M83, I BREAK HORSES
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) Anthony Gonzalez, the mastermind behind M83, has said that his sixth studio album and current masterpiece, Hurry Up, We're Dreaming, was inspired by the Smashing Pumpkins' Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. It is undeniable that both are double albums, but it's hard to find many other similarities. Where Mellon Collie is a self-indulgent exercise in weltschmerz, Hurry Up crackles with synthy optimism. If Hurry Up is about dreams, they're really nice ones, the kind where you wake up full of good vibes. The carefully composed electronic elements are layered with vocals, woodwinds, and every conceivable type of percussion. Gonzalez even manages to include samples of boats and trains and children talking without any appearance of self-indulgence. It's possible that the ebullience owes something to Gonzalez having moved to LA from his native France before recording, but I think Justin Meldal-Johnsen, Beck's longtime bass player and Gonzalez's co-producer, had a little something to do with it. REBECCA WILSON
SOUL'D OUT MUSIC FESTIVAL: ESPERANZA SPALDING, RADIO MUSIC SOCIETY
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) Esperanza Spalding is a 27-year-old, multi-ethnic multi-instrumentalist from Portland who specializes in playing the double bass and writing poppy jazz songs that complement her fluttering but fully anchored voice. Last year she won a Grammy Award in the Best New Artist category and recently put out an album called Radio Music Society. She is also one of those artists who are so very talented and so very successful but fly above the radar of many music fans because her style and sound are so clean. It might be unfair, but it's a fact—people love a high-wire act with a bit of wobble, not just somebody strolling casually across a tightrope like it's no big deal. Spalding is a highly accomplished musician who lacks that gravel in the guts that some of us crave from our artists. She is awesome but not that exciting. (Yet.) She's a conundrum. BRENDAN KILEY Also see My, What a Busy Week!
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Brooklyn duo Tanlines features guitarist/vocalist Eric Emm (formerly of Storm and Stress and Don Caballero, along with Battles' Ian Williams), but Tanlines sound nothing like those hurly-burly math-rock groups. Rather, they're a streamlined, dreamy, dance-pop outfit who should appeal to more than dudes with serious demeanors and pocket protectors. On their 2012 debut full-length, Mixed Emotions, Tanlines' affinity for interesting percussive textures and oddly alluring melodies make them one of the more respectable acts coming out of Brooklyn's over-hyped scene. DFA Records artist Rewards (AKA Aaron Pfenning, formerly of Chairlift) deals in slicker, more escapist new-wave/new-romantic dance maneuvers. Check "Equal Dreams," a swanky collab with vocalist Solange Knowles, for proof. DAVE SEGAL