Vroom vroom, it's Vrideo Vriday! A lot of vrideos to get to today, so let's cut the chitchat.
Lots more Vriday after the jump!
LEE RANALDO AND THE DUST, EYELIDS
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Lee Ranaldo was always something like Sonic Youth's George Harrison: consigned to one or two songs an album, holding it down with subdued flair on guitar, going underappreciated. As leader of his own band in recent years, Ranaldo's flaws become more apparent. His voice's dullness doesn't stand up to scrutiny over an entire album, and his songwriting lacks the fiery dynamics and tonal adventurousness of the best Sonic Youth material. Sadly, I don't think Lee has an All Things Must Pass in him. His last two albums as a leader—Between the Times and the Tides and Last Night on Earth—chug and jangle with the underwhelming pleasantness of late-era R.E.M. Nothing quite unsettles or seethes like earlier Ranaldo songs such as "In the Kingdom #19," "Eric's Trip," or "Pipeline/Kill Time." Mellowing with age isn't a crime, but it does often lead to shrug-worthy releases. DAVE SEGAL
PIERCED ARROWS, AUDIOS AMIGOS, DIVERS
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) It's a good time to be a Fred and Toody Cole fan living in Portland. Come fall and winter, this always seems to be the case, but this year seems especially noteworthy. And between stripped-down unplugged sets, Pierced Arrow's annual Halloween show, and a Dead Moon reunion show set for January, it would be a shame to overlook tonight's show. We're lucky enough to be able to witness the trio's legendary garage-rock all over town, but in a setting like Mississippi Studios you can really come to appreciate the fine-tuned songwriting and unparalleled chemistry that lurks behind the force. Be sure to arrive early: While opening act Divers might be best known for rowdy house and dive bar shows, they are more than capable of bringing down the house on their own. CHIPP TERWILLIGER
KINK'S JINGLE BELL JAM: THE HEAD AND THE HEART, WILD FEATHERS, FRANK TURNER AND THE SLEEPING SOULS
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) Two things work against Seattle folk-pop band the Head and the Heart in the eyes of indie-rock's cred police: (1) The band's rise from open-mic jam thing to headliner of big rooms happened quickly, with very little paying of dues in small, smelly clubs. (2) The group's sound—all-in harmonies and friendly handclaps set to the easily digestible strum of acoustic guitars—has about as much edge as a cue ball. But on its self-titled debut album, self-released in 2010 and reissued by Sub Pop in 2011, the Head and the Heart delivered a set of tunes so undeniably catchy that listeners with an ear for well-crafted pop music could only give credit where it was due. Now, the band is back with its second effort, Let's Be Still, which features more melancholic grappling with big questions and life lessons. These new songs don't seem to have quite as much immediate appeal as the band's previous work, but perhaps that's a good thing. BEN SALMON
If there's a prevailing theme to Toronto rapper Drake's career right now, it's to be found in the title and lyrics from the song "All Me" (found on the Deluxe Edition of his latest album Nothing Was the Same), the chief sentiment of which goes: "Came up, that's all me/stay true, that's all me/no help, that's all me/all me for real."
A typical boastful rap—and hopefully his early benefactor Lil' Wayne doesn't consider it a slap in the chops—but it helps set the tone for his current tour, which stopped at the Moda Center last night. There was no coterie of backup dancers or hype men with him, and what musicians that were there were wearing all black and on a platform sunk into the middle of the large circle that dominated the stage. Otherwise it was almost entirely all Drake. All the better to drink in the squeals of the many teenage girls in blush-inducing outfits, the grunts of their male hip-hop head companions, and the yawps of a gaggle of older folks trying to keep up with the youthful surroundings.
This also meant that his openers—rappers PartyNextDoor and Future, and soul/R&B singer extraordinaire Miguel—were forced to use a small lip of the stage that couldn't have been more than 15 feet wide. Miguel at least found a way to work with the constraints, setting himself, a drummer, and a keyboard player on raised platforms and surrounding it all with lights. And damn if he didn't make that small swath of real estate his bitch. He vamped, danced, strutted, and did the splits sending the young ladies at the show (of which there were many) into a frenzy. All while wearing a leather jacket festooned with black feathers. Well played, Miguel.
The first round of artists includes the great Run the Jewels duo of El-P and Killer Mike, Built to Spill, and Mr. Gnome, plus the up-and-coming Saintseneca (who are going to have a huge 2014, mark my words), the Joy Formidable (who never did too much for me but who I kept hearing were a definite highlight of Musicfest), Seattle's Iska Dhaaf (members of Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band and Mad Rad) and Denver's lovely Paper Bird. Plus a clutch of great Portland bands, like Modern Kin, Vikesh Kapoor, Hustle and Drone, Psychic Rites, and Summer Cannibals.
Click the jump to take a look at the existing lineup—and remember, lots more is to come—and check out the announcement video. Lots more info, including tickets, over at Treefort's site.
Sadly, Wild Flag, despite acclaim for their eponymous debut, are no more: “It was great but I think it just kinda ran its course," Weiss tells us. "It’s hard to have a band when you live five hours apart by plane.”The article goes on to theorize that this raises the possibility of a Sleater-Kinney reunion coming soon, although of course Weiss is currently drumming for her longtime band Quasi; they're in the middle of a UK tour.
As the news echoes around the internet (as in here and here), pundits are hoping, hoping for a Sleater-Kinney reunion, citing as encouraging evidence the November 29 Pearl Jam show in Portland, when Weiss, Brownstein, and Corin Tucker all joined Vedder & Co. onstage for a finale of Neil Young's "Rockin' in the Free World." (Rolling Stone went so far as to call it a Sleater-Kinney reunion.)
CATE LE BON, KEVIN MORBY
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Welsh singer/songwriter Cate Le Bon sounds like a sensitive aristocrat on the mic, her voice a distinctive combination of Nico's stolid delivery and umlaut-y vowels and Joni Mitchell's mellifluousness. Le Bon's 2012 album, Cyrk, is a banquet of high-IQ rock full of elegant, baroque melodies built to last and sporadic, shockingly great rave-ups. Her new full-length, Mug Museum, sounds slicker than past releases, but Le Bon's songs retain certain structural peculiarities and melodic quirks—revealing affinities with Pavement and Gorky's Zygotic Mynci—that keep blandness well at bay. Pay close attention to her. DAVE SEGAL
PURE BATHING CULTURE, THEM HILLS, NICK REINHART
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) The twinkling, astral pop of Pure Bathing Culture got me through one winter, and as the warm weather again recedes far into the rearview, it seems certain the Portland band is capable of getting me through another. Centered around keyboardist/vocalist Sarah Versprille and guitarist Dan Hindman, and augmented by bassist Zach Tillman and drummer Brian Wright, PBC only released their first full-length in August—the glimmering, dimension-spanning Moon Tides—but these songs already seem like old favorites, as they've been highlights at the countless number of hometown live shows the group has played since their Portland debut in January 2012. No matter what the temperature is outside tonight, Pure Bathing Culture's humid, human, cleansing pop is guaranteed to fog up Holocene's windows. NED LANNAMANN
VADEN TODD LEWIS, SEAN CROGHAN
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) I never understood the blank comparisons between the Toadies and the rest of the grunge pack. There was always something a little darker and creepier about their lyrics. They had a certain twang that came from being a product of Texas. And frontman Vaden Todd Lewis sounded like his vocal cords were being run through a meat grinder. To some, the Toadies will always be the "Possum Kingdom" band ("Do you wanna diiiiieeee..."); their cult followers know that subsequent releases like Feeler and Hell Below/Stars Above are as good, if not better than their 1994 debut Rubberneck. And the Toadies are still putting out music. But for the time being Lewis is playing some solo gigs, digging up Toadies material as well as songs from Burden Brothers, his project with members of Reverend Horton Heat. MARK LORE
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) ALL HAIL OUR NEW POP QUEEN. Seventeen-year-old New Zealander Lorde put out one of the best albums of the year—the hazily dark, cleverly sharp, and sickeningly addictive Pure Heroine—and now she's playing an early evening show at the Crystal. Show up, listen, and pledge your loyalty. ERIK HENRIKSEN
FANNO CREEK, SAMA DAMS, HANDS IN
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Read our article on Fanno Creek.
ARCTIC MONKEYS, BATTLEME
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) Although Josh Homme helped produce the third Arctic Monkeys LP, Humbug, the UK band didn't really let the desert sprawl and smoked-out ideals of Queens of the Stone Age sink in until they recorded album number five, AM (on which Homme is also a contributor). The 2013 release, apparently inspired by a breakup that singer/guitarist Alex Turner went through, is a slow-boiling tar pit of psychedelics, bulbous riffs, and some of the sexiest rhythms the quartet has ever attempted. Moving away from the rapid-fire tempos and lyrics of the past was a welcome evolution for the Monkeys, and helped generate one of the year's best rock albums. Fear not, though, old-school fans: All live footage I've seen of the band's current tour proves that they can still kick up a hell of a storm onstage. ROBERT HAM
Multiple choice! Portland band Genders have done which of the following?
A. Hit a deer with their van
B. Left a somewhat aggressive note on the door of Built to Spill's practice space
C. Released an exceptional debut album
D. All of the above
LISTEN: Genders - "Something to Get You By"
True or false? Fanno Creek's new album contains songs about aliens and outer space.
LISTEN: Fanno Creek - "On My Way"
Essay section! Explain, in detail, how the Dismemberment Plan's shadow of influence grew in their absence, and how they indirectly shaped the course of what is now commonly referred to as "indie rock." Show your work.
LISTEN: The Dismemberment Plan - "Daddy Was a Real Good Dancer"
All the answers and more, in the new Mercury music section! Plus an answer key full of this week's Up & Coming shows.
Stereogum premiered the new single from Portland band Aan (pronounced "on") on Monday, and Party Damage Records—home to Wild Ones, Your Rival, and St. Even—will be announcing Aan's first full-length, the long, long-awaited Amor Ad Nauseum. The album's title is where Aan got their abbreviated name, and I'm no Latin expert, but I'm pretty sure it means "fuck 'til you puke." (I never get tired of that joke.)
Take a listen to "I Don't Need Love" right here through the magic of the Soundcloud embed.
It's a lurching, awesome track, and not unfamiliar to those who've been following Aan's previous releases and live shows, but it sounds excellent here. Amor Ad Nauseum comes out via Party Damage on February 4. (And this hasn't been officially announced, but you can expect a record release show at a Portland venue with the initials M.S. around that time—say, maybe, the Saturday before the release date, shall we say?) We've got a better look at the album cover—in the battle of dog vs. porcupine, porcupine always wins—and the full tracklist for you after the jump.
This was reflected by the audience at Saturday's show. Wait—let me back up here before I go any further. Yes, I saw the Village People. Live. In 2013. Or, at least, what remains of the "classic" lineup—that is, Alex Filey ("The G.I.), Felipe Rose ("The Indian"), and, while technically not a founding member, arguably the most identifiable member of the band (and even that might be a stretch), lead singer Ray Simpson ("The Cop"). The basically faceless "Biker," "Construction Worker," and "Cowboy" personae are all replacement members—and they all look like they could be in their early 30s. The relatively scant audience was, ostensibly, far more conservative than I had expected. There were a few dressed up as their favorite Village Person, most likely with ironic intent, and at least a handful of noxious disco revivalists, but mostly the crowd consisted of normal people, dressed down, dancing along geometrically and singing along tunelessly. It was about as gay as an Elton John concert, which is to say it wasn't really gay at all.
Come vacation time later that year, Hood remembered the book, went to the stack and packed it for the trip. “I became obsessed with it,” Hood says. “Ended up re-reading it after I finished it, which never happens. We kind of became pen pals after that.”
When Hood played two nights of solo shows at the Star Theater in September 2012, Vlautin hung in the back with Peter Buck and Scott McCaughey, because a Patterson Hood show is a good place to hang out and drink. When advance copies of Vlautin’s upcoming novel The Free were available, one landed on Hood’s doorstep. This time, it didn’t sit in a stack. It was from the mail, to Hood’s hands, and then to his pen.
The Truckers had already finished recording their 12th album, but Hood knocked out one more song. “Pauline Hawkins” comes from the point of view of one of The Free’s three protagonists. Like the best of Vlautin’s characters (and Hood’s), she’s a decent person in an indecent situation. Her situation maybe isn’t as desperate at others in the book, but it’s as unrelenting. Her quiet grace in the face of that grind is part of what gives the novel its heart.
Hood took the song to the studio, and they cut it and mixed it in a day. It’s the fourth track on Drive-By Truckers' forthcoming album English Oceans, which will be out March 4. Hood is spending part of the winter here in Portland, and he'll play a January residency at the Doug Fir Lounge (January 8, 15, 22), with Vlautin opening the first of those shows.
Meanwhile, Vlautin's book The Free will be out on February 4, and Vlautin’s been in the studio working on a new Richmond Fontaine record. He’s also got a new band, the Delines, fronted by Texas singer Amy Boone. That album should be out late spring, and it’s full of 3 am honky-tonk soul tunes.
KATHLEEN KEOGH BENEFIT
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) One of Portland's most beloved fixtures in the dance/music scene, Kathleen Keogh, was assaulted in San Francisco, and has racked up some big medical bills. Cue the ever-generous Portland who is always happy to help with this Benefit for Kathleen Keogh, featuring music from Pictureplane and Miracles Club, as well as a reunion of Kathleen's dance squad $kulls, DJ Beyondadoubt, and more! See? Generosity and caring are fun. WM.™ STEVEN HUMPHREY
PORTUGAL. THE MAN, SONS OF HUNS, HUSTLE AND DRONE
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Portugal. The Man has been touring nonstop to support their album-a-year habit; after six, you'd think they'd seek respite in something familiar. Instead, the Portland-based, Alaskan-bred band harnessed all their ambitions and set out for new territory with their seventh record, Evil Friends. To aid in this journey, frontman John Gourley enlisted producer Bryan Burton—that's Mr. Danger Mouse to you—and with his help, they cultivated a impassioned, genre-bending beast that seems to morph between each track. Evil Friends also displays a maturing band's ability to rein in their completely contagious (but sometimes unwieldy) adrenaline-fueled rock. Whether ebbing from solemn acoustic plucking to bombastic baselines to charged, apathetic punk, the album is somehow streamlined in the senses and altogether registers as pure fun. Tonight's the third in Red Bull's series of three-dollar shows at the Doug Fir, although you'll need to RSVP at redbullsoundselect.com to get in the door. RAQUEL NASSER
Miriam Margolyes, it's Music Monday!
Souvenir Driver continue their series of preview tracks from their upcoming full-length, Living Water, which is due out in April. Once a month, they're making a new single available—the catch being that these tracks disappear after 30 days (they'll, of course, be on the album when it's released). Tomorrow, Souvenir Driver releases "I Touch You Honey," and we've got the exclusive advance stream of it. It's a brash, frizzy pebble of pop that's in and out in under two minutes. In the words of SD's Nate Wey, "It's the shortest song on the record—much surfier, lighter, and maybe less post-punk-y than most of our other tracks." This one breezes by quickly enough to demand repeat plays, especially with those schoolboy harmonies that kick in during the second verse, and that terrific chorus that's over way too soon. "I Touch You Honey" will be available on Bandcamp starting tomorrow (head over to Bandcamp right now for your last chance to grab the album's first preview track, "Kiss You Quick), and will be available until Tuesday, January 7. They'll also have a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for a vinyl pressing of Living Water.
Nobody owns sweater weather like the Portland Cello Project. To that end, they've got a new EP of winter-themed songs, titled Winter (The Best Nine Months of the Year), and it includes inventive arrangements of wintry songs like "Carol of the Bells," "Riu Chiu," and selections from Benjamin Britten's A Ceremony of Carols. Here's the EP's opening track, a tango-ish cover of Fleet Foxes' "White Winter Hymnal," which sounds very much like a walk through a snow-covered forest. Portland Cello Project perform their annual Holiday Sweater Spectacular—one of the Portland holiday season's essential events—at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall on Friday, December 20 (tix on sale here). The Winter EP is available for purchase here.
Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside's new EP is ready to take on Portland Cello Project in a battle of the seasons: It's titled Summer, and it was recorded over a four-day weekend in October 2012 with Mike Coykendall at his Blue Rooms Studio, all recorded live in the same room with vintage mics. Ford says the EP was influenced by Portland surf band Satan's Pilgrims, and the songs reflect a rawer, punkier vibe of the band, evoking memories of summer (hence its release at the start of winter, when we need it most). Of this great new track—which premiered last week on The Current—Ford says, "'Lips N’ Hips' is about one-night stands or summer flings, and that romantic hope they instill, even though most of the time you don't ever see the person again—or at least that's what my friends tell me! I guess the secret irrational hope is that you'll run away together even though you don't truly know each other." Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside play two shows at the Doug Fir later this month, on Friday, December 20 and Saturday, December 21.
YOUTHBITCH, PISS TEST
(Lola's Room, 1332 W Burnside) Did we mention Lola's Room is hosting free punk shows every Monday now? You simply cannot argue with a deal like that, especially when a quality outfit like Youthbitch is headlining. The Portland quartet's boisterous, sugar-sweet pop punk is your best bet for starting the week on a frugal foot. DIRK VANDERHART
BRENDAN CANNING, HOLLY MIRANDA, GONDOLA
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) A visit from Broken Social Scene doesn't look like it's coming anytime soon, so how about a set by one of the band's figureheads? Brendan Canning just released his second solo record, You Gots 2 Chill, and this time the Social Scener eschews much of his band's genre-jumping and grand orchestrations in favor of understated, laid-back bedroom-pop. The tracks are built on melodic, finger-picked guitar lines that would never exist in such an unadorned state with BSS, but Canning makes the most of the barebones songs, borrowing a fair bit from guitarist John Fahey, even acknowledging as much with album opener "Post Fahey." MATTHEW W. SULLIVAN
FRED AND TOODY, JENNY DON'T AND THE SPURS
(LaurelThirst Public House, 2958 NE Glisan) Any serious fan of Portland music has probably seen Dead Moon at least once, but much rarer is the opportunity to see Fred and Toody Cole play unplugged, which is exactly what's on the menu tonight. And for free, no less! MARJORIE SKINNER
BLACK JOE LEWIS AND THE HONEYBEARS, RADKEY
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) Black Joe Lewis' larynx must be hewn from the same material used to make an airplane's black box, because how else could he possibly howl like he does? I guess we won't know until he crashes, which is not likely to occur anytime soon. In fact, he only seems to be gaining speed with his and the Honeybears' latest album, Electric Slave. If 2011's Scandalous swayed to its own soul-induced funk, Electric Slave leans hard into full-out rock 'n' roll. Driving, fuzzed-out guitars, frantic low-ends, and a positively wailing saxophone lift Lewis' voice on their storm surge—and sometimes, when he reaches a song's crest and can see everything clearly, all he can yell is "Fuck this shit!" (as heard in "The Hipster"). A relatable sentiment, indeed. RAQUEL NASSER
THERE IS NO MOUNTAIN
(Al's Den, 303 SW 12th) After a few years co-piloting the Portland-based, banjo-powered roots-pop band the Ascetic Junkies, married couple Matt Harmon and Kali Giaritta pared down to a duo in 2012, started DIY touring like crazy, and changed their name to There Is No Mountain. Somewhere in there, they also found time to record the band's self-titled debut, a seamless amalgam of psychedelic folk, effervescent indie pop, global (particularly African) sounds, and harmonies bound 'til death do they part. With much of their 2013 spent on stages and surfing couches across the country, Harmon and Giaritta are sticking close to home for a bit—at least long enough to play a weeklong residency at Al's Den. BEN SALMON
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