FIRST THURSDAY w/ NATHAN TRUEB of Tango Alpha Tango

(bio for Tango Alpha Tango)

Portland’s Tango Alpha Tango is best experienced amid a crowded room of sweaty guitar junkies. Logically, then, a well-mixed live album is the next greatest thing. Captured last year at local recording space Banana Stand, the performance delivered by the quartet tackles a sprawling beast in 12 songs. From the first bluesy electric-guitar riff in “Kill & Haight” to the gritty energy of “Black Cloud,” the record not only translates frontman Nathan Trueb’s ability to write a good tune and dominate a guitar neck, but also the band’s flawless fusion of blues and rock with funky bass lines and psychedelic keys. Trueb explores his folkier singer-songwriter side on “Desert Snow,” a song composed simply of his scratchy, worn-in voice and supplementary fingerpicking. But with nearly half the songs on the set list running eight minutes or longer, many of the album’s gems surface when Trueb cracks them open with his guitar. In lengthy tracks like the trippy “In My Time of Dying” and the driving rock jam “Mona Lisa’s Death,” the frontman disassembles ideas, draws out phrases and slowly builds them up again. Although the album doesn’t quite hit with the impact of experiencing the band in the flesh, it comes pretty damn close. EMILY BOOHER, WILLAMETTE WEEK

[SHOW PREVIEW] The 2012 EP from Tango Alpha Tango, Kill & Haight, is spiked with dirty, badass guitar riffs and twangy vocals by Nathan Trueb that punch with attitude. It would be too easy to compare this PDX trio to the Black Keys, but the two bands certainly draw inspiration from the same old-school, bluesy well. Tonight they celebrate the release of Live from the Banana Stand, recorded at the fabled Portland house venue. RACHEL MILBAUER, PORTLAND MERCURY

The new, self-titled release from Portland band Tango Alpha Tango sits in that uncomfortable place between EP and full-length—it runs seven songs, just under half an hour—but everything else about the record fits perfectly. Starting with the laidback country swoon of “Oh Mama,” the quartet then launches into a slow-building motorik guitar riff in “Mona Lisa’s Death.” Elsewhere, the band continues that expert and surprising balance of folk noir and space rock, even finding room for a glossy pop chorus in “Give of the Summer.” There isn’t a single wrong move on Tango Alpha Tango; “This City” rears an angry, stoner blues riff in the middle of a tightly knotted funk strut, and as clunky as that sounds, it works brilliantly. On record, Tango Alpha Tango continues to make some confoundingly good work, following up 2008’s Rebel Sons of Cowboys with a collection of adventurous and admirable rock and roll. NED LANNAMANN, PORTLAND MERCURY

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  • Tickets: Free and All Ages
  • Cover Charge: Free and All Ages
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