URAL THOMAS AND HIS BAND
(Radio Room, 1101 NE Alberta) Of all the local legends that you need to know, Ural Thomas is at the very tip-top of that list. Coming up in the fertile Seattle soul scene of the '60s, Thomas has shared bills with James Brown, Stevie Wonder, and Otis Redding, and he's been doing informal shows out of his own house—which he built, and rebuilt, himself—right here in Portland for 40 years. The man is the real deal from the heyday of '60s soul and '70s funk, and he's still holding it down. Catching his New Year's Eve set at the Radio Room will be the most surefire way to kick off 2012 with legitimate, down-home funk. NL
ADDISON GROOVE, STARSLINGER, SEPALCURE, MACHINEDRUM, TYLER TASTEMAKER, NATASHA KMETO, & MORE
(Rotture, 315 SE 3rd) It's tough to single out just a few highlights of the NYE showcase that's taking up both floors at Rotture and Branx. The dub-heavy lineup includes Machinedrum (Travis Stewart) and Sepalcure, Stewart's collaboration with Praveen Sharma. Both projects are washed in the deep, underwater echoes of dub. While Machinedrum zeroes in on manic, skittering beats you'd expect out of a Planet Mu artist, Sepalcure leans more toward a sexy, pent-up version of the UK funky vibe associated with their label, Hotflush Recordings. Support from locals like Natasha Kmeto and Brownbear show that Portland's talent for innovative electronic music is right on par with the international headliners. And speaking of headliners, Addison Groove has this one track called "This Is It" that is exactly the kind of energetic, booty-shakin' thing you'd want to hear at the most epic moment of the most epic party night of the year. AVA HEGEDUS
RED FANG, RABBITS, LORD DYING
(Star Theater, 13 NW 6th) For a band whose recordings were few and far between up until the release of their debut full-length, Lower Forms, on Relapse in 2011, it's great to see Rabbits already wielding a new 7-inch just in time for the New Year. The crust-hardcore-punk-metal-stoner-whatever band has also given it a title that is itself a thing of magnificence: "Riff Fuck Reap." The A-side contains all the face-melty riffage and berserkoid screaming we've come to expect from the Portland trio, while the B-side has three quick, over-in-a-flash covers of songs by Cro-Mags, Rudimentary Peni, and hometown heroes Poison Idea. It's like a mini-history lesson on how one of Portland's most enjoyably brutal bands got to sound so awesomely fucked. Local label Powerblaster Records is releasing the 7-inch at tonight's New Year's Eve blowout with Red Fang and Lord Dying, which also doubles as Sizzle Pie's one-year anniversary. NL Also see our complete guide to New Year's Eve.
PURPLE & GREEN, ARTIFICE, DJ CHAZZ MADRIGAL
(Dig a Pony, 736 SE Grand) The folks from Dirty Mittens know how to soften the blow of bad news. When they announced their breakup earlier this month, it came with the silverest of linings: It turns out that Chelsea Morrisey, Ryan Hanzlik, Noah Jay-Bonn, Patrick Griffin, and Josh Hawley will still be making music together, only under a different name. Thus, Artifice has been born, and tonight's New Year's Eve party—with Purple & Green headlining—is their live debut. With the Mittens' pedigree, there's little doubt that their knack for tunefulness will be in evidence, but it sounds like Artifice are mining a darker, more electronic vibe than the pure-hearted pop of Dirty Mittens. Expect heavy drums, buckets of synths, and plenty of tastefully black-mooded angst. NED LANNAMANN