Can't See 'em All! 

Our Super-Duper List of MusicfestNW Show Previews

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WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 5

(Go here for writeups on Hot Snakes, Sloan, and Passion Pit, all performing tonight.)

AGAINST ME!, ANDREW JACKSON JIHAD, JOYCE MANOR
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE 39th) Joyce Manor's new "full-length," Of All Things I Will Soon Grow Tired, is a bit of a grower, which is weird considering it clocks in at just 13 minutes, making it significantly shorter than the band's already meager debut. But what it lacks in its predecessor's anthemic immediacy, it makes up for with irresistible weirdness: Frontman Barry Johnson offers his best Morrissey impression in "See How Tame I Can Be" and the deliberately lo-fi "Drainage" sounds uncannily like one of those Evan Dando hotel-bathroom demos. An unrecognizable cover version of "Video Killed the Radio Star" tops them both in terms of unexpectedness. Joyce Manor have outlived "fad band" accusations and are still the life of the pop-punk party. MORGAN TROPER Also, read our article on Against Me!

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 6

OLD 97'S, JASON ISBELL AND THE 400 UNIT, THOSE DARLINS, REIGNWOLF
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) Old 97's' seminal 1997 album Too Far to Care is oft taken for granted in the pantheon of "alt country"—which is silly considering it blows the doors clean off any mid-'90s work with the names Tweedy or Farrar attached to it. You won't find a better mix of outlaw twang, Replacements rawk, and R.E.M. pop cavorting with a more downtrodden assortment of characters. The Dallas four-piece's third release has aged remarkably w ell, too. To celebrate that fact, the Old 97's perform the record in its entirety, with a vinyl reissue on the way. It's a chance to discover what many attractive and intelligent people have known for 15 years. MARK LORE

OMAR SOULEYMAN, SUN ANGLE, STAY CALM, COPY
(Branx, 320 SE 2nd) Omar Souleyman's homeland of Syria is currently embroiled in a horrifying civil war, but to see him—with the unfazed cool of the congenital badass, wearing a hatta and aviators—you'd think he could stop it all with a dismissive flick of the wrist. But that's not why you should see him. You should see him because his beats are off the hook, and because he sings in Arabic and Kurdish in a grizzled, no-nonsense style that belies his status as Syria's favorite wedding singer. But don't write him off as a novelty act: He's a techno auteur who numbers Björk and Damon Albarn among his biggest fans. REBECCA WILSON

PURITY RING, EVIAN CHRIST, HEADACHES
(Ted's Berbati's Pan, 231 SW Ankeny) The second most annoying thing about Purity Ring is how their name makes anyone over the age of 27 automatically think of the Promise Ring, a band they do not remotely resemble in any fashion. The first most annoying thing about Purity Ring is the sheer saccharine addictiveness of their chop-screw-and-paste synth pop, which takes the edgy elements of glitch and Southern rap, and turns them into ultra-palatable aural cotton candy. The Canadian duo's debut, Shrines, is a twinkling overdose of pop, boasting monoliths of artificial beauty. While the overall impression is that this is music for children, now is the time to see this band, as they'll be filling much bigger rooms from here on out. NED LANNAMANN

JOHN MAUS, ONUINU, STRATEGY, SWAHILI
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) The considerable local hype for the upcoming Mirror Gazer, the first full-length for Onuinu (AKA Dorian Duvall), manages to live up to most every expectation. Duvall's electro-pop pizzazz is well seasoned throughout the LP, peppering disco-synth bangers like the infectious "Always Awkward" with a deserving amount of glitz without burying the hooks. But the real gems in Onuinu's oeuvre come from his deft employment of deep-space synth runs that Eno would be proud to call his own. Mirror Gazer strikes a pretty irresistible balance of heavy and delicate. RYAN J. PRADO

LIGHTNING BOLT, QUASI, WHITE FANG
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE 39th) You never know what you're going to get with a Lightning Bolt show, but you can safely expect to partake in an original experience that transcends gimmick or spectacle. The Rhode Island-based band, formed in 1994, eschews traditional performer/audience structure, performing not on stage but among the assembled bodies. Brian Chippendale drums hysterically, his vocals amplified and transmogrified through a telephone receiver attached to his head. And Brian Gibson plays bass in a way that unmasks previously unseen capabilities of the instrument. The sonic cacophony is turned up and sped up to critically wounding levels. MARANDA BISH

CEREMONY, CHEAP GIRLS, LEE COREY OSWALD
(Backspace, 115 NW 5th) The previous two Cheap Girls records definitely had their moments, but leave it to Tom Gabel (now Laura Jane Grace)—who handled production duties on the band's latest effort, Giant Orange—to wring absolute greatness out of them. Giant Orange is a relentless romp through '90s pop/rock fetishism, recalling the best aspects of bands like Superchunk, Nerf Herder, Gin Blossoms (before they were wretched), and They Might Be Giants (specifically in lead singer Ian Graham's corrosive wail). MT

THE MEN, THE MEAN JEANS, THE PEOPLE'S TEMPLE
(Star Theater, 13 NW 6th) 2012 has been a great year for rock, and Brooklyn's the Men have played a big part in making it so. Their latest LP Open Your Heart is filled with no-nonsense guitars that pummel and hooks that bury themselves deep into your ear canal. Think of them sort of like the Replacements-replacements. The Men offer something for everyone—the recklessness of proto-punk, spaghetti western twang, psychedelic flashbacks. ML

POKEY LAFARGE AND THE SOUTH CITY THREE, THE ALIALUJAH CHOIR, LEMOLO, MBILLY
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) The pacing of Seattle dream-pop duo Lemolo's new LP The Kaleidoscope is sometimes painfully labored, somewhat like the boorish film-reel loops of an actual dream. Lemolo, then, is living up to its reputation. Well, more than that; behind the enchanting knockout harmonies of Meagan Grandall and Kendra Cox, they're thriving. The Seattle duo's hypnotic debut is a certifiable grower—repeated listens are rewarded with the revelation of charming subtleties in the melodies, and a growing appreciation for all that plunking piano. It's a deadly serious project that fancies itself a playful, swaying romp, offering a nice contrast to the rollicking lineup on this bill. RJP

FLYING LOTUS, NOSAJ THING, JACQUES GREENE
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) The recent collaboration between Flying Lotus and Erykah Badu resonates like a new drug. "See Thru to U", the track's title, has the low-lit soul of '50s metropolitan bebop and the edged shuffle of an R&B song written on heroin, all while strongly portraying the synchronized melodic power of these two stand-alone artists. I swear it plays like a single—if there were such a thing—off Miles Davis' Bitches Brew. It's further evidence that they're the king and queen of their musical climates, and further reason to get increasingly ecstatic about Flying Lotus' upcoming Until the Quiet Comes, out October 2. JONATHAN MAGDALENO

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 7

BEIRUT, MENOMENA, GARDENS AND VILLA
(Pioneer Courthouse Square, 701 SW 6th) Read our article on Menomena.

MR. JONATHAN TOUBIN, DJ BEYONDADOUBT, DJ COOKY PARKER
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Read our article on Mr. Jonathan Toubin.

FUCKED UP, POISON IDEA, SONS OF HUNS, BISON BISON
(Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) Toronto punks Fucked Up composed their magnum opus with 2011's David Comes to Life, and tonight they perform the rock opera in all its hoary, heavy, magnificent glory. It's a work of remarkable depth, reinventing and recontextualizing hardcore punk into something more accessible but just as revolutionary. NL

THE HELIO SEQUENCE, UNKNOWN MORTAL ORCHESTRA, RADIATION CITY, HOSANNAS
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) The hometown trio of Unknown Mortal Orchestra recently played a set aboard the Portland Spirit as the vessel cruised along the Willamette; the dated aesthetic and overall schmaltz of the Spirit proved an inspired atmosphere. Neon lights pulsated amid waterfront scenes as the unassuming, delightful performance took place. UMO's sound is distinguished by intriguingly chameleonlike qualities—there's frontman (and New Zealand transplant) Ruban Nielsen's pleasingly accented vocals, Julian Ehrlich's polished and perfectly punctuating drums, and guitar riffs from Nielsen and bassist Jake Portrait that run the gamut of instrumental intonations, from twangy to trippy. MB Also, read our article on the Helio Sequence.

MIRRORRING, DREAMBOAT
(The Old Church, 1422 SW 11th) Mirrorring is the duo of Jesy Fortino and Liz Harris, and if you've ever spent any time with records by Fortino's Tiny Vipers or Harris' Grouper, this pairing will no doubt have you salivating. Earlier this year, Mirrorring released its debut, the slow, hushed Foreign Body, and it sounds more or less like what you'd imagine a collaboration between Tiny Vipers and Grouper would sound like. That also means it's as achingly gorgeous as you'd expect, as it marries Fortino's spindly, coldwater folk with Harris' glacier-melting pulses. It's a record that can envelop a willing listener; seeing the pair perform at downtown's atmospheric Old Church has the very real possibility of being transcendent. NL

THE PAINS OF BEING PURE AT HEART, DAUGHN GIBSON, MOON DUO, AAN
(Star Theater, 13 NW 6th) The golden sounds of Daughn Gibson sound like breaths of the vintage past come to life, although there's a bit of test-tube trickery going on. Gibson builds his easygoing but gripping version of country-soul out of classic samples, opting for authentic, revival-camp warmth over inhumanly chilly electronic beats. Gibson vocalizes over it all in a cavernous, Scott Walker croon, and the result is disconcerting but oddly consoling. His new full-length, All Hell, is a minor masterpiece, and it sounds like warped transmissions from a busted AM radio, catching fragments of signals from America's musical past. Fittingly, it caught the ear of Sub Pop, which just inked Gibson to their roster. NL

MELVINS LITE, BIG BUSINESS, FEDERATION X, OLD MAN GLOOM
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE 39th) Few bands can say they've been together since high school, achieved international fame, and stayed staggeringly productive and independent for damn near 30 years together. The Melvins can. They are one band that never left, with 18(!) full-length albums, not to mention abundant EPs and singles. Tonight's show is billed as Melvins Lite, a three-piece incarnation with Buzz Osborne (he of the hair), Dale Crover (stalwart drummer), and Trevor Dunn on bass, although it's just as crushing, doom-laden, and cheekily creative as ever. This go-round, they're attempting to set the Guinness world record for fastest tour of all 50 states by a band. MB

FUTURE ISLANDS, FORT LEAN, BATTLEME
(Branx, 320 SE 2nd) Baltimore synth ravers Future Islands recently released a pair of sterling albums—2010's In Evening Air and 2011's On the Water—and it sounds like another one is on the way. Their current set lists include a clutch of new material, great news for anyone who's been swayed by the trio's potent combination of rigid, New Wave rock and blood-on-sleeve, near-operatic emoting, courtesy of vocalist Samuel Herring's hoarse howling. Future Islands have been steadily winning over new fans at each performance, establishing themselves as a must-see act. I dare you to remain unconvinced. NL

A-TRAK, THE HOOD INTERNET, BAAUER
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) What more can be said about someone who won the 1997 DMC World DJ Championship when he was only 15 years old and acted as Kanye West's touring DJ in 2004? Even if you haven't heard his work, A-Trak's clout is blatant. He's not necessarily doing anything breathtakingly new, but he has a keen sense for making music that keeps a party both alive and optimistic. One of my favorites has been his Dirty South Dance series, which, as the name implies, is a composite of Southern rap songs constantly blending in and out of each other to form a near hour's worth of seamless club songs. Put it on and you either want to run a mile or take drugs or dance or do some seizure-like version of all three. JM

TALKDEMONIC, MIMICKING BIRDS, FRENCH CASSETTES
(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) In a perfect world, Talkdemonic would play hometown shows every week. As it is, the Portland duo of drummer Kevin O'Connor and violist Lisa Molinaro only play here every few months, which is all the more reason to make sure you don't miss them at tonight's Glacial Pace Recordings showcase. Their last album, 2011's Ruins, continues their string of daring recordings that explore a wide swath of instrumental music, finding the shared common ground in folk, electronica, hiphop, and post-rock. Talkdemonic remains one of Portland's most unique bands and one of its most reliably exciting live acts. NL

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 8

REDD KROSS, DANTE VS. ZOMBIES, THE SUICIDE NOTES, THE NEEDFUL LONGINGS
(Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) Read our article on Redd Kross.

MOONFACE, SAD BABY WOLF, KISHI BASHI, THE LAST BISON, THE WE SHARED MILK
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Read our article on Kishi Bashi.

GIRL TALK, STARFUCKER, AU
(Pioneer Courthouse Square, 701 SW 6th) Mashup king Gregg Gillis (AKA Girl Talk) headlines a show tailor-made for folks who don't give a shit whether their music is highbrow or low just so long as it's danceable. It'll be interesting to see if Gillis' laptop can fill up an entire city block. Even more interesting, though, are Starfucker, whose weird, spacey pop songs are made instantly catchy by Shawn Glassford's bass. But certainly the most exhilarating band are the guys who play first. You can try to dance to AU, but if you're paying any kind of attention, you'll likely be too busy picking your chin up off the floor. In their latest incarnation, for the album Both Lights, AU play folk music on Adderall—frenetically paced, gorgeously layered, and constantly surprising. RW

TYPHOON, HOLCOMBE WALLER, AND AND AND
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) At Pickathon, the many-tentacled Typhoon played some of the new material they recorded earlier this year at Pendarvis Farm. It's as good as what's come before, which is to say it's very fucking good indeed. The sheer logistics of this band, whose ranks swell into the double digits, have me completely mystified (particularly when it seems most three-piece bands can barely keep a consistent lineup for more than a few months). But what's more mystifying, and delightful, is how Typhoon continually, consistently makes heart-stoppingly great music that ranges from quiet folk to near-orchestral bombast. This local Portland band is also an excellent, world-class act. We're damn fortunate. NL

SWANS, XIU XIU
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE 39th) Michael Gira resurrected Swans two years ago, in the process redefining yet again a band that had already done its fair share of shape-shifting. The Seer might be Swans' most intense and most primal work to date. Songs wander for what seems like an eternity (the title track clocks in at 30 minutes, and there are two others in the 20-minute range). This should make for an equally intense, equally sprawling live set. Simply put: You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll drink, you'll think yourself insane, you'll sleep it off, and you'll want to do it again. ML

HAZEL, DIRTCLODFIGHT, SNOWBUD AND THE FLOWER PEOPLE, PETE KREBS
(Star Theater, 13 NW 6th) The legendary Hazel is an authentic taste of the old Portland rock scene. Formed back in 1992 and mostly defunct since '97, its members read like a who's-who list of bygone-era indie rockers. It's no surprise that people still get really excited over their music 20 years later. Hazel's live shows have been classified by super fans as very precise and high energy with a sound that cleverly mixes a little bit of pop with lot of grunge. Fred Nemo adds an element of performance art by dancing onstage, creating an air of chaos and edginess. Catch them in a rare reunion performance. CHRISTINA BROUSSARD

DINOSAUR JR, SEBADOH, J MASCIS
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) The upcoming I Bet on Sky is the 10th Dinosaur Jr. album, and it continues their second-phase streak of surprisingly terrific work, which began in 2007 when the original three members of the group got back together. Bucking the cash-in reunion trend, Dinosaur Jr. sounds as vital and mammoth as they did in their heyday, and their thundering guitar-driven rock has aged beautifully. This bill is all Dino from start to finish, too—Lou Barlow's Sebadoh and J. Mascis do turns as opening acts. NL

JULIA HOLTER, PURE BATHING CULTURE
(The Old Church, 1422 SW 11th) Julia Holter is one of few artists who successfully transform trends. Sharing the dance-y tonality of the likes of Grimes and the childlike sounds of Youth Lagoon, Holter manages to create something unique. 2012's Ekstasis channels previous recordings, but with a much more mature and developed voice. Full instrumentals, samples, and her haunting voice keep you aching for more in an album that ebbs and flows with ease. Local band Pure Bathing Culture opens with satisfying and sugar-sweet dream pop. ZIBBY PILLOTE

WILD NOTHING, THE SOFT MOON, DIIV, MAC DEMARCO
(Ted's Berbati's Pan, 231 SW Ankeny) Beach Fossils' Zachary Cole Smith has put something worthwhile together with his new project DIIV (né Dive, after the Nirvana track). Expanded to a four-piece that includes Smith Westerns drummer Colby Hewitt, DIIV makes dreamy, swoony guitar pop, thick with shoegaze-y reverb and C86 sparkle. DIIV's debut full-length Oshin is strangely malleable to the listener's mood; it's equal parts joy and melancholy, and sounds just right in both the bright light of day and in the dark wee hours. NL

THE HIVES, FIDLAR
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) The first time anyone sees the Hives on stage is like the first time anyone sees a solar eclipse. Everything is black and white, for the most part symmetrical, and there's definitely an alien kind of familiarity. When it's done right, the Hives are one of the best live bands you'll ever see. You either feel like you've seen them before, or just wish you had. These oddly classic facets of flashy punk and ruse-ready garage-rock have slingshotted these five Swedes beyond the flash-in-the-pan garage-rock explosion of the early '00s. Their new LP, Lex Hives, is a reminder of the relevance of a group whose tongue-in-cheek professionalism is secondary to their jangly garage-pop chops. RJP

THE TALLEST MAN ON EARTH, STRAND OF OAKS
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) On his third album, There's No Leaving Now, the Tallest Man on Earth—the alter ego of not-especially-tall Swedish singer/songwriter Kristian Matsson—dabbled in overdubs, augmenting his simply strummed acoustic songs with electric guitars and keyboards. The result is largely unobtrusive for fans of Matsson's unadorned guitar-and-voice arrangements, leaving alone the simplicity of his heartfelt Dylanisms. Even if the feeling is that There's No Leaving Now doesn't quite capitalize on the promise of Matsson's often magnificent work—he has yet to deliver an album that's flawless from start to finish—he's in full command of one of the most powerful one-man shows around. Hopefully the intimacy won't be lost as he plays his biggest Portland venue to date. NL

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 9

SILVERSUN PICKUPS, SCHOOL OF SEVEN BELLS, ATLAS GENIUS
(Pioneer Courthouse Square, 701 SW 6th) In 2010, Silversun Pickups were very nearly victims of the Best "New" Artist Grammy, that most bizarre and career-killing of any award in musicdom. They lost to a country band, and this spring's release of Neck of the Woods has shown that they are more than a '90s nostalgia act with a loyal following. Now that they are chart-topping popular darlings, they've tempered their hazy, dense shoegaze with stylish synths and dance-worthy beats. They've paired their dark, dramatic melodicism with good salesmanship. RW

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