NUCULAR AMINALS, PSYCHIC FELINE, SWAHILI
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Psychic Feline and Nucular Aminals have become the perfect foil for this city's rash of conceited pop bands. Both acts riff deliberately through their mutated post-punk vortexes without the slightest hint of pretension or hesitation. Now, that's not to say they aren't impassioned or play without abandon. They've got those wild eyes. Slightly vacant, slightly psychotic—when they unhinge themselves, you'll want to back the fuck up. Something tells me that after a long month of touring on new 7-inches and LPs, these two acts are poised to lose their shit in the best possible way. Do. Not. Miss. This. Show. CHRIS CANTINO
PICKATHON: GRUPO FANTASMA, LAURA VEIRS, RAY WYLIE HUBBARD, BRUCE MOLSKY, FRUIT BATS, L.C. ULMER, AGESANDAGES, CALIFONE, POKEY LAFARGE, THE BUILDERS & THE BUTCHERS, RICHARD SWIFT, & MORE
(Pendarvis Farm, 16581 SE Hagen, Happy Valley) Read our feature on Pickathon, and My, What a Busy Week!
HOT VICTORY, VICE DEVICE, EXTRALONE, SICK JAGGERS
(Rotture, 315 SE 3rd) Tonight celebrates the release of a split 7-inch from Hot Victory and Vice Device. Somehow, Hot Victory has managed to cram an entire 48-minute-long album's worth of material into their side of the split. Well, sort of: The percussive group, two drummers with a third member on electronics, has put the relatively succinct, four-minute "Zenith" onto the actual vinyl, and it's a tropically tinged piece of retro-futuristic cyberpunk. The remaining music is available via the now-customary download card, and along with "Zenith," it makes up the "Triangulum Australe (Tablets I-V)" suite, a collection of lengthy and mesmerizing abstractions that evolve from synth drones into full-out, apocalyptic drum breakdowns. The recording's length and ambition suits Hot Victory, who has moved well beyond the novelty of their unconventional instrumentation into developing strange and admirable sonic sculptures. Vice Device, meanwhile, offer an ominous slice of robotic synth work, motored by aggressive bass and choppy eighth notes on analog synth. NED LANNAMANN
BIG BUSINESS, TORCHE, THRONES
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE 39th) The new EP by Seattle sludgers Big Business is entitled Quadruple Single, and its four songs could, I suppose, each be considered an A-side—if your taste in singles runs toward frantic, monolithic walls of metal. For all their heaviness, though, Big Business have always sounded approachable, and their material has always emphasized melody over intimidation. It's fitting, then, that they're touring with Torche, who make addictive pieces of pop candy, and roll them in a batter of bone-crushing hard rock. Their most recent release is an EP of quick bursts called Songs for Singles, and while pop metal is the dirtiest of dirty terms, it fits Torche in a way that makes you forget about the monstrosities that have earned that designation before. Torche's songs are weirdly addictive, and while the Songs for Singles EP finds them in a transitional period following the triumph of the sugar-slab that was 2008's Meanderthal, it's likely they'll continue to find the balance between heavy and hooky. NL
LOOKBOOK, PIGEONS, THE MOSS
(The Saratoga, 6910 N Interstate) There are still two bands called Lookbook, and they are both good. The Portland one is the '80s-gazing dance-rock one. (The Minneapolis one is the soft-sanded, swoony, romantic boy-girl one. They do not perform tonight.) Portland's Lookbook has established a solid balance between the trance-inducing rhythms of dance-floor pop and the guitar-driven tropes of songwriterly rock. The result is lightly psychedelic and filled with momentum. Also on the bill is Pigeons, and there are probably other bands out there called Pigeons, but I guarantee none are as good as the Portland one. Hosting a stately, majestic blend of folk and rock—and finding a heretofore-unfound combination of those often combined ingredients—Pigeons makes music that alternately seethes in fury or rattles gently with grace. Their debut album The Talking Wire is a remarkable record, worthy of a much wider audience. NL
PICKATHON: BILL CALLAHAN, BLACK MOUNTAIN, DAMIEN JURADO, ELLIOTT BROOD, THE SADIES, LEE FIELDS AND THE EXPRESSIONS, THAO WITH THE GET DOWN STAY DOWN, CALIFONE, JESSE SYKES AND THE SWEET HEREAFTER, SONNY AND THE SUNSETS, & MORE
(Pendarvis Farm, 16581 SE Hagen, Happy Valley) Read our feature on Pickathon.
FIRE IN THE CANYON: THE PHARCYDE, LIFESAVAS, BUSDRIVER, PHILLY'S PHUNKESTRA, SAPIENT, EDDIE VALIENT, BOY EATS DRUM MACHINE, & MORE
(Horning's Hideoutt, 21277 NW Brunswick Canyon, North Plains) Read our Fire in the Canyon feature.
DEELAY CEELAY, ATOLE, MARIUS LIBMAN
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) In the spring of 2009, I interviewed Deelay Ceelay in the band's still secretive infancy, back before their name became synonymous with inspirational live performances synched to video projections, and a colorful electronic sound that's the musical equivalent of a horizon full of double rainbows. The forward-thinking duo of Chris Lael Larson and Delaney Kelly are dedicated to creating music and art outside the lines of commence (as you might recall, their debut Thank You EP was available online for free), and now after a modest wait, the Deelay Ceelay pair have returned with their first LP, Sunset Drumsets. This rousing collection of instrumental electro-pop is as layered and complex as it is unabashedly fun—a heaping serving of audio. Live, it's a visual stimulation on par with Ratatat, the Flaming Lips, or (speaking of waiting on a band) the Avalanches. EZRA ACE CARAEFF
PICKATHON: MAVIS STAPLES, WYE OAK, THE BLACK LILLIES, LIGHTNING DUST, FUTURE ISLANDS, VETIVER, BREATHE OWL BREATHE, CAHALEN MORRISON, DANNY BARNES, ELI WEST, CORINNE WEST, & MORE
(Pendarvis Farm, 16581 SE Hagen, Happy Valley) Read our feature on Pickathon.
FIRE IN THE CANYON: DEL THE FUNKY HOMOSAPIEN, SOLILLAQUISTS OF SOUND, RUN DMT, COOL NUTZ, IAME, & MORE
(Horning's Hideout, 21277 NW Brunswick Canyon, North Plains) Read our Fire in the Canyon feature.
PDX BRIDGE FESTIVAL CLOSING PARTY: COPY, THE HAGUE, SERIOUS BUSINESS, SYMMETRY/SYMMETRY, TANGO ALPHA TANGO, THE HORDE AND THE HAREM, THE DIMES, VIOLET ISLE, WANDERLUST CIRCUS, MNEMONIC SOUNDS, WATER & BODIES, SARA JACKSON-HOLMAN, DROPA
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) The fine folks at the PDX Bridge Festival allow us to have brunch in the middle of the Hawthorne bridge—although that one time I ate a Pillsbury toaster strudel while crossing the pedestrian walkway on the Steel Bridge, you didn't see me throwing a party. The fest is wrapping their second year of "celebrating the bridges that connect us all" with this post-fest soirée. With more bands than bridges (13 to 10, in favor of the musicians) there will be sets at both Lola's Room and the larger Crystal Ballroom space, and the vast lineup includes the gently weeping keytar of Copy, the stylized rock and roll of Symmetry/Symmetry, and the quirky sideshow oddities of Wanderlust Circus. EAC
YOB, DARK CASTLE, ATRIARCH, MONGOLOID VILLAGE
(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) If you find yourself stuck in a rut during the workweek, drop by Bunk Bar tonight for a jolt that will blast you out of your complacency. Rabbits are steadily becoming a Portland mainstay; the trio's patented blend of metal and hardcore sounds like lava shrieking forth from the earth—you know, if lava shrieked instead of bubbled, or whatever lava does. Their full-length Lower Forms, out earlier this year on Relapse, is a steadily fascinating album, rewarding repeat listens as the band vaguely carves out the stages of man over its 10 tracks. It's invigorating and a little scary, and it's all the better for not toeing the familiar metal party line, finding a previously undiscovered realm of bellowing guitars, cannonball drums, and guttural vocal yawps. NL
LAURA GIBSON, BRIGHT ARCHER, RAUELSSON
(The Woods, 6637 SE Milwaukie) While most of us spend our birthdays sobbing uncontrollably into our Arby-Q sandwiches as the cars behind us in the drive-thru honk incessantly, Laura Gibson has something more joyful planned for her big day. Following sets from lovely openers Rauelsson and Bright Archer, Gibson shall regale us all with songs both old and new. (Her forthcoming album will be out in early 2012, courtesy of her still-can't-be-announced deal with a respected Pacific Northwest record label, whose name she shall not mention.) If wonderful music in a comfortable setting isn't enough for you, local man-about-town Brian Perez will be hosting a special cakewalk in Gibson's honor. What's a cakewalk, you say? It's a magical game where the winner gets motherfucking cake. That is all you ever need to know. EAC
GUANTANAMO BAYWATCH, TRMRS, GHOST MOM
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) If for some reason you missed TRMRS at the annual Smmr Bmmr, do not fret. The Costa Mesa quartet are doubling up on their Portland dates and giving us another healthy dose of scuzzier-than-scuzz psych-pop. In another life, TRMRS might have channeled their sun-soaked SoCal upbringing and formed a joyful surf-rock act in the vein of the Bel-Airs. But instead they sound like the result of too many mornings spent riding the swells outside the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station: a severely mutated assembly of surf guitars, garage rock pacing, and tape hiss aplenty. TRMRS just released a new EP entitled Tape: Side B that is available digitally (timely) and on cassette (not timely at all). EAC
EELS, THE SUBMARINES
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) We know far too much about the novocained soul of E (born Mark Oliver Everett), singer of the Eels. While his voice seldom strays from its numb delivery, E's intensely personal material has devastated plenty a fan in the years since the band narrowly escaped the stigma of being labeled a '90s one-hit-wonder novelty act. The band recently delivered Tomorrow Morning, their grand finale to a trilogy of albums (including 2009's Hombre Lobo and last year's End Times). An unsuspecting recording that won't bowl you over on first listen, Tomorrow Morning is content to gradually consume and overtake listeners with songs like the lovesick "I Like the Way This Is Going," which just might be the best thing E has ever attached his name/letter to. EAC
OLD LIGHT, KELLI SCHAEFER, SPORTING, 1939 ENSEMBLE
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) The Dirty Future, the debut album from Old Light, is a '60s-looking batch of rock and roll, constructed from walls of strummed guitars and autoharps and backing harmonies that are at least three layers deep. While I'm ordinarily a sucker for that kind of baroque folk-rock, at first listen Old Light felt a little too familiar. What a pleasure it's been, then, to watch Old Light turn into a live powerhouse, with folk and psych and rock all rumbling together unpredictably, and an undercurrent of vintage boogie that might be unfashionable but still sounds great. The Portland band will surely make perfect sense at the Pickathon festival over the weekend, and they headline this club date a couple days later. At Holocene, they share the bill with Kelli Schaefer, one of Portland's most idiosyncratic—and best—talents. Schaefer recently turned heads at this year's PDX Pop Now! festival and is in the middle of a momentous year following the release of her stunning debut album, Ghost of the Beast. NL