The albums of Portland, Oregon based multi-instrumentalist cars & trains (Tom Filepp) consist of handfuls of microscopic crafted worlds, shaped with tiny precision. Layers of decaying feedback, sparse glockenspiel and tape samples weave a dark and dense tapestry of sound while deep brooding vocals sit atop songs with deceptive timing, subtle electronic stutters, and thunderous and organic drumming. Banjo driven four to the floor stompers yield to velvety acoustic guitar and spacious instrumentals laden with sampled americana.
Tom's work as cars & trains evokes early Morr Music releases by bands like Tarwater, intersecting with folk-oriented electronic groups like Tunng. Found sound and distorted tape samples create urban lullaby landscapes. Undaunted, meloncholic drums and timid textures are reminicent of cloudDEAD or Tujiko Noriko, sitting atop an eclectic songwriting sensibility that brings The Microphones to mind.
Tom translates his recordings to the stage with a unique solo set, energetically looping found-sounds and live electronic drumming with layers of vocal harmonies, viola, glockenspiel, trumpet, synthesizer, and melodica. All the while keeping an intense and engaging dynamic going, he weaves his songs into a captivating near-non-stop medley that is ever-changing and unique, no two shows being quite the same.
He also runs Circle Into Square, an artist run label and magazine, the entire site and label created from scratch as a means for artists to directly release their music and artwork with cutting edge resources, and to help adapt to the constantly changing music industry. Circle Into Square’s roster includes artists like Boy In Static, ID & Sleeper, Skating Club, BRE’R, The Harvey Girls, Helios, Big Spider's Back, and cars & trains.