YOUTHBITCH, DISKORDS, BOOM
(Star Bar, 639 SE Morrison) Punked-up greaser fetishists Youthbitch are readying their pomade and switchblades for a spazzed-out take on power-poppy Brit-punk à la the Buzzcocks and the Clash that's unlike anything Portland has seen since our beloved Exploding Hearts. Tonight the band is celebrating the official release of their future-classic album YouthbitchYouthbitchYouthbitchYouthbitchYouthbitch on cassette for local pot-punk playboys Gnar Tapes, and you better believe the boys are gonna be revved up to give you one hell of a show tonight. Sure, they're rakishly charming, and the songs stick in your ears for days, but expect the unexpected—there's a good-natured wild streak underpinning the tunes and personalities that make up Youthbitch, one that's bound to stir up the unpredictable, and the fun, wherever they go. CHRIS CANTINO
ZODIAC DEATH VALLEY, WHITE FANG,
NOT RIGHT NOW
(Kenton Club, 2025 N Kilpatrick) "Jail," from Zodiac Death Valley's debut LP, is a dark and druggy blues number loaded with whacked-out guitars, throbbing organ, and vocals so full of swagger, you might think singer Nic Abodeely came from the loins of Jim Morrison. That is to say, this San Francisco five-piece is rock and roll. Or as they put it: "The loudest folk band in the world." The new record is certainly a mesmerizing listen (not at all folky), filled with strange twists and turns that lead you far from your comfort zone and toward that dark place you feared as a child but can't get enough of as a thinking adult. MARK LORE
CHARTS, MY LIFE AS A DOG, UGLY FLOWERS
(Ella Street Social Club, 714 SW 20th Pl) Charts are the most unassuming pop/rock band in Portland. There, I said it. They manage to supernaturally channel a variety of British Invasion forebears without sounding (or appearing) oppressively retro. They're lush without employing any orchestral ruses. So how do these guys pull off the preposterous? It's all about the songs, which the members of Charts are particularly adroit at crafting. Catchy-as-all-heck standout "Sad Thing" off their debut EP, Birds and Bees, is one of the most elegant pop songs I've heard in a hot minute, and it begs comparison with the Troggs or even "Do Wah Diddy Diddy"-era Manfred Mann. And fitting closer "End of Time" would be the perfect soundtrack to a wholesome last dance if it weren't for that raucous last minute. Surely nobody could have gotten away with that in the early '60s. MORGAN TROPER
LEWI LONGMIRE BAND, MERIDIAN
(LaurelThirst Public House, 2958 NE Glisan) In 2007, Jackstraw guitarist Darrin Craig was recuperating from an injury, and began writing the songs that eventually led to The Great Escape, the debut album from Meridian. With a lineup that now includes Lewi Longmire, Chris Beck, Celilo's Sloan Martin, and Woodbrain's David Lipkind, Meridian shies away from the plucky bluegrass of Craig's other outfit. Rather, Meridian proudly flaunts booze-soaked country balladry in all its glory—downbeat tunes that wallow in the depths of bummerdom, given heart-aching credence by Craig's ragged voice. If you've ever found solace in the dejected twang of a country lament, you know what a beautiful thing it can be—and Meridian's excellent The Great Escape offers plenty of the good kind of hurt. NED LANNAMANN
SUPERFRESH: WAMPIRE, STRATEGY, TRUCKASAURUS, JONNYX AND THE GROADIES, LITANIC MASK, VICE DEVICE, LIGHT HOUSE, DJ MAXX BASS
(Branx, 320 SE 2nd) When people talk about Superfresh, Portland's best all-ages dance night ever, they talk a lot about, well, dancing. No surprise there. Portland's dance scene has historically been on the receiving end of a lot of hype, especially this year, and the lineup for these fests has been stacked with so much on-radar talent that it's obvious how Superfresh earned its reputation as such a banger. But what people don't always talk about is how left-field some of curator Manny Reyes' selections are. Acts like Light House, $kull$, Toning, Litanic Mask, Vice Device—all amazing experimental shit that you can probably get down to, but the kind of stuff you don't have to hit the dance floor to enjoy. And if you're anything like me, meaning you don't usually venture further into dancing than shaking your hair and occasionally tilting your knees, you're probably okay with that. But if there was ever a time to let your guard down and blow everyone away with your unfulfilled dance-floor potential, this would be it. Superfresh: for wallflowers and dancers alike. CC Also see My, What a Busy Week!
THE BUILDERS AND THE BUTCHERS,
QUIET LIFE, TURBO PERFECTO
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE 39th) Tonight marks a new era for the Hawthorne Theatre. The Southeast club has always been something of a mixed blessing on Portland's live music scene, ever since it took over the generous room that used to be Conan's Pub. The all-ages venue was a boon to underage showgoers, hosting the kind of punk-pop and metal shows that often couldn't be found elsewhere in town. But seeing a show there also held its own frustrations—like the barricade that bisected the front of the room from the back, the sickeningly green proscenium arch, the thuddy sound, the tiny bathrooms. Mike Thrasher, one of the most prolific and consistent promoters in Portland, bought out his co-owner and now solely runs the space, which has undergone renovations and significant improvements in lighting and sound. Holding down the grand reopening tonight are the Builders and the Butchers, who've gone from busking on the street to headlining big rooms, and will no doubt ring in the refurbished space with an abundance of energy. NL
THE SEXBOTS, DROPA, STEREOVISION
(Backspace, 115 NW 5th) Micah Tamblyn is the main man behind Dropa, which releases its second album, Glass House, tonight. An impressive self-recorded and released effort, Glass House is a big, broad, stadium-sized record colored with dark synths, moody melodies, and gigantic drums from Matthew Higgins. There's a blackly glammy sound running through Dropa's electrorock, which finds direct inspiration in the early '80s English sounds of Factory Records, Depeche Mode, and Soft Cell—although warmer moments abound on Glass House as well, as on the acoustic strums that bed "Release" and the layered backing vocals on the dreamily stargazing "Feeling Hope." Still, Dropa are capable of achieving a massive scope with their music, and allowing the melodies to shine through all the flashy production trappings—plus, if you've been jonesing for some gated reverb, now you know where to turn. NL
IN THE COOKY JAR: DJ COOKY PARKER,
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) The roving dance party begins tonight: DJ Cooky Parker used to hold down first Fridays at the Woods with his soul dance night, which quickly became an institution. Now that the Woods has gone off to that great showspace in the sky, Cooky is "dating" various rooms around town, bringing In the Cooky Jar to a different spot each month. Tonight it's at the Doug Fir with guest DJ Beyonda. Future months will see Cooky bringing his collection of 45s to places like the Spare Room, the Eagles Lodge, the Star Theater, and the new Garageland space next to East End. NL
SLABTOWN BENDER: WRECKLESS ERIC, HEAD, CHUCK CHUCK AND THE CHUCKLEBERRIES, GUANTANAMO BAYWATCH, & MORE
(Slabtown, 1033 NW 16th) Wreckless Eric's been around since, oh what, something like 1800s England, where he wrote one of the best punk singles of all of time, "(I'd Go the) Whole Wide World"—a perfect and perfectly simple song often taught by guitar teachers because it only has two chords. "Whole Wide World"—which has been covered by Elvis Costello, the Monkees, and Paul Westerberg—was first released on legendary UK punk/new-wave label Stiff. But don't go to the Slabtown Bender tonight and be a total asshole, fawning only for this single. Wreckless Eric is now more like Wreckless and Amy—a sweet garage pop two-piece made up of Eric and his wife, NYC songbird Amy Rigby. KELLY O Also see My, What a Busy Week!
THEE SILVER MT. ZION MEMORIAL ORCHESTRA, TOTAL LIFE
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Led by Godspeed You! Black Emperor's Efrim Menuck, Montreal's Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra (SMZ, henceforth) make grandiose rock that's as long-winded as their name. Unlike the mostly instrumental GY!BE, SMZ feature Menuck's ungainly singing voice; like GY!BE, SMZ launch epic chamber-rock compositions that drift, swell, and sometimes explode—all very methodically. This is music for people with long attention spans and appreciation for subtle emotional gradients—especially those in the key of somber. The tension between "ponderousness" and "dramatic" is ever present, if you like that kind of thing. DAVE SEGAL
SLABTOWN BENDER: KID CONGO POWERS AND THE PINK MONKEY BIRDS, DON'T, PROBLEMS, CYCLOPS, BLOOD BEACH, & MORE
(Slabtown, 1033 NW 16th) Brian Tristan, AKA Kid Congo Powers, came up in the LA punk scene during the late '70s and '80s. Though he started small, running a fan club for the Ramones and a zine for the Screamers, he ended up playing in seminal bands like the Gun Club, the Cramps, and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Now with his own band the Pink Monkey Birds, Kid Congo Powers blends his West Coast punk roots with doses of grooving '60s Chicano rock and garage psychedelia to superb effect. Both 2009's Dracula Boots and last year's Gorilla Rose show that the Kid has aged gracefully, still capable of kicking out the kind of jams that should have plenty of feet moving at the grand finale of this year's Slabtown Bender. MIKE RAMOS Also see My, What a Busy Week!
STILL CAVES, ZODIAC DEATH VALLEY,
(Ella Street Social Club, 714 SW 20th Pl) Still Caves' sound is defined by memorable melodies that shine through walls of reverb-drenched vocals and fuzzed-out guitars. The almost inaudible vocals are tastefully pulled back in the mix to add to the ethereal psychedelic effect of the band's music. Driving drums and bass lay out the perfect backdrop for the wall of sound that they provide in their live shows and recordings. Still Caves are a definite up-and-coming band to keep an eye on for all fans of experimental garage rock and psych-pop. ARIAN JALALI Also see Thursday's listing.
TWIN SISTER, AVA LUNA,
PURE BATHING CULTURE
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Whether you happen to be reclining in a lounge chair with a white wine spritzer or swaggering across a dance floor in your best spandex, Twin Sister have you covered. It's surprising that this chilled-out quintet is from Long Island, sounding as it does like British dream popsters who secretly yearn for disco. On last year's In Heaven, their one and only LP, the vibe centers on layers of shimmery guitars overlaying laidback drums, both real and synth. But the key here is vocalist Andrea Estella, who couldn't sound less like a Long Islander. In general, she heroically avoids the temptation to ape the aching fragility of trip-hop chanteuses like Beth Gibbons, which would be a natural fit for Twin Sister's music. Instead, she consistently delivers vocal confidence, even when singing about the vulnerability of twentysomethings making their way in the world. REBECCA WILSON
SECRET CHIEFS 3 VS. DENGUE FEVER
(Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) Tonight, LA's Dengue Fever and SF's Secret Chiefs 3 combine forces to... well, it's tough to predict. The former filter sublimely kitsch Cambodian folk into their tuneful psych pop while the latter—who often feature Seattle avant-garde musicians like Eyvind Kang and Dave Abramson in their lineup—meld sonic elements from Arabic, Persian, and Indian cultures, plus those from metal, Morricone's soundtracks, and electronica into mind-boggling fusions of aural mystique. Whatever the case, this match-up should spark fascinating world-music mutations. DS
ELEANOR FRIEDBERGER, DOMINANT LEGS
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) It's been almost nine years since the Fiery Furnaces made their debut with Gallowsbird's Bark. It was like nothing I'd ever heard before, but Eleanor Friedberger's vocal antics necessitated a certain being-in-the-mood. On her first solo album, Last Summer, released, er, last summer, Friedberger has made a graceful transition from tastemaker to tasteful. Now that she doesn't have anything to prove, her vocal style has become warm and inviting, striking an emotional chord that the Furnaces, with their arm's-length stylistics, never did. Will the songwriting blow your mind? Nope—but Friedberger's voice and lyrics probably will. The songs sound wise and familiar, not forced, and keep the attention focused on her rich alto voice and the important stories that she's trying to tell us, albeit in an impressionistic code. RW Also see My, What a Busy Week!
EVENT 2: CLAUDIA MEZA, SHANNON STEELE, RICHARD LAWS, CHRIS CANTINO, DORIAN DUVALL, BOOTH WILSON,
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) The first Event, curated by Devin Gallagher of High Scores and Records and Typhoon, was a mysterious evening of adventurous music, spontaneous collaboration, and decidedly un-jammy improvisation. Expect the same from Gallagher's second installment of Event, which features six talented and idiosyncratic local musicians pairing off with another to make unrehearsed sounds. There'll be moments of weirdness, moments of wonder, and moments of decided discomfort—but that's a happy price to pay for the thrill of hunting down the spark of creativity, which will also be in full evidence throughout the evening. NL
WILCO, WHITE DENIM
(Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway) Jeff Tweedy's ability to write a song that so perfectly captures the bajllion kinds of sadness one person can feel in a lifetime is both rare and annoying. Have a depressingly unrequited crush on someone? "We're Just Friends." In love with a fucked-up person who's carrying a lot of baggage? "Reservations." Have baggage of your own? "Please Be Patient with Me." Wilco's sad songs are so great at being sad songs, in fact, it causes me to completely disregard what they're even better at, which is writing sunny, Americana-laced pop songs like "Heavy Metal Drummer" and "I'm the Man Who Loves You." They're really good songs! I want to listen to them over and over again! But if Wilco's bummer ballads make it feel so good to be sad, why would you ever want to cheer up? MEGAN SELING