“Chris Robley is at the top of his game with his new work.” – KCRW
“Beatlesy goodness featuring deft wordplay delivered through McCartneyish melodies with a Lennonesque rasp… What a welcome return.” – Willamette Week
Chris Robley is an award-winning poet, songwriter, and music producer now living in Lewiston, Maine after more than a decade in Portland, Oregon.
His orchestral indie-pop and hyperfolk music has been praised by NPR, the LA Times, the Boston Globe, No Depression, and others. Skyscraper Magazine said he is “one of the best short-story musicians to come along in quite some time.”
Robley’s poetry has been published in POETRY Magazine, Prairie Schooner, Poetry Northwest, Beloit Poetry, and more. He is the winner of Boulevard’s Poetry Prize for Emerging Writers, a recipient of a Maine Literary Award in poetry, and was selected by Robert Pinsky as a finalist for the Dorset Prize.
The 140-character version:
Dark fractured folk & lush orchestral indie-pop with exposed, sparking wires—or a little bit like John Lennon w/ Attention Deficit Disorder.
The 1st-person version:
You can’t just wake up one day after 3 decades on earth and say to everyone you know, “I’m going to be Christopher now.” But after reading Aleister Crowley’s theory about the power of a 5-syallable name, well,… I realize I’m cutting myself 2 syllables short of guaranteed fame & fortune.
So how ’bout it? Maybe future albums and published poems should be credited to Christopher Robley—whoever that is.
Speaking of albums and poems, I make them—for myself and for others. Some of my poems have been published or are forthcoming in literary magazines like POETRY, Prairie Schooner, Beloit Poetry Journal, RHINO, Magma, and more.
In the music world, I’ve been lucky enough to work with some incredibly talented producers on my last—what is it now—6 albums? This includes Mike Coykendall (She & Him, M Ward), Jeff Stuart Saltzman (Stephen Malkmus, Menomena), Rob Stroup (Drunken Prayer, Scott Fisher), and Adam Selzer (The Decemberists, The Minus 5).
I write story-songs that blend fractured folk and dark, psychedelic indie-pop with occasional orchestral and electronic flourishes; and then I cross my fingers that the songs stand up when I play them solo.
I live in “the woods” of Maine (you know I’m not a born Maine-ah if I say it like that), as well as—a small part of the time— in Portland, Oregon, home to Powell’s Books, Voodoo Donuts, an incredible music scene, and my fine daytime employer, CD Baby, for whom I blog, and market, and write copy, and attend various music and publishing trade shows, and tell artists and authors all day long that they should write succinct, captivating bios unlike this one. I would be horrified!
The 3rd-person version:
Chris Robley is a producer, songwriter, published poet, and a purveyor of jittery, pictorial pop music.
As one critic put it, Robley (the “Stephen King of Indie-Pop”) performs music that “corresponds to the hyperactive zeitgeist” of this modern era of over-stimulation. Diverse, energetic, disturbing, searching, skewed, catchy, exposed.
Robley’s first two critically lauded solo albums, this is the and the drunken dance of modern man in love, as well the album Anxiety on Parade by his former band THE SORT Ofs, were produced with Adam Selzer (M. Ward, The Decemberists, Laura Gibson).
His third solo album, Movie Theatre Haiku, was produced with the help of Mike Coykendall (She & Him, Beth Orton, M. Ward), Jeff Stuart Saltzman (Menomena, Stephen Malkmus), and Rob Stroup (Scott Fisher, Debra Arlyn).
Robley’s Ghosts’ Menagerie (produced with Adam Selzer and Jeff Stuart Saltzman), is a band-oriented album that combines catchy, sometimes proggy psych-folk, noir-pop tunes and a somewhat sparer production style with tales of heartbreak and domestic decline.
On March 11, 2016, Chris released The Great Make Believer (engineered by Rob Stroup), an album recorded live at a house which sits beside the Lewis & Clark Salt Works on the Oregon coast. These ten songs are his most emotionally vulnerable to date, chronicling the guilt, regret, and confusion of broken promises, broken hearts, and infidelity — and the equally confusing process of healing.