Those of us lucky enough to have been in Portland in the early 2000’s have a lot to be grateful for. We had something of a renaissance going on there for a minute, with amazing bands like Fireballs of Freedom, The Exploding Hearts, Junior’s Gang, and The Hunches playing what seemed like every night at one of the many smoky and sticky-floored bars and clubs that made up Portland’s punk rock circuit. We had a little of everything from the punk and punk-adjacent spectrum of genres, from power pop to garage rock to New Wave and literally everything in between. And the best part was that is was all good. Every band seemed to be musically literate to a ridiculous degree, and capable of and willing to break new creative ground and take chances.
Perhaps no other band embodied that trail blazing spirit more than The Hunches, who put out three flawless LPs and a handful of 7”s in their all-too-brief tenure. The Hunches were always the best band on the bill, no matter who was playing. To me, the best memories of first five years of the new millennium will always include watching The Hunches play Dance Alone on the second floor of Billy Ray’s on a Friday night. After they split up, the four members of the Hunches spent the following years starting bands such as Phantom Lights, Sleeping Beauties, and the subject of this post, The Lavender Flu.
The Lavender Flu is the brainchild of guitarist and vacuum cleaner player Chris Gunn. It’s as interesting and listenable as you’d expect from the guy that wrote The Hunches music, and maybe even more varied than you’d think going in. Gunn covers all sorts of ground with his new band, from indie rock to kraut-rockish psychedelia, and somehow manages to make it all sound fairly cohesive. The debut double LP from this band was released in 2016, and I’m posting two songs off that here. The first is a Bo & The Weevils cover and the second is an experimental, spacey original that sounds like two different Eno songs played simultaneously.