday, July 25.
The trio is playing at the Tin Can Ale House in Bankers Hill, with opening performances by Just Like Jenna and Focke-Wolves. It will be one of the final shows of an 11-stop West Coast tour during the month of July to promote their latest album, “Girl Shaped Girl.” The album was released in 2012.
“Girl Shaped Girl” is the group’s third release on the indie labels Empty Records and In Music We Trust. Their first release, “Faraway Faster,” came out in 2008, and their second was “Make A Wish,” in 2009. Lead singer and guitarist Scott Young said a fourth album is on the way, hopefully by the end of the year.
“The plan is to get back into the studio as soon as we get back from this summer tour,” he said. “Probably we’ll have a new album out in the next six months or so.”
Young has a raspy twang behind his voice that sounds a bit like a male version of Janis Joplin, and just like that famous ’60s rocker, he seems to scream his lungs out over each guitar-heavy song that the group plays.
“It’s rock ‘n’ roll; it basically goes under that umbrella,” Young said. “It’s always a tricky thing to figure out. It has some ’60s garage, ’70s rock and an ’80s kind of feel to it in some places.”
The band’s sound is “all over the map,” Young said, in terms of what each member likes and what they were listing to on the radio growing up. He also said they have been moving in a different direction over the last three years, becoming a “conglomeration” of 1960s garage rock that is both “heavier” and “darker.”
The New York Rifles are a unique band that has gone through many transformations and lineup changes over its six-year existence, and has currently settled on a core lineup within those last three years. Young sings and plays guitar, Jamie Gould plays bass, and Nate James takes on drums.
Young first put New York Rifles together six years ago, but a love triangle caused that incarnation of the band to fall apart. After giving up on the band, fate intervened in the form of the Empty Records label, whose producers called Young literally one week after the breakup to see if he had anything recorded. That call inspired him to give it a second go.
“I sent over a recording we had made and they liked it,” Young said. “I put the band back together, but it took about a year to get things rolling again because I kind of just pieced together a band with friends that were just helping out temporarily.” That initial recording got a lot of airplay on college radio, and the Young kept searching for permanent members.
“Finally we settled on the current lineup about three years ago,” he said. “I’m big on meeting people for the first time and playing together, because when you play together with friends you kind of already have an established relationship of how you work with each other. … When you meet people with the idea of getting a band together, you lay out how you’ll work together from the ground floor up.”
For Young and his band mates there are few things in life that make more sense than the intoxicating feeling they get when performing onstage in front of an energetic crowd of music lovers.
“Being on stage for 45 minutes is where I feel the most comfortable, and maybe it just has to do with having control over what’s happening,” he said. “Even if you’re having a train wreck of a night up on stage you’re still in control of the train wreck, whereas you’re not always in control of the things that happen to you in your everyday life.”
The New York Rifles show at Tin Can Ale House starts after 9 p.m. Tickets are $5 and the Tin Can is located at 1863 Fifth Ave. For more information visit thetincan1.wordpress.com.