And And And, Phone Call; Parkway North at PSU's Smith Memorial Student Union, 1825 SW Broadway
Portland State University is helping to fill the black hole of all-ages venues in our city—created by the closures of Backspace, Laughing Horse Books, and Slabtown—with the introduction of Parkway North, a renovated space inside Smith Memorial Student Union. It's uncertain how often shows will be hosted at the space—KPSU Promotions Director Blake Hickman admits that the university is apprehensive about maintaining a dedicated music venue on campus and insists that the room is primarily a "student space" with the occasional potential for use as a music venue. (Hickman has already had to turn down a bevy of eager promoters looking to book there for the remainder of the year.) But it's no less a huge development for the state of all-ages music in Portland, and indicates that if you build it, they will come. Tonight's free inaugural show features performances by party-rock exemplars And And And and sultry R&B outfit Phone Call.
Sloths, DDY Globox; the Peculiarium, 2234 NW Thurman
Portland emotive metal band Sloths have been around since 2010, having formed when its members were still in high school. Like any good band that's been around that long, Sloths' evolution has been a marked one: The group's first demo and follow-up EP, Transit, were eagerly precocious in their technicality and eclecticism, cramming as many ideas as possible into dense mini-epics that synthesized the most vital aspects of hardcore, metal, and off-kilter indie rock. Last year's Knives—the group's first vinyl release—heralded the young group's transformation from good band to great band, toning down the stylistic oscillations and sounding more confident and consistent as a musical whole. It also thematically exchanged maudlin emo tropes and vague mythological subject matter for an eerie, nearly free-associative candor alluding to psychological discomfort and self-immolation. Today, Sloths celebrate the release of their latest EP, Twenty Years, the group's most distinct and assertive effort so far. It wholly delivers on all the promises made with Knives, and then some. Twenty Years is also the first release by local upstart label Illuminasty Records. Sunday afternoon's all-ages show at the Peculiarium gallery follows a house show on Saturday night.