THE GOSSIP, MIKA MIKO, SWAN ISLAND
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) Okay, so yeah, the Gossip does play PDX a lot, which would sorta sap their magic if they weren't so effing good. I have to admit, I totally doubted (and maybe, maybe talked some MAJOR shit) when I heard they were ditching blues rock in favor of dance-punk for their latest CD, Standing in the Way of Control. But holy crap did they pull it off well. How tight are new drummer Hannah Blilie's beats? How sassy is Beth's onstage act? How slinky, angular, and funky are Brace Paine's guitar and bass skills? Man, they are seriously smokin' these days! (And living in my iPod.) And is that cowbell I'm hearin' on Standing in the Way's title track? Yes, I believe it is. Suh-wheet! GRANT MORRIS
NICK JAINA, HOLCOMBE WALLER, THE MUSIC POPULATION ORCHESTRA
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Portland's Music Population Orchestra operate under a mission of trying to liberate "chamber music from the concert hall" and bring it to the people, with intimate bar, club, and nontraditional venue performances (sometimes just closing off busy city streets and kicking down right there on the pavement!). Under the direction of Brede Rørstad, the orchestra merges classic composition with electronic music in what Rørstad has dubbed "klatronic." There are icy, triphop-style beats, hand percussion, and opera diva vocals, all merging together in a smart, but tastefully fun stew. BRENT RICHARDSON
ATMOSPHERE, BROTHER ALI, MAC LETHAL, PSALM ONE, DJ RARE GROOVE
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) See Music, pg. 21.
CLOUD CULT, CLIMBER
(Berbati's, 10 SW 3rd) Since its appropriate conception as a not-for-profit music centered movement on Earth Day in 1997, Craig Minowa and his Cloud Cult have been stoking the mind's fire toward environmental awareness through a hairy mutation of progressive pop records. You can't deny the honesty. Dude literally lived in a closet for a year, obsessively stashing away cash and ideas toward realizing his vision. After the release of 2001's Who Killed Puck, Warner Marketing was poised to shell out serious green for commercial use of a few songs for a chain of Canadian department stores. Minowa didn't dig their manufacturing methods so he slammed that door and pushed ahead to continue making brilliant records. After personal tragedy, CC created their masterpiece in 2003's They Live on the Sun and have been converting and enlightening college charts and towns ever since. They roll through Stumptown in support of last year's Radiohead-jackknifing-in-Neil Young's-pool Advice from the Happy Hippopotamus and a widespread reputation for strikingly visual and positively life-changing shows. JJ DIXON
LESS PAUL MORE ROCK: THE PARTY W/ALAN SINGLEY & PANTS MACHINE, DJ MULTIPLY
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Pants. They're a necessity. Thank god for Alan Singley and Pants Machine. Okay. Okay. So Singley and his Pants Machine don't actually use their tiny little digits to craft highquality dungarees, but the band's untrained pop does fit like the comfiest pair of trousers in your collection. Tight in all the right places, loose in others. Mr. Singley's melancholy and fragile voice drags and frays, timidly crooning about love, cats, bicycles, and, well, clothes, while Pants Machine rides snug, carrying the rococo mix to a place where Burt Bacharach and the guy who invented Zoloft are sitting down to sprinkle-covered cupcakes. Alan Singley and Pants Machine play Holocene as part of Slow January Records' Less Paul, More Rock—The Party. When a record label throws a "party," it usually means free shit. Tonight should be no different. Free T-shirts. Free CDs. Free cover. Free drinks (two of 'em) to the first 100 in the door. Free cupcakes. Kidding about the cupcakes, but Singley's no joke. MATT DRISCOLL
SCOTT H. BIRAM, HILLSTOMP, DRY COUNTY CROOKS, CICADA OMEGA
(Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) Scott H. Biram spends most of his songs getting saved, getting drunk, getting laid, and murdering people. He does not murder people in real life, but other than that, his narrative persona doesn't seem to diverge much from his day-to-day: Biram is a tough SOB. For example: A little more than a month after his truck was creamed by a semi in 2003 and Biram required 13 surgeries, he was back onstage in Austin, playing his crazy-ass version of "alt-country," which for Biram means music with any kind of Southern influence (gospel, chain-gang, blues, spirituals, that nebulous "old-timey"). Press photos depict Biram drinking canned beer on a porch, strumming a beat-up guitar, and wearing a non-ironic trucker hat. That's pretty much it. JOEL HARTSE
DARK SKIES, THE HUSBANDS, PURE COUNTRY GOLD, MONSTER WOMEN
(Towne Lounge, 714 SW 20th Pl) While I'd probably blindly buy anything that Swami Records owner (and former Hot Snake and Driver of Jehu) John Reis put out, I'd dig the Husbands even if they weren't on his label. Their latest release, There's Nothing I'd Like More Than to See You Dead, continues their tradition of sweet-and-snarl-filled garage punk, flavored with just enough Motown spirit that it sounds more like something from Detroit than the work of three foxy ladies from San Francisco. HANNAH LEVIN
HALLELUWAH: A FESTIVAL OF ENTHUSED ARTS
(Disjecta, 230 E Burnside) See Feature, pg. 13.
GLASS CANDY, SEW WHAT
(Dunes, 1905 NE MLK) Everybody knows that I am an ass-shaker. Seriously, I don't give a fuck—I'll find an open corner of the room, shove aside a few tables and make the dance party happen. If the sound's got soul, well, by the end of the night I'm soaked with sweat and wild-eyed with the bump and grind. Regardless of genre, good dance music has a heartbeat and energy that carries the artist's intention: to get you hot, and to get you laid. This is not the case with Glass Candy. Their remake of Josie Cotton's "Johnny Are You Queer?" is a 7-inch obscurity and singer Ida No's beauty is the stuff of indierock legend. But the simple synthesizer beats are bland and Ida No's singing is reminiscent of Rocky Horror Picture Show antics. Watching them live is like watching prudes practice dance moves at home in their bedroom mirrors. Glass Candy has gathered a following because of how well they dress and how cool they pose. Perhaps in the pageantry of the new cabaret this is important. However, in working so hard to maintain a cool image, Glass Candy will lose the ass-shakers and be passed along as another trend. SALINA NUNEZ
BENEVENTO-RUSSO DUO, APOLLO SUNSHINE
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Marco Benevento plays keyboards. Joe Russo drums. Together they are Benevento-Russo Duo, a Brooklyn-based experimental, instrumental post-rock band that sounds like Tristeza gone new wave (read: mucho keyboard riffs) or Tortoise on a minimalism bender. Their new record, Play Pause Stop, is only two-thirds right; you will hit play a lot, you'll pause it a bunch to let some intricate, brainy song-part sink in, but you sure as heck won't come anywhere near the stop button. BR
(Food Hole, 20 NW 3rd) Tonight is Sumara's final show, which is just total, utter shit. I'm talking shit—dark, stinking, bacteria-ridden SHIT. In their day, Sumara packed dynamite and nail-bombs into each thrashy hardcore/metal riff, broken glass shards into every breakdown, and an angry gorilla scream into the vocals. But no more. After tonight, it's over. Again, this is shit. ADAM GNADE
ALEJANDRO ESCOVEDO, ALELA DIANE
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) See Music, pg. 23.
WAYNE "THE TRAIN" HANCOCK, THE TEXECUTIONERS
(Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) Guitar-slinger Wayne "The Train" Hancock is a shockingly democratic bandleader. On his latest album, Tulsa, the reigning king of juke-joint swing—a concoction of Western swing, rockabilly, blues, and honky-tonk styles—allows ample opportunity for all his cohorts to strut their stuff. He even calls 'em out by name, so you can easily identify your favorite players after a few listens. The performances are sweet and juicy as a ripe tangerine, with negligible grandstanding, so the overall effect is closer to the big bands of Art Blakey or Bob Wills than, say, Brian Setzer. KURT B. REIGHLEY
MATT COSTA, THE WATSON TWINS, THE 88
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) See My, What a Busy Week!, pg. 19.
HALLELUWAH: A FESTIVAL OF ENTHUSED ARTS
(Disjecta, 230 E Burnside) See Feature, pg. 13.
GENGHIS TRON, JX:ATG, SILENTIST, BLACK ELK, FALL OF ENOSIS
(Food Hole, 20 NW 3rd) Philly's Genghis Tron are an essay on merging disparate musical forms and making it work. With brutal grindcore guitar, blast beats inhumanly fast, and goth-house electro synth noise, it's an oddly paired sound, but goddamn is it cohesive, tight, and well-structured. It's full of speed-death mayhem but the band moves about their music with ballet grace, switching between song parts like the best prog you've ever heard, but with none of prog's "hey look, we're changing time signatures!" showiness. This bill is a fucking powerhouse. AG
OSLO, AGENT SPARKS, CONTROLLING THE FAMOUS, THE YOUNG IMMORTALS
(Berbati's, 10 SW 3rd) If Nirvana was Seattle's answer to the Pixies, Agent Sparks are LA's. Drawing comparisons to Black & Co. from nearly every music publication on the planet, their bass-driven songs and "girl versus boy" dueling vocal style warrants the analogy. However, Agent Sparks' Red Rover is a distinctly California record, made by attractive, well-dressed people who prize pristinely grit-free production, lacking the unpredictable edginess of their punk mentors. Keyboard/vocalist Stephanie Eitel is this band's star, with a vocal and stage presence that invokes Kathleen Hanna channeling the sisters Deal; her standout track, "Make Up Friend," is a relevant, unaffected take on the pretentious scene that surrounds her. MA'CHELL DUMA LAVASSAR
FOOD FIGHT GROCERY/SCAPEGOAT ANNIVERSARY W/FOGATRON
(Food Fight Grocery, 4179 SE Division) Parties with food are my favorite kind of parties, and this one beats all. Ready for this? Starting at 1 pm and running 'til 5, there's gonna be a dunking booth (to benefit the Lighthouse Farm Santuary), music by Fogatron and various DJs, a skate trick contest, food and drink, and—this is the best part—EATING CONTESTS. There will be cupcake, Stonewalls' jerky, and "gross-out" eating contests, and I'm thinking of entering every single one. If you'd like to enter, act soon; each category is limited to eight participants. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you think you have what it takes. AG
EAR VENOM, DRUGS, MATTRESS, ANIMAL WRITES
(Food Hole, 20 NW 3rd) I've met Rex from Mattress and he's one helluva nice guy, but man, sometimes his music wants to kill you. With kindness that is. This is full on deep tissue brain massage stuff, electro pulses, and jitters perfect for the headphones, perfect for cranking up loud and letting it jumble up your senses and caress you with mystical peyote trip vibe. I'm a big lover of "the noise," and if you're feeling me on that, Food Hole is your magical kingdom tonight. AG
DARK SKIES, KILAUEA, DJ NATE C
(Tube, 18 NW 3rd) Locals Dark Skies channel vintage Cream and Led Zeppelin and breathe a little life into it with punk-influenced garage rock, in turn sending just about any audience into a wild, rippling collective orgasm with their sexy guitar muscle. Kilauea, named after a Hawaiian volcano, do the same sort of thing with a decidedly psychedelic metal feel that celebrates the "Sabbath" every freakin' day. DJ Nate C lays vinyl to turntable and plays your favorite songs. Monday night rules! BR
PLASTIC CONSTELLATIONS, NO GO KNOW
(Towne Lounge, 714 SW 20th Pl) Minneapolis band the Plastic Constellations play the kind of jagged, maniacal rock for which Frenchkiss Records (Syd Butler of Les Savy Fav's label) has become known. Their latest record, Crusades, is a lively mix of fractured post-punk anthems and smart, snarky rock. The band have been honing their sound for 10 years (since they were barely teenagers) and it shows. Their songs are tight and loose in all the right places, chaotic but never falling apart, and the musicians possess an easy enthusiasm onstage (even if they hate each other by now). ERIC GRANDY
(Food Hole, 20 NW 3rd) Growing up in San Diego, the "bands" (and I use that term loosely, because they were more like cults) Physics and Crash Worship were talked about the same way that superstitious natives must've talked about the sun or beasts in the sea. They were legendary, and their shows (I never saw Crash Worship, only Physics) were exercises in rhythm as mood enhancers. Sixes is Ryan Jencks and he played in both. His stuff these days is dark and crashing and full of squiggly, wormy noise. It's less tribal than Physics and Crash Worship, but it still retains a weird, buggy, uncomfortably attractive sense of rhythm. I have an idea that getting too close to this sound will zap you like a moth in a bug light. Not a bad way to go. AG
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) See Music, pg. 21.
THE LIVING JARBOE, TWO-TON BOA, KAITLYN NI DONOVAN
(Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) Jarboe's yowlin' howlin' death sound transcends genres like folk, rock, and experimental, and confuses a lotta people (as did her old band Swans), and I think that's just peachy keen. Knock 'em dead, Jarbz! GM
WE AREN'T DJS W/JOE PLUMMER
(Saucebox, 214 SW Broadway) Few months ago, I overheard a session or two at the Modest Mouse house down in SE and it sounded a little like Tom Waits. I'm guessing this is thanks to singer Isaac Brock, whose Ugly Cassanova side band was pretty Waitsy. But what does it sound like inside Modest Mouse drummer Joe Plummer's head? What inner noises, guilty pleasures, and influences keep him beat-making in Modest Mouse, Magic Magicians, and Black Heart Procession? Tonight's your chance to find out. AG
JEFREY LEIGHTON BROWN, OHIOAN, MARK KAYLOR
(Valentine's, 232 SW Ankeny) Change Has Got to Come! This is not only the title of Jefrey Leighton Brown's upcoming release but an exclamation of the truth. Portland has got to open its eyes to the incredible talent of Jefrey Leighton Brown! Every time I have the opportunity to check him out, I am blown away by the power of his saxophone skills. A one-time member of Jackie-O Motherfucker and presently leading the Evolutionary Jass Band, Brown's dynamic horn playing is shifting the way that the locals look at jazz. At times his tremulous saxophone creates an almost angelic peace, a meditation of sound that sonically cleanses. At other times, his breath upon the reed brings us back to the standards, the be-bop of our forefathers. Valentine's is an intimate and urban venue, perfect for showcasing this gift of the latest music that is rarely seen in our musically aware city. Jef Brown is bringing about a new measure by which we listen to jazz and experience live performances. Tonight's solo show will be nothing less than inspiring, I am sure of it. SN
NOUVELLE VAGUE, THE SUBMARINES
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) See My, What a Busy Week!, pg. 19.
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) See Music, pg. 23.
BARK, HIDE AND HORN, LAST OF THE BLACKSMITHS, CICADA OMEGA
(Acme, 1305 SE 8th) Fuck San Francisco. The music that comes out of that place is pretty bogus too. Except the great—and duder, do I mean great—Last of the Blacksmiths, an indiefolk outfit that turns lullabies of Wurlitzer, slide guitar, mandolin, and vocals into the best shit ever. Hey Blacksmiths, ditch SF. It's the pits. Come to PDX. It's so bangin' here sometimes we have to yell "shaaaaddap!" out our windows just to get some sleep. GM