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This Week's Music Previews

WHY? Wonder Ballroom, 9/1

WHY? Wonder Ballroom, 9/1

THURSDAY 8/30

SUPERFEST: GLASS CANDY, CHROMATICS, LITANIC MASK, ETBONZ, DJ MAXX BASS
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) See My, What a Busy Week!, and read our article on Chromatics.

VEKTOR, WITCH MOUNTAIN, STOVOKOR
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Vektor has been gaining favor in metal circles for years. And for good reason: These kids—who recently relocated to Philadelphia from Tempe, Arizona—are the best of the best in the new wave of thrash, channeling bands like Voivod and Venom for their own nuclear assault. And while the band draws from the familiar, they're already shaping the future of metal, and, perhaps, the future itself. The band's two fantastic long-players—Black Future and Outer Isolation—mix precision, power, and Mad Max. It's the feel-good soundtrack for a dystopian America. And if that's not enough to keep you up at night, wait until you hear vocalist Dave DiSanto's high-pitched shriek. MARK LORE

VINTAGE TROUBLE
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Viewed a certain way, the very existence of Vintage Trouble is inspiring: Career musicians in their 40s get together to revive soul music as my parents understand it, with the tragic omission of a horns section. They nail the sound, so it's easy to like their first album, The Bomb Shelter Sessions, which came out this spring. Maybe too easy. Because, viewed another way, Vintage Trouble seem suspiciously like a business deal masquerading as a band—their marketing strategy seems to have predated the album itself. But some awfully great soul acts have been formed in this way (see: the Supremes), and the album, an undeniably enjoyable period piece, was recorded in an LA home studio. If you remember the entertainingly maddening reality show Rock Star: INXS, you've heard the singer, Ty Taylor, who was a contestant. He sounds less like Michael Hutchence and more like he time-traveled from 1962. REBECCA WILSON

APE MACHINE, OLD KINGDOM, MONDO DECA
(Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) I don't want to name names, but this whole regurgitated classic rock/metal revivalist reclamation thing is really starting to wear on me. It was kind of cute when the Darkness and Steel Panther did it a decade ago, less so when they passed the torch to Wolfmother (remember those jackoffs?). Ape Machine are one of the exceptions. They're authentic—a bunch of dowdy, ordinary dudes whose music actually sounds like it could have been made in the '70s; who are actually passionate about rock and don't rely on silly, meta-ironic music videos and really obvious gothic lyrical tropes. Caleb Heinze is a bona fide fucking vocalist and lead guitarist Ian Watts has clearly spent days, years, eons in solitude studying Master of Reality—this, boys and girls, is the real deal. MORGAN TROPER

KAYO DOT, TOBY DRIVER
(Back Door Theater, 4319 SE Hawthorne) If the seminal experimental/avant-garde man-of-all-abilities John Zorn says he wants to put out your band's record, chances run high that you're doing something noteworthy. Kayo Dot's debut album came out on Zorn's Tzadik Records in 2003 and ever since they've been heading strong. They hold back no offerings—their Bandcamp page is ripe with 15 listenable releases, which document the majority of Toby Driver & Co.'s work since the beginning of the millenium. The intimate seating arrangement at the Back Door Theater (tucked behind Common Ground Coffee House) argues strongly against the existence of a more appropriate venue, for it's best to remain still while this group displaces you with their haunting, jagged compositions. JONATHAN MAGDALENO

FRIDAY 8/31

YEASAYER, DAUGHN GIBSON
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) See My, What a Busy Week!

SUPERFEST: MAGIC MOUTH, DJ BEYONDADOUBT, MASSACOORAMAAN, WHITE RAINBOW, THE MIRACLES CLUB
(Backspace, 115 NW 5th) See My, What a Busy Week!

TECHNE RENDERED DAWN
(Disjecta, 8371 N Interstate) Read our article on Techne Rendered Dawn.

BEN MACY, BLAKE LYMAN TRIO
(Jimmy Mak's, 221 NW 10th) Of Scars and Permanence, the new album from jazz pianist Ben Macy, just sounds better on vinyl. It's a warm, inviting live recording captured at Southeast Portland's Reedwood Friends Church, resulting in a spacious and graceful series of improvisations. Macy anchors his compositions in the crowd-pleasing tradition of Bill Evans and Vince Guaraldi, but he also cites modernists like Bobo Stenson and Tomasz Stańko, and the welcome result is that Of Scars and Permanence is exploratory but never meandering. One almost wishes for a performance at Reedwood Friends to duplicate the openness and clarity of the recording, but tonight's album release show at Jimmy Mak's should sound nearly as good. NED LANNAMANN

SATURDAY 9/1

IAN HUNTER, THE MINUS 5
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) See My, What a Busy Week!, and read our article on Ian Hunter.

SUPERFEST: BÉISBOL, AROHAN, PALMAS, GRAPEFRUIT, AMERICAN GIRLS
(Backspace, 115 NW 5th) See My, What a Busy Week!

WHY?, SERENGETI, DJ SODAPOP
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) Why?'s Yoni Wolf has delighted backpack rappers, indie-rock wordsmiths, and nerdcore purists alike. He's simultaneously baffled critics by blurring the lines between those disparate genres, essentially carving out a singular hiphop hybrid. Why?'s newest EP, Sod in the Seed, revisits the lyrical-madman sentimentality of 2008's Alopecia, with lots of sexy disco bass and glammy synths. Wolf's rapid-fire rhymes return, and are just as potent on the EP's title track, where he puts those who relegate him to hipster Whole Foods rapper status on blast, stuttering lines like, "Let's review some recent facts/I make decent cash, I'm a minor star/and we can't last if she don't drive a hybrid car/I scribble vapid raps on your flyer backs/the word is I purchased a refurbished Mac G4." Later, in a bit of a bookend: "So what if a man blinks in Morse code when he sings if he sings his heart out?" RYAN J. PRADO

FRUIT BATS, PEARLY GATE MUSIC
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) It's rare to find a band as consistently satisfying as Fruit Bats, the outfit of now-Portland-based songwriter Eric D. Johnson. Fruit Bats have evolved into a powerhouse live band, dipping into breezy soul, strummy folk, and bong-resin rawk with equal skill, making everything they play almost inconceivably catchy. This may be the end of an era for the Bats, with tonight's show and an appearance at Bumbershoot being their last shows for a little while, closing the end of the cycle inaugurated by 2011's excellent Tripper LP. It's also a chance to see the vastly underrated Pearly Gate Music, the band of songwriter Zach Tillman, who's been moonlighting as Pure Bathing Culture's bassist but has an arsenal of his own terrific songs at his disposal. NL

FISHBONE, THE SENTIMENTS, THE LONGSHOTS, THE SINDICATE, NIGHTRAIN
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE 39th) Fishbone never quite got their due until much later—an oft-misunderstood band that was way ahead of its time. The Los Angeles crew took funk, ska, and punk to new levels in the '80s, touching on political and social issues with a flair for satire. The band—perhaps due to the attention for the recent documentary, Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone—is touring again. And making new music: Fishbone released a new EP, Crazy Glue, in 2011. And while it's not likely to leave the same impression as 1988's Truth and Soul, there's something comforting about knowing Fishbone is still around. ML

ALAMEDA, EZZA ROSE, HIP HATCHET
(Someday Lounge, 125 NW 5th) Procession, the second album from local chamber-folk outfit Alameda, has its sights aimed square at the lush, devastatingly beautiful terrain mapped out by other, equally lush, equally devastatingly beautiful local chamber-folk outfits (like Horse Feathers). So it's a good thing singer/guitarist Stirling Myles has a firm, capable songwriting hand, resulting in stirring tracks like "Limbs of Youth," which cultivates a tiny whirlwind within quick, circling melodic phrases. Or the fiery "Oaxaca," which augments Alameda's gossamer-winged frailty with glowing-ember electric guitar and knee-knock drums. Procession is a record of subtle pleasures, but its beauty is as natural and undeniable as that of a scenic landscape. NL

SUNDAY 9/2

TY SEGALL, THE MEMORIES
(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) See My, What a Busy Week!

SUPERFEST: STRATEGY, PHONE CALL, DJ NATHAN DETROIT, DJ FREAKY OUTTY
(PSU Park Blocks, SW Park & Montgomery) See My, What a Busy Week!

THE HEAVY, THE SILENT COMEDY
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) The Heavy are among the most recent in a long line of British bands to get rich by mastering American R&B and selling it back to us. Last week, their third studio album, The Glorious Dead, came out in the US. I confess that the call-and-response between singer Kelvin Swaby and a trio of gospel ladies caused me to replay the single, "What Makes a Good Man?" three times in a row the first time I heard it. (Well, five.) Reminiscent of grindhouse soundtracks and Enter the Wu-Tang, the sinister production—which they did themselves—is what makes the album such a grower. Menacing strings, grimy horns, and a blurry guitar create the thick backdrop for Swaby's mind-boggling vocal acrobatics: When he's not being gritty and tortured, he sounds almost tender, with the decisive enunciation and precise modulation of Curtis Mayfield. RW

DUNES, THE CALDONIAS, NUCULAR AMINALS
(Boom Bap!, 640 SE Stark) A recent visit to North Killingsworth record store/pub Record Room yielded the info that the Psychic Feline 7-inch I'd purchased could possibly be the last... ever. As in, the promising psych-garage trio, recently off a US tour, is no more. Whether or not that's the impetus for this week's Caldonias reunion show at Boom Bap! is up for debate. The garage-soul group—rounded out by Psychic Feliners Bob Desaulniers and Sydney Roth and fronted by Nadia Buyse—halted its tour de force in 2009, as Buyse went on to local notoriety for her anything-goes fronting of Tombstalker/Bloodbraid, Ghost Mom, and the Adrian Piper Cover Band. Buyse's vocals alone can make a band, utilizing both bubblegum-pop techniques as well as full-throated punk squeals and soul-thundering range. Welcome back! RJP

MONDAY 9/3

LEE FIELDS AND THE EXPRESSIONS
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) It's a rare thing: a man contributes influentially to one of the most significant periods in music history and, more than 40 years after the beginning of his career, continues to tour and put out albums that capture all the precious elements of that era. Lee Fields is a museum unto himself, and he writes without a single apprehension toward emphasizing the now-nostalgic sensuality of soul music. All the still-active greats that come to mind—Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, David Bowie (who's hopefully still active)—ventured into new territory in subsequent decades, which is fine and typically a byproduct of fruitfulness, but there's something so worthwhile about a musician that continues to swoon through the same methodology he became known for. JM Also see My, What a Busy Week!

TUESDAY 9/4

JANE'S ADDICTION, BIG BLACK DELTA
(Keller Auditorium, 222 SW Clay) I'm a little weirded out that VH1 supposedly named Jane's Addiction the 35th best hard rock artist of all time, when only about a third of the group's output in any way "rocks." (Even then, it's more like a gentle sway.) Hey guys, did you forget about the band's biggest hit, that delicate, Tropicana-tinged, acoustic sing-along "Jane Says," complete with steel fucking drums? Oh, and their latest LP The Great Escape Artist, which certainly doesn't rock, either? Like poseur conspecifics Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jane's Addiction have always been a butt-rock band in disguise—they're not any more subversive than Night Ranger, they were just in the right place at the right time to catch the alt wave. Plus, Perry Farrell looks like a Ken doll whose face melted in the sun. If you want to kill yourself but need that extra little push, find the recent video of the band playing the "Guitar Center Sessions." Sweet dreams! MT

THE SALE, ACOUSTIC MINDS, THE DRUTHERS
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) The Sale have put in countless hours at bars and clubs around town, and tonight they finally have a record to show for all that hard work. 11:11 is longer than its title might suggest—the full-length album is split with songs from the group's two songwriters, Bre Paletta and Justin Bennett, creating a dialogue of tense but gently strummed tunes that nod to '70s soft rock and '90s coffeehouse folk. 11:11 soars during its prettiest moments, as on Paletta's lush "Higher" and Bennett's ominous "Go," both of which expand the group's dueling-acoustic-guitar palette to include strings, flute, and keys. With this pleasing new record, the Sale are poised to spend plenty more hours playing these songs to fans, and are certain to aquire new ones with each pass. NL

WEDNESDAY 9/5

MUSICFESTNW: AGAINST ME!, ANDREW JACKSON JIHAD, JOYCE MANOR
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE 39th) See My, What a Busy Week!

BRUXA, WE ARE LIKE THE SPIDER, BEYONDADOUBT, TR-187
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Read our article on Bruxa.

MUSICFESTNW: HOT SNAKES, RED FANG, HUNGRY GHOST
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) Almost exactly 10 years ago in these very pages, fledgling music writer Ezra Ace Caraeff declared Hot Snakes to be the "best punk band alive." Caraeff has since come and gone as the Mercury's music editor, but now this writer upholds his statement. Rick Froberg and John Reis formed the band in San Diego in 1999, seeking creative control over their music after major-label experiences with their pioneering project Drive Like Jehu. Along with bassist Gar Wood and oscillating drummers Jason Kourkonis and Mario Rubalcaba, the Snakes created three albums of lovingly crafted and jubilantly performed rock 'n' roll, self-released on Reis' Swami label. Over a six-year interlude in which band members devoted themselves to other projects, a widespread dedication to independent music took root across the country and globe. The music and model of Hot Snakes persist as a beacon of what it means to love and make music without compromise. MARANDA BISH

MUSICFESTNW: PASSION PIT, LP
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) The helium-suck pop of Passion Pit doesn't exactly indicate a brooding, damaged soul at work, but with a batch of tour dates canceled earlier this summer to improve frontman Michael Angelakos' "mental health," it seems there's more going on underneath Passion Pit's bubbly surface than meets the eye. That marriage of dysfunctional angst and purest, shimmering pop can yield great dividends (see: Kanye), and Passion Pit's just-released record, Gossamer, seemed poised to become a sensation. But it just doesn't sound quite good enough to be one. Rather, it gets bogged down in ordinary, plodding rock-radio rhythms even as its zooming, candy-coated pop accessorizing vainly tries to tug it up into the stratosphere. NL

MUSICFESTNW: SLOAN, BOBBY BARE JR., THE MINUS 5
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Among my most cherished stereotypes is the one I have for Canadians being fair, reliable, and down to earth. (It's okay, some of my best friends are from Canada.) The poster band for my oversimplification is certainly Sloan. Each of the four members write and play their own songs, and in two decades, they haven't had a single personnel change. But this heartwarming democracy would be meaningless if they weren't so consistently enjoyable. On The Double Cross, their 10th, they've made their most tasteful album yet. This is really saying something, because it runs the gamut among such seemingly at-odds sounds as folk ("Green Gardens, Cold Montreal" sounds like a Donovan cover) and disco ("Your Daddy Will Do"). An ineffable sense of warmth and generosity holds the stylistic pastiche together and puts Double Cross among the best Sloan albums, including 1994's Twice Removed, which they perform in full tonight. RW

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