I'd Be Scared, Were You Still Burning
I'd Be Scared is the elegant summation of Sean Brooks' many years in the trenches. It's the glam Minmae, the noise Minmae, and the pop Minmae all balanced and realized and folded together, perfect as a paper crane. It's high-grade post-Shins pop, confident, crisply recorded, strong, and agile. On track four, Sean sings "there's nothing holding us back" and rightly so. After this record rules Portland's indie scene--and it will--Minmae should be able to take their career to the next level, whatever they want it to be. Because, if anything, this bears the mark of a band in control of its own destiny, the pilot of its ship, no matter how stormy the seas. ADAM GNADE
Minmae celebrates the release of I'd Be Scared Thurs June 8th at ACME, 1305 SE 8th
Bang Bang Rock & Roll
Exhausted Anglophiles, I bring you hope. Sure, I know you're tired of getting all excited by every new British buzz band that slinks subtly across the pond, only to be greeted by the likes of Bloc Party, Franz Ferdinand, et al.--let me assure you: Art Brut are not that band. Not exactly, anyway. Conceptually, Art Brut appear to be a band in the DIY tradition of countrymen like the Fall and Television Personalities--snot-nosed and cranky in typical Limey fashion--but with deceptively sleek edges perfect for BBC consumption. Bang Bang's lyrical pop star obsessions alternate between the cheekily clever and the dunderheaded in a balance that's altogether charming, if not completely substantial. Still, it's more likely to satiate your appetite than all of those other bands they're stuffing down your throat. ZAC PENNINGTON
Matt Berninger is a grown-ass man. In every whiskey soaked confession, boast, or demand, the rough-hewn tenor of the National's lead singer commands a level of respect, not only born of the exemplary artistic merits of his band's latest album, Alligator, but of a sense that he is the papa bear to contemporary cubs like Julian Casablancas and Hamilton Leithauser. On "Karen" he begins by apologetically approaching a lover, only to conclude, "fuck me and make me a drink," as though these two simple requests can mend a troubled relationship as well as, if not better than, all the conversation in the world. Berringer is so adept at capturing a panoramic variety of human experience that his closest peers are not the New York sensation bands of the present, but the confessional, romantic folk of Leonard Cohen and John Cale. KIP BERMAN
The National play Thurs June 8th at Berbati's Pan, 10 SW 3rd.