STRUBLE FOUNDATION BENEFIT: DAVE BRUBECK
(Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway) See My, What a Busy Week!.
JAMES PANTS, DJ TAN'T, THE I IN TEAM
(Rotture, 315 SE 3rd) See My, What a Busy Week!.
DAVID DONDERO, A WEATHER, AAN
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Cut from the classic cloth of restless troubadours who trade songs for a warm meal or a place to lay their head, David Dondero doesn't necessarily fit in our modern times. Pity the poor old singing soul stuck in an era of $4 gasoline and downloadable records. Dondero's road-weary tales stretch from the bedroom to the bars to the pews, the latter of which ("Rothko Chapel") is the finest moment of 2007's Simple Love. "Your heart is like the Rothko Chapel/Cold, dark, void, yet simple and intriguing/Somewhat comforting, got me believing almost anything/There was this line by Charlie Parker, somewhat worth remembering/'If you don't live it, it won't come out of your horn.'" Catch him before he packs his bindle and catches the next rumbling boxcar out of town. EZRA ACE CARAEFF
FUN WORLD: PATTERNS, CHURCH,
(Ground Kontrol, 511 NW Couch) Rise, and open your hymnal, because the generically named Church makes music that is anything but. Soothing, beautiful songs are given plaintively sparse arrangements: Clattering floor tom, omnichord, and pipeline guitar are augmented by careful, soulful vocals. Brothers Richard and Brandon Laws are accompanied by Cristof Hendrickson on an array of vintage synthesizers, and dynamics swell like a tide rising up a beach. While Church's gorgeous songs reach for the firmament (and more often than not, manage to touch it), it's done in a humble, humane way. Take the low-fi sparkle of the Shins' first record, slow it down to a pudding-crawl, add some Eno ambiance, and you've got music that's not only suitable for drowsy Sunday mornings, but quiet prayer sessions throughout the rest of the week. NED LANNAMANN
THE FRIENDLY SKIES, PACIFIC UV, JOUST
(Towne Lounge, 714 SW 20th Pl) As far as interesting back-stories go, I couldn't know less about Pacific UV. What I do know is that they slipped into Portland in the dead of night and cloaked by darkness, from their former locale (Athens, Georgia) awhile back. But when you listen to the hazy post-shoegaze atmospheric jams of Longplay 2, recently released via WARM Records, you don't hear anything remotely resembling our city or their Southern roots. The band might as well have traveled from the UK via cosmic spaceship. Longplay 2 isn't the warmest of recordings—record label pun aside—but the band patiently develops a textural and swirling body of matter that is at the center of their delicate and mysterious songs. While their past remains a mystery, their unique sound—shoegaze was never this calculating, post-rock was never this fragile—proves that sometimes the less you know about a band, the better. EAC
SIMIAN MOBILE DISCO, JDH, DAVE P, LINGER &
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) See My, What a Busy Week!.
BARR, PWRFL POWER, ALEXIS GIDEON, OVER THE
(Backspace, 115 NW 5th) In the latest multimedia evolution of oddball emcee Alexis Gideon, the former Chicagoan delivers an animation/claymation "video opera based on Hungarian mythology." It's a fascinating presentation of crude, yet absolutely charming, video skills—including a rapping/singing lion and elephant team that eventually melds together and takes flight ("Rock Waves"), and some sort of heavily armed alligator by the name of "Brimstone Blaine"—that will act as a backdrop to Gideons' jittery live performance. Plus, by the end of the night, you might've just learned a little something about the mythology of Hungary. EAC
JONATHAN COULTON, PAUL & STORM
(Mission Theater, 1624 NW Glisan) Geeky singer/songwriter Jonathan Coulton wrote the song that plays over the end credits of a videogame. Normally, this would not be big news. But in the case of "Still Alive"—which serves as a heartbreaking, clever, and strange sort of coda for Portal—an exception must be made. If you haven't played Portal yet, please do; it is a brilliant, weird, creepy, and darkly hilarious experience. One character in particular—GLaDOS, an artificial intelligence who throughout the game is your nemesis, narrator, and companion—will haunt you long after the too-short game comes to a close. Ellen McLain chirpily, cheerfully voices GLaDOS' synthesized tones, and as GLaDOS, she also sings Coulton's "Still Alive" at the game's end—a song that opens with gently plucked strings before it grows progressively wittier, catchier, and more discomforting. "I'm not even angry/I'm being so sincere right now," GLaDOS sings, "Even though you broke my heart and killed me/And tore me to pieces/And threw every piece into a fire/As they burned it hurt because/I was so happy for you." Portal's amazing, but so is Coulton's song; together with the game, it's an utterly unique, beautifully written, and unexpectedly touching experience. If it will translate from my Xbox 360 to a live show, I have no idea. ERIK HENRIKSEN
TRACTOR OPERATOR, EXCELLENCE, YELTSIN
(Kelly's Olympian, 426 SW Washington) Yeltsin is old. Better put, Yeltsin is not young. This is a good thing for the Eugene/Portland band, whose wide range of influences—a sound similar to a more streamlined Jawbox or less hook-dependent Fountains of Wayne, and a bio that namedrops both the Band and Gram Parsons—are key to their brand-new long-player, A Closer Walk with Yeltsin, out tonight. Age is oftentimes meaningless in the grand scheme of things musically, but there is great maturity (in a good way) and beaming confidence in the group's rock songs, two elements that would be lacking had the band not been around the block a few times. Call it experience, or the benefits of age, but whatever it is, it helps Yeltsin wipe the floor with their younger rock cohorts. EAC
PRE, THE MAE SHI, PANTHER, FIST FITE
(East End, 203 SE Grand) See Music Feature.
SWEEPING EXITS, MUSEUM, CHURCH
(The Waypost, 3120 N Williams) See Thursday's listing.
JACKIE-O MOTHERFUCKER, INDIAN JEWELRY, ILL EASE,
(Someday Lounge, 125 NW 5th) Liz Armstrong of the Chicago Reader writes, "Indian Jewelry plays the kind of music I want to hear in my head during sex, invoking visions of wild animals—a lunging cobra, a snarling mountain lion—and erupting volcanoes." Okay, Armstrong is way freakier than me, I guess—I'd prefer to keep wild animals far, FAR away from my thoughts during sex—but yeah, I know what she's talking about. Indian Jewelry make deliberately disorienting psychedelia, with the musical ideas twisted so far beyond their breaking point that the unnatural sounds natural again. The fuzzed-out abstractions of their new album Free Gold! inspire wanderlust, sea legs, trance-dancing, lighting things on fire, and occasional nausea. And if that doesn't sound appealing, remember that they're inspiring something, which is more than can be said for a majority of the humdrum that's out there. NL
POINT JUNCTURE WA, LYMBYC SYSTYM, HEAD LIKE A
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) It's hard to wrap my tiny brain around the grand concepts of Head Like a Kite. As the name suggests, this Seattle duo creates wonderful beat-centric music, an ethereal floating mass of challenging pop songs that vary heavily—thanks to a wide array of contributors (ranging from Smoosh to Radio 4) who swing by to lend their skills. It's fitting that their next record, There Is Loud Laughter Everywhere, has found a home on Los Angeles' Mush Records. Speaking of records finding a home, the local Point Juncture WA kids have just wrapped up their new album (titled Heart to Elk), and are still looking for the right label to present the recording to the masses. Says Victor Nash, "I wish we had a date set or some good news about some hot shit label waiting to put it out, but for right now we're just happy with what we've done and are ready to start getting it out there to people who like honest jams." EAC
LATE NIGHT CURLY, D NUMBERS, GEJIUS
(The Artistery, 4315 SE Division) Hailing from the open-skied high desert of Santa Fe, D Numbers create looping, miniature soundscapes with triggered samples that dart in and out of jam-rock dance grooves. Pops and crackles twinkle over delayed guitars, glitch-synths etch dings and dents into a smooth progressive-rock sheen, and brief melodic ideas are repeated to the point of trance. It's perhaps most similar to the polyrhythms and drawn-out sound-planes of Tortoise, with jazzy electric piano and assertive drums providing common touchstones. At D Numbers' worst, they sound kind of like a rock version of new age music, but the exploratory weirdness of their music is guaranteed to happily disrupt your chi. NL
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) See My, What a Busy Week!.
CUT COPY, BLACK KIDS, MOBIUS BAND
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) See Music Feature.
VIKING MOSES, GOLDEN GHOST
(Someday Lounge, 125 NW 5th) Coming a long way from the days of making self-released cassettes, Brendon Massei (Viking Moses) has reached a somewhat stable point in his career. He has a label (the well-respected local outfit Marriage Records), a sometimes backing band, and the man is always on the road. And I do mean always. His latest tour is a baffling two-month journey, which takes him from East to West Coast and back again. Massei's brand of off-kilter folk music (often dubbed "freak folk," although it's more homespun and quaint than it is freaky) is stripped bare of pretension, and instead just shimmers on its own as a true testament to the limitless nature of artistic expression. Plus he totally nails that Possum Dixon cover ("Invisible"), thus proving his taste in music is pretty stellar as well. EAC
THE SWELL SEASON
(Keller Auditorium, 222 SW Clay) The most heartwarming story of this year's Oscars was the win by Markéta Irglová and Glen Hansard (the pair now tour under the moniker the Swell Season) for their song "Falling Slowly" from the film Once. Hansard, the lead singer of the Frames, is the resident professional and fans of his work know that he's been wailing about love and loss for years now. Irglová's influence is to bring the folksy and the feminine out of her bandmate. The soundtrack album is made up of stripped-to-the-bones laments of lost love. Hansard has a voice that is always sincere, and Irglová's "If You Want Me" is one of the best moments on a record that couples exultation and melancholy. DREW GEMMER
NINA NASTASIA, DAVID KARSTEN DANIELS
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) See My, What a Busy Week!.
MANCAMPUS: D NUMBERS, STRANGERS DIE EVERY DAY, BLUE CRANES,
(Rotture, 315 SE 3rd) See Saturday's listing.
THE NIGHT MARCHERS, RED FANG,
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE 39th) How do I put this kindly? I can't, really, so here goes: FUCK every other band playing this week, because the Muslims are pretty much the awesomest thing around. You remember that moment when you decided to stop accepting whatever crap the radio threw at you? Remember digging through the bins at the used record store and discovering the Velvet Underground? The Stooges? The Modern Lovers? That feeling of discovery, of validation, of purpose on this earth—that's what the Muslims sound like: amped, punky pop 'n' roll with rumbling floor toms, knitting-needle guitars, and effortlessly snide vocals. It's garage rock so good, you want to hug it, eat it, and kick the shit out of it all at once. The Muslims' new 12-inch comes in a jacket pockmarked with bulletholes supposedly shot by a former NYPD cop. See what I mean? That's awesome. NL Also see Music Feature.
(Berbati's Pan, 10 SW 3rd) After milking his 2003 debut, Later That Day, for all it was worth (first there was 2005's remix album, Same !@#$ Different Day, and then 2006's Overnite Encore: Lyrics Born Live), Lyrics Born finally has a legitimately new LP, Everywhere at Once—which, kind of surprisingly, is more or less a bouncy, funky dance record that largely downplays the rapper's gravelly, laidback cadence in favor of hyper-produced hooks and cheesy background vocals. Lyrics Born—a founder of Quannum Projects and half of Latyrx—has enjoyed plenty of backpacker cred, but with this disc, one suspects he's either hoping for more club play, or he's just now noticing how many units Kanye moves. When the album's showy, oft-annoying choruses are pushed to the background, though, Lyrics Born gets to roam around, punching and mumbling and singing his lyrics over simpler, catchier hooks, proving his delivery and personality are as strong as ever—tracks like "I Like It, I Love It" balance the old-school charm of classic funk and the immediacy of hiphop into a blend that feels like nothing else out there. Lyrics Born is also one of the rare hiphop artists who can deliver in person, so expect tonight's appearance to show off his best attributes, while hopefully leaving the less successful elements of Everywhere at Once back in the studio. EH
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) See My, What a Busy Week!.
DARCY DAVIDSON BENEFIT: REPORTER, SUKEY TAWDRY, DRAGGING AN
OX THROUGH WATER, LUIS SOTO
(Rotture, 315 SE 3rd) See Our Town Could Be Your Life.
DEVOTCHKA, BASIA BULAT
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) The greatest Valentine's Day of my life was spent with Basia Bulat. It's not what you think, I swear. Our relationship is strictly fan-to-performer: platonic, respectful, and polite. But having seen the Canadian singer (alongside her adorable backing band) inside a half-empty Doug Fir was the greatest way to spend that dreaded faux-holiday. At first, Bulat's songs feel simplistic and bare, but last year's Oh, My Darling is littered with a deep-rooted sense of whimsy and artistic vision—it reminds me of a fairer-gendered Jeff Mangum had he grown up on the sweeping plains of some unnamed province north of the border. Bulat isn't overly nostalgic for simpler times, but her songs tug toward the past, as they are soft reminders of the unyielding power a simple pop song can hold. EAC Also see Music Feature.
PETER MORÉN, TOBIAS FRÖBERG,
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Peter Morén's solo debut The Last Tycoon takes its title from a famously unfinished F. Scott Fitzgerald novel, and its cover sketch has a decidedly lo-fi aesthetic—both clues to the fact that Morén's solo work might lean toward the sparse side of things. Best-known for his work as part of a band with two other guys named Björn and John, Morén here shows off a different side of his pop sensibility, from the crooning on display in "Missing Link" to Francophone pop ("Le Petite Coeur"). And while most of the arrangements here do sound like Morén alone, fans of the grandeur of his band will find some of the same elements at work—the slow-building "This Is What I Came For," for instance. TOBIAS CARROLL
BLOOD ON THE WALL, EAT SKULL, NURSES
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Brooklyn trio Blood on the Wall's third album, Liferz, roars out of torn-up speakers, distortion surging and rhythm stomping. Its tempos are a step down from 2006's Awesomer; while that album would have been at home on SST's mid-'80s catalog, Liferz's sludgier aesthetic suggests a more Northwestern sound at work. It doesn't hurt that Brad Shanks' vocal contributions here recall Mark Arm at his most paranoid. Live, they're a frenzied reminder of what makes power trios work, and their best songs ("Reunite on Ice," "Junkeee... Julieee...") have an outsider's majesty, equally fist-pumping and ominous. TC