This week's music previews
WORDLESS MUSIC SERIES: STARS OF THE LID, CLASSICAL REVOLUTION PDX, CHRISTOPHER WILLITS
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) See My, What a Busy Week!.
MARK KOZELEK, DAVID BAZAN
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) Witnessing Mark Kozelek of Red House Painters and Sun Kil Moon performing under a giant illuminated cross inside a Texas Presbyterian church (during South by Southwest) was an odd feeling to say the least. Looking like he'd ditched his notoriously prickly behavior and sinning ways, Kozelek seemed humble, if not downright vulnerable, for the first time in his nearly 20-year career. Much like the greatest icons of the singer/songwriting stable—from Elliott Smith to Tim Hardin—there was also something unapproachable about Kozelek. You didn't want to have a beer with him, befriend him, or have him crash on your couch—you just wanted to worship him from afar. The absolutely stunning April, his latest under the Sun Kil Moon moniker, showcases Kozelek's hazy, soft voice and ability to emotionally draw you in, with the album's sprawling opener, "Lost Versus," which clocks in at a little under 10 minutes, or the reminiscing love dirge "Moorestown," where his sad voice seems more pained than usual when he sings, "My thoughts will pause, my throat will swell/When her name is spoken." That song, in particular, is one of Kozelek's best, which—when you consider the depth of his vast catalog—is saying a lot. EZRA ACE CARAEFF
SYMPHONY X, EPICA, INTO ETERNITY
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE 39th) Power metal conquers evil. We even have proof. Helloween (remember them?) literally defeated Satan (remember him?) at the end of 1988's Keeper of the Seven Keys Part 2, which is why the last 20 years have been so peaceful. But when it comes to fighting methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, even power metal's fastest tremolo-picked arpeggio sweep has no game. Practice your Segovia scales all you want—they're just no match for the dreaded "hospital bacteria." This is why Epica lead singer Simone Simons is bedridden in the Netherlands while the rest of her classically influenced band are in Portland tonight. Nice of them to make sure Satan doesn't stage a comeback specifically in these parts (apparently last weekend's Behemoth show had them very worried). They've acquired a "live session lead singer" replacement—a mezzo-soprano from Michigan. Only in heavy metal can we do this. MIKE MEYER
EXTREME NOISE TERROR, TRAP THEM, HELLSHOCK, STRONG INTENTION, SANCTUM
(Satyricon, 125 NW 6th) Like kicking over an old, dead log, many interesting specimens will crawl out of the woodwork for this show: punks harkening back to the days when the jackets were studded, the hair was dreaded, and all of the bands started with the letter D. Well, most of them, at least. Extreme Noise Terror comes from this era, earning their place on the ubiquitous crusty vest (directly below the Amebix back-patch) by being one of the best, most distinctive bands of the genre. For those of you who haven't spent the past 15 years holed up with your Disrupt records, it's your first chance to see them. So come out to hear some amazing bands, or just to get a glimpse of the part of early '90s Portland that wasn't covered in layers of disgusting flannel. ZACH BROOKS
WORDLESS MUSIC SERIES: THIRD ANGLE, ELUVIUM
(The Old Church, 1422 SW 11th) See My, What a Busy Week!.
KPSU PLEDGE DRIVE: TYPHOON, REPORTER, HUTCH & KATHY, STRENGTH, THE VONNEGUTS
(The Modern Age at PSU, 1825 SW Broadway) See My, What a Busy Week!.
NEW BLOODS, OLD HAUNTS, MAGIC JOHNSON, PURPLE RHINESTONE EAGLE, HORNET LEG
(Worksound, 820 SE Alder) See Music Feature.
WHY?, STARFUCKER, FALL OF SNOW, JOE VON APPEN
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) See Music Feature.
SCOTLAND BARR & THE SLOW DRAGS, JAMES LOW, TONY SMILEY
(Mission Theater, 1624 NW Glisan) One listen to Scotland Barr and the Slow Drags' "She's Happy," from their upcoming All the Great Aviators Agree, should usher in memories of negligent summer breezes and riverside bonanzas. But two listens yield femme-venomous strikes at wayward relations; both scenarios combine for an awkwardly engaging listen. The Portland-based country/roots-rock quintet incorporates traditional pedal steel bravado to facilitate their power-hungry wail, most notably by way of Barr's gruff, road-weary storytelling. The real kicker lies in the spot-on chops of the Slow Drags, a band just potent enough to dull the surreal lyrical punch of Barr. Regardless, the group divvies up fun, street-savvy barroom knuckle punches; I'd watch my chin. RYAN J. PRADO
HANDSOME FURS, ARTHUR & YU
(Someday Lounge, 125 NW 5th) On paper, Handsome Furs and Arthur & Yu might look similar, two groups with duos at their core, a solid grasp of pop elements, and an emphasis on textures in their songwriting. In practice, though, each takes that sound into vastly different spaces. Handsome Furs—Alexei Perry and Wolf Parade's Dan Boeckner—deploy heroic riffs and hard-fought vocal progressions over a gaping silence that constantly threatens to overtake the music. Arthur & Yu shy away from musical tension: Their sound heads more for the blissed-out side of pop, with softly sung vocals and harmonies that seem ready to shift into a completely ambient sensibility. Live, the core of the band is expanded, taking their sound into a more rock direction without losing sight of its more ethereal moments. TOBIAS CARROLL
THE PHENOMENAUTS, THE A.K.A.S, MALADROID, THE DICERS, CHIN UP ROCKY
(Satyricon, 125 NW 6th) Most post-punk bands that include spooky organ leads will inevitably be compared to Seattle behemoths the Murder City Devils. And while Philadelphia's the A.K.A.s certainly evoke that monolithic Northwest influence, theirs is a cocktail laced more with socio-conscious politico than self-nullifying hubbub. Vocalist Mike Ski has been known to pop and fizzle like a July 4th sparkler during live sets, and the band's sophomore album, The A.K.A.s Are Everywhere, has garnered the support of such far-reaching guest artists as Jello Biafra (Dead Kennedys) and JT Woodruff (Hawthorne Heights). The result is a fiery time travel from '60s garage to '80s thrash-punk in just one listen; I could think of worse journeys. RJP
DANIEL JOHNSTON, GREGORY MILES HARRIS
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) There is not much left to say about Daniel Johnston. By now, most people are already well versed in his story—which is more Greek tragedy than it is rock 'n' roll—but 25-plus years down the road with multiple hospitalizations under his belt, the fact that the man is still touring and making music is nothing short of amazing. And whether or not you are familiar with—or even like—Johnston's music is pretty insignificant at this point, since the list of people he counts as supporters (David Bowie, Yo La Tengo, Beck, Eddie Vedder, etc.) is enough of a who's who to know that modern music would probably look radically different had he never fired up that four-track so many years ago. ROB SIMONSEN
BRAD CREEL, JASON FELLMAN
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Gifted with the pen, the punchline, and the guitar, local singer/songwriter Brad Creel celebrates the release of his latest recording, Reveeled, tonight. In addition to his illustration work, Creel's husky-voiced folk ballads harken back to a time when folk music had plenty of strumming jesters eager to tell a tale and collect some laughs along the way. Similar to the early days of Loudon Wainwright III, Creel is a vulnerable performer with a deep sense of humor, one who isn't afraid to turn the spotlight on his own imperfections—as he points out on "What We Ain't": "I can't write like Richard Thompson/I can't dance like Michael Jackson." I've never seen Thompson dance, but as someone who has read more than a fair share of MJ lyrics, let's just say it's a good thing it isn't the other way around. EAC
MUDHONEY, THE NICE BOYS,
THE PRESS CORPS
(Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) See My, What a Busy Week!.
BLITZEN TRAPPER, FLEET FOXES, AU
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) See Music Feature.
JOSH MARTINEZ & THE PISSED OFF WILD, TRUE CONSUMERS, BEATSGALORE,
(Berbati's Pan, 10 SW 3rd) See Music Feature.
CLAUDE VON STROKE
(The 2410, 2410 N Mississippi) Portland is not exactly known for after-hours parties. In the event that 2:30 am does roll and people still want to dance, usually a select few move on to some questionable basement where the sound system is a pair of hand-me-down speakers from a shady ex-roommate. Tonight, however, Portland has a chance to experience a real live after-hours with quirk-house superstar Claude Von Stroke. Head of San Francisco's Dirtybird Records, Von Stroke blasted onto the scene with his single "Deep Throat," a track so popular it went through 10 pressings and led to international touring that built up his reputation as a DJ who can always get people riled up. His last stop in Portland had people screaming on the dance floor and demanding more, so this time around he plays until 6 am. AVA HEGEDUS
RILO KILEY, WHISPERTOWN 2000,
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) For most creatures that reside in the fabled hills of Hollywood (or perhaps Silver Lake or Los Feliz), artistic output takes a backseat to rumor, romantic connections, and lingering mistakes from the past. Case in point: Rilo Kiley. There's singer Jenny Lewis' acting resume (Troop Beverly Hills), her far superior solo work, the band's reputation for label hopping and bridge burning, plus a token Wynona Ryder romance thrown in as well (guitarist Blake Sennett may, or may not, be engaged to everyone's favorite kleptomaniac). But given the hollow nature of last year's Under the Blacklight, a disappointingly empty record that lacks the quaint charm of their earlier work, perhaps the more we know about the members of Rilo Kiley, and the less we know about their music, the better. In other words, I miss their old stuff. EAC
MERCURY ANNUAL FASHION SHOW:
TU FAWNING, DJ BEYONDA
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) See My, What a Busy Week!.
THE TEENAGERS, THE HUGS, DJ JOEEIRWIN
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) See My, What a Busy Week!.
THE SWORD, SLOUGH FEG, CHILDREN
(Berbati's Pan, 10 SW 3rd) See My, What a Busy Week!.
CARIBOU, FUCK BUTTONS
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Not to dismiss the wonderful Caribou (whose latest album, Andorra, is still blowing me away with its greatness), but the real gem on this bill is Fuck Buttons, who, despite a terrible band name, absolutely live up to all the hype they are currently receiving. Their formula is simple: create some of the most beautiful and ethereal noise you are likely to ever hear. Backed by a drum machine, some happy keyboards, and the occasional muffled screaming outburst, the UK duo just chug and chug, stretching simple loops into 10 minute epics, so by the time something slightly changes in the sound it's met with welcome euphoria. And while it may seem a bit abrasive at first, with a few listens Fuck Buttons prove that underneath all the pounding is absolutely nothing but pop hooks. RS
THE OLD HAUNTS, SLEEPWALKERS RIP,
(Towne Lounge, 714 SW 20th Pl) Olympia garage trio the Old Haunt's new album Poisonous Times assembles a huge variety of sounds to make a record as perfectly rock 'n' roll as anything can be in this age of scattered influences and splintered subgenres. Joined by former Bikini Kill drummer Tobi Vail, singer/guitarist Craig Extine and bassist Scott Seckington create music that's classicist—perhaps derivatively so—but splendidly enjoyable in its own right. Opener "Volatile" sets a twanging, Byrds-like guitar adrift in Television whirlpool riffs, with agitated vocals from Extine scaling the melody like a cat getting stuck up a tree. The Donovan-esque fingerpicking of "Hung Up on the Down Sound" is given an ominous melody to wrap around, and "Not Hopeless" pairs the country punk sound of X with a sneering, wretching vocal that's part John Fogerty and part Bon Scott. Poisonous Times is a great album, and the band's punch and drive will make sure these songs absolutely kill in a live setting. NED LANNAMANN
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) See Once More with Feeling.
(Backspace, 115 NW 5th) As someone who typically views hot, hip bands from New York City with a bit of skepticism, it took me a while to admit that Excepter is actually pretty darn good. Their new album, Debt Dept., recalls Wolf Eyes' prime from several years back with fuzzed-out synths, cracked electronics, and tossed-off vocals. There are moments when their blasé demeanor comes across as forced (and a bit irritating), but there's also something compelling about much of this music, including the zombie-techno throb of "Kill People," and the doom-laden repetition of "Entrance." WILL YORK
THE RACONTEURS, BIRDS OF AVALON
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) Mr. White or not, I pity the Raconteurs for having to follow Birds of Avalon. Anyone that's seen BoA, or Paul and Cheetie's former band Cherry Valence, knows the heat those dueling North Carolina guitars bring. They make melodic, progressive 1970s rock sound so fucking immediate. Obviously then, being "progressive," BoA have some serious chops. But their songs are written so clearly that even when piling years of rock history on all at once, the music doesn't get bogged down in thickheaded rock cliché. Honestly, it's kinda shocking how smart they are, and it makes those twentysomething long-hair beardos attempting to pull off the same seem so silly. Hmmm, now what's the average age of a Raconteur? MIKE NIPPER
YELLE, REVERSE DOTTY & THE CANDY CANE SHIVS, DJ BEYONDA
(Rotture, 315 SE 3rd) See My, What a Busy Week!.
MIRAH, SPECTRATONE INTERNATIONAL, DANBERT NOBACON
(Mission Theater, 1624 NW Glisan) See My, What a Busy Week!.
THE DEATH SET
(Backspace, 115 NW 5th) Above all else, the Death Set are fun. Sounding like some jacked-up blend of 90 different styles, they manage to combine together Dan Deacon's happy hardcore mind-fuck, the Go! Team's cheerleader squad dance party, the lo-fi broken machinery electro of the Tigerbeat6 label, and the hipster punk that was late-'90s Southern California spazz-core—all with an insane amount of youthful exuberance. Their live show tends to lose a lot of the electronic flourishes and falls more on the punk and hardcore side of things, but don't let that deter you: They are going to scream, sweat, and destroy everything in their path, especially the dance floor. RS
HOT CHIP, FREE BLOOD
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) In October of last year, New Yorker pop music critic Sasha Frere-Jones wrote a now-infamous (at least in critical circles) essay titled "A Paler Shade of White: How Indie Rock Lost its Soul." Frere-Jones argued, essentially, that indie rock has become so white—meaning too much from the head, not enough from the hips—that it's lost its sense of rhythm, its will to entertain an audience. Maybe Hot Chip wouldn't have qualified as indie rock in Frere-Jones' eyes. Their drum-machine programming and live percussion range from loose, polyrhythmic Afro-pop to hard-pounding, club-minded electro thump. Their Casio keys and muted guitars are malleable enough to integrate the old soul of Marvin Gaye's "Sexual Healing" as easily as, say, the taut, minimal tech pop of Matthew Dear's "Don and Sherri" or the retro '70s synth funk of Snoop Dogg's "Sensual Seduction." (Hot Chip covers each of these songs with aplomb.) Live, the band is notoriously energetic and entertaining, all of which is to say: Not only are there plenty of pale independent rock bands making wonderfully rhythmic, entertaining, soulful—if you must, "black"—music, but the best of them, like Hot Chip, are clever enough to make their supposed stiffness and cultural theft the point of their fun. ERIC GRANDY