Indie music is littered with more than its fair share of iconoclasts - Carrie Brownstein, Matt Beringer, Kim Gordon, Justin Vernon, Karen O, Tunde Adebimpe- and presumptive would-be icons - Courtney Barnett, Josh Tillman, Angel Olsen, Katie Crutchfield. Granted, this is all highly subjective, as you could argue plenty of other artists, front-persons, etc. who merit mentioning within the hierarchical annals of indie-dom (sidebar - sorry if I failed to mention your favorite indie darling, there are simply too many, but that’s fodder for a different disquisition).
While most of the folks mentioned above serve as one facet of their respective whole (see: band), there’s something to be said for another candidate for “presumptive” icons of the 2010s indie movement that isn’t actually a singular candidate. The “candidate” in question? Typhoon.
Arguably one of the most oft forgotten members of the late 2000s wave of multi-instrumentalist bands, Typhoon is almost inarguably the most impassioned. Take the band’s late-night television debut on Letterman way back in August of 2011, when the group was a simple twelve-piece (or at least for that appearance, they were); there’s no shortage of spirit or “spunk” for the band from Portland, so much so that it even moved the ever-sardonic Letterman to a seemingly genuine adulative state.
Anyway, all I’m trying to make clear is that Typhoon has been around for nearly a decade now, and ever since their debut EP, A New Kind of House, they’ve been repeatedly overlooked by the indie loving masses. Now, I’ll hedge and clarify that Typhoon has not been totally overlooked, as they would have ceased to exist if were the case, but when bands of similar ilk like The Lumineers or Of Monsters and Men have received such airy praise, it would be nice for Typhoon to receive the same lauding.
But for now, let’s end this discourse on why Typhoon deserves more credit (and if you’re unfamiliar, you’re in for a tasty musical deep dive treat), and move on to their most recent Nashville stop, at Exit/In. I first saw Typhoon at The High Watt, way back in 2013. They were nine members or so, crammed on that tiny stage, touring in support of their second full-length effort, White Lighter. It was an immeasurably fun show, as fronter Kyle Morton took time to explain what a “Morton’s Fork” was (a false dilemma in which contradictory observations lead to the same conclusion), and ran through their new, more dynamic sound. The crowd was ever loving, and more than appreciative of the nine-piece from Portland.
So four years pass, and Typhoon hasn’t stopped back in Nashville for as much as a quick hot chicken fix, and I start to worry that they won’t be coming back at all. Then, lo and behold, our great overseer, Facebook, informs me that Typhoon is in fact returning, this time to Exit/In. Initially, I was excited, secondarily, I was worried that too much time would have passed, and began to buy into my own flawed narrative that Typhoon was one of the most oft-overlooked bands of the decade.
Luckily, those worries were dispelled almost instantly upon arrival at Nashville’s hallowed rock venue. The place was packed out (presumably sold out, but who could know?), and the crowd was arguably one of the most politely raucous and interactive in recent memory. As Morton and his (now) six cohorts rolled through Typhoon standards, and new tunes off their recent 2018 release, Offerings, the crowd shouted cries of admiration, and extreme exultation - namely, the guy who continually shouted “Just fuck me up” at any break, a true sign of legitimacy for any band - ultimately proving that my theory was incongruously wrong.
Typhoon was obviously loved, and will continue to be for the foreseeable future, no matter what size the of the band, or whatever silly narrative anyone tries to apply. Just let it be known, that if you miss Typhoon coming through your town, you’re underrating no one but yourself by missing out on a wonderful show.