NADA SURF, PORT O'BRIEN
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) See My, What a Busy Week!.
(Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) See Music Feature.
(Kelly's Olympian, 426 SW Washington) It's easy for bands to get caught in a rut—playing the same set night after night, poring over every last note with a fine-tooth comb. But trying to brush out all the kinks can leave things a bit sterile, which Portland's own Southerly are most certainly not. They proved it late last year while writing, recording, and releasing a song a week. Though it appears the band didn't quite fulfill its stated goal—working continually from September 11 to the New Year—the seven songs from the first seven weeks are a testament to honest creativity and melancholic ability. Most tracks waltz in solemn and pretty, colored by clean pianos, atmospheric synths, buzzing guitars, and driven drums forced inside by the dark, chilly Portland fall. More important than any one particular instrument or lyric, though, is the airy spontaneity of the project—a perfect portrait of a time and place. ANDREW R. TONRY
AT DUSK, CHURCH, GHOSTIES
(The Know, 2026 NE Alberta) Ghosties is the nom de plume of Devin Gallagher, a member of the impene- trable DIY fortress that is Boy Gorilla Records. Gallagher and his fellow gorilla boys are responsible for one of Portland's most promising record labels, in addition to reigning over the house show scene, booking shows all over town, and probably a dozen other generous activities (muffin baskets for crippled orphans?) that we don't have the space to list here. Musically, Ghosties is a swirling mass of low-fi noises—ranging from digital fuzz to gently picked guitars—all capped by Gallagher's charismatic vocal chirp. EZRA ACE CARAEFF
WE ARE WOLVES, REPORTER,
SWIM SWAM SWUM, DJ NIGHTSCHOOL,
DJ PARTY ALL THE TIME
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) We Are Wolves are from Montreal, Canada, and should not be confused with the now-defunct Portland group of the same name. That said, these three Canadians are poised to bring the post-punk party down to Holocene this Thursday. Their sound is decidedly new school, but that isn't a bad thing, combining dashes of early Rapture or even Q and Not U. Moreover, sad as I was to hear that Wet Confetti had dissolved as a band, their return as Reporter ditches the art-rock sound for a looser, janglier feel with a much broader mix of post-punk undertones, including a welcome hint of '70s, Television-esque influence, and even some straight pop. I hear as much Pat Benetar as I do Karen O in the voice of frontwoman Alberta Poon, and this expertly handled throwback vibe makes me downright excited to see how they pull it off live. Come dancing! HANNAH CARLEN
PUDDLE OF MUDD, NEUROSONIC,
TYLER READ, TEMPEREDCAST
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) Bored Americans watching The Tonight Show with Jay Leno last Tuesday witnessed the headlessness of strike-affected TV: The show's picket-line-crossing guests either had no conscience (performing birds) or were simple, stupid creatures (Puddle of Mudd). Unfortunately, it was the best thing on. Tonight's concert at the Roseland—name-dropped by Leno—is a similarly bestial choice. Puddle Of Mudd's current single, "Psycho," rewinds band mechanics back to a verse-chorus-verse Cobain stomp, with lyrics rephrasing their own platinum-selling near-nü-metal fare ("Control," "Blurry"). It's still doods vs. the world, but with lovelier, grungier hair. Openers Neurosonic play shoddy glam with a message: Ashlee Simpson bad, Disturbed with glitzy sheen good. Not true. Their Drama Queen was one of the worst CDs of 2006, both hypocritical in its overproduced attack on Simpson ("So Many People"), and hookless, despite big-hammer tooling. Have fun at the zoo, but don't feed the animals. MIKE MEYER
DOUBLE DRAGON, RENEGADE,
MAO TONGUE SECTION
(Ground Kontrol, 511 NW Couch) When white boys try to do soul and R&B, usually one of two things happens: They turn it into a major joke, like someone ironically covering Lionel Richie at a karaoke night, or they're Jamie Lidell, and just absolutely kill it. Double Dragon, the vehicle for frontman Ryan Dolliver, falls somewhere in between. The music sounds a bit fun and nerdy, but it's clearly the love child of people who passionately adore what they're doing. The results, by the way, are pretty damn great. The bass lines are funky, the keyboards walk all over the place, and Dolliver has one hell of a voice. Expect to hear much more from this band in the near future. ROB SIMONSEN
(Berbati's Pan, 10 SW 3rd) We get it. The Slants are Asian. The Portland sextet has a boastful bio which constantly mentions it, all of their press seems to hinge solely on that fact, and the band plays up every possible stereotype by booking slots at anime expos and holding a contest for an adorable pink Hello Kitty guitar. Much like a white rapper with confidence issues, the Slants' constant reminders of their ethnicity seem forced, if not a little desperate. Much like any white kid can rock the mic with the best of them, the concept of a few Asian kids playing keyboard rock isn't exactly mind-blowing, nor does the experience lead to, as their bio puts it, "melting people's faces off with 'Chinatown Dance Rock.'" Instead, the Slants offer another take on the sterile dance rock made popular by Depeche Mode, the Faint, and countless others who clutter the stage with an abundance of keyboards and black clothing. While Slanted Eyes, Slanted Hearts (OMG! Slanted eyes, because, you know, they are totally Asian!) was released last September, tonight is another CD release, this time celebrating national distribution for the album. EAC
SLABTOWN BENDER: Head, Top Ten, Knights of the New Crusade & more
(Slabtown, 1033 NW 16th) See My, What a Busy Week!.
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Sometimes bands explode overnight. Sometimes they are the sleeper hit of the season. Somehow, Derby has succeeded at both. With one successful album out and another on the way, there are enough hooks and good looks in this band to set up a new alternative fuel source for the entire city. When I watch Derby live, I often feel like I am watching what would happen if Paul Banks of Interpol formed a band backed by Ben Gibbard & Co.: rock 'n' roll sex appeal built on the most solid of songs and melodies. Plus, date night has never been easier. Trust me. This show is cheaper than a movie and three times more likely to get you to second base. ANDY YOUNG
THE PATHOGENS, LOZEN,
THE HEADLINERS, TRIUMPH OF LETHARGY SKINNED ALIVE TO DEATH
(Twilight Café and Bar, 1420 SE Powell) Tacoma's Lozen are in many ways the spiritual successors to the near-metal of the Need, who raised the bar of Olympia music in the early Ladyfest days by staging thrash and theater, and flipping time signatures for a lo-fi culture. Lozen are headed down that same path, with certain tweaks in their reference points (for starters, Black Sabbath instead of Metallica). In their infancy, the duo of drummer/vocalist Justine Valdez and guitarist/vocalist Hozoji Matheson-Margullis embody the weird, winding guitars and ghoulish headset vocals of The Need Is Dead—a high point for their defunct neighbors. Lozen's "Unspeakable Truths" seems reared on the Need's "O Sally How's it Feel with a Fake Hand?"—nervous vocals unravel to mathematically minded guitar riffs, heavy pedalwork, and crushing cymbals. According to Qui vocalist David Yow (ex-Jesus Lizard), Lozen and Qui are considering doing a split 10-inch together. Says Yow: "They make a hell of a noise." MM
TANGO ALPHA TANGO, THE HUGS,
(Someday Lounge, 125 NW 5th) The Hugs are the band that you wish you were in during high school. Or college. Or right now for that matter. Visceral and earnest, their songs are further along than their playing, and that's a good thing. Everything from the Velvet Underground to the Kinks to early Pavement is here, all being written by chaps young enough to yet worry about declaring a major. Unless, of course, it's declaring which major label they want to sign to, in which case the lucky winner is London-based 1965 records. Not quite a household name yet, the label is the lovechild of James Endeacott, formerly of Rough Trade records, who had the foresight to sign another young and eager band called the Strokes a few years back. Can the Hugs embrace their future as garage rock's next big thing? I, for one, sure do hope so. AY
SLABTOWN BENDER: Livefastdie, The Pets, Buzzer, Les Hormones, & more
(Slabtown, 1033 NW 16th) See My, What a Busy Week!.
(Music Millennium, 3158 E Burnside) See My, What a Busy Week!.
BLACK MOUNTAIN, HOWLIN' RAIN
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) See Music Feature.
SAMIAM, TILTWHEEL, FOUR STAR ALARM, OSAMA BEN WEASEL
(Ash Street Saloon, 225 SW Ash) See Once More with Feeling.
MOD MONTHLY: SKY SAXON, SUNLIGHT STARSHINE BAND, BENJAMIN STARSHINE
(East End, 203 SE Grand) How long is it fair to trade on goodwill earned off a great song written back in the '60s? Forever, says Sky Saxon of the Seeds. Now, you remember the Seeds, right? "You're pushin' too hard/You're pushin' on me," went the chorus, shouted over and over above that driving beat. It might've been the toughest song of 1966. And though a few years later the Seeds would crumble, Saxon has kept on pushin', writing and touring consistently with a number of different groups. Just days before he was to perform at last year's Fuzz Fest, Saxon gave his backing group the boot. After a band of local chaps were assembled—including members of Benjamin Starshine, Strange Effects, and the Nice Boys—the new lineup reportedly brought the house down after just two rehearsals. And now, after a European tour, they figure to be that much better. So maybe those good ol' songs are still worth something after all... ART
SLABTOWN BENDER: Pierced Arrows,
Fe Fi Fo Fums, The Nice Boys, & more
(Slabtown, 1033 NW 16th) See My, What a Busy Week!.
BLACK DAHLIA MURDER, 3 INCHES OF BLOOD, HATE ETERNAL, DECREPIT BIRTH
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE 39th) See Music Feature.
DRUG RUG, OHIOAN, NATIVE KIN
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) On their first date, Sarah Cronin and Tommy Allen ended up playing songs to each other over a bottle of whiskey. They've since parlayed the relationship into a full-fledged band and saddled it with the unfortunate name of Drug Rug. I know what you're thinking: Relationship bands rarely work, and when they do, the results are often sickly sweet (Mates of State, the Captain & Tennille) or creepily fucked up (Ike & Tina, the Captain & Tennille). Drug Rug avoid these pitfalls by leavening their declarations of love with low-fi exuberance, Stones-y country blues, and Cronin's baby-voiced screeching. Their self-titled debut is a soulful, groovy, FUN record, packed with terrific songs and a gentle exuberance. Tonight's free show is the perfect chance to bask in the reflected adoration the Somerville, MA couple has for each other, and who knows? It could even get you vaguely excited for Valentine's Day. NED LANNAMANN
THE BLACK LIPS, PIERCED ARROWS,
THE NICE BOYS
(Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) See Music Feature.
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) According to the bio on his website, Todd Snider's wild younger years definitively ended when a cop told him, through a bullhorn, to get off of the roof. Since then, the Portland-born songwriter's released a series of country-comedy albums in the tradition of John Prine and Billy Joe Shaver. The results have been mixed, but with a carefree attitude and enough liquor in the belly, one can usually manage to suck some good times out of Snider's unassuming drawl. He's not the hick that he plays in his songs, but his storytelling eye is keen enough to eliminate any potential stink of bullshit. Now Snider has a bar built on the roof of his home in Nashville—a hearty middle finger to cops with bullhorns everywhere. NL
BUTCHERED FIXATION, HYPHEMA, WITHEYESABSTRACT, BAYONET HELL
(Satyricon, 125 NW 6th) Just one song—"Drowned in Piss"—streams on Butchered Fixation's MySpace page, but one song (or title, even) is enough to convey what these guys are all about. It's a pretty short list: humiliation, technical riffage, pig-squeal vocals, and Hamm's. Par for the course with a name like Butchered Fixation. But unlike your everyday grindcore "bree" ditty (as in, "bree bree!"), "Drowned in Piss" is actually a guitar clinic of sorts, boasting ridiculous fits of Marty Friedman-style solos over standard perverted bleats and grotesque industrial sampling. Judging by the T-shirts in the Portland band's no-budget MySpace photos, we can thank Seattle's Drawn and Quartered for influential technique. It's nice to see metal staying in the gutter, no matter the proficiency. MM
BLOOD ON THE WALL, HORNET LEG, PHANTOM JAMS
(Someday Lounge, 125 NW 5th) Brooklyn's Blood on the Wall are one of the better things to have happened to indie rock this decade. And I'm not talking your Death Cab and Shins indie here: I'm talking the bombast and balls-to-the-wall-edness of classic late '80s, early '90s indie rock. Their sound runs the gamut of everything from Pixies to Superchunk to Pavement to Archers of Loaf to Sonic Youth, and manages to do so without ever really sounding derivative of any of them. Their recently released disc Liferz is possibly their best yet, and they're bound to recruit a legion of die-hard fans (much in the same way they're probably die-hard fans of their influences) because of it. In other words, there's a good chance BotW are your new favorite band, whether you know it yet or not. RS
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) See My, What a Busy Week!.
MARY GAUTHIER, MARC OLSON
(Lola's Room, 1332 W Burnside) When making music as a solo artist, a distinctive voice is key. Listening to anything from Mary Gauthier's recent Between Daylight and Dark makes this immediately clear. There's weariness aplenty, but it's balanced by a deep-seated anger that never quite goes away. Or, to phrase things differently, hers is a voice that fits equally well beside a tautly played acoustic guitar or an expansive Van Dyke Parks arrangement. Her delivery of a line as archetypal as "Oh Lord, what have I done" (from "Snakebit") is just about perfect: Its halting cadences sound fresh, and yet the words as they are sung fit perfectly within the context of the song around it. Gauthier's music, which draws from country and folk without falling neatly into either category, stays both grounded and propulsive, and it's hard to turn away. TOBIAS CARROLL
EDITORS, HOT HOT HEAT, LOUIS XIV
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) There is nothing extraordinary about Editors. Hailing from ye olde Britannia, Editors' indie rock is solid enough, punchy and quick, with head-nodding guitar/drum-driven hooks. Probably the best way to put it is that it's good music for driving, especially morning commutes and the like. Their sound is good and rich and somewhat melancholy when played early and loud, as the too-bright sun filters through the struts of the Steel Bridge and flickers across one's windshield. Another way to put it is that a year or two ago, when a comp copy of their album The Back Room showed up at the Mercury office, the disc spun around in my Jeep's CD player for a good two months before it was replaced by something newer or better. I lost the disc somewhere, but no matter. I haven't thought of the Editors since. Then comes word that they're coming to town, and they've got a new album, and not to sound overly dismissive, but I suppose if a free copy arrived at the office, I'd give it a listen. I always need new music for my car. ERIK HENRIKSEN