Skinwalker w/Sabonis, Pupppy, O-Face; Anarres Infoshop, 7101 N Lombard
I sometimes feel like all of the bass-less, two-piece rock bands go out of their way not to include bass in their arrangements. At its worst (e.g. the Black Keys, and even they cheat on recordings), the "drums-and-guitar duo" is a tired, deceptively self-indulgent artifice, sort of like the mid-'00s version of the keytar.
Portland's Skinwalker are an unusual example of a band whose music feels completely logical and organic without bass, at least to my biased ass. (And not in a "less is more" sense, either—less is certainly less in this case, and in most other cases. Seriously, fuck that axiom.) The atmosphere that Skinwalker have created on their great record Together, released in January, is deliberately stark and somnolent. It never attempts to artificially compensate for a lack of low end—that would totally spoil it.
Highlight "Brave New World" brings to mind a bizarro, minimalist Pavement, equal parts unsettling and catchy. The influences evoked from there only get stranger, from "Skinwalker," which boasts these surprisingly not-cheesy Alice in Chains vocal harmonies, and stunning closer "Rainy Day," which sounds like a pre-Harvard Rivers Cuomo composition conceived under a generous dose of Versed.
Also playing are the great New York power-pop band Pupppy, who write songs eerily reminiscent of Cherry Peel-era Of Montreal (with the glockenspiels and recorders traded out for fuzz pedals) and the "danceable twinkle core" of the terrific, if egregiously named, O-Face.
Nervosas w/the Stops; Green Noise Records, 5857 SE Foster
This matinee show is the first-ever in-store at the new location of Green Noise Records, the brick and mortar extension of hallowed Portland punk label Dirtnap. Excellent Columbus band Nervosas' upcoming self-titled LP, set to be released on July 10 on the label, is an equal-parts catchy and strident punk micro-opus, typical of the Dirtnap oeuvre. Get ready for some fuckin' fireworks.