Ear: Hackles

"As a local witch casts her spells on a small, Oregon port town, some unsuspecting locals meet their fate in the vast coastline," a story on AmericanSongwriter.com began. "It's a darkly brewed scene set to The Hackles’ video for 'Dominoes,' the latest single off the duo's second album 'A Dobritch Did As A Dobritch Should' (Jealous Butcher Records)."

The port town is Astoria, and The Hackles are Astoria couple Kati Claborn and Luke Ydstie, who are also members of Blind Pilot, along with frontman Israel Nebeker, who grew up in Gearhart, Ryan Dobrowski, Ian Krist and Dave Jorgensen.

You can read the story and see the four-minute "Dominoes" video — which was filmed in Astoria, and features some familiar faces and a local crew — at bit.ly/hacklesvid. The couple are pictured in a photo from their website, thehackles.bandcamp.com

In case you're wondering what the Dobritch connection is, the album title refers to Bulgarian-born Alexander Alexandroff "Al" Dobritch's hard luck story. He came from a family of circus performers and became "an influential circus agent, impresario and producer," according to Circopedia.com.

A story on LVStripHistory.com reports his sad downfall in Las Vegas. His life fell apart after being arrested for assault with intent to kill, and then for extortion, and consequently being fired … then he jumped (or was pushed) and fell 15 stories to his death. 

"Dominoes was inspired by the licentious history of the small port town in Oregon, situated where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean, that we call home," Claborn told American Songwriter. "The song is a worker's lament, a rumination on life as a participant in a rigged game, and the tale of a witch who turns her victims into sturgeon, doomed to a long life haunting the bottom depths of a grey coastline."

"(The video) dives into the details of the song's narrative," Claborn added, "with decades-spanning Pacific Northwest voodoo, chance encounters with dire consequences, and the water, eternally waiting."

Elleda Wilson is an editorial assistant for The Astorian and author of the award-winning In One Ear community column. Contact her at 971-704-1718 or ewilson@dailyastorian.com.

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