Up & Coming 

Highlights in Music the Week of April 5-11

RADIATION CITY Rontoms, 4/8

RADIATION CITY Rontoms, 4/8

THURSDAY 4/5

VIVA VOCE, 1939 ENSEMBLE, BATTLEME
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) See My, What a Busy Week!

BRAINSTORM, TWIN STEPS, ONUINU
(Backspace, 115 NW 5th) Twin Steps' debut EP, Serial Parade, is a quirky little thing. The Oakland trio cleverly melds surf and doo-wop with punk-rock clamor and additional noise, including field recordings and occasional samples. The hooks will suck you in; the weirdo bells and whistles will keep you around. It's a very un-nuggety batch of nuggets, too, especially the six-minute (eternal by garage-rock standards) first single "Pinkie Promise," which incorporates an Etta James sample into the lo-fi mix. It's what I imagine the house band at a sock hop in hell would sound like. It's absolutely fun and completely deranged—just like we thought Frank Black was at one time. MARK LORE

SWERVEDRIVER, HAWKEYE
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) If I had it to do over again, I would have spent the early '90s listening to Swervedriver on my pink boombox instead of Wilson Phillips. Like other British rock bands of the day, Swervedriver played loud guitars with lots of distortion, but their muscular confidence set them so far ahead of their time that they gave it all up in 1998. They reformed a decade later on the heels of some reissues, but they haven't put out a new LP since last century. Though they've worn well, my current enjoyment of their earliest and best albums, Raise and Mezcal Head, is not entirely devoid of nostalgia. But what really sets Swervedriver apart from their milieu are lyrics centered on a cinematic ideal of America—Ford Mustangs, girls on motorcycles, driving off into the sunset. REBECCA WILSON

THE POLYPHONIC SPREE, NEW FUMES
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) They say everything is bigger in Texas. I'll buy that. Dallas' Polyphonic Spree is the musical equivalent of the 72-ounce steak at the Big Texan, although you're far less likely to stroke out from it. Miraculously, both are still around. The Spree typically boasts some two dozen members, although it's the sole brainchild of Tim DeLaughter. Of course, with a band this size, gigantic choruses are part of the package. The results are euphoric anthems that can bulldoze their way to the back of a packed arena (or the Wonder Ballroom). The Polyphonic Spree haven't released an album since 2007 (some new songs have recently appeared online), but I'm relatively sure their performance will be as spectacular and bizarre as I imagine Jesus Christ Superstar was in 1971. ML

FRIDAY 4/6

CULTS, SPECTRALS, MRS. MAGICIAN
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) See My, What a Busy Week!

BENEFIT FOR SEAN CROGHAN: THE DHARMA BUMS, THE NEEDFUL LONGINGS, UGLY FLOWERS, DJ HWY 7
(Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) See My, What a Busy Week!

CEREMONY, MILK MUSIC, SOCIETY NURSE, ARCTIC FLOWERS
(Branx, 320 SE 2nd) Read our article on Ceremony.

MIKE DOUGHTY
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) I can't say I was ever much of a Soul Coughing fan—their jazzy rap-rock feels very much like a '90s relic that never needs to be revisited. Subsequently, I have completely, purposefully overlooked the solo career of the band's former frontman, Mike Doughty. But The Book of Drugs, Doughty's spectacular new memoir, may lead me to rethink this approach. A whirlwind, flash-fiction-style account of his life, The Book of Drugs details Doughty's growing up at West Point military academy, attending a Northeast boho art school, achieving medium-sized rock stardom, bottoming out on drugs and booze, and subsequently finding new purpose in sobriety. If that sounds tritely familiar, Doughty's style and take on it is anything but. He's written a painful, funny, acidic memoir that leaves no one unscathed—particularly Doughty. He'll perform songs and read from the book tonight, followed by a Q&A, which will no doubt be caustically hilarious in Doughty's trademark style. NED LANNAMANN

TY CURTIS, BANK SINATRA, AMSTERDAM, LOAD B, PROPANE
(Ted's, 231 SW Ankeny) Don't Hassle Me, I'm Local is the debut solo recording from Salem emcee Bank Sinatra, AKA Middle. The title alludes to his early years as an Oahu native as well as time spent on the mainland as an independent artist in Oregon, including as one half of hiphop duo Top Shelf with Bend emcee Amsterdam. Sinatra's first solo mixtape, which benefits from mixing and recording by Portland producer Terminill, is an impressive debut. The format of the mixtape frees Sinatra to experiment with various types of production, as well as prove his lyrical skills by combining breezy melodic flows with double-time acrobatics and hype party bars, depending on what the track demands. Local blues musician Ty Curtis will also be on hand tonight, providing a hassle-proof cross-genre musical collaboration. RYAN FEIGH

fIREHOSE, TERA MELOS
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) An entire generation has been born and become jaded and annoyed at everything in the time since seminal punk/funk/free-jazz trio fIREHOSE decided to call it a day in 1994. Mined from the tragedy of a prematurely dissolved Minutemen in 1986 following guitarist D. Boon's death, fIREHOSE picked up that hugely inventive niche, releasing punk touchstones Ragin', Full On and Fromohio on the stalwart SST label, as well as the excellent major-label release Flyin' the Flannel. It's from the band's final three years on Columbia that a new anthology, lowFLOWS, has been assembled, chronicling the more exposed years of the trio, led at least in spirit by legendary bassist Mike Watt (Ed Crawford and George Hurley were equally important musically). This small reunion trek leads the group directly to the feeding trough of a ballyhooed Coachella set, where undoubtedly, as ever, a bunch of dicks will confuse them with Firehouse. RYAN J. PRADO

ADVENTURES CLOSE TO HOME: GRASS WIDOW, DEEP TIME, STLS, REYNOSA, LIKE A VILLAIN, SASSFEST
(Lewis & Clark College, 0615 SW Palatine Hill) You can't go wrong naming your festival after a Raincoats song, which is exactly what the organizers of the Adventures Close to Home festival have done. It's a benefit for the Rock 'n' Roll Camp for Girls that's taking place on the Lewis & Clark campus, although a quick drive and 10 bucks will get non-students in as well—and it's well worth it, with a solid lineup of women-oriented bands including Deep Time (formerly known as YellowFever) and the inestimable Grass Widow, who never fail to deliver a great show with tumbling beats, speedy riffs, and dreamlike vocals. It's all for a good cause, too, so here's to this year's inaugural show, and to many more Adventures Close to Home to come. NL

SATURDAY 4/7

SLEIGH BELLS, JAVELIN, ELITE GYMNASTICS
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) See My, What a Busy Week!

GATHERING OF THE GOOF PUNX
(Mississippi Pizza Pub, 3552 N Mississippi; Red and Black Café, 400 SE 12th; Backspace, 115 NW 5th) See My, What a Busy Week!

THE BARR BROTHERS, SEAN FLINN AND THE ROYAL WE
(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) Read our article on The Barr Brothers.

DON'T, SHUT YOUR ANIMAL MOUTH, THE SMALL ARMS
(The Know, 2026 NE Alberta) In the insular realm of garage-punk, the Small Arms aren't exactly expanding boundaries. But the Portland ensemble begins to pull away from the iron-gripped institutions of its peers in its loyalty to sophomoric rock 'n' roll abandon. From the first bluesy riffs of "I'm in Ninth Grade," the opening track from the group's new LP Get Big!, the Small Arms establish an irresistible pace of snotty lyrics and straightforward head-nodders, all backed by the overpowering honk of an ever-present saxophone. When Get Big! gets great is when the Small Arms allow their blues-punk crutch to fall away, embracing the brassy expanses to bolster their drive, as on "Daisy Space Alien." Really, this is a fun band any way you slice it, and this set at the Know will be an excellent opportunity to hear material from the new record. RJP

THE WEDDING PRESENT, PINKY PIGLETS
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) My best friend in college wanted to get married after he heard his first dose of jangly goodness from UK post-punkers the Wedding Present in those hazy, golden times of college radio. He didn't want to get married to me, mind you, but to the band. Frontman David Gedge inspires that kind of fervent devotion with his lovesick oeuvre, scathing breakup rants, and beautifully poppy guitar mash notes. For this show, along with jamming out new tunes from just-released album Valentina, the Wedding Present will be playing the entirety of their seminal wall of guitar, the excellent 1991 album Seamonsters. Wedding Present fans are a lovelorn lot, wearing bleeding hearts on flannel sleeves—but a riotous show by Gedge & Co. is a gift that just keeps on giving even two decades after love at first listen. COURTNEY FERGUSON

TIM SNIDER
(Plew's Brews, 8409 N Lombard) Tim Snider is not your average child prodigy-turned-genre-defying instrumentalist. He's a humble and ceaselessly evolving performer who channels popular vocal stylings alongside sophisticated musical techniques. The grandchild of a celebrated violinist, Snider took up the family tradition and tweaked it, making globe-spanning sounds that incorporate his classical chops as well as a multitude of life experiences—including teaching himself flamenco guitar in Spain—that add an existential element to his compositions. Although he played every instrument himself on his 2010 EP The Del Mar Sessions, Snider's live show with a band is something truly special—his songs sound best as expressed through creative collaboration, and that includes audience members as well. MARANDA BISH

SUNDAY 4/8

CHAIRLIFT, NITE JEWEL
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Read our article on Chairlift.

RADIATION CITY, LEGENDARY OAKS
(Rontoms, 600 E Burnside) Radiation City took the local scene by storm with the release of last year's The Hands That Take You, first issued on the band's Apes Tapes cassette label and then given national re-release by Tender Loving Empire. That was a splendid debut, to be sure, but Rad City's new EP Cool Nightmare is even better, clearly showing that this is a band that knows how to make fantastically inventive music on a grand scale. Warbled musical themes wind their way in and out of each song, blending pop, Latin, exotica, soul, orchestral ornamentation, stunning harmony singing, and more—it's a sterling achievement from a band that's fearsomely capable of everything they've put their mind to. Cool Nightmare is unquestionably one of the year's best releases. NL

HEARTLESS BASTARDS, DAVID VANDERVELDE, BRIAN LOPEZ
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) On Valentine's Day, Heartless Bastards debuted their fourth album, Arrow, and a whole new sound. Gone are the pedal steel, banjo, and fiddle that were so central to 2009's The Mountain. In their place is solid, straightforward rock 'n' roll that gives equal sonic space to Erika Wennerstrom's astonishing vocals as it does to the guitars, drums, and bass. The stripped-down aesthetic is partially the responsibility of producer Jim Eno, AKA Spoon's drummer. Folk music only makes a brief cameo on "Low Low Low" (which sounds nothing like Flo Rida), just before the last and most rocking song on the album, "Down in the Canyon." Arrow is deliberately paced, unaffected, and yes, mature sounding. Here's hoping that this latest phase sticks for the long haul. RW

DATURA BLUES, WAH WAH EXIT WOUND, RLLRBLL
(Valentine's, 232 SW Ankeny) If you're a musician, it's hard to hate a band like Wah Wah Exit Wound... but sometimes you just have to. They're too damn good at their instruments! It's not fair! This power trio from Seattle plays the most puzzling of prog rock as effortlessly as you puts a beer to your lips while lounging in your favorite chair on your day off. Even calling their music prog rock is just hiding it under a convenient umbrella. What's actually underneath is an unchartable amount of influences probably ranging from Immortal to Weather Report, all of which they somehow incorporate into each and every song. Tastefully. Wah Wah Exit Wound's music is so intricate and rhythmically nuanced it could give Rick Wakeman, or even Mozart, an inferiority complex. All right, maybe envy is a better word than hate. ARIS WALES

MONDAY 4/9

JAMES, THOMAS DOLBY, ELIZAVETA
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) See My, What a Busy Week!

GOTYE, KIMBRA
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) Read our article on Gotye.

HANNI EL KHATIB, TIJUANA PANTHERS, SUNDELLES
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Just about every piece you read about doo-wop/garage/punk alchemist Hanni el Khatib mentions that he's a skater. (Fuck! Now this one does, too.) But all you really need to know is that dude has a honeyed voice that he can transform into a swarm of bees from one song to the next, and that—from last year's Will the Guns Come Out, a record full of great tracks—"Build. Destroy. Rebuild." is so electrifying, it'd work just as well on the worst day of your life as on the best. Turn it up loud and rebuild that shit. GRANT BRISSEY

TUESDAY 4/10

Very special birthday wishes to Mandy Moore. It's YOUR day, girl.

WEDNESDAY 4/11

HOUNDSTOOTH, WOODEN INDIAN BURIAL GROUND, PIGEONS
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) See My, What a Busy Week!

ANDREW BIRD, LAURA MARLING
(Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway) It's become standard to refer to highly literate songwriters as "confessional." On Break It Yourself, Andrew Bird's sixth studio album, out last month, he shows once again that his real aptitude is for observation. As gifted as he is as a composer, it's his incisive interpretations of the world—the massive die-off of bees, the way we outsource our memories to media—that keep me coming back. The best song, "Lusitania," is a duet with St. Vincent about tragedies that are no longer within the scope of living memory. Lyrically and musically, there is always something new to hear. As a classically trained composer, Bird draws on many tricks in his bag, which could be why the album feels more curated than conceived as a whole. Break It Yourself contains snippets of doo-wop, a smatter of Afro-Caribbean, his signature violin, and of course, the whistling. RW

MAGIC MOUTH, STAY CALM, ROY G BIV
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Full disclosure: There is video online in which I (very sloppily) sing "Bad Romance" along with an early incarnation of Magic Mouth at a birthday party. The fearless, fun-loving spirit of the initial duo—drummer Ana Rodriguez and Peter Condra on guitar and vocals—has since evolved into a powerful quartet that threatens to match the get-down soul power of any band in this city. Brendan Scott's bass undertones and Stephfon Bartee's jaw-dropping vocals and percussion add to the band's amalgam of influences, including Latin rhythms and the holy tones of spirituals, in what the band describes as "post funk"—music that is heady, sexy, eerie, and highly danceable. Tonight marks the release of their debut EP, surely to be celebrated with style. MB

MIIKE SNOW, PENGUIN PRISON
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) Penguin Prison is the one-man show of Chris Glover, who's toiled in the New York scene for the past decade, from boy bands to punk bands and even a hiphop group that is said to have caught the ears of Q-Tip. Given that pedigree, Penguin Prison is exactly what you might imagine—upbeat synth-pop with Studio 54 sass and b-boy posturing. It's perfectly encapsulated in the tongue-in-cheek "Don't Fuck with My Money." There's no telling how Glover's catchy-as-hell, hard-to-take-seriously jams will translate live—then again, I imagine most people will be at this show to hear the much-ballyhooed Miike Snow. In that case Penguin Prison will be a very pleasant surprise. ML

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