Up & Coming 

Highlights in music the week of April 21-27

BLUE SKIES FOR BLACK HEARTS
Mission Theater, 4/23

BLUE SKIES FOR BLACK HEARTS
Mission Theater, 4/23

THURSDAY 4/21

THE PAINS OF BEING PURE AT HEART, TWIN SHADOW, CATWALK, DJ IZM
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) The Pains of Being Pure at Heart seem to have graduated from the senior class of C86—where innocence, coming-of-age lust, and the clairvoyant rock purities of their debut full-length were inked into minds and hearts like permanent messages in a yearbook—and moved away to college in the mid-1990s. That can be attributed to the sonic ears of go-to alt-rock producer Flood, who manned the boards of the Brooklyn band's latest, Belong. Belong is the Pains' awkward, college freshman stage, a little more experienced but still naive and trying to find where they fit in, seeking the guidance and mentoring from a tenured professor of sound, who provides the band with striking rushes of guitar that crash through the crystalline production emphasized by Penny Wang's keyboard. TRAVIS RITTER

PHOSPHORESCENT, FAMILY BAND, JOHN HEART JACKIE
(Mission Theater, 1624 NW Glisan) A noble Southerner with a romantic streak and penchant for tragedy, Matthew Houck has made great strides over these past few years. Under the moniker Phosphorescent, Houck and company have gone from touring with Bon Iver as their opening act (and watching the crowd vanish after Justin Vernon's set, as they did during his March 2008 show at Holocene) to packing venues the world over, including recent stints at Coachella and Bonnaroo. Last year's Here's to Taking it Easy was a drunken waltz that shuffled through barroom romance ("Tell Me Baby"), failed marriages ("The Mermaid Parade"), and hard-luck tales on the open road (pretty much every song on the album). Yet there is a beaming sliver of optimism in Phosphorescent's lyrical struggles, one that keeps drawing you back into his world. If you lived in these sad songs, you'd be home by now. EZRA ACE CARAEFF

DAEDELUS, TOKIMONSTA, SHLOMO, NATASHA KMETO
(Branx, 320 SE 2nd) You may remember Daedalus from Greek mythology as the dude who constructed the labyrinth, as well as the guy who built the wings and warned his son Icarus about flying too close to the sun. These are both apt characteristics for the similarly named experimental musician and DJ Daedelus (née Alfred Darlington), whose sonic output over the last decade is dizzying and full of dazzling heights. A multi-talented instrumentalist in both the traditional and digital sense, Daedelus produces and collaborates ceaselessly, a pioneer of the fusion between the distorting sounds of synth with seemingly incongruent musical styles such as Latin beats and classic soul. MARANDA BISH

BOMBA ESTEREO, PURPLE & GREEN, SUN ANGLE
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) With a sound larger and more audacious than the majestic locks of Carlos Valderrama, Bomba Estereo are a wondrous blur of modern influences (M.I.A.) and classic South American sounds (cumbia). The Colombian act shares a label with Manu Chao, so it's no surprise their vivid take on global pop is easily digestible, hence their music being licensed in a McDonald's advertising campaign. If Bomba Estereo's electro tropical isn't your thing, you are dead inside. But worry not, the lively R&B jams of Purple & Green will likely resurrect your flatlined soul. EAC

FRIDAY 4/22

THE CAVE SINGERS, THE YOUNG EVILS
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) See our article on the Cave Singers.

BRIDGE CITY BATTLE: ILLMACULATE, 9DM, COOL NUTZ, DJ FATBOY, SANDPEOPLE & MORE
(Branx, 320 SE 2nd) The Green Tape is the latest release from local emcee Illmaculate, who teamed with producer G_Force to flip Al Green's Lay it Down chronologically track by track, resulting in some of Illmaculate's most personal and soulful output to date. Though the duo have been performing selections from the recording around town lately, don't come expecting that tonight, as the focus here is what made Illmaculate an international hiphop figure in the first place—freestyle battle rap. The evening includes a production-based beat battle as well as Sandpeople's Only One battling Eugene's KI Design, plus some other intriguing undercard bouts as well. But the main event is assuredly Illmaculate battling Vancouver, Washington, emcee 9DM. Those adverse to angry lyrical annihilation might consider sitting this one out, while battle rap aficionados should definitely come through. This is as good as freestyle battling gets, and not just locally, but worldwide. RYAN FEIGH Also see My, What a Busy Week!

Y LA BAMBA, DARK DARK DARK, WHY ARE WE BUILDING SUCH A BIG SHIP
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Dark Dark Dark doesn't make music for the faint of heart. Incorporating gothic folk, klezmer, chamber music, and other immeasurable influences, the Minneapolis/Brooklyn sextet create sounds that—as their name would suggest—are intrinsically nocturnal. A little bit of light creeps in, delicately, on "Daydreaming," a waltzing ballad that highlights the forgiving voice of Nona Marie Invie. For their trip down the West Coast, they're joined by Portland's Y La Bamba, who similarly examine the darkest corners of the human heart, but also celebrate the exhilarating triumph of survival. NED LANNAMANN

DENGUE FEVER, MAUS HAUS, NIAYH
(Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) Los Angeles sextet Dengue Fever play finely honed, melodic psych pop with Cambodian accents; their vocalist, Chhom Nimol, often sings in Khmer, and keyboardist Ethan Holtzman's visit to that Southeast Asian country sparked an interest in its brand of rock music. Faint kitschy, B-movie tendencies seep into Dengue Fever's approach, but a lot of people seem to enjoy that aspect of it. The group's most distinct elements are Nimol's artfully wild, expressive vocals and Ethan and brother Zac Holtzman's fluent, outré organ and guitar riffs. Dengue Fever are supporting their new album, Cannibal Courtship, with Maus Haus, a San Francisco band that distributes generous dollops of odd analog-synth emissions over off-kilter yet danceable rock song structures. DAVE SEGAL

TOWNES VAN ZANDT TRIBUTE: REBECCA GATES, DARREN HANLON, THE GLORIOUS FIRST OF JUNE, JULIE VITELLS, + MORE

(Hollywood Theatre, 4122 NE Sandy) Tonight you can watch Be Here to Love Me, the 2004 documentary of songwriter's songwriter Townes Van Zandt, but the real treat will be the set of covers performed live by some of Portland's most capable singer/songwriters, including Rebecca Gates of the Spinanes and Richard Shirk of Soft Tags, performing as the Glorious First of June. Australian troubadour Darren Hanlon will also be present—he's been spending plenty of time in these parts lately, slumming it with Portland musicians. His latest album, I Will Love You at All (recorded in Portland, naturally), is a tremendous collection on par with Van Zandt's own, so seeing one cover the other should be a treat. NL

SATURDAY 4/23

SUNBURN FESTIVAL: WOODS, SALLIE FORD AND THE SOUND OUTSIDE, ANDREW JACKSON JIHAD, ASTRONAUTALIS, + MORE
(Stamm Hall at Lewis and Clark College, 0615 SW Palatine Hill) See My, What a Busy Week!

OFF!, MIKEY AND THE MISTAKES, THE

MEAN JEANS, BLOOD BEACH
(East End, 203 SE Grand) See our article on OFF!.

KURT VILE & THE VIOLATORS, EMA
(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) Asbury Park is to Bruce Springsteen what Philadelphia is to Kurt Vile. But the parallels between the two men and their associations with their hometowns don't stop there. Kurt Vile is this generation's rising young Boss. The prolific, stoner-slacker troubadour first wafted through a mysterious plume of relaxed, poetic ruminations on 2008's Constant Hitmaker and hit the road both solo and with backing band the Violators. He took his "Freak Train" off the rails with 2009's Childish Prodigy, further distinguishing Vile's penchant for making pop/rock songs with a well-mic'ed acoustic guitar and click-thwacked drum machine. His latest, Smoke Ring for My Halo, is Vile at his very best so far, working in dreamlike earworm pop masterpieces like "Society Is My Friend" and voyeuristic introspection on "Peeping Tomboy," with Vile's unique slack-jawed delivery, and fingers running across the frets like a man lost without a map, blazing his own trails that always find a way into your mind. TR See our article on EMA.

BLUE SKIES FOR BLACK HEARTS, THE SATIN CHAPS, THE MIDNIGHT CALLERS
(Mission Theater, 1624 NW Glisan) Tonight's not just the release show for Blue Skies for Black Hearts' latest album, Embracing the Modern Age; it's also the premiere of their half-hour movie of the same name. Judging by the trailer, it's a madcap romp in the style of a Monkees episode, and it's bound to feature many of the terrific songs from the record, a triumph of British beat, pre-glam, and power pop. This is Blue Skies' fifth full-length in less than a decade, and virtually every song sounds like a forgotten hit from bygone days, with all of its pop puzzle pieces snapping together tightly—immaculate arrangements with just the right amount of scuzz, conjuring up memories of the Exploding Hearts (whose 2003 classic Guitar Romantic was co-produced by Blue Skies frontman Pat Kearns). Tunes from Embracing such as "Majoring in the Arts" and "Sitting on the Edge" are catchy, perfect dazzlers, proof that however they may turn out to be as filmmakers, Blue Skies for Black Hearts are at the top of the heap musically. NL

TOBACCO, BEANS, SHAPERS
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Tobacco is the enigmatic prime mover of Pittsburgh folkadelic freaks Black Moth Super Rainbow working in solo hiphop(ish) idiom. Over two albums with Anticon (Fucked Up Friends and Maniac Meat), Tobacco has staked out a very weird niche in the beatmaking scene. At his best, Tobacco sounds like a bizarre fusion of Boards of Canada and J Dilla, with clipped, mulched funk beats punching through muted, hazy wind instruments and wonky, bulbous analog synth billows. (If this is all done on computers, they're very stoned computers.) Beans is Antipop Consortium's most out-there emcee and producer, which is saying several mouthfuls. DS

SUNDAY 4/24

DIRTY BEACHES, THE RESERVATIONS, TUNNELS, DJ YETI
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) The Reservations are steeped in a hot-brewed concoction of swirling '60s Rhodes, dirty vintage R&B riffing, and swinging go-go rhythms that can make blood boil and feet burn. Over the past year, the Portland band (featuring Mattress' Rex Marshall and former Of Montreal bassist Matt Dawson) has been fiendishly winning the hearts of many, and have been described as Booker T. and the Black Sabbaths, which isn't as far-fetched as it would seem. The band's ghoulish vibes lurk in the shadows of dim alleyways and dank staircases that lead to a molten-hot underground dance party, where black-lace-wearing goths mingle with men in suits, and curvy hips sway in bright, floral vintage dresses. The nascent brilliance of the band's live performance makes the release of their Gnar Tapes full-length (due this spring) even more anticipated. TR

LOST IN THE TREES, SEAN ROWE
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Chapel Hill's Lost in the Trees dropped the sumptuous, beautiful Time Taunts Me EP in 2007, and the ambitious follow-up album All Alone in an Empty House in 2008. Empty House was reworked, remixed, and re-released on Anti- Records last year, and it clearly displays the breadth of the group's talents. With a command over swooping melodies and a versatile, magnanimous voice (that doesn't sound a million miles away from Portland's Holcombe Waller), frontman Ari Picker has crammed the new version of Empty House full of gentle folk picking, achy-heart skywritten anthems, Carmina Burana bombast, and classical chamber music. If that sounds like a stretch, Lost in the Trees somehow makes it all work, and after a few careful listens, Empty House becomes just as seductive as Time Taunts Me, and even more rewarding. NL

MONDAY 4/25

MIKE WATT AND THE MISSINGMEN, CHARMING BIRDS, SONS OF HUNS
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) See My, What a Busy Week!

OPERATIVE, SOFT METALS, MAXMILLION DUNBAR, JASON URICK
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) In the past eight months Operative have been, well, non-operational. With the exception of their free Sources_SG mix posted in February, it's been a period of dormancy for the Portland-based "structural techno" act. But the quartet of Scott Goodwin, Jed Bindeman, Spencer Doran, and Alex Neerman will debut an entirely new set of impenetrably condensed beats tonight. Joining them will be newfound Portlander Jason Urick (formerly of Baltimore noise pop act WZT Hearts), who likely will play material from last year's overlooked Fussing and Fighting, which was released on fabled indie imprint Thrill Jockey. EAC

TUESDAY 4/26

EASTERN CONFERENCE CHAMPIONS, YOURS, THE SINGLEMAN AFFAIR
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) See My, What a Busy Week!

HORNET LEG, XDS, FORMICA MAN
(Valentine's, 232 SW Ankeny) Chris Sutton and his shape-shifting rock unit Hornet Leg have been keeping listeners off-balance for years, transforming from a strummy bedroom project into slightly skewed garage rock. The only two constants have been A) Sutton, and B) his bottomless bag of hooks. It's been more than enough to keep Hornet Leg moving forward, as well as make them one of Portland's best (slightly) off-the-radar bands. Last year found Hornet Leg tidying things up a bit with Still Life, a near-perfect power-pop record that brings to mind the ol' college rock daze of the Pixies and Violent Femmes. The album makes the thought of what's to come even more intriguing. The suspense is already killing me. MARK LORE

WEDNESDAY 4/27

ZAC NELSON, BRAINSTORM, NEAL MORGAN
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Hexlove's Zac Nelson offers Wicked Work it Out to the world, a warped collection of experimental pop. Pretty much all on his own, Nelson has constructed an album's worth of thick stews, made primarily of percussion and synths, moving at swift and steady boils, with Nelson's voice adding fine detail and lyrical puzzles. The record sounds both all-knowingly shamanistic and terrifyingly paranoid, and if inhabiting both of those arenas is a contradiction, then so is Wicked Work it Out. Nelson celebrates the release of the impressive record tonight, and will be giving away CD copies at the door. NL

ACCEPT, SABATON, GARDEN OF EDEN
(Peter's Room at the Roseland, 8 NW 6th) Okay, all you metal purists and snobs, its time to get over yourselves and seize the amazing opportunity being presented to you. Uncross your arms, stop shaking your heads, unwrinkle your noses, and go see the legendary Accept. No, Udo Dirkschneider will not be singing, and yes, everyone else is old, and they will probably play a few songs off of their new record Blood of the Nations, but so what? You know you'll hear all the tracks you've worn out on your original pressings of their classic albums, and Mark Tornillo of TT Quick wouldn't be fronting the band if he couldn't match Udo, if not top him. So if you want to stay home, smoke a doobie, and listen to Restless and Wild for the thousandth time, go right ahead. I'm gonna be at Peter's Room with my fist in the air, and my balls firmly pressed to the wall. ARIS WALES

FAKE PROBLEMS, POMEGRANATES, LAURA STEVENSON AND THE CANS
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Let's talk about how awesome Laura Stevenson is. First, there's her voice. It's a wonderful mix of confidence and precociousness—she can quietly sing soft lullabies, but she can also carry the climactic moments of more passionate anthems (listen to "Master of Art" on her new album, Sit Resist, for evidence). Also: she has played keyboards for the wonderfully scrappy NY ska/punk band Bomb the Music Industry! (shut up the punx!), and one of the dudes from the world's greatest posi-punk band, Latterman, is in her backup band the Cans. To top it off, her famous grandfather popularized "Little Drummer Boy." Oh, and she's gorgeous. Everyone in the world should have a megacrush on this woman. MEGAN SELING

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