Age Sex Occupation
This Side of the Fence by Age Sex Occupation (Self-Released)
Age Sex Occupation comes from the mind of Daniel Weiskopf, who before settling in Portland scored films and studies musical composition but wanted to ultimately make music that blurred styles and genres. The music on This Side of the Fence certainly comes with some humor and talented musicians unafraid to show their hearts and abilities for all to see. There is no hedging here. Just listen to the dirty soul of Hide and Seek with those muscular horns, powerful percussion, weaving keyboards, buzzy bass and Weiskopf’s assured vocals to know these guys are living for their music.
If there was a vinyl version of This Side of the Fence and you’d found it at the local record shop you’d believe it came out in the mid-70′s. ASO show their love of the blues and soul with a grittiness and warmth that is quite endearing coming from three white guys from the Northwest. The occasional vibes and Nicole Berke’s background vocals further color the songs that ASO write and they’re even joined by former Cake drummer Todd Roper and a couple local horn players in Joel Ricci and Nate Lumbard of March Fourth Marching Band. I dare you to stop tapping your feet and trying to reach the high notes on Glass Slippers, just one of the many good-humoured tracks on This Side of the Fence. Who knows what they want us to take a bite of but you’ll be right there singing “I’m high and dry-i-i-i-i” along with them.
The title track sounds like a soulful and funky Steely Dan with singer Weiskopf showing his vocal chops sounding for all the world like Darryl Hall. When the ladies go “aaaahhh” and the rhythm opens up you’ll know you’ve found a new favorite band. It’s just one song, but the boys change the title song into a hand-clapping singalong with gospel backing, vamping away like they’re on some southern soul revue. ASO love music and it shows in their enthusiasm.
Volcano has those vibes that add more beauty to the already melancholic mood, the ladies singing far in the distance, Weiskopf’s voice center stage. On Another World Joey McAllister’s drums are spiky and understated and Justin Keeth’s bass pops away as Weiskopf plucks at his guitar and plays vibrant organ lines. The jazzy piano is amazing too.
From the backwoods to the downtown clubs, Age Sex Occupation make timeless music full of humor and skill, record scratches not included.
(Review by Bret Miller)