BETTIE SERVEERT, CHARMING BIRDS
(Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) Bettie Serveert are the Dutch band forever enshrined in many indie rockers' hearts for their 1992 debut album, Palomine. Featuring the beguiling, Jodie Foster-esque vocals of Carol van Dyk, the LP boasted some of the most memorable tunes of the '90s, especially "Tom Boy," "Palomine," and "Kid's Allright." Like a Dutch Blake Babies, Bettie Serveert charmed listeners with understated jangles and twinkles and perfectly timed, heart-catching key changes—all of which made them ideally suited to devote an entire album to Velvet Underground covers. Bettie Serveert's new album, Pharmacy of Love, shows the band in robust, tuneful form, their melodies as immediately appealing and well contoured as ever—and the nine-and-a-half-minute-long "Calling" finds Bettie Serveert getting surprisingly epic without showing any strain. This is solid indie rock that probably won't change your life, but it will brighten your night. DAVE SEGAL
PIGEONS, MIKE COYKENDALL, ST. FRANKIE LEE
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) The Talking Wire from Portland band Pigeons is easily one of the best local debuts in recent memory. The young group—based around the nucleus of guitarist/vocalist Justin Ready, violinist Angie Kuzma, and keyboardist Luke Matter—has been together for a couple years, but the album, recorded with the help of Mike Coykendall and Skyler Norwood, exhibits a confidence that far more experienced bands never attain. Listen to how the rollicking "Valiant Down, River Wide" boils in a frenzy, then simmers to an eye-in-the-storm calm before letting loose again. Or the stately gait of "A Thousand Miles," which makes fine use of Ready's slightly Isaac Brock-like howl. Or the slow burn of "Cinderella," in which the band sifts through angry wreckage to find a hopeful sound. Or opening track "Autumn Sound," which is as fine an introductory fanfare as a band could hope for. Packaged in unique, handmade sleeves for its vinyl release, The Talking Wire is an album brimming with highlights, and indicates that Pigeons is a great, graceful, exciting band, worthy of all the acclaim that is undoubtedly going to be heaped on them. NED LANNAMANN
ULRICH SCHNAUSS, SOUND POOL, YLANG YLANG
(rontoms, 600 E Burnside) Ulrich Schnauss masterfully marries idyllic IDM to shoegaze rock. At times his music has an icy majesty that can drift into saccharine new age-isms, but at their best, Schnauss's compositions combine unexpectedly funky beat programming with the sort of lush synth and guitar textures and wistful melodies that make you want to slowdive with your bloody valentine. After two outstanding albums—Far Away Trains Passing By and A Strangely Isolated Place—Schnauss dropped a dud with Goodbye, but his live shows supporting that 2007 album were much more sublime than that weak release would lead you to believe. Three years later it's hard to know what to expect, but as Schnauss was picked to open for Chapterhouse on their recently postponed US tour, we might just get rocked right down to our soles. DAVE SEGAL
"Girls to the Front" book release lineup, and a link to the complete show listings, after the jump!
GIRLS TO THE FRONT BOOK RELEASE: FEELIN' ALRIGHT, TARA JANE ONEIL, GHOST MOM, JANET PANTS, DJ SNOWTIGER
The complete show listings can be viewed here.