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This Week’s Music Previews

MBILLY Laurelthirst Public House, 5/26

MBILLY Laurelthirst Public House, 5/26

THURSDAY 5/24

TYCHO, ACTIVE CHILD, LORD HURON
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) See My, What a Busy Week!

STARFUCKER, UNKNOWN MORTAL ORCHESTRA, WAMPIRE
(Branx, 320 SE 2nd) Starfucker (or STRFKR, and other variations) have become a household name in Portland and beyond. Anytime they play, it's a guaranteed party. Whether you've seen them 10 times or never before, you're bound to have a good time. Yet that doesn't discount how hardworking and remarkably talented they are as a band. They've found their niche creating this kind of ultra-current and unique pop music that happens to have mass appeal. We should all take pride in the fact that we can claim them on our roster of great music to come from Portland. They've been recording a new album out in Astoria, but they're back in town to play Branx, sharing a bill with buzz-scene accomplices Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Wampire. Sasquatch pre-func 2K12! ROCHELLE HUNTER

GREG LAKE
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) Emerson, Lake & Palmer are one of the most deservedly ragged-on bands of the 1970s. Their "golden period" epitomizes all three awful/hilarious stereotypical prog characteristics: the sciolism, the virtuosic meandering, and the insanely long song lengths. ELP took it one step further, however, by rearranging and recording Mussorgsky pieces for a deplorable live record that I'm sure played some part in Johnny Ramone picking up the guitar. Greg Lake, though? Well, he was always the only good one in the bunch, and when his angelic voice is front and center (like in classic-rock radio staple "Lucky Man" or his atheistic Christmas single "I Believe in Father Christmas"), all's right with the world. Let's pray there won't be any cameos tonight. MORGAN TROPER

TYRANTS, TIMMY THE TERROR AND THE WINTER COATS, FLESH LAWN, DJ MATT SCAPHISM
(Tube, 18 NW 3rd) It's sad but true that few bands are as interesting to watch as they are to hear, but the local lads of Tyrants are a welcome exception. The drummer lurks as he beats the living shit out of a single snare, bringing an eerie syncopation to every song. The vocalist/guitar player often breaks the plane of the stage edge and creeps toward the audience, as he shreds menacingly and howls into the mic. The bass player paces with agitation as he coaxes thudding riffs, and recent addition Nate (of Rib Cages) gives hell to all six strings of his guitar. Appearances aside, Tyrants wreak sonic havoc with short blasts of songs that destroy conventional rock sounds from within. Rumor has it the band's first 7-inch is on the way, although the change in the lineup suggests new recordings should be made posthaste. MARANDA BISH

FRIDAY 5/25

RED FANG, LOPEZ, NETHER REGIONS, HELL'S PARISH
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE 39th) See My, What a Busy Week!

SPIRITUALIZED, NIKKI LANE
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) Read our article on Spiritualized.

HERE WE GO MAGIC, HOSPITALITY
(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) Hospitality are a decidedly New York band, but some Pacific Northwest magic has nevertheless made its way in their purposeful, methodical pop. The band recorded its first EP with the help of Anacortes sound mage Karl Blau, and Blau's indirect, sidling way of approaching a song's pop-candy center is echoed in Hospitality's obtusely inventive catchiness. Their self-titled debut full-length, out on Merge, is a wonderful, gangly listen, and the band's live show is taut, tense, and no-frills. You can clearly see those moonlit, full-of-promise New York streets in each of songwriter Amber Papini's songs, which are good enough and universal enough that they could just as easily be similarly hopeful streets in Glasgow or Minneapolis or Rome—or Portland, of course. NED LANNAMANN Also, read our article on Here We Go Magic.

GROUPLOVE, REPTAR
(Star Theater, 13 NW 6th) Reptar got famous for two reasons: rambunctious live shows in and around their hometown of Athens, Georgia, and their debut EP, Oblangle Fizz Y'all, a wildly eccentric pastiche of dance music and Afro-pop. Their highly anticipated LP Body Faucet, produced by Ben Allen (Gnarls Barkley, Animal Collective), came out on May 1. With less quirk and more sparkle, Body Faucet is just as vigorous as Oblangle (except for the tearjerker song about the kid dying on his bike), but the sound is suddenly cohesive and organized. The fashionable production could be responsible for the fact that synthy shimmers have largely replaced the African influences that defined them early on, though the drum kit still sits front and center. As for frontman Graham Ulicny—he's sounding an awful lot like those other champions of African music, Vampire Weekend. REBECCA WILSON

DEER TICK, TURBO FRUITS
(Mission Theater, 1624 NW Glisan) Something cool has been going on at the Mission Theater lately. Whoever's booking there has caught onto something. Maybe they're searching archives of 2007 Myspace profiles for the favorite bands of all those then drunken, arty college kids who've since realized Portland would suit them and made the migration. I wouldn't put it past McMenamins. Either way, Deer Tick is coming back to Portland after a long four months since the last show, which (even on Valentine's Day) obviously sold out. This could be a show you tell your grandkids about, assuming you can get a ticket. Their pioneering alt-country city-folk is rough enough that you don't have to know country life to love it. After a few great albums and some changes in the live lineup, Deer Tick has geared up again for a huge North American and European tour. RH

BIGMO, J BURNS, TOPE, PORTLAND GEORGE, EMAN, JERMAINE MALONE, DJ EPS
(Someday Lounge, 125 NW 5th) Few local acts can claim to have a strong international reach; fewer still can boast of having as big of an audience outside the United States as Kuwaiti/American emcee BigMo. The 21-year-old rapper was born in the States to a Kuwaiti father and a mother from Portland. He was then raised in Kuwait until he turned 18, at which point he moved to Portland to attend PSU. The last few months found Mo appearing at shows in Dubai and performing live on Kuwaiti television, so tonight doubles as a welcome-back party for his stateside friends and fans. It also marks the release of his aptly titled mixtape The Nomadic, featuring collaborations as diverse as Compton emcee Kendrick Lamar and Portland's own J Burns. The album contains witty bars spit over glossy production, and deftly balances an element of danger with conscious undertones. RYAN FEIGH

CLAP YOUR HANDS SAY YEAH, THE DARCYS, SUN ANGLE
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Just the utterance of the name Clap Your Hands Say Yeah takes me back to 2005, the year these Brooklynites' DIY debut gave them their five minutes of fame in the burgeoning blogosphere, while simultaneously making Brooklyn an indie-rock hub for the following five years. That's a lot of pressure. They've since released two more albums of arguably lesser quality, while Pitchfork—the tastemakers that initially championed the band as the greatest thing since sliced bread—has all but chewed them up and spit them out. What does it all mean? Clap Your Hands Say Yeah are the poster children for indie rock's new "here today, gone tomorrow" reality. Brooklyn bands typically are more style than substance. And Pitchfork is still trying to tell us what's good and what's bad. Wait, who were we talking about again? MARK LORE

SATURDAY 5/26

BOAT, THE ANGRY ORTS, ZOO ANIMAL, ORCA TEAM
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Although the earnest punk-rock adherent in me is perturbed by BOAT's dilettantish approach to making music (creative helmsman D. Crane once admitted that the band isn't a "primary focus of his" and he began "writing songs just for fun"), it's pretty difficult to stay irked when everything they've done has been nothing short of irresistible. (Perhaps it's just jealousy, then.) Last year's Dress Like Your Idols is no exception—"(I'll Beat My Chest Like) King Kong" in particular contains hooks as colossal as its titular behemoth. BOAT purvey some of the finest pop in the Pacific Northwest, and I wonder if they even realize it. MT Also see My, What a Busy Week!

MBILLY, QUE AND THE WHATS
(LaurelThirst Public House, 2958 NE Glisan) Following PDX folk-popper Mbilly's 2009 debut Mister Nobody Baby—and its bright vignettes of thoughtful rockers and pensive finger-plucked ditties—you'd have expected his sophomore LP Malheur to continue that trend. But opening track "V Is for Valiant" slithers in slow, all tremolo guitar leads and sad piano, giving way to a trigger-drummer downer on the title track. There's a brief respite on the peppy rock track "Your Famous Name," but it becomes clear by "Sick for a Spell" that this is a different Mbilly. Written following a close friend's death, the album oozes with feeling, germinating in oft-times inspiring blasts of redemptive verse, even with that ominous, sparse instrumentation. Despite the glumness, Mbilly's remarkable songwriting chops manage to rise above, and showcase a rising talent in the Rose City. RYAN J. PRADO

JOHN C. REILLY AND FRIENDS
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) People enjoy describing John C. Reilly as an everyman, a preposterous accusation that couldn't be further from the truth: As an actor, he's as well known for his gut-wrenching roles as for hilarious ones. In his most recent, We Need to Talk About Kevin, he plays the father of a psychopathic mass murderer, a far cry from his role in musical biopic satire Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story. That wasn't Reilly's first time singing on screen, but it did make the public take notice­—he can sing a song just as well as he can act a role. So far, he's recorded two acclaimed country singles on Jack White's Third Man Records, covering old country standards with his pals Becky Stark (of Lavender Diamond) and Tom Brosseau. Don't worry, Reilly isn't trying for a second career—he plays country music because he's good at it, he loves it, and he wants you to love it, too. RW

MOTLEY CRUISE: SAME OL' SITUATION
(Portland Spirit, in the middle of the damn Willamette) While this doesn't get my vote for the best boat-themed show of the night (that would be BOAT over at Mississippi Studios—seriously, go see them; they are as fun as bands get), this one sets you off on a two-hour cruise with a Mötley Crüe tribute band. On a boat. In the middle of the river. Yeah, you know what you want. NL

ROOKIE TOWN, TREES AND STARS, STILL SEA, DUCK LITTLE BROTHER DUCK
(Laughing Horse Books, 12 NE 10th) Duck. Little, Brother Duck! personify Portland's bustling yet severely underrepresented DIY community better than anyone else. Since forming in 2009, Duck (as the kids so lovingly refer to them) have played countless shows within the city, embarked on multiple tours around the country, and released a sterling, hour-long LP—all without any assistance from a label or very much in terms of local press buzz. Their refreshingly impetuous, song-oriented brand of math rock has earned them an enthusiastic, national fanbase, and most recently the attention of esteemed East Coast punk label Topshelf (who will be re-releasing their debut). In an era where an acute fashion sense and a reverb pedal can apparently skyrocket any simpleton to the vanguard of our music scene, it's encouraging to see a band attain popularity the old-fashioned way—by being so goddamn good at writing and performing music. Remember that stuff? MT

COOL NUTZ, DJ FATBOY, ARJAY, STEVO, TRIPLE SB, DANNY MERKURY
(Someday Lounge, 125 NW 5th) In the past two decades, Cool Nutz has gone from putting out his first rap record in 1993 to being a full-on music industry professional. He organizes and promotes local hiphop fest POH-Hop, DJs for Wild 107.5 with a locally oriented hiphop radio show called NW Breakout, owns his own label, Jus Family Records, and manages up-and-coming artists like Illmaculate. Nutz is one of the most acknowledged faces in PDX hiphop history, and he's still on his rap game. He put us on the map and still keeps it real—maybe even too real for people who only draw inside the lines, adamantly marking his territory and exposing alternative income sources. Sharing the stage is Ginuwine-esque local R&B singer Arjay and scratch-master/ridiculous internet personality DJ Fatboy, who also happens to be the official DJ for rowdy SF diva Kreayshawn. RH

MARK LANEGAN, SEAN WHEELER AND ZANDER SCHLOSS
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) On his first solo effort since 2004's Bubblegum, Mark Lanegan has earned his versatility stripes once again, combing his sandpaper soul for moody blues, gloomy rock, and dark electronic cuts. Blues Funeral (credited to Mark Lanegan Band, actually, and including contributions from Jack Irons and Greg Dulli) sounds like just that: a putting to bed, or a transcendence of Lanegan's old muses to the warmth of some more bizarre bosom. Through that wormhole, Lanegan manages to propagate molasses-slow dirges fit for a wake, and throwback rockers that could have been Screaming Trees B-sides, like the shredding "Riot in My House." The influence of all his post-Trees collabs (Gutter Twins, his duet albums with Isobel Campbell) has rubbed off on Lanegan in some head-scratching ways over the last decade, but never in a more intriguing manner as this. RJP

SUNDAY 5/27

YOUTHBITCH, CAFETERIA DANCE FEVER, THE SHIVAS
(The Know, 2026 NE Alberta) Read our article on Cafeteria Dance Fever.

KURT VILE AND THE VIOLATORS, BLACK BANANAS, TRUE WIDOW
(Star Theater, 13 NW 6th) A black banana is more than a rotten piece of fruit that can only be saved by mashing it on a piece of toasted bread and covering it in crunchy peanut butter. Black Bananas, plural, is the new name for Jennifer Herrema's continually evolving rock 'n' roll art project that was once called Royal Trux. Don't go expecting fuzzy-druggy blues rock anymore, though. Think more Rolling Stones if they were suddenly horns-throwing butt-rockers from 1982. And I say "butt-rocker" in the fondest possible way—Black Bananas are keeping the '80s metal sound alive. Some never wanted it to die. KELLY O Also see My, What a Busy Week!

ALABAMA SHAKES, VINTAGE TROUBLE, IMAGINE DRAGONS, EVEREST
(Rose Festival, Waterfront Park) Alabama Shakes haven't quite taken over the world yet, but they've still got plenty of time—after all, their top-10 debut album Boys & Girls is still less than two months old. That record is a fine document of the Shakes' soulful, Southern-rock stride, but the live show is truly where the band starts shedding sparks. With an incredible powerhouse singer in the form of Brittany Howard and an innate understanding of how to keep the beat both swinging and tight, these Alabama youngsters can play rings around musicians triple their age. Expect to be hearing a lot more from 'em; Alabama Shakes aren't going anywhere soon. NL

DUM DUM GIRLS, YOUNG PRISMS, GHOST ANIMAL
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) One would be remiss to assume that the appeal of the Dum Dum Girls lies in the fact that they are smokin' babes with vintage guitars as accessories. The all-female ensemble has put an impressive amount of thought and work into crafting stylish pop music from a composite of influences, including the oft-cited doo-wop girl-group aesthetic and surf rock instrumentation. Their sophomore album Only in Dreams, released last fall, is far more sophisticated than their fuzzy first efforts, placing pristine vocals at the forefront and tackling heartbreaking subject matter—though that would be hard to discern from the upbeat tunes alone. "Heartbeat (Take It Away)" cloaks profound lyrical sadness in light, pleasing melodies, and the culminating effects of despair are beautifully portrayed on the shimmery, sobering "Coming Down." MB

BRONCHO, THE SHRINE, PINKSLIME, JARET FERRATUSCO
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Considering that "punk rock" doesn't really mean the same thing it used to, perhaps it's better to describe the music of Broncho as lean, mean, speedy, pissy, loud rock songs that clock in around two minutes apiece. The Oklahoma band, fronted by Starlight Mints keyboardist Ryan Lindsey, has a solid full-length, Can't Get Past the Lips, and a marvelous pop single, "Try Me Out Sometime," under their collective belts. There's an amphetamine tilt to everything they do, a greasy, yelpy, jackknife sound that probably contains eight of the 10 reasons why you started listening to rock 'n' roll in the first place. Lovers of fuzzy-guitar garage rock have plenty of shows to choose from tonight; Broncho's the under-horse (as it were) but fully deserve to be in the running—give 'em a fair shake. NL

ELECTRIC GUEST, THEMES
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Most first albums aren't produced by household names, but when you have the movie-star good looks and connections of Asa Taccone, I'm guessing it's easier to get Danger Mouse in the studio. Taccone fronts the buzzed-about Electric Guest, whose debut, Mondo, came out last month, though his best-known work so far was as the producer of the universally beloved "Dick in a Box." (Taccone's brother Jorma is part of the Lonely Island.) Mondo, an album of dance-friendly pop, is a pleasure to listen to, though it errs on the side of style; if this album were a dick in a box, you'd call it a shower, not a grower. Still, Taccone's vocals are soulful, each song has a hook, and Danger Mouse's glossy, commercial-ready production is easy on the ear canals. The undeniable catchiness of the first two singles, "This Head I Hold" and "Awake," makes them early contenders for most-played songs of summer 2012. RW

MONDAY 5/28

NICK WATERHOUSE, BEYONDADOUBT, DJ COOKY PARKER
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Directly mimicking sounds from music's past is a dangerous game: You can either come out the other end sounding like Sharon Jones (if you're lucky) or like Lenny Kravitz (if you're terrible). Fortunately, Nick Waterhouse clearly lands in the Sharon Jones camp, making vintage soul and vamping R&B that sounds like it dropped clear outta 1963. Last year's Is That Clear EP hinted that maybe Waterhouse might be a one-trick gimmick—albeit an immensely enjoyable one—but this year's Time's All Gone full-length proves the precise opposite. In mining those well-worn, familiar sounds of the '60s, Waterhouse has located the dirty, sweaty, grimy heart of those classic records, and he navigates a swanky, gimmick-free trip through swing, blues, and early rock 'n' roll. With two of Portland's grooviest DJs rounding out the bill, this is gonna be one jumpin', jivin' Memorial Day dance party. NL

TEEPH, FOAL, HABITS
(East End, 203 SE Grand) Teeph hail from the sleepy party town of Chico, California, where they shove their relentless heavy rock down the throats of folks who treat metal like a weekend mistress. Their music is as serious as an 80-pound bag of concrete dangling over your head, while the lyrics—screamed at indecipherable levels—are less serious, though just about as subtle as an 80-pound bag of concrete dangling over your head. Songs like "Hipster Killers" (sure to translate well in Portland) and "Soliciting Sex at the Deerpens" (a Chico reference guaranteed to be completely lost on hipsters) are made even creepier given the volume at which they're delivered. Those with pre-existing heart conditions need not attend. ML

TUESDAY 5/29

BEN HOWARD, BAHAMAS
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) See My, What a Busy Week!

XIU XIU, YAMANTAKA//SONIC TITAN, FATHER MURPHY
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) I'll be honest: I haven't checked in with Xiu Xiu since 2002's Knife Play. Around then, Jamie Stewart's abrasive and traumatic avant pop sounded groundbreaking and exciting. Ten years later, Stewart's dramatic warble belies the absence of theatrics in the band's instrumentation, but he's honed his craft so well at this point that such histrionics are no longer needed. Lastly, "Hives Hives" still hits like a bat to the head. GRANT BRISSEY

FUN, NOW NOW
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) At first glance, Fun—excuse me, fun.—are pappy enough to completely ignore, yet they seem completely impervious to that fact, which makes them intriguing at the same time. This trio from New York City are so into their shtick that you have to wonder if it's even a shtick at all. If their single "We Are Young" sounds like music for a Chevy commercial, that's because it is, but you've gotta love their Queen and ELO influence. But then you have to deride their Disney Channel/Glee cleanliness. Still, if this is what Top 40 looks like in 2012, it could be a lot worse. It could also be so much better. Confused? Good. Me, too. ML

WILD ASSUMPTIONS, SOCIAL GRACES, PINKSLIME
(Slabtown, 1033 NW 16th) Before they were PinkSlime, they were called Pleassure; either way, Thaddeus Pedisich and Dewin Trainer are an ass-kicking local band and one of the best two-piece groups I've heard in a minute. Their brand-new Slime EP (get it for free on Bandcamp) shows off their noisy, frenetic energy via Trainer's thunderous drums and clanging cymbals and Pedisich's exuberant, unruly guitar riffs and bratty vocals distorted all to shit. With song titles like "Buying Drugs," they do at times capitulate to the ubiquitous tendency to boast of stoner habits, but any trendiness ends there, and the rest is all extremely satisfying rock 'n' roll—the kind that rattles your bones, shatters your ears, and makes you want to fuck shit up. They've got a lot of shows lined up as we coast into summer. Make sure you make it to one. MB

C.C. SWIM, ADVENTURES WITH MIGHT, ILIMA CONSIDINE AND THE SEXBOTS
(Valentine's, 232 SW Ankeny) Between the keyboards and the name, you'd be forgiven for assuming that C.C. Swim is just another shiny dance band. Actually, the catchy moniker is short for Cuchulain Can't Swim, a reference to Irish mythology, hinting at the nerdiness that suffuses both the lyrics and the music to make them so much more. C.C. Swim have existed since 2009, but their first album, Shapes Take Size, just came out on April 30. Tinges of NES and Atari undercut driving rhythms and burly, unfiltered vocals singing hyper-literate words. The electric guitar provides just enough depth and darkness to keep things from getting too sunny, though they're at their best when they brighten up, as on "Hot Air Balloon," an infectious, swelling dance anthem. It's a good thing C.C. Swim's live shows are so energetic, because they're following up Adventures! With Might, the sweaty duo behind one of my favorite debuts of 2011. RW

WEDNESDAY 5/30

CHICKFACTOR'S 20TH ANNIVERSARY: JOE PERNICE, THE SOFTIES, LOIS, SELECTOR DUB NARCOTIC
(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) Read our article on chickfactor.

MOGWAI, CHAD VANGAALEN
(Wonder Ballroom , 128 NE Russell) Scottish noisemakers Mogwai can probably best be summed up by the title of their last album, Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will. But that title pretty much sums up life. For nearly two decades, Mogwai has been the end-all be-all for those who live and die by the epic guitar instrumental. They are a band that is in complete control of the quiet-LOUD dynamic, the sonic equivalent of an Olympic long-distance runner. They're the link between My Bloody Valentine and about three-quarters of Thrill Jockey's roster. That's a good—nay, a great thing. And although it's not necessary to own Mogwai's entire catalog (Young Team and Rock Action should do), here's hoping that these guys never stop making music. ML Also see My, What a Busy Week!

LITTLE BARRIE
(Dante's , 1 SW 3rd) Once in a while, a modern band will ape retro gestures and just nail 'em so righteously that you toss out all your hard-won reservations about derivativeness and revel in the zealous, on-point replication of it all. That's the case with Little Barrie, a London via Nottingham, England, group with a gritty yet melodic R&B/blues-rock approach that doesn't really advance beyond anything pushed by Them, the Animals, and early Deep Purple some 45 years ago. Led by the engaging guitarist/vocalist Barrie Cadogan, a coveted session player for Primal Scream, Spiritualized, Chemical Brothers, Morrissey, and others, Little Barrie are super-competent resurrectors of a sound that ossified years ago. That's something. DAVE SEGAL

CASS MCCOMBS BAND, MICHAEL HURLEY
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Look, I like plenty of mild shit. I don't need my music to have balls or grit or dirt or noise in order to dig it—I can get down and mope to a nice, sappy ballad as well as any softie out there. But sometimes Cass McCombs needs to rock my world a little harder. He plies his very subtle art by teasing out tepid, unhurried songs that wisp their way into listeners' ears like the lite-est of Lite FM hits. True, McCombs injected a little more verve into both his most recent full-length, Humor Risk, and his new single, the impassioned "Bradley Manning." But no one's gonna be breaking a sweat—or a heel—at this show. I've got several good, trustworthy friends with excellent taste who all think McCombs is the cat's pajamas, so maybe I'm alone in finding him dull. Or maybe he is what I suspect he is: this generation's James Taylor. NL

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