R. STEVIE MOORE, LAKE, PALEO (Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Every artist who's ever been classified as "lo-fi" or "bedroom pop"—from Guided by Voices to Ariel Pink—owes a huge debt to R. Stevie Moore. The son of an esteemed Music City session musician, Moore began making erratically brilliant, scrappy home recordings when he was a teenager and has since released over 400 records. Sifting through his dauntingly extensive discography is a journey in itself (one which has consumed way too much of my time), but his best record is without a doubt the roundly flawless Phonography. Its follow-up Delicate Tensions and at least two thirds of Games and Groceries are nearly as good. Oh, and "The Winner" is one of the best underdog anthems ever, although I have no clue what album that was on originally. Inevitably, I'm forgetting something. MORGAN TROPER Also see My, What a Busy Week!
A SILENT FILM, ROYAL TEETH (Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) British bands have long looked toward the US for inspiration, but A Silent Film is positioned firmly within a distinctly British milieu of radio-friendly pop. This milieu has taken an obvious cue from wildly successful bands like Coldplay and Snow Patrol. A Silent Film specializes in music that is both evocative and impeccably produced—and that sounds suspiciously similar to Coldplay and Snow Patrol. These songs are the perfect backdrop to a particularly challenging spin class or any montage in any Garry Marshall movie that has ever existed. Their second LP, Sand and Snow, is not an album so much as a collection of lush textures, each of which more or less stands up on its own. Uplifting, pretty melodies can carry a band far, especially with a fanbase that wishes every frontman played the piano and inflected exactly like Chris Martin. REBECCA WILSON
STEPHEN HOUGH, OREGON SYMPHONY (Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway) Chief cultural blogger for the Telegraph of London. Prodigious recorder of more than 50 albums. MacArthur genius. Theologian. Poet. Queer activist. Composer. The guy wears a lot of (size 60) hats, but first and foremost: Stephen Hough plays piano and will forever and ever reign at the high altar of my personal pianoforte pantheon. Our very own Oregon Symphony is thankfully hosting Mr. Hough on his latest visit to Portland—this time 'round for a pair of concerts featuring the sometimes romantic, sometimes explosive, always kick-ass Piano Concerto No. 2 composed by Franz Liszt. If Hough's last appearance with the symphony was any indication, the pride of the Wirral Peninsula will be fueled by dark chocolate and British puddings, with his virtuosic wonders on full display as he gives all 88 keys the proverbial what-for. Look, I realize the social calendar of most Mercury readers has been full for weeks now, but c'mon... Fuck the cat show. Fuck the unicycle convention. Fuck the locally sourced paleo potluck. Globally adored virtuosos like Stephen Hough don't come to town every week, you know. Did I mention a Beethoven symphony is also on the program? Bring a change of shorts (you'll need 'em) and I'll see you at the Schnitz, goddammit. ANGRY SYMPHONY GUY