Up & Coming - The Portland Mercury

(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) The roots of new Portland R&B powerhouse the Get Ahead were forged, oddly enough, through roller derby. Vocalist Juliet Howard—a former roller derby skater by the name of Sedusa Destroy—found herself drawn to drunken sing-alongs at parties with a fellow skater's boyfriend, Nathan Earle. The rest, so far, can be found in the band's impressive debut LP, Volcano. The pair's seemingly innate vocal embodiment of soul pioneers like Sam Cooke, James Brown, and Etta James propels them into a relatively quiet corner of Portland's music community. Rest assured, their debut LP,Volcano, is a loud statement, percolating with funk grooves and Howard's husky voice, with tasteful saxophone, chirpy guitar accents, and downright dance-worthy jams. The band gets bolder on tunes like the punk-pinched "Dollars to Doughnuts"; Earle's impassioned delivery on the mic is reason enough to drop everything and go to the band's release show tonight. RJP