Up & Coming 

Highlights in Music the Week of March 29-April 4

MEGAFAUN Doug Fir, 3/31

MEGAFAUN Doug Fir, 3/31

THURSDAY 3/29

YACHT, ONUINU, KEY LOSERS
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) See My, What a Busy Week!

LEIGH MARBLE, THE ASCETIC JUNKIES, KELLY ANNE MASIGAT
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Cancer is enough to throw a pall over any artistic endeavor, and in Leigh Marble's case, his girlfriend's breast nearly sent him into irredeemably dark depression. Marble found his way back—and married his girlfriend, who, thank goodness, went into remission—and the journey is documented on his powerful new record, Where the Knives Meet Between the Rows. Wielding far greater gravity than anything the local singer/songwriter (and fixture on the Portland music scene) has produced before, the new record has black funeral ballads, electrified folk blues, cautiously optimistic pop, and one scathing indictment of hipster culture in the form of "Holden." It's the one moment where Marble's angst is directed outward instead of inward, and it's the only part of Where the Knives that rings false. The rest is a bleak, morose—and, subsequently, gripping—listen that proves Marble is yet another songwriter on the local musical landscape that's worthy of more attention. NED LANNAMANN

JIM WHITE, BLIND BARTIMAEUS
(Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) Jim White was 40 years old in 1997 when he released his first album, Wrong-Eyed Jesus. At the time, teenaged me felt challenged and surprised to enjoy something that closely resembled (but still wasn't quite) country. Since then, White has continued to challenge both himself as a songwriter and me as a listener. His 2007 album, Transnormal Skiperoo, was a sunny chronicle of White's middle-aged contentment as a husband and a father. Where It Hits You, released last month, is the opposite—a heartbreak album recorded in the midst of his wife leaving him. Sadness is responsible for all the best music, and White's is no exception. Let's be clear: This is no therapy album; there is no wailing of either guitars or vocals. Jim White is above such gimmicks. His beautifully sorrowful songs, arranged with utmost sophistication and restraint, continue to unfold over the course of multiple listens. REBECCA WILSON

SUN ARAW BAND, ETERNAL TAPESTRY, MATTHEWDAVID, M. GEDDES GENGRAS, DIVA
(Rotture, 315 SE 3rd) A rare Portland appearance from Sun Araw should be enough to make the city's pointy-headed record nerds salivate over tonight's bill, as Sun Araw—the project of California's Cameron Stallones—makes truly trippy, mushroom-swallowing weirdness. Within a lengthy catalog of drones, bubbles, washes, twinkles, and lots of guitar-edelics, there's also a deconstructionist-pop mindset at work, as Stallones is not above mimicking TR-808 drumbeats or howling the lyrics of famous pop songs into his indecipherable strangeness. Portland's own Eternal Tapestry collaborated with Sun Araw on a split LP last year—Night Gallery, released by Thrill Jockey—so hopes are high for the two to share the stage for some improvised, lysergic, probably baffling wizardry. NL

SOULFLY, DIRTNAP, SEPARATION OF SANITY
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE 39th) Max Cavalera continues to fuse Brazilian tribalism with American thrash to great effect, and it's strange to think that the guitarist/vocalist has now been fronting his band Soulfly longer than he fronted thrash legends Sepultura. That'll make a metalhead feel old. Just don't tell that to Soulfly, which released its eighth LP Enslaved this month—it's heavier than anything the band has done in years (older + crankier = heavier?). As with Sepultura, Soulfly's lineup continues to change and revolve around one core member. But this is 2012, and kissing and making up for a moneymaking tour has become par for the course. I predict a full Sepultura reunion—demand or not—in the next year... and that includes you, too, Igor. MARK LORE

LOST CITY, UGLY FLOWERS
(Matador, 1967 W Burnside) Local band Lost City makes major-chord punk with touches of heartland rock: "American anthems for faded tattoos," as the band puts it. Their new self-titled EP burst forth from the speakers without any fancy tricks—just chiming guitars, high-gear drums, and matter-of-fact vocals that tell it like it is. This is a band that takes Springsteen's big-band arena anthems and distills them down to their pure, essential core. The result isn't going to redefine the airwaves or set the blogosphere on fire, but these songs—and their stories of shitty jobs, busted relationships, getting older, raising kids, and living a life, more or less, for rock 'n' roll—do something much more important: They tell the truth. NL

FRIDAY 3/30

THE LUMINEERS, SEAN SPELLMAN, MATT BISHOP
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Read our article on the Lumineers.

THE MENZINGERS, CHEAP GIRLS, THE SIDEKICKS, NINJAS WITH SYRINGES
(Backspace, 115 NW 5th) While he has a ton of shiny words at his disposal, Menzingers singer/guitarist Tom May's emotional lassitude is still best expressed in their latest record's unadorned opening line: "I've been having a horrible time/pulling myself together." Not only is On the Impossible Past the Menzingers' finest hour, it's a timeless, crowning achievement in a genre already full of those. It's a collection of songs that are so great they can be enjoyed on multiple levels—as brainless yell-alongs in a car full of friends, or as whimper-accompanying vignettes in the privacy of one's own room, with tear-stained lyric sheet in tow. And it's this ambivalence that's present in the best rock and roll. Also performing are the Sidekicks, whose latest album, Awkward Breeds, was Weezer's follow-up to Pinkerton in a superior alternate universe. MORGAN TROPER Also see My, What a Busy Week!

PETOSKEY, LITTLE TYBEE, RIVER WHYLESS
(Immortal Piano Company, 4011 SE Belmont) Petoskey's 2011 release Bombs Away has provided the nearest symbiosis of haunted fairy-tale folk and sweeping, epic Americana since, well, at least since I've been looking for that to be pulled off. Whether or not that was the intent is of little importance; the Portland ensemble has now amassed a loyal local following thanks to intimate live shows, semi-secret house recitals, and a whole lot of sultry talent. Vocalist Angie Kuzma's dainty, gramophone-jazz melodies soar effortlessly in and out of wonderfully composed opuses featuring cello, violin, flutes, xylophones, acoustic guitar, and more (band member numbers have hovered as high as nine in a live setting). That this performance will take place inside the plush, vintage confines of the Immortal Piano Company reinforces the band's grassroots agenda. Remember, if it looks expensive, it probably is. Save your money for Petoskey's album. RYAN J. PRADO

ELIGH, AMP LIVE, ONRY OZZBORN, ROB CASTRO, SERGE SEVERE
(Mt. Tabor Theater, 4811 SE Hawthorne) Los Angeles emcee/Living Legends crewmember Eligh and Amp Live, the producer half of Oakland's Zion I, released a fairly well-received album called Therapy at 3 in November 2011. Yes, it falls into that conscious "backpack" rap territory in a way that some might find outdated in 2012, but Amp Live's heavily electronic production makes it a more modernized take on the genre. Eligh's comfortably monotone flow still has mad substance to reward close listens, but he tends to disappear into the background at times. Still, dude's been rapping since the early '90s and knows how to rock a live show. MIKE RAMOS

SATURDAY 3/31

WILD ONES, PURE BATHING CULTURE, MY BODY
(Backspace, 115 NW 5th) See My, What a Busy Week!

MEGAFAUN, FIELD REPORT
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Now that Megafaun are safely out of the shadow of their more famous former bandmate and fellow Wisconsinite, they have finally stopped carrying a sonic chip on their shoulder. Last year's self-titled album, their fourth release in as many years, is all but free of the studied whimsy that characterized so many of the tracks on previous albums (the exception is the instrumental "Isadora," which sounds like the soundtrack for a movie set at a backwoods carnival). Brad Cook (bass, guitar), Phil Cook (keyboards), and Joe Westerlund (percussion) have made a laidback, tasteful album whose loveliness keeps on giving. This is surprising only because Megafaun is the most immediately accessible of their albums. Rather than relying solely on quirky instrumentation and spine-tingling harmonies, they have come to see the value in tightly crafted songs and unexpected melodies. Liberated from wackiness, Megafaun's sleepy, country atmospherics are comforting and generous. RW

RUBBLEBUCKET, JC BROOKS AND THE UPTOWN SOUND, SEX LIFE DJS
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) The days of massive bands are—for the most part—long dead. Long live the economical two-piece! Don't tell that to Rubblebucket, an indie funk band from Massachusetts that's eight members deep. A cursory listen might conjure up Phish-groomed kids in patchouli-scented frocks. There is an element of that, but Rubblebucket blends their mishmash of styles well. Horn stabs and ambient grooves are met with hooks and big choruses. Frontwoman Kalmia Traver fronts this motley crew, delivering otherworldly vocals over occasionally extended jams. World music for the American college set may sound miserable on paper, but I'm sure David Byrne has been called that once or twice. ML

DON AND THE QUIXOTES, THE PYNNACLES, THE LONESOME BILLIES
(Kenton Club, 2025 N Kilpatrick) Many bands these days employ the trappings of surf music to evoke a trendy, lackadaisical aesthetic, but Don and the Quixotes are one of the rare gems that actually walk the walk. Every song on the Portland group's debut album is soaked in vintage twang, from straightforward throwback instrumentals ("Orbiter") to numbers that curl at the edges with derisive rock and roll ("The Cactus"), and even one clever take on a classical song ("Surfer Elise"—get it?). The album sails on an undercurrent of literary references—especially that windmill wrangler of Spanish lore—on tongue-in-cheek opener "My Name Is Don!" and scintillating closer "Lore 'n' Legend." With a live show that promises polyester suits and a stellar lineup of likeminded local acts, Don and the Quixotes mean to get you drenched. MARANDA BISH

JOYCE MANOR
(Laughing Horse Books, 12 NE 10th) Late '90s pop-punk is without a doubt one of my generation's exhumed guilty pleasures, which in part explains anachronistic California band Joyce Manor's immense popularity. But it's ultimately their impeccable songwriting and hardcore succinctness (their self-titled LP is just under 20 minutes long) that draw the kiddies in and earn the band their distinction as awesome. Hooks and piquant teenage poetry abound in relatable summertime-all-the-time anthems "Famous Friend" and "Leather Jacket," and world-weary closing track "Constant Headache" is destined for classic status (practically every stanza is fodder for a self-flagellating Tumblr post/fanboy tattoo—what more could you want out of music like this?). The genre may have lost its steam and credibility sometime in the mid-'00s, no thanks to a bunch of commercialistic, ready-to-wear outfits who still play that thing called the Warped Tour, but mark my words: The real thing's back, with chutzpah. MT

SUNDAY 4/1

TELL MAMA: A TRIBUTE TO ETTA JAMES
(Alberta Rose Theatre, 3000 NE Alberta) See My, What a Busy Week!

SUPPORT FORCE, GRANDPARENTS, PIGEONS
(Rontoms, 600 E Burnside) Read our article on Support Force.

HOT SNAKES, CORIN TUCKER BAND, BANGS
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Hot Snakes last released an album in 2006, a year after they split up. It was the live Thunder Down Under, which followed on the toes of their Peel Sessions (among the last Peel Session ever recorded), in 2005—parting gifts for a passionately dedicated fanbase. The current Hot Snakes reunion is temporary, with the band as a sonic time capsule from the way you remember them seven years ago. This is by no means a criticism. Rick Froberg and John Reis are two of the great punk-rock singers precisely because they are so nonchalant in their aggression. These guys are abrasive, but they are too busy making music to be pissed. (They both have new bands and new albums.) But the best part of Hot Snakes live just might be drummer Jason Kourkounis, who provides the constantly shifting backdrop for the discordant guitars. RW Also read our article on Bangs.

MONDAY 4/2

DEFECT DEFECT, AUTISTIC YOUTH, ATROCITY EXHIBITION, WHALES, PALE HORSE
(Slabtown, 1033 NW 16th) See My, What a Busy Week!

JOHN K. SAMSON AND THE PROVINCIAL BAND, SHOTGUN JIMMIE
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Read our article on John K. Samson.

KATHLEEN EDWARDS, HANNAH GEORGAS
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) In 2003, I was driving to the record store for no particular reason while WFUV broadcast a live, on-air performance from some Canadian songwriter I'd never heard of. It was Kathleen Edwards, and when I arrived at the local Tower Records, I hopped out, bought Edwards' first CD Failer, got back in the car, and drove home. Everything about this story is hilariously dated now (Tower Records! CDs! Driving around for no reason at all!), but Edwards' music still has that same immediate effect on me. Her latest album Voyageur—the extra "u" is for "prodUced by her boyfriend Bon Iver"—adds a layer of lush sonics to her knife's-edge songwriting. If the tricked-out production mutes some of the piercing near-despair of her icy folk songs (I'd call Failer, for instance, "wrist-slittingly great"), it adds a layer of intrigue and beauty that's worth investigating over the course of multiple listens. NL

TUESDAY 4/3

THE CRIBS, HURRY UP, THE NEEDFUL LONGINGS
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) See My, What a Busy Week!

THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER, NILE, SKELETONWITCH, HOUR OF PENANCE
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE 39th) Dear Black Dahlia Murder, I'm writing this open letter because I'm curious to know who you think you are? The last time you were in town, Obscura and Augury were the opening acts, two bands who were—and are—superior to you in many ways. This time around, you are touring with Skeletonwitch and Nile as your support. I will ask again: Who do you think you are? While Skeletonwitch may be something of a peer, and yes, maybe they aren't as big with the 14-year-old suburban crowd as you seem to be, their blackened death thrash is far more creative and exciting then anything you're putting out. Then there's Nile. Fucking Nile?!! We're talking about one of America's finest death metal acts. Your music would be nowhere without their achievements in extreme metal. Nile opening for you is like KISS opening for Mötley Crüe, or Madonna warming up Lady Gaga's crowd. Sounds ridiculous, doesn't it? I don't know if this was your idea, or if some label big shots put you up to it, but whatever the case may be—for shame. ARIS WALES

WEDNESDAY 4/4

RODRIGO Y GABRIELA AND C.U.B.A.
(Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway) See My, What a Busy Week!

BOWERBIRDS, DRY THE RIVER
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) After a fair amount of emotional tumult and general uncertainty, Bowerbirds' Phil Moore and Beth Tacular have reconvened to build a formidable addition to their cabin in the Carolina woods. Where 2009's fantastic Upper Air fleshed out the spare, transcendentalist folk that the band enacted with 2007's Hymns for a Dark Horse, the recently released The Clearing takes that organic base—one laid evenly and with great care—and nurtures more exotic perennials within its soil. Moore and Tacular's typical commingling of voices, strings, and primitive beats is merged with tastefully synthesized sounds, and while the subject matter remains the same—seasons, love, meadowlarks, frost—their musical breadth has widened considerably. For those who have watched Bowerbirds grow over the years, this show is mandatory. For those who haven't, do yourself a favor: Start with this crown and work your way back to the foundation. You will not be disappointed. RAQUEL NASSER

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