ALASKA BORN AND PORTLAND-BASED ROCKERS PORTUGAL. THE MAN INTRODUCE A TIME CAPSULE ALBUM, AN ODE TO AN ERA BEFORE THEY FOUND OVERNIGHT FAME WITH CHART-TOPPER “FEEL IT STILL”
BY AMANDA MCCOY
In early 2017, outside of the indie garage scene, few were familiar with Portugal. The Man, an Alaska-hailed alt-rock troupe that had already put out seven studio albums since its formation in 2004. But by that summer, listeners of all genres were humming the psychedelic riffs of “Feel It Still,” a pop funk anthem looking back on the social movements of 1966 and New York hip hop of 1986. The tune went platinum, and the “rebels just for kicks” became overnight rock lords. “Feel It Still” broke the record for the most weeks at number one on Billboard’s Alternative Songs, was the most Shazamed song in the country for seven consecutive weeks, and even won a Grammy in 2018 for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance. But it wasn’t only counterculture kids turning up the sound; the song reached number one on Top 40 radio and peaked at number four on the Billboard Hot 100. The swift and sweeping success was surprising for the low-key band, fronted by lead singer and guitarist John Gourley.
“Feel It Still” joined nine other tracks on the politico-statement album Woodstock, catapulting the indie-psych rock experiment into international stardom. Four years later, the crew is releasing a time capsule album that pays homage to the band’s formative years, the era before mainstages and sold-out arenas. Oregon City Sessions is a live set from 2008, recorded at the end of a protracted tour that left the band members throbbing with energy. Rather than return home to Alaska they found a tiny studio on the outskirts of Portland, and set down a 100-minute set, 15 tracks, no retakes or overdubs. Thirteen years later, they are gifting it to the world. Streamable now, vinyl and CD to follow on June 11.
Portugal. The Man portugaltheman.com