MOTION CITY SOUNDTRACK Mon 2/16 Hawthorne Theatre

Toyboat Toyboat Toyboat w/Cotton, Raymond Anderson; Mothership Music, 3611 NE MLK
Toyboat Toyboat Toyboat have been a formidable staple of Portland's experimental rock scene for some time now. Boasting the less-than-usual configuration of bass, drums, trumpet, and keyboards, the group toe the barely existent line between all-out prog depravity and geometric danceability, best highlighted on the group's latest release, 2013's Ample Fire EP. The result is phenomenally dense pop music comparable to Adrian Belew or Zappa at his least masturbatory—it's undeniably palatable, but perhaps most rewarding for the closet prog dorks among us (hear, hear!). Tonight the group headlines an all-ages bill at the newish instrument store Mothership Music.


Motion City Soundtrack w/William Beckett, Brick & Mortar; Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE César E. Chávez
On one hand, it's hard to take Motion City Soundtrack seriously, in either the past or present tense. They were pop-punk's torchbearers long after the genre lost every semblance of vitality or authenticity, making them, essentially, ambassadors for bullshit. On the other hand, their 2007 LP Even If It Kills Me is a heartfelt and often remarkable pop record, produced by the dream duo of the Cars' Ric Ocasek and Fountains of Wayne's Adam Schlesinger—assuming you're able to scrape away the mall-core veneer, of which there is a bit. The group hasn't released a record since 2012's Go, which, overall, was a pretty lackluster attempt at recapturing the essence of past (minor) triumphs, although it could have been much, much worse.