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This Week's Music Previews

ETERNAL SUMMERS Doug Fir, 9/11

ETERNAL SUMMERS Doug Fir, 9/11

For our MusicfestNW coverage, check out our special guide.

THURSDAY 9/6

VENUS X
(Washington High School, 531 SE 14th) Read our quick picks for the week at the TBA festival here.

WILLIE NELSON
(Sleep Country Amphitheater, 17200 NE Delfel, Ridgefield, WA) Willie Nelson is 79 and still has more life inside of him than you will ever have. Willie's guitar is named "Trigger" and has a giant hole worn though it thanks to 40-plus years of use; Willie has saved it from a burning ranch and secretly hid it when the IRS tried to repossess his shit. Willie makes and sells biodiesel—it's called "BioWillie." Alongside Steve Buscemi, Willie guest starred in the classic Miami Vice episode "El Viejo." Willie has a black belt in taekwondo. Willie likes to get high. Willie was a Highwayman; he, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson, and Johnny Cash used to hang out. Think about what that must have been like. Willie once put out a reggae album and you know what? It wasn't half bad. Someone, somewhere, has the cover art for Waylon & Willie tattooed on their body. This is debated, but it is true: Willie is the greatest country singer/songwriter of all time, and he is amazing live, even though he is "el viejo." "El viejo," by the way, means "the old man." Ask anyone—even Crockett, even Tubbs. Willie is "the old man." Willie is also the man, period. Willie is the man who reminds you how good country was and could still be. Willie is the man who will sing "Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys" tonight, because he has no choice, but he will make it sound poignant and timeworn and rich. Willie is Willie Nelson. This is all that can be said. ERIK HENRIKSEN

ATOMIC BRIDE, BLACK PUSSY
(Matchbox Lounge, 3203 SE Division) If we've really got a zombie apocalypse right around the bend, tunes like those composed by Seattle rockers Atomic Bride will be at the nexus of it. Wielding deceptive, surf-guitar runs with snarky, punk-rock boy-girl vocals, Atomic Bride's new LP Dead Air sounds like a haunted transmission from a sock hop on Mars. The B-52s comparisons aside (Fred Schneider would need to have been weaned on the Misfits and the Pixies for it to equate accurately), the quintet's undeniably strong songs deftly transfer live, as they volley between psychedelia, garage rock, surf punk, and more. It would stand to reason, then, that their appearance at the tiny Matchbox Lounge is a must-see event. With Portland's Black Pussy supporting, that's a safer assumption than the inevitability of a zombie apocalypse... or is it? RYAN J. PRADO

FRIDAY 9/7

CHRISTEENE
(Washington High School, 531 SE 14th) Read our quick picks for the week at the TBA festival here.

DIVERS, SOMETHING FIERCE, OCCULT DETECTIVE CLUB, CHEMICALS
(The Know, 2026 NE Alberta) Local label Dirtnap's newest platter is served Texas style: The 10-inch record is split between two bands from the Lone Star State, Houston's Something Fierce and Denton's Occult Detective Club. Something Fierce's half is delightful, power-poppy punk that's almost insidiously infective. "Warlords of Information" is the resonate gem here, but "The Sound on the Northside of Town" has 12-string jangle and soulfully pained vocals, and "Get on or Get Off" digs up just the right amount of sleaze. Occult Detective's side is full-speed-ahead punk, thick and muscled with sing-along choruses. It's basically a flawless record—something Dirtnap seems to have a knack for—and the two bands have been making their way up the West Coast on a tour to support it. With Portland's Divers also playing tonight, this single bill gives the entirety of MusicfestNW a run for its money; Divers have quickly vaulted to the top of the Portland music food chain, devouring everything in sight with passionate, sweaty, hoarse-throated tunes that positively rock. They're already one of the best bands in Portland, and while it feels a little music-critic-bullshitty to say stuff like this, I bet it's only a matter of time before they're one of the biggest. Join Team Divers tonight; I swear you won't regret it. NED LANNAMANN

BONNIE RAITT, MAVIS STAPLES
(Edgefield, 2126 SW Halsey, Troutdale) Sure, it's not polite to talk about a woman's age, but it should be mentioned that Mavis Staples and Bonnie Raitt have more than a collective century of music making under their belts. Raitt didn't make herself really known until she was in her 40s, finally letting the rest of us in on her bottleneck guitar prowess. While some of her recorded output leans toward the adult contemporary stratum, she's one of the best—if not the best blues player alive. Staples is currently enjoying her own resurgence. The release of the Jeff Tweedy-produced You Are Not Alone in 2010 introduced her music to new ears, while reinforcing what many already knew. At 73, she still has the pipes, and this performance by these two legends is important on so many levels. MARK LORE

SATURDAY 9/8

BLONDIE, DEVO
(Sleep Country Amphitheater, 17200 NE Delfel, Ridgefield, WA) See My, What a Busy Week!

MY MORNING JACKET, SHABAZZ PALACES
(Edgefield, 2126 SW Halsey, Troutdale) With Edgefield's sprawling lawn, flowing kegs, and starry skies, My Morning Jacket's live show promises dusty, psychedelic rock 'n' roll gallops alongside the softer, falsetto repertoires of frontman Jim James. I can't imagine a more perfect setting to hear the Louisville, Kentucky, band—their guitars will blanket your picnic with ghostly abandon, while James' dramatic voice curls through the night air like his famous mane. Still touring on their 2011 album Circuital, the band has been taking requests for each night's setlist, so if you have a hankering to hear some old favorites from The Tennessee Fire or that skankin'-tinged number from Z, tweet it hard and loud. Personally, I'm hashtagging the hell out of "Knot Comes Loose." Earlier in the day, MMJ play for the tykes at Kennedy School's You Who kids show. COURTNEY FERGUSON

YOU WHO: MY MORNING JACKET
(Kennedy School, 5736 NE 33rd) See above listing.

OREGON SYMPHONY, COLIN CURRIE
(Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway) The Oregon Symphony's first classical concert of the 2012/13 season rightfully deserves an exhaustive six-page spread, but the fucking idgits who run this craptastic "newspaper" wouldn't know culture if it bit them on their skinny-jeaned douchetard asses. So here's a preview that even the PBR-addled brain of a Mercury music editor can comprehend: Finnish up front and Italian on the back end, Saturday's program features several epic hits penned by Jean Sibelius and Ottorino Respighi. As if that weren't kick-ass enough, the symphony once again exceeds expectations by sharing the stage with an internationally renowned soloist. Colin Currie is percussion royalty, and he'll be jamming on a five-octave marimba, a metal vibraphone, and a panoply of exotic instruments, showcasing a super fresh composition written especially for him. Unless you've already made plans to hear (yet another) whiny trustafarian strum his way through a setlist of half-assed introspective shit, do yourself a favor and put down this wretched rag, order some symphony tickets, and experience what it's like to have your mind blown by 70-plus musicians of the highest caliber. ANGRY SYMPHONY GUY

NW HIPHOP FEST: COOL NUTZ, BIG BANG, KIMOSABE, KINETIC EMCEES, RISKY STAR, BROWN CAESAR, J. RITZ & SAYWORDS, ROSE BENT, & MORE
(Ash Street Saloon, 225 SW Ash) Although it doesn't get as much shine as some other regions, the Northwest does indeed have a fertile hiphop community if you dig deep enough. Anthony Sanchez of Runaway Productions recognizes this, and he created a festival that spans three evenings (Thursday at Ash Street, Friday at Kelly's Olympian, and tonight at Ash Street again) and showcases a crazy assortment of local acts. All told, it truly runs the gamut. You can expect styles more street than asphalt alongside bars more abstract than Q-Tip's dreams. Tonight's fest-closing showcase culminates with Cool Nutz, whose latest release, Portland Ni%#a, is an epic, controversial auditory testimonial that transcends so-called "local hiphop." Big Bang is a super-fun bananas-bonkers crew that will blow your mind live. Arrive early. RYAN FEIGH

THE WORLD RADIANT, BEAR FEET, THE GHOST EASE
(Kelly's Olympian, 426 SW Washington) In spite of their relative anonymity, Bear Feet have actually been pumping out folk jams since the beginning of 2009, when the group's principal members, Elena Hess and Taylor Schultz, were still attending high school. The duo's eponymous EP is only available on Myspace, but I promise it's worth the voyage (although the Mercury isn't liable for any computer crashing that might result therein). Animated songwriting and seriously good singing (those harmonies could redden the Kingston Trio's cheeks!) set Bear Feet apart from the countless inert, tasteless purveyors of the genre. I'm frankly hesitant to give anything that calls itself "folk" a chance these days, as should you be, but this stuff goes down like sugar. MORGAN TROPER

SUNDAY 9/9

HOTT SUMMER NIGHTS: PURE BATHING CULTURE, KELLI SCHAEFER, PEARLY GATE MUSIC, PURSE CANDY, SEAN FLINN AND THE ROYAL WE, LOST LANDER, HOUNDSTOOTH, & MORE
(Rontoms, 600 E Burnside) See My, What a Busy Week!, and our MusicfestNW guide.

MONDAY 9/10

BRIAN BLADE, SCOUT NIBLETT
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) See My, What a Busy Week!

TUESDAY 9/11

ETERNAL SUMMERS, BLEEDING RAINBOW
(Doug Fir 830 E Burnside) The pleasure factor on Correct Behavior, album number two from Roanoke, Virginia's Eternal Summers, is through the roof. The record's 10 speedy, fuzzy pearls of pop whiz by with no effort at all, flaunting shiny hooks and irresistible melodies while remaining perfectly uncomplicated. The duo of guitarist/singer Nicole Yun and drummer Daniel Cundiff recently expanded to a three-piece, finding bassist Jonathan Woods within Roanoke's Magic Twig artist community where they all live (actually, Woods was the one who introduced Yun and Cundiff to begin with). Correct Behavior was co-mixed by the Raveonettes' Sune Rose Wagner, and it finds that perfect balance of thickly layered, well-scuffed dream-pop and nervy, high-tempo jangle. But it really comes down to those damn near perfect songs, particularly the album's one-two-three opening punch of "Millions," "Wonder," and "You Kill." Eternal Summers dish out their wiry post-punk tunes with ample helpings of puppy-love sweetness, and the remarkable result ends up all the more exhilarating because of it. They share the bill with the equally rad Bleeding Rainbow, the band formerly known as Reading Rainbow. Somewhere, a single tear rolls down LeVar Burton's cheek. NL Also see My, What a Busy Week!

EDWARD SHARPE AND THE MAGNETIC ZEROS, CLAP YOUR HANDS SAY YEAH
(Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway) The reality of Alex Ebert's rebirth as a stadium-folk stalwart is interesting only in that he and his band Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros aren't exactly folky. At least they weren't much at first. Up from Below, the conglomerate's 2009 debut, treads the tide of Ebert's meandering prose, alternately forging urban freak-pop cuts like "Janglin" or the commercial-ready, powwow pomp of "Home." And while Ebert's embrace of Americana in all its musical facets (soul, anti-gospel, folk, rock, pop) on the Zeros' new LP Here is an evolution, it's also a trivial gamble—and, holy shit, it paid off big time. None of the bombast or ambitious instrumentation is missing; there's also a more concise path for the project on display, as heard on the infectious "That's What's Up" and the Sunday sermon-unsafe "I Don't Wanna Pray." RJP

THIS BIKE IS A PIPE BOMB, BIG BLACK CLOUD, DIVERS
(Backspace, 115 NW 5th) A year and a half ago, a collective sob arose from the punk-DIY-leftist community (basically, everyone with a Black Flag tattoo) when This Bike Is a Pipe Bomb announced their end, after 14 years. That they are only now getting around to a farewell tour is indicative of either their penchant for bucking trends or their obliviousness to them. If you don't pay attention to the words, TBIAPB sounds like good-time drinking music. But in their latest incarnation (they started out as new wavers), they found the perfect marriage between raucous punk and earnest folk, combining infectiously simple songwriting with the kind of socially conscious lyrics that haven't been in fashion for a couple of decades. The band may have officially broken up, but it was only a few months ago that yet another cyclist fan was arrested after the cops took one of the band's stickers too literally. REBECCA WILSON

WEDNESDAY 9/12

PARENTHETICAL GIRLS, GOLDEN RETRIEVER, CLASSICAL REVOLUTION
(Washington High School, 531 SE 14th) Read our article on Parenthetical Girls.

SAM GREEN, YO LA TENGO: THE LOVE SONG OF R. BUCKMINSTER FULLER
(Washington High School, 531 SE 14th) Read our quick picks for the week at the TBA festival here.

DWIGHT YOAKAM
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) In a 2002 interview with Larry King, Johnny Cash claimed that Dwight Yoakam was his favorite country singer. Coming from one of the pinnacle icons in mainstream country culture, the compliment stands as both praise and appraisal. Yoakam, however, wasn't always in such bright light. When he first started in Nashville during the early '80s, his new revival of honky-tonk country was rejected in favor of the trending pop-based variety. After leaving the scene that denied him, he ended up in Los Angeles where he shared bills with punk bands like the Blasters and X during the start of his West Coast career. Twenty-five million records of Yoakam's have sold since then, but even if you can't tell upon initially listening to a track like "Guitars Cadillacs," the ethic is historically ingrained: Yoakam is country's punk. JONATHAN MAGDALENO

ANIMAL EYES, FANNO CREEK, PIGEONS, DJ HUNNYPRAWNZ
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Exciting things are afoot for Animal Eyes and Fanno Creek. They are embarking on a tour of Western states, and this first show of the tour celebrates new releases for each: an Animal Eyes EP and Fanno Creek's new 19-track album Live from the Banana Stand. In many ways, the two bands are each other's perfect folk-rock foil: where AE is rambunctious and funky, FC is quietly dramatic; AE is ebullient, FC is introspective; AE has an accordion, but then FC has those harmonies. What they have in common is roots that run deep in the Northwest, literal and aesthetic, and they are both easy to like—the kind of music you want to hear on a sunny weekend afternoon in the backyard. RW

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