Up & Coming 

Highlights in music the week of May 19-26

ALLO DARLIN'
Holocene, 5/25

ALLO DARLIN'
Holocene, 5/25

THURSDAY 5/19

STUDIO 69: STRENGTH, SEX LIFE, SOFT METALS, DJ NEW MOON PONCHO, DJ ACIDWASH
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) See My, What a Busy Week!

TANGO ALPHA TANGO, HELLO MORNING, NO KIND OF RIDER, VIOLET ISLE
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) While it's likely none of tonight's crop of talented, up-and-coming bands could fill up the Crystal Ballroom on their own, together they form a snapshot of what's going on in the Portland music scene away from the bright lights of some of this town's more familiar names. Each of these bands deserves a broader audience. No Kind of Rider puts on a great live show, while Tango Alpha Tango has a masterful grip on a huge array of musical styles. Tango's latest release, a self-titled EP that has the scope of a full-length, is an incredibly impressive piece of work that shows the band's ease in laying down thick slabs of heavy rock alongside addictive radio-pop gems and laidback folky numbers. Tango Alpha Tango is a band that seems capable of just about anything. NED LANNAMANN

NU SENSAE, WHITE LUNG, ARCTIC FLOWERS, FAST WEAPONS
(Rotture, 315 SE 3rd) With a few painfully mediocre exceptions (cough, Bryan Adams, cough), Vancouver, BC, churns out nothing but quality music. The most recent Canucks to export are Nu Sensae, the raucous duo of Andrea Lukic and Daniel Pitout (formerly of Hunx and His Punx). Recently the pair delivered a three-song 7-inch single via Portland imprint Fast Weapons (the label run by Nathan Howdeshell from Gossip) that could pry the Mötley Crüe mirror right out of the hands of a young Kathleen Hanna. Respectful riot grrrl tendencies aside, Nu Sensae's rumbling low end and raw, unabashed sound make this pair more exciting than just about any other piece of wax destined for your turntable. EZRA ACE CARAEFF

JIMMY EAT WORLD, KINCH
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) Jimmy Eat World was probably the least emo emo band of the late '90s. They were never too emo, never too aggro, never bought into some goofy image—just four normal-looking dudes from Arizona who wrote songs that ranged from really good power pop to middle-of-the-road pap. And they're still with us. The band released Invented last year, almost a decade after Bleed American and the song "The Middle" (which I'll go ahead and say has one of the bitchin'est guitar solos ever) dunked them into the mainstream. Now you have to wonder: Who listens to JEW in 2011? Teens? Normal-looking people in their late 20s with kids of their own? Finding out might be worth the price of admission alone. MARK LORE

BUFFALO TOM, THE HEAVENLY STATES
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Buffalo Tom will always hold a prime spot in my internal jukebox for two songs: 1988's "Sunflower Suit" and 1992's "Mineral." The former captures the Boston band at the peak of their anthemic, Hüsker Dü-ish powers; the latter enshrines them at the apex of their tear-smeared-ballad form. Besides these towering achievements, Buffalo Tom have proceeded to make a lot of middling-to-good melodic alt rock off and on over the last 23 years. As their eighth album, Skins, proves, they are solid craftsmen of the unspectacularly pretty song, specializing in a kind of business-casual rock that neither dazzles nor appalls—except, of course, with the classic "Sunflower Suit" and "Mineral." Christ, are those songs special...DAVE SEGAL

DEVIN THE DUDE, THE COUGHEE BROTHAZ, MIKEY VEGAZ
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE 39th) The last times I saw Devin the Dude, I was crossing the street to the venue when I first smelled weed. It was pouring out the door, pungent, even in the open air. Inside, the cloud grew thicker. I bellied up for a drink but the bartender was beside herself. "Oh my god," she giggled. "I don't usually smoke pot. I have no idea what I'm doing." Indeed, the hot box had her fully twisted. And I'll be damned if the show wasn't better for it. Everyone just melted into the Houston rapper's slinky, laidback, '90s-inspired drawl. Rather than just a mood, sound, or style, Devin's shows become a state of mind—a collective consciousness that's loose, carefree, and content. And while the weed surely helps, the Dude himself deserves credit. He’s been touring constantly, always hitting Portland, and unlike a lot of emcees, live he’s got his shit screwed down tight. Don’t let the bloodshot eyes fool you—Devin the Dude is a funky old pro. ANDREW R TONRY

YEAH GREAT FINE, YARN OWL, FUTURE HISTORIANS
(The Woods, 6637 SE Milwaukie) Since releasing their eponymous debut album last fall, Yeah Great Fine have continued their steady takeover of hearts and minds. With roots as college music majors and stints as members of the Grown Children—the backing band of local troubadour and label head Jared Mees—this quintet has hit the ground running. The 11-song Yeah Great Fine instantly won fans for the band's orchestrated, precise compositions, packed with upbeat rhythms and soaring vocals that evoke the early energy of Vampire Weekend and express a Menomena-like penchant for avant-pop. Their show this evening is touted as a "classy" event, in juxtaposition to a 4/20 celebration show they played last month, wherein YGF was delighted to hop on a bill alongside hiphop act the Chicharones—a tribute to the breadth of the local music scene of which they are so thoroughly a part. MARANDA BISH

FRIDAY 5/20

PORTLAND CELLO PROJECT, AGESANDAGES, LAURA GIBSON, WEINLAND, TOMO NAKAYAMA
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) See My, What a Busy Week!

JAMES BLAKE, NITE JEWEL
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Read our article about James Blake.

THE THERMALS, NURSES, PURPLE RHINESTONE EAGLE
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) The one constant in the Thermals is that no matter how much they change—new drummers, new record labels, new Furbys—they ultimately remain the same. And that's a good thing. Anyone who delved deep into the underappreciated second half of last year's Personal Life can attest that this is not a bout of mid-career complacency, but more a deep comfort in style. From Suburban Legends to the twee-tastic Hutch and Kathy, hook-heavy pop is what Hutch Harris and Kathy Foster do best. Joining them will be the bong-rattling classic rock of Purple Rhinestone Eagle and the equally-as-stoney art-pop of Nurses—the latter of which will be debuting new material from the much-anticipated follow-up to their pristine debut, Apple's Acre. EAC

NW BLACK CIRCLE FEST: INQUISITION, MYSTICISM BLACK, PANZERGOD, TORMENTIUM & MORE
(Branx, 320 SE 2nd) Having left Colombia and thrash metal behind in the mid '90s, Inquisition landed in Washington State with freshly applied corpse paint and a mission to play some solid riffs for a new goat-worshipping horde. The band's approach is a bit out of character for what most black metal bands are doing in the Pacific Northwest. This is not your art-school dropout's "Cascadian" black metal that sings about protecting wolf habitat or the nobility of the rain forest. Inquisition is a band that sings praise of he who walks with cloven hoof. They offer advice to those summoned by ancient wizards under a black moon. And most importantly, they speak to the heshers that are, as my friend would say, "sworn to the darkness who won't break the oath" (AKA black metal fans that roll their eyes at fluffy tree metal and appreciate the continuous-grinding-buzzsaw sound of early Immortal records). JAY WILLIAMS

ADAM SWEENEY AND THE JAMBOREE, THE BEAUTIFUL TRAINWRECKS, BOY AND BEAN
(The Woods, 6637 SE Milwaukie) Mere months removed from the release of the Wildest Rose EP, Adam Sweeney teams with his trusty backing band the Jamboree for yet another recording. On the just-released self-titled LP, the local singer/songwriter dabbles in dusty-road rural Americana (think Ryan Adams) and a more straightforward sound that would feel at home on radio dials programmed to KINK FM (think Josh Ritter). While the meandering "Fighting Sort" might be too vanilla for most palates, rootsy opening number "Bound to Go" accentuates Sweeney's dialed-in approach to penning concise folk-rock songs without need for gimmicks or unnecessary flair. Sweeney & Co. will be at home in the Woods tonight, as the cozy venue acted as an impromptu recording studio for part of this release. EAC

THIS WILL DESTROY YOU, SLEEP OVER, PURE X
(Ted's, 231 SW Ankeny) San Marcos, Texas' finest This Will Destroy You hate it when people call them "post-rock." They prefer "doomgaze." So do I, actually. The self-appointed term cleverly conjoins "doom metal" with "shoegaze," accurately depicting the brooding heaviness and gauzy melodicism that distinguish This Will Destroy You's music. TWDY also probably loathe comparisons to fellow Texans Explosions in the Sky, but damn it, similarities between the two bands do exist. Both groups favor lull-explode dynamics marked by placid passages that build to meaningful crescendos. Thankfully, TWDY imbue said dynamics with great poignancy. Bring earplugs, preferably wrapped in a hanky. DS

SATURDAY 5/21

THE TWILIGHT SINGERS, MARGOT AND THE NUCLEAR SO AND SO'S
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) See My, What a Busy Week!

EZZA ROSE, ALAMEDA, THE CABIN PROJECT
(Alberta Rose Theatre, 3000 NE Alberta) Read our article about Ezza Rose.

SEAPONY, SWIM SWAM SWUM , GHOST ANIMAL
(The Woods, 6637 SE Milwaukie) What is the difference between Seapony and Tennis? On first listen, it's hard to tell. They both make gently jangly, '80s-hued guitar pop with dreamy female vocals, and both received a disproportionate amount of attention right off the bat by posting just a few home-recorded songs online. Tennis is a duo, whereas Seapony is a three-piece, and unlike Denver's Tennis, Seapony is from Seattle by way of Lawrence, Kansas. Seapony's debut Go with Me is actually a better record than Tennis' Cape Dory, which sounded disappointing in light of their refreshingly naïve early singles. With a simple drum-machine rhythm backing and a propensity for sheets of distorted guitar, Seapony actually hew closer to the increasingly well-traveled sonic span that connects C86 to Loveless—sharing qualities with contemporary bands like the Pains of Being Pure at Heart. Armed with a batch of catchy songs and the backing of Sub Pop imprint Hardly Art, Seapony make their way down I-5 for their first headlining club show in Portland. NL

JOAN AS POLICE WOMAN, BHI BHIMAN, THEMES
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) If an individual is judged by the company he or she keeps, then Joan Wasser is an idiosyncratic artist who is thrillingly resistant to being pigeonholed. Her ever-growing cult of fans already knows that. Previously the violinist for '90s Boston outfit the Dambuilders, Wasser has since supplied arrangements and performed with Antony, Rufus Wainwright, Scissor Sisters, and David Sylvian. Yet this multi-instrumentalist and songwriter shines brightest in the spotlight, releasing a series of increasingly ambitious records as Joan as Police Woman, culminating in The Deep Field. With her soulful, otherworldly voice as the focal point, Wasser fashions musical universes as inventive and all encompassing as those found on the classic '70s albums of Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder, switching fluidly from the crackling sexuality of "Run for Love" to the almost embarrassing tenderness of "Human Condition." KURT B. REIGHLEY

NUGGETS NIGHT: THE DHARMA BUMS, BEYOND VERONICA, WELCOME HOME WALKER, BLUE SKIES FOR BLACK HEARTS, & MORE
(Slabtown, 1033 NW 16th) For five years now, Slabtown has hosted a tribute night to the classic 1972 Elektra Records compilation album Nuggets, which collected some of the best garage and proto-punk from American bands in the '60s. Nuggets has since become a cottage industry for Rhino Records, which released its own string of Nuggets sequels throughout the '80s, then popped out a magnificent series of four-disc box sets bearing the Nuggets name in the late '90s and early '00s. Expect a slew of local bands to pay homage to fuzz-drenched singles from groups like the Electric Prunes and the 13th Floor Elevators, and like every year, the organizers are donating the proceeds to a worthy charity. This year they're raising money for the Jeremy Wilson Foundation, which helps needy musicians and their families when health insurance just won't cut it. Wilson himself performs with his band the Dharma Bums. NL

SUNDAY 5/22

STEPHEN MALKMUS, REBECCA GATES
(Disjecta, 8371 N Interstate) See My, What a Busy Week!

TYPHOON, CANNONS AND CLOUDS, YOUTH
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) While you were sleeping, Typhoon became the biggest band in the city of Portland. Forever championed as the ragged upstarts incubated in the fertile all-ages basement show circuit, the dozen-piece band was always a household name in town, but it wasn't until their SXSW performance in a church (opening for, and stealing the show from, Sharon Van Etten) that the band crossed over to a national audience. The foundation Typhoon established with 2010's LP Hunger and Thirst was built upon masterfully with this year's A New Kind of House. An EP in running time only, A New Kind of House is as dynamic and rich as its predecessor, a release perfectly balanced between songs both short and simplistic (all 89 seconds of "Kitchen Tile"), sprawling and dense ("Claws Pt. 1," which clocks in at close to eight minutes), and their most dynamic tune yet to be captured on tape ("The Honest Truth"). You might have missed their ascent, but barring a disaster true to their namesake, Typhoon is a band that we will be talking about for a long, long time. They play a free show for which only 350 passes will be issued—first come, first serve. EAC

MONDAY 5/23

MOUNT EERIE, KEY LOSERS, NICHOLAS KRGOVICH
(Worksound, 820 SE Alder) When not touring with the Straight Gaze (the backing band for YACHT), Dear Nora's Katy Davidson now records and performs under Key Losers, and she's just unleashed this new project's first full-length album, California Lite. With languid grooves and faintly shimmering psych, Davidson—who's assuredly a Portlander, not a Californian—has definitely made a record in line with her chosen album title, but it's not a bunch of coked-out West Coast yacht rock. Rather, it's an inventive, playful collection of smartly written music, performed with help from members of LAKE, Total Noise, and the illustrious Karl Blau. There are campfire sing-alongs ("Smoggy Mountain High"), Joni Mitchell-like angular post-folk ("Real Time Here"), and moments of tropical flair (just about every song) that belies the album's origins over a wet winter in Anacortes, Washington. This is simply a delightful record, and the bill also includes some of the record's contributors, including Phil Elverum—performing under his Mount Eerie alter ego—and No Kids' Nick Krgovich. NL

TUESDAY 5/24

Happy birthday to obscure singer/songwriter Robert Zimmerman, who totally boned Joan Baez and then tragically died in a motorcycle accident in 1966.

WEDNESDAY 5/25

ALLO DARLIN', SEAN FLINN AND THE ROYAL WE, JOHN HEART JACKIE
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) See My, What a Busy Week!

CITIZEN FISH, KRUM BUMS, ARCTIC FLOWERS, THE APATHY CYCLE
(Branx, 320 SE 2nd) For the past 31 years or so, Dick Lucas has had some pretty revolutionary ideas. Yet of all the incendiary concepts that have tumbled through the mangled British maw of the frontman for Citizen Fish and Subhumans, the most shocking is the belief that there will always be a place for ska music. Long before and long after soulless bands from Southern California squatted, gentrified, and ultimately ruined the once respectable genre, Lucas & Co. kept at it—seemingly indifferent to outsiders treading on their sacred sound. Granted, Citizen Fish's vision of ska is less crisp-suited Rude Boys picking it up (and picking it up, and picking it up) and more a gritty, blue-collar malaise that documents the plight of the dumpster-diving underclass. Long may Citizen Fish reign, with upstroked guitars and horns a-blazin'. EAC

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