If you take just one piece of advice from me, let it be this: GO SEE NICE NICE PLAY SUPERFEST AT ROTTURE ON SUNDAY NIGHT. I am not joking around here. Do it. It's even all ages.
Nice Nice have relinquished their Creative Recluse Society membership cards to JD Salinger and are finally—yes, yes—returning to the stage. Though this drums-guitar-and-electronics duo may have slipped quietly out of the limelight in the two years that have elapsed since they last played a show, there is no reason to expect that their fundamental attribute has changed—namely, that Nice Nice may well be the best live band in the world. We're talking about a rock group that can appropriate Can-style bit-rhythm games, Sahara Desert blues riffs, and Sheffield atmospherics without a hint of contrivance or lost urgency. Having finally completed their forthcoming debut album for Warp Records (twice, actually, with a hard drive meltdown and subsequent need to re-record explaining the glacial production pace), Nice Nice seem as excited that they're playing again as I am. Guitarist and vocalist Jason Buehler shared some thoughts on their Superfest performance:
"I'm sure that we will play songs from the album live at some point—and many of them are based on things that we have played live in the past—but right now we are pretty sick of that stuff and eager to move on. We want to make some new music, and after being focused on developing 'songs' for so long we are really looking forward to just playing and creating new music in real time. So I think we will do a lot of jamming at this show and, since the lineup for Superfest is full of fun dance-oriented bands, we will probably try to keep that feeling going." Do not be confused by the word "jamming"—this is a band you want to hear jam.
Speaking of storied Portland bands that have been conspicuously quiet for too long, Kill Rock Stars (KRS) has announced that it will be releasing a new record from the newly bass-wielding, three-piece Quasi on October 27. KRS Vice President Maggie Vail laid out an airtight mathematical proof of the inevitability of the partnership: "Old friends/KRS in PDX/new record/love band = duh!" For his part, Quasi frontman Sam Coomes expressed a new level of comfort with the project and letting it "be pretty much a pop band." It turns out this pairing is also an opportunity to right old wrongs of the sort usually only doled out in romantic comedies. Vail explained, "Sam gave Slim [Moon, KRS founder] a demo years ago before they signed to Up Records and Slim didn't listen to it quick enough and missed out on his chance. They were one band that we've always wanted to work with and lamented not being able to."
In other signing news, Technicolor piano pop-mongers Nurses are putting out their debut LP Apple's Acre with label-on-the-rise Dead Oceans (also home to Portland's White Hinterland) on August 4. The band will be headlining the free, all-ages KPSU 15-Year Anniversary Festival taking place in Pioneer Courthouse Square on Saturday, June 27 (10 am-10 pm), along with Church and Tender Forever!
One free, all-ages music festival on Saturday not enough for you? Fine then, glutton. Make note of No.Fest in St. Johns, which offers a centralized smorgasbord of underexposed local musical acts working largely outside of Portland's indie rock mainstream. Highlights include Evolutionary Jass Band, Illmaculate, Pulse Emitter, SubArachnoid Space, and the recently revived Mustaphamond.