CHOW NASTY, VELELLA VELELLA, THE GOMORRAN SOCIAL AID & PLEASURE CLUB, THE BEAUTY
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) The jury is still out on San Francisco's Chow Nasty. Granted, they seem like an act that is a blast in the live setting, but their glutinous frat-funk seems a bit too ironic to be taken completely seriously. Meanwhile, Seattle's Velella Velella are the real deal, an intelligent dance outfit that masterfully utilizes live band warmth alongside bumping synths that beg to soundtrack some intense dance floor grinding. Fresh with a new EP, Fight Club, which—if you don't mind me breaking the "The first rule of Fight Club is: You do not talk about Fight Club" mantra—showcases a natural evolution of their thick indie grooves and soft spoken/sung vocals. One of the few non-Portland Hush Records acts, Velella Velella have masterminded a style that is entirely their own. Here's hoping more folks catch up to what they are throwing down. EZRA ACE CARAEFF
NEW BLOODS, AGENT RIBBONS,
THE VAGINALS, ALAS ALAK ALASKA
(Dunes, 1905 NE MLK) Punk's not dead, but it's not as obviously alive as it used to be. Today's punk is crafty and sometimes quiet, discovering itself rather than acting as a liberty-spiked counterpoint to a mainstream that has seen it all. Think No Age. Think Mika Miko. Like some sort of thin new branch of modern dance music, punk is again in its budding infancy, growing toward a light only it can see. Portland's New Bloods are a barely electric example of this organic rebirth—sawing imperfectly at a violin, tapping out virginal ska beats, harmonizing about mountains and oceans. The female trio's forthcoming Kill Rock Stars debut, The Secret Life, grows memorable at a steady clip. "Fast Asleep" and "Eyes" could be Operation Ivy-thick, but with players possibly reared on Erase Errata and the Aislers Set, they sound more sustainable. MIKE MEYER
RISK VS. REWARD: FIST FITE, STARFUCKER, DJ TOBIAS, DJ METRONOME, PAPERBACKS
(Rotture, 315 SE 3rd) For such a puddletown, Portland sure does love to get d-o-w-n. From soul nights to hiphop to bhangra, and on and on, we seem to have grown an overabundance of dance parties—and with them, a reinvigorated love for reckless booty shaking and general dance floor mayhem. To that end, Risk vs. Reward joins the pack with a lineup that includes the mishmash of careening death-punk and electro beats of Fist Fite, and the delicious (almost guilty pleasure) undertones of Starfucker, who strike the perfect balance of musical smarts and pop twists. DJ Tobias, DJ Metronome, and Paperbacks round out the night with, well, whateverthefuck they feel like. Dance on, Portland! "Genre Anti-Genre Dance Party," indeed. HANNAH CARLEN
STRANGERS DIE EVERY DAY, WE'RE FROM JAPAN, AUTOPILOT IS FOR LOVERS
(Someday Lounge, 125 NW 5th) See My, What a Busy Week!.
NEW YORK DOLLS, WE ARE THE FURY
POP TOMORROW! BENEFIT FOR SHANE ASBERY: PATTERNS, STARRY STARRY STARRY, PAPER BRAIN, RECORD OF LIFE
(Twilight Café and Bar, 1420 SE Powell) Last weekend, a varied assortment of bands played a show at the Twilight Café in memory of Shane Asbery, who passed away last year from Hodgkin's lymphoma. Donations were collected to benefit the Providence Medical Center's cancer research program. Tonight is part two, and it'll be another wide-ranging bill for a very worthy cause. Patterns is the new project from Ricci Swift and Jesse Fox, former members of the now-defunct Oui, Mouton. Patterns has a bit more throttle than the carefree, glowing pop of Oui, Mouton, and just as much melodicism. There's also the coltish and lovely bedroom folk of Starry Starry Starry. Rounding things out are the fuzzy, goofy pop tunes of Paper Brain and the Hallmark-card Christian soft-rock of Record of Life. NED LANNAMANN
FU MANCHU, SAVIOURS, ASG,
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE 39th) My, have Oakland thrashers Saviours grown! Last summer at Kelly's Olympian, they were the antithesis of prog rock, playing like a humble bar band just out to bang your head. (It was a nice, fizzy numbing agent for the jagged body invasion of headliners Black Cobra.) On their new Kemado full-length, Into Abaddon, Saviours have taken a cue from labelmates Danava and become suddenly technical. "Raging Embers" and "Narcotic Sea" boast enough winding lead guitar and vintage bass runs—uh, wait, is that a gong I hear?—to effectively dial the sound back a decade before Ride the Lightning. So shed a tear for 2006's Crucifire, but do welcome a deeper concept. Openers ASG deliver what a lot of psychedelic-dabbling doomsters only promise: spiritual, inspiring loftiness. The North Carolina act's fourth album, Win Us Over, features immediate, blue-sky melodies and proper over amplification. Soundgarden in their heyday? Shh, not just yet. MM
JAY FARRAR, ANDERS PARKER
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) See My, What a Busy Week!.
WEINLAND, DEATH SONGS,
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) See Music Feature.
SOLE & THE SKYRIDER BAND, SLEEP, TELEPHONE JIM JESUS
(Rotture, 315 SE 3rd) See Music Feature.
SOFT TAGS, SO MANY DYNAMOS, WAX FINGERS
(Slabtown, 1033 NW 16th) St. Louis' So Many Dynamos are a unique band, as it seems like they have it all, yet still seem to struggle to keep their collective heads above the water. A prog-pop powerhouse like no other, Dynamos playfully bounce from one genre to another with a carefree ease unseen since the heyday of the Dismemberment Plan. (God, I miss that band.) They are also about to perform alongside the Mountain Goats at San Francisco's Noise Pop festival, and are wrapping up a new record with our very own Chris Walla acting as producer. But on the flipside, the Dynamos are haunted by bad luck (stolen instruments, crashing touring vehicles) and are currently without a record label. What gives? Here's hoping everything works out for these Palindrome-loving kids, since music like this needs to be heard. EAC
MIDNITE, MADGESDIQ, C4 INFLUENZ,
RAS DANNY'S HIGHER REASONING SOUND
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) Thanks to American hippies, Bob Marley posters, Wyclef Jean, and the rash of dance-hall/dub-inflected rappers, reggae has picked up a bad name. It's a shame, really. But don't let those bad associations keep you from giving Midnite a real hard look. The group (from the US Virgin Islands) is the real deal—smooth, crisp, soulful, and when they sing political songs they do it without any hint of pandering or shtick (unlike, oh I don't know, Wyclef). And though the opportunity to cash in by infusing hiphop has probably reared its ugly head, the group has remained true to their roots. Led by singer Vaughn Benjamin, the band has released over 20 albums in its near 20-year history. But for a lot of people, Midnite are coasting under the radar, and that simply shouldn't be. Sure, the Roseland is going to be full of trustafarians under a big stinky cloud of weed tonight, but Midnite are no cliché. ANDREW R. TONRY
(Dunes, 1905 NE MLK) The Ramjac might have the most imitative tone of any of Portland's neo-noise rockers, but it's also the most authentic. Multi-instrumentalist Jim Holmes was a Chicago recording engineer in the 1990s, and his work can be found on Bobby Conn's eponymous debut. Back then, Windy City engineers and guitarists shared the pained tone Steve Alibini sculpted while in Big Black. Technical folks prided themselves on how far they could take the "Albini sound." Producer Phil Bonnet grafted it onto punk bands. Luthier Ian Schneller made aluminum guitars, which were used by acts as varied as Tar and Red Red Meat. So comparisons between Holmes and Albini are too easy. The Ramjac's OverTheUnder picks up somewhere between Big Black and full-blown Ministry, as tracks like "Gripped Galaxies" wig out with tritone superfuzz and fearlessly rabid programming. Chris Stamm's vocals are dislocated and thoroughly agonized, yet smug enough for comparisons to A.R.E. Weapons. In the game of noise rock, it sometimes pays to piss people off. MM
THE HANDS, HEY LOVER, THE PITY FUCKS
(Twilight Café and Bar, 1420 SE Powell) What's in an album cover? Plenty, if you are Seattle's gritty rock 'n' rollers the Hands. The artwork for their brand-new self-titled release depicts a hand (naturally) slowly grinding itself down against the coarse blades of a cheese grater. What's left of the fingers are little more than raw nubs that gush a cascading stream of blood that pours off the cover itself. It's a striking image, but it works, especially considering the dirty rock that the Hands produce. Much like the Stones before the (steel) wheels fell off and gravity took its cruel toll, the Hands take to the genre of rock music like a finger takes to a sharpened grater. It might not be pretty, but rock 'n' roll is always at its best when it's a bloody mess. EAC
(Jackpot Records, 3574 SE Hawthorne) See My, What a Busy Week!.
MARCHFOURTH MARCHING BAND, KAZUM
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) It's hard to believe that the oddball army of the MarchFourth Marching Band have been stilt walking, motley marching, and stirring up chaos for half a decade now. But they have, and if you have never witnessed the staggering power of their live performances, you need to do so at today's family-friendly matinee. Or maybe at tomorrow evening's all-ages concert. Or perhaps Tuesday's 21-and-over spectacular. Five years of madcap marching deserve three nights of shows, each with a wide variety of unique supporting acts. If you are a heathen for their sinister beats and sensory-overload concert, take in all three nights, since no performance will be the same. Also, we should all take a step back and realize how fantastic it is to see an unsigned local band—one that plays a unique and twisted take on traditional marching band fare—headline one of the largest venues in town for not just one but three nights. That is inspiring. EAC
TARA JANE O'NEIL, CEXFUCX, EVOLUTIONARY JASS BAND, BRYCE PANIC, STARFUCKER, RUSH-N-DISCO, LINDA AUSTIN, WOOLY MAMMOTH COMES TO DINNER, FEVER THEATER
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Michael Leyton said, "Art is perhaps the most inexplicable phenomenon of the human species," and there'll be plenty of the inexplicable tonight. You'll have experimental music in the back room: the free jazz wind-tunnel of Evolutionary Jass Band, the beat-boxing of Bryce Panic, the stomping synth 'n' drum downpour of Starfucker, the nonsensical jazz-funk of Cexfucx, and the delicately ominous noise-folk of Tara Jane O'Neil. In the front room, there'll be performance art and dance from Fever Theater, Rush-N-Disco, and Linda Austin, including an installment of the Ten Tiny Dances project. There'll also be a silent auction, and booze, as ever, from the Holocene bar. It'll be a weird, wild feast for the senses, and it's all to fund local dance/performance art trio Woolly Mammoth on their upcoming trip to Mexico, where they've been invited to teach and perform all manners of inexplicable behavior. NL
BRITISH SEA POWER, COLOURMUSIC,
THE XYZ AFFAIR
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) See My, What a Busy Week!.
THE GUTTER TWINS, GREAT NORTHERN
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) See Music Feature.
MARCHFOURTH MARCHING BAND, BALKAN BEAT BOX, DJ JOORO, DJ GLOBALRUCKUS
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) See Sunday's listing.
TILLY & THE WALL, CAPGUN COUP, A WEATHER
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) See My, What a Busy Week!.
MARCHFOURTH MARCHING BAND, GAMELAN X, NANDA, KAZUM
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) See Sunday's listing.
THE A-SIDES, DIVISION DAY, OLD GROWTH
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) There's something unabashedly populist about naming your band the A-Sides. In evoking the obsolete medium of 7-inch singles, the Philadelphia quintet brands their music with perfect accuracy: a vaguely retro, not particularly trendy, melodic pop-rock that's unchallenging yet undeniably inviting. They realize that in this age of iTunes, shuffle play, and computer jukeboxes, potentially every song could be an a-side. As a result, their songs are designed for maximum emotional impact, nearly to the point of being bombastic. Silver Storms is crammed with peaks, valleys, echoes, shouts, and lighter-ready sing-alongs—although ironically the A-Sides have trouble keeping the length of their songs under four minutes. NL
THE PASTIES, DEADPAN PARIAH, TRAINWRECK RIDERS
(Alberta Street Public House, 1036 NE Alberta) The Pasties belong on the streets. Oh, and I mean that in the best possible way. This rambling Olympia eight-piece is prime for busking, marching for justice, or just violating every loitering law on the books by performing for the masses on any given street corner. Their mangled DIY punk/country/folk is an adorable collection of various influences that will, no doubt, soundtrack many a bike punk romance ("Bikes turn me on... I want to be the banana in your seat"), house party makeout session, and dumpster diving buffet. I'm about one Sharpie and a stolen Kinko's copy card away from penning an entire fanzine in devotion to the Pasties. EAC
MANCAMPUS: MAHJONGG, ALAN SINGLEY & PANTS MACHINE, LOOSE CONTROL, SELECTOR MANCAMPUS
(Rotture, 315 SE 3rd) The first half of Mahjongg's sophomore effort, Kontpab, is Afrobeat-aware ("Pontiac," "Rise Rice") and Faint-friendly ("Problems," "Tell the Police the Truth"), which would make for a fairly stimulating, democratic stand-alone dance EP on its own. But that's about all it would be. Luckily, Kontpab is a full-length, and Mahjongg are thorough enough for a surprising third layer toward the end of the album. "Teardrops" and "Mercury" introduce ominous industrial danger, as if Doubting Thomas were resurrected along with the second reunion of Skinny Puppy. Distant, circuit-bent flames burn beyond rapid-fire sequencing and spoken-haunt vocals. Big beats arrive in time to dissipate the satanic haze, but with Mahjongg now calling Chicago home, it'll be interesting to see how far they take the evil Wax Trax! direction at tonight's show. MM
PELA, LIAM FINN, TULSA
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Using an earnest drumbeat and a carefully strummed guitar, Liam Finn can weave together a solid pop song with great ease. His debut, I'll Be Lightning, has upward of a dozen, though it's the more melancholy, contemplative numbers ("Energy Spent," "Gather to the Chapel") that stand out rather than the handful of louder songs that throw distortion into the mix and take a more aggressive approach. Finn's music fits nicely beside Elliott Smith's late-'90s work: There's a good mixture of airy vocals and more grounded concerns throughout. "Second Chance," with its heartbroken take on memory and regret, its melody ultimately disintegrating into wavering feedback, serves as the best example of this. TOBIAS CARROLL
PURE COUNTRY GOLD, THE FALL-OUTS, THE UNNATURAL HELPERS, THE BIRTHDAY SUITS
(Slabtown, 1033 NW 16th) Like their neighbors in the Fastbacks—or our very own Dead Moon/Pierced Arrows—Seattle's Fall-Outs have been churning out the high-quality, uncompromising punk rock for what seems like ages now. And like the aforementioned acts, they have done so by ignoring the latest trends of the day and instead just focusing on hoarding a devoted fanbase with their bouncing mod-in-the-garage punk sound. Prepare to warm things up with openers the Birthday Suits, who might not live up to their name—they are clothed, you pervert—but instead are a fascinating and gritty duo who grind out filthy punk at a feverish and absolutely reckless pace. EAC
PWRFL POWER, CAPILLARY ACTION, WE QUIT
(Rotture, 315 SE 3rd) Kazutaka Nomura, AKA Pwrfl Power, is a hard musician to pin down. At times, his songs are sincere, heart-on-the-sleeve numbers, while others fling themselves through cascading notes, suggesting that Nomura's musical education may be less rock-oriented than expected. (It is: His background is in jazz, and he spent several years in the Seattle improv group Na.) His self-titled debut recalls the enthusiasm of early-'90s Flaming Lips and the unpredictability of Dirty Projectors, all channeled through guileless voice and acoustic guitar. And while the likes of "It's Okay" and "Banana Song" manage to be both charming and catchy, "Let Me Teach You How to Hold Chopsticks" is the album's most striking track, beginning sweetly ("You're so pretty/But holding them wrong") before veering into unsettling stream-of-consciousness imagery. TC