LA SERA, MAGIC TRICK, FOXYGEN (Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) The echoes of rock 'n' roll's past come at you at mind-warp speed on Take the Kids off Broadway, the magnificent new record from Foxygen: Is that Mick Jagger singing? Is this an outtake from the Pretty Things' S.F. Sorrow? Could this track be a remix of Bowie's "The Bewlay Brothers"? No—it's all Foxygen, and the bicoastal duo's brilliance is in making familiar textures into a remarkable new patchwork. If their scattershot approach is reminiscent of the teenagers-got-into-the-Scotchgard sound of Ariel Pink, there's a majesty in Take the Kids off Broadway's insanity that makes me think of Os Mutantes' inventiveness, Roy Wood's cuddly Wizzard choirs, and the sheer kitchen-sink audacity of "I Am the Walrus." Oregon's Richard Swift helped mix the record, and singer Sam France hails from Olympia (Foxygen's other member, Jonathan Rado, hails from New York), offering a Pacific Northwest pedigree to what is one of the year's most exciting, astonishing debuts. NED LANNAMANN Also read our article on Le Sera.
EMMYLOU HARRIS AND HER RED DIRT BOYS, STEVE MARTIN AND STEEP CANYON RANGERS (Edgefield, 2126 SW Halsey, Troutdale) We'd tell you go see the spectacular Emmylou Harris anyway—her clearwater voice only gets better with age—but when you throw Steve Martin on the bill? Turns out the genius comedian is also a stunningly good banjo player, so expect to be awed by his pickin' skills when he's not cracking wise. NL
NEW SKIN FOR THE OLD CEREMONY: NEAL MORGAN, ROBIN PECKNOLD, KATIE BERNSTEIN, JOHN GNORSKI, DAVIS HOOKER, LAUREL KNAPP (Hollywood Theatre, 4122 NE Sandy) Artistic hub/boutique Nationale teams up with the Sound + Vision Festival to bring you an evening in tribute to Leonard Cohen, "New Skin for the Old Ceremony," in two parts. First a program of 11 short films inspired by the Master of Erotic Despair, followed by live cover sets from Neal Morgan, Robin Pecknold, and more. MARJORIE SKINNER
ASK SOPHIE, GRESHAM TRANSIT CENTER (Slabtown, 1033 NW 16th) I've been trying to think of a fluid way to begin this blurb for hours now, and I've had a few false starts ("Gresham Transit Center are as 'far out' as their name suggests"). This band deserves better, so I'll cut to the chase: Gresham Transit Center are a great band that writes great songs. They have a 10-song LP released in February titled Everybody's Fancy available on their Bandcamp, and it's some of the most inspired folk-pop I've heard in what feels like forever. The boy/girl vocal blend is eerily reminiscent of antecedent PDX legends Eskimo and Sons, but Gresham Transit Center certainly have an identity of their own, one that will surely continue to blossom. Album highlights include opener "Come See What I've Got" and closer "Inky Colored Jar." Expect great things. MORGAN TROPER