TALKING TO TURTLES
The Knife Shop at Kelly's Olympian, 3/25

THURSDAY 3/24

GOLD PANDA, DAM MANTLE, GRAINTABLE

(Rotture, 315 SE 3rd) Read about Gold Panda.

ESBEN AND THE WITCH, JULIANNA BARWICK, LOST LOCKETS

(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) When the dust finally settled and the final tallboy of Lone Star was polished off, I saw nearly 50 bands at SXSW. Of all those performers—ranging from crowded Pitchfork parties to bands in half-empty clubs—not a single act could come close to Esben and the Witch. Recent additions to the Matador Records roster, the Brighton, England, trio is unassuming in stature offstage—like a group of pasty art-school dropouts, or the benchwarmers for their Quidditch team—but under the lights their ferocity was impossible to ignore. Possessing the raw fury of PJ Harvey's Rid of Me with a hearty dose of nü-goth as well, the band delivers a spirited performance that'll drive the very air from your lungs. Their debut LP, Violet Cries, can't quite capture their impassioned live performance, but don't miss out on catching them in their finest setting: onstage, right in front of your very eyes. I promise, you will not be disappointed. EZRA ACE CARAEFF Also see My, What a Busy Week!

GEJIUS, STALLER, PROFCAL, KID GOES MENTAL

(Backspace, 115 NW 5th) Portland electronica artist Gejius moved to Tokyo two years ago, but he's coming back to town for a benefit show to raise money for relief efforts for the Japanese earthquake and tsunami. Gejius' music is a good fit for the futuristic metropolis of Tokyo; his brand of vocodered synth-disco can be blissed-out, funky, robotic, or all three. With the debut performance of Kid Goes Mental, plus two up-and-coming rock bands rounding out the bill, tonight is an ideal chance to raise much-needed funds for a very good cause. NED LANNAMANN

FRIDAY 3/25

TORO Y MOI, BRAIDS, CLOUD NOTHINGS

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

SIC ALPS, ORCA TEAM, THE WHINES, GUANTANAMO BAYWATCH

(East End, 203 SE Grand) Sic Alps' new long-player Napa Asylum is not unlike an early Ween record like The Pod, with its gluttonous feast of hissy, stoned-out sensitivity and nonsensical humor piled into a Tascam four-track. Stretching 22 tracks over 47 minutes, Napa Asylum physically flirts with minimal, catchy lo-fi pop structures and hollow folk demos as much as it fidgets with noisy, experimental interludes. Few bands have established a sound that breaks audiophile rules like the inherently raw Sic Alps, who translate well over a tiny mono speaker, bulky cans over your ears, or a power PA. They make that transition from the dank practice space/bedroom to the stage as a three-piece unit with deliciously scuzzy results. The Whines, who don't get out much these days, are similarly analog by nature, meshing the beautiful with the dirty and the honesty with the deceit. There's no-fi like lo-fi. TRAVIS RITTER

GROWLER, TALKING TO TURTLES

(The Knife Shop at Kelly's Olympian, 426 SW Washington) In case you are unfamiliar with Hamburg, Germany's music scene, you might not have Talking to Turtles on your radar. But please don't let such geographic distances stand in your way, since fans of indie-folk the world over should be listening to the duo of Claudia Göhler and Florian Sievers. The vivacious Talking to Turtles don't weigh themselves down with much more than their intertwined vocals (sung in English) and a quirky song structure reminiscent of the Moldy Peaches. The band is in the States for SXSW and to record their forthcoming LP up in Seattle, making their debut Portland performance a rare treat. EAC

MONGOLOID VILLAGE, LOZEN, DOG SHREDDER

(The Saratoga, 6910 N Interstate) Bands with just two members have their work cut out for them, especially when it comes to creating a sound big enough to captivate a live audience. Justine Valdez and Hozoji Matheson-Margullis (or Juice and Hoz) make up Tacoma's Lozen, a dynamic duo that can sonically fill out any room and command whatever stage they walk onto. With two drum sets, two vocal mics, and a bass-and-guitar setup, Lozen crank out oddly timed, mechanical Melvins riffage with a snarling and frothing primal energy. Juice and Hoz play off each other's fierce vocals with patterns and harmonies that often sound like hypnotic chants. Thankfully, Lozen's music isn't saturated with technology like loop pedals and drum machines. They know how to intensely manipulate their instruments and voices, so there's no need to cheat. ARIS WALES

THE GROUCH, ZION I, BLU, SHOTGUN WEDDING QUINTET, TOPE, DESTRO, L PRO, GEPETTO, VERBZ

(Branx, 320 SE 2nd) I know that Zion I is still very active, still dropping new science, still making fresh beats and productive collaborations (one of which was with the Grouch, who also performs tonight). The Bay Area duo (DJ AmpLive and MC Zumbi) are still not loving the police, still about the keeping the peace, still spreading the love, and still finding harmony within. Yes, Zion I are not stuck in the past. Nevertheless it's impossible to separate this duo from that important moment in the late '90s/early '00s that witnessed the emergence of hiphop's undergound. The West Coast gave us crews like Lootpack, Planet Asia, and Rasco; the East Coast gave us Black Star, Company Flow, Aesop Rock, and Scienz of Life. To not see Zion I in the light of that vanishing world is to miss their essence, their reason for being here. CHARLES MUDEDE

HELLO ELECTRIC, TURBO PERFECTO, YARN OWL, PORCHES

(Ella Street Social Club, 714 SW 20th Pl) Hailing from the Eastern Washington town of Pullman, rock-folk-pop quartet Yarn Owl sound like a burst of sunlight fighting—and winning—its way through breaking clouds. Their new full-length, the relaxed Montaña y Caballo, was recorded in a barn outside of Moscow, Idaho, and its brawny yet gentle charm is highlighted in tunes like album opener "Go" and the album's de facto title track, "Embrace Our Place (Montaña y Caballo)." Yarn Owl has a Northwest rock pedigree—bassist Tim Meinig once drummed for Band of Horses—and their songs are vocal- and guitar-driven in equal amounts, sounding at times like a plugged-in Fleet Foxes. With the joyful Montaña, Yarn Owl have instantly leaped forward as one of the most competent, confident bands in the Northwest, and their guilelessly bright, lush sound should be turning more ears than ever before. NL

SATURDAY 3/26

MONARQUES, YOURS, HOSANNAS

(Slabtown, 1033 NW 16th) Read the Monarques Feature article..

CASTANETS, HOLY SONS, DOLOREAN

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

AKRON/FAMILY, DELICATE STEVE, AU, BRAINSTORM, WHY I MUST BE CAREFUL, GOLDEN RETRIEVER, ROB WALMART

(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) Read about Akron Family.

ACID MOTHERS TEMPLE AND THE MELTING PARAISO UFO, SHILPA RAY & HER HAPPY HOOKERS

(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Acid Mothers Temple—guitarist Kawabata Makoto's seasoned crew of Japanese astral travelers—are prolific tour beasts who generate noise-rock infernos as casually as you munch pot brownies. While comfortable in apocalyptic chaos, AMT also thrive in mellower modes, slipping into dewy troubadour ballads and mellifluous space-rock fantasias when the strain of making their instruments roar like SSTs becomes too arduous. But most fans come to AMT gigs to revel in the group's MC5/High Rise-like combustibility, and you will likely leave the show tonight with synapses properly singed. DAVE SEGAL

THE STRANGE BOYS, NATURAL CHILD, BLOOD BEACH

(East End, 203 SE Grand) When Scion first released their boxy, customizable cars, few people would have guessed they'd take their youth-culture-based branding right back into the garage. Now almost everything associated with garage rock has a Scion stamp of approval, from their recurring Garage Fest (which debuted here in Portland) to the 7-inch singles they've been releasing (initially given away, then eBayed for profit). To have Southern bands the Strange Boys and Natural Child, who released a split for Scion A/V, on the same bill is a real treat. Nashville's Natural Child walk the tightrope between T. Rex's boogie strut and Jeff the Brotherhood's riffage (coincidentally, Natural Child also has two out-of-print singles on JtB's own Infinity Cat label), which is a welcome companion to Strange Boys' nasally, nugget-y Stones vibes. Fuck the classics, we got our own. TR

BOOBERAMAPALOOZAFEST: MUSCLE BEACH, VALKYRIE RODEO, THE CHAIR PROJECT, SWAMP BUCK, STAG BITTEN

(Kenton Club, 2025 N Kilpatrick) Jonathon Boober is one of the many who have found a second home at the Kenton Club, one of the most true-blue dives you will find in Portland or anywhere else. Tonight and tomorrow he brings many of his favorite local bands together in one room, united by their ability to bring the ruckus and by their role in our city's vibrant and demented underground music community. They include: Valkyrie Rodeo, a duo that creates some of the most destroyed punk rock in this town; the Chair Project, a one-man soul machine whose vocal stylings will make you vibrate in all sorts of places; and Stag Bitten, fronted by the fierce voice of Arolia McSwain, who shreds guts with sheer sound and velocity. MARANDA BISH

ROTTING CHRIST, MELECHESH, HATE, ABIGAIL WILLIAMS, LECHEROUS NOCTURNE

(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE 39th) When I first heard the band name Rotting Christ, I pictured inverted crosses carved into foreheads, chalices of blood, and goat sacrifices. You know, just generally fucked-up shit. As it turns out, these days their name is the most outwardly shocking element of the R. Christ persona. No corpse paint and no murder scandals, just truly triumphant Greek metal, the kind of stuff you want playing as you go to battle with your mortal enemies. Openers Melechesh were one of the first black-metal bands to rise from the holy city of Jerusalem, deeming themselves "Mesopotamian Metal," ultimately evil metal with deep Middle Eastern influences. KEVIN DIERS

SUNDAY 3/27

LUKAS NELSON AND THE PROMISE OF THE REAL, THE REFLECTACLES

(Peter's Room at the Roseland, 8 NW 6th) Lukas Nelson is another in a long line of musicians who've had "the gift" since they were floating in the womb. The Son of Willie and his band Promise of the Real take the bedrock of American music—blues, country, rock 'n' roll—and wrap a shiny new bow on it. On wax Nelson shows himself as an able songwriter (though only a few songs from his first batch are particularly memorable). But live this kid's a shredder, cribbing some of his pop's chops while conjuring the spirit of Stevie Ray Vaughan and even Jim Morrison. Being the offspring of a famous musician shouldn't automatically grant you a free pass (I'm looking at you, Hank III). And while it's far too early to tell what the future holds for Lukas Nelson, he might be worth keeping your ears peeled. MARK LORE

MONDAY 3/28

LIAM FINN, THE LUYAS

(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Cute as buttons! Both of 'em. But especially the Luyas, a Montreal-based band whose cute quotient is nearly overwhelming. They have a cute lady singer who (among other instruments) plays the "Moodswinger," a 12-string electric zither designed by a "Dutch experimental luthier" named Yuri. Not enough cute for you? McSweeney's ran a profile of them last year, featuring a scene in which the Luyas blindfolded 20 of their fans and led them, via rope, to a practice space where they played a very intimate concert. The Luyas also employ French horns and sometimes violin to create their relaxed, removed indie-pop. They sound like what a curator of a small art gallery might play as early-evening background music while hosting a small party for friends. (Later, once they're all lit up, they'll break out the Creedence.) BRENDAN KILEY Also see My, What a Busy Week!

SAY HI, YELLOW OSTRICH, BLAIR

(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Um, Uh Oh is the sound of Eric Elbogen all bummed out; the new album is noticeably more morose and subdued than previous efforts from Say Hi, Elbogen's one-man studio band (it's augmented with other folks for the live show). Um, Uh Oh is a gently heartbreaking and forlorn listen, with a resigned stateliness that comes as a surprise considering previous efforts—this is the band that used to be called Say Hi to Your Mom. Meanwhile, New York-by-way-of-Maine-and-Wisconsin group Yellow Ostrich has quietly released what could well be the most charming record of the year. Largely the sound of Alex Schaaf singing over his own vocal and percussion loops, The Mistress is a kind of indie-rock version of tUnE-yArDs, with Schaaf's Anglo Beatleisms in place of Merrill Garbus' patchwork R&B. "Hahahaohhoho" is totally infectious pop along the lines of Telekinesis, "Campaign" is a deceptively complex composition that's packed with longing, and "Whale" is goofily, genially likeable. Yellow Ostrich's music is jam-packed with a giddy optimism, perhaps the perfect complement to Say Hi's newfound gloom. NL

SMOKING POPES, AND I WAS LIKE WHAT?, LEE COREY OSWALD

(Rotture, 315 SE 3rd) A gentleman such as myself would never admit to slowly driving laps around my high school ex-girlfriend's parents' house while listening to Smoking Popes' "Gotta Know Right Now" on repeat. Nope. No sir. But I would readily confess to being an adamant Smoking Popes fan for the past 15 years. This despite the band's long stretches of silence, frontman Josh Caterer's heavy-handed detour into Christianity, and their inability to release anything relevant since 1997's spectacular Destination Failure. Their latest, This Is Not a Test, seemed promising when its lead single "Punk Band" first surfaced, yet sadly the recording marks the lowest moment in the band's inconsistent career. It's a conceptual record about high school, excusable if the nearly fortysomething band wrote about teaching in high school. Sadly it's a sappy waltz through pandering nostalgia, one that cheapens the band's underappreciated earlier records. If failure was truly the destination, looks like the Smoking Popes have finally arrived. EAC

TUESDAY 3/29

DAVILA 666, THE MEAN JEANS, THE OUTDOORSMEN

(East End, 203 SE Grand) See My, What a Busy Week!

WYE OAK, CALLERS, AAN

(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Read about Wye Oak.

CHRIS PUREKA, HOLCOMBE WALLER

(The Woods, 6637 SE Milwaukie) Portland troubadour Holcombe Waller recently made the New York Times' ArtsBeat blog when he, along with two other likeminded musicians, performed during SXSW on the foot of a bed in a room in the historic Driskill Hotel, smack in the heart of downtown Austin but greatly removed from the hustle and bustle of the streets outside. It was by all accounts an ideal setting for Waller's hushed, impassioned songs and gossamer singing voice, showcased to brilliant effect on his latest Into the Dark Unknown collection, a dramatic but not melodramatic (okay, maybe just a little melodramatic) affair that's captivatingly, meditatively gorgeous. Tonight Waller kicks off a tour opening for Massachusetts folksinger Chris Pureka, whose songs are delivered with intensity and urgency that belie their laidback, acoustic instrumentation. NL

WEDNESDAY 3/30

SHARON VAN ETTEN, LITTLE SCREAM, SONNY PETE

(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) See My, What a Busy Week! and Read about Little Scream.

WHITE FANG, THE MEAN JEANS, BOOM!, THERAPISTS, DJ E*ROCK

(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Now is the part of the paper in which we tell you about the new album from White Fang, set for release at tonight's show. Trouble is, the record—released on local label Marriage—didn't make it it to the Mercury office in time for our press deadline. In fact, we're not even sure what it's called: Some sources say Grateful to Shred, while others say Greatful to Shred—the band, unhelpfully, says it is called "both." So we'll just use our imaginations here: Grateful/Greatful to Shred is White Fang's love letter to Tejano death metal and Christian ska, with strong undercurrents of Don Ho and George Frideric Handel. NL