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This Week's Music Previews

PAWS Fri 11/22 Bunk Bar

PAWS Fri 11/22 Bunk Bar

WEDNESDAY 11/20

LUPE FIASCO, STALLEY, ILLMACULATE
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) See My, What a Busy Week!

WIRE, HELMET, CHASTITY BELT
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) Read our article on Wire.

MEAT PUPPETS, THE WORLD TAKES
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) The Meat Puppets are still kicking, and that's a good thing. For more than three decades (!) the Brothers Meat—that's Curt and Cris Kirkwood—have gone through the usual rock 'n' roll tropes (major labels, Cris' drug problems) and handled the Cobain Bump pretty well, too. That's all a distant memory. Since Cris' return to the fold on 2007's Rise to Your Knees, the Meat Puppets have continued to release a steady stream of material that harkens back to their SST days, with an ear to the future. Their latest album Rat Farm (and their third on Megaforce's heavy-on-metal roster) plays up their strengths: heavy folk, heavy quirk, heavy psych. It's great stuff, and it's been a long time coming. MARK LORE

ADVENTURE GALLEY, MINDEN, EXOTIC CLUB, LASSI
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Portland's Adventure Galley celebrates its first full-length album with a show tonight at Holocene, but the band has been at it for a while. The six-piece formed in Eugene in 2008 and won a national, MySpace-hosted online battle of the bands in 2010. Three years later, they're ready to release Anywhere That's Wild, an 11-track collection of dark, punchy synth-rock that proves the Strokes and the Killers were big influences on budding musician kids in the early 21st century. Frontman David Mills' deep, stoic vocals recall Julian Casablancas, while his mates ably glitter up their throbbing indie-rock with modern touches (the EDM beats in "Marooned," sparkling keyboard lines throughout). Through it all shines a knack for melody that will sneakily dance its way into your brain and bounce around there for a while. BEN SALMON

PHONE CALL, SEANCE CRASHER, DOLPHINITY
(East End, 203 SE Grand) In a town full of synth devotees, Seance Crasher defines itself as a band whose keyboard weird espouses a unique craft of pop sensibility. Led by Kevin Rafn with brother Daniel on backup keys and vocals, Seance Crasher echoes the obtuse catchiness of new wave bands like XTC. Each tune is harmonized with progressive songcraft and an ironic vocal delivery, placing the tracks in that familiar warped-John-Hughes-soundtrack area of nostalgia. Tonight's synth cabal also features Dolphinity, who invoke Yellow Magic Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, inspired by an abject cetacean fetish for sonic sentience. WYATT SCHAFFNER

THURSDAY 11/21

STREET ROOTS BENEFIT SHOW: TODD SNIDER, SCOTT MCCAUGHEY, CHRIS FUNK, HOUNDSTOOTH, & MORE
(Alberta Rose Theatre, 3000 NE Alberta) See My, What a Busy Week!

DUSU MALI BAND
(The Goodfoot, 2845 SE Stark) Read our article on Dusu Mali Band.

MOUNTAIN SOUNDS, VALISE, GOLDEN RETRIEVER, BILLYGOAT
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Though Mountain Sounds released its first album in March, tonight is the first time the band has been able to play a show here in the hometown of founding member Tim Hoyt. The delay has been a bureaucratic one: The other half of the group, Franc Castillejos, lives in the heart of Guatemala, and visas to visit the US are harder than ever to secure. The wait will be worth it, though, as the band's self-titled debut is a delight of finely honed pop informed by the likes of Ben Folds and Jason Mraz. The juxtaposition between that and the expansive drones of bass clarinet/modular synth duo Golden Retriever should make for a head-spinning evening. ROBERT HAM

NOBUNNY, THE BUGS, NEEDLES AND PIZZA
(Rotture, 315 SE 3rd) It's true that Nobunny shows tend to be a bit of a spectacle. That's a given when a punk band is fronted by a man who bounces around in the middle of rowdy, sweat-drenched crowds wearing nothing but a tiny pair of underwear, a leather jacket, and a ragged and stained bunny mask. Let's not let that get in the way of the facts: Justin Champlin, the man behind the Nobunny mask, writes some of the best bubblegum garage-pop tunes around. It takes more than a gimmick to pack a venue and transform a set into a massive party every time you come through town, and that's exactly what Nobunny has the ability to do. Tonight he's playing an early, all-ages show, and judging from turnouts in the past, this could fill up quick. CHIPP TERWILLIGER

JAMES BLAKE, NOSAJ THING
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) Moore's Law says that every two years computing power becomes twice as powerful and half as expensive. Thanks largely to technology, music has a similar acceleration. It's cheaper and easier to make new sounds as the internet enables ever-greater global dissemination of style, influence, and collaboration. For a picture of this bursting pace, see James Blake. In 2011 he emerged from London, lumped in as part of an emergent genre called dubstep. Blake's bass-heavy, reductionist compositions were hailed as bleeding edge. In the two years since, his eponymous debut now feels familiar, as his skeletal minimalism has taken prominent hold in other genres. In that short time, dubstep, too, became something altogether different—ubiquitous, drilling maximalism. Blake, meanwhile, seems to be shuffling toward hiphop. On this year's Mercury Prize-winning Overgrown he featured RZA, and he recently gave a beat to the marvelous and ascendant Chance the Rapper. And while Blake may indeed have some lasting power—ever rare in this accelerant era—his thin-voiced, confessional songs of woe appear scrubbed in antibacterial soap. Blake is vastly more interesting as a composer than an entertainer. ANDREW R TONRY

DELTRON 3030
(Star Theater, 13 NW 6th) Deltron 3030 (rapper Del the Funky Homosapien, producer Dan the Automator, and DJ Kid Koala) burst onto the scene back in 2000 with their self-titled sci-fi fantasia. With paranoid lyrics that referenced everything from Y2K to hijacking mechs, and backed with Automator's grandiose beats, Deltron 3030 was a breath of fresh post-apocalyptic air in underground rap. Thirteen years later finally sees the release of a follow-up, the scattershot but enjoyable Event 2. Del remains a deft rapper, with a conversational, effortless flow that masks his dense rhyme schemes and mad-scientist vocabulary. Automator's production still knocks with cinematic menace, chopping up bombastic strings with Koala's whiz-kid scratches darting among the fray. Good to see them forming like Voltron for one more trip to the future. KYLE FLECK

FRIDAY 11/22

POLIÇA, MARIJUANA DEATHSQUADS
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) See My, What a Busy Week!

WAYFINDERS: HOLCOMBE WALLER, FEARNOMUSIC, CHINA FORBES
(Alberta Rose Theatre, 3000 NE Alberta) Read our article on Holcombe Waller.

PAWS
(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) Glasgow's Paws don't do anything too out of the ordinary: speedy drums, catchy melodies, guitars that lurch from unblemished to buzzy with the flick of a switch. But the trio of Scottish lads does it all so well and so right, with shrewd economy of songwriting, bright bursts of punk energy, and absolutely no airs of artsy-fartsy grandeur. Their 2012 album Cokefloat is a damn delicious pizza of song, fast and filling and warm and oozy and basically everything you could want out of life. Their recent tour-only EP, the three-song Tiger Lily, is even better, and the band is set to record their second full-length in New York City next year. This is a band that will latch firmly onto the cockles of your music-loving heart, bearing litter after litter of adorable puppies of melody. Resistance is useless. NED LANNAMANN

RECORD ROOM AUCTION/FINAL SHOW: THRONES, SEDAN
(Record Room, 8 NE Killingsworth) One of 2013's more disappointing bits of news was the recent announcement that record shop/pub/venue Record Room will be permanently closing its doors at the end of the month. Plans to remodel and revamp were scuttled after an investor bailed, leaving the owners with no other options but to pull the plug. They aren't going away quietly, however. The final show will feature a vicious blast of bass-heavy drone metal via Joe Preston's long-running solo project Thrones and the artful keyboard-and-drum avant-rock duo Sedan. The show will also double as an auction and sale to unload leftover vinyl, furniture, and any other part of the shop that isn't a permanent fixture. RH

SATURDAY 11/23

GAYTHEIST, SONS OF HUNS, MONOGAMY PARTY, VULTURES IN THE SKY
(Dante's, 350 W Burnside) Read our article on Sons of Huns.

ALBERT HAMMOND JR., RATHBORNE
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE César E. Chávez) Read our interview with Albert Hammond Jr..

QUASI, BLUES CONTROL
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Quasi's latest, Mole City, follows up 2010's wall-of-noisefest American Gong. And while Sam Coomes' guitar is still as wonderfully unruly as ever, this time around Coomes and drummer Janet Weiss have devised a more textured and moody double LP that plays to their love of the Beatles and Sonic Youth (and everything in between). For every noise bomb like "You Can Stay But You Gotta Go," there's a sneaky psych nugget like "Geraldine" or a glammy power popper like "Double Deuce." The fact that Mole City comes off as one long collection of all of Weiss and Coomes' whims is what makes it both fantastic and overly fantastical. It's made to be listened to in one sitting, preferably with headphones. In 2013, that might be the most avant thing about Mole City. ML Also see My, What a Busy Week!

NEUROSIS, ATRIARCH, TRAGEDY, THE BODY
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) When Neurosis comes to town—and that hasn't been often in the past several years, regardless of what town you're in—it's closer to a capital E Event than a regular ol' show. Every few years they put out a new record, and in between albums they play random smatterings of shows. It's a process as methodical and deliberate as their music, a sound that serves as the primary reference point for any band that's ever been called "post-metal," while more than a few bands have done well for themselves by just aping the Neurosis sound (see: Isis). The undercard makes this even more of a happening: The recent Portland transplants of doomy duo the Body open, joined by Atriarch's metal-infused death rock and Tragedy's punishing crust punk. MATTHEW W. SULLIVAN

PACKARD BROWNE, BIGMO, SAMAREI, REY TOTEM, JOY PEARSON, & MORE
(Kelly's Olympian, 426 SW Washington) Tonight celebrates the release of Both Sides of the Sand, the debut full-length from Arab American emcee Mohammed "BigMo" Alkhadher. Born in America and raised in Kuwait, BigMo uses his unique perspective to both synthesize and deconstruct the dichotomies of Western and Middle Eastern cultures. It's telling that BigMo gained his intro into hiphop through spoken word, as his lyricism deftly pinpoints political hypocrisies in an entertaining way without ever sounding preachy or pedantic. Standout track "Heavy" finds BigMo rejecting the dangers of lazy labels and challenging the constructs that seek reductive worldviews to further their own agenda. “Arab white kid, American terrorist/Labeled a terrorist in a country where terror is/mediated fiction, media addiction/You smelt it, you dealt it, that kind of system.” RYAN FEIGH

JULIANNA BARWICK, HANNAH EPPERSON
(The Old Church, 1422 SW 11th) Ambient music possesses a unique ability to make writers erupt with fancy adjectives. However, while "sweeping" and "ethereal" are ostensibly apt to describe Julianna Barwick's songs, their presence here feels futile; the strength of her latest album, Nepenthe, lies in its ability to strike on a cellular level. The instrumentation is spare and there are very few discernible lyrics, yet the way she loops and layers her voice—like a fresco viewable only to the somatic nervous system—is enough to leave you sobbing over a loved one or reveling in a sense of calm. And once her loop station starts spewing towering sounds into the rafters of the Old Church, you will follow Barwick's lead and eschew words as well; sometimes, there is just no need. RAQUEL NASSER

FEDERALE, DENVER, DJ TENDER LOVING CARE
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) On 2012's The Blood Flowed Like Wine, Portland's Federale widened their spaghetti-western scope to incorporate less desert drag, and more orchestral oomph. Having entrenched themselves as astute purveyors of the Ennio Morricone style of cowpoke soundtrack, the group—led by Collin Hegna—detoured with partnerships as far-ranging as Portland's 45th Parallel Ensemble, members of the Oregon Symphony, and vocal cameos by the Black Angels' Alex Maas and Spindrift's KP Thomas. The collective has been tracking new material at Hegna's Revolver Studios since July, and there's no news yet on a tentative release date. In the meantime, Federale are one of the more-unique live experiences your old dusty boots could ever hope for, so go on an' git! RYAN J. PRADO

SUNDAY 11/24

EAR CANDY: STILL CAVES, NIGHT MECHANIC
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) See My, What a Busy Week!

NORMAN, THE HUGS, OLD AGE
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) The unexceptionally named Portland band Norman has a third album out, with an exceptional title: Into the Eventyr. "Eventyr" is Norwegian for "adventure," and to keep things adventurous, the band has paired with Albany, Oregon's Calapooia Brewing to make Norman Ale. It's a crisply hoppy, enjoyable if not outrageously distinctive Northwest beer, and that's the kind of music you'll find on Eventyr. Strains of folk, pop, and, most significantly, classic rock pepper the album, echoing '70s radio mainstays like Boston and Firefall by way of their more modern counterparts: Fleet Foxes, My Morning Jacket, and Blitzen Trapper, to name a few. The band's at their best and wildest when the eventyr is highest, as on the deceptively concise epic "Golden" and the wide green pastures of "As You Please." It's a fine album for quaffing a craft beer or two—an idea that Norman is already on top of. NL

FREEDY JOHNSTON
(Al's Den, 303 SW 12th) Freedy Johnston is one of those highly skilled singer/songwriters who exists somewhere between major stardom and starving artist, where making records and touring builds a big enough fanbase to simply sustain itself. In the early 1990s, Johnston appeared to be on the verge of a breakout with his brilliant back-to-back records Can You Fly and This Perfect World. Those led to a deal with Elektra Records, which produced three albums of Johnston's likeable, gentle folk-pop featuring a disarming blend of catchy melodies and downcast stories. Since then, he's been padding his catalog, releasing demos, a live album, a collection of covers, and a collaboration with Jon Dee Graham and Susan Cowsill. Johnston's website says he's "finishing up" a new album, though that was back in January. In the meantime, he begins a weeklong residency at Al's Den. BS

MONSTER MAGNET, ROYAL THUNDER, ANTI-MORTEM, ULTRA GOAT
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE César E. Chávez) While Monster Magnet managed to crack the MTV rotation with "Space Lord" and had a left-field hit in Powertrip, recent albums have leaned on the old lessons that Hawkwind taught in Space Rock 101. This year's Last Patrol waits exactly one song before launching into nearly 10 minutes of riff-centric sci-fi sprawl on the title track, and there's plenty of '60s-style psychedelia and garage rock. Atlanta's Royal Thunder opens, and while they came along well after MTV ever had anything resembling a music video rotation, they dabble in similarly retro heaviness, opting for bluesy proto-metal propelled by frontwoman Mlny Parsonz's mega-pipes. MWS

HURRY UP, THE GHOST EASE
(Rontoms, 600 E Burnside) Rontoms' ongoing Sunday Sessions continues its impressive streak of killer lineups with tonight's pairing: Portland's the Ghost Ease have been playing all over town since releasing an impressive self-titled debut LP this past April. Guitarist Jem Marie and bassist Fabi Reyna combine in building an intricate and edgy sense of tension to propel Marie's soft and airy vocals. When the trio unleashes, the force hits you hard and suddenly, with their drummer Nsayi's massive wind-ups and kid-in-a-candy-store grin the only thing hinting at the impending impact. They are joined tonight by fellow locals Hurry Up, a trio of the Thermals' Westin Glass and Kathy Foster joined by Bangs' Maggie Vail. Their feisty blend of punk rock should provide the perfect digestif for an evening sure to leave you jolted just in time for the week to begin. CT

MONDAY 11/25

HOWE GELB, HOUNDSTOOTH
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) See My, What a Busy Week!

FREEDY JOHNSTON
(Al's Den, 303 SW 12th) See Sunday's listing.

LEVON'S HELMET, ACID FAST, NERVOUS, ABOLITIONIST
(The Know, 2026 NE Alberta) Don't let the ludicrously "punny" name deter you. Upstart duo Levon's Helmet have produced one of the best, bona fide power-pop EPs this city has seen in some time. Clocking in at the impossibly succinct length of 12 minutes, each cut is a certified fresh, hook-laden jammer—from the pre-"Stacy's Mom" Fountains of Wayne-ish opener "I've Had It" to closer "Night Train to Memphis," which references band members Gordon Keepers and Jason Oppat's folk-punk roots (both members previously played in the acoustic-based outfit Water Tower). But it's the third track, the stiffly titled "My Life Is Going Nowhere," that is the truly exceptional selection here, akin to Robert Pollard's greatest. While Levon's Helmet may lack stylistic stability for the time being, their pop prowess is totally undeniable. Follow them closely. MORGAN TROPER

TUESDAY 11/26

FREEDY JOHNSTON
(Al's Den, 303 SW 12th) See Sunday's listing.

MORBID ANGEL, SEASON OF SUFFERING, WORLD OF LIES, CHRONOLOGICAL INJUSTICE
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE César E. Chávez) When legendary bands put out new records, it's a double-edged sword. On one hand, new releases help garner younger, newer fans, but on the other hand, old fans just want to hear the old stuff. Diehard fans might buy the new slab, but will promptly put it down in favor of the band's established classic. In 2011, Morbid Angel released the Chinese Democracy of death metal, Illud Divinum Insanus. Fans were not too happy, and to this day, critics still reference the stain it left on Morbid Angel's legacy. Well, it looks like they got the message. To celebrate its 20-year anniversary, Morbid Angel are playing their benchmark album Covenant from front to back. Odds are good they'll play some other classic tunes, too, although a betting man would bet against Morbid Angel breaking out a cut from Illud. ARIS WALES

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