The Eclectic Sounds of Teton

The Eclectic Sounds of Teton
The Eclectic Sounds of Teton

The Eclectic Sounds of Teton
Craig Wilson

Experimental pop trio Teton from Portland, Oregon plays PK’s in Carbondale on Sept. 12 in support of their new album Candy Spelling. Also on the bill are locals Diamond Soul, Enchanters and Cave Futures.

Teton was founded by Elizabeth Lovell and Sam Klickner, both of whom were musically active in southern Illinois. Klickner also has musical background in Chicago. Once they relocated to Portland, they added Jef Hill, another former Illinois resident, and started working on recordings.

Their six-song album, Candy Spelling, was released on July 28 of this year and can be found on Bandcamp. It’s for the most part a mellow album with psychedelic and eclectic touches, with a rather singular sound given that there are no guitars. Lovell’s voice and keyboard are perfectly complimented by Hill’s bass and Klickner’s drums.

The title track “Candy Spelling” is largely instrumental. “Dream Come True” is ethereal and atmospheric, but picks up force in the latter part of the song with a galloping drum part and numerous tempo changes. “Strike it Rich” is a more upbeat tune, sounding at times reminiscent of Bjork. “Coins Wave” stands out with its engaging mix of original layered sounds

Some influences cited in Teton’s biography include Kayodot, Spires That in The Sunset Rise, Fatima Al Qadir, Kate Bush, Bjork and Dirty Projectors. Teton’s sound is described as ‘powerful, genre-defying, spiritual music with a pop-minded melodicism.’ Also cited among their influences are Prog Rock, Medieval and Chamber music.

Nightlife heard more about the band and the tour from Elizabeth Lovell.


You have history in southern Illinois but formed Teton in Portland. How did you find each other and what’s the story of your band?


We’re all actually Southern Illinois natives from towns surrounding the Carbondale area. We became acquainted through Carbondale’s music scene. All of us were in several projects that shared gigs over the years. Sam approached me to play together after a show at Tres Hombres in 2013 but that didn’t come to fruition until we got settled in Portland a couple of years later and hooked Jef in.


It looks like you toured the west coast earlier this year. How did everything go? Did you have more fun in any particular city?


Our spring tour earlier this year was a blast. I’m still slightly confused as to how we fit several amps, drums, synths and very tall men into a Toyota 4 runner. Our Olympia show was probably the best musically, and we played at an indoor skate park in Astoria which was very funny and rad.


Your gig at PK’s here in Carbondale is the start of a Midwest tour in support of your new album Candy Spelling — your second mini-tour this year. Where else are you headed?


Our mini Midwest tour starts at Carbondale’s PK’s and takes us to Nashville, Asheville, Athens, Chicago and St. Louis. It feels like a bit of a homecoming since we’ll be playing so many familiar places. We are totally excited.


How do you go about writing songs? Do you come up with lyrics or music first or does it vary?


As far as song writing goes, it varies slightly every time. I’ll come up with a piano melody or Sam will

have something worked out or we’ll have some vague abstracted idea of a vibe we’re trying to achieve and from there the remaining instruments get slowly worked in. The lyrics and vocal melody are always the final step. Sam writes a lot of poetry so he’ll write the lyrics and I’ll kind of sit with them somewhere along and wait for the vocal melody to come.

How is the music scene in Portland treating you?


The Portland music scene has been treating us well. We’re definitely a new band here. We’ve only been

playing shows for a little over a year but I think our name is getting out there.


What are you up to next?


We’re currently writing our new album. It’s a thrilling and exhausting process that takes an eternity, but we love it.