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ON AN ON Doug Fir 1/12

ON AN ON Doug Fir 1/12

WEDNESDAY 1/9

DROPPING GEMS SHOWCASE: NATASHA KMETO, THE GREAT MUNDANE, RAP CLASS, GHOST FEET, DEVONWHO & MORE
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) See My, What a Busy Week! and read our article on Dropping Gems.

THE NORTH WIND, LANGUAGE, DESIGN DRIFT DISTANCE
(Someday Lounge, 125 NW 5th) Back in October, the North Wind released their debut EP, Mirror Lake. The atmospheric, melodic rock soundtracked the falling leaves to perfection, but the songs still sound good in January. Guitar-based and wordless, the North Wind largely avoids sounding like prog (not that there's anything wrong with that), despite the fact that one of their songs—the best, I think—is named "5 Sons of King Pandu." Long form is the specialty of spacey electronic trio Language. As in, 10 minutes is on the short side. Dubs and samples interweave with guitars to create laidback jams with Kelly Schirmann's otherworldly vocals soaring over the top. The effect is mysterious, improvisational, and confounding: Are they really that good on the fly? Design Drift Distance kicks off the cerebral lineup with spiky post-rock songs of traditional length and intelligible vocals. REBECCA WILSON

HAZEL'S WART, THE SKY ABOVE AND EARTH BELOW, LUNCH
(Laughing Horse Books, 12 NE 10th) I'm not generally an indecisive person, but there's one thing I can never quite make up my mind about—whether I prefer lo-fi pop to hi-fi pop. I should be able to appreciate both approaches equally, but I can't help but feel like I'm betraying Robert Pollard whenever I marvel at Rumours or vice versa (I realize this is probably a super-peculiar neurosis). But San Fransisco's Hazel's Wart may have convinced me that all pop begs to be recorded (at least semi-) shoddily. Their endearingly scrappy recordings reinforce that sense of urgency already present in their songs but which sterile, high-quality production would almost definitely diminish. The band's debut EP, aptly entitled A Demonstration, is certainly the more indecipherable of the group's two available releases (it gives Times New Viking a run for their money), but it's the follow-up, Together We Didn't, that straddles that hi/lo-fi line perfectly. Let's hope they don't start sounding "better." MORGAN TROPER

THURSDAY 1/10

HOVERCRAFT RECORDS SHOWCASE: CLOROX GIRLS, GUANTANAMO BAYWATCH, THE SUICIDE NOTES, BOOM!, COURTNEY AND THE CRUSHERS, HEY LOVER, THE NO TOMORROW BOYS, PATAHA HISS
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Hovercraft Records is Portland's home for punk nostalgists, so it's hardly surprising that this showcase features a handful of terrifically enjoyable bands that never flipped the calendar past 1978—the Suicide Notes, Courtney and the Crushers, Pataha Hiss, the No Tomorrow Boys. On a more contemporary note, Clorox Girls are headlining, apparently with their original lineup—which means that there may be an actual girl in the mix. To my mind, the standouts are Guantanamo Baywatch and their sister band, Boom! In particular, Boom! make post-punk that's equally informed by their own imagination as by their musical forerunners. I was recently blown away by their Boom!...does the Ronettes!, a delightful covers EP that transforms the sunny originals into an accurate depiction of the degeneracy of the songs' writer/producer, Phil Spector. For tonight's jam-packed showcase, the first 250 people in the door will be handed a free 23-track compilation cassette, representing the lion's share of Hovercraft's roster. RW Also see My, What a Busy Week!

FRIDAY 1/11

BIG ASS BOOMBOX: WOODEN INDIAN BURIAL GROUND, FANNO CREEK, NINJA TURTLE NINJA TIGER, TIGER HOUSE, THANKS, FRIENDS AND FAMILY, DONOVAN BREAKWATER
(Someday Lounge, 125 NW 5th) I cannot get enough of the band Thanks. Upon first listen you'll be greeted by many familiar sounds, but I hesitate to classify them as a throwback band. Imagine Amy Winehouse with a sweet backing band doing some Rolling Stones covers in your friends' basement. Their sound is chilling yet full of energy. The fat soul bass and dance-off between the strong female vocals and the squirmy guitar licks are definite highlights. Although their debut EP Silver Scars Will Be Our Constellations was just released in November, they have been playing together for over a year, and their live performance is what you should put your money on. With members hailing from local bands such as Little Volcano (who also play this festival), My Autumn's Done Come, Dirty Mittens, possibly—well, probably—others, it's not a surprise they know how to play a good show. Thanks play tonight as part of the Big Ass Boombox festival, a two-day free festival that spills from Backspace and Someday over to Kelly's Olympian and Floating World Comics, with 40 bands and spoken word performers, too! ROCHELLE HUNTER Also see My, What a Busy Week!

THE GUTTERS, SAD HORSE, WIMPS, THE WOOLEN MEN
(The Know, 2026 NE Alberta) At the very least, the new 7-inch single from Portland punk duo the Gutters offers value for money. Five complete songs grace the package, and while none of them last longer than a minute and change, each contains enough raunchy chords, brain-dead choruses, and ridiculously fake British accents to appeal to your basest punk-rock instincts. There's even a song that asks the question posed eternally by DIY rockers, "Should we make a 7-inch?," turning these slapdash, sloppy, two-chord butcheries into something hilariously meta. Like a mongrel that follows you home from school, you can't help can't falling in love with the Gutters' mangy, possibly diseased tunes, and there's no question they're gonna love you back. This record is a goddamn blast. NED LANNAMANN

SIR RICHARD BISHOP, AUDIOS AMIGOS, BEN VON WILDENHAUS
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) For more than 30 years, including 28 as a member of Sun City Girls, Sir Richard Bishop has explored new worlds with each otherworldly new release. At the same time, there's no mistaking it's him. The guitarist remains prolific, too, which shouldn't come as a surprise considering his proclivity for mining the cultural and historical fabric of America and beyond. A typical Bishop release can include spaghetti-western picking and Hindi-influenced strums all within minutes of each other. At times it's tuneful, at others a little more abstract. At the end of the day you get the impression that Sir Richard is just in it for himself. Luckily, we reap the benefits. MARK LORE

SATURDAY 1/12

RJD2, MANIC FOCUS, MEDIUM TROY
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) See My, What a Busy Week!

GOTHAM A GO GO: BATARANG, DJ GREGARIOUS
(White Owl Social Club, 1305 SE 8th) See My, What a Busy Week!

RUSSIAN OLD NEW YEAR: CHERVONA, THE FLYING BALALAIKA BROTHERS, LEONID NOSOV, DJ CHKALOV
(Star Theater, 13 NW 6th) See My, What a Busy Week!

MANHATTAN MURDER MYSTERY, SHITTY WEEKEND, JUICY KARKASS, MYTHOLOGICAL HORSES
(Slabtown, 1033 NW 16th) Read our article on Manhattan Murder Mystery.

BIG ASS BOOMBOX: CHARTS, FATHER FIGURE, NEW YORK RIFLES, SOUVENIR DRIVER, BUBBLE CATS, THE FASTERS
(Kelly's Olympian, 426 SW Washington) On Souvenir Driver's debut full-length, Lifts the Curse, the pop conglomerate fashions an ambitious soundscape of sleepy-eyed, fuzzy guitar-rock. The Portland quartet somehow pulls off pairing psychedelic sex-punk tunes like "Philosophy" with more grandiose, Brit-pop-oriented epics like "Futures" or the noodle-y ballad "Trust," while sustaining a common thread of powerful, emotive songcraft. Repetition plays a big role in the Souvenir Driver oeuvre, and songs tend to dawdle on past the five-minute mark; but the reward for patience is a wonderfully moody panorama of reverb-y dream-pop that ought to fit in nicely with tonight's installment of Big Ass Boombox, spread out over four downtown venues. For extra fun tonight, try to guess in advance the course that Charts bassist Andrew Clyde's nomadic antics will take, before he inevitably climbs onto a bass amp, an audience member, or a bar table to perform. RYAN J. PRADO Also see My, What a Busy Week!

BEETHOVEN'S EMPEROR CONCERTO: ANDRÉ WATTS, CHRISTOPH KÖNIG, OREGON SYMPHONY
(Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway) What would it be like to have a living legend jam with your favorite local band? One's daydreaming could lead to pants-wetting images of Neil Young strumming with Weinland, or Björk yodeling with Menomena. Luckily, I ain't some poor sap forced to settle for mere flights of fancy—because I already scored tickets for the Oregon Symphony's next concert, featuring piano god André Watts. Listen the fuck up: Most Oregon Symphony concerts feature an international virtuoso that teams up with Portland's big band, but Mr. Watts is this season's only soloist to carry legendary status with him onto the Schnitzer stage. Introduced by Leonard Bernstein on national TV in the early '60s when he was a 16-year-old black kid, the wunderkind instantly rocketed to stardom and has been playing to packed houses ever since. The sweet, sweet fact that Watts is in PDX to knock out Ludwig van Beethoven's Fifth (and final) Piano Concerto makes this program the very first do-not-miss performance of 2013. Why not be absolutely crazy and resolve to catch at least one show in the new year that doesn't feature ironic facial hair? ANGRY SYMPHONY GUY

GEOGRAPHER, ON AN ON
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Judging by Give In, the forthcoming debut album from new Minneapolis band On an On, a crisis can lead to great things. Made up of three members of the band Scattered Trees, the group formed sort of accidentally, when the three—Nate Eiesland, Alissa Ricci, and Ryne Estwing—decided to carry on after that band fell to pieces. Using leftover studio time that was already booked, the trio worked with Broken Social Scene producer Dave Newfeld and reinvented themselves on the fly as a more or less entirely new band. None of it would matter if Give In weren't the beautiful record that it is. Boasting songs that alternately tremble in delicacy and explode with bombast, it's melodramatic pop, rendered in smart and wholly appealing colors. NL

SUNDAY 1/13

LOUDON WAINWRIGHT III, DAR WILLIAMS
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) See My, What a Busy Week!

BEETHOVEN'S EMPEROR CONCERTO: ANDRÉ WATTS, CHRISTOPH KÖNIG, OREGON SYMPHONY
(Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway) See Saturday's listing.

CHELSEA WOLFE, KING DUDE, CASE STUDIES
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) This is the second date on a monthlong, acoustic-only US tour that perfectly pairs doom-crooners Chelsea Wolfe of Los Angeles and Seattle's King Dude. Anyone who's ever loved the gorgeous angst of early PJ Harvey and/or currently swoons to icy-cold epics by the Knife or Zola Jesus will instantly fall in love with Wolfe's dark heartbreakers from her new album, Unknown Rooms: A Collection of Acoustic Songs. King Dude will go on to tour Europe afterward, promoting his new album, Burning Daylight. Both are going to burn brighter than ever in 2013, so catch them in the excellent intimacy of the Doug Fir while you still can. KELLY O

RAEIN, BIRDBRAIN, CARRION SPRING, DUCK LITTLE BROTHER DUCK
(Laughing Horse Books, 12 NE 10th) It's been over half a decade since screamo briefly entered and exited the mainstream consciousness, but that doesn't mean nobody cares anymore. On the contrary: Among a peculiar breed of hipster, for lack of a less vulgar word—the kind clad in earth tones, whose coolness is relative to the obscurity of his favorite hardcore record—screamo and all its relatives and outgrowths have endured marvelously and have even become a sort of generational secret handshake. So it's no surprise that Italian screamo lodestar Raein's appearance in Portland is generating a degree of rabidity typically reserved only for a hypothetical 'N Sync reunion. Granted, this is a pretty big deal—Raein verges on "fucking legendary" status and they're playing a donation-based, all-ages show at a bookstore. While undoubtedly satisfying fans of their older material, the group's latest offering, Sulla Linea d'Orizzonte Tra Questa Mia Vita e Quella di Tutti, unexpectedly flirts with a variety of other styles (dream pop, Sonic Youth worship). All in all, you gotta go. MT

TxE, VINNIE DEWAYNE, MIC CAPES
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Tetherball is the latest from local trio TxE, a five-song EP that once again finds Tope and Epp rapping over production crafted by G_Force. Thematically, the project is an ode to golden-era hiphop, featuring nods to A Tribe Called Quest's "Check the Rhime" as well as a prominent Biggie Smalls sample on the title track. Mic Capes recently released his excellent solo debut, Rise and Grind, and will be performing selections from it with the assistance of fellow Resistance member Glenn Waco. Chicago resident/North Portland native Vinnie Dewayne rounds out the bill, providing an excellent way to start the new year, rocking with the very highest quality of what Portland hiphop has to offer. RYAN FEIGH

MONDAY 1/14

A HAPPY DEATH, THE HOLY CHILD, BRAIN CAPITAL
(East End, 203 SE Grand) See My, What a Busy Week!

BEETHOVEN'S EMPEROR CONCERTO: ANDRÉ WATTS, CHRISTOPH KÖNIG, OREGON SYMPHONY
(Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway) See Saturday's listing.

TUESDAY 1/15

LADY GAGA
(Rose Garden, 1 Center Ct) See My, What a Busy Week! and read our article on Lady Gaga.

PHREAK: ELECTRONIC MUTATIONS: SUNFALLS, NOYOUYESME, HUEY COBRA, OGO EION
(Ash Street Saloon, 225 SW Ash) As Phreak is one of Portland's most eclectic offerings of live electronic music, I was glad to hear that it will still endure, albeit on a new night and at a new venue (its new berth is Ash Street, taking over from its former home at Plan B). It is put on by the PAN!ZEN and Reactionary music collectives, both known for their encouragement of experimentalism in art and music of all forms. Spanning the myriad subgenres of electronica to present styles that include drum and bass, dubstep, glitch, and experimental ambient, Phreak aims to give a broad taste of a fascinating genre that too often falls victim to misconceptions and stereotypes. CHRISTINA BROUSSARD

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