Up & Coming 

Highlights in Music the Week of December 15-21

Y LA BAMBA Holocene, 12/15

Y LA BAMBA Holocene, 12/15

THURSDAY 12/15

ALLEN STONE, REVA DEVITO
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Read our article on Allen Stone.

Y LA BAMBA, SEAN FLINN AND THE ROYAL WE, REMEMORY (Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Y La Bamba—a band as gorgeous as they are entertaining—have cleverly avoided the curse of accessibility by being extremely weird: Fuzzy guitars, whimsical percussion, and harmonizing multi-instrumentalists weave in and out of bilingual lyrics regarding heavy spiritual conundrums. Sometimes there is Mexican accordion; sometimes there is full-on rock. It's enjoyable, unexpected. But it's all ultimately background for Luz Mendoza, the force of nature at the front of the stage, a smoky silver-screen chanteuse who is nevertheless heavily tattooed. Her extreme confidence as a frontwoman makes Y La Bamba what many of their musically talented peers never could be: memorable. Their upcoming album was produced by Steve Berlin of Los Lobos, and features even more Spanish lyrics and lush arrangements. Local stalwart Sean Flinn, the band's one-time guitar player, opens up with his band the Royal We. REBECCA WILSON Also see My, What a Busy Week!

HOWE GELB, JESSE SYKES & THE SWEET HEREAFTER, TRACY SHEDD
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) There are few performers whose trajectories are as difficult to track as that of Howe Gelb. Best known for his work with Giant Sand, Gelb is also a whorish collaborator, having performed and recorded alongside more musicians than can reasonably be counted. Among his most recent works is Alegrias, an album that he reportedly recorded on a rooftop in Córdoba, Spain, with a group of Andalusian musicians. It's a deeply hued collection of Gelb's deconstructionist "erosion rock" brand of Americana, with plenty of old-world gypsy flair. He also recently released the weird Snarl Some Piano collection this year, an experimental album that sees him recording the piano via guitar pickups. As for what Gelb will be playing tonight, and what vein he'll be playing in, your guess is as good as mine. NED LANNAMANN

LAST WATCH, SUGAR SUGAR SUGAR
(Kenton Club, 2025 N Kilpatrick) Last Watch is the semi-new project from Hillstomp's John Johnson, and it's not much of a deviation from that band's high-octane choogly boogie blues. With Last Watch, the Portland two-piece essentially straps on their instruments and blasts off. While most modern takes on blues often come off as blue-eyed and boring, Last Watch sound inspired... and slightly possessed. The song "Scraps" is a space-riffed blues monster with urgent, slappy drums, wiry Zep-meets-Stooges guitar, and guitarist/vocalist Scott McDougall's shouted refrain, "Out of the darkness." Best of all, these chaps sound like they're having fun. It's nothing but beer, beards, and beefed-up guitars—check all pretensions at the door. MARK LORE

FRIDAY 12/16

DINOSAUR JR., SCRATCH ACID, PIERCED ARROWS
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) See My, What a Busy Week!, and read our article on Scratch Acid

HOLIDAY SHOWDOWN: PORTLAND CELLO PROJECT, ISRAEL NEBEKER & RYAN DOBROWSKI, EMILY WELLS, THE ALIALUJAH CHOIR
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) See My, What a Busy Week!

BENEFIT FOR JONATHAN TOUBIN: DJ BEYONDADOUBT, DJ PAUL DILLON, CYCLOTRON, DJ A TRAIN, DJ PLUCKY, DJ HWY 7, & MORE
(East End, 203 SE Grand) On the morning of Thursday, December 8, Jonathan Toubin got the worst wakeup call imaginable. While he was sleeping in his room at the Jupiter Hotel, a Radio Cab crashed through the wall and drove all the way into his room, pinning him underneath. The New York DJ was visiting Portland for a couple nights to take part in the fifth anniversary of DJ Beyondadoubt's I've Got a Hole in My Soul dance party. Now, suffering incredibly serious injuries, he's in critical care at OHSU, staying in Portland indefinitely. A PayPal account has been set up for Toubin's aid, and you can help by sending money to ihearttoubin@gmail.com, but additionally East End booker Gabe Lageson and his wife Michele McDonnell—both dear friends of Toubin's—have announced a benefit show in his honor, which will allow Toubin's father to remain here in Portland while his son is recovering in the hospital. Fittingly, DJ Beyondadoubt will be there spinning tracks, as well as plenty of other DJs and slop-rockers Cyclotron, plus a special band formed for the occasion including some members of the Dandy Warhols, and some surprise guests, too. It was a bizarre and terrible accident that's keeping Toubin in Portland; with tonight's benefit, perhaps we can show him, his family, and his fans across the globe that wonderful things can happen here in Portland as well. NL

MARK McGUIRE, THE LUNA MOTH, LOWMEN MARKOS, YARDS
(Kelly's Olympian, 426 SW Washington) Portland is long overdue in welcoming visionary sound dude Mark McGuire as a citizen of our fair Rose City. The guy is head of a new class of guitar heroes, and he's everything Satriani isn't. Blending nostalgic electronics with super-ecstatic, looping guitar music that sounds like Frippertronic records being played at 45 RPM, the resulting ambience is so effervescent it can almost be called pop music. His newest record, Get Lost, is a masterful collection of neo-sound classics that are sure to trigger thoughtful relaxation and memories of childhood fascinations. CHRIS CANTINO

REEL BIG FISH, STREETLIGHT MANIFESTO, LIONIZE, RODEO RUBY LOVE
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) Reel Big Fish was initially introduced to me the day after I had reached second base for the first time. My recent exploration of the finer sex had rocketed my head into the upper stratospheres of excitement and wonder, so the carefree up-stroked guitars and brass-fueled melodies of 1996's Turn the Radio Off were the perfect soundtrack for my present state of being. In the subsequent year or two to follow, I saw Reel Big Fish many times, and enjoyed all the other bands that made up the mid-'90s ska/punk swell. So, as I sit here listening to Bathory's Blood Fire Death, I contemplate how my tastes have shifted from light-hearted, skankable anthems of fun to spells of unholy darkness and aggressive speed. However the evolution came to be, I am glad to see that RBF is still around sharing their exuberance with new generations. I just don't want to have anything to do with it. ARIS WALES

HOLCOMBE WALLER, JUSTIN HARRIS & DANNY SEIM, RITCHIE YOUNG, ALINA HARDIN
(Alberta Rose Theatre, 3000 NE Alberta) It was recently announced that Portland multidisciplinary artist Holcombe Waller is the recipient of a whopping big grant from United States Artists, a national artists advocacy organization that apparently has some serious cash to throw around. Waller, who initially wasn't entirely certain who nominated him or how the heck he won, is receiving $50,000 for his work in the field of music. This announcement came on the heels of the premiere of his latest performance art piece, Surfacing, which Waller cheerfully described as falling into the "weirdo interdisciplinary" space between music and theater. Tonight Waller is performing a more-or-less straightforward musical concert, and he's enlisted some impressive guests: Menomena's Justin Harris and Danny Seim, Loch Lomond's Ritchie Young, and singer/songwriter Alina Hardin. Considering how emotive and ambitious Waller's music has consistently been—whether it's been within the trappings of a larger performance piece, or simply standing on its own—it's gratifying that the Portlander has been recognized on such a monumental level. Knowing Waller, the grant will undoubtedly result in the creation of more of his intriguing, enlivening musical art. NL

NINJA, KEY OF SOLOMON, CHILD CHILDREN
(Foggy Notion, 3416 N Lombard) While trolling around the St. Johns area one evening, an enthusiastic friend persuaded me to pop into a house show. I was in a pissy mood, not drunk enough, and dreading the idea of a bunch of obligatory clapping. I'd also recently had emergency diarrhea in a Wendy's bathroom and was terrified of a repeat performance among hipsters. However, Portland band Child Children absolutely came to my rescue by being totally awesome. This drums and guitar/voice two-piece is made up of Chad and Kelly Reno, who have a spontaneous instrumental chemistry that likely comes from being brothers. Their music is heavy rock with blues elements thrown in, effects pedals, and a ton of sexy stage presence and vocal charisma. By the end of a Child Children show, even the most jaded will not resist dancing. KATIE SHIMER

ADVENTURES! WITH MIGHT, POCKETKNIFE, DOUBLEPLUSGOOD
(Backspace, 115 NW 5th) Tonight, the dark synth wavers of Adventures! With Might, in addition to playing a set of their vaguely evil-sounding party pop, premiere the video for their excellent track "Real Portland." The handsome black-and-white clip has both the nightmarish quality and the silly sense of fun of a vintage horror flick. Shot on a Canon 7D camera, the video tells the story of a mad scientist who brings a Bride-of-Frankenstein-like character to life. According to the band, "It took about two months, $75, and a lot of will power and gumption to make. It looks pretty good." It does indeed, doing justice to a song that was a highlight of the band's self-titled debut. The "Real Portland" video premieres tonight, and its director Jessica Boudreaux's band Pocketknife performs on the bill as well. NL

TENDER LOVING EMPIRE HOLIDAY PARTY: ONUINU, DJ LIZ B, SEX LIFE DJS, DJ BREAKFAST MOUNTAIN
(Ella Street Social Club, 714 SW 20th Pl) This season, Portland's beloved DIY imprint Tender Loving Empire is throwing a holiday bash that absolutely requires you strap in tight to your dancing shoes and head into the dark night. While the bill consists mostly of DJ sets, at the helm of this show is cerebral local triphop act Onuinu (also known as one Dorian Duvall), and as of late, the songs emerging from the brain of Duvall have been nothing short of phenomenal. Packed with robust synths and perfectly syncopated handclaps, "Ice Palace" is a track in particular that beckons repeat plays until sufficient hypnotism is achieved; no matter how stiff this cold weather has made you, there is no way you can't succumb to this groove. And with whatever spirits it may take to help lubricate those rusty joints of yours—though presumably, the holiday spirit should be enough—it's best you get there. RAQUEL NASSER

SATURDAY 12/17

HOLIDAY SHOWDOWN: PORTLAND CELLO PROJECT, ISRAEL NEBEKER & RYAN DOBROWSKI, EMILY WELLS, THE ALIALUJAH CHOIR
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) See My, What a Busy Week!

ELIOT LIPP, B. BRAVO, BARISONE, LINCOLNUP, BEN TACTIC
(Rotture, 315 SE 3rd) Read our article on Eliot Lipp.

SPOOKIES, WOOLEN MEN, PAPER BRAIN
(The Know, 2026 NE Alberta) Portland's Spookies are far from spooky, but they do have a terrific just-released three-song demo that intersects garage rock, power pop, and early R&B. Obviously there's some familiarity in those descriptors, but this Portland quartet has the tunes, too. It shouldn't come as a surprise that the band is made up of former Shaky Hands members Mayhew Hoons and Colin Anderson, along with current Shaky Hand Alex Arrowsmith. The result is carefully crafted pop with loads of unwieldy vocals and fuzzy guitars, which are the best kind—10 times more fun than their other band. Haven't heard Spookies yet? That's likely to change in 2012. ML

SUNDAY 12/18

NATE WOOLEY, EVA AGUILA, JORDAN DYKSTRA, DAN SASAKI, JONATHAN SIELAFF
(Bamboo Grove, 134 SE Taylor) New York City trumpeter Nate Wooley was born right here in Oregon, in the timber town of Clatskanie. He's gone on to perform with John Zorn, Chris Corsano, and countless others, becoming one of the premier trumpet players in the avant-jazz scene. Wooley returns to his home state to offer some of the weirdness that he's become known for: quick shards of sound, confrontational un-music, boundary-ignoring percussive blasts, and—perhaps most strange of all—gorgeous, graceful, stately phrases. Tonight he performs both solo and alongside local musicians such as Golden Retriever bass clarinetist Jonathan Sielaff, Dash! violist Jordan Dykstra, electronics artist Eva Aguila of Kevin Shields (the band, not the dude), and former Jackie-O Motherfucker drummer Dan Sasaki. NL

MONDAY 12/19

PORTLAND METAL WINTER OLYMPICS: TAURUS, FOAL
(East End, 203 SE Grand) See My, What a Busy Week!

TUESDAY 12/20

WL, TOM BLOOD & JORDAN DYKSTRA, BIRD COSTUMES
(Valentine's, 232 SW Ankeny) See My, What a Busy Week!

THEMES, THE WE SHARED MILK, SIOUX FALLS
(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) Themes is a band that requires your attention. Though this hallowed musical synthesis between Kelsey Crawford (keys, vox) and Jacy McIntosh (guitar, vox) began in the Bay Area in 2005 and has since entertained multiple sojourns to Minneapolis, it seems the duo (joined by drummer Nick Dayka) has found a tidy home in our fair city, and graces us with their presence in between lengthy tours with nationally renowned acts. The self-described "fractured post rock" group's most recent album, The Phantom, was produced by Carcrashlander's Cory Gray and is nearly as daunting as their tendency for textual yelling; it's unspeakably dark, but in its eight-song duration, it manages to clear the brush from those slovenly places in your head to make way for more lucid thoughts before it swallows you whole. RN

WEDNESDAY 12/21

JEALOUS BUTCHER SHOWCASE: ERIC D. JOHNSON, LAURA GIBSON, DUOVER
(Valentine's, 232 SW Ankeny) See My, What a Busy Week!

SONS OF HUNS, MONGOLOID VILLAGE, THE AX
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Read our article on Sons of Huns.

CHRISTMAS AT THE BLACK LODGE: RACHAEL JENSEN & MATT CARLSON, CHARLIE SALAS & MARIUS LIBMAN & E*ROCK, SWAHILI, WHITE HINTERLAND, DJ CUICA, & MORE
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) David Lynch makes strange and beautiful images for eyes, plus strange and beautiful noises for ears (even hairy dismembered ears). Think of Julee Cruise singing on the red-curtained stage of Twin Peaks' Roadhouse. Composer Angelo Badalamenti's badass film scores. Dean Stockwell's "In Dreams" performance in Blue Velvet. Not to mention the absurdly frightening aural white noise of Eraserhead. Lynch paints with sound, and he might be even more skilled with this palette than with his visual aesthetic. So let's get dressed up in our finest Lynchian plaids and gather around the Yule Log Lady to celebrate Holocene's Christmas at the Black Lodge. Join Parenthetical Girls' Rachael Jensen and Golden Retriever's Matt Carlson as they perform your favorite Twin Peaks songs. And Charlie Salas, Marius Libman, and E*Rock will play a live score for Lynch's bizarre 1970 short film The Grandmother. Plus a host of locals performing Lynch tributes and some '50s platters by DJ Cuica. Hot damn, I bet there'll be pie. Aces! COURTNEY FERGUSON Also see My, What a Busy Week!

BLIND BOYS OF ALABAMA
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Several economic disasters ago, before D-Day, the moon landing, Vietnam, and the civil rights movement, the Blind Boys of Alabama began playing music with a single-minded purpose—spreading salvation via deep, spine-tickling harmonies. Formed as a gospel septet at the Alabama Institute for the Negro Blind in 1939, the Boys have had remarkable staying power, but museum relics they are not: They released their sixtysomethingth album (and first country album), Take the High Road, this year; they have earned six Grammy Awards, all in this century; they jumped on the bandwagon and released a Duets album with a lot of famous people. Accolades aside, non-aficionados of gospel know them best as the soulsters whose rendition of Tom Waits' "Way Down in the Hole" was used as the unforgettable first-season theme of The Wire. RW

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