Required Listen: Port St. Willow


Port St. Willow is the Brooklyn via Portland project of Nick Principe.  Holiday, his newest release, is a stunning collection of spacious sounds held together by an emotional depth unrivaled by any album this year.  I’ll start with comparisons, since people love those.  Port St. Willow combines the melodic wonderment of Youth Lagoon with the vocal punch of The Antlers, a claim I don’t make lightly.  But forget comparisons. Principe’s vocals, ranging from near whispers to all-out falsetto crooning, advance Port St. Willow to a spot in the musical landscape all its own.

Clocking in at just under an hour, Holiday is a masterpiece that demands close attention and the willingness to be an introspective listener.  It’s an odd thing to say, but Holiday isn’t a record to put on with a bunch of friends around.  This is an album to listen to while you’re all alone, headphones on, allowing Principe’s electronics, subtle guitars, and delicate vocals to not only make you feel something new, but to redefine the thoughts, worries, and emotions you felt before even clicking play.  Holiday is meditative audible therapy.  Its long stretches of calm electronics invite the listener to reflect rather than try to clock each individual moment or sound.

But Principe has created an album that doesn’t just make you feel.  It makes you want to feel more, to redefine your own emotional connection to music, and to understand that music has the ability to transform your outlook on life.  Throw on Holiday and go for a walk – with Principe’s music as the soundtrack, the neighborhood and landmarks you pass every day will take on new meaning.  His music redefines the familiar, all while presenting emotion that you never knew could exist in musical form.

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Other Blogs Say...

"Principe’s vocals are light as air, quietly tuned to the air around the mic so deliberately and delicately that you can literally hear the sound of his tongue fleshing out consonants and vowels. It’s quite lovely, to say the least." - I Guess I'm Floating

Principe’s falsetto is breathtaking. If you catch yourself levitating to his deeply nuanced electronic sound, you’re not alone. - Knox Road

"It’s gut-wrenchingly tragic; Nick’s expert instrumentation sets the stage for hushed vocals that will break you down emotionally the instant you hear it." - The Wild Honey Pie

Port St. Willow