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This Week's Music Highlights

SURVIVAL KNIFE Fri 5/16 Bunk Bar

SURVIVAL KNIFE Fri 5/16 Bunk Bar

WEDNESDAY 5/14

HARRY AND THE POTTERS, BREAK UP FLOWERS
(Lola's Room, 1332 W Burnside) See All-Ages Action!

MAXIMO PARK, ETERNAL SUMMERS
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Like many of their peers, Maximo Park have come a long way from the agitated state in which they entered the world. The razor-wire guitars and hopped-up vocal delivery of frontman Paul Smith have, on Maximo's fifth full-length Too Much Information, given way to a quieter croon and the influence of mirrorball electronics. The shift in sound suits the quintet much more comfortably than it does other likeminded artists, in part due to Smith's absorption of the work of luxurious pop acts like Prefab Sprout and the Blue Nile. Watching Maximo Park strive to reconcile these two sides of their musical personality should make for some mouthwatering tension. ROBERT HAM

THURSDAY 5/15

LIZ VICE, THE BREAKING YARD, VALLEY MAKER
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) See My, What a Busy Week!

RiFF RAFF, GRANDTHEFT, DEAFMIND
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) Read our Q&A with RiFF RAFF.

PURITY RING (DJ SET), PRSN
(Branx, 320 SE 2nd) Canadian electro-pop duo Purity Ring played one of the best sets I saw at 2011's MusicfestNW, a potent mix of twee, hiphop, and bass music that catapulted the Doug Fir's basement into the future for 50 minutes. That was before Corin Roddick and Megan James released their outstanding 2012 album Shrines, before they collaborated with Danny Brown and Jon Hopkins, before their remix of Lady Gaga's "Applause." Today, Purity Ring are a much bigger deal. They headline festivals—Oregon's What the Festival last year, for example—and their name has enough cachet that they can book DJ sets like the one they'll perform tonight. What's in store? Who knows? But if Purity Ring's 2013 session for the online music show Boiler Room is any indication, expect originals smoothly sprinkled in among rap/R&B hits by superstars like Nicki Minaj, Ciara, Future, Angel Haze, Jeremih, and Rihanna. BEN SALMON

GARDENS AND VILLA, PURE BATHING CULTURE
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Hey, kids, remember the '80s? If you don't actually remember the '80s, you probably like Gardens and Villa just fine. The Santa Barbara quintet uses blocky, day-glo synths almost exclusively on their new album, Dunes, accompanying them with the kind of lush and echoey production that's intended to evoke that most Miami Vice of decades. Since there are approximately 78 trillion other bands doing exactly the same thing, it's difficult for G&V to gain any real purchase on the listener's memory. But one track on Dunes manages to do it: the Balearic/New Romantic hangover of "Bullet Train," whose blaring synth fanfare would have gone over great in '84. NED LANNAMANN

FRIDAY 5/16

NICKEL CREEK, THE SECRET SISTERS
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) See My, What a Busy Week!

AGALLOCH, LASHER KEEN, SEDAN
(Star Theater, 13 NW 6th) Read our article on Agalloch.

FLOOR, THRONES, HOT VICTORY, NORSKA
(Branx, 320 SE 2nd) Read our article on Floor.

LIVING EYES, NO LIMBS, PRESSING ON, INVERSION
(Laughing Horse Books, 12 NE 10th) See All-Ages Action!

YG, DJ MUSTARD, EASY McCOY
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) Halfway through "BPT," the first song on YG's My Krazy Life, producer DJ Mustard drops a familiar, squiggly synth line into the mix, an unmistakable nod to Dr. Dre's revolutionary productions of the 1990s. If the narrative around My Krazy Life hasn't made it clear, YG and Mustard will connect the dots for you: West Coast gangsta rap is back in the spotlight, and these two are its sound, fury, and conscience. They're a devastating team. Mustard's beats are lean and playful, obvious heirs to the G-funk throne, while YG singsongs his way through a day in his LA: hanging out, partying, juggling relationships with various women, robbing houses, getting caught. He wraps with "Sorry Momma," a heartfelt tale of regret that paints a 3D picture of rap's new ratchet-anthem kingpin. Hiphop's evolving in strange ways these days, but if it's a pure, fun rap show you desire, YG's your man. BS Also see My, What a Busy Week!

GRANDHORSE, VIOLENT PSALMS, WESTERN HAUNTS, DEDERE
(Alhambra Theatre, 4811 SE Hawthorne) "Well, I walked into the house/and you punched me in the mouth." This arresting couplet opens Violent Psalms' debut album, Slow to Speak, and things only get more tumultuous from there. The local band operates in the familiar power-trio format, with lean folk-rock arrangements and a frequent spangle of guitars that knock out their forceful, blustery compositions delivered at unhurried speeds. All seven tracks of Slow to Speak are meaty and worthwhile, and while some of the melodies occasionally meander off-course, low-key highlights like "Sleeping Pills" and "Broken Pieces" turn out to be explosive sticks of dynamite with long fuses. NL

SURVIVAL KNIFE, HUNGRY GHOST
(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) Ten years after the dissolution of Olympia post-hardcore legends Unwound, former frontman Justin Tropser quietly snuck back into the Northwest music scene at the helm of Survival Knife. In the two years since, the band has built a reputation for creating a meeting zone of disparate genres—the frantic energy and jerky rhythms of post-punk, mixed with occasional prog-rock song structures, power-pop hooks, and '80s metal riffs. After teasing fans with 7-inches on Kill Rock Stars and Sub Pop, Survival Knife released their first full-length a few weeks ago on Isaac Brock's Glacial Pace label. With the momentum of a new album behind them, and former Unwound drummer Sara Lund's band Hungry Ghost opening the night with their angular take on sludgy blues, this is a show well worth coming out for. JOSHUA JAMES AMBERSON

LOOP, KINSKI
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Loop's sizzling acid trip was a short one. The London neo-psych quartet set sail in 1986 before calling it a day five years (and three albums) later. In that time, they strung together songs that often seemed endless, drug-addled, and on the brink. The band was often compared to Spacemen 3 (to the chagrin of Spacemen 3) as they brought the Summer of Love into a brave new world, making for a very modern and intensely apocalyptic experience. Frontman Robert Hampson recently reformed the band, because... well, because this shit still sounds intense and fresh. And when the world finally does end—whether it's tomorrow, or 200 years from now—Loop's music is going to still sound just as mind-melting as it did nearly three decades ago. MARK LORE

GUMS AND ANTITUNE, ZOO?, K-MASS
(Future Shock, 1914 E Burnside) As Portland venues continue to wrestle with unwarranted interference surrounding hiphop shows, a positive consequence is the proliferation of musical performances in non-traditional venues. Considering hiphop was born in community centers and public parks, it's only natural to find a flourishing local community sprouting out of basements and studios into college campuses and art galleries. Tonight's a celebration of Gums and Antitune, the self-titled release from producer Antitune and emcee Gums. Antitune's production features dusty jazz samples augmented by MPC beats, providing the ideal canvas for rapper Gums to paint his dexterous bars. Emcee/producer Zoo?—AKA Dylan Muldrew of the Renaissance Coalition—and K-Mass of London Victory Club get the party started. RYAN FEIGH

RAIZ, JAK, ANDREW BOIE
(Rotture, 315 SE 3rd) Getting ready for Detroit's annual Movement Festival, one of North America's premier dance music events, requires planning and preparation. It helps to prime yourself with some dark, dirty, pumping techno so you can be ready for the high-speed bass blowback you might experience if you're lucky enough to make it to Detroit for the weekend of hardcore dance music. Raiz—the team of brothers Vangelis and Vidal Vargas—will descend upon Portland to give us a taste of that unflinchingly raw energy. With a string of successful techno releases on their own Droid Behavior label, be confident that a night of serious homage to rhythm awaits. CHRISTINA BROUSSARD

SATURDAY 5/17

STEELHORSE, ONE FROM MANY
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) See My, What a Busy Week!

THE PYNNACLES, THE CRY, RAF MOD BAND
(Dante's, 350 W Burnside) You might think you already know the Pynnacles' bag. The Portland band celebrates and embodies the retro garage-rock sound of the mid-'60s—specifically, "the '65-'68 Top 40/Garage/Psych sound," according to their latest 7-inch—with a fervent devotion to tradition. But the Pynnacles are not a museum piece; they're a powerhouse live band ignited by Sean Croghan's legendary vocal cords, blasting out rock 'n' roll with passion and relevance. The Pynnacles' formidable live capabilities don't necessarily translate ideally to wax, something the band might be aware of on their new record. Rather than try to cram their live fire into its rotating grooves, they've devoted both sides to covers of a Pomona, California, band called the Deepest Blue. It's a wise and perhaps scholarly choice, and the 7-inch includes a detailed history of the obscure group, with plenty of photos. NL

ICE BALLOONS, BABES, STILL CAVES, GRAPEFRUIT
(High Water Mark, 6800 NE MLK) I've never been in charge of running a bar or venue myself, but I'd imagine that a savvy management team will typically do everything in its power to avoid inviting flies into the premises. Brand-new Northeast Portland venue High Water Mark Lounge goes the opposite direction tonight, as they play host to Brooklyn-based noise rock band Ice Balloons. Fronted by a half-man, half-fly and backed by psychedelic visuals, the group's live shows become small spectacles, all while the band dumps layers of whirling synth and fuzzy noise on top of a catchy, driving garage-rock foundation. Ice Balloons boast members from a handful of other acts, including TV on the Radio's Kyp Malone, and with a strong self-titled debut that strikes a balance between truly bizarre and headbang-worthy, welcoming an insect like this should actually prove a shrewd move for the new venue. CHIPP TERWILLIGER

KYLE GASS BAND, DOUGLAS COUNTY DAUGHTERS, BRAD PARSONS
(Alhambra Theatre, 4811 SE Hawthorne) With the disbandment of the excellent Trainwreck in 2010, Kyle Gass found himself with some more downtime while his other half in the uber-popular Tenacious D gallivanted off to star in Hollywood films. Solution? Form a ridiculously tight band and slap his famous name on it. The Kyle Gass Band, then, falls in line with the satirical, fantastical, whimsical scope of the D and Trainwreck, fronted by Band of Bigfoot guitarist Mike Bray and filled out by longtime Tenacious D electric guitarist John Konesky. The similarities are palpable between all three projects, but Gass’ regimen of riffage is notable regardless of the tongue-in-cheek content of the tunes. The band’s macho façade is backed up by ball-breaking rock, as found on “Manchild” from the group’s self-titled debut. RYAN J. PRADO

VASTUM, DIOCLETIAN, GRAVEHILL, DEAD CONSPIRACY, CEMETERY LUST
(Tonic Lounge, 3100 NE Sandy) Most popular modern death metal is locked into a style that consists of blinding technicality, buzz-saw blast beats, and riffs that sound like a swarm of insects. While creating chaos certainly plays a role in extreme metal, there's something to be said about hook and simplicity when it comes to brutality. Letting the music breathe is just as important to heavy music as it is to jazz. Last year San Francisco's Vastum released Patricidal Lust, the band's second full-length since their inception in 2009. With Lust, Vastum have penned a trudging, oozing masterpiece of brutalization. The weight of the record thickens the air as it goes from one murky riff to the next, and the crawling speeds have a paralyzing quality. The decipherable yet ghastly voice of guitarist Leila Abdul-Rauf and the gurgling sludge of Daniel Butler's co-vocals only add to every grievous moment on the record. Vastum has evoked pure sonic terror, and it's scary good. ARIS WALES

COMM, KAYLEE ROB, BLOODY PANDA
(Kenton Club, 2025 N Kilpatrick) One of the best releases to come out of Portland last year was Electric iLL's Twisted Light EP, a concise and enjoyable set of future-retro electro-soul that mostly flew under the radar. Kevin Robinson and Ragen Fykes were the duo behind it, and while Fykes has gone on to join Ural Thomas and the Pain, Robinson has continued on a divergent musical path since the disbanding of his two long-time acts (Viva Voce and Blue Giant). He's collaborated with Papi Fimbres (in King Tarahumara) and Paulo Zappoli (AKA Pall Jenkins), and moonlighted as drummer for the Dandy Warhols. Lately, Robinson has arrived upon Kaylee Rob as a solo alter ego of sorts. Early live returns suggest a complete reinvention, with a destination set somewhere near the stratosphere—here's the first of a few chances over the next month to catch him along the way. JEREMY PETERSEN

LIL JON (DJ SET), SIDESTEP
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) TURN DOWN FOR WHAT!!!!

SAINT VITUS, MOS GENERATOR, SONS OF HUNS
(Branx, 320 SE 2nd) One of the bedrock bands of doom metal, Saint Vitus didn't hit their stride until the mid '80s and early '90s. While thrash and the nascent death metal and grindcore of the day were often testing land-speed records, Vitus delivered three classics of plodding, bluesy, groove-oriented metal in Born Too Late, Mournful Cries, and V. Not that there isn't plenty to enjoy on their other records (with singers Scott Reagers or Chritus Linderson), but it's those with Obsessed/Spirit Caravan frontman Scott "Wino" Weinrich that resonate best. So when Saint Vitus released its first album in 17 years (2012's Lillie: F-25), the fact that Wino was once again behind the mic made it all the sweeter. MATTHEW W. SULLIVAN

BATHS, YOUNG FATHERS
(Rotture, 315 SE 3rd) Tonight's bill features two sides of the same coin, if that coin is murky electronic beats. The headliner is Baths, AKA Will Wiesenfeld, a Southern Californian whose 2013 album Obsidian is a nifty little headphone world where porcelain falsetto vocals swirl around the bloodless thud of cuddly lap-pop. The result is something like a less gregarious Passion Pit, or a more precious, helium-soaked Postal Service. Opening is Young Fathers, an experimental Scottish trio that made a splash over the past few years with two mixtapes that showcased a lo-fi, left-of-center take on hiphop. Their new album, Dead, delivers on that, immersing the group's raps and R&B into a deep well of glitchy fuzz. Young Fathers' boom-bap is intimate, dark, and not for the claustrophobic. If nothing else, roll to this show to hear what tastemaking alt-rap label Anticon is into these days. BS

MARRIAGE + CANCER, THE NUMERATORS, LOST CITIES
(The Know, 2026 NE Alberta) Like a Merry Pranksters acid party with the Hell's Angels, the Numerators mix silly and sinister in equal measure with unchecked abandon. Their songs build garage grooves under a blanket of reverb-drenched howls and slithering drawls. It's demented rhythm and blues, it's party rock gone wrong, and there's no better venue for it than the glory of the Know, where bands can let their inherent wildness hang out. And there's no better companion for the Brooklyn (by way of Lubbock) trio than Portland's own Marriage + Cancer, who'll headline tonight's tour kickoff with their unique brand of ominously infectious post-punk. JJA

IS/IS, DANDYLIONS, PSYCHOMAGIC
(Club 21, 2035 NE Glisan) I've always been a big fan of the Land of 10,000 Lakes, and between the Replacements announcing an appearance at this year's Bumbershoot and me catching up on the fantastic Fargo TV series, this past week has had me feeling even more Minnesota than usual. I've also been introduced to the psychedelic rock trio Is/Is, who recently relocated to Portland by way of Minneapolis. The move reunites guitarist Sarah Rose and bassist Sarah Nienaber with the group's original drummer Mara Appel, and the band has brought their tumultuous, yet soothing new self-titled release along with them. The eight-song album channels the sounds of early '90s shoegaze and dream pop particularly well, and it hits a fantastic stride as it heads into its back half, with "Gleam" and "Shine Down" bleeding some sweet, melodic vocals into the mix of heavy reverb and piercing feedback. CT

SUNDAY 5/18

THE GHOST EASE, FOCUS TROUP, HALF SHADOW, BED
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) See My, What a Busy Week!

NATHANIEL RATELIFF, CARLY RITTER
(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) Nathaniel Rateliff has a booming voice and a broken heart. With them, at the crossroads of folk and forlorn country, he made Falling Faster Than You Can Run, a record that is—both in feeling and execution—naked, righteous, and alone. Besides Rateliff's marvelous, hair-raising vocal instrument and his strummed acoustic guitar, Falling Faster is relatively unadorned. But when the embellishments suddenly whoosh in, they do so to tremendous emotional effect. As Jon Pareles wrote in the New York Times of Rateliff and his producer, "their understanding of hand-played instruments in intimate spaces is meticulous and startling." A longtime pillar in his Denver home, Rateliff is renowned for live performance as well. With full band in tow, expect to ride that dynamic range even further—from the tops of the mountains, where the air is thin and whipping, then crashing deep into the cold, cold ground. ANDREW R TONRY

MONDAY 5/19

KISHI BASHI, PLUME GIANT
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) See My, What a Busy Week!

THE SUICIDE NOTES, THE BUGS
(Lola's Room, 1332 W Burnside) See My, What a Busy Week!, and All-Ages Action!

PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS, GWIZSKI, DJ SPENCER DARAN
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Though People Under the Stairs have shunned the notion that they're an "underground" rap group, they totally are, and that's not a bad thing. Their sound is sophisticated, and their beats are experimental, often using real drums instead of cheesy, overused drum loops. People Under the Stairs have toured the world and performed thousands of shows, and their recently released album, 12 Step Program, exemplifies what they do best: rhymes about the day-to-day grind against the backdrop of flavorful rhythms and funky-ass bass lines. ROSE FINN

DEATH IN JUNE
(Alhambra Theatre, 4811 SE Hawthorne) When Douglas Pearce first conceived of Death in June in the early '80s, he was still under the influence of punk rock, having spent the previous four years as a member of agitprop band Crisis. In the decades that followed, Pearce and his collaborators (including Boyd Rice and Current 93 leader David Tibet) fell under the sway of traditional English folk music. The elegant piano and acoustic guitar textures of this sound still burbles in a dark, heady stew of electronics and eerie ambience that has kept Death in June a mainstay in the record collections of the goths that walk among us. RH

PROTOMARTYR
(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) Detroit's Protomartyr touches on the Motor City's renowned grittiness without necessarily paying explicit homage. The band's sophomore album, Under Color of Official Right, is a warm slab of minimalist, unpretentious post-punk. It's simultaneously dreamy, breakneck, and dangerous, and Protomartyr have the ability to lull you into submission only to slap you back awake with walls of screeching guitars. It's a repetitive affair that finds its center in the staccato phrasing of vocalist Joe Casey's street-wise poetry and wild, nihilistic delivery. "What the Wall Said" is a prime example of the quartet's sinister approach, thrusting its driving rhythms, subtle melody, and Casey's drunken drawls into a wave of anticipation for the rewarding crescendo. RJP

TUESDAY 5/20

WHAT ABOUT US: AN ANNE MURRAY TRIBUTE
(LaurelThirst Public House, 2958 NE Glisan) See My, What a Busy Week!

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