Artix is the Dread Pirate Roberts of Portland music events. Since it was established in 2002 by Pete Swanson (of peace-loving noise terrorists Yellow Swans), and Josh Blanchard (of drone-folk naturalists Plants), the annual wintertime mini-festival's mantle of musical marginalia—like the black mask of The Princess Bride's infamous buccaneer—has been taken up by a succession of local experimental music marauders, each curating an installment of the event, and contributing something unique to the Artix legend. James Squeaky, the tape-mashing screamer behind Argumentix, recalls previous Artix Fests: "There have been years that were more arty-punky and dancey-electronicy, and last year I made it super noise-centered because that's what I love."
This year, Artix will be an all-ages affair at Someday Lounge on Saturday, December 1, beginning at 4 pm. Someday booker and Artix originator Blanchard organized this year's event with Squeaky, and said of it, "Artix has always had an open-ended arrangement, where anyone with the skills and interest to put one together can step up to the plate. The lineup this year is based more on the first Artix, where we had a really wide swath of noise, jazz, avant rock, and other kinds of uncategorizable oddities."
The outstanding, local-heavy, 12-band bill is a horn o' plenty o' weirdness, so show up early for the likes of all-lady noise band Prowls, stick around for the off-the-rails garage punk of Eat Skull, stay strong for the improv dance skronk of Cex Fucx, and tap your reserves for end-of-night antics courtesy of post-prog heroes 31Knots.
If the collegial, genre-defying spirit of Artix leaves you wanting more, keep the torch lit until Wednesday, December 5 (and Thursday, December 6) when the spruce-and-maple armada of the Portland Cello Project descends upon Holocene in collaborative concert with klezmer hybridizers 3 Leg Torso and local folk favorites Horse Feathers, who ought to be riding high, having just signed with venerable Olympia label Kill Rock Stars for their sophomore album, due late next year. Frontman Justin Ringle reflected on the label change: "We were seriously considering staying with Lucky Madison which has been absolutely great... but we couldn't say no to Kill Rock Stars. Living in the Northwest my whole life, their reputation obviously precedes them. I mean, I think about Unwound (not to mention many, many others) and get excited that our next record will be out on the same label." Along with Panther and New Bloods, that's three Portland signings to KRS this year!
One last bit of hugely exciting news to make your chest swell with civic pride: Dirty Projectors are moving to Portland! Given main Projector Dave Longstreth's history with Marriage Records, this relocation seems like a perfect match. Anyone who's heard the band's new melismatic, Mali-tinged, Black Flag-reappropriating album Rise Above knows that we should welcome them with arms wide open.