Up & Coming 

PORTLAND CELLO PROJECT
Crystal Ballroom, 12/17

PORTLAND CELLO PROJECT
Crystal Ballroom, 12/17

THURSDAY 12/16

FIRST ANNUAL HOLIDAY SPECIAL: LAURA GIBSON, MUSEE MECANIQUE, ALELA DIANE, & MORE

(The Woods, 6637 SE Milwaukie) See My, What a Busy Week!

NATHANIEL TALBOT, BRITTLE BONES, VELLAREST, SQUALORA

(Backspace, 115 NW 5th) Read our article on Brittle Bones.

HELLO ELECTRIC, BRAINSTORM, HOLY CHILDREN

(Rotture, 315 SE 3rd) Skychief, the new album from hometown band Hello Electric, was recorded with Portugal. The Man's John Gourley behind the boards, and it shares some of that band's envelope-pushing approach to pop. But Hello Electric—the one-time solo project of Kirk Ohnstad, which has since expanded to a trio to include Zach Bendt and Henry Gibson—is also not afraid to strip things back to their bare essentials, resulting in nakedly harrowing moments like the screamed chorus of "Cosine," which subverts the rest of the song's carefully layered vocals. Skychief is the kind of statement that's impossible to ignore; it's the sound of a band finding a wealth of terrific material by being clearly attuned to all the possibilities of their sound, including mathy progressions, crust-punk rumble, art-rock non sequiturs, and post-psych languor. "Bear King II" is a ferocious highlight, a grumbling, stuttering electric number whose refrain, "This is the fucking woodland!/I am the king!" is bound to tap into something elemental and wild underneath your skin. NED LANNAMANN

BUZZOV*EN, RABBITS, WITCH MOUNTAIN, STONE BURNER

(Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) Mastodon, Baroness, Kylesa, and every other scummy punk-infused Southern metal band making waves of late owes a debt of gratitude to North Carolina's sludge forefathers Buzzov*en. Appropriate adjectives to describe the blunt force of the band's feedback-stained power chords and drugged-down lurch have been exhausted on the recent tide of unwashed beardos slinging guitars tuned to drop C, but it's crucial to remember that back in 1992 Buzzov*en was unlike anything else. They were violent, reckless, and absolutely terrifying. The band suffered from drug problems, lineup changes, and bad record deals, eventually leading to their breakup in '01. With recent compilations from underground mainstays Alternative Tentacles and Relapse, the band is back on the radar and ready to deliver a history lesson to the mangy hordes. BRIAN COOK

AND I WAS LIKE WHAT?, WATER AND BODIES, HOUSEFIRE, SYMMETRY/SYMMETRY

(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) The cumbersome mouthful of the band moniker that is And I Was Like, What? is a bit of a distraction. If anything, the name does the Portland quintet a disservice, labeling the band as a sort of musical punchline, or at least an outfit that might be less than serious about their intentions. Yet on the band's just-released EP We Have Nothing, AIWLW? deliver a dynamic rock recording, one that doesn't fit the typical jangle-and-mumble template of so many other local acts. "Birthday Suite" sways with a violin hook and the finest guitar complexity this side of Karate's masterful Bed Is in the Ocean, while opener "Secular Eyes" is a bit more direct, with its catchy chorus of "She left me for some Christian girl/And I don't know what to say." Don't get hung up on the band's name, since there is something truly great about We Have Nothing. EZRA ACE CARAEFF

KILLING JOKE

(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) Over the past three decades Killing Joke became all things to everyone, a band that was difficult to pin down and influenced countless artists, from punk bands and new wavers to industrial rock machines and metalheads. It could be said that the band's tenacity and influence (not necessarily their musical output) is comparable to that of KISS. Keyboardist-vocalist Jaz Coleman and guitarist Geordie Walker have been the constants, ably guiding the band as trends lived and died and the music industry disintegrated around them. Hell, Killing Joke probably supplied the soundtrack. And they're not finished yet. The original members reunited after the death of bassist Paul Raven, an odd twist that pushed the band to record more music and perform live. Given the band's peculiar history (drug use, accusations of being neo-Nazis, etc.), it's surprising that Killing Joke is still around. I'm beginning to think they're going to outlast all of us. MARK LORE

FRIDAY 12/17

PORTLAND CELLO PROJECT, CORIN TUCKER BAND, TYPHOON, THE GOLDEN BEARS, THE PHAME ACADEMY CHOIR

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

AGALLOCH, ALLERSEELEN, AERIAL RUIN

(Berbati's Pan, 10 SW 3rd) Read our article on Agolloch.

JOHN GRANT, MARTY MARQUIS

(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Read our article on John Grant.

LUMINOUS THINGS, TOD MORRISEY, DUOVER

(The Press Club, 2621 SE Clinton) It's not supposed to be like this, Duover. The local pair's Christmas Volume 1 is no mere traditional holiday album of hastily recorded musical throwaways with yet another exhausted version of "Santa Baby." No, not here. Christmas Volume 1 is an excellent recording—Christmas or otherwise—of sugary-sweet indie pop songs that bounce between the co-ed vocals of Duover's Nathan Jr. and Rebecca Rasmussen. It's a bit troubling to think that songs like "Grandma's House" or "Home for the Holidays" might be forgotten in the haste to dismiss holiday music as a seasonal fad. Long after the tree is hauled away from your curb and the decorations return to the attic, this is an album that you will still be playing at full volume. EAC

48 THRILLS, COOTIE PLATOON, ABSENT MINDS

(Katie O'Brien's, 2809 NE Sandy) When a CDR bearing the handwritten title Hand Claps and Ass Slaps turns up on my desk, I'm going to be more than a bit skeptical. But when I heard the new EP of that name by local power-pop/punk band 48 Thrills, I was pleasantly surprised. With hoarsely hollered vocals and full-throttle guitars, 48 Thrills have crafted a five-song collection that stutters, bleeds, and staggers its way through joyously beefy melodies and major-chord choruses. There's a happily frenzied grandeur to everything 48 Thrills plays, like every song could very well be its last—and if a guitar string breaks or a cymbal cracks or the singer blows out his voice, then so fucking be it. You can get your paws on Hand Claps and Ass Slaps by going to 48 Thrills' Bandcamp page, but I bet it's no match for seeing them tear up a Northeast dive on a Friday night. NL

MIC CRENSHAW, HIVES INQUIRY SQUAD, DESTRO, L PRO, DJ IZM

(East Chinatown Lounge, 322 NW Everett) Mic Crenshaw is a veteran emcee and staple of the Portland hiphop scene, having performed as a member of Hungry Mob, Cleveland Steamers, and Suckapunch. However it wasn't until Crenshaw dropped his solo debut, 2009's Thinking Out Loud, that a national audience took notice with a solid 10 weeks amid the top 10 of the CMJ's Hiphop Chart. His follow-up, Under the Sun, is finally seeing the light of day after initially being projected for release months ago. The resulting output is well worth the wait. While no stranger to genre-bending with past projects, Under the Sun is the most successful, marrying Crenshaw's socially conscious, spitfire street narratives with spacey electro beats and even the occasional guitar solo. In the past, similar experiments sometimes seemed forced and unfocused. Under the Sun, in stark contrast, shines bright in its aggressive ambitiousness. RYAN FEIGH

THE FUZZY BALL: THE PRIDS, PETE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, THE UPSIDEDOWN, RICK BAIN AND THE GENIUS POSITION, 1776, & MORE

(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) It's been absent for five years, but the Fuzzy Ball makes a long-awaited and welcome return. A celebration of all things shoegaze, the Fuzzy Ball sees 10 acts from the Northwest playing covers of vintage tunes by bands like Ride and My Bloody Valentine alongside their own fuzzy originals. Portland staples the Prids are no strangers to the magic that guitar effects pedals can weave, nor is the Dandy Warhols' Peter Holmström, who fronts Pete International Airport. Plus, Rick Bain and the Genius Position make a welcome return to the spotlight, which hopefully means a long-overdue new album is somewhere on the horizon. Portland psych label Reverb Records is hosting the shindig, and they'll give you a free 20-song CD compilation just for showing up. Ten bands mean that it's going to be a long night, but thank goodness the Fuzzy Ball is back—and fuzzier than ever. NL

SATURDAY 12/18

OM, THRONES, LICHENS (9 PM)

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

DOLOREAN, MERIDIAN

(LaurelThirst Public House, 2958 NE Glisan) Read our article on Delorean.

WOW AND FLUTTER, BRITTLE BONES, BOMBS INTO YOU

(Saratoga, 6910 N Interstate) Read our article on Brittle Bones.

DANKO JONES (6 PM)

(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) When did metal wind up in the hands of extremists? Douchebags have had their mitts on metal for way too long, insisting that songs can only be about drinking and fucking and partying and living the metal life. It gets so tiring; metal has become a niche, like Star Trek fanaticism, or furries. Danko Jones is pulling the kickass guitars of metal back into a pop framework and using those catchy riffs as vehicles for songs that are about, you know, normal stuff like regret and dating and Joan Jett. He gets his sexy on—"Lovercall" is the best Jon Spencer Blues Explosion tune to be written in the last 10 years—but he keeps things accessible, bringing metal back where it belongs: in the hands of the masses. PAUL CONSTANT

SUNDAY 12/19

TRICKY

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

GRAF ORLOCK, OWEN HART, ELITIST, REIVERS, CURSEBREAKER

(Branx, 320 SE 2nd) Repeat and rearrange the blast beats and breakdowns all you want, but getting your grindcore band to stand out from the rest of the pack has got to be tough. So why not stop the blasts on a dime, cue a sample of Jeff Goldblum's line about the big pile of dinosaur shit, and then start the pummeling all over again? Los Angeles' Graf Orlock have been taking this model to the limits since '03, fusing hardcore punk, grind, and apocalyptic screaming and shredding with soundbites from action flicks like Jurassic Park and The Terminator. Of course, they're not the only practitioners of sample-infused heavy music—their approach is just the most fun. Breaking off blockbuster chunks of riffage, they turn the mirror on the meathead faces of hardcore music and Arnold Schwarzenegger, having a good laugh at both. ETHAN JAYNE

MONDAY 12/20

DENVER, KELE GOODWIN

(Valentine's, 232 SW Ankeny) If there's such a thing as a sober Denver show, I don't wanna know about it. The Portland quintet plays sloppier 'n' hell country songs with a side helping of whiskey, and their acoustic shows inevitably devolve in the best way possible. There's a reason this kind of music is so inextricably linked to the bottle—it just sounds better when you've got a few under your belt. Hey, they don't call it outlaw country for nothing. The group features the impressive mustache of one Michael Elias—he of Valentine's recurring Tender Love 'n' Care country DJ night—along with Birger Olsen of Town Rill, Tom Bevitori of Alela Diane's band (they're hitched), and John Gnorski of Inside Voices. Rounding out the quintet on banjo is Eric Earley, from a little-known local band called Blitzen Trapper. NL

TUESDAY 12/21

SECRET CENTURY, BRITTLE BONES

(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) It's Brittle Bones week in Portland! In addition to the band's three shows this week, singer/guitarist Tasha "Trasher" Christensen will see double duty tonight as a member of billmates Secret Century. The all-female trio debuts their Pleasures Treasures LP tonight, a concise offering of upbeat pop numbers orchestrated by the band's founding member, Heidi Hull. Pleasures Treasures ricochets from straightforward rock and roll to electro-tinged pop numbers, all of which are capped by the desperate voice of Hull—the Secret Century frontwoman sings every word as if it's her last. EAC Also Read our article on Brittle Bones.

DREW GROW AND THE PASTORS' WIVES, KELLI SCHAEFER, NO MORE TRAIN GHOSTS

(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) It wouldn't be the holidays in Portland if there weren't a bevy of local bands showcasing their talents for a good cause. Artists from local label Amigo/Amiga are hosting a party to celebrate the season, with a portion of the proceeds being donated to the Oregon Food Bank. Longstanding troubadour Drew Grow has just released an EP of his startlingly stark solo work, The Comfort Feel; it's haunting music that should not be listened to alone on a dreary winter day. Meanwhile, the angel-voiced Kelli Schaefer recently led a successful campaign on fundraising website Kickstarter to drum up the money needed to put out a new full-length, which will compile previously released tracks like "Our Makeshift Gears Grind Gracefully"—a five-minute-long song so epic and mournful, it makes Joanna Newsom sound soulless. MARANDA BISH

WEDNESDAY 12/22

NORMAN, JOSHUA ENGLISH, PANCAKE BREAKFAST

(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Over a decade ago I was fortunate enough to witness Six Going on Seven absolutely kill it inside a small Boston club. The trio's tightly wound sound had all the precision of Quicksand, but with the emotive heart of Knapsack—basically a late-'90s emo kid's wet dream. Of course the band never caught on as they should have, but if you come across a bargain-bin copy of their magnum opus, 1999's Heartbreak's Got Backbeat, do not hesitate to purchase it. Recently, frontman Joshua English resurfaced in Portland of all places, and the heavily inked singer has done a stellar job reinventing himself as a roustabout troubadour cut from the same swath of cloth as David Dondero or Frank Turner (whom he has toured alongside). His new full-length Lay Bare Your Bones is overwhelmingly sincere, the sort of recording that makes you want to strip away the responsibilities of everyday life, and hit the vast open rails with a bindle in one hand and a battered guitar case in the other. EAC

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