Casey Neill & The Norway Rats – Tickets – Doug Fir Lounge – Portland, OR – November 24th, 2018

Casey Neill & The Norway Rats

Portland's storied folk-punk supergroup

Casey Neill & The Norway Rats

Jeffrey Martin

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 9:00 pm

$12.00 - $14.00

This event is 21 and over

Casey Neill & The Norway Rats
Casey Neill & The Norway Rats
Record release show for Casey Neill & the Norway Rats new CD/LP ‘Subterrene’.

“Poly Styrene’s prophetic riffing on the alienation of modern synthetic culture is among my favorite lyric writing ever,” says songwriter Casey Neill, who named his latest album Subterrene (March 23 / Incident Recordings) as a nod to cult punk icons, X-Ray Spex (the lyric is from their great tune “Let’s Submerge”).

That familiar, ecstatic collision of hope and despair, romance and chaos, past and future, is at the core of Subterrene - the first album in five years from Casey Neill and the Norway Rats. The music was produced and engineered by their long time guitarist Chet Lyster (of Eels) who co-wrote the songs with Neill. The result is a collection of punk rock grit, storytelling and alt-rock abandon described by Neill as a work of “dystopian romance". From its very first moments, it's clear the band is tapping into new creative wells, where electronic elements weave in and out underneath razor sharp guitars.

While not a traditional concept album, Subterrene follows a distinct story arc, and the ominous-yet-defiantly-optimistic portraits it paints were inspired in equal parts by vintage sci-fi novels, our current political climate, and the globetrotting manner in which Neill’s lived while touring throughout the US, Europe, and Japan. Subterrene features guest contributions from Georgia songwriter Thayer Serrano, guitarist Dave Depper of Death Cab for Cutie, as well as R.E.M.'s Peter Buck and Scott McCaughey (who Neill frequently performs with as a member of The Minus 5).

Over the past five years, Neill’s had quite a bit of time to reflect on where it’s all taken him, so it should come as little surprise that many of the songs on Subterrene contemplate just what it means to truly find yourself. While the album offers no easy answers, it does manage find some of the magic in the madness. On tracks like “In the Swim” and “Deathless,” Neill reconciles the pain of loss with beauty of life, while on the hypnotic “Savages,” he’s able to look back fondly on the struggles of self-discovery from a safe distance, and “Everyone Wants to be Found” draws inspiration from the work of late journalist Matt Power, a friend who managed to capture the essence of characters from around the globe with his writing.

“When you make a living as a musician or a journalist or doing anything that involves a lot of traveling,” says Neill, “you get to know people all over the world and find out you’re linked to them in ways never even imagined. That song really draws on that feeling of being connected to people. It’s about finding your place in the world, even if it turns out that that place is everywhere.”

The previous Casey Neill & The Norway Rats CD/LP All You Pretty Vandals was produced by Chris Funk of the Decemberists and garnered rave reviews from national press, online blogs, and widespread radio play. Since it’s release they have performed on NPR’s Mountain Stage, Newport Folk Festival, and 100s of other shows.

WHAT OTHERS SAY:

“…teeming with rich lyrics that paint the glory and gutter of a wanderer’s struggle. Neill’s bellows pack the punch of white-capped seas, soaking the band’s big sky, prairie wind sound with a haunting graveness. It just may be Portland’s strongest brand of unfettered, contemporary roots rock." - Mark Stock, WILLAMETTE WEEK

"These are songs with stories well told. This is what it's all about" - STEVE EARLE

“a masterful songwriter” - PUNK PLANET

"Soul-searing songs "- UTNE READER

"An adroit lesson in ways to tear it up" - BLURT

“Be it through raucous rockers, fragile acoustic ballads, ragged country, passionate bursts of punk fury or soulful touches of Irish folk, Neill's narrative talent and concern for real people's struggles stand out. (Neill) evokes an epic feel that fits perfectly with the implicit grandiosity of this emotional material, delivered with a raspy, affectionate voice that recalls Life's Rich Pageant-era Michael Stipe. The results are so evocative, you'll be tempted to steep further in these memories, the better to share Casey Neill's particular blend of personal and historical experience.” --- SPLENDID
Jeffrey Martin
Jeffrey Martin
As a babe Jeffrey Martin sought out solitude as often as he could find it. He's always been that way, and he has never understood the whole phenomenon of smiling in pictures, although he is a very happy guy. One night in middle school he stayed up under the covers with a flashlight and a DiscMan, listening to Reba McEntire's 'That's the Night that the Lights Went Out in Georgia' on repeat until the DiscMan ran out of batteries. That night he became a songwriter, although he didn't actually write a song until years later. After high school he spent a few years distracting himself from having to gather up the courage to do what he knew he had to do.

Eventually he found his way to a writing degree, and then a teaching degree. He wrote most days like his life depended on it, all sorts of things, not just songs, but songs too. He fell in love with teaching high school English, which was fantastic because he never thought he'd actually come to truly love it. His students were fierce and unstoppable forces of noise and curiosity, and for all that they took from him in sleep and sense, they gave him a hundred times back in sparks and humility.

All the while he was also playing truckloads of music. There was one weekend where he flew to LA while grading essays on the plane, played two shows, and then flew back home, still grading essays, and woke up to teach at 5 am on Monday morning. It was around this time he started wondering if such a life was sustainable.

Alas, music, the tour life, was a constant raccoon scratching at the back door. Jeffrey spent nights on end sitting up in bed, and then sitting on the front porch, staring off into the dark, wondering if he could bear to leave teaching to go on tour full time. Eventually his brain caught up with what his guts had known for months. With tears in his eyes he announced to his students that he wouldn't be back the following year, and that he didn't feel right hollering at them to chase their dreams at all cost if he wasn't going to do the same.

Jeffrey Martin tours full time now. He is always making music, and he is always coming through your town. He misses teaching like you might miss a good old friend who you know you'll meet again.


Jeffrey has put out bunches of music since 2009, but he's most proud of the more recent stuff. He's fortunate to be a part of the great and loving family that is Fluff and Gravy Records in Portland, OR. "One Go Around," due out in October 2017, will be his 3rd full length album. At his luckiest, he's shared shows with the likes of Sean Hayes, Gregory Alan Isakov, Jeffrey Foucault, Joe Pug, Peter Mulvey, Amanda Shires, Tracy Grammer, David Wilcox, and others.

He currently lives in Portland, OR but feels lately that it has become a secret that someone figured out how to monetize. And since he has no money of any kind, everything beautiful about the city is marred by the quiet ticking of a countdown toward the day that he'll have to find somewhere to live that doesn't require a steady bleeding fortune.