SNEAKER EXPO: SIR MICHAEL ROCKS, LOGICS, JAY KIN, BLAZE, ILLA
(Peter's Room at the Roseland, 8 NW 6th) See My, What a Busy Week!.
THE LOWER 48, FUTURE HISTORIANS, GREAT WILDERNESS
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Choosing to omit Alaska and Hawaii from their band name, the Lower 48 is a burgeoning folk band that's bound to draw showgoers in close and tight. Hailing originally from Minnesota, they've carved out a formidable home in our fair city, and have hit the ground running. Their excellent debut full-length, Where All Maps End, was released this month with the help of a summer Kickstarter campaign, and is one for lounging near your closest heat source (an electric stove with fanned silk flames will do). As various stringed instruments make their strummed entrance, Ben Praden and Sarah Parson seize the vocals (often simultaneously, always beautifully), while songs like "Come Awake" and "I'm on My Way (Almost)" roll in as standout numbers, swelling to levels of contagious exuberance, kept in time by a rhythm section that follows along with that mighty metronome in our chests. RAQUEL NASSER Also see My, What a Busy Week!.
DUO DENIM, REVA DEVITO, LUCK-ONE
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Duo Denim, the instrumental collaboration of Ben Darwish on keyboards and Drew Shoals on drums, is celebrating the release of their debut EP Heat Rocks (Vol. 1) tonight, featuring their unique amalgamation of jazz, hiphop, and indie rock. Their distinct sound is the type that sends music scribes scrambling for their thesauri; think Nice Nice meets the Roots, technically proficient enough to impress music-theory snobs while grounded in a head-nod street aesthetic, evidenced in tracks like "Purple Drank," "Don't Say Namaste," and "Spud Webb." Add the sultry soul of Reva DeVito and the profoundly punishing hiphop of Luck-One, arguably the best emcee in the region right now, and you've got yourself an evening of fire in your face. RYAN FEIGH
DUOVER, MIKE COYKENDALL, HIGHWAY
(Kelly's Olympian, 426 SW Washington) So, did you have the most festive, happy, gift-laden holiday of all time? Yeah, me neither. Good news, though: I was finally able—after years of half-hearted searching—to find the perfect soundtrack for a secular day off. Duover's second album, Christmas Volume 1, is, like many Christmas albums, very pretty. But unlike most of them, it confronts the more realistic aspects of December 25: feeling super lonely, never-ending football games, fruitcake, and skeezy dudes who see mistletoe as a free pass to violate boundaries. Don't get me wrong—this album isn't a downer. Nathan Junior and Rebecca Rasmussen's lyrics are too witty, and their laidback pop is too charming, to cause a relapse of holiday blues. The best part? There are no secret religious messages. Mike Coykendall and Highway will help to further mitigate the festivities with their respective brands of psychedelic country music. REBECCA WILSON
GIRL TROUBLE: DJ NEW MOON PONCHO, DJ LINOLEUM, DJ CUICA, DJ WOMB SERVICE, DJ TROUBLED YOUTH, DJ DOUG FERIOUS
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) See My, What a Busy Week!.
PURPLE & GREEN, ARTIFICE, DJ CHAZZ MADRIGAL
(Dig a Pony, 736 SE Grand) The folks from Dirty Mittens know how to soften the blow of bad news. When they announced their breakup earlier this month, it came with the silverest of linings: It turns out that Chelsea Morrisey, Ryan Hanzlik, Noah Jay-Bonn, Patrick Griffin, and Josh Hawley will still be making music together, only under a different name. Thus, Artifice has been born, and tonight's New Year's Eve party—with Purple & Green headlining—is their live debut. With the Mittens' pedigree, there's little doubt that their knack for tunefulness will be in evidence, but it sounds like Artifice are mining a darker, more electronic vibe than the pure-hearted pop of Dirty Mittens. Expect heavy drums, buckets of synths, and plenty of tastefully black-mooded angst. NED LANNAMANN
ADDISON GROOVE, STARSLINGER, SEPALCURE, MACHINEDRUM, TYLER TASTEMAKER, NATASHA KMETO, & MORE
(Rotture, 315 SE 3rd) It's tough to single out just a few highlights of the NYE showcase that's taking up both floors at Rotture and Branx. The dub-heavy lineup includes Machinedrum (Travis Stewart) and Sepalcure, Stewart's collaboration with Praveen Sharma. Both projects are washed in the deep, underwater echoes of dub. While Machinedrum zeroes in on manic, skittering beats you'd expect out of a Planet Mu artist, Sepalcure leans more toward a sexy, pent-up version of the UK funky vibe associated with their label, Hotflush Recordings. Support from locals like Natasha Kmeto and Brownbear show that Portland's talent for innovative electronic music is right on par with the international headliners. And speaking of headliners, Addison Groove has this one track called "This Is It" that is exactly the kind of energetic, booty-shakin' thing you'd want to hear at the most epic moment of the most epic party night of the year. AVA HEGEDUS
URAL THOMAS AND HIS BAND
(Radio Room, 1101 NE Alberta) Of all the local legends that you need to know, Ural Thomas is at the very tip-top of that list. Coming up in the fertile Seattle soul scene of the '60s, Thomas has shared bills with James Brown, Stevie Wonder, and Otis Redding, and he's been doing informal shows out of his own house—which he built, and rebuilt, himself—right here in Portland for 40 years. The man is the real deal from the heyday of '60s soul and '70s funk, and he's still holding it down. Catching his New Year's Eve set at the Radio Room will be the most surefire way to kick off 2012 with legitimate, down-home funk. NL
RED FANG, RABBITS, LORD DYING
(Star Theater, 13 NW 6th) For a band whose recordings were few and far between up until the release of their debut full-length, Lower Forms, on Relapse in 2011, it's great to see Rabbits already wielding a new 7-inch just in time for the New Year. The crust-hardcore-punk-metal-stoner-whatever band has also given it a title that is itself a thing of magnificence: "Riff Fuck Reap." The A-side contains all the face-melty riffage and berserkoid screaming we've come to expect from the Portland trio, while the B-side has three quick, over-in-a-flash covers of songs by Cro-Mags, Rudimentary Peni, and hometown heroes Poison Idea. It's like a mini-history lesson on how one of Portland's most enjoyably brutal bands got to sound so awesomely fucked. Local label Powerblaster Records is releasing the 7-inch at tonight's New Year's Eve blowout with Red Fang and Lord Dying, which also doubles as Sizzle Pie's one-year anniversary. NL Also, see our guide to New Year's Eve.
Ow, ow, ow, ow, OW, ow, owwww.
KARAOKE FROM HELL
(Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) See My, What a Busy Week!, pg. 13.
FIN DE CINEMA: TYPHOON, TU FAWNING, BRAINSTORM
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) See My, What a Busy Week!.
ALTO, THE EARLY, RYAN A. MILLER, LOG ACROSS THE WASHER
(Ella Street Social Club, 714 SW 20th Pl) For explorations of pure tone, there's no better option tonight than this quadruple bill, which slices through the rich terrain of Portland's music scene and comes up with unconventionally pleasing sounds. The Early (whose guitarist Alex Lewis—full disclosure—is a contributor to End Hits, the Mercury's music blog) makes languid, almost pastoral instrumental music that's evocative of time-faded photos and gentle beams of sunlight peeking through autumnal mornings. They're working on a new cassette that will come out at some point in 2012. Meanwhile, Alto's wordless music is of a slightly more aggravated variety, featuring the jagged, wiggling guitar of Derek Monypeny hashing it out with two dueling drummers. Guitarist Ryan A. Miller spins richly ornamented tangles of acoustic finger-plucking as well as disconcerting, mathy bits of electric squalor, sometimes within the same composition. And Log Across the Washer, the project of former And And And-er Tyler Keene, makes captivating, dense, brainy pop songs that don't sound quite like anything you've heard before. NL