Smoke Rings

PRESS

Portland Mercury

Smoke Rings' revved-up sound recalls when punk turned into post-punk, a fluid time when punk's grade-school snot evolved into mature macabre. However, Smoke Rings' needling guitars and inverted d-beat drum playing—to which they're indebted to Drive Like Jehu—would have sounded out of place in post-punk's original explosion. While Noelle Magia's voice centers her other band, the placid psych group Havania Whaal, with Smoke Rings she incants around a trio of instrumentalists, driving them further and further into a frenzy. Smoke Rings share the stage with Steel Chains, who create a similar melee through scratchy guitars played with a deficit of reverb. 

Portland Mercury

Led by local noise-pop band Havania Whaal's drummer Noelle Magia, Portland's own Smoke Rings release their debut full-length, Boxes, this month. On the new album, Magia screams down empty, fluorescent-lit hallways. Their echoey, synth-heavy punk drips with the numb angst of a soggy and bleak Pacific Northwest winter. Tracks off Boxes veer into early 1980s-era U2's interpretation of new wave (particularly their debut, Boy), with angular guitars and gothic soundscapes. The title track is haunting but rumbling, and sounds like it could soundtrack a Buffy the Vampire Slayer fight scene inside the Bronze. Like when Buffy goes head-to-head with Spike the bleached-blond badass vampire, defending her high school classmates from his eerily chiseled jaw and bloodlust.

Tour Worthy

We’ve written before about the greatness that is Havania Whaal, so if you liked that group, you’ll definitely want to take a listen to Smoke Rings. This band also features the talented Noelle Magia on vocals, and they’re a complete blast. Their sound is punky and in-your-face, but with enough synths to fill a dancefloor with moving bodies. Their show at Lovecraft is actually a cassette release party for “Boxes,” so you’ll want to get there early to snag a copy for yourself. I can’t think of a better opening act for Smoke Rings than Die Robot, another ridiculously high-energy dark wave group. The bands will go on pretty early in the night, but it looks like the members plan on staying out to celebrate while DJ Horrid keeps the crowd entertained after the two sets.

SSG Music

The Know 10th Anniversary Day Two: Smoke Rings, Is/Is, Ah God 

As we ferociously partied our way into the new year, we all looked forward to what 2015 would bring us with great optimism. It’s safe to say that we haven’t had to wait long for 2015 to deliver the goods. On January 10, Smoke Rings will be gracing us with their presence at the Know as part of some killer celebrations.

Starting on January 9, The Know will be celebrating their 10 year anniversary with 10 nights of what we’ve come to expect from them. Solid punk rock. With that, we should all take a moment to sit back and truly appreciate what they’ve brought us over the last 10 years. While the city of Portland has grown in popularity, so many establishments have changed in an attempt better suit the growth. The price of a “cheap” beer is no longer cheap and the food is topped with weird ingredients like Oreo’s or Cap’n Crunch. The Know has essentially given the middle finger to these changes. Beer is refreshingly inexpensive, the music is heavy and they aren’t winning any awards for the cleanest bar in Portland either. Nestle them in the middle of an increasingly pretentious Alberta St. and you have the one of the best venues in Portland. Hopefully they’ll carry on for another 10 years, but for now I raise my chipped pint glass full of Rainier to them.

As for the show itself, synth-punk quartet Smoke Rings are playing their first show of the year and promise to excite. Their music boasts consistent fuzzy guitar riffs and dance worthy drums with waves of horror movie sounding synthesizers. The experience would be like having a 70’s disco on the set of Beetlejuice. The standout feature are the vocals though. Vocalist Noelle Magia screams her way through each song with little regard to changing key, but it works so well. When everything is mashed together, it sounds like The XX if they were jamming after tripping on some gnarly acid. That’s good news.

Willamette Week

[GLOOM SYNTH] Smoke Rings could only have come from the Northwest. The Portland quartet plays gloomy, driving post-punk, a gray-sky spin on the synths-and-jerky-guitars formula. With eerie, Zola Jesus-esque vocals, Smoke Rings can’t seem to decide whether they want to loudly mourn their losses or shake it all off on the dance floor. But the indecision suits the band well, as the group showcases a wide sonic eclecticism and an ability to evoke a multitude of emotions with a single synth. Fellow psych freaks Is/Is and Ah God open the show. ASHLEY JOCZ.

Sessions from the Box

Smoke Rings play desperate music that bring to mind early Siouxsie & The Banshees if Siouxsie were on the verge of losing her mind. 

Portland Mercury

Smoke Rings combine dancey drum beats and synth-punk with cutting guitar. The band formed this past winter from the ashes of a handful of projects, including dance-punk party patrol Glitter Express. Noelle Magia's vocals echo and bounce off the walls, as she hurls herself through the audience in a tireless effort to lure unexpecting showgoers into the band's trance. They just self-released their first EP on cassette last month. 

bePortland

Portland’s emerging synth punk band Smoke Rings are proud announce the release of their debut self-titled cassette. The group was formed from remnants of Glitter Express, Dinner & the Main Course and Timmy the Terror & the Wintercoats. This 4 piece derives their sound from post-punk and experimental noise in order to craft a unique and compelling sound that captivates crowds into cathartic dark dance trance.

 

Bridge Town Sound

Headlining the show were Portland natives Smoke Rings. Buzzy synths, angular guitars, and disco drum beats all collide in this set to create dance fueled post-punk electronic weirdness for the 21st century. The band's focus on keyboards and lack of a bassist combined with singer Noelle Magia's bawdy humor and nihilistic antics can't help but draw comparisons to Jim Morrison and The Doors, but with their own twist of Northwest oddity.