Photo of Glacier Veins by Brian Benavente
Just a little note before you begin reading this: I actually wrote most of this article two weeks ago, but a lot has happened for Glacier Veins since then! They announced their signing with Common Ground Records, and we premiered “Headspace Campout,” the first single from Dreamspace out October 6th! Everything they’re accomplishing further solidifies a lot of what I wrote, so enjoy my reflection on how Glacier Veins has gotten to where they are now!
Photo by Brian Benavente
On August 25th, family, friends and fans of Glacier Veins gathered in the Hawthorne Theatre for the band’s Portland date of their West Coast tour with Chris Swartz. They were also joined by Citysick and After Hours. Glacier Veins started their set with the song that has become their iconic opener, “New Lungs,” and everyone was immediately singing along with vocalist/guitarist Malia Endres. They went on to play the rest of Clear Your Head as well as a bunch of songs that will be on their next EP that we’ve all been eagerly anticipating. Playing the Hawthorne is a pretty big deal, especially for local artists, so naturally it didn’t go without mention during their set. Keeping it short but sweet, Endres mentioned how growing up she would attend shows at the venue and look at the artists on stage and think about how that’s what she wanted to do someday, and to be playing her own show on that same stage was a really important moment for her, and inspiring for all of us to witness.
Malia Endres – Hawthorne Theatre – Photo by Brian Benavente
Kyle Woodrow – Hawthorne Theatre – Photo by Brian Benavente
Tyler Groce – Hawthorne Theatre – Photo by Brian Benavente
I remember in early 2016 when Endres and I were watching Tancred together at the Hawthorne, and she mentioned how seeing them perform made her feel more confident about being the core of her project while still having a full-band lineup. Glacier Veins started out as her acoustic project after her previous band Red Season slowly came to an end in 2015. She ended up taking things full-band soon after releasing an acoustic demo of “Northern,” and has rotated through several lineups since then, but is currently joined by Tyler Groce on drums and Kyle Woodrow on bass/harmonies. That’s definitely a fun aspect of the member changes, as a listener of GV, because before Woodrow was in the band, we never really got to hear what they would sound like with that extra layer of vocals, and it’s been a highlight of their recent shows. Endres has always kept things moving despite so many changes.
Malia Endres – February 2017 – Photo by Andrew Le
I was around for a lot Red Season’s shows, and I’ve seen Glacier Veins over 30 times since the beginning of 2016, so seeing Endres evolve as a musician has been a real treat. Red Season was a bit more on the pop-rock side, while GV is definitely more dream-punk. Some of those earlier influences could still be heard on their split with Quieter, Relationship Goals, which they don’t tend to play from anymore, but their current sound is what’s really caught listeners’ attention. It would be hard to successfully compare them to other bands, and I think that’s part of the appeal. They can’t be stuck into stereotypical boxes, and the quality of their music speaks for itself. It makes their following extremely diverse, and increases the likelihood of just about anyone being able to enjoy their music. Their new, unreleased songs are easily their best work so far, and they’ve been playing them live long enough that several people have learned the words to some such as “Grows Back Slow” (my personal favorite) and “Not Gonna Stay.”
GV has played on some incredible bills over the past year or so. A lot of their first shows were with bands in the DIY scene at venues like the Anarres and the Tardis Room, but as they quickly caught the scene’s attention they got to open for bigger touring bands at the Analog. In the midst of all of that in 2016, they were also apart of the local Vans Warped Tour Battle of the Bands and the judges unanimously decided they’d be the local to play on the Full Sail stage in Portland last year. They did all of that as GV was on the brink of turning just a year old. Soon after, they opened for the Portland dates of Turnover and Tiny Moving Parts’ tours while still playing plenty of shows with lesser-known touring friends in between.
Glacier Veins – Vans Warped Tour 2016 – Photo by Andrew Le
Along with watching Endres grow musically, getting to know her and hearing her perspective on any challenges she’s come across over the past 1.5 years has been so uplifting. Her Twitter bio says it best, ‘Always dreaming and creating tangibility.’ She’s never let anything stand in the way of continuing to push forward and take GV to the next level. Rather than just talking about where she wants to go, she’s constantly working on the steps to get herself there, all while being one of the most humble and positive people I know. She radiates sheer joy which makes her live performances put the most genuine smiles on the faces of everyone watching and singing along.
Glacier Veins is one of those bands that you can see a ton of times and never grow tired of them. This means that it’s pretty easy to count on a lot of the same people being at each and every one of their shows. It’s helping to grow the following of the local scene as a whole when people bring friends of friends out to see them and are then introduced to other great local artists. Seeing them continue to accomplish more and more is an infectious feeling that definitely encourages people to keep working hard to make our scene the best it can be.
Glacier Veins – FONFest 2017 – Photo by Miss Lopez Media
I always feel incredibly empowered whenever I watch Endres perform because it’s not often enough that I see women on stage, especially in local bands. There’s been a few shows I’ve gone to where I’m one of three women in an entire room, and it’s a very alienating feeling because the music industry is so male-dominated. This makes me feel lucky that Glacier Veins is from here because there’s a lot of times when Endres is the only woman on a bill, and her presence continually makes me feel more in place at shows.
Glacier Veins – October 2016 – Photo by Sleeper Studios
GV has felt significant from the beginning. I still remember getting chills the first time I saw them when they only had one full band song released which couldn’t even begin to compare to how they sounded live. I’ve had that same feeling every time I’ve seen them since then, but even more so during bigger moments like when they played Warped and specifically at the Hawthorne show. Glacier Veins is not only my most seen band, but also the band I’ve written about the most because I am amazed by them every time I’ve seen them—if you couldn’t tell that by now.
Glacier Veins has positively influenced a lot of people in Portland’s scene since becoming a band. Read what other people said about them:
“I love Glacier Veins so much because they offer a new sound that I don’t hear from any other band right now. On top of that they’re all wonderful humans which just enhances my love for that band. And honestly, when I was considering where to move from Alaska, one of the reasons I chose Portland was to be able to see Glacier Veins any time..I’m only half kidding about that.” –Kevin Cone
“I’d been on the outside of the Portland local scene for some time, hearing about local bands, occasionally seeing them open tour packages, and eventually making friends who played in bands, but I was never that emotionally invested in our local scene until Glacier Veins came along. Glacier Veins are more than just a local band; they’re the figurehead of a community. They’ve carved out a space for kindness, self-expression and happiness in our scene, made the best out of hard times and inspired everyone around them to feel like they’re a part of something bigger.” –Julian Gray
“One of the best things about live music is when you see a band that truly loves playing music. Glacier Veins brings such a good energy every time I see them play, and seeing them is something I definitely look forward to.” –Abbie Thompson
“Glacier Veins has always been a band that you can tell they truly love what they do. No matter what lineup I’ve seen. They always put everything they have on stage. It’s infectious and that’s why their friends and fans love them.” –Brian Benavente
“Glacier Veins is such a special part of the Portland scene. Malia’s determination to keep GV going through lineup changes and her dedication to her vision is so inspiring. Especially as a woman in the scene. She’s making an important contribution with her creativity.” –Nova Decks
“I think Glacier Veins has been really important to me as a songwriter and performer, I think seeing them so much and getting to know them as friends was a big reason why I wanted my own band to start chilling out a bit musically. They have “it” for sure and I’m absolutely positive that they’re gonna be a really big deal before long.” –Doug Jones
“Glacier Veins is a breath of fresh air in the Portland music community. Malia’s optimism, kindness, and passion makes GV an absolute pleasure to work with and is infectious to those around them. Their music is inspiring to everyone who listens and you can tell they give 110% at every live show. Malia’s friendly demeanor and supportive personality alone makes you want to support this band, and once you hear their music you will be a fan for life.” –Annie Tunnicliffe
“If it weren’t for Glacier Veins’ existence, I wouldn’t believe nearly half as much as I do in the Portland local scene. I find a tremendous amount of inspiration in Malia’s work both as a writer and a musician. She proves nonstop that Glacier Veins is here to stay and evolves further on why they’re the most important band in Portland right now. Their immediacy to create art, and to make sure that art is pure.” –Codie Porter
GV is only just getting started, so be sure to keep close tabs on their social media pages, and never miss a chance to see them live! Pre-order Dreamspace at commongroundrecords.com/shop!