SUN DEC 20
Pity Sex w/Colleen Green, Eskimeaux; Analog Café, 720 SE Hawthorne
When I first saw Michigan-based punks Pity Sex in 2012, they played to fewer than 20 people in a bookstore. You know, before they were big. Their debut EP, Dark World, was six tracks of fuzzy emo that perfectly mirrored post-adolescent languor and seemed to portend the now-ubiquitous '90s revival. It also served as a reminder that an immaculately assembled EP is almost always more effective than a half-baked LP.
"Overnight sensation" is a cliché, but that's exactly what happened to Pity Sex. The next time I saw the band was the following summer in a friend's basement, and it was hard to get down the stairs. A packed house show is sometimes misleading—50 people suddenly feels like 500—but compared to the group's first Portland show, it was Beatlemania. Someone was wearing a Pity Sex hoodie even though it was 85 degrees out, and people knew all the lyrics to a record that came out that week.
That record, Feast of Love, was a more polished affair than Dark World, and it stripped away some of its predecessor's homespun charm but largely improved on the group's marriage of twinkly emo and Dinosaur Jr. worship. Pity Sex's new single, "What Might Soothe You?," is another evolution, one that sees the band tinkering with post-punk chilliness—the Tumblr-core trend du jour. Also, read our article on Eskimeaux.
Typhoon's 10-Year Anniversary; Revolution Hall, 1300 SE Stark
I associate Portland's golden era of all-ages music with some of Typhoon's earliest performances. I remember seeing them open PDX Pop Now! in 2007, and, later that year, performing at the hallowed Brainstains house venue with Defect Defect and Cower for local impresario Arya Imig's birthday. Punk has always been more an ideology than a definitive musical genre, and Typhoon cut their teeth playing punk shows—which in some sense makes them a punk band, even though they sound nothing like one.
There's a distinctly Pacific Northwestern phenomenon with indie artists, where we disown them after they achieve a certain level of success unless they constantly nurture an illusion of indie cred (e.g., Calvin Johnson) or kill themselves (e.g., Elliott Smith, Kurt Cobain). Typhoon may have just released a record titled Live at the Crystal Ballroom and performed on national television, but they're about as Portland as it gets—2013's White Lighter exudes an unmistakable vitality that is no doubt a byproduct of the group's grimy DIY upbringing. You can't fake that shit, so don't even try.