LAURA VEIRS AND THE HALL OF FLAMES, LESLIE STEVENS AND THE BADGERS, LED TO SEA
MARNIE STERN, AGESANDAGES, SIELAFF/SCHONBERG
LYRICS BORN, RAKAA
(Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) We all know that Lyrics Born is not one to skimp on the funk, usually doling it out in heroic doses with a gruff-voiced flair. But sadly it seems like the most party-friendly emcee to formerly reside in the Quannum Projects has lost a few steps along the way. His just-released As U Were is a head-on collision of pop and funk, and you'll need the jaws of life just to pick out the remnants of anything that can live up to 2003's fantastic Later That Day. Even lead single "Lies X 3" lacks the charisma of Lyrics' earlier work, instead sounding like an overly slick number weighed down by far too many ideas and a unsettling level of overproduction. In the process of bringing funk to the masses, Lyrics Born left us all behind. EAC
Great Wilderness, Fenbi International Superstars, Wolvserpent, and Happy Prescriptions, as well as a link to the complete show listings, after the jump!
THE LOWER 48, GREAT WILDERNESS, JOHN HEART JACKIE
(The Woods, 6637 SE Milwaukie) There is a band in our midst that has all the makings of excellence, and most people don't even know it yet. But they will. Great Wilderness formed this year in the style of an indie-rock tribe aesthetic—think Arcade Fire or Blind Pilot—with five members of Portland's young, beautiful, and flannel-clad. The group is anchored by the talents of a trio of ladies, including the achingly sweet and clear vocals of Emily Wilder, vocals and percussion from Jamie McMullen, plus Laura Kucera on violin and cello—those magical instruments that so deftly turn a regular song into a mystical one. With their powers combined, the Great Wilderness effect is that of a family making music together in their living room—which we as the public are lucky enough to be able to listen in on. MARANDA BISH
FENBI INTERNATIONAL SUPERSTARS
(Ash Street Saloon, 225 SW Ash) There is no Fenbi on the map. But if this fictional locale did exist, your pushpin would reside somewhere deep in landlocked Europe, a mythical land that borders both Ireland and Russia, populated by roma and other borderless musical gypsies. Portland's Fenbi International Superstars borrow from all those locales, creating a vast and palatable global sound that sounds at times like Shane MacGowan and others like Raffi (seriously). Their five-song self-titled EP is out tonight, and the band is adding some visual flair by broadcasting their cute animated video for its finest track, the slinking "Two Miles from Home." Such ambitious musical globe-trekking doesn't always work for the Fenbi International Superstars—there's just too much ground to cover—but if the band can stay focused on a single sound, they might have something here. EAC
LORD DYING, WOLVSERPENT, STORY OF RATS, RYE WOLVES, WIZARD RIFLE
(Plan B, 1305 SE 8th) Blood Seed, the fourth LP from Boise's Wolvserpent (formerly and uncomfortably known as Pussygutt), contains two crushing doom tracks that each clock in over the 20-minute mark. A patient and open-minded listener will find the album to be as tragic and devastating as it is beautiful. "Wolv," the first song/side of the record, begins with weeping violin and celestial noise that create a vibe of desolation and sadness before it grows and swells into dark, dreadful riffs and thumping drums. It's the sound the last man on Earth hears as he watches the sun disappear behind atomic ash. The flip side, "Serpent," sounds like it was recorded in a black, towering cathedral. Echoing chants, cackles, and howls seep through more crawling riffs and thundering drums. The snare drum is absent throughout, so there is no "crack" to pull you out of the sludge you are slowly sinking into. ARIS WALES
THE OVERCASTERS, HAPPY PRESCRIPTIONS, WE MISS THE EARTH
(The Knife Shop at Kelly's Olympian, 426 SW Washington) In this oversaturated musical climate, my favorite kinds of bands are the ones who, far from angling for a record deal on the latest wave of hype, unassumingly create music and make it available for little to no cost, knowing that true appreciation will eventually follow. Local band Happy Prescriptions has released a handful of albums in the past two years, all of which are available for free or minimal charge online. Comprised of Nate Wey plus a revolving cast of characters that flesh out his stark songs, the Happy Prescriptions released Fear of Love last year, a lovely, New Wave-influenced collection that is diverse, curious, and heavy with localized atmosphere. Their latest single "Feed" starts out with a throbbing bass line that is quickly swallowed by synths and drums, then Wey's caterwauling vocals—always at arm's length, thanks to a reverb-heavy disconnect—become as savage or tremulous as the moment demands. MB
Complete show listings can be viewed here.