Up & Coming 

This Week's Music Previews

ASHIA AND THE BISON ROUGE Thursday 11/14, Alberta Rose Theatre

ASHIA AND THE BISON ROUGE Thursday 11/14, Alberta Rose Theatre

WEDNESDAY 11/13

TORO Y MOI, CLASSIXX
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) See My, What a Busy Week!

SLAID CLEAVES
(Secret Society, 116 NE Russell) On his new album Still Fighting the War, Austin-based folksinger Slaid Cleaves focuses his considerable songwriting skill on the working class, with stories of welders, bartenders, cowboys, and factory workers tucked in among tunes about lost love and Lone Star state pride. But the standout is the title track, a three-minute slice of classic Cleaves: mid-tempo, with a simple but memorable melody delivered by the man's fine-grit voice. In the first two verses, we're introduced to a soldier, home from Iraq for a couple of years but struggling with lack of sleep and support while fighting skeptical employers and banks, not to mention bloody, dusty flashbacks. The third verse, however, lands like a punch to the gut, as the soldier's troubles come home: "Two strangers, holding each other in the dark." Then, "all the happily ever afters turn to broken dishes and slamming doors." It's heartbreaking work from a master storyteller. BEN SALMON

KREATOR, OVERKILL, WARBRINGER
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE César E. Chávez) German thrash metallers Kreator seem hell-bent on outlasting cockroaches... and Slayer. In the mid-'80s, the band was one of the foremost metal bands, mixing precision with dark lyrical themes and bloody visuals. Three decades on—and now pushing 50—original members Mille Petrozza and Jürgen Reil are just as pissed off as they were on their 1986 classick Pleasure to Kill, which might make some wonder if someone pissed in their Bitburger. You can't argue with the results, though, and why would you?—the band's latest, Phantom Antichrist, is an absolute beast. Kreator probably deserves more accolades than they receive, and this show is sure to bring out the old-school heshers. If your neck gets sore, just take two aspirin with a Bloody Mary the next morning. MARK LORE

THE BESNARD LAKES, ELEPHANT STONE, DAYDREAM MACHINE
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) The Besnard Lakes are one of many seemingly interchangeable, quasi-psychedelic pop bands in the Secretly Canadian/Jagjaguwar/Dead Oceans family of labels. On their 2010 album, The Besnard Lakes Are the Roaring Night, the Montreal band evoked the forlorn dignity of Low, but with a greater propensity for shoegaze guitar textures. Their new full-length, Until in Excess, Imperceptible UFO, is shrouded in more reverb and features more grandiose song structures. Its best song, "Colour Yr Lights In," sounds like an end-credits lighter-raiser for a Hollywood romance flick. On their 2013 self-titled album, Elephant Stone make classic, textbook psych pop, as derived from the Beatles, circa Revolver through Magical Mystery Tour, all lightly accented with sitar and tablas and leader Rishi Dhir's smooth, high vocals. As reverent replications go, Elephant Stone's a gas. DAVE SEGAL

VAZ, RABBITS, PRIZEHOG
(The Know, 2026 NE Alberta) Portland's bizarro thrash-sludge trio Rabbits are known for their distorted experimentation. On SOS (Singles, Other Shit), the grime-core hessians tap into their nostalgic side, compiling a track list of 7-inch singles, radio performances, practice outtakes, and more. The unbridled kill-mode aura of tunes like "Riff Fuck Reap" and the feedback drone of "Slow Mars" make this collection a must-have for fans of filth. The record's B-side is stacked with a second-half surge of '80s punk and hardcore covers like Bikini Kill's "Rebel Girl," Minor Threat's "Straight Edge," and Black Flag's "Wasted." The band's noise pollution is tailor-made for the endearingly scuzzy confines of the Know, and Vaz is certainly a force to behold in their own right. RYAN J. PRADO

THURSDAY 11/14

ASHIA AND THE BISON ROUGE & GUESTS
(Alberta Rose Theatre, 3000 NE Alberta) Cellist/vocalist/composer Ashia Grzesik (Portland Cello Project, Vagabond Opera) spent the last year in Europe, and she's returned to Portland with a new album in tow. Ashia and the Bison Rouge's Diesel vs. Lungs is unlike anything you've ever heard—unless you've listened to Grzesik's 2011 solo EP, the similarly otherworldly Bison Rouge. Her new full-length is something remarkable, though, a wildly ambitious but not-at-all-unwieldy mixture of classical music, traditional Polish and Slavic folk musics, chamber pop, and other styles that defy categorization. She's joined tonight by a number of guests including the Lyrical Strings Duo, the Lucia Conrad String Quartet, and others, to perform an evening of "Polish Immigrant Songs." Don't expect any traditions to be upheld, though—Grzesik is a singular talent and a huge creative force. NED LANNAMANN

THUNDERCAT, GRAMMIES
(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) Thundercat has the head of a futurist electronic producer and the soul of a jazz-fusion revivalist. Stephen Bruner marinated his skill as a bass virtuoso by grinding with his brother in Suicidal Tendencies for almost a decade before releasing two albums on LA's Brainfeeder label. Jams run free with Bruner, who further defined his style in session work with Erykah Badu and Flying Lotus, before stepping out with Thundercat's retro-stalgic warp zone of Pastorian bass and synth-funk R&B, played in the key of life. The affirmative and emotional fusion on tonight's bill wouldn't be complete without PDX's own Grammies, who stir up a bitches' brew of their own, as math-rock sax infuses smooth jazz in the key of OG. WYATT SCHAFFNER

THE MEMORIES, COOL GHOULS, SAN ONOFRE LIZARDS
(The Know, 2026 NE Alberta) For the better part of two months, Portland's princes of pot pop have been spreading their sweet love nuggets across this great nation. Along with alter-ego/Siamese twin White Fang—not to mention scores of the ever-growing Gnar Tapes family—the Memories set off in September and have been living rock 'n' roll dreams since: open roads, packed bowls, friends new and old. They went across to New York, down to Miami, and back through Texas—swimming in the Gulf, living out of gas stations, sleeping on floors, in vans, and crummy motels. And now it's time to welcome home the Memories, who will be at their absolute sharpest after playing night-in, night-out across America. ANDREW R TONRY

LATYRX, VURSATYL, TOPE
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) Given that Latyrx consists of Lyrics Born and Lateef the Truth Speaker, it's no wonder their albums feel like a long journey through your subconscious set to a wonky beat. Their The Second Album has finally arrived, 16 years after their first, but still embodies their signature experimental hiphop, with unusual amounts of song structure and melody. These two poets joined forces in the Bay Area rap scene in the mid-'90s, and have since mostly played odd festivals and opened for funk outfits like Galactic. Those that enjoy Bay Area hiphop like Zion I and the abstract nature of Sage Francis' fast-paced flow will surely cream their low-hanging jeans over Latyrx. ROSE FINN

FRIDAY 11/15

PORTLAND SMILES: RIO GRANDS, NEW MOVE, CHURCH OF SURF, ADAM BROCK
(Eagles Lodge, 4904 SE Hawthorne) See My, What a Busy Week!

ROCKBOX 7-YEAR ANNIVERSARY: MATT NELKIN, DJ KEZ, FOUR COLOR ZACK
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) See My, What a Busy Week!

CASEY NEILL & THE NORWAY RATS, SASSPARILLA
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Read our article on Casey Neill.

DRAMADY, PAULO ZAPPOLI, LONNIE WINN
(Kenton Club, 2025 N Kilpatrick) Read our article on Dramady.

AGRIMONIA, TAKE OVER AND DESTROY
(Branx, 320 SE 2nd) The extreme music underground can be incestuous at times, but unlike kissing cousins, incest is best when it comes to music. Styles are blended, and side projects often draw more attention to their full-time counterparts, or vice versa. Sweden's Agrimonia features members that have done time in Skitsystem, Martyrdöd, and At the Gates. Unlike aging punk icons who pick up acoustic guitars and go mellow, however, these veteran d-beating, crusty grinders are keeping it heavy and slowing it down to a more melodic, mid-tempo pace. Agrimonia still has the snarl of the members' other projects, but the vibe is much more bleak than furious. ARIS WALES

CULTS, SACCO, MOOD RINGS, GALLOP
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) Cults' sophomore album, Static, feels remarkably effortless, which is something to say for a record borne of hardship. Its lyrical content revolves around what sounds like a heart-wrenching split between vocalist Madeline Follin and guitarist Brian Oblivion, and they've drowned it in the correct amounts of fuzz, bass, and liquor. Thus, songs like "Always Forever" and "We've Got It" flow through your ears with surprising ease, coaxed by Follin's strong and nimble soprano, oscillating between a Shangri-Las croon and a veritable indie wail. It is at once jubilant and miserably sad—a beautiful combination, and what tends to happen in life, regardless of the effort we exert. RAQUEL NASSER

POP. 1280, VICE DEVICE, SMOKE RINGS
(The Know, 2026 NE Alberta) Pop. 1280's latest, Imps of Perversion, is all dread, menace, and danger—a portrait of the kind of seedy ugliness that you used to think of when you thought of the band's hometown of New York City, and the kind of thing to be expected from a band that lifts their name from a crime novel. It all comes in a no-wave/post-punk package that you would have associated with the city once upon a time as well. The guitar barbs and jagged edges borrow from the No New York songbook, but the occasional ray-gun synthesizers and hypnotic grooves carry faint shades of krautrock. And while labelmates the Men have been more interested in tapping into their inner Crazy Horse in recent years, Pop. 1280 isn't quite finished pummeling things into the concrete. MATTHEW W. SULLIVAN

JERRY ABSTRACT, DEAFCHILD, B GRADE
(Central Hotel, 8608 N Lombard) A veteran of electronic music with many solid releases under his belt, Jerry Abstract has an artistic sensibility that just won't quit. His solo work is full of punchy attitude and dramatic flair that surpasses your run-of-the-mill techno sound, giving a unique perspective on what is possible in the ever-growing world of electronic dance music. His sound—pitch-black minimal funk with a razor-sharp edge—speaks to you without words. As the former creative director of Seattle's Decibel Festival for six years running, Abstract's sense of style is unmatched, especially behind the decks. It's always interesting to see what a seasoned pro like him will play next. CHRISTINA BROUSSARD

SEAN NELSON, EYELIDS, HERMAN JOLLY
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) For a guy who has scored a massive (and enduring) hit song, toured the world, performed on network television, and worked with some of the Northwest's most popular musicians, Sean Nelson sails decidedly under the radar. He's best known as Harvey Danger's frontman, AKA the guy who sang "I'm not sick, but I'm not wellllllll!" in the late-'90s alt-rock staple "Flagpole Sitta." He's revered (by me, at least) for his sideman/harmony vocals role in the Long Winters' early years. But if the world of pop music were calibrated correctly, the snappy, brainy songs found all over Nelson's first solo album, Make Good Choices—recorded in fits and starts over several years and finally released in June—would be dominating radio and the top of the charts. Alas, they are not, so Nelson will have to settle for being a talented and respected artist with a knack for classic pop that's rivaled by few of his peers. BS

HUMOURS, HUNGERS, AERIAL RUIN
(The Foggy Notion, 3416 N Lombard) In this cold digital age, some people still enjoy holding music in their grubby hands. Since CDs have become slightly passé and vinyl is too expensive for low-level bands to produce, it's logical that cassette tapes have returned with a vengeance. Tonight, local, lumbering power-trio Hungers release their self-titled cassette, seven tracks of mean slow-burners that are equally as desolate and depressive as they are heavy. Vocalist and guitarist Andrew Morgan has a sinister snarl that is a fine match for the grim and gloom of the riffs. If the tape player in your Volvo is dead, don't sweat it. Hungers put a digital download code inside the case for good measure. AW

SATURDAY 11/16

FRUIT BATS, THE DONKEYS
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) See My, What a Busy Week!

OREGON SYMPHONY, INON BARNATAN
(Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway) While touring America on a massive publicity blitz in 1928, lucky bastard Maurice Ravel got to check out the raging jazz clubs of Harlem, accompanied by none other than George fucking Gershwin. This epic night on the town unsurprisingly seared itself into the Frenchman's musical soul, soon blossoming into the syncopated rhythms, wailing winds, and mad energy of the piano concerto he composed the following year. Fast forward to tonight (and Monday), when Israeli-born Inon Barnatan teams up with our Oregon Symphony to bring Ravel's heart-thumping showstopper to life. Barnatan may only be in his early 30s, but he's been performing with orchestras the world over for more than 20 years. Simply put, this red-hot piano god's upcoming gig with Rip City's biggest band offers a chance to catch a level of frenetic intricacy and raw, unplugged power impossible to find anywhere else. As a bonus, the Steinway rollout will be flanked by Shakespearean homage: The program kicks off with a trio of Macbeth dances from Giuseppe Verdi and concludes with a batch of Romeo and Juliet orchestral scenes from the always colorful Hector Berlioz. His star-crossed finale will likely have the Schnitzer crowd wetting its collective codpiece. The way I see it, gentle reader, you have three choices: get tickets, drink poison, or go stab yourself. ANGRY SYMPHONY GUY

THOSE DARLINS, DIANE COFFEE
(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) Shaun Fleming was a child voice actor (Kim Possible) and he's now the drummer in Foxygen's live band. He's also Diane Coffee, and the first Diane Coffee album, My Friend Fish, was not an album I was prepared to love—child actors, Jenny Lewis excepted, don't usually make particularly worthwhile music, and Foxygen have mastered pretty much everything except their live show. But Diane Coffee's first full-length is in fact a homegrown album of pure pop delight, its lo-fi but never slapdash recordings carefully, lovingly constructed. "Never Lovely" is a rough-and-tumble soul-funk gem, and "Tale of a Dead Dog" is a stoned slice of folk-psych with sugar-sweet harmonies. Fleming opens for Nashville's Those Darlins, who've mellowed a little on their latest album, the very good Blur the Line, but surely remain a volatile live force of the best type of Southern rawk. NL

SCREAMING FEMALES, UPSET, THE GHOST EASE
(The Know, 2026 NE Alberta) The last time the Know hosted New Brunswick's Screaming Females, the punk-rock trio was touring off their sprawling, guitar-driven opus, Ugly. The intimate venue was as packed to the gills with people as that album was with great songs, and singer/guitarist Marissa Paternoster shredded and howled through a set that was nothing short of mind-blowing. While the band did make it through Portland a few months later opening for Garbage, the road warriors ended up sidelined for the remainder of that tour, as Paternoster suffered through chronic nerve pains in her shoulder. She documented the struggle of being cooped-up through a webcomic, and you could feel the sigh of relief thousands of miles away when the band returned to life earlier this year. On Chalk Tape, the EP follow-up to Ugly, the band experiments with Middle Eastern rhythms and double-tracked vocals, showcasing some excellent range lying in wait behind Paternoster's time-tested axe-wielding. CHIPP TERWILLIGER

OBITS, SURVIVAL KNIFE, PARADISE
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Obits continue to operate in their own dark corner of rock music, the one frontman Rick Froberg carved out in his previous bands Hot Snakes and Drive Like Jehu. The band continues to walk a fine line between ramshackle garage rock and more sophisticated guitar-driven post punk. And over the course of three records they've tinkered with the ingredients—in the best way possible—just enough to keep listeners off-balance. If guitars are what you want, there are plenty to be had on Obits' latest, Bed and Bugs, another unruly collection that mixes prog, surf, and blues into one noisy half-hour. Live, expect it to be even more relentless and cranky. In the best way possible. ML

JESSIE WARE, THE INVISIBLE
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) Jessie Ware may be a newer face in the music industry, but with catchy pop riffs mixed with the increasingly trendy electronic sound, it hasn't taken long for her to gain a considerable fanbase. Ware is British, but her voice is so rich and smoky that she could easily be confused with an American soul singer from a bygone era. Her premiere album, Devotion, yields Feist-like soft tones and smoothness, but its love-adorned lyrics and '80s melodies could confuse you into thinking you used to put this album on in high school whenever you'd invite your crush over to make out. Though Ware's sound is somewhat retro, her songs embody a bittersweet complexity, haunting your ears in a way the Smiths or A Flock of Seagulls just can't. RF

WHITE MYSTERY, NO TOMORROW BOYS
(Star Bar, 639 SE Morrison) It takes an intangible something—spirit, fieriness, recklessness, bravado—to thrive as a garage-rock band in the 21st century. The genre's been around for nearly 50 years, so it requires heroic energy and creativity to make it sound interesting at this late date. Chicago's White Mystery—redheaded dynamos Miss Alex White and Francis Scott Key White—harness those intangibles and write catchy, gnarly tunes that don't reek of Nuggets box sets or graying pudding-bowl haircuts. The duo's newest album, Telepathic, actually possesses more Pussy Galore/Blues Explosion-like DNA in its buzz-and-howl attack than it does the Seeds or the Standells. However the hell they're managing to accomplish it, White Mystery have those special ingredients that make their garage rock not sound museum-y. DS

SUNDAY 11/17

HUNTERS, AUDACITY, LEE COREY OSWALD
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) See My, What a Busy Week!

US GIRLS, ETHER ISLAND, TUNNELS
(The Know, 2026 NE Alberta) US Girls is an apt name for Megan Remy's solo project, inspired as it is by the history of American women in the music world. But in Remy's case, her take on '60s girl-group pop and '80s post-punk sounds like it's coming from sixth-generation cassette dubs, all the instruments awash in tape hiss and under thick layers of almost unnatural-sounding reverb. Remy returns to Portland in support of her Phil Spector-ed out new EP Free Advice Column, co-produced by warped hiphop producer Onakabazien. She's joined on this date by Ether Island, a purveyor of some of the finest New Mexican psychedelics you're likely to ingest this year. ROBERT HAM

PETER BRÖTZMANN/PAAL NILSSEN-LOVE DUO, 1939 ENSEMBLE
(Secret Society, 116 NE Russell) The story has been handed down to free jazz fans for years, to the point that one worries it is apocryphal. But the truth is that German saxophonist Peter Brötzmann once blew so hard at a gig that he ended up cracking a rib. That should give you some indication as to the power and fury of the 72-year-old's work over the years, which has found him extemporizing wildly alongside fellow legends like Cecil Taylor, Bill Laswell, and William Parker. On this very rare Portland appearance, Brötzmann is accompanied by percussionist Paal Nilssen-Love, a player whose minimalist daring and physical oomph are more than enough to keep up with his German compatriot's muscular skronk and bleat. RH

MONDAY 11/18

BIG FREEDIA
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) See My, What a Busy Week!

OREGON SYMPHONY, INON BARNATAN
(Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway) See Saturday's listing.

NINE INCH NAILS, EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY
(Moda Center, 1 N Center Ct) For better or worse, The Downward Spiral defined a solid year of my life. I discovered Nine Inch Nails' 1994 opus at the acme of adolescence, and its bilious moodiness and fragmented moments of limpid beauty were the perfect accompaniment to the awkwardness and frustration of which I couldn't seem to get atop. From there, I explored the back catalog of Halos, but Pretty Hate Machine was too wussy and Broken seemed more or less incoherent. So The Downward Spiral it was, and it might still rank as one of the albums I've listened to the most—so much so, that I can more or less perfectly recall each and every note of its 65 minutes. It says something, though, that I have never revisited the album after that fateful year or so, not even once. I've been happy to keep it on the shelf as an un-ruptured capsule of pure adolescent angst. When Trent Reznor released the double album The Fragile in 1999, I had moved well on; I don't think I've ever gotten all the way through disc one. Still, I've found a lot to like on this new Nine Inch Nails album, Hesitation Marks, so maybe I've gotten to the age where I'm capable of visiting and analyzing a time from the past that wasn't necessarily 100 percent happy. Subsequently, I couldn't be more stoked to finally see Nine Inch Nails live, and who knows? Maybe afterward I'll be ready to dig out that tattered copy of The Downward Spiral and relive some very vivid memories. NL Also see My, What a Busy Week!

TUESDAY 11/19

SOMEONE STILL LOVES YOU BORIS YELTSIN, ARMY NAVY
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Read our article on Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin.

BILL CALLAHAN, MICK TURNER
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) Bill Callahan, who recorded 13 LPs under the moniker Smog before reverting to his own name, could very well be the most aberrant singer/songwriter to emerge from the '90s, a decade already characterized by unusual, exceptional indie folkies. He's also an extremely polarizing entity—Callahan's monotonous, practically tuneless drawl (he makes Mark Kozelek sound like Frankie Valli) is an extremely inaccessible affect, one that unfortunately prevents some listeners from cutting to the deeply emotional, melancholy fiber of Callahan's songs. His latest, Dream River, is as consistently evocative and elegant as his very best. MORGAN TROPER Also see My, What a Busy Week!

THOMAS DOLBY: THE INVISIBLE LIGHTHOUSE
(Alberta Rose Theatre, 3000 NE Alberta) After writing and producing some of the most beautiful pop of the 1980s (his own The Flat Earth, Prefab Sprout's Two Wheels Good) and touring the world as an electronic-music guru, Thomas Dolby returns to the stage with an ambitious new multimedia work. Described as "part film, part concert, part transmedia event," The Invisible Lighthouse features Dolby performing a live narration and musical score in front of the titular film, which was shot and edited by Dolby, and evocatively chronicles an island lighthouse in Britain. Additional drama will be supplied by foley artist/musician/sound designer Blake Leyh. DAVID SCHMADER

STEVE AOKI, BORGORE, WAKA FLOCKA FLAME, KEYS N KRATES, KRYOMAN
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) Before Electric Daisy Festival became a tween stomping ground, and before EDM became a blanket pejorative—before Skrillex, let's say—Steve Aoki built the loudest underground rave scene of the 21st century. Aoki's Dim Mak label stands as testament to music production as brand empire (perhaps not unlike the way his father, Rocky Aoki, started the Benihana restaurant chain). Aoki emerged from the LA suburbs to stand in the vanguard of globalized electronic dance music; joining his carnival of mischief at the Roseland tonight is Waka Flocka Flame, the rap game's most ebullient wordsmith. A protegé of Gucci Mane, Flocka goes hard in the paint as probably the most socially conscious lyricist among the trap-inflected new illuminati. WS

Tags:

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Comments are closed.

From the Archives

Staff Pick Events

Most Commented On

Top Viewed Stories

All contents © Index Newspapers, LLC

115 SW Ash St. Suite 600
Portland, OR 97204

Contact Info | Privacy Policy | Production Guidelines | Terms of Use | Takedown Policy