Portugal. The Man started in Wasilla, Alaska, and their fourth album was titled The Satanic Satanist. Let the Sarah Palin jokes commence.
The band actually began seven years ago as a side project for Anatomy of a Ghost vocalist/guitarist John Baldwin Gourley, who was becoming increasingly interested in tape looping and sampling — P.TM gave him a practical exploratory outlet. With Ghost’s demise, he and bassist Zach Carothers focused full attention on P.TM, moving the band to Portland, Ore., and recording demos in 2004 that ultimately resulted in the band’s debut album, 2006’s Waiter: “You Vultures!” By then, P.TM had already experienced personnel shifts; drummer Jason Sechrist joined in ’05 and touring keyboardist Ryan Neighbors became a permanent member two years ago.
Between the studio and the road, Portugal.
The Man are perpetually busy; they’ve headlined or supported the likes of HORSE the Band, Circa Survive, Rx Bandits, The Photo Atlas, Gatsby’s American Dream and Earl Greyhound, among many others. And since P.TM’s 2006 debut, the band has managed to release an album every year: 2007’s Church Mouth, 2008’s acclaimed Censored Colors (which featured an expansive suite of songs inspired by Gourley’s childhood exposure to his parents’ cassette of Abbey Road), last year’s The Satanic Satanist (and its acoustic counterpart, The Majestic Majesty) and their just-released American Ghetto, a post Rock sampledelic outing that weaves together elements of Radiohead, Brian Eno, Beck and Blur.
It’s not like they’ve been doing all this in the vacuum of obscurity, either. Alternative Press declared Censored Colors one of 2008’s 10 most essential albums and dubbed Gourley the best vocalist for that year.
Some of the talent coming out of Wasilla might be groundlessly hyped, but Portugal. The Man is light years better than that sad company.
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