Earlier this summer, Portugal. The Man finally released the record that they’ve hinted at for years…’Woodstock’. As the Pitchfork headline reads “The Alaska psych-pop group have embraced modern-rock glitz and EDM bombast” and that they did! ‘Woodstock‘ is a complete departure from the band’s indie-psych-pop history and as the band warned with t-shirts before the release of ‘Woodstock,’ “I Liked Portugal. The Man Before They Sold Out.” they most certainly made a glimmering unapologetic razor-sharp pop record. “Feel It Still” is the unabashed golden ticket of a single, while “Live in the Moment” is the clear banger… there’s a little something for everyone on ‘Woodstock’ while holding true to the musical experimentation Portugal. The Man has cemented as part of their DNA.
The 180-gram version of ‘Woodstock‘ dropped on August 11 and there’s a Deluxe Vinyl Boxset bundle available for pre-order via the band’s site that includes a bonus 7-inch single featuring alternate takes of “Feel It Still” to be released on October 6.
Speaking of vinyl… Portugal. The Man’s Eric Howk shares 5 records that have both influenced and inspired him early on in life.
Undeniably catchy singalong choruses with scathing social commentary. It all comes to a head with Fortunate Son, where the chorus changes each time around to expand its attack, taking down the proverbial senator, millionaire, and military sons with it.
The granddaddy of musical dissent. Robert Zimmerman is predicting the future and it’s up to us to listen. This LP features sardonic and biting takes on unchecked power and obedience with tracks like Masters Of War and Talkin’ WWIII Blues, but when your track one side one is Blowin’ In The Wind, your powers of prophecy are already fully cemented.
As the legend goes, Berry Gordy, the head of Motown Records, refused to release the title track as a single because it was too political for the radio. In response, Marvin went on strike AS A RECORDING ARTIST to get his message across. Like the man says, “you know we’ve got to find a way, to bring some lovin’ here today.”
I could talk all day about the production on this record. It sounds so fresh and heavy still today, and the mostly instrumental intro Contract On The World Love Jam is a great tone setter, but then you’re immediately hit with the message that never lets up all the way through track 20, the perfect and universal Fight The Power.
The sneering primer of questioning everything, the reason I asked my mom who Jerry Brown was when I was 13, the only reason I learned about the Cambodian genocide by Pol Pot, and the reason I got heavily into surf guitar and reverb, this 33 minute record taught me more than 12 years of history classes ever dared to do.