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iTunes Review

Van Pierszalowski and Cambria Goodwin's acoustic-based music, driven by their stirring, falsetto vocal styles, is made with the help of various friends in the studio and on the road. The result evokes the indie folk-pop of bands like Woods and Cave Singers. While Port O'Brien's music has always been emotional and sometimes oddly claustrophobic (in a good way), Threadbare is even more wrenching, with beautifully composed, haunting tunes like “High Without the Hope 3,” “In the Meantime," and “(((Darkness Visible)))” conveying the heartache Goodwin wrestled with while making the record, just after her younger brother passed away. Her voice is trembly, sweet, and warm, and the sorrow isn't eased by any amount of emphatic acoustic guitars or galloping rhythms (“Leap Year” and “My Will Is Good” carry the punch of the most upbeat Sea Wolf songs). Pierszalowski’s more limber voice tugs the heartstrings with equal fervor, and the graceful strings and somber pianos are countered with buoyant tambourines, fingerpicked guitars, and swaggering tempos that call for the occasional melancholy two-step.


Formed: 2005 in Oakland, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

Formed in 2005 around the talents of Van Pierszalowski, Cambria Goodwin, Caleb Nichols, and Joshua Barnhart, California's Port O'Brien occupy the same idiosyncratic alternative folk/indie rock landscape as Jason Molina, Will Oldham, and Pavement. The various bandmembers have day jobs that find them working long hours in bakeries, as well as the fishing boats and salmon canneries in and around Kodiak Island, Alaska; the group's debut album for the American Dust label (The Wind and the Swell) was...
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Threadbare, Port O'Brien
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