So don't panic, and only cry a little! All the coverage you've come to either love or ignore on End Hits is just a mouse click away at Blogtown. Nothing is changing content-wise, it's just living in a different place. We've even added a "MUSIC" button at the top of Blogtown so you can filter out the posts and only read about the music stuff, if you want. And for now there are no expected changes to the wildly popular and super hilarious End Hits Twitter account.
This is the beginning of a gradual change to the Mercury's website, which I expect will see a continued dissolution between "blog" content and regular online content. (Blogs are so 2007, amirite?) Here's to the future, and to all of your music-news-and-content-related needs living over on Blogtown. See you there.
* Holy shit.
The last concert I shot for the Mercury was Justin Timberlake, so obviously the natural progression to the next show would be the scorched-earth punk of Vancouver, BC's White Lung Wednesday night at the Doug Fir. The venue was only half full, which was curious considering the placement of their most recent album Deep Fantasy on several best-of-2014 lists and their reputation for ferocious live shows. Bassist Hether Fortune came onstage with "I Can't Breathe" scrawled on her white tank top, an obvious nod to the tragic Eric Garner grand jury decision handed down just hours before the show. Singer Mish Way prowled the stage in a leopard-print trench coat as the band tore through a fantastic, tight set. She bantered very little with the crowd, maybe because of the crappy turnout or maybe that's just not what she does. Guitarist Kenneth William absolutely shreds, and should be mentioned alongside today's best guitar players if he isn't already. White Lung is a great band and hopefully their next show in Portland will attract a crowd with the energy to match the intensity that projects from the stage.
Lots more pictures after the jump! Including photos of opening band Mormon Crosses.
LEMURIA, INTO IT. OVER IT., JESUS MIRANDA, YOUR RIVAL
(Alhambra Theatre, 4811 SE Hawthorne) Earlier this year, Evan Weiss—whose emo-tinged solo-project Into It. Over It. plays tonight—penned an article encouraging DIY bands to jump in a van and learn from the touring experience. It's an inspirational read, especially after TV-commercial soundtrackers Pomplamoose's recently published look at the (somewhat extravagant) expenses that supposedly led to them finishing a recent national tour $11K in the hole. As a touring veteran who has lived out of his car for years at a time, it's heartening to see Weiss highlight the small battles of getting gears to grind in unfamiliar cities as the ultimate test in shaping bands. He's joined by the fellow road warriors of Buffalo punk trio Lemuria. Guided by the sugarcoated dueling vocals of guitarist Sheena Ozzella and drummer Alex Kerns, the band are the melodic pearl of the hardcore-leaning Bridge Nine Records roster, and a finely tuned force that must be witnessed live. CHIPP TERWILLIGER
TV on the Radio, Trampled By Turtles, YACHT, Emily Wells, Hurray For The Riff Raff, Generationals, Cymbals Eat Guitars, Wolvserpent, Viet Cong, Twerps, Turquoise Jeep, De Lux, Logan Hyde, Caddywhompus, Craft Spells, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, ELEL, Clarke and the Himselfs, Cool Ghouls, the Ghost Ease, Random Rab, Desert Noises, Technical Kidman, Posse, Yeah Great Fine, Saqi, Sisters
TENDER LOVING EMPIRE HAWTHORNE STORE GRAND OPENING
(Tender Loving Empire, 3541 SE Hawthorne) See All-Ages Action!
JANE SIBERRY'S HOLIDAY HOES AND HOSERS
(The Secret Society, 116 NE Russell) Jane Siberry has found a way to work with the internet and not against it. The Toronto singer/songwriter crowdfunded the recording of her upcoming album via Kickstarter and uses her mailing list to book tours. That's particularly helpful here in the US, where her jazzy brand of art pop has achieved only cult success via her late '80s appearances on 120 Minutes and VH-1, as well as on the soundtracks to Until the End of the World and The Crow. With the help of her fans, Siberry's put together a run of Stateside dates—the "Holiday Hoes and Hosers" tour—that has her doing small residencies in five cities, bringing along a small ensemble and promising special guests. Which means for at least one of her four shows here, she'll be joined by the local celeb that recorded "Calling All Angels" with her in 1993. ROBERT HAM
FUTRO KIT 3.0 RELEASE
(Upper Playground, 23 NW 5th) Futro is a burgeoning collective of artists based out of Portland with their feet planted in hiphop culture and their heads floating in electro space. Tonight celebrates their third multimedia compilation, Kit 3.0, with Futro Records artists on "Side A" and local connects and international affiliates on the other half. Futro crew members including Ripley Snell, Abyss Infinite, and Neill Von Tally set it off strong alongside project leader Neo G Yo. The eclectic finale finds local artists Maze Koroma, Rasheed Jamal, and E*Rock sharing sonic space with Egyptian electronic musicians and a New Orleans bounce track. The audio/visual project is being released on USB in an art gallery alongside a new T-shirt and zine, illuminating Futro's forward-thinking vision of how we consume music and art. RYAN FEIGH
WHITE LUNG, MORMON CROSSES
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Mish Way is a genuine rock star. The White Lung frontwoman commands the mosh pit her band summons with a powerful urgency, like a punk-rock Buffy slaying demons of bullshit and patriarchy with her Hayley Williams meets Kat Bjelland howl, and also in her prolific music-writing career. On White Lung's most recent (and totally excellent) Domino release, Deep Fantasy, the band plays menacing, impressively tight and controlled punk songs with a grunge-y rage that feels like a stake through the heart, in a good way. This is what happens when DIY hardcore bands grow out of the basement and get polished: They totally shine. If there's any band that could stop an impending bro apocalypse, it's White Lung. ROBIN EDWARDS Also see My, What a Busy Week!
THE WAR ON DRUGS, SUMMER CANNIBALS
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) As I write this, there is one month left in 2014. In the world of music, this means the trickle of lists of the year's best albums has turned into a torrent. Over the past few weeks, Lost in the Dream—the third album by Philly rock band the War on Drugs—has been named one of 2014's top three records by four English music magazines: Mojo, Q, Uncut, and New Music Express. What does this mean? No idea. The War on Drugs' significant success in 2014 is hard to parse, not because they're a bad band—they're quite good—but because of what they do: meat-and-potatoes rock 'n' roll with Dylan-esque vocals that deliver wistful tales through a shoegaze haze. This is not trendy music; it is steady yet stylish, and strangely comforting. Lost in the Dream is not perfect, but there are times when it feels that way. BEN SALMON
HUNGRY CLOUD DARKENING, SISTER PALACE, HALF SHADOW
(Turn! Turn! Turn!, 8 NE Killingsworth) The Anacortes, Washington, trio Hungry Cloud Darkening makes hauntingly sparse dream pop. It's more sweet than sinister, but in their work there's an ever-present feeling of something looming—an unease, an implied heaviness. Imagine Low covering Julee Cruise, or Windy & Carl collaborating with Yo La Tengo. It's gorgeous, but chilling. Hungry Cloud Darkening's new album Glossy Recall, out this month on Seattle's Off Tempo label, is made up of 10 perfectly weighted pop songs that effortlessly ride the sweet/sinister, gorgeous/chilling line. They're perhaps best known as the backing band for Mount Eerie's Clear Moon and Ocean Roar albums, and Hungry Cloud Darkening's music will almost surely appeal to anyone who liked those albums, while at the same time offering something entirely different. JOSHUA JAMES AMBERSON
The first-ever Project Pabst festival took place earlier this year on September 26-28, and thankfully rain was not an issue. For now, I assume it will take place, once again, at Zidell Yards, near the west ends of the Ross Island Bridge and the new Tillicum Crossing. More on 2015's edition of Project Pabst to come.
THEE OH SEES, JACK NAME
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) In addition to being the mastermind behind Thee Oh Sees, John Dwyer somehow finds time to operate Castle Face Records, a label that's been home to a number of inspired and unhinged rock records since its inception back in 2007. Earlier in the year, Dwyer expressed some jealousy in seeing Jack Name's debut album, Light Show, being put out on Ty Segall's Drag City imprint, God? Records. As one of many solo monikers of White Fence touring guitarist John Webster Johns, Jack Name is not afraid to stretch far beyond the comfort zone. Light Show sees the musician blending high-pitched, childlike vocals with swirling, spaced-out sound effects to create an intriguing, narrative-driven album that examines medication used on school children and its harmful ability to suppress imagination. It makes for a captivating listen, and the single, "Pure Terror," is one of the finest psychedelic pop songs to come along all year. Although he didn't get to put out the record, Dwyer's brought Jack Name along for the current Oh Sees tour, which hits Portland tonight for two shows, including an all-ages early set. CHIPP TERWILLIGER Also see My, What a Busy Week!
DEAFHEAVEN, LESBIAN, USNEA
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) In a short time, Deafheaven has become a rather divisive band in metal's periphery—old-school heshers don't think they're metal enough, while listeners with more adventurous palates appreciate their non-metallic properties. Like Mastodon and Red Fang, the San Francisco black metal five-piece has inadvertently dropped metal into the laps of hipsters—which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Deafheaven's moody, post-rock twist on metal is refreshing, though definitely not for everyone. (Add the fact that core members George Clarke and Kerry McCoy look like American Apparel models and things get extra dicey.) Of course, if you're banging your head, it's harder to overthink it. MARK LORE
Here, then, is Alvvays' "Archie, Marry Me," one of the small number perfect pop songs released this year. If you've never heard it before, I challenge you to listen to it a single time—no hitting repeat. If you're anything like me (alive human, functioning ears, beating heart), you won't be able to.
Alvvays play TONIGHT at the Doug Fir with the equally worthy (and equally Canadian) Absolutely Free. They've also got a tour with the Decemberists on deck for 2015, and there are eight other fine songs on Alvvays that you need check out.
Portland's been waiting for Del Rey to come to town since the summer of 2011, when her "Video Games" single made a splash online (and caused some local controversy when the original video plundered footage from local video artist Ryland Bouchard). Love, meanwhile, is no stranger to controversy, local or otherwise. Tickets go on sale on Saturday. The timing of the show—on the Friday night of Memorial Day weekend—and a conspicuous absence of any Seattle date for the tour strongly suggest that a Sasquatch! festival appearance for Del Rey is also in the cards.
ALVVAYS, ABSOLUTELY FREE
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) On paper, the raw materials of Toronto's Absolutely Free are familiar: Their band name comes from a Frank Zappa album, their members from the disbanded DD/MM/YYYY, their sound from the 21st-century digital stew of every-sound-recorded-ever, where unfettered access to the world's discographies is a mouse click away. Their debut full-length, Absolutely Free, includes motorik rhythms, chiming guitars, lo-res but perky synths, and wobbly, Eno-influenced effects on the voices and instruments. It also contains an adventurous spirit and some really terrific songs, cresting with the pair of closing tracks, the relentless and soaring "Vision's" and the slow-building astral burble of "Spiral Jetty." They play tonight with fellow Torontonians Alvvays—whose pair of singles "Archie, Marry Me" and "Adult Diversion" are basically perfect—making this the most exciting show this week by quite a stretch. NED LANNAMANN See My, What a Busy Week!, and read our article on Alvvays.
DUSTIN WONG AND TAKAKO MINEKAWA, SOFT SHADOWS
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) After Baltimore art-rock extraordinaires Ponytail called it a day in 2011, guitarist Dustin Wong began churning out solo material. Armed with a guitar, loop pedal, a handful of effects pedals, and the occasional drum machine, Wong mixes and matches brittle melodies and robotic-sounding skronk into dizzying loops. After relocating to Tokyo, he connected with singer/songwriter Takako Minekawa, who found international acclaim in the '90s with her skewed synthpop. The pair released a collaboration on Thrill Jockey in 2013 called Toropical Circle—Minekawa's first new album in 13 years. It only took a year to follow that one up, though, and the duo's latest, Savage Imagination, is a carefree romp that paints in bright colors and lets both musicians' personalities shine. MATTHEW W. SULLIVAN
JAMESTOWN REVIVAL, NIKKI LANE, PETE MOLINARI
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) In the past few years, a wave of young women—Brandy Clark, Kacey Mugraves, plus Ashley Monroe and Miranda Lambert and their group, Pistol Annies—have crashed country music with a sound that owes more to the genre's traditions than the junk they're pushing aside on the charts and radio. Following hot in their footsteps is Nikki Lane, a Southerner with a soulful voice (think early rock 'n' roll queen Wanda Jackson), a punk spirit, and the power of producer (and Black Key) Dan Auerbach behind her 2014 album All or Nothin'. Combine all those things, and you end up, it turns out, with a punchy and pristine-sounding twang-pop-rock record slathered in outlaw signifiers and a convincing sneer. Lane met Auerbach when he showed up at her pop-up vintage clothing shop and wanted to buy the 1940s hunting jacket she was wearing. Because of course he did. BEN SALMON
Last Tuesday's show at the Crystal Ballroom was pretty amazing. With the release of this year's full-length album, The Physical World, the Canadian duo are on tour for the first time in the US after an almost 10-year hiatus. Their touring openers, Biblical, were heavy and generally good, although it felt a little like filler in the face of the 10 years of anticipation that DFA1979 had set up. Crowded but not sold out, the all-ages side of the Crystal was packed early on with people that just wanted to get as close to the stage and as sweaty as possible. The sound was excellent, except for one or two moments where the vocals needed to be turned up, and I think in general everyone seemed pretty stoked to be there.
Lots of photos and review of the Seattle show after the jump!
The next Ear Candy is coming right up, too! This Wednesday, November 26—the day before Thanksgiving, so you know you're gonna want to go out—Mississippi Studios is hosting a free show with three more outstanding bands: Hurry Up, which features members of the Thermals plus Bangs' Maggie Vail; Chanterelles, which includes Modern Kin's Kris Doty; and Mothertapes, who've recently completed a debut album that is going to slay some listeners in 2015. Did I mention it's free? Yep. It could be the best Thanksgiving Eve of your life.
Ear Candy w/Hurry Up, Chanterelles, Mothertapes; Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi, Wed Nov 26, 9 pm, FREE
OBN IIIs, PAMPERS
(Dante's, 350 W Burnside) There seems to be a lot of overthinking when it comes to rock music these days. Austin's OBN IIIs don't think, they just do, cranking out raunchy, in-the-pocket rock 'n' roll that owes a lot to great bands like AC/DC, Van Halen, and even the Runaways. Their latest record, Third Time to Harm, is dripping with primal American rockisms; you can practically see frontman Orville Bateman Neeley III doing David Lee Roth scissor jumps while singing songs like "The Rockin' Spins" and "Queen Glom." It's big, dumb fun, and OBN IIIs are worth an hour of reconnecting with your lizard brain. MARK LORE
NOLALA, FOG FATHER, MÁSCARAS
(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) It's no secret that Portland bands love to collaborate—and with such a wide sea of musicians to work with, why wouldn't new projects appear like blips on a map? Such is the case for NoLaLa, a new project featuring members of Minden. This will be a debut performance of sorts for the band, who have been under wraps recording. Máscaras, a surf-rock trio and one of a plethora of musical outfits that include drummer Papi Fimbres, will kick off the night. Last but not least, '80s synth slingers Fog Father will seduce with their slow, sultry pop tracks for a well-rounded evening of shimmery, danceable tunes. RACHEL MILBAUER