I've long found it curious that Portland is home to more avowed garage-rock devotees and their bands than anywhere I've ever been, yet so few of the local acts anointed by major indie labels reflect that demographic fact. The relatively recent renaissance of Philadelphia's long-dormant Siltbreeze label, a historical bastion of brazenly trashy homemade albums recorded entirely in the red, seemed destined to bring at least one more set of our city's lo-fi, hi-dB champions to prominence. Lo and behold, Eat Skull have signed to Siltbreeze, which will release their debut LP Sick to Death by June. If you missed their sold-out 7-inch from last year, imagine the sound of a beach-bound, Kingsmen-rockin' woodie slamming headlong into the suspended organ at Oaks Park Skating Rink in the summertime.
Eat Skull may sound like a car wreck, but local one-man grindcore band blowupnihilist was actually in one. To help replace the gear destroyed in the tour accident, an all-ages blowupnihilist benefit is being held at Satyricon on Friday, March 7, featuring some of the Northwest's most fearsome blast-beat-based metalcore warriors and noisemongers. It's irresistibly heartwarming when bands with names like Oscillating Innards, Argumentix, and Blueprint for Disaster come together to help their friend in blowupnihilist.
If that doesn't make you smile, I don't know what will. Except this: The Joggers have posted rough mixes of two new songs on their MySpace page. It's been more than two years since we've heard fresh tunes from the one band that can consistently assuage any fears about the continuing relevance and vibrancy of guitar-based indie rock, but these slightly countrified numbers suggest the wait's been worth it. The tracks are a taste of the album's worth of material the Joggers recorded last year in various Portland basements and will release just as soon as they find a label to partner with. Take note, record executives: Show up early to Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks' upcoming West Coast tour dates, which the Joggers will be opening, and listen well.
Speaking of openings, as you may have gleaned from the review in this week's Mercury film section, the new documentary Girls Rock!, about the Rock 'n' Roll Camp for Girls—one of Portland's greatest local treasures and cultural exports—premieres this Friday, March 7, at Cinema 21, and will continue to show throughout the week. In spite of the fact that dropping off flyers in the lobby is the closest I have come to seeing the actual camp in session, the place radiates fun and inspiration so strongly that I can safely say that, based on that limited proximity alone, there are few places in the world I would rather see a film about.
As the weekend inevitably draws to a close, and the spectre of the work week begins to haunt your thoughts, seek succor at rontoms (600 E Burnside) on Sunday night at 9:30 pm when Oh Captain, My Captain take to the stage. In conjunction with local radio promotion company SPECTRE, the pleasant and comfortable East Burnside bar is now hosting a free concert of local music every Sunday night.