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Various Artists: Live at Pickathon Split EP Series

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Various Artists: <i>Live at Pickathon</i> Split EP Series

From the biggest little sustainable festival in the world comes a few of its more memorable recent performances for the first time. Easy Sound Recording’s dual Record Store Day split EPs attempt to equate the energy, joie de vivre and summertime abandon of the annual Pickathon Festival in Happy Valley, Oregon—and succeed, for the most part. And with the lineup for Pickathon 2015 having just been announced, it seems that the timing of these bite-sized releases was no mere coincidence.

At the 2014 edition of Pickathon, Nashville rockers Diarrhea Planet turned heads during a shady set at Pickathon’s heavily arborous Woods Stage, inciting raucous crowd interaction and sing-alongs to a largely unfamiliar audience. As an observer during the particular sets captured here (and for each of the remaining discussed in this synopsis), it’s important to note an unavoidable visceral connection to the setting, the camaraderie and joyful enthusiasm that was evident when these recordings were made. That aside, the opportunity to re-hear a tune as upliftingly cool as “Warm Ridin’” played from beneath the fertile parasols of hundreds of Douglas Firs on your turntable is a great thing for anyone.

On the flipside, fellow Nashville punks Those Darlins electrified the newly minted Tree Line Stage during the 2014 festivities beneath a scorching afternoon sun and little shade. Whether that’s the reason their set that day produced extra spicy results is up for debate, but the aural alchemy forged by guitarists/vocalists Jessi and Nikki Darlin was fantastic, and is captured deftly here and highlighted by live cuts of “Red Light Love” and “She Blows.”

In 2013, Pickathon had its first glimpse at Ty Segall, albeit in the stripped-down Sleeper Band version, as well as the glam-punk junk spectacle of King Tuff. Both performers have since become regular attendees at the festival, and for good reason. Each of their sets—Segall and Sleeper Band at the Woods Stage and King Tuff’s legendarily sweaty late-night Galaxy Barn set—were highlights of that year’s unveiling of the garage rock quotient of Pickathon’s ever-evolving live milieu.

Segall’s impassioned sets of acoustic-driven throwback were inspiring, and sound equally as raw and biting on the Segall/King Tuff split. Tuff’s snotty, sleazy punker disposition wrung every last ounce of dirt-caked spirit from songs like “Keep On Movin’” and “Dancing On You.”

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