3 rad bands takin' you to bunky town... Skull Diver, Childspeak, Kulululu

Fri, Sep 22, 2017 at 9pm

  • $5 advance / $7 day of show
  • 21+
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For as long as they could hold an instrument, sisters Aly and Mandy Payne had the benefit of a partner through which to filter their artistic progression. Naturally the rate of evolution for Skull Diver moved fast. What requires deliberation for most they do instinctively. Sharing duties as multi-instrumentalists where one left off the other found new inspiration. Carving out their dynamic, Aly's unique playing style is perfectly tailored for Mandy's Vocals. Their musical collaboration isn’t so much a pastime as an identity around which everything else revolves. Growing up their intake of major influences was simultaneous and therefore proactive: The first time one of them heard King Crimson, Prince or Radiohead soon became an infectious awe they could share.
The early Skull Diver compositions were long, roomy abstractions-more an experiment in painting broad strokes of the subconscious. The sisters reflect on this period as more as a work-study period. With an interest in experimental audio rivalling their compositional desires, they toiled tirelessly to familiarize themselves with the world of analog circuitry, audio engineering and midi programming, turning their house into a makeshift studio where songs could be taken through their entire evolution-from inception to perfection to production.

Skull Diver’s 2015 'Self-Titled' debut, however, captures the jubilance of invention after the initial spark. It’s a tragically beautiful and poetic effort. Well studied and artfully self-produced over months of experimenting with how it should or could sound before finally being crowned complete.

For the bands 2017 independent release ‘Chemical Tomb", the alternate approach was to make the document while it was still raw. The thematic elements are darker, with a gravely dangerous bend due largely to the addition of percussionist Alexandra Geffel. Geffel was introduced to Skull Diver in late 2015 and quickly became the long sought after engine powering Skull Diver’s breakneck pace.

'Chemical Tomb' employs the same aching melancholy of Skull Diver’s debut but adds an element of aggressive dissonance. It’s landscape is winding, with malevolent and often uncomfortably honest subject matter. Skull Diver’s ability to juxtapose doom and gloom riffage with sparkling synths and delicately frigid piano is masterful. It’s an inventive dichotomy that illustrates the rare ability to not only churn out the raw material but also refine it in post-production while retaining the initial vibrancy.

Like the Cecily Brown painting from which the band takes it’s name, Skull Diver’s textured complexity incorporates a varied array of tones and strokes. Their current pallette dips into the darker shades of our own humanity but it’s vibrancy is still sourced of something pure and familiar.

Childspeak was formed in 2014 and at the time, all that was known was that in lieu of a singer would exist an A/V “front-creature” for the instrumentalists to dance around like banshees. Three years and several turns later, the group found that its formula of post-passive-progressive rock is able to speak pretty loud without a human voice. Bri, Derek, TJ, and Michael play music that colors between the lines to delight and leave the audience in a childlike state of wonder. 

They have opened for members of prog-fathers King Crimson in addition to garnering an eclectic and devoted crew of misfit followers here in the PNW. Their first album “Day Dream Sparkle Party” is currently available on Bandcamp and their second is slated for a 2017 release.

Daydream Sparkle Party was released in December 2015 and was fully produced in Portland, Oregon. Recorded and mixed by Kevin Drake at Dead Aunt Thelma's Studios, mastered by Adam Gonsalves at Telegraph Audio and the album artwork was produced by Bri Childs.


Kulululu has traveled long and far to finally arrive on earth. While here, Kulululu is in search of the answers to the questions; why? and why not? You may not understand what they are saying. You may not understand why they look the way they do. They may not understand these things either. What's important is that time is continuous, and without it we cannot find our way back to where we started.

"Opening up the night were the comically clad KULULULU. Part frenzied rock set, part lively performance art piece, dancers ran around the audience as they thrashed about on stage." -Cervante Pope, The Deli Magzine

"It's like a F••k You! and a big hug, at the same time." 

"They were good. But weird! But really good!...But weird."

"Loony bin escapees masquerading as musicians!"

"It's like David Lee Roth, high on crack, and lost in the MoMA"

Bunk Bar

1028 SE Water Ave
Portland, Oregon 97214

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