Typhoon Typhoon: A Legacy

by Brad Grenz

I discovered Typhoon four years ago when their self titled, self produced first album was pressed in to my hand by a trusted friend. It took less than the space of that first track to fall in love. It was, and is a beautiful arrangements featuring at first vocal harmonies, the lyrics sung in Latin, and a tentative guitar, but it builds, perilously, as the full band joins in, lifting up a mountain of sound, only to fall away as the track rolls quietly into the next song.

This command of dramatic range and the breadth of the instruments involved is a hallmark of Typhoon's sound. The band began simply as a recording project between Kyle Morton, Devin Gallagher working one track at time on an album Kyle had been writing during his first year of college. Many of their friends were drawn into the project, including Toby Tanabe, Tyler Ferrin, Jordan Bagnall, Leah Ng, Dave Hall, Eric Stipe, Conlan Murphy, Paige Morton and more. I saw them live for the first time mere weeks after buying that first CD. The show was held in the basement of Bubble Tea purveyor in downtown Salem with Boy Gorilla label mates Eskimo & Sons, who were themselves in their infancy then. I don't think I was fully prepared for how many people made up Typhoon's live lineup. They rarely perform with fewer than nine people on stage, and I've personally seen Typhoon field as many as 13 or 14. This may seem ostentatious, but let me assure you they need all three drum kits to really do things right.

I've been a huge supporter of theirs ever since that night. Now, I'd known some of the guys just from around the Salem music scene, but my personal relationship with Typhoon began when they solicited a fictionalized band biography from their MySpace page. I wrote and submitted my own "Secret History of Typhoon" casting the band members as the abandoned product of a Cold War program the Soviets ran in hopes of closing the "progressive rock gap". The band seemed to like it, and this sparked a friendship between myself, Kyle and many other members of the band. Typhoon followed up their first album with an EP recorded in Seattle during the Summer of 2006. The actual release was delayed until well into 2007. That year they also released a split seven inch with K Records artist Lake, and went on an expanded west coast tour. I was privileged enough to travel with the band that summer through the state of Washington. Never was the pure magnetism of Typhoon's music more clearly displayed than during their stop in Port Townsend.

We arrived in town early in the afternoon and spent most of the day exploring the small downtown area, hanging out in the Boiler Room, the local coffee shop hosting the show that night, and playing four square out back right by the sea. It was a fun day, but that night the local band pulled out at the last minute and only a couple people showed up. The band considered cancelling the show, but since they'd already set up their instruments they decided to go ahead and just jam and have fun with it.

It didn't take long. People who just happened to be walking around downtown Port Townsend that night started drifting toward the source of the music as Typhoon played. Soon, there was a crowd and everyone wanted to buy a CD. It was the most diverse audience Typhoon had ever played for, and one of the most enthusiastic. What could have been a disappointing night proved to be a magical moment, but only a small glimpse of Typhoon’s promise.

Through the end of 2007 and into 2008 Typhoon continued to play in and around Portland, cultivating a strong reputation as one of the best unsigned band on the scene. They played house shows, festivals and even opened for local legends like Quasi and the Thermals. In fall of 2008 Typhoon went into a period of hibernation. A year later Typhoon were back and better than ever. Through the fall of 2009 they have been very active, playing shows in Portland and Salem, refining their new material and working on recording both a new 7 inch vinyl record and a new full length album entitled "Hunger and Thirst". Both are expect for release in 2010, the full length on May 4th.