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This Week's Music Previews

DE LA WARR Doug Fir, 1/18

DE LA WARR Doug Fir, 1/18

WEDNESDAY 1/16

OLD TIME MUSIC GATHERING KICK-OFF PARTY: CALEB KLAUDER COUNTRY BAND, WHISKEY PUPPY, NEWT PAYNE
(The Spare Room, 4830 NE 42nd) See My, What a Busy Week!

BÉISBOL, MINDEN, SAMA DAMS, MICRASOFT
(Backspace, 115 NW 5th) See My, What a Busy Week!

BIRDS OF CHICAGO, JENN RAWLING AND BASHO PARKS, HUCK NOTARI
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Jenn Rawling's gentle voice takes you to a welcoming, woodsy place that feels like home. The latest collaboration between Rawling and Basho Parks, Take the Air is a refined and romantic collection of songs that stand distinctively on their own but come together to create a strong and thoughtful folk album. Parks' plethora of strings and Rawling's poetic guitar and voice work together to form a compelling and harmonic arrangement. Their music is at once haunting and charming, and their chemistry is wholly undeniable. RACHEL MILBAUER

NICK JAINA, ESMÉ PATTERSON
(Roadside Attraction, 1000 SE 12th) Seeing Nick Jaina play Roadside Attraction will assuredly be a heartwarming and beautiful experience. The bar's quirky, old-timey décor seems perfectly suited to his comforting, emotion-filled songwriting. After spending the latter half of the '00s successfully putting out well-received albums on Hush Records, Jaina decided to step back from the mic to write and produce 2011's The Beanstalks That Have Brought Us Here Are Gone, an album that featured all female vocalists, including locals Luz Elena Mendoza of Y la Bamba, Laura Gibson, and many other stand-out talents. The renowned songwriter didn't stop there, though, and as of late has been pursuing the more intellectual side of music, composing for theater and ballet. Paired with the incredible singer Esmé Patterson of the Denver-based baroque collective Paper Bird, I look forward to looking back on this intimate performance with nostalgia. ROCHELLE HUNTER

THURSDAY 1/17

YARDSSS, ITALICS, ALTERED BEATS
(Backspace, 115 NW 5th) Regarding Krist Krueger's Yardsss: If you read about it before listening, you'd likely mistake it for a liberal arts master's thesis. Where most bands play "shows," Yadrsss puts on "performance case studies" and multimedia installations, including a collection of songs inspired by—not covers of!—avant-garde composer John Cage. All this could be completely obnoxious except for one thing: Yardsss is transcendentally, earth-shatteringly gorgeous. If you can make music like that, you get to call your show a case study. Yardsss tends toward the dark and droning and bombastic, with heady, swelling orchestrations. Perhaps because human voices appear so rarely and the music is so evocative, it occasionally brings to mind Emeralds' Does It Look Like I'm Here? It doesn't take many listens to understand that Krueger is breaking boundaries not for the sake of being (or seeming) transgressive, but to make sounds that awaken actual feelings—uplifting, inspiring emotions. REBECCA WILSON

ANNA FRITZ, SALOON ENSEMBLE, TIMMY STRAW
(Secret Society, 116 NE Russell) In the Portland Cello Project, Anna Fritz plays a supporting role in crafting string renditions of contemporary pop, hiphop, and metal songs. In an ensemble that large, it's sometimes easy to become part of the wallpaper. But on her sophomore solo album, The Gospel of Tree Bark, Fritz escapes the shadows, building politically charged manifestos through slightly unhinged timbres and, sure, lots of cello. But Fritz is no one-cello pony; the album's second track, "On Wisconsin," is a scathing ode to protest, featuring 99 percenter lyrics like "Inside there are men in charge who don't care if our children starve/Our public servants serve themselves, or they tell us all to go to hell." It's that distrustful bent that makes Gospel an eerie, satisfying soothing listen. RYAN J. PRADO

HALO REFUSER, POTATOFINGER, AFRO Q BEN
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Halo Refuser's new album, Melting Magic, is the latest installment of Asher Fulero's cerebral, beat-centric music project. In the past year and a half, he's released three EPs and the full-length debut Ambigrammatic as Halo Refuser (an anagram of his name). Technically, Melting Magic is Fulero's third full-length—he released The Green Piano under his own name in 2010. As different as his solo projects are, they're gargantuan leaps from his days playing with the usual suspects of Northwest jam bands. Though Halo Refuser has its ambient moments, Fulero's onstage electronic experiments are generally too bizarre for that modifier to be applied across the board. This isn't a criticism—minimalism at its most thought provoking demands its listeners' attention. Opening are bombastic Seattle-based PotatoFinger, whom nobody could mistake for a minimalist, and local electro-funk guy Afro Q Ben. RW

FRIDAY 1/18

LORD DYING, DIESTO
(White Owl Social Club, 1305 SE 8th) See My, What a Busy Week!

OLD TIME MUSIC GATHERING
(Scottish Rite Center, 709 SW 15th) See My, What a Busy Week!

PARQUET COURTS, NUCULAR AMINALS, NAOMI PUNK
(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) Read our article on Parquet Courts.

DENVER, WIDOWER, WHAT HEARTS
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Portland country twangers Denver recently suffered a setback when drummer Sean MacNeil moved to New York City, but Quiet Life's Ryan Spellman is taking the throne for tonight's gig. The group just finished recording a new album in November with Eric Earley of Blitzen Trapper producing, and they're going to hit the road in April with Shovels and Rope. Meanwhile, Seattleite Kevin Large—AKA Widower—has assembled an impressive band for tonight's show, during which he'll showcase his splendid new album Fool Moon, recorded at Type Foundry here in Portland with producer Cory Gray. Opening the show is the magnetic folk-rock of What Hearts, who typically play as an all-lady five piece, but in tonight's incarnation will be a coed four: singer/songwriter/guitarist Julie Vitells, bassist Courtney Sheedy, drummer Sarah Fennell, and some dude named Dave Depper doing something or other. NED LANNAMANN

MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. BIRTHDAY TRIBUTE
(Alberta Rose Theatre, 3000 NE Alberta) In addition to being our most syllabic federal holiday, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day has recently been promoted as a day of service—volunteering, picking up trash, generally being less of a dick than usual. And that's important. It's potentially even enjoyable. But all the best birthday parties have tunes, and this particular birthday party is also a fundraiser for the NAACP, which is probably a better way of paying tribute to Dr. King than taking your crap to Goodwill (not saying you can't do both). It's headlined by Portland sax legend Reggie Houston, erstwhile member of the Fats Domino Band and collaborator of Peter Gabriel and the Neville Brothers. He'll be joined by an overwhelming lineup of Portland greats, including vocal powerhouse Shirley Nanette and the soulful LaRhonda Steele. Also, did you know that there's a Jug Band Hall of Fame? There is, and inductee Arlo Leach will be playing, too. RW

BÉISBOL, FOREIGN ORANGE, LIQUID LIGHT, BIKE THIEF
(East End, 203 SE Grand) Your genre-bending, band-cramming, rollercoaster ride of a show starts now, so unfold your arms, Portland show-goers, and get down in the dark, downstairs hall. The show opens with arty folk-rock group Bike Thief, who may or may not "ooh" and "aah" you out of your primary transportation device. Next, Liquid Light's rippling, post-rock guitar riffs and heavily distorted, yearning vocals may make you feel more lost than you've ever been in your life. Then Foreign Orange takes you on a goth parade to the island of dreams. Or at least I think that's what the lyrics mean? And Béisbol's jams are up-tempo pop that you can dance to. The duo is a band of brothers—literally—and their posi-vibe, psychedelic harmonies pull you right to back to where your heart belongs. RH

SUM 41, I AM DYNAMITE, HUNTER VALENTINE
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) If someone asked me to describe pop/punk in unspecific terms, I'd instinctively cite (read: hum the main riff to) "Fat Lip" by Sum 41. It is by no means the genre's finest hour, nor is it a good song, but goddammit if it isn't archetypal. Rolling Stone described the single as a "synthesis of Blink-182, Beastie Boys, and Black Sabbath," which is an appropriately superficial deconstruction, although I suppose they meant it as a compliment. Sum 41 personified the worst elements of Warped Tour skate-punk and its burgeoning rapcore outgrowth, arguably driving the genre and its practitioners to their ultimate conclusion: $1 CD bins (and eventually back into the underground, where something of a pop/punk renaissance appears to be germinating). So shit, it's Friday night—don't you have anything better to do? 'Cause I sure don't. I'll never fall in line. MORGAN TROPER

SATURDAY 1/19

OLD TIME MUSIC GATHERING
(Scottish Rite Center, 709 SW 15th) See My, What a Busy Week!

THEMES, HEARTS AND MINUTES, THE CASTE, GRAMMIES
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Read our article on Themes.

TWO GALLANTS, FUTURE TWIN
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) San Francisco hard-folk duo Two Gallants never quite became the cultural tour de force they were touted as in the mid-'00s, just after the release of their excellent sophomore LP, What the Toll Tells. That's not to say that the band hasn't established a firm catalog of great music. Vocalist/guitarist Adam Stephens' old-soul songwriting and punk-rock panache have made for a glut of songs that are cerebral, literary, and downright rockin'. Their 2012 release The Bloom and the Blight saw an embrace of distorted guitars and sweeping choruses, most fluently on the album's brilliant opener "Halcyon Days." The stripped-down coupling of guitar and drums—played as if employed in a thrash-metal band by percussionist Tyson Vogel—lends an authenticity and loyalty to craft that's as refreshing to see live as it is to hear on wax. RYAN J. PRADO Also see My, What a Busy Week!

JACKSON BROWNE
(Keller Auditorium, 222 SW Clay) It's understandable to be indignant that soft rocker Jackson Browne's been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. (He's in; Mott the Hoople isn't. I know!) But let me list the achievements of Mr. Browne, apart from the fact that his hair has not appeared to change a single strand since the cover of his 1972 debut album. 1) He dated Nico when he was 18 years old. That's right, 18 years old. She was 10 years older than him. 2) The terrific guitar solo—performed by Jesse Edwin Davis—on "Doctor, My Eyes." 3) Um... hmm. Oh! That one song on Running on Empty... no, not that one; that one's awful. I mean the one called "Shaky Town." That one's pretty all right. 4) Okay. That's all I got. Honestly, the Nico thing is probably 95 percent of why he's in the Hall of Fame. He also wrote "These Days" for her, which is not a bad song at all—Don Henley just did a recording of it with Portland's own Blind Pilot, weirdly. Oh, one more! 5) "Somebody's Baby" from the Fast Times soundtrack. That song is a totally legit jam, no foolin'. NL

OTHER SON, POWER OF COUNTY, MERIDIAN, GHOST TO FALCO
(Kenton Club, 2025 N Kilpatrick) For a band that's been around for more than 10 years, Ghost to Falco is still ridiculously tricky to classify. The music pushes the boundaries of comfort and rewards the audience with unique and intentional songs. One thing is consistent: The man behind the curtain, Eric Crespo, has unfailingly experimented on each of his albums, sometimes as a solo act, and sometimes collaborating on record with more than 30 other musicians, as on 2010's excellent Exotic Believers. Crespo makes cerebral music that ranges from minimal noise tracks that don't have a recognizable structure, to Neil Young-esque, electric-guitar rock 'n' roll songs, to delicate folk tunes punctuated with harmonica. Exotic Believers, is an excellent example of Crespo's talent, which has bounced from Portland to North Carolina but has lately been back in our corner, making music that is insightful, diverse, and surprising. RM

SYNTHESIS: J. ALVAREZ, CENTRIKAL, AUDIOELECTRONIC, ACID FARM
(The Rose, 111 SW Ash) Not to be confused with the reggaeton singer of the same name, J. Alvarez—also known as 214—is the moniker of electronic music composer extraordinaire Chris Roman. A Seattleite by way of Miami, this Puerto Rico native and veteran DJ has been at it long enough to know how to stack some serious beats. Following the progression of his music for the last five years, I have seen it morph from genre-specific electro, able to find a home among even the most scrupulous of curators, to an unclassifiable form—Alvarez is a chameleon paying homage to an amalgam of influences, at once distinctly danceable and yet entirely innovative. Exotic rhythms and alien atmospheres are par for the course in this extravagant celebration of sound, and they are not to be missed. CHRISTINA BROUSSARD

QUICKSAND, TITLE FIGHT
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) It's only January, and I'm more excited about this double feature than I was about most of last year's high-profile shows, partly because this is an unimaginably weird bill. First up is Title Fight, a once-hardcore but now full-fledged indie-rock (à la Superchunk, not Arcade Fire) band whose record Floral Green squeezed into my top five of 2012. Headlining is borderline bro-metal/seminal post-hardcore band Quicksand, who surprisingly don't have a new record and are reuniting solely on the popularity of their old material. This is the sort of reunion pretty much everyone dreams of; because creativity is by and large finite, reunion albums and their resultant tours are generally awful. A new album isn't part of this equation, though, so consequently not a lot could go wrong (aside from the band lacking their once-youthful zest, although footage from recent reunion gigs suggests this isn't anything to worry about, either). MT

SUNDAY 1/20

KEITH SWEAT

(Spirit Mountain Casino, 27100 Salmon River Hwy, Grand Ronde) See My, What a Busy Week!

EZZA ROSE, THE UNCERTAINTY PRINCIPLES
(Al's Den, 303 SW 12th) See My, What a Busy Week!

SUN ANGLE, SUMMER CANNIBALS
(Rontoms, 600 E Burnside) Local avant-psych lords Sun Angle are gearing up to release their first full-length Diamond Junk this May, which has many who snatched up the band's self-titled EP on cassette rightfully stoked. The trio—made up of members of Panther, Paper/Upper/Cuts, and Copy—crams countless styles into the mix until it comes out sounding, well, like Sun Angle. You'll hear elements of Afro-Cuban in there. Jazz. And if you try really hard, you'll even discover a hook or two among the No Wave clatter. It's a wonderful and unruly mess that will give your gray matter a much-needed kneading. MARK LORE

MONDAY 1/21

GARETT BRENNAN AND THE GREAT SALT LICKS, W.C. BECK
(Valentine's, 232 SW Ankeny) See My, What a Busy Week!

EZZA ROSE, LANCE LEONNIG
(Al's Den, 303 SW 12th) See My, What a Busy Week!

GOJIRA, DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT, ATLAS MOTH
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE 39th) There's a reason Gojira's L'Enfant Sauvage landed on so many best-of lists in 2012. For one thing, the French metal four-piece is the epitome of musical virtuosity—there are enough twists and turns in one song to make your head spin, Linda Blair style. If you're going to do it, do it to the point where everyone involved is completely exhausted—or to where the listener is wondering if the music is actually being made by humans. Gojira has been at it for some time, delving deep into the human psyche and burying many of their contemporaries in the backyard. Tonight's performance will have you seeing and, no doubt, believing. ML

TUESDAY 1/22

EZZA ROSE, SHOESHINE BLUE
(Al's Den, 303 SW 12th) See My, What a Busy Week!

VIOLET ISLE, JUST LIONS, SAMA DAMS
(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) Tonight, Portland band Just Lions welcomes Monsters into the world, a three-song EP that was a long time coming, due to what singer/guitarist Chandler Strutz calls "some truly shitty health issues that I've been dealing with." As it turns out, three songs are plenty, as every track on Monsters is adventurous, melodic, inventive rock that doesn't leave you wanting. The centerpiece, "Othello," is thunderous, ponderous, and tinged with tragedy—it sounds like a much bigger band than the mere three-piece of Strutz, his brother Brady Strutz, and drummer Andrew Shepherd. (Chandler adds, "Andrew and I have been in bands together for over a decade. Brady and I have been in petty fights about nothing for over two decades.") The tracks on Monsters were initially part of a full-length, but when Chandler fell sick, they decided to release these tracks now rather than wait. Fortunately, Chandler is doing well and Just Lions sounds great, with the solid Monsters to show for it. NL

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