(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) See My, What a Busy Week!
THE FIX'S TWO-YEAR ANNIVERSARY: BOBBITO GARCIA, REV. SHINES, OHMEGA WATTS, DJ KEZ, DUNDIGGY
(Someday Lounge, 125 NW 5th) See My, What a Busy Week!
DRESSY BESSY, COLOURMUSIC, RUSTY STARZ
(White Eagle, 836 N Russell) Denver's Dressy Bessy confects candy-coated pop rock in the same vivid Technicolor hues as fellow Elephant 6'ers the Apples in Stereo, but rather than drenching melodies in late-'60s psychedelic flourishes, Tammy Ealom keeps her songs stripped down to basic guitar riffage. Their latest album Holler and Stomp, though, sacrifices tunefulness for a jerky, mechanical approach that emphasizes the songs' repetitive weaknesses. Also on the bill is Oklahoma's Colourmusic; the last time they came through town, the band dressed entirely in white and played pre-recorded narration between songs. It was the kind of disingenuous high-concept schtick that'll have many rolling their eyes, but the group's dense, warped, creative, psychedelic pop has a way of steamrolling its way to acceptance. NED LANNAMANN
DIGITAL MYSTIKZ, SUB SWARA, NOAH D, RYAN ORGAN, LOKI
(Berbati's Pan, 10 SW 3rd) Digital Mystikz is the duo of dubstep powerhouses Mala and Coki, and the two are known for starting the influential DMZ record label with fellow dubstep pioneer Loefah, and for hosting the accompanying jam-packed club night in South London. Like most dubstep leaders, these guys have a deep love and understanding of dub, garage, house, grime, roots reggae, and the like. Their ability to produce and deliver massive, body-rattling bass with intelligence and political undertones has made them legends on the international scene. Tonight's lineup also includes New York's Sub Swara, whose monthly night of dubstep, ragga, and jungle has become one of the most crowded East Coast destinations for the bass obsessed. AVA HEGEDUS
WOW & FLUTTER, CARCRASHLANDER, SWIM SWAM SWUM
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Cord Amato has all the tact of a bee-stung equine galloping into a crowd of ranch hands, which is to say that on Wow and Flutter's latest full-length, Golden Touch, he employs the tenets of noise rock so deftly you don't know whether to run away or stand still and hope you don't get trampled. Tracks burst in and out of plaintive, sprawling, moody soundscapes, as on "Solar," then move into bizarre '80s DC post-punk, as on "Eclipse" (sample lyric: "Everywhere you try to hide/I'll be the moon"), all while exposing new avenues of craft. "Heaven" touches on everything from NYC dance rock to Romanian gypsy stomps, replete with roiling guitar squalls and peppy trumpets. The Jealous Butcher release barks and whimpers in all the right spots and leaves no doubt that this band puts on an intoxicating live show. RYAN J. PRADO
BONE THUGS-N-HARMONY, FELECIA, THIN C, TA SMALLZ, DRE GHOST, BIG SLOAN, STEW DEEZ, TWISTED INSANE, LIL SYCK
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) Bone Thugs-N-Harmony are easily one of the most influential groups in hiphop history. From their revelatory red cassette debut, through their hiatus and eventual return, Bone always conveyed emotional complexity. What Kanye West is attempting through Auto-Tune, the Cleveland natives achieved by allowing their deflated senses of selves an outlet in their often-sung vivid thug testimonials. Whether or not the full emotional spectrum can find voice in rap alone, it found voice in the shamelessly Middle American crew, now preparing a summer 2009 release. JALYLAH BURRELL
SYMMETRY/SYMMETRY , ANOPECHI, BRIER ROSE, THE MODEL CITIZEN, WITTS END, DEATH TO MING
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE 39th) I hate to sound clichéd but I have a hunch you will enjoy symmetry/symmetry if you think OK Computer is one of the best modern rock albums ever recorded. Explicit comparisons to Thom Yorke set aside, symmetry/symmetry maintains emotional sincerity by exploring spacious musical territories through the cavernous realms of human expressionism. This past year, the trio have been priming their debut, Love Breaks Light, due in February. Their masterpiece is "Le Fin," which begins with an isolated guitar played sullenly underneath Daniel B. Jones' falsetto warning: "Prepare for the war/The storm is at your door." This quickly morphs into an Armageddon of heavy-hitting drums and a spree of electronic mutilation professing the one truth you do not want to hear: "Everyone will die." EM BROWNLOWE
WHITE ALBUM CHRISTMAS: THE NOWHERE BAND
(Bossanova, 722 E Burnside) See My, What a Busy Week!
OREGON PAINTING SOCIETY, ARRINGTON DE DIONYSO, THE GOLDEN HOURS
(Rotture, 315 SE 3rd) See article.
THESE ARMS ARE SNAKES, NARROWS, TRAP THEM
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE 39th) See article.
AMANDA PALMER & THE DANGER ENSEMBLE, THE BUILDERS & THE BUTCHERS, ZOE KEATING
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) If there is a free-spirited, twisted neo-goth queen more deserving of the accolades with which she's been bestowed than Amanda Palmer, then I'm just way out of the loop. Though my exposure to Palmer's singularly epic plume of sounds—typically consisting of heavy pianos, synth, crotchety drums, and her distinct vocal exhibitionism tossed like a dinner salad with whatever else she finds in the studio—is not extensive, I'm hard pressed to find a songwriter more befitting of cult-like pseudo-stardom. As half of the Dresden Dolls, Palmer traversed the scales of big-time touring and respectable album sales, but with her latest, Who Killed Amanda Palmer?, she's soaring on the wings of an altogether different demon, flying a route less traveled, where art supercedes sales and great songs are par for the course. RJP
WEINLAND, MATT SHEEHY & THE BELIEVERS, JOHN VECCHIARELLI
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) This time of year, those of us who are buried neck-deep in music flip through the worn calendar and assemble our annual best-of lists. We share the privilege with various local musicians, bookers, labels, and so on—the results will be published next week—but one name that kept reccurring on this year's lists was Matt Sheehy. His lovely Tigerphobia album was released quietly earlier in the year, and while it lacked the promotional push some of its peers had, it's no less stunning. Joining him in Camp Underrated is Weinland, whose latest, La Lamentor, deserves some year-end acclaim as well. EZRA ACE CARAEFF
LUCERO, MIKE D & THEE LOYAL BASTARDS, MY LIFE IN BLACK & WHITE
(Berbati's Pan, 10 SW 3rd) Lucero festoons the hard-luck workingman's country-punk with ample dashes of heart, which is why the band commands a seemingly chameleonic fanbase. Opening for the Breeders at a 2003 club date in Northern California, the band saw scores of devoted '90s alt-rockers suddenly kneeling at their altar as if in a trance, essentially stealing the show and ushering in a newfound following to the subtle twang and rough-hewn milieu of the Tennessee quartet. The band is still basking in the warm glow of a four-record deal on major label Universal Music Group, and is reportedly hard at work on a summer '09 release. RJP
FLASPAR, FRENCH MIAMI, VERY INTERNATIONAL LOVE
(The Hush, 14 NW 3rd) French Miami's name evokes a high-minded aesthetic that might span an ocean and two continents, a rallying point for a potentially dizzying mindset. The actual music made by this San Francisco group owes less to invocations of art or geography than to simple, unadorned precision: In their music, one hear f taut guitar lines and a minimal electronic influence, all atop compelling rhythms. In theory this might recall, say, Foals, but the end result of French Miami's songwriting is something that simultaneously pushes toward disparate ends of the intellectual/visceral spectrum. TOBIAS CARROLL
THE SPITS, THE GIRLS, THE MEAN JEANS, THE FAST TAKERS
(East End, 203 SE Grand) Rumor has it that this show might mark the end of the Spits' glorious and filthy garage punk run. Boo! But rumor also has it that they are working on yet another record of bouncy punk anthems. Yay! So let's just assume these sources are less than reputable, and the Spits will live on until the very end of days. But just in case the Northwest garage legends do fall in the line of duty, the young Turks (and members of the esteemed Dirtnap crew) in the Girls and the Mean Jeans are always ready to be sworn in. The past, present, and future of punk rock will be safe. EAC
GREY ANNE, ANDY COMBS AND THE MOTH, SNEAKIN' OUT, KELLI SCHAEFER & MORE
(Muddy Waters Coffeehouse, 2908 SE Belmont) Southeast Belmont's Muddy Waters Coffeehouse is morphing into a nonprofit music venue that will donate proceeds to local community shelters, artistic programs for at-risk youth, drug rehab clinics, and low-income health centers. In support of Muddy Waters' humanistic approach and generosity, a handful of Portland notables will perform to raise funds for the café's federal nonprofit application fee. Bands include Sneakin' Out, who will reinterpret your favorite '80s radio hits with their unique blend of instrumental gypsy-jazz grooves, and Grey Anne, who will keep you guessing with quirky serenades masked behind unpredictable costumes and audience-participatory percussion. EB
(Slabtown, 1033 NW 16th) See My, What a Busy Week!.
DREW GROW & KATRINA SKALLAND WITH THE PASTORS' WIVES, MICHAEL VERMILLION, KELLI SCHAEFER, PAUL G. MAZIAR
(Rotture, 315 SE 3rd) See article.
LITTLE JOY, THE DEAD TREES, RED CORTEZ
(Berbati's Pan, 10 SW 3rd) The casual, ratty, half-assed air of the Strokes' first album is what grabbed so many listeners' ears. It's also why their subsequent post-breakthrough efforts sounded bloated and unappealing. Guitarist Albert Hammond Jr. summoned some of that original unaffectedness with his first solo album, and drummer Fabrizio Moretti is damn near swimming in it with his new band Little Joy. Named after a Los Angeles bar, Little Joy sees Moretti trading off with Binki Shapiro and Los Hermanos' Rodrigo Amarante on simple songs that are remarkably cozy and down to earth on their self-titled debut. At times jazzy, twee, and just a fair shake of Velvet Underground-druggy, Little Joy is the best Strokes-related album since Is This It, but it's probably for the best if you forget about the Strokes altogether and instead revel in Little Joy's warmly lit pop in all its tossed-off informality. NL
DIRTYBIRD PDX-MAS: WORTHY, CHRISTIAN MARTIN, J.PHLIP, NORDIC SOUL, MISS VIXEN & MORE
(The Station, 2410 N Mississippi) The management over at Dirtybird Records should give itself a raise. Just about every record released since the 2005 launch of the San Francisco tech-house label has been a hit. The sound and imagery of the label have become recognizable as a unique brand, and their events are so quirky and loaded with bass that it's impossible not to let loose. Behind all the fun and games is a crew of very serious producers. Tonight is a showcase of their talent featuring Worthy (who also runs Anabatic Records), Christian Martin, and the newest addition to the Dirtybird coop, J.Phlip, a promising young DJ/producer with roots in Chicago house music and armed with a very impressive debut release, Rumble Rumble, that fits right into the label's oddball aesthetic. AVA
THE CAVE SINGERS, PAST LIVES, Y LA BAMBA
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) The visual stage presence of Seattle's the Cave Singers can be a stark one: vocals, guitar, and drums. It's because of that very stripped-down arrangement, though, that their music possesses the force that it does. Atop winding guitar lines and rolling drums, Pete Quirk sets free heartbroken stories of small-town romance and cross-country jaunts, making for an unexpectedly cathartic live experience. Past Lives' lineup includes three former Blood Brothers, and they share with their previous group an outsider's intensity, as even their slower songs smolder. Their more upbeat numbers tap into a raging, kinetic freneticism that nonetheless feels tightly focused. TC
DEAD MEADOW, REBEL DRONES, DJ GABRIEL
(East End, 203 SE Grand) There are a lot of bands doing it, but no one is better at stoner rock than Dead Meadow, who have the sense to pair their heavy riffage with an utterly laidback groove. They've mellowed out since the move to sunny, smoggy Los Angeles, but that type of downshift suits the band, whose oeuvre depends on the ability to sound like there's not a ton of effort involved. Sometimes Dead Meadow plods, but their songs inevitably gain a hypnotic momentum, and the swirling guitars and nasal vocals conjure up a mythical land of thundercloud gods, enormous trees of silver, and lava-filled riverbeds. It's nice to see that metal hasn't entirely cornered the market for these kinds of reveries. NL
PANTHER, HAWNAY TROOF, EXPLODE INTO COLORS
(Rotture, 315 SE 3rd) See My, What a Busy Week!
SABERTOOTH, SHICKY GNAROWITZ
(Valentine's, 232 SW Ankeny) See My, What a Busy Week!
WE'RE FROM JAPAN, BRIGHT RED PAPER, AUTOPILOT IS FOR LOVERS
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) I've always had the theory that most casual music fans like an instrumental band. Not multiple bands, just one—be it Tristeza or Explosions in the Sky. Far too many listeners only dip their toes in those murky instrumental waters, fearful to leave dry land. Case in point: the tragically slept-upon instrumental quartet of We're from Japan. Beyond the name (they're most definitely not), the band has created a monstrous new long-player in Now Breathe, which demolishes their previous output in one fell swoop of chaotic rock arrangements that begin at a glacial pace before joyfully imploding in a climax of glorious distortion and panic. The result is a masterful stroke of deliberate noise that rewards patient and casual listeners alike. It's about time you found room in your heart for another instrumental band. EAC Also see My, What a Busy Week!
WILDERNESS, SAN SERAC, THEECATERPILLAR
(Rotture, 315 SE 3rd) See My, What a Busy Week!
(Jackpot Records, 3574 SE Hawthorne) See My, What a Busy Week!.
YAHOWHA 13, ETERNAL TAPESTRY
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) See My, What a Busy Week!
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) See My, What a Busy Week!
STRANGERS DIE EVERY DAY, BLUE CRANES, AUTOPILOT IS FOR LOVERS
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) See My, What a Busy Week!, and Once More with Feeling, pg. 26.
BLIND PILOT, LOCH LOMOND , THE OLD BELIEVERS
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) See article.