The Portland-based indie-rockers Portugal. The Man seem pretty ready for a cultural revolution: The band just released a new music video and single titled “Number One,” which will be part of their just-announced, forthcoming album Woodstock. The single starts out a little dreary, but gathers weight by its end. The single paints a bleak picture of our state of affairs: “Sometimes, I feel like a motherless child,” is the song’s grim refrain.
The press release for Woodstock, indeed, promises to address the fact that “the world continues to burn like an avalanche of flaming biohazard material sliding down a mountain of used needles into a canyon full of rat feces.” It reveals that Portugal. The Man had been working on an album called Gloomin’ + Doomin’ since 2013, until lead singer John Gourley made a trip back home to Wasilla, Alaska, “Home of Portugal. The Man’s biggest fan, Sarah Palin.”
The release describes John’s time in Wasilla thusly:
First, John got some parental tough love from his old man, who called John on the proverbial carpet or dogsled or whatever you put people on when you want to yell at them in Alaska. “What’s taking so long to finish the album?” John’s dad said. “Isn’t that what bands do? Write songs and then put them out?” Like fathers and unlicensed therapists tend to do, John’s dad cut him deep. The whole thing started John thinking about why the band seemed to be stuck on a musical elliptical machine from hell and, more importantly, about how to get off of it.
Second, fate stuck its wiener in John’s ear again when he found his dad’s ticket stub from the original 1969 Woodstock music festival. It seems like a small thing, but talking to his dad about Woodstock ’69 knocked something loose in John’s head. He realized that, in the same tradition of bands from that era, Portugal. The Man needed to speak out about the world crumbling around them. With these two ideas converging, the band made a seemingly bat-shit-crazy decision: they took all of the work they had done for the three years prior and they threw it out.
Long story short, Gourley returned to the band, scrapped Gloomin’ + Doomin’ and recorded Woodstock. The same release describes Woodstock thusly:
Remember that mountain of burning needles we were talking about? Good. Because Woodstock is an album (Including the new single “Feel It Still”) that—with optimism and heart—points at the giant pile and says, “Hey, this pile is fucked up!” And if you think that pile is fucked up too, you owe it to yourself—hell, to all of us—to get out there and do something about it.
Woodstock will be released on June 16 via Atlantic Records. Find the album artwork for Woodstock below, find the music video for “Feel It Still” (you can find an interactive version of the music video here) and Paste Cloud footage from a 2009 Portugal. The Man show further down, and Portugal. The Man’s upcoming tour dates (alongside Local Natives, Car Seat Headrest and Electric Guest) at the bottom.
Woodstock Album Art:
Portugal. The Man Tour Dates
06 – Portland, Ore. @ The Secret Society
12 – Atlanta, Ga. @ Shaky Knees Late Night at Terminal West
12 – Atlanta, Ga. @ Shaky Knees Music Fest †
16 – Berlin, Germany @ Musik And Frieden Berlin
17 – Hamburg, Germany @ Molotow
20 – Zurich, Sweden @ Bogen F
23 – London, England @ Omeara
25 – Amsterdam, Netherlands @ Paradiso Noord
01 – Boston, Mass. @ House of Blues ~
02 – Albany, N.Y. @ The Palace Theater ~
03-04 – Houston, Texas @ Free Press Summer Fest†
03-04 – Toronto, Ontario @ Field Trip †
06 – New York, N.Y. @ Terminal 5 ~
07 – New York, N.Y. @ Terminal 5 ~
09 – Manchester, Tenn. @ Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival †
10 – Columbus, Ohio @ Express Live!
11 – St. Louis, Mo. @ The Pageant ~
13 – Milwaukee, Wis. @ Pabst Theater ~
14 – Chicago, Ill. @ The Riviera ~
16 – Kansas City, Mo. @ Midland Theatre ~
17 – Denver, Colo. @ Bluebird Theater
18 – Denver, Colo. @ Red Rocks Amphitheatre *^
20 – Seattle, Wash. @ The Paramount
21 – Portland, Ore. @ Doug Fir Lounge
22 – Portland, Ore. @ Edgefield
25 – Salt Lake City, Utah @ Red Butte Garden Amphitheatre
27 – Anaheim, Calif. @ House of Blues
28 – Berkeley, Calif. @ Greek Theatre: Berkeley *
29 – Los Angeles, Calif. @ Hollywood Palladium
(* = w/Local Natives)
(^ = w/Car Seat Headrest)
(~ = w/Electric Guest)
(† = Festival Performance)