Up & Coming 

Highlights in Music the Week of November 10-16

JOHN WESLEY HARDING AND THE KING CHARLES TRIO Aladdin Theater, 11/11I'm no math whiz, but that's the biggest trio I've ever seen.

JOHN WESLEY HARDING AND THE KING CHARLES TRIO Aladdin Theater, 11/11
I'm no math whiz, but that's the biggest trio I've ever seen.

THURSDAY 11/10

SCORPIO PARTY!: DEELAY CEELAY, FATHA GREEN, TUNNELS, DJ SNAKKS
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) See My, What a Busy Week!

THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS, JONATHAN COULTON
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) For 30 years we've been wondering if they are indeed giants or not. But really, we resoundingly know the answer to that musical quandary, as John Linnell and John Flansburgh have been nerd-rocking us hard for so many years they feel like trusted confidants and besties. They released Join Us this summer—their 15th album and their first non-children's work since 2007—only to follow it up with the piping fresh Album Raises New and Troubling Questions, a digital-download album of rarities, outtakes, and a particularly spirited cover of Chumbawamba's "Tubthumping," with the AV Club acting as the "get knocked down" chumba-choir. TMBG are pretty concerned about getting knocked down, also evidenced in the lyrics of "Can't Keep Johnny Down" on Join Us, with its line of "Outnumbered a million to one/all of the dicks in this dick town/can't keep Johnny down." So take a whiskey drink, or maybe a soda drink, and show all the Johns (plus one Jonathan Coulton) at the Crystal that they can still make you dance your fool faces off with their smart, fun get-down-ness. COURTNEY FERGUSON Also see My, What a Busy Week!

UNKNOWN MORTAL ORCHESTRA, GAUNTLET HAIR
(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) To be sure, Unknown Mortal Orchestra's relatively meteoric rise shall not go without (continued) mention. In less than a year they've ridden a wave of guitar stabs, crispy break-beats, and funky, falsetto hooks from secretive solo project to prolifically touring power-trio. Since February UMO have been criss-crossing the country like Mitt Romney. This time they return to Northwest soil in what feels like an odd, or possibly premature, victory lap with back to-back nights at Bunk Bar. Perhaps less familiar but equally intriguing are Gauntlet Hair, a duo from Denver who share more than a label (Dead Oceans) in common with Portland's beloved Nurses. Like our boys, Gauntlet Hair shimmer in a wash of reverb, funhouse mirrors, and bright technicolor globs. But where Nurses stack intricate hooks like wood for winter, Gauntlet Hair prefers to thrash a bit more in the pile, snapping sticks, thumping stumps, and shouting out. If they're as active and full as the recently released, self-titled record suggests, these back-to-back nights might make sense after all. ANDREW R TONRY

FRIDAY 11/11

SPINAL TAP NIGHT: SHARK SANDWICH, BILL DANT & THE TRAILER TRASHERS, THE OH MY MYS
(Tonic Lounge, 3100 NE Sandy) See My, What a Busy Week!

M83, ACTIVE CHILD
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) Read our article on M83.

UNKNOWN MORTAL ORCHESTRA, GAUNTLET HAIR
(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) See Thursday's listing.

JOHN WESLEY HARDING AND THE KING CHARLES TRIO, THE MINUS 5
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) Like a day at the carnival that ends with your dog getting hit by a car, John Wesley Harding's The Sound of His Own Voice seems cheery enough at first. But beneath each song's surface of sunny, jangly pop is a story of nostalgia and heartbreak—a coming to terms with a lifetime of sad shit. Harding lives in Pennsylvania, but he jacked Portland's best and brightest for this, his 12th LP. The album features four-fifths of the Decemberists and half of the Minus 5, who are also opening. Scott McCaughey produced the album, and provides sprightly harmonies for sad lyrics, along with Rosanne Cash, John Roderick, and Laura Veirs. REBECCA WILSON

HERBIE HANCOCK & THE OREGON SYMPHONY
(Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway) Those of a certain age best remember Herbie Hancock as the man behind "Rockit," his funky, synth-heavy 1983 hit with the equally phunky Godley & Creme-directed video. Of course, Hancock has a lot of music under his belt, from his beginnings working under Miles Davis in the '60s to his endless experimental jazz and neo-funk records in the '70s and '80s. Simply put: He's a bad, bad man. Tonight Hancock takes on Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue with the Oregon Symphony. And while it's a safe bet you won't be getting any left-field avant-funk at this performance, you will get a first-hand look (if you're willing to shell out the dough) at a musician who's earned having his name preceded by the word "legend." MARK LORE

BIG BLACK CLOUD, THE BUK BUK BIGUPS, BLOOD BEACH, SEX CHURCH
(The Know, 2026 NE Alberta) The man behind the Buk Buk Bigups has been disseminating a 30-second promo for this show online, featuring the iconic date (11-11-11) and the names of the bands in neon block letters. It has the aesthetic of a commercial from the '70s and its abbreviated but essential content is like that of a text message from the touring performer himself. Using throwback methods both cheeky and tributary via the most up-to-date tools and methods is precisely Aaron Zeff's steez, and his show tonight is sure to follow the same zigzags—also found on his debut LP from Weird Forest, which is Quintron-esque in its playful, screwed electric stylings. MARANDA BISH

BLOCKHEAD, DJ CAM, GLADKILL, RIGHTEOUS TRASH, KEYS VS. JOE NASTY
(Refuge, 116 SE Yamhill) Frenchman Laurent Daumail, better known as DJ Cam, traffics in the kind of hiphop-jazz mélange that seemed destined to take over airwaves at one point in the late '90s. He's since made a career out of low-key, lounge-y beats that seem suited for trendy hotel lobbies and high-end shoe stores. DJ Cam's latest, Seven, is a glossy record that flirts with exotica, adult contemporary, and dub, and the end result is jet-set lifestyle music that's as sleek as a baby seal, if substantially less cuddly. DJ Cam plays his first-ever Oregon date tonight with Ninja Tune's DJ Blockhead. NED LANNAMANN

BASSEKOU KOUYATE & NGONI BA, DUSU MALI BAND
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) To the untrained eye, it appears that Malian maestro Bassekou Kouyate is spiritedly picking at some sort of elongated winter squash that has been bedecked with unthinkably taut strings, prepared to snap at the slightest pluck. This instrument is called an ngoni, and it's one of the banjo's African ancestors. It's clear, though, that our clumsy, American version can't quite accommodate the sort of delicate fury that is emitted from this rather emotive, haplessly shrill acoustic instrument, especially when at the mercy of Kouyate's skilled hands. He and his band, Ngoni Ba—which features the clarion vocals of Kouyate's wife and other various and incredibly gifted family members—released their second album, I Speak Fula, with Seattle's Sub Pop late in 2009 and have since been trudging from continent to continent, spreading their exhilarating African music. It doesn't matter that you (presumably) do not speak Fula; anyone with a soul is hopelessly susceptible to the bare fuses of Kouyate's live performance, regardless of their linguistic prohibitions. RAQUEL NASSER

SATURDAY 11/12

BLITZEN TRAPPER, DAWES, THE BELLE BRIGADE
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) See My, What a Busy Week!

ILLMACULATE, THE SAURUS, GOLDINI BAGWELL, MIKEY VEGAZ
(Branx, 320 SE 2nd) Illmaculate made his name in the game as a freestyle battle rapper, both as a Scribble Jam champion and back-to-back winner of Grindtime's World Rap Championship. He's since built upon that buzz by collaborating with supergroup Sandpeople, countless guest spots on other projects, as well as The Green Tape—a project with producer G_Force, AKA Calvin Valentine, which was released earlier this year. Tonight is the hometown stop on Illmac's West Coast tour, coming off the recent release of his free Skrill Walton EP. While the tracks are ostensibly extra material that didn't make the cut for the much-anticipated Skrill Talk full-length, as a standalone body of work it ranks among the top local releases of the year, which is sure to impress his loyal international fanbase and continue to put Portland on the map. RYAN FEIGH

THE APPLESEED CAST, HOSPITAL SHIPS, THE HAGUE
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) If you listened to the Appleseed Cast 10 years ago, you likely were staring at the ceiling of your dorm room, wondering whether your heart would ever feel whole again. Possibly you were wearing black eyeliner at the time. It didn't occur to you that both you and they would outgrow emo or that the Kansas-based quartet would become post-rock innovators. Their 2009 LP, Sagarmatha, and their 2001 EP, Middle States, features mushy, unintelligible vocals and gorgeous guitars, but the freewheeling bass and drum arrangements are the real secret weapon. Best yet, they're on tour with Hospital Ships, a highly enjoyable band who are probably tired of being compared to the Flaming Lips. RW

A WINGED VICTORY FOR THE SULLEN, BENOÎT PIOULARD, KEN CAMDEN
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Chicago label Kranky has been fostering excellent highbrow, exploratory music for 18 years. This package bill of its artists—note the early 6 pm showtime—features Portland's minimalist art-pop auteur Benoît Pioulard; stately, Stars of the Lid-affiliated, orchestral-drone maestros A Winged Victory for the Sullen (with the ACME String Ensemble); and Ken Camden. The latter's home-recorded 2010 gem Lethargy & Repercussion offers a half-dozen third-eye-stunning pieces of guitar mesmerism. Think the sparse astral drifts of Spacemen 3's Dreamweapon crossed with the desert-mirage drones of Psychic Ills and Don Cherry's "Malkauns." This is a new breed of sacred music drained of all sanctimony, and it's hella rich. DAVE SEGAL 

SUNDAY 11/13

SHARON JONES & THE DAP-KINGS, MONARQUES
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) See My, What a Busy Week!

FUTURE ISLANDS, ED SCHRADER'S MUSIC BEAT, JASON URICK
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Read our article on Future Islands.

WE WERE PROMISED JETPACKS, ROYAL BANGS, BEAR HANDS
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) Ambition suits Edinburgh's We Were Promised Jetpacks. Their second album, In the Pit of the Stomach, sees them reaching for the stratosphere with jumbo-sized melodies and completely unrestrained production. In clumsier hands—or, more accurately, in less sincere hands—than those of the Scottish quartet, this would spell disaster, but this group seems to be up to the challenge of building monuments. Drums thump heavily on the downbeats, guitars swirl into thick fogs, and singer Adam Thompson maintains that uniquely Scottish trick of sounding both aggravated and forlorn. Some reviewers seem to have missed this entirely, but We Were Promised Jetpacks are currently making sounds that are fully enveloping in their cloud-swept might. NL

FRANK FAIRFIELD
(Duff's Garage, 1635 SE 7th) If you were to catch a snippet of Frank Fairfield's well-worn Americana in some dark bar east of the Mississippi, you would surely assume he'd risen from the high times of Bill Monroe and Earl Scruggs. You might expect a YouTube search to yield grainy videos of him perched on a haystack at the Grand Ole Opry, dressed to the nines and pneumatic in his construction of frenetic clawhammer banjo licks. However preserved and Appalachian Fairfield sounds, though, he hails from the urban clutches of Los Angeles and is barely 25 years old; it is by preternaturally channeling the dusky ghosts of American music that Fairfield conjures such timelessness. This spring's Out on the Open West is a truly beautiful collection of traditional ballads, conjuring the bygone worlds of pre-war, country folk bliss, and it's best you don't miss this opportunity to travel back in time and get a good look at the wiring. RN

MONDAY 11/14

AUSTRA, GRIMES, TASSEOMANCY
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) See My, What a Busy Week!

TUESDAY 11/15

NO KIND OF RIDER, WAX FINGERS, YEAH GREAT FINE
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) See My, What a Busy Week!

NIGHTMARE FORTRESS, ANNE, PRESCRIPTION PILLS, LIGHT HOUSE
(Rotture, 315 SE 3rd) Portland ensemble Anne has their debut full-length Dream Punx coming out later this month on Baltimore's A389 Recordings label, and it's a mix of familiar tracks from the band's self-released EPs and a bunch of new recordings for good measure. Anne boasts a dense, cavernous sound that plunders heavily from the shoegazer sounds of yore that are everywhere these days, but the band does so with conviction. The vocals are buried beneath huge synths and guitars, emphasizing mood over content. And there's a woozy, gauzy edge to what initially seem like black-hearted sulks, a romanticism that suits the band well. With tonight's show, Anne wraps up a short West Coast tour just in time for the record's release, which should see them reaching more ears than ever before. NL

WEDNESDAY 11/16

BLACK JOE LEWIS AND THE HONEYBEARS, THE SHEEPDOGS, DIKES OF HOLLAND
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) See My, What a Busy Week!

FEIST, CHILLY GONZALES
(Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway) Read our article on Feist.

1776, KOKO AND THE SWEETMEATS, FOREIGN ORANGE
(Ella Street Social Club, 714 SW 20th Pl) Read our article on Koko and the Sweetmeats.

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