LA SERA, MAGIC TRICK, FOXYGEN
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) The echoes of rock 'n' roll's past come at you at mind-warp speed on Take the Kids off Broadway, the magnificent new record from Foxygen: Is that Mick Jagger singing? Is this an outtake from the Pretty Things' S.F. Sorrow? Could this track be a remix of Bowie's "The Bewlay Brothers"? No—it's all Foxygen, and the bicoastal duo's brilliance is in making familiar textures into a remarkable new patchwork. If their scattershot approach is reminiscent of the teenagers-got-into-the-Scotchgard sound of Ariel Pink, there's a majesty in Take the Kids off Broadway's insanity that makes me think of Os Mutantes' inventiveness, Roy Wood's cuddly Wizzard choirs, and the sheer kitchen-sink audacity of "I Am the Walrus." Oregon's Richard Swift helped mix the record, and singer Sam France hails from Olympia (Foxygen's other member, Jonathan Rado, hails from New York), offering a Pacific Northwest pedigree to what is one of the year's most exciting, astonishing debuts. NED LANNAMANN Also read our article on Le Sera.
ASK SOPHIE, GRESHAM TRANSIT CENTER
(Slabtown, 1033 NW 16th) I've been trying to think of a fluid way to begin this blurb for hours now, and I've had a few false starts ("Gresham Transit Center are as 'far out' as their name suggests"). This band deserves better, so I'll cut to the chase: Gresham Transit Center are a great band that writes great songs. They have a 10-song LP released in February titled Everybody's Fancy available on their Bandcamp, and it's some of the most inspired folk-pop I've heard in what feels like forever. The boy/girl vocal blend is eerily reminiscent of antecedent PDX legends Eskimo and Sons, but Gresham Transit Center certainly have an identity of their own, one that will surely continue to blossom. Album highlights include opener "Come See What I've Got" and closer "Inky Colored Jar." Expect great things. MORGAN TROPER
E*ROCK, FATHA GREEN, UNICORN DOMINATION, BOY FUNK, HARD POWER USA, MATTHEW HELLER & THE CLEVER
(Branx, 320 SE 2nd) At Fatha Green's 30th birthday bash, there will be dark, innovative electronic music from the multi-faceted E*Rock, who is, among other creative and culturally cultivating projects, responsible for the Audio Dregs label. This guy knows what he's doing, even if he's doing it all. And birthday boy Fatha Green (of Purple and Green) is a performer in the true sense. His passionate, soulful vocals—paired with futuristic, funky R&B beats and more energy than one person should legally be allowed to possess—has been known to liberate the most stoic arm-crossing showgoers into becoming dancing machines. There are few local shows that I feel fit Branx as a venue, but this is one of them. ROCHELLE HUNTER
TALKATIVE, FANNO CREEK, OLD AGE
(Kelly's Olympian, 426 SW Washington) Where Fanno Creek's 2011 Green Houses EP treaded the peppy acoustic academia of Simon and Garfunkel while experimenting with strings and shakers, their new release is, terrifically, more stylistically varied. There's something both wholesome and dangerous on the five-song End Is End EP; intro track "The Greatest" finds a familiar route for the Portland trio—all smart acoustic finger-plucking and snappy melody—only to rip apart near the end with J. Mascis-worthy fret shredding. At its best, End Is End recalls Oh, Inverted World-era indie-pop—no small accolade considering the canonical merits of the Shins' early oeuvre. But even when Fanno Creek meanders in and out of familiar territory, theirs remains a singularly textured, fun, dance-y marriage of feel-good melodic rock. RYAN J. PRADO
PITCHFORK MOTORWAY, THE LOVESORES, THE FOOD, THE DECLINERS, STUMBLEBUM
(Club 21, 2035 NE Glisan) The Lovesores are the logical successor to '90s garage punk outfit the Humpers, and not just because herpes is one of the more typical outcomes of humping. They share a frontman, Scott Drake, whose vocals sound just as deliberate and pissed off as they did on the Humpers' handful of albums, the last of which harkens back to 1998. If you are fond of declaring that the Pixies were the Last Good Band before it all went to shit, the Lovesores' debut 7-inch might shut you up. Meanwhile, Pitchfork Motorway sound more like the '80s—say, if the Ramones were dragged at high speeds behind a domestic GTO down a gravel road. Maybe they think so too: "GTO" is the name of the first song on Heading West, Pitchfork Motorway's second LP. It's a tight collection of fast, boozy songs within which chain smokers indulge their affinity for call-and-response. REBECCA WILSON
THE DEAD BEAT, SURFS DRUGS, K-TEL '79, THE GHOST EASE
(Kenton Club, 2025 N Kilpatrick) K-Tel '79 have got to be one of the most hard-working local bands you haven't been fortunate enough to hear from—yet. They just played a set at PDX Pop Now!, but can typically be found sharing stages any night of the week at rock venues and house parties around town. The trio creates tight-knit rock on a spectrum that ranges from lackadaisical surf to fast-paced, punk face-melters. Jason Aquarien delivers finely honed, backbeat-setting syncopation on drums, Paul Billy Sobiech brings squealing guitar licks and a trebled warble, and Elena Kettwig is a spitfire of a bass player who contributes mod-inspired vocal echo. Tracks posted on Bandcamp provide a scintillating taste of what's to come; word is that they've just finished recording an album, due for mastering and release. It's only a matter of time before the whole town becomes enamored—best get on board. MARANDA BISH
ANGRY SAMOANS, 13 SCARS, RUM REBELLION, PDX PUNK ROCK COLLECTIVE
(Plan B, 1305 SE 8th) Occasionally, rock 'n' roll journalists get out from behind their keyboards and show how things should be done, as opposed to just writing about it. In the early '80s, "Metal Mike" Saunders, the rock writer who might have coined the term "heavy metal" in a 1970 Humble Pie review for Rolling Stone, brought forth a stripped-down skate-punk attack with his own band, the Angry Samoans. While never achieving such household-name status as Black Flag, the Samoans came ripping out of the San Fernando Valley with timeless jams like "Lights Out." Now, 20 some odd years later, they're still at it, as fast, sloppy, and especially angry as ever. KEVIN DIERS
CLINTON STREET FAIR: MAGIC MOUTH, UNICORNZ, TIGER HOUSE, PALMAS, ANCIENT HEAT, THE SLIDELLS
(SE 25th & Clinton) See My, What a Busy Week!
SOMETIMES A GREAT NOTION: PEAKING LIGHTS, THE EMERGENCY, PULSE EMITTER, JEFFREY JERUSALEM, STRANGLED DARLINGS & MORE
(Disjecta, 8371 N Interstate) Peaking Lights gently bobbed into consciousness with the release of 2011's psychedelic-dub day-brightener, 936, for Not Not Fun Records. On their Facebook page, members Aaron Coyes and Indra Dunis claim to live in "epic vibeland," and such whimsical jocularity glimmers in their sound. Peaking Lights flirt with cutesy/sunshiny sweetness—particularly regarding Dunis' blithe intonations and chants—but their delayed, chiming guitars, rubbery bass lines, and loping, hydroponic rhythms ultimately keep the high-fructose corn syrup at bay. The new Lucifer full-length tilts into deeper, more blissful kosmische territory and includes a beautiful, gamelan-like Steve Reich homage in "Moonrise." It's one of the feel-great releases of 2012. DAVE SEGAL Also see My, What a Busy Week!
ON THE STAIRS, THE BLACK APPLES
(Rontoms, 600 E Burnside) Those prone to genre-lizing wouldn't be incorrect to classify Nate Clark's work as Americana. It's a lazy assessment, sure, but Clark's thoughtful craftsmanship of road-jam psych, organ-heavy rock, and fuzzy guitar explosions is as American as fireworks on a barge in summer. On his third release as On the Stairs, Let My Body Range, Clark fires on all cylinders, commanding immediate attention on LP opener "Great White Heart," a monster of a primer for the rollicking rock found throughout, leading into the Willie Nelson-ish slow-burner "Tennessee." Utilizing the sonic benefits provided by warm reeds, slick guitar leads, and the kind of anthemic alt-country that's as wise as it is carefree, Let My Body Range is a testament to the finer aspects of fun-lovin' rock 'n' roll, and could be a candidate for local album of the year. RJP
(Langano Lounge, 1435 SE Hawthorne) Through sheer simplicity, Greg Olin channels a keen sense of what it is to live and thrive humbly. His songs sound beautifully spontaneous, like he hit record and told his band to grow naturally, slowly, alongside his lead. Graves, the dark but monumental title of his songwriting project, digs itself a spot somewhere between Lou Reed and the whole P.W. Elverum & Sun crew by remaining freshly languid but confidently in tune with itself. The potential Olin's music has to soundtrack an easy life keeps it digestible, making Langano Lounge a near-perfect venue to catch his live performance—washed over by the Sunday at hand, getting ready for the week ahead, and craving art that helps keep your head calm. JONATHAN MAGDALENO
MIKEY GOING DOWN:
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Local comedian Mikey Kampmann is upping the ante in the great American tradition of boring friends with vacation photos. Fortunately, this slideshow will be more exciting than most: The trip was to Antarctica, and the pictures will be accompanied by a few of Portland's more experimental bands. Inhabiting the same world of Africa-tinged experimental pop as the Dodos and Dirty Projectors, Brainstorm's second album, Heat Waves, is due out on October 2 on Tender Loving Empire. It seems sure to be a significant departure from their February EP, The Mdou Moctar Covers, in which they interpret the eponymous Nigerian musician, complete with his apparent fondness for Auto-Tune. This show also marks the release of the ever-mysterious Interiors' new EP, Deep Cave. The brainchild of Thomas Thorson, Interiors creates shimmering dream/nightmare scapes in the vein of Brian Eno. In fact, Deep Cave sounds as if it were composed as an idealized soundtrack for a slideshow of Antarctica. RW Also read our interview with Mikey Kampmann.
HARRY AND THE POTTERS, POTTER PUPPET PALS, HANK GREEN
(Backspace, 115 NW 5th) Harry and the Potters occupy a peculiar place in this world: On the one hand, they're the premier "wizard rock" band (not to mention the genre's pioneers), but the band's principal members, brothers Joe and Paul DeGeorge (who both refer to themselves as Harry Potter during live performances) are also incredibly adroit tunesmiths, esoteric subject matter notwithstanding. So in the end, it doesn't really matter how familiar you are with the stories: songs like "Wizard Chess" and "Save Ginny Weasley from Dean Thomas" are as catchy as anything that, say, They Might Be Giants have written, and you're bound to agree if you have even the slightest appreciation for pop music. And I defy you not to have goddamn fun at their live show. Even I do—loads of it—and I'm generally an ol' Scrooge (or should I say Snape?). MT
WOLF HOTEL, IAME, GEPETTO,GOOD COP/BAD COP, DJ SPARK
(Mt. Tabor Theater, 4811 SE Hawthorne) Wolf Hotel is a Seattle hiphop duo featuring emcee Barfly spitting dystopian bars and singing haunted hooks over producer Graves' subterranean soundscapes. Tonight marks the release of their latest EP, Good Bye, which is accompanied by a signed and numbered run of 250 crafted hardback books penned, illustrated, and hand-bound by Barfly himself. Eschewing the standard model of internet and digital distribution, the EP will only be available at shows as a physical product from the creators. Some of Portland's most experimental independent acts fill out the bill, including Sandpeople/Oldominion member IAMe and Gepetto of the buck-wild collective Big Bang. Good Cop/Bad Cop, the local duo of Mighty Misc and Buck Turtle, get the party started with feel-good party raps that are expertly infused with humor without ever venturing into the realm of ridiculousness. RYAN FEIGH
Happy 71st birthday to Paul Anka! You don't look a day over... actually, that sounds about right.
ORCA TEAM, STILL CAVES, SURFS DRUGS
(Valentine's, 232 SW Ankeny) Orca Team may just be the tightest, most beautiful-sounding (and looking) band I've seen play in a basement, and Valentine's seems a fine substitute for that. The once-Portland-based band is stopping through on their way back to Seattle from a national tour for their newest LP release Restraint. The album is immaculately written and produced, laced with deeply personal content and perspectives and yet still maintains the Orca Team beach-party vibes. I like to imagine it's the music that surf pop bands of the '60s would have made if they found themselves in the creative landscape of post-punk. RH
GOLDEN RETRIEVER, REGULAR MUSIC, ILYAS AHMED, PULSE EMITTER
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) You might not imagine that a 10-minute-long song composed of modular synth noises and the melodious bleats of a bass clarinet could be an engaging, emotionally walloping experience—but you'd be wrong. In the hands of talented and prolific local musicians Matt Carlson and Jonathan Sielaff of Golden Retriever, these two instruments become tools for testing the capacities of sound, digging diligently at the unity and universality that may lie beneath. Recordings such as 2011's Arda Viraf blend composed and improvised efforts that offer film score-like opportunities to get wrapped up in, and become rapt to, the deceivingly simple effects of harmonic reverberation. This evening celebrates the national release of their latest, Occupied with the Unspoken, on Thrill Jockey. MB
THIS AND THAT FEST: EDNA VAZQUEZ, RITCHIE YOUNG & MORE
(Valentine's, 232 SW Ankeny) By all accounts, Edna Vazquez walked away with the lion's share of accolades from last weekend's PDX Pop Now! festival. The mariachi singer was an unfamiliar face to most of the rock- and pop-seeking hordes, although she's had numerous appearances on Spanish-language television, including Sábado Gigante and Tengo Talento, Mucho Talento. With a passionately ripe take on the flowing, blood-filled ballads of mariachi and ranchera traditions, Vazquez proved that great music can cross all boundaries. She's part of tonight's This and That Fest, a literary and music event coordinated by Yeah. No. Totally. author Lisa Wells. NL