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The serious side of CHRVNS

Multitalented local rapper digs deep on new release

The rapper CHVRNS is celebrating the release of his new album, "Untitled…" at The Happy Place at 8 p.m Friday, Feb. 23. (Photo courtesy of CHVRNS)
By Jesse Stanton CDN Contributor

The man known as CHRVNS wears a lot of different hats in the Bellingham scene. At the heart of it all, he’s a skillful and creative rapper whose nimble lyrics never fail to astonish. He’s got a new album, “Untitled…” coming out this month and will be celebrating with a party at The Happy Place (1215 Cornwall Ave.) at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 23.

CHRVNS (pronounced like the first half of Chris mashed with the second half of Evans, that being his real name) came to Bellingham in 2013, making a long cross-country drive from Georgia to reunite with some family out here. Ever since he’s been contributing to the scene in all sorts of ways. If you haven’t yet, make sure to check out the Shut Up and Listen podcast, for which he’s one of the hosts. Then there’s his acting, most notably in The Rhetorician’s hip-hop/fantasy epic “The Descendant of Zack Taylor,” and his willingness to jump on stage anytime to host events like the After Sounds parties or the Wild Buffalo’s Lip Sync Battles.

Most important, though, is his own music. This album has quite the backstory. It was originally recorded back in 2021, and for a long time he thought he might never release it. His most recent release before this was 2022’s “Sunseekers,” an almost absurdly varied mixtape. In comparison, the new one is a lot more cohesive. His goal with this project was to make something that would delve into some deeper emotions, grappling with feelings like self-doubt and loneliness.

Adding to the personal significance is the fact that he’s got his 5-year-old son vocalizing on a few of the tracks. It’s always a bold move when a performer best known for bringing the party also decides to let the audience in on how they’re really feeling, and I think that move works beautifully here. CHRVNS produced the whole album himself, except for “I Will,” which is a beat by Slap Serif. My personal favorite is the off-kilter steel drum groove of “full circle.”

To give listeners a chance to appreciate every detail, the release party will not be a live performance, but a listening party. The event will also be a celebration for “Sudden Valley Drive,” the new album from Black Noise Records, on which CHRVNS plays a prominent part. The label gathered a tight crew of rappers and producers for a weekend of collaboration at a house in Sudden Valley, emerging with an eight-track compilation that shows off different facets of our local hip-hop scene. The party is a chance to celebrate the creativity and vitality of that scene.

News

I just have a few other new releases to mention this week, but they’re extra fun. Glam-pop-punkers Lipstitch released “Mood Swing,” the lead single for their upcoming album. I’m very excited for that album. Even when they’re singing about mood swings, their music is pure joy. 

Acoustic Celtic quartet Gallowglass released a music video for the Irish-ified reinterpretation of Bob Dylan’s “Girl From The North Country.” The video is all live in the studio and gives you a glimpse into just how they create their distinctive sound. They also just announced a concert at the Mount Baker Theatre’s side room for March 15. It’s always exciting to see locals making the leap to larger stages. 

I also want to give a shoutout to KUGS, Western’s student-run radio station, which recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. I’ve been listening for almost 20 of those years, and they’re a great resource for the community.

We’ve also got a couple venue anniversaries coming up. Aslan Depot will celebrate its sixth on Friday, Feb. 16 with live music by Miles, Ebony and The Deep Cuts. The Shakedown will celebrate its 13th on March 16 with Helms Alee, Heiress and Melancholia, a show that is quite likely to sell out well in advance. 


Also, speaking of community radio, KMRE’s Local Jam is back. Tune in to 88.3 FM at 7 p.m. on Fridays to explore music from the area with host Trevor Collins. 


JESSE’S PICKS

Le Vent Du Nord
Monday, Feb. 19, Littlefield Celtic Center, 1124 Cleveland Ave.

Le Vent Du Nord are a high-powered folk group from Quebec who play the traditional music of that province on a variety of acoustic and electric instruments. If you’ve ever wanted to see how hard a hurdy-gurdy can possibly rock, head to the Littlefield Celtic Center in Mount Vernon on Monday, Feb. 19. Don’t get me wrong, they can also play beautiful acoustic ballads. 

Captured! by Robots.
8 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 20, The Shakedown, 1212 N. State St.

The Shakedown will once again be taken over by the absurdist sci-fi grindcore experience known as Captured! by Robots. The concept is basically a human bandleader who tried to create robot musicians only to have them imprison him. If you want to prepare yourself for the sonic assault that would potentially follow the robot apocalypse, this is the show for you.  

Jerry Steinhilber Trio
7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 24, Jansen Art Center

I wrote about the Jerry Steinhilber Trio’s recent album earlier this year. They’ll be bringing their extended suites of classic jazz compositions to Lynden’s Jansen Art Center on Feb. 24. Their intricate improvisations reward close attention, and the Jansen should be a great venue for that. 


LIVE MUSIC LISTINGS

Friday, Feb. 16

  • Aslan Depot: 7 p.m. Cozmic Sauce (R&B/funk)
  • Bertelsen Winery: 5:30 p.m., Rock Radio (classic rock/blues)
  • The Blue Room: 8 p.m., North Sound Soul
  • Fireside: 7 p.m., Fritz & The Freeloaders (acoustic rock)
  • Greene’s Corner: 6 p.m., Delta Promenade (acoustic blues)
  • Honey Moon: 8 p.m., Robert Sarazin Blake (singer-songwriter)
  • Make.Shift: 8 p.m., Fades.Blue, Vastchains, Seaside Tryst, Pathos (electronic)
  • Shakedown: 9 p.m., Big Business, Monsterwatch (rock)
  • Skagit Casino: 8 p.m., Surround Sound
  • Skagit Cellars: 6 p.m., Jaden Oscar
  • Skylark’s: 8 p.m., Michele D’Amour and the Love Dealers (blues)
  • Stones Throw: 6 p.m., Neighborhood Songwriters Showcase ft. Tracy Spring, Adam Brown, Elise Poirier, Devin Champlin
  • Thirsty Badger: 8 p.m., Michael Dayvid
  • The Vault: 7 p.m., Song Wranglers (acoustic Americana)
  • Wild Buffalo: 9 p.m., #All4Doras, BaeWatch (boy band and girl group pop tributes)

Saturday, Feb. 17

  • Aslan Depot: 8 p.m., Miles, Ebony, & The Deep Cuts
  • The Blue Room: 8 p.m., Cuttlefish, Meldrop, Midpak (rock)
  • Birdsview: 6 p.m., Queen’s Bluegrass
  • Downtime Taps: 7 p.m., Silent Cowboy
  • Farmstrong: 6 p.m., Songwriters Saturday ft. Savanna Woods, Joshua Red Uttech, Tom Buenger, more
  • Honey Moon: 8 p.m., Serafima & The Shakedowns (country)
  • Old Edison: 8 p.m., Cory Vincent & The Electric Band (rock)
  • Make.Shift: 8 p.m., Maxx Shredroom, Everything Oscillating, Bullets or Balloons (rock)
  • Ramble Tamble: 8 p.m., Low Hums, Nobody’s Peach (folk/country)
  • Rockfish: 7:30 p.m., Children of the Blues
  • Shakedown: 9 p.m., PaperHeart (alternative rock covers), DadCo (Bad Company tribute), Without a Doubt (No Doubt tribute)
  • Skagit Casino: 8 p.m., Surround Sound
  • Skylark’s: 8 p.m., East Coast Dave (roots/Americana)
  • Stones Throw: 6 p.m., Gruv
  • Swinomish Casino: 8 p.m., Midlife Crisis & The Alimony Horns (blues/R&B)
  • That’s What I Like! Island Grill: 6 p.m., Michael Dayvid
  • Underground: 8:30 p.m., The Takers (hard rock covers)
  • Zeeks Pizza: 7 p.m., The Atlantics (classic rock)

Sunday, Feb. 18

  • The Blue Room: 3 p.m., Tango Cowboys
  • Kulshan: 5 p.m., Katie & Kevin (folk)
  • Old Edison: 5:30 p.m., The Walrus (classic rock)
  • Ramble Tamble: 8 p.m., Electra Lee, The Secret Beach, Sunflecks, Elise Poirier (folk)
  • The Shakedown: 8 p.m., Uncle Tupelo tribute night
  • Wild Buffalo: 8 p.m., The Bones of J.R. Jones, Byland (roots rock)

Monday, Feb. 19

  • FireHouse Arts and Events Center: 3:30 p.m., Chuck and Carr (acoustic covers)
  • Kulshan: 6 p.m., Verboten (indie pop)
  • Littlefield Celtic Center: 7 p.m., Le Vent Du Nord (traditional Quebecois folk)

Tuesday, Feb. 20

  • Aslan Depot: 8 p.m., Jazz Night
  • Culture Cafe: 7 p.m., Open Mic 
  • Menace Brewing: 7 p.m.,  Invitational Blues Jam
  • Shakedown: 9 p.m., Captured By Robots, Island Gigantism
  • Underground Coffehouse: 7 p.m., open mic

Wednesday, Feb. 21

  • The Blue Room: 7 p.m., Message Received (jazz) 
  • Honey Moon: 8 p.m., Open Mic
  • New Prospect Theater: 5:30 p.m., Open Mic
  • Rockfish: 6 p.m., Wayne Hayton
  • Stones Throw: 6 p.m., The Blokes Trio

Thursday, Feb. 22

  • Admiralty Lounge: 7 p.m., Badd Dogg Blues
  • Brown Lantern: 8:30 p.m., Open Mic
  • Farmstrong Brwing: 6 p.m., Jeremy Abbott & the Good Vibes
  • Honey Moon: 8 p.m., Mark Tegio and Doug Allen
  • New Prospect Theatre: 7 p.m., Morgan McHugh
  • Thirsty Badger: 7 p.m., Open Mic
  • That’s What I Like! Island Grill: 6 p.m., JP Falcon and Friends (folk/rock)
  • Zeeks Pizza: 7 p.m., The Problem (jazz)

Friday, Feb. 23

  • Aslan Depot: 7 p.m., Carrao
  • Conway Muse: 8 p.m., The Unknowns
  • Corner Taphouse: 7 p.m. Ethan J. Perry
  • Fireside: 7 p.m., Free Harmony (folk/rock)
  • Greene’s Corner: 6 p.m., The Problem (jazz)
  • Happy Place: 8 p.m., Listening party for CHVRNS and the Sudden Valley Drive compilation
  • Honey Moon: 8 p.m., INI, Lala Robinsong
  • Lincoln Theatre: 7:30 p.m., Bell Bottom Blues (Eric Clapton tribute)
  • Make.Shift: 8 p.m., Jake Werrion, Matt Gilmore, Nate Witham, Chittering (experimental/improv)
  • The Shakedown: 9 p.m., MEM//BRANE, Axefear, The Ignorati
  • Skagit Cellars: 6 p.m., Uncle Doug (Neil Young tribute)
  • Skylark’s: 8 p.m., Sottile, OConnor & Loeffler (folk/rock/blues)
  • Stones Throw: 6 p.m., Tenderpile’s Smile Aisle (jazz)
  • The Vault: 7 p.m. Dick and Jane (acoustic covers)
  • Wild Buffalo: 9 p.m., KalanFrFr, guests

Saturday, Feb. 24

  • The Blue Room: 7 p.m., Lipstitch, Dead Bars, Beautiful Freaks (rock)
  • Conway Muse: 8 p.m., Mark Dufresne Band
  • Jansen Art Center: 7:30 p.m., Jerry Steinhilber Trio (jazz)
  • Larrabee Lager Co.: 6 p.m., Meinhardt Merry
  • Lincoln Theatre: 8 p.m., Fanny Alger, Stagnant Water (punk)
  • Make.Shift: 8 p.m., Accused AD, Vacuum, MEM//BRANE, Toilet Boys (metal/hardcore)
  • Menace: 6 p.m., Michael Dayvid
  • Ono Kitchen (formerly Culture Cafe): 10 p.m., Silk Jammies, Shadow Variable (electronic)
  • Ramble Tamble: 8 p.m., Will Rainier, Ruby Marvel, Bog’s Brother Fen (alt-country/folk)
  • Rockfish: 7:30 p.m., Jim Basnight Band
  • The Shakedown: 9 p.m., Oath ov Hatred, Rhinderpest, Noceur (metal)
  • Skylark’s: 8 p.m., The Penny Stinkers (classic rock)
  • Stones Throw: 6 p.m., Cardova (R&B/funk)
  • Underground: 8:30 p.m., Neon Shadows (’80s pop covers)’80s pop covers)

Sunday. Feb. 25

  • Birdsview Brewing: 3 p.m., Upriver Shiver, Paydirt 
  • FireHouse Arts and Events Center: 4 p.m., Greta Matassa Quintet (jazz)
  • Kulshan: 5 p.m., Cardova (R&B/funk)
  • Mount Baker Theatre: 3 p.m., Bellingham Symphony Orchestra
  • Old Edison: 5:30 p.m., The Bow Diddlers
  • Wild Buffalo: 8:30 p.m., Kitchen Dwellers (bluegrass)

Jesse Stanton's music column, The Beat Goes On, appears weekly. Reach him at jsbhammusic@gmail.com; @JSBhamMusic. Check with individual venues to make sure events are still taking place as scheduled.

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