Introducing: Naked Hour [Day 2]
Written by Juice on May 2, 2016
Here at KPSU, we are just kicking off our pledge drive month. Over the course of this month, KPSU deejays will be contributing to our blog on a daily basis and sharing their thoughts on the Portland music scene, its artists, labels, and venues.
Day 2: Introducing Naked Hour
Contrary to the opinions of middle schoolers across the country, occasionally good memories are born inside a math class. Naked Hour’s Teal Bluestone and Ethan Conroy had an instant connection inside their math class and began playing music together shortly after in 2009. Since then, they’ve been nearly inseparable (Ethan still has Teal’s early songs from their freshman year of high school on their iPod). If one of them is at a DIY house show, you’re bound to run into the other one. It was in dark basements and crowded house that Naked Hour was forged, eventually releasing the stripped-down, bass-and-drums only EP Long Run in 2015; a release that reflects their commitment to DIY ethos. This collection of demos was purposely experimental and endearingly minimalist, combining the antsy dance-punk of Prinzhorn Dance School and the twee-sensitivity of the K Records discography. K Records was what “changed everything” in their life, says Bluestone.
While these demos left many (including myself) wanting more, the songs on their own were already developed enough to stand by themselves. “I normally know what I’m going to talk about way before I write a song”, says Bluestone. According to Conroy, the Naked Hour writing process is “a lot of freestyling”, building around and fleshing out the songs that Bluestone keeps track of in their head. When Jackson Walker, guitarist of Snow Roller, Robot Boy and various other bands, joined Naked Hour, they were given the difficult task of contributing to these songs without taking anything away from an already established artistic vision. The result is effortlessly catchy and simultaneously heavy, reminiscent of K Records favourites Tiger Trap, Portland hometown heroes Dear Nora, and 90’s alt-rock revivalists Pity Sex. As so much great, resonant art is, Naked Hour’s album was originally planned as a concept album describing an overwrought and volatile breakup. After Walker joined the band, however, songs that weren’t about the ex in question were written – a rare feat for any heavy-hearted twenty year old. Although the concept album itself didn’t come to full fruition, Naked Hour created an endearing batch of heart wrenching, hook-heavy songs that encapsulate the difficult emotional transition between the safety of one’s teenage years and the anxious yet hopeful promise of adulthood.