PDX Pop Now! 2005
Compilations are, by their very nature, uneven affairs--meant more to showcase a variety of artists than offer a cohesive listen. That said, PDX Pop Now!'s sophomore offering is just as much a success as last year's debut. Sure, hiphop and Klezmer are equally represented (one track a piece), and yes (surprise!), there's an overabundance of whiny dudes with four tracks in their bedroom. But hey--that's Portland. The good folks who put out this comp and organize the PDX Pop Now! festival have their hearts and ears in the right place. Listening to the standout contributions from such diverse artists as Dolorean, The Gossip, Glass Candy (Miami Pop Now!?), Point Line Plane, Viva Voce, The Snuggle Ups, M. Ward, Wet Confetti, and The Helio Sequence remind me what a fantastically creative and vibrant music scene we are lucky enough to have in our own backyard. KIP BERMAN PDX Pop Now! 2005 CD release Thurs July 21 at Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison
Rediscovering Lost Scores Vol. 1
(East Side Digital)
Switched-On synth pioneer Wendy Carlos has been cleaning out the archives with a series of hi-fi remasters--compiling her entire back catalog of film music and post-modern classical. The final two installments unearth her greatest unreleased film score, a heavy, atmospheric body of work composed for Stanley Kubrick's The Shining. According to Wendy's excellently nerdy liner notes, her compositions for The Shining--originally commissioned by Kubrick, and several years in the making--were eventually abandoned because Kubrick got so used to his temporary classical score. Combined with booming bass drums, live symphonic accompaniment, and even the voices of a few ghosties chanting "kill" and "redrum," there's a lot to like about Rediscovering's brassy Moog synth work. NATHAN CARSON
Crimson opens with a spooky, icy cascade of Phantom of the Opera piano, tumbling high and dramatic, before a normal ol' Alk Trio song kicks in--only not so much a normal Alk Trio song. It's still punk, still emo, still Warped-friendly--but as the record chugs along there's some Cure in there, some darkwave, some Vocoder'd Faint. If the band wasn't still singing about rooftops in Brooklyn, writer's block, and being drunken louts, this kinda artistic development (Draculizing?) might be off putting. But with specific, strong narrative, pin-drop production, and great post-Jawbreaker hooks, it feels like a huge step forward. (That being said, why do I effing hate myself for liking this?) ADAM GNADE Alkaline Trio play Sat July 23 at Roseland
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