PANTHER, PARENTHETICAL GIRLS, MATTRESS
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) See Music Feature.
ALPHABETIX, MC RADIATION, LACTATIOUS
(Tonic Lounge, 3100 NE Sandy) At its very core, hiphop is the modern-day folk music—the voice of the people, whose influence spreads faster than the boxcar ballads of Woody Guthrie ever could. Anyone can rhyme, and it seems that these days, most people do. The hiphop created by the local ladies of Alphabetix could fall under the category of "remedial"—so much so that their simple beat-based sound and choppy flow feels worlds away from the likes of more traditional emcees who have spent a lifetime honing their skills behind a mic. But you'd have to be a heartless bastard not to adore Alphabetix's vocal interplay and clever rhymes about female pubic hair and adorable crushes ("Like an ice cream sandwich, it's all sweet between us") that sound like Northern State or Peaches, but with a degree in feminist theory from Evergreen. EZRA ACE CARAEFF
TESLA, CINDER ROAD
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) Tesla's spiral into hard-rock obscurity has much to do with a six-year split in the mid-'90s, and by the sound of their recent covers album, Real to Reel: Reel 1, they should have never dared a comeback (ex-guitarist Tommy Skeoch should be credited for not participating). The loose confidence of 1990's live Five Man Acoustical Jam has given way to a kind of neon-toothed Bon Jovi-ism that conceals fear of irrelevance with a contrived retro-studio recording. For a moment, it works. The guitars are period perfect, but the frown on singer Jeff Keith's umpteenth take becomes audible during the once-fun "Space Truckin'" (Deep Purple) and "Walk Away" (James Gang). The fact that Reel 1 shares Acoustical Jam sources (the Beatles, the late '60s) is a strike against Tesla, who served as an earthy diversion from the funky alt-rock and receding hair metal of 1990. Now they seem forced to the ground. MIKE MEYER
AUNT DRACULA, YELLOW CRYSTAL STAR, EAT SKULL
(Rererato, 5135 NE 42nd) It defies obvious logic, but I think many music fans would agree with me: There's something inexplicably satisfying about cruddy, slapdash, lo-fi recordings. The blurry thumps and squeals are infinitely more fulfilling than the highly polished turds that come out of slick professional studios—you know, those recordings where you can hear every goddamned pluck, breath, and note. Perhaps it's the brain compensating for the crappy audio by superimposing an imagined layer of perfection over the gaps and fuzz, like a magic eye painting. Or perhaps spontaneity counts for everything. Either way, Eat Skull knows. They play a gut-punch, Monks-influenced variety of garage noise that's as unhinged as it is cathartic, with tape loops and unraveling cacophony as part of their tribal sound. The band sets their sails for South by Southwest later this month, so check them out before they stop playing off-the-radar venues like Rererato. NED LANNAMANN Also see Our Town Could Be Your Life.
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) See Music Feature.
ATLAS SOUND, VALET, WHITE RAINBOW
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) See Music Feature.
THE RAVEONETTES, BE YOUR OWN PET,
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) On Get Awkward, the sophomore effort from Be Your Own Pet, the band blasts through songs about being a bored kid just lookin' to get wasted with unfuckwithable volume and fervor. The bass is dirty, the guitars are distorted, and barely legal singer Jemina Pearl Abegg jumps back and forth between reality and fantasy, singing about how great pizza is one minute, then bragging about murdering some backstabbing bitch the next. The Raveonettes' new album, Lust Lust Lust, is the exact opposite of BYOP's in-your-face attack, all careful composure and soft-spoken sexiness. MEGAN SELING Also see My, What a Busy Week!.
XIU XIU, THAO & THE GET DOWN STAY DOWN, DRAGGING AN OX THROUGH WATER
(Someday Lounge, 125 NW 5th) Sandwiched in between the abrasive experimental therapy session of Xiu Xiu and the drone-dipped machine folk of Dragging an Ox Through Water, Thao Nguyen's heavenly pop songs will seem that much more soothing and refreshing. Singing of bee stings and ice cream, Thao evokes a sense of innocence and childlike comfort, and her band the Get Down Stay Down provide versatile, muscular backing. Her slightly sharp-pitched vocals are like those of a trusted friend, and her music effortlessly glides from folk to ragtime to soul without any stumbling or affectation. If Thao is half as enjoyable live as she is on her new record, We Brave Bee Stings and All, this is the can't-miss show of the week. NL Also see Music Feature.
ANDRE FROM BLOWUPNIHILIST BENEFIT: EL CERDO, BUNG, BLUEPRINT FOR DISASTER, GHIDORA, OSCILLATING INNARDS, ARGUMENTIX
(Satyricon, 125 NW 6th) Vancouver noise-grinder blowupnihilist (AKA Andre Sanabria) flipped his van in early January on his way to a show in Idaho, destroying an estimated $6,000 in equipment and merchandise. He is recovering steadily—having already written a new album—but he had to cancel a tour, and his losses were greater than his annual income, he writes on his MySpace blog. Former bandmates El Cerdo (previously one-half of hardcore band nihilist, from which blowupnihilist was also spawned) headline tonight's benefit. Preview tracks from El Cerdo's new full-length, Our Bellies Sluggish with Goat Meat, sound like cinder blocks falling onto livestock—pure, guttural slosh, peppered with Tragedy's uniquely civic sensibilities (a sure-bet influence). As "Shadow of the Colossus" streams, its down-cattle murk and strangely metered sputter blinks a corner of my monitor with every downstroke. This only happens with the most demanding of music. MM Also see Our Town Could Be Your Life.
NEIL YOUNG TRIBUTE: DOLOREAN, MATT SHEEHY, MBILLY, ADAM + KRIS
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) The Neil Young model generally operates at two speeds: mellow acoustic and Crazy Horse electric. Judging by the track record of the participants, and the tiny size of the venue, it's a safe bet that tonight's tribute to Young will be lots of the former and little of the latter. This makes a certain amount of sense; the ramshackle, bleary charm of Crazy Horse is nearly impossible to emulate without simply sounding sloppy and untalented. So expect a lot of pinpoint acoustic picking, some harmonica squawking, and musicians who can play and sing—on a technical level—better than the man himself. Whether their renditions will retain any of the untethered emotion and primeval spirituality of Young's music remains to be seen. NL
(Berbati's Pan, 10 SW 3rd) Taking their name from the nickname given to our protest-happy city by the eldest President Bush, Little Beirut are celebrating the release of their latest recording, High Dive, tonight. The local boys sculpt their rock and roll into a pristine, hook-heavy weapon that is primed for an assault on the FM airwaves. It isn't quite groundbreaking—they lean a bit too heavily on a mix of Britpop and Alex Chilton-ish melodies—but it's hard to ignore songs with such addictive choruses and the genuineness in the voice of singer Hamilton Sims. (That is a great name, by the way—half porn star, half preppy. It's like the "Chest Rockwell" of rock and roll names.) "Belle de Jour" is the finest moment of High Dive, a supremely crafted pop song that evokes the recent resurgence of Nada Surf, especially with sweet lines like, "The motor hummed/The tape played Naked Raygun." It's a record that does not disappoint. Too bad I can't say the same thing about the man who came up with their band name, or his son. EAC
ANGELS & AIRWAVES, MEG & DIA,
THE COLOR FRED, ACE ENDERS
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) When Tom DeLonge discovered delay pedals and formed Angels & Airwaves in 2005, he said, "Within two years, we'll be the biggest rock act in the world." He called the band's debut record, We Don't Need to Whisper, the second coming of Christ. But Angels & Airwaves still haven't lived up to that hype. DeLonge's more modest about the band's new album, I-Empire, blaming those infamous statements on the drugs. "I broke my back years ago and got spun out on narcotics," he told MTV. "I went out into the press with all these crazy things." A&A's sound is still no revelation, but at least now DeLonge seems sober enough to know it. MS
LIFESAVAS, COOL NUTZ, DJ KEZ
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Warmth is often generated by hometown hiphop duo Lifesavas. Faux-wood panelists in the tradition of enduring songsmith Pete Rock, Jumbo, Shines, and Vursatyl have mastered the earth-toned palette, and unsurprisingly mined Blaxploitation films for their last album, Gutterfly. The least alternative of the Quannum crew, these discerning musicians lifted the best of the genre and did justice to the seductive but frequently over-the-top '70s. The flirty "No Surprise" recalls their vintage burner "Fever" and should take sweltering form when the 'Savas are joined by a full band tonight. JALYLAH BURRELL
MAGIC CHRISTIAN, THE NICE BOYS,
DJ PHAEDRA, DJ JD
(East End, 203 SE Grand) Taking their name from the 1969 Peter Sellers/Ringo Starr movie, Magic Christian is neither a religious band nor an especially magical one. It's a supergroup of sorts, featuring Cyril Jordan from the rightfully legendary Flamin' Groovies, Eddie Muñoz from the Plimsouls, drummer Clem Burke from Blondie, and some dude named Paul Kopf. Together, they play a familiar version of garage psychedelia that hews very close to Nuggets-y California radio hits of the '60s. That these old geezers manage a decent job of sounding like a teenage rock and roll band is nothing to sneeze at, but beyond some lively Who covers there's nothing particularly creative or remarkable going on here. Still, when they play "Shake Some Action" tonight, all will be forgiven. NL
CLUTCH, MURDER BY DEATH, MAYLENE & THE SONS OF DISASTER, HEX MACHINE
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) Around the time of 2005's Robot Hive/Exodus, Clutch added organist Mick Schauer to their lineup and shifted from the solid metal band responsible for albums like The Elephant Riders—a Civil War-inspired work that threw in images of soldiers riding elephants—to something defiantly hard to pin down. Neil Fallon's gruff, roaring vocals soar atop sludgy guitars and the contrasting sound of an organ, making for a solid and expansive counterpoint. The recent songs of Murder By Death, by comparison, are driven by the contrast between Adam Turla's ominous lyrical delivery and multi-instrumentalist Sarah Balliet's cello and keyboard contributions. TOBIAS CARROLL
EXTRA LIFE, THE DEAD SCIENCE, PARENTHETICAL GIRLS, DIRTY MITTENS
(Rotture, 315 SE 3rd) You've got to love a bill like this—four bands, all with totally different styles. Opening are Portland's Dirty Mittens, who at times sound sort of like Quasi if they were fronted by Joanna Newsom, yet at other times sound far more funky. Then you've got Parenthetical Girls, who craft surprisingly accessible, sweet, bubbling pop melodies despite heavy themes of gender identification and rejection. Label-mates (and sometime Parenthetical Girl band-mates) the Dead Science tread over heavier, dissonant, somewhat more melodramatic art pop. The headliners, Extra Life, have come all the way from New York. Musically they inhabit the lower registers, playing heavy, rhythmic, sometimes technical minor-key riffs accented by violin and the occasional saxophone. All that's missing is a li'l rap and a li'l country. ANDREW R. TONRY
MATTHEW GOOD, STEPHANIE SCHNEIDERMAN
(Lola's Room, 1332 W Burnside) A superstar of sorts in his native Canada, Matthew Good is a former member of the imaginatively titled Matthew Good Band (and apparently couldn't take that name with him when the band broke up in 2002). His music is an entirely ordinary mid-tempo brand of adult alternative acoustic rock, which makes it all the more surprising that his lyrics often are angry political screeds, or uncomfortably personal accounts about his recent divorce or mental health problems. So, he's got some balls, and a sense of humor (his merch table once featured shirts that read "I hear Matt Good is a real asshole"), which makes his music seem all the more average in contrast. Still, Canadians eat this shit up, so stick this one in the "Lost in Translation" file, cross-referenced with the Tragically Hip. NL
LANA REBEL, BARTENDERS BIBLE, DJ HWY 7
(East End, 203 SE Grand) Former member of Last of the Juanitas, and current frontwoman for the far better behaved Juanita Family, Lana Rebel is the badass matriarch of local dust bowl country. Sounding like the coal miner's daughter trapped in a collapsed mine, the music of Rebel is gorgeous and morose, a sad waltz of cowgirl balladry that can't be cured by even the most generous whiskey pour. Her sorrow will be shared onstage by the troublemaking Bartenders Bible, a San Diego band that continues in the long line of fine bands (Black Heart Procession, the Locust, etc.) that swap the sunshine of their hometown for the darkness within. Led by the raspy, road-weary voice of Jason Corbin, Bartenders Bible are an authentic salute to the sawdust floors of back road honkytonks—the kind of joint where the band should be playing behind the safety of a chicken wire fence—and an age when outlaw country meant more than pickup truck anthems and frat boys in funny cowboy hats. EAC
LESLIE & THE LY'S, FLESHTONE,
JUICE TEAM DJS
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) See My, What a Busy Week!.
EARTH CRISIS, TERROR, SWORN ENEMY, SHAI HULUD, DOWN TO NOTHING, RECON
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE 39th) Earth Crisis could have fittingly taken the form of an ape, a pit bull, or a future dictator when they reincarnated last year, but they instead became Earth Crisis all over again. Syracuse's most infamous straight edge vegan hardcore band retired in 2001 after 10 years of pummeling, politicking, and explaining their "new ethic" (i.e. avoid animal products, drugs, subtlety). Maybe tonight's gig will showcase the power of their actual music: scarily tight rhythm, apocalyptic man-barking, and scraping guitar leads on dense slabs of bench-press metalcore. Bring a spotter. Openers Sworn Enemy seem caught in a 9/11 moment on their xenophobic Maniacal. The metallic Queens act (formerly Mindset) raps a constant—if forced—outer-borough struggle: "I gotta get the hell out of here," they scream on the breakneck "No End to This Nightmare." Have they heard of the subway? A night out at Applebee's could do wonders for their mental health. MM
TOKYO SEX DESTRUCTION,
WHITE RECLUSE, DJ NATE C
(Tube, 18 NW 3rd) Tokyo Sex Destruction is a totally awesome soul-punk band with a terrible name, but they're Spanish, so let's set that aside for the moment. Set it aside and move on up towards the dance floor, as if you even have a choice—because as soon as the beats pound, the melodies soar, and keys begin to blare, that's where you'll be. While you're there, you might even catch a few moments of MC5-style testifying ("Brothers and sisters!"), and though the Spaniards are heavier on the soul and funk than punk, the MC5 is a pretty good musical touchstone. Certainly both bands are energetic and raw. And if they'd been around in the '60s, TSD probably would've joined the White Panther Party as well. But they're here, today, in 2008, which is just fine. Because the way things are going in the world, everyone could use a cathartic night at rock and roll church—where dripping sweat shall cleanse the soul. ART
BROTHER ALI, ABSTRACT RUDE, BK ONE, TOKI WRIGHT
GOGOL BORDELLO, SKINDRED
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) See My, What a Busy Week!.