Up & Coming 

Highlights in music the week of September 22-28

BRAIDS
Holocene, 9/25

BRAIDS
Holocene, 9/25

THURSDAY 9/22

NURSES, AU, WET WOOL, DJ JEFFREY JERUSALEM
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Read our article on Nurses.

OLD GROWTH, COMPANY, DJ ROD MEYER
(East End, 203 SE Grand) Read our article on Old Growth.

YEAH GREAT FINE, JARED MEES & THE GROWN CHILDREN, DECADES
(Kenton Club, 2025 N Kilpatrick) There is a battle at the very core of Yeah Great Fine. First, you have the band's rigid backbone of technically precise arrangements that gleefully bangs its head upon the math rock of the similar Don Caballero (circa their untouchable original lineup). Then you have Yeah Great Fine the pop band, capped by their hook-laden choruses and the airy voice of frontman Jake Hershman. This delicate tightwire act is highlighted on their brand-new four-song 7-inch, Circadian. Neither direction claims victory in the end (despite the staccato rhythms of "It's All I Want," which nearly tilts things in favor of Team Math Rock), as YGF have found a way to harvest the bounties of two separate and distinct sounds and create something entirely their own. EZRA ACE CARAEFF

FRIDAY 9/23

JAMES BLAKE, TEENGIRL FANTASY
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) See My, What a Busy Week!

GRAND REOPENING: SONS OF HUNS, THE LORDY LORDS, ADVISORY, THE NO TOMORROW BOYS
(Club 21, 2035 NE Glisan) See My, What a Busy Week!

HEY LOVER, PELICAN OSSMAN
(Kenton Club, 2025 N Kilpatrick) Read our article on Hey Lover.

KRIS KRISTOFFERSON, MERLE HAGGARD
(Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway) On the heels of Willie Nelson's low-key summertime show at Edgefield, two more of country's outlaws ride into Portland. These guys are getting old—Haggard's 74, Kristofferson's 75—but what's remarkable is how these septuagenarians' once-revolutionary music still feels... well, revolutionary. In the mainstream, country's never felt more watery—despite the lessons offered, decades ago, by Haggard, Kristofferson, Nelson, Cash, and Jennings—but here these guys are, still playing in an era of Taylor Swift and Kenny Chesney. The average age at this show is gonna be somewhere around 50, I bet, and I also bet it'll be hard to shake the sense that Haggard and Kristofferson are just trotting themselves out one last time before they're too weak to do so. So: drawbacks. But also: The music's still good. Country gets better as it ages—as it wears down, as it grows ragged and frayed. And these two old dudes are, still, some of the best the genre has to offer. ERIK HENRIKSEN

DENVER, LUZ ELENA MENDOZA, RAYMOND BYRON
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) You know Denver, even if you don't really know Denver. You know their parade of notable players (members of Blitzen Trapper, Alela Diane's Wild Divine, and more), you know their go-to outfit (pearl snaps), and you definitely know their preferred libation (heroic pours of whiskey). But what you might not know is that Denver now have a full-length to call their own. Their 11-song self-titled debut offers few surprises (Where's the reggaeton?), but it does establish the half-dozen Denverites as the finest sad-bastard roots rock act of the Pacific Northwest. There is a hint of fuck-you-let's-fight outlaw country here, but Denver isn't the type to smash a bottle over your skull—that's a waste of perfectly good booze. Instead they do their best work wallowing under the weight of it all. Numbers like "Keep Your Eye Out" and the "Ridin' Alone (San Antone)" might just sap you of the will to live, but they sure as hell sound great doing so. EAC

THE CUTE LEPERS, SOMETHING FIERCE, THE ANXIETIES, BLUE RIBBON BOYS, THE CRY
(Plan B, 1305 SE 8th) A wise woman once uttered the adage, "Age ain't nothin' but a number," and many modern bands are living proof of this with staunch allegiance to the sounds and aesthetics of bygone eras. The Cry is a young Portland group adept at performing highly stylized pop-punk ditties with emphasis on '60s-era vocal harmonies, shades of '90s power pop, and near-constant references to someone named "Baby." Their sound dovetails perfectly with Seattle's the Cute Lepers, who are similarly dedicated to throwback sounds, predominantly of the British ilk—from the orchestration of the Beatles to Johnny Rotten's sneer—as well as hints of ska (via a prominent saxophone). They also steadily nod to the American agit-pop tradition with lyrical content critical of the status quo (for example, "You Don't Have to Belong to the Religious Right"), which isn't as interesting as the catchy music that drowns it out. MARANDA BISH

SATURDAY 9/24

BON IVER, OTHER LIVES
(Edgefield, 2126 SW Halsey, Troutdale, OR) See My, What a Busy Week!

RADIATION CITY, BLOUSE, AAN
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Read our article on Radiation City.

JONATHAN RICHMAN
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) If you're expecting to see the 60-year-old former Modern Lover Jonathan Richman acting like a punk, a genre he helped to inspire, you'll be sorely disappointed. He quit acting, er, sounding like that way back in the '80s. Nevertheless, Richman is an inimitable songwriter and a sophisticate. His music's brattiness has been replaced by a beauty that's wildly eccentric and quietly refined. He might not sing "Roadrunner" or "Pablo Picasso"—two of the most recognizable Richman/Modern Lover anthems—but he will likely play acoustic guitar flawlessly, while dancing around and singing fluently in English, French, Spanish, Italian, and Hebrew. Punk's not dead—it just changed its tune. KELLY O

GIRLS GOING SINGLE: GUANTANAMO BAYWATCH, DJ HG WALLS, DJ FUZZBOXX
(East End, 203 SE Grand) Girls Going Single is the best of all worlds: There is an early record swap at 7 pm, the finest girl-group cuts of wax on the turntables courtesy of DJs HG Walls and Fuzzboxx, plus (tonight only) a special all-covers set from those hip-shaking hunks and hunkettes in Guantanamo Baywatch. No telling which covers the raucous trio will break out (Hollywood Jills? The Crystals? The Four Pennies?), but regardless it'll probably include songs about boys, holding hands, or the perils of drag racing. According to statistics from the National Center of Girl Group Lyrical Insight, the number-one killer of boys in the '60s was drag-racing accidents (far worse than the Vietnam War), while the fairer gender tended to die solely from broken hearts. Those were tough times. EAC

DURAN DURAN, NEON TREES
(Rose Garden, 1 Center Ct) As much as the members of Duran Duran would probably like to dive into material from newer works like Red Carpet Massacre and All You Need Is Now, fans just want the hits. During the '80s these MTV pretties put style over substance only to get recognized for that substance, and there's plenty to choose from. "Planet Earth," "Girls On Film," "Hungry Like the Wolf," and "A View to a Kill" are all great songs backed by memorable videos. It's amazing enough that these guys are still around, let alone the fact that Duran Duran put out four records—that's four records—since 2000. Impressive. But please, just give us the hits. MARK LORE

SUNDAY 9/25

BRAIDS, PEPPER RABBIT, PAINTED PALMS (Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Montreal pop zealots Braids (lose the "S" and they become the best Midwest emo band of the '90s) headline this stellar lineup of three diverse yet oddly similar acts that are unafraid to let their artistic vision bleed into their music. On Native Speaker, Braids open up a rabbit hole of swirling melodic synth numbers that could liquify a glacier with the wondrously warm vocal delivery of frontwoman Raphaelle Standell-Preston. Pepper Rabbit's adventurous sound is rooted firmly in folk music, sounding like the Shins might have had they not given up a few years back (sorry, but you know it's true). With invigorating, high-energy arrangements, Painted Palms just might be the best of the bunch—which is saying a lot—as their debut EP, Canopy, channels all the good of Passion Pit (addictive candy-coated electro pop) and none of the bad (that damn helium voice). With a lineup this impressive, it'll be worth your while to come early and stay late. EAC

CESCHI, RICKOLUS, KAIGEN, HIVES INQUIRY SQUAD
(Rotture, 315 SE 3rd) Fake Four Inc., the label helmed by Ceschi Ramos with his brother David, is a genre-bending collective with a lineage that extends from, and expands beyond, the Anticon school of thought. With a hiphop ethos as the jump-off, Fake Four Inc. releases have varied from the folk-electronic Cars & Trains to the morose goth-hop of Dark Time Sunshine. In his current musical incarnation, Ramos plays solo with an acoustic guitar and laptop, emceeing as Ceschi with a commanding delivery that sounds like Everlast on mushrooms jamming with Little Wings. RickoLus is a solo endeavor that eludes genre categorization, although the work of one Richard J. Colado is the most melodic option of the night, and his releases come courtesy of local label Circle into Square. Japanese emcee Kaigen is a kinetic performer with top-tier global connections, while Southeast Portland's own Hives Inquiry Squad bring it all back home again. RYAN FEIGH

MONDAY 9/26

JOLIE HOLLAND
(Star Theater, 13 NW 6th) Since the beautifully timid bedroom assembly of 2003's Catalpa, Jolie Holland has proven herself an exceptional, genre-spanning songwriter with a unique voice, her words often scrawled and fluttering across the tracks in a hard drawl. Holland's latest release, Pint of Blood, provides a measurable assessment of her departure from those creakier low-fidelity days, yet it feels more well worn and earthbound than 2008's tautly produced alt-country foray, The Living and the Dead. The album is littered with candid moments, like in the sweeping classic rock number "Gold and Yellow," where Holland nearly trails off altogether as she closes out the tune, singing, "I come unraveled/you come unfastened/and we take hold." Pint of Blood even features a reimagined, improvisational jazz rendition of "The Littlest Birds" (now titled "Little Birds"), a particularly precious song from Catalpa. If nothing else, it's good to see Holland reemerging in familiar territory. RAQUEL NASSER Also see My, What a Busy Week!

TWIN SHADOW, DIAMOND RINGS
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) The music of Twin Shadow (George Lewis Jr.) resembles Junior Boys' sensitive-guy bedroomtronica, which has roots in Depeche Mode, New Order, and Soft Cell's most introspective material. He's also something of a romantic crooner in the vein of Bryan Ferry and Morrissey, but without those icons' more sweeping dramatic range. With Twin Shadow's 2010 album Forget (produced by Grizzly Bear's Chris Taylor), we're in the familiar territory of semi-danceable, '80s synth-pop revivalism, but done with heartfelt sincerity instead of neon-Ray-Ban'd irony. Lewis is obviously a scrupulous songwriter, hyper aware of the sonic signifiers that trigger nostalgic pangs in synthesizer fetishists with a weakness for fey-male-centric tunesmithery and understatedly glittery production techniques. DAVE SEGAL

400 BLOWS, LORD DYING, DJ STARBIRD
(Tube, 18 NW 3rd) Lord Dying's debut 7-inch is two glorious blasts of evilly chugging metal designed to explode your eardrums with doomy furor. Released on the Powerblaster label, the single's A-side tells you everything you need to know about its contents: "In a Frightful State of Gnawed Dismemberment." But if you snag the digital version (via their Bandcamp page) there's three more songs in it for you, including the similarly awesomely titled "Greed Is Your Horse." Lord Dying has been championed by local icons like Red Fang, but soon their propulsive, ferocious sound will need no introduction, as the quartet is on their way to becoming one of the most galvanizing (and beloved) bands in town. Seeing them in the tiny confines of Tube will probably kill you. NED LANNAMANN

TUESDAY 9/27

LADYTRON, GEOGRAPHER, SONOIO
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) See My, What a Busy Week!

WEEKEND, TALK NORMAL, HAUSU, GHOST ANIMAL
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) San Franners Weekend are starting to seek treatment for their troubled sound, but it hasn't been easy. Their needle-flicking no-wave punk is laced with Shin-ei fuzz bursts and dipped in dubby, junked-out atmospherics that get your brain firing on all cylinders. Not the kind of habit you kick overnight. Last year's addictive debut, Sports, sounded like Sonic Youth's Bad Moon Rising overdosing on itself: terminally void, with debilitating endorphin surges. Now, the trio's post-punk pastiche certainly took the senses on a heavy trip, but too much of that stuff would have eventually been the death of them. Fortunately, the band has undergone a rehabilitation of sorts on their new EP, Red, for Slumberland Records. They're still prone to noisy relapses here and there, but their songs are now injected with a higher dosage of songwriting and production value. And now that these guys are off the hard stuff, maybe they'll clean up after all. CHRIS CANTINO

THE SIGHT BELOW, SIMON SCOTT, MARCUS FISCHER
(E.A.T. at Milepost 5, 850 NE 81st) Remember Aleatoric? It's been awhile since we've heard anything from the collective of ambient music aficionados responsible for bringing more prominence to the drone, static, and sustained tones of Portland's soundscape, but now they're back with a fresh installment of their quarterly showcase. Tonight's lineup features Ghostly International's the Sight Below (Rafael Anton Irisarri), Simon Scott (ex-drummer for UK shoegaze band Slowdive), and our very own Marcus Fischer—an accomplished trifecta of contemplative ambient musicians perfectly suited for the turn of the season. As we're all rushing around desperately trying to squeeze the last little bits out of this clearly waning summer, here is an opportunity to sit down, listen to some subtle, spacious music, and figure out how we're going to make the most of the long, dark months ahead of us. AVA HEGEDUS

WENESDAY 9/28

POOR CLAUDIA BENEFIT: NEAL MORGAN, ALEXIS GIDEON, PIGEONS, BOYS ON THE SIDE, NEW DADZ DJS, DJ MIKE M, DJ SNAKKS
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) See My, What a Busy Week!

VETIVER, QUIET LIFE, GREAT WILDERNESS
(Star Theater, 13 NW 6th) Years back, as a fresh-faced man in my 20s, I loathed Vetiver. It was unfair and reactionary, but after witnessing the band play onstage I grew restless and that boredom manifested itself in a slow simmering (and misplaced) hatred. They were guilty of associating with Devendra Banhart, leaning too heavily on American Beauty-era Dead, and just being the wrong band at the absolute wrong time. But I've aged, as has Vetiver, and now my hunger for new music from Andy Cabic & Co. has reached an insatiable level. This year's The Errant Charm is subtle yet expansive, an album loaded with deep emotionalism yet simple in structure and pleasant on the ears. I take little pride in arriving at Vetiver fandom so late, but now that I'm here and listening to The Errant Charm once again, there isn't anywhere I'd rather be. EAC

WEEDEATER, SAVIOURS, BISON BC, FIGHT AMP
(Branx, 320 SE 2nd) With a name like Weedeater, its pretty clear that the North Carolina trio are an unabashed stoner metal/rock band (not to mention press photos that often include piles of weed). However, their new album Jason... The Dragon could also be referred to as cabin metal, and if anthropomorphized, most of the tracks here would be a ferociously stoned grizzly bear. They're thick, fuzzy, towering tunes that take a lot of cues from Sleep, but also mix in a hint of blues as well. In between the monstrous cuts are songs like the banjo-driven "Whiskey Creek," and the twangy "Palms of Opium," which appears to have been written (and possibly recorded) by the band in the backwoods on a porch in a rocking chair with a floppy-eared hound dog asleep at their feet. ARIS WALES

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