THE CLIENTELE, GREAT LAKES
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) You know that "We had joy/we had fun/we had seasons in the sun" song? What a freakin' sad sack piece of music, but what an awesomely well-written and composed song! Dude, it's totally heartbreaking—heartbreaking and just shimmering in its '70s mellow-gold style songcraft. The rad thing about London's Clientele is it sounds like they based their entire aesthetic on that very song. (And, like, maybe a little "Mrs. Brown, You've Got a Lovely Daughter.") It's that same sunny, kinda sorta sentimental guitar sound, classic post-Fab-Four production, and warbly, diet-psychedelia. GRANT MORRIS
OLD TIME RELIJUN, THE WATERY GRAVES, MODERNSTATE
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) The Watery Graves are beyond mellow; they duck under the police line caution tape and step into the shadows, pulling further away from the "We're the band. You're the audience. Pay attention" vibe, and becoming beautiful, elegant tapestries on the wall ("furniture music" they call it). Deal is, they want their music (moody, piano jazz) to be so background that the audience forgets they're the audience and feels totally okay talking or reading or doing anything you might do at home or in a coffee shop or bar. This is all good and well in theory, but I've yet to see the Watery Graves play a show where the audience wasn't completely, wholeheartedly glued to what the band was doing. Chances are if you're reading this in print, you live in Portland. If so, you need to own the Watery Graves' Caracas album. It's out on Marriage Records, and it's a drum/piano/bass transcription of Portland's own thumping, courageous heartbeat. ADAM GNADE
LUCA, W-S BURN, MIRAFLORES
(Towne Lounge, 714 SW 20th Pl) See Music, pg. 26.
GRAB BAG W/PASH, BRACE PAINE, M. BLASH, KHAELA MARICICH
(Portland Art Center, 32 NW 5th) Curated by Susan Ploetz (Pash) and Khaela Maricich from the Blow, Grab Bag is a new experimental night where artists are given "a low-pressure platform for trying out new ideas." This month, Ploetz, Maricich, Brace Paine from the Gossip, and M. Blash (director of Lying) bust out performance-art style. No pressure. Let it flow. AG
(Food Hole, 20 NW 3rd) In the Old West, horse thieves were hung. Plain and simple. In the Pacific Northwest, we just stand back, let them plug in, and do their thing. Said "thing" is spooky cowboy music, à la the old country classic "Ghost Riders in the Sky." It's all lo-fi twang and lean Merle Haggard-style honky-tonk songwriting. The Olympia band has some deep, pungent rot going on in their lyrics, so make sure to pay attention to the words. Are cowboys still cowboys if they come from artsy ol', hippie-ass Olympia? Probably not, but these gents sure pull it off well. BRENT RICHARDSON
KEAK DA SNEAK
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) Some rappers should be exclusively relegated to "guest verse" status. When a song needs a little something-something, you can call in Twista, Mike Jones, whoever, have them punch in a quick verse, and be out. They don't overstay their visit, their presence is quick fun, everything's over before you can grow sick of it, and everyone's happy. (Method Man and Snoop Dogg inadvertently fell into this job description in much the same way that the second half of Robert De Niro's career consists entirely of spoofing the first half.) Anyway, what I'm getting at is that Keak da Sneak is exactly the sort of rapper who's great in 60-second bursts, and whom I would call immediately for the remix of my first single. CHAS BOWIE See also My, What a Busy Week!, pg. 23.
CATCH THAT BEAT FEST
(The Astoria Yacht Club, 1555 W Marine Drive, Astoria) See Music, pg. 25.
MENOMENA, NICE NICE, BOY EATS DRUM MACHINE
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Somewhere at home I have this rubber stamp that reads "Good Job!" next to a spirited "thumbs up" icon. If I had my way, I'd go to this show and stamp each member of Menomena with the ol' Good Job Thumps Up for their recent signing to hottie indie label Barsuk. The band's post-rock gone party-rock gone hiphop-inflected-psychedelic-movie-soundtrack-wall-of-sound is soooo ready for the "big time" it ain't even funny. (Though Menomena themselves are totally funny. Good sense of humor = Good band.) Also, check out Nice Nice's nice nice track on the new PDX Pop Now! comp. It's some sweet, trippy, stoner musing. So nice they had to name it nice twice! GM
THE PUNKS, TWIN, TWIN CRYSTALS, ROMANCING, ARGUMENTIX
(Food Hole, 20 NW 3rd) James Squeaky, I've been watching you. I've heard your Alarmist, your Sex with Girls, and now this. This Argumentix. You walk around town calling yourself "the Boss of Goth" and you create sounds that take me to the depths of the sea, where all I can hear are the whales calling, the ships trawling, and the crabs clattering over rocks. And then it gets louder and louder, and I am drowning in black eyeliner and electronic sorrow. This is beyond shadow dancing and wearing velvet coats during the summer. I've seen your raucous live noise destruction and the wild kitty-cat dance of creation. Your Tarantula Downpour is a beautiful reckoning—no folky forest fairies here, this noise is pure dark emotion and meaty beauty. Argumentix is the brutal son of Portland's psychedelic noise underground and like much of the family, relies upon feedback, voice manipulation, and sampling to get the job done. The difference is that James Squeaky and his Argumentix taps into a bloodier vein of electric anguish that leaves you reaching for the psyche meds. The beauty of Argumentix's performance is the honesty and emotional revelation—this is not the stuff for fakers or day-trippers. SALINA NUÑEZ
NEW FANGS, THE HACKS, SWIMMERS, THE SHOTGUN
(Ash Street Saloon, 225 SW Ash) Seattle's New Fangs' semi-recently released Bayonets CD is pure rock nastiness. With a compressed, filtered croon à la Moving Units and a post-Drive Like Jehu angularity, the band merges sleaze with dance-punk beats, but slaps it all to hell with guitar riffs. And oh glory, the guitars! The guitars are the main course here, busting between AC/DC, Rye Coalition, and Arab on Radar, but never stealing anyone's soul/thunder. BR
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) Call it her "I'm Not Crazy" tour. After dropping her sublime album, The Greatest, Chan Marshall (AKA Cat Power) hit the road with her Memphis Rhythm Band, bid adieu to the onstage nutcase routine, and pulled in glowing reviews for her coherent shows. David Byrne even called a June outing "one of the best concerts [he's] ever seen." Gone, it seems, are the days of long rambling psychodramas while the audience shifts uncomfortably. No more starting songs three times only to abandon them two minutes in. (Gone are the fans who get off on witnessing human trainwrecks?) The Cat Power MySpace is frontloaded with videos of Marshall being absolutely on point and well behaved in front of a live audience—so much so that it almost feels like you flipped on the last 10 minutes of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Many people have credited her new brass- and backup singer-ed band for the confidence boost, but we here in Portland might never know. Because this time through, Marshall is doing not one, but two solo shows. This could easily be the best scenario for a 2006 Cat Power concert; watching artists mutter and breakdown is no fun for anybody involved, but at the same time, who wants the polished, VH1-ready Cat Power concert like those MySpace videos show? Not you, I know that. Me neither. Instead, I'll take Chan Marshall, a guitar, mic, and piano, hold the psychosis, double the soul. Hey—that's exactly what we're getting! Isn't this the greatest? CB
THE PYRAMID LIVE & UNFILTERED MUSIC FEST W/THE UPSIDEDOWN, THE JOLENES, POINT JUNCTURE, WA, HYPATIA LAKE, BLITZEN TRAPPER
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) What with all the staggeringly huge festival action coming up (MusicfestNW, Catch that Beat, Halleluwah), it's nice to see the underdoggies are still throwing micro fests all in the spirit of "FUN." Tonight's fest is a smallish fest, but it's a fest nonetheless, with four of Portland's finest rock bands and one ass-kicker (psyche-rawkers Hypatia Lake) hailing from Sea-Town. GM
THE FORMAT, RAINER MARIA, ANATHALLO, STREET TO NOWHERE
(Loveland, 320 SE 2nd) It's almost a surprise to see another record (Catastrophe Keeps Us Together) by Rainer Maria, a band no one seems to know what to do with—musically straddling melodic indierock and angular original-era emo, with Caithlin De Marrais occasionally slipping in a cute turn of phrase that makes her sound like Lisa Loeb's cooler sister. It is true that the band's pop songs are often solid but not exciting. Once in a while, though, they burst open with an unstoppable juggernaut like "Artificial Light," a back-catalog gem that is still jaw dropping with its shimmering guitars and De Marrais' and Kyle Fischer's fierce dueling vocals, or "Long Knives Drawn," on which Fischer's dissonant riffs slice X-Acto-like. JOEL HARTSE
(Music Millennium, 801 NW 23rd) Sadly, the Thermals just don't sound all that essential anymore. Where just two years ago the band seemed like the perfect antidote to the Bush-Cheney-world (a good, old-fashioned, danceable "fuck you"), the band's new CD, The Body, the Blood, the Machine, is dragged down by lyrical clichés and disappointing production from the usually reliable hand of Brendan Canty (Fugazi, Lois Maffeo). So where'd the magic go? Probably nowhere. The Thermals were rock-perfect when songs sounded like they were recorded inside of a tin can. When singer Hutch Harris stuck to what he knew. Now, all of a sudden, it's all seriously overused Biblical imagery and tracks that sound like they could have been written in 1988. Scary. Add in more drummer changes than your girl/boyfriend's band, and what you get is a bogged-down, molasses-thick but sugar-free Thermals. C'mon, Hutch. You've got it in you. Save us. Again. BRIAN SMITH
JUNE MADRONA, SON, ONYX
(Mississippi Pizza, 3552 N Mississippi) See My, What a Busy Week!, pg. 23.
CATCH THAT BEAT
(The Astoria Yacht Club, 1555 W Marine Drive, Astoria) See Music, pg. 25.
THE EVOLUTIONARY JASS BAND, THE GOLDEN BEARS, KISSING BOOK
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Being a jazz band in this day and age isn't an easy row to hoe. Most of the greats took a dirtnap long ago and the genre's popularity largely died with them, relegating most jazz combos to whitebread cocktail gigs or academic circle jerks. Portland's own Evolutionary Jass Band manages to escape both fates, infusing our city's blandoid jazz scene with a much-needed sense of energy and exuberance. Sax player Jef Brown (for many years the spiritual backbone behind Jackie-O Motherfucker) leads a fluctuating cast of fresh-faced instrumentalists through a gamut of re-imagined standards and noteworthy originals that somehow manage to engage both the mature set and the lager-drenched punks in the back row with equal aplomb. JOSH BLANCHARD
SATYRICON REOPENING W/FROM A SECOND STORY WINDOW, FALL OF ENOSIS, PASSING IN DREAMS, THE GRAND, JEAN GREY
(Satyricon, 125 NW 6th) See The Scene Report, pg. 32.
(Towne Lounge, 714 SW 20th Pl) Utilizing homemade instruments ("scrap steel guitars," "hobo electronics," "trash drums"), Massachusetts' Neptune conjures great, sighing drones and crackling static mantras. It's the sound of a sunken ship perched atop an underwater precipice, creaking back 'n' forth with the tide, one step from grinding off its rock outcropping and tumbling into a bottomless sea trench. But it never quite gets there; it just rocks to and fro, a corpse-y, rotting leviathan with a skeleton crew. Just the same, sometimes the whole wreck rises magically from the murky depths back up to the surface and becomes a rowdy noise rock band with hummingbird-wing drums, electro grind noise, and a singer buried beneath it all. This is versatility, and this is a good band in action. AG
SLAM DUNK, TUGNUT, EL CERDO, DJ NATE C
(Tube, 18 NW 3rd) Tugnut is some wild, racy deconstructed metal. It's Bungle-influenced spazz that kicks down screamy sometimes, jitterbugs through a couple choice time signatures, and crashes into Melt-Banana grind theatrics. Slam Dunk is from Portland and gives us skuzzy metal for our birthdays. El Cerdo is from Vancouver, where most everything is boring. Besides El Cerdo. AG
(Rock n Roll Pizza, 11140 SE Powell) I've got a secret to tell you. Before I fell in love with mohawked punk rockers in ratty old Dead Kennedys shirts, I rocked out to sugary-sweet hair metal bands. Camel toes in leather pants, bleached glam bouffants, and pretty-boy pouts covered my bedroom walls. Headbangers Ball was my television show of choice and Faster Pussycat was heavy on my sixth-grade record rotation. "House of Pain," the touching but lyrically weak power ballad, would move the girls at my slumber parties to tears every time. We wanted Taime Downes, Tracii Gunns, or (impossible!) Axl Rose to be our boyfriends. It was that deep. Well, by the time I was 14, I had thrown out all of my Circus magazines and moved on to anarchy and Maximum Rock 'n' Roll. Almost a lifetime later, and Faster Pussycat is celebrating a 20-year anniversary. Where does the time go? I guess it goes straight to revamping your image (à la Marilyn Manson), industrial side projects (à la Nine Inch Nails), and growing old gracefully. Congratulations! SN
DEF LEPPARD, JOURNEY
(Clark County Amphitheater, 17200 NE Delfel, Ridgefield, WA) Dweedle-da-dee! Oooh, shit, man! Def Leppard's comin'! And they're bringin' Journey! Oooh, so sweet. Hey, did I ever tell you about that time I ran for Seventh Grade Class Vice President? That was right when Def Lep's Adrenalize came out, man, so I used "Let's Get Rocked" for my campaign theme! That song was all like, "Do you wanna get rocked?" And then it went, "Let's get raaaaaaaaaaawwwwwwked!" Ba-dump-dump dweeeedle-da-dwoooeeeeee! That guitar, man! Anyway, I made this awesome banner that I hung in the hallway by the vending machines that said "Do you wanna get rocked? Then vote Seth for Seventh Grade VP!" I got a Sharpie and I did it in writing that looked sorta like lightning. But—aw, fuck, man, not to get all downer on you, but this dickhead named Mitch Stewart? He ran for Seventh Grade VP, too, and you know how those things are. Popularity contests. Bullshit popularity contests. My buddies voted for me 'cause I showed 'em my stepmom's Bartles & Jaymes stash, and I voted for me, but there's only so much B&J to go around, you know? So fuckin' Mitch Stewart won. Man, that guy was a total prick. Hey, d'you wanna go 'n' get some Bartles & Jaymes, man? Yeah! Let's do it! FILM EDITOR ERIK HENRIKSEN'S COLLEGE ROOMMATE, STONER GUITARIST EXTRAORDINAIRE SETH, AS TOLD TO ADAM GNADE
ALDEBARAN, ETERNAL ELYSIUM, ROANOKE, DJ NATE C
(Dunes, 1905 NE MLK) In some kind of masochistic way, hearing Aldebaran's slate-gray doom metal makes me excited about winter coming. Theirs is pure hopeless, death-marching gloom sounds, with all instruments toiling along like dead-eyed, bearded slaves rowing in the belly of a great ship. It's a slow, scorching death ray, and it leaves nothing but bone shards and blackened stone ruins in its wake. Remember last winter? It was heavy and long, but it was also kind of nice—less an endurance challenge like the winters back east, and more a nice change of pace, that ends come spring and at just at the right moment. AG