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This Week's Music Previews

LIGHT ASYLUM Rotture, 5/12

LIGHT ASYLUM Rotture, 5/12

THURSDAY 5/10

ALLO DARLIN', THE WAVE PICTURES, ADVENTURE GALLEY
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) See My, What a Busy Week!, and read our article on the Wave Pictures.

THE WEEKND
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) Read our article on the Weekend.

CRITICAL HIT, YEAH GREAT FINE, DECADES, GALLONS
(Backspace, 115 NW 5th) The first time I saw Yeah Great Fine play, the band soundchecked with the first 20 seconds of the "Green Hill Zone" theme from Sonic the Hedgehog, and not at all in a kitschy way. I know from personal experience how sizable an undertaking learning how to play videogame music on a musical instrument is, and their note-for-note mastery of the 16-bit hit is testament to their technical virtuosity and dweeb roots. Yeah Great Fine make math rock loose, quirky, and relatable, which is a remarkable achievement considering how much of the genre is purely emotionless masturbation. MORGAN TROPER

BLACK ELK, DOG SHREDDER, WHITE ORANGE, NORSKA
(Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) It's in the life of all bands to end, but when a group parts ways only to come back together with more drive than ever, one stands to witness the crossing of a particularly powerful threshold. After a two-year hiatus due to creative difference and physical distance, Black Elk returned from the abyss armed with a re-dedication to their craft of creating spellbinding, convention-defying, post-punk music. All but one of the band's original members reunited this past winter, reapproaching their seminal work with fierceness while forging forward into new territory. Onstage at Branx in January, the band pummeled the audience with their characteristic primal energy and mesmerizing sonic pressure, while legendary vocalist Tom Glose sashayed, growled, and taunted the crowd as only a holy fool of hard rock can do. MARANDA BISH

THE DRUMS, CRAFT SPELLS, PART TIME
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Not to put too fine a point on it, but Craft Spells represent a lot of what's "meh" about modern indie-pop music. Lackluster bored-guy vocals shrug over middling, milquetoasty guitar and synth that coagulate into vaguely melancholy melodies that leave only the faintest of impressions, and beats that prompt mild toe tapping. Craft Spells' Idle Labor and Gallery sound like fucking Naked Eyes outtakes. Move along, nothing to feel here. The Drums are yet another New Order/Smiths/Blancmange-humping Brooklyn band who exist solely to be heard at chic clothing shops frequented by twentysomething h*pst*rs. San Francisco's Part Time (David Speck) stands as the most interesting performer on the bill, by dint of sounding like a less quirky, more synth-oriented Ariel Pink. DAVE SEGAL

FRIDAY 5/11

DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE WITH THE MAGIK*MAGIK ORCHESTRA, YOUTH LAGOON
(Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway) See My, What a Busy Week!

ORIGIN, CATTLE DECAPITATION, DECREPIT BIRTH, ABORTED, RINGS OF SATURN, BATTLECROSS, LOCULUS
(Branx, 320 SE 2nd) Read our article on Cattle Decapitation.

ALCOHOLIC FAITH MISSION, YOU WON'T
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) On its face, the lively, literate and springy coffeeshop folk of Josh Arnoudse, singer of Boston's You Won't, would be worthwhile on its own. Existential musings and anti-consumer messages couple with stirring, unshakeable melodies. But then comes the rub—You Won't mash these lovely strummers with abrupt, cascading syncopation, startling shifts in tempo, and sudden, swirling instrumentation. Think the Tallest Man on Earth doing the verse and Dirty Projectors crashing in for the chorus. Of course, You Won't are a less precise, more shambolic, clattering outfit, but these characteristics underscore the impermanence they sing about. Indeed, there's not much out there like it. And while they may be buried on this particular bill, it's hard to imagine they will be for long. Hot damn, something good came out of Boston. Who knew? ANDREW R TONRY

LAZERCROTCH, SIMPLE, DOS.PUTIN, MICHAEL BRUCE, GULLS, CUTTER FILTOFF
(Record Room, 8 NE Killingsworth) The stripped-down analog sound known as skweee is still finding its footing. Conveniently for the young genre, dubstep continues to spiral into an ever more ridiculous and chaotic circus, which leaves a nice little vacuum for something with a lot more breathing room. The current climate is not unlike what was going on in the early 2000s, when backlash against raging techno made way for minimal to fully revolutionize the electronic music scene. Should a similar scenario play out with skweee, we would be the first to know—there's a healthy interest in the genre here in Portland. Local producer Lazercrotch (John Murphy) runs a skweee label in town and is playing a record release show tonight as part of Portland's own (and the country's only) skweee monthly, Ausland Schläge. Apparently interest in the small genre is growing, as the lineup also features Simple from Detroit and DOS.putin from San Francisco. AVA HEGEDUS

PIGEON JOHN, TANYA MORGAN, PLAYDOUGH, COOKBOOK, THE MIGHTY MISC
(Someday Lounge, 125 NW 5th) It's telling that Cali emcee Pigeon John is a veteran of the legendary LA venue the Good Life Café, where the early '90s found him crafting his unique style alongside then-up-and-coming acts the Pharcyde, Jurassic 5, and Abstract Rude. The track "So Gangster," off Pigeon John's 2010 album Dragon Slayer, features the hook "I feel so damn gangster," a claim he proceeds to back up with tales of watching a little squirrel, banging Depeche Mode, and smashing fools in Super Mario. Tanya Morgan is an equally inventive, deceptively named hiphop duo featuring Cincinnati rapper Donwill alongside Brooklyn emcee/producer Von Pea. Original member Ilyas left the group in 2011, but the core unit's most recent EP, You and What Army, is proof that their distinct brand of funky production and playful lyricism remains intact. RYAN FEIGH

SATURDAY 5/12

ST. JOHNS BIZARRE: CORIN TUCKER BAND, AU, OLD LIGHT, DUSU MALI BAND, GRANDPARENTS, & MORE
(N Lombard & Philadelphia) See My, What a Busy Week!

THE DEAD MILKMEN, THE WE SHARED MILK, THE EX-GIRLFRIENDS CLUB
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE 39th) Read our article on the Dead Milkmen.

LIGHT ASYLUM, LITANIC MASK, LIGHT HOUSE
(Rotture, 315 SE 3rd) Shannon Funchess' voice is a force of nature. Powerful, chilling, almost elemental in its ferocity—her voice sounds like it could knock down the Walls of Jericho. Obviously, Funchess' singing is the focal point of Light Asylum, the electro-goth (or darkwave, or whatever the hell you want to call it) duo of Funchess and Bruno Coviello. Their debut self-titled full-length is a collection of rigidly mechanized dance tracks with well-worn '80s sonic palettes that sound convincingly post-apocalyptic. It would be all striking enough on its own—hell, Funchess could make anything sound compelling—but there's some solid songwriting under all that corrugated steel and electrical tape. Witness how "Pope Will Roll" evolves from rigid goosestep into soulful floor-bumper via a yearning chorus; most of the tracks on Light Asylum pull off a similar trick. The duo's made good on the promise of their excellent early EPs, becoming an act that's now impossible to ignore. NED LANNAMANN

BEACH FOSSILS, MAC DEMARCO, WHITE FANG
(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) Beach Fossils' first full-length rolled onto shore in May 2010. It mixed the winsome songwriting of Dustin Payseur with some signifiers (heavy effects, wan production) of what was then becoming the hot-shit trend called chillwave—only Beach Fossils were using all traditional instruments, and the sound was relatively fresh and exciting. Last year's What a Pleasure EP doesn't exactly expand on the band's template, and the songs don't quite achieve the same quality, but this should still be a pleasant, medium-head-bopping show. GRANT BRISSEY

LAURA VEIRS, THE ALIALUJAH CHOIR
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) There is a sparse quality on even the most abundantly arranged of Laura Veirs' songs, a feeling of nothing-extra, which allows the warmth and generosity of her voice to stand alone. According to the cover art, Veirs' most recent album, Tumble Bee, is supposed to be for kids—hopefully ones who don't pay close attention to lyrics. Because while all of the songs sound child-friendly, and many of them are, Veirs refused to sell out her banjo-plucking ancestors by sanitizing nature's dark side: a fox's massacre of barnyard poultry, the fly-covered corpse of a lamb. This serves to illustrate what is so compelling about Veirs, what keeps her from getting lost in the white noise of folky singer/songwriters: As lovely and inviting as her music sounds, with even the occasional hook, she has never hesitated to confront the dark spaces—of nature, the world, her own mind. REBECCA WILSON

HOODIE ALLEN, J-PHENOM
(Peter's Room at Roseland, 8 NW 6th) I wonder what it's like to be a 16-year-old rapper from Portland. After listening to J-Phenom's new mixtape Topic of Discussion, it seems a lot like being a 16-year-old anything else, except your intense realization of independence mixed with depression is exposed and promoted, not being hidden away behind closed doors. J-Phenom reveals his drive for personal progression with playful antics ("Oh wait, I'm still young/Maybe that's why I'm so dumb"), but also uncovers a darker side, as in the introspective hook for "Lost Ones": "I think you're wrong if you don't think I wonder why sometimes/Why sometimes I'm livin'/Laying down looking at the sky up high/Damn I think I'm trippin'." From party rap to more emotionally stirring themes, there's definitely some potential here. Also, having your first show—outside of sweet 16s and pep rallies—at the Roseland with college-bro favorite Hoodie Allen doesn't hurt. ROCHELLE HUNTER

BLACK DICE
(YU Contemporary, 800 SE 10th) I spent part of this morning listening to Black Dice's new record, Mr. Impossible, and man, it is still seriously fucking with me. The bitcrushers and hisses and unnaturally abrasive sounds are all there—as are the sudden, knife-stab loops and irregular, lurching rhythms—but there's also a bit of melodic sweetness hiding in all that confrontational noise. I think that's what's fucking with me. Black Dice corrupts the ear into tricking the mind, and they will lull you into thinking that these almost-steady rhythms are going to keep stable, that these boinging synths are something you could have heard on Innervisions, that these faint traces of melody are going to play by the rules. But the Brooklyn-by-way-of-Providence experimental collective never plays by the rules, which makes their warped weirdness that much more invasive and unsettling. Black Dice used to be known for playing aggressive 15-minute sets, but without an opener on tonight's bill, they're bound to stretch out a bit. NL

SUNDAY 5/13

THE BOXER REBELLION, CANON BLUE
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) The Boxer Rebellion has the kind of international Anglophone lineup that gives rise to suspicions of record studio execs with deep pockets and clever marketing strategies—One Direction for the parents of One Direction fans. This couldn't be further from the truth. At one point, nine years ago, the Boxer Rebellion were in fact signed to a record label, Poptones, which promptly went bust. Despite critical acclaim in the UK and a key secondary roll in the atrocious Drew Barrymore vehicle Going the Distance, they've remained unsigned ever since. On The Cold Still, the Boxer Rebellion have written a third album of sweeping, beautiful rock-pop that brings to mind early Radiohead, young Chris Martin, and especially Doves, another band that prizes epic, chiming guitar music over the whims of fashion in either music or hairstyle. RW

IRON BUTTERFLY, MAGIC CARPET RIDE
(Mt. Tabor Theater, 4811 SE Hawthorne) Iron Butterfly is a band shrouded in mystery. Everyone's heard the urban legend about "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" and how it was supposed to be sung "In the garden of Eden," but vocalist Doug Ingle was so drunk he slurred his words. Then there's the strange death of bassist Philip Taylor Kramer; conspiracy theorists claim he had discovered a math formula that the CIA didn't want him to. The most recent mystery: What the hell are they doing playing in Portland on a Sunday night?! The band has gone through more lineup changes than Spinal Tap could even joke about, so who knows what you'll get at this show. The band's most recent inception does have one member from the "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" lineup: bassist Lee Dorman. So maybe they'll play it? ARIS WALES

SLEEPY SUN, THE UPSIDEDOWN
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) I wouldn't have guessed that the glue holding Sleepy Sun together was the feminine touch. Singer Rachel Fannan—who shared vocal duties with Bret Constantino—left the otherwise all-male band in 2010 under intensely acrimonious circumstances, and at the San Francisco group's last show here in town (opening for the Black Angels at the Wonder last May), it felt decidedly like something was missing. Instead of the enchanting, lysergic, ice-and-fire psychedelia the band brandished with Fannan, Sleepy Sun sounded thuggish. Their shape-shifting sounds felt cumbersome instead of transformative; their mystic, tribal vibe was replaced by disappointingly conventional bro-down rock. Sleepy Sun's third album Spine Hits (their first without Fannan) sounds fine enough—Constantino and the remaining Sleepy crew still have a formidable grasp on dramatics and dynamics—even if there's nothing as mind-reeling as those highlights on the first two records. NL

MONDAY 5/14

GREAT LAKE SWIMMERS, COLD SPECKS
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) See My, What a Busy Week!

TUESDAY 5/15

WHITE HILLS, KINSKI
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) The space cadets from New York's White Hills are all about propulsion—they won't shy away from a meandering psychedelic passage or three, either. Over the past few years White Hills have left in their wake a purple haze of CDRs, 7-inches, EPs, and a couple of long-players that are as much druggy fun as staring at a black-light poster while chewing on a bag of mushrooms. (Or so I've heard.) The band's latest, Frying on This Rock (on the otherworldly Thrill Jockey label), captures the band live as the psychedelic squalor gets a bit of a makeover—more controlled chaos, less infinite space jams. White Hills occasionally tread into '60s psych parody with some Velvet-y spoken-word breakdowns. But by then you're already on board. MARK LORE

CARINA ROUND, MYRRH LARSEN
(Star Theater, 13 NW 6th) Forget Puscifer, the whimsical comedy-rock side project of Tool's Maynard James Keenan. The solo career of UK singer Carina Round—best known to stateside audiences as a touring member of that band—is what you should be paying attention to. Round's great new solo album, Tigermending, is dark and daring, with echoes of PJ Harvey and Kate Bush, although Round stands in the shadow of neither. She's in command of her own fierce, lovely, progressive brand of pop with tunes like "Girl and the Ghost" and "The Last Time." NL

WEDNESDAY 5/16

FIN DE CINEMA: GOOD NIGHT BILLYGOAT, WOODEN INDIAN BURIAL GROUND, BLOOD BEACH
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) See My, What a Busy Week!

JOLIE HOLLAND, STEFAN JECUSCO
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Jolie Holland is from Texas, but her kinda bluesy, kinda chanteuse-y songs defy both regionalism and chronology. Her songs are evocative because they are intended to be, but what has always set her apart in my mind is the way she seems to masticate every syllable, rolling it around in her mouth before sending it on its way. But for her passionate superfans, it is her lyrics that matter, profoundly describing the experiences of her devotees. On her fifth album, Pint of Blood, she channels '70s folk rock to such an extent that any CSNY fan will find it familiar and enjoyable. It isn't a country album, but its distorted guitars and sad melodies—and emotional earnestness—bring to mind heartbreak in hazy bars like the best of them. RW

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