Up & Coming 

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THURSDAY 12/10

VAMPIRE WEEKEND, WHITE RABBITS, ANYA MARINA

(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) See My, What a Busy Week!

STUMPTOWN PRINTERS 10TH ANNIVERSARY: NORFOLK & WESTERN, LAKE, KARL BLAU, ILYAS AHMED, FOGHORN DUO, DJ HOMETAPES

(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) My mom is a LAKE fan. Now, let it be known: My mother is a lighthearted woman, but when it comes to dancing she is dead serious. She instilled in me a set of "clap 'n' snap" ethics and a discerning ear that perks up at the slightest bass line swagger. When my mother first heard LAKE, she reeled into immediate head-bopping—and how could you not? I dare you to listen to Oh, the Places We'll Go without feeling overcome by a dreamy trance that commands you to move. It's not the sort of dancing that will exhaust you, but rather it'll revive your appreciation for a band that can properly fuse technology's perks with good musicianship. And their live show? Well, let's just say if my mom lived in Portland, she'd be in the front row bopping among the beards and equestrian boots. It's best you attend. RAQUEL NASSER Also see My, What a Busy Week!

EVANGELISTA, TWO TON BOA, THRONES

(Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) Fellow children of the '90s may, like me, initially recognize Two Ton Boa frontwoman Sherry Fraser from the song of the same name on Marcy Playground's debut album. But did you know, hypothetical fellow Marcy Playground fans, that Fraser has been making music in her own band for over a decade? Grimy, nasty music? While Two Ton Boa's sound never transcends its influences (Babes in Toyland; their former tourmates in the Dresden Dolls), if I shut my eyes and listen it's like I'm in a grungy '90s club. The kind of club I wished I was in back when I was in middle school listening to Marcy Playground. DAVE BOW

FRIDAY 12/11

RICHMOND FONTAINE, DOLOREAN, MICHAEL DEAN DAMRON

(Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) See My, What a Busy Week!

SPOON, BLACK JOE LEWIS, ANYA MARINA

(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) See My, What a Busy Week!

HARPER SIMON, THE CHAPIN SISTERS

(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) See Music.

THE ASCETIC JUNKIES, BARK HIDE AND HORN, ST. FRANKIE LEE

(Backspace, 115 NW 5th) For a compact release—a pair of new songs, a pair of remixes—the brand-new Don't Wait for the Rescue Squad EP from the Ascetic Junkies sure has a lot going on. Opening with the sound of scrawling marker (I'm unsure of the marker's importance within the context of the song, but it sounds cool), "Jenny, Don't Do That!!" nicely submerges the band's vocal-heavy pop sound (think early Rilo Kiley) in a bevy of upbeat instrumentation (piano, tambourines, synths). The Ascetic Junkies' vocals-for-days approach marches onward with the global pep of "French Girls," and especially in the Postal Service digi-pop of the Cars & Trains-remixed "Windows Sell the House." It might just be four songs, but this EP won't leave your playlist for quite some time. EZRA ACE CARAEFF

BLACK ELK, TURKS, THE AX

(East End, 203 SE Grand) Righteously heavy noise-punkers Black Elk have just wrapped up a European tour and they're playing a homecoming show tonight, but this short-lived return is bittersweet: Guitarist Erik Trammell and drummer Jeff Watson are moving to LA. Is this our final chance to hear the lumbering amphetamine riffs of Black Elk? Hopefully not, but it will be their last show for the time being, so get your shit together and bid 'em a proper adieu. Oakland's Turks will lighten the mood with their jaggedly aggressive post-hardcore, which remains weirdly lithe and graceful even as it plumbs the depths of ear-shard noisepunk. NED LANNAMANN

THE THERMALS, DIRTY MITTENS, WHITE FANG

(Berbati's Pan, 10 SW 3rd) Want to hear new songs from the Thermals? Great, all you need to do is unearth the top-secret Northeast Portland locale where the band is holed up and recording with Chris Walla (Death Cab for Cutie). After you steal their master tapes—adding your own personal tweaks to the recording along the way (this will ensure you get "executive producer" credit)—please feel free to immediately upload the album to all online file-sharing sites. On second thought, a safer option would be for you to make your way to this show. Fresh from a year spent tirelessly crossing the globe in support of Now We Can See—don't forget all those Twitter posts dedicated to spreading the gospel of something called "Jazz Noodles"—the Thermals treat us all to a rare all-ages performance and a possible first look at some new songs as well. EAC

NORFOLK & WESTERN, CARCRASHLANDER, GRAND HALLWAY

(The Woods, 6637 SE Milwaukie) Maybe it's the glowing tones of Cory Gray's electric piano or the muted lounge vibe that escalates into thundering prog fanfare, but there's something evocative of a bygone vinyl era on Carcrashlander's new record Where to Swim. The band celebrates their record release tonight, and it's perhaps the best effort Carcrashlander have put forth. Backed by a stellar ensemble that includes the experimental guitar of Alexis Gideon, Gray's songs only initially seem low key; they slowly tighten their grip until you're undeniably hooked. Where to Swim balances its more ponderous moments with graceful trumpet and pedal steel, and every time things begin to get gruff, Carcrashlander eases up on the throttle with woozy warmth. NL

ZERO 7, PHANTOGRAM

(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) London-based Zero 7 (Henry Binns and Sam Hardaker) have released four albums this decade and are often wrongly compared to Air. A much better comparison is Bristol's Alpha, a duo who, like Zero 7, work with singers and produce elegant and lush pop tunes. Alpha, however, are much more dubby and experimental than Zero 7, whose music is very clean and rarely overflows. The duo's best album is their second—When it Falls (2004) seemed to correct the mistakes made on the first album, Simple Things (2001), which had a few tracks that sounded way too simple and clean (indeed, "Simple Things" had the kind of plain writing and chord changes that you'd expect to find on a Sting record). Zero 7's new Yeah Ghost certainly has its moments, the main of which is a pop tune, "Mr. McGee," which features the Zimbabwean singer Eska Mtungwazi. The band also dropped an excellent DJ mix on the Another Late Night series, revealing their impeccable musical taste. CHARLES MUDEDE

EL SWAMPO, MRS. ESTERHOUSE, ASTEROID M, A KILLING DOVE

(Red Room, 2530 NE 82nd) While there are many schools of style for male metal vocalists (grunty, screechy, Ozzy, etc.), the women of metal seem to be stuck in one mode: operatic. While the rest of the genre has recovered from a bad trip in the late '90s nü-metal Vietnam, female-fronted metal singers still tend to get dangerously close to Evanescence territory. Vocalist Claire Miller of El Swampo has a stoned, seductive drawl that is a welcome exception to this rule. While the band's sound on a whole is nothing new (and sadly owes quite a bit to late '90s music itself) there are rare times when Miller is singing that El Swampo sounds like something really rare—a metal group that's not trying too hard. DB

SATURDAY 12/12

ROCK 'N' SHOP: NO GO KNOW, BOY EATS DRUM MACHINE, ILLMACULATE, THE AX , THE MEAN JEANS, THE PITY FUCKS, WINTERHAVEN, GRAVES

(Slabtown, 1033 NW 16th) See My, What a Busy Week!

J. TILLMAN, PEARLY GATE MUSIC, AL JAMES THE UNFAZED

(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) See Music.

MEW, PEGASUS DREAM

(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE 39th) See Music.

NURSES, AAN, TYPHOON

(Berbati's Pan, 10 SW 3rd) The hiccup of a few cancelled dates on their November tour notwithstanding, Nurses done good this year. The spectral, disheveled pop songs on their landmark debut, Apple's Acre, are topping many a year-end list, with "Technicolor" having become the low-key anthem of the summer of 2009. Right now, Nurses' music doesn't sound like anybody else's, either in Portland or elsewhere, but expect to see a bumper crop of Nurses imitators in 2010. Meanwhile, AAN make wispily melodic songs that sit far outside the continuum of folk and rock music, with a sound that's naturally evolved from bedside recordings to a broader palette. And Typhoon, seemingly back for good after an extended hiatus, are prepping a new record for next spring, which no doubt will be filled with their delicately soaring folk anthems. NL

MELT-BANANA, TERA MELOS, THE SLANTS

(Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) Japan is known for making weird creations, such as "bilk" the milk beer, horsemeat ice cream, and kimchi soda, yet there's something alluring and revolting that draws me to try them all. So it goes for Melt-Banana. Since 1992 this Japanese band has spawned dozens of noisy rockers in their wake—inspired, perhaps, by their effortless melding of psycho-metal beats with electronica and rap. Yes, they sound fun and crazy as shit, but that's not really a surprise considering that founding member Yasuko Onuki barks cute English lyrics over screeching feedback. Nor is it a surprise that the band has gone through more than 10 drummers. Unfortunately they're cleaning up a bit, sounding more like Deerhoof on acid than, well, the sound an actual melting banana might make. I hear Dante's is rolling in kegs of "bilk" as we speak, so don't miss out. PHILIP GAUDETTE

CLAUDE VONSTROKE, MERCHANTS OF CYN, EKIM

(2410, 2410 N Mississippi) Claude VonStroke is finally coming back to town, and he's making up for lost time with a four-hour live set. In the few years since the San Francisco tech-house don/founder of Dirtybird Records last made a Portland dance floor go nuts, he's been busy influencing beat culture around the world. Most significantly, VonStroke started a new imprint, Mothership, to expand the funky, quirky sounds of Dirtybird into darker, more experimental territory. His wisely curated Mothership roster includes impressive producers like Maetrik, Italoboyz, and the eerie-sounding, game-changing duo Voodeux. VonStroke's recent gravitation towards the weirder side of dance music is reflected in his own new album, Bird Brain, which keeps all the trademark kooky animal noises and playful loops he's known for, but also eases up on the constant beats, leaving some space for new and interesting developments in the low end. AVA HEGEDUS

WOVEN BONES, BODHI, BLOODBIKER

(East End, 203 SE Grand) These days there's not much a new band can do with the whole garage rock thing... except, I guess, to just fucking go for it. Austin's Woven Bones have a slightly more thoughtful approach to their minimal-is-maximal rock 'n' roll, taking the soft, droning shoegaze of Spacemen 3 and beating it over the head with the raw power of the Stooges. Guitarist/vocalist Andy Burr drowns his vocals in reverb, letting only a slight drawl cut through as he sings about the dark times in his life. Sure, it may sound like a downer, but that buzzsaw fuzz and those cow-punk choruses always seem to make for a happy ending. MARK LORE

SUNDAY 12/13

INSIDE VOICES, WHITE HINTERLAND

(Rontoms, 600 E Burnside) Casey Dienel of White Hinterland is a nice girl from New England with a good set of pipes. Her voice, often looped in a web of delayed harmonies, will lure you in with its intricate weavings and then capture you in a box (that may or may not resemble a lobster trap) for the entirety of their set. Unaware of her catch, Dienel will return to the keys and partner Shawn Creeden will tap on a drum pad and turn a knob, and whatever ensues from there is an aural experiment that sounds like a candlelit lovemaking session between Tori Amos and David Byrne. Needless to say, White Hinterland is proof that New Englanders can emerge from their repressive Puritanical roots as something seriously awesome (and completely unrelated to seamanship). RN Also see My, What a Busy Week!

MONDAY 12/14

ONE ESKIMO

(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) British four-piece One Eskimo play hushed, soft-lit bedroom pop-soul that splits the difference between Nick Drake and Norah Jones. There's a lot of this sort of thing about now, but One Eskimo do it well. Vocalist Kristian Leontiou exudes a subdued warmth, with easy leaps into creamy falsetto as well as forays into mellow belting offering diversions from his typical breathy croon. The acoustic-based music won't disturb a sleeping infant, but rather than coming across as anodyne, the songs on One Eskimo's self-titled album induce a very pleasant calm, a platonic, consoling hug in the guise of coffeehouse soul—sort of like the Beta Band with all their quirks whittled away. It could be worse—much worse. DAVE SEGAL

TUESDAY 12/15

VIVA CHRISTMAS: EL VEZ, LOS STRAITJACKETS, THE LOVELY ELVETTES, JESUS PRESLEY

(Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) See My, What a Busy Week!

WEDNESDAY 12/16

DICK DALE, TANA AND THE FASCINATORS

(Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) See My, What a Busy Week!

SIC ALPS, EAT SKULL, MAGIK MARKERS, METH TEETH

(Eagle's Lodge, 4904 SE Hawthorne) See Music.

Y LA BAMBA, LEONARD MYNX, BRYAN FREE & THE DOXYHAUNTS

(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) We have a couple new records to celebrate tonight, but Y La Bamba's long-awaited Lupon is not one of them, unfortunately. With any luck, that album will come out early next year, but in the meantime you've got stocking stuffers from two other Portland troubadours to console you. Leonard Mynx has recorded over 30 new songs with Adam Selzer of Norfolk & Western over the past few months, and tonight he's putting out a very special limited-edition disc of some of that material. Only 250 copies of Le Petit Mort are being pressed; many of its songs should eventually see the light of the day next year with proper releases, but you probably don't want to wait that long for a new batch of Mynx tunes, which run the stylistic gamut from Paul Simon lullabies to Tom Waits junkyard folk. Bryan Free also has a special new album, which he describes as "nine songs in a live environment, replete with big glass windows, a shiny black grand piano, stairwells, and palm trees." Sounds classy! And if Free's previous album Each Other is any indication, it'll be great. NL

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