FRI NOV 13
Tony Molina w/Joanna Gruesome, King of Cats; Analog Café, 720 SE Hawthorne
At the vanguard of successful Pinkerton-core is singer/songwriter Tony Molina, whose debut LP, Dissed and Dismissed, whizzes by in under 15 minutes, all of which are packed with pure aural sublimity and sound almost like parodies of '90s revivalists. Each song pretty much follows an identical template: a refulgent vocal hook, followed by a halftime section of faux-baroque guitar-monies that could bring a much-needed scarlet mantling to Rivers Cuomo's cheeks.
If you consider pop music a form of intergenerational musical dialogue, Dissed and Dismissed is a masterpiece. On one hand, it's shameless serial plagiarism (the fact that Molina covers a Guided by Voices song on the record after ripping them off for 10 tracks in a row is pretty funny)—but on the other hand, it's a masterful overview of Gen X guitar pop that is identifiably superior to its worn-on-the-sleeve influences, unfettered by the things that made the Gin Blossoms and early Weezer undeniably corny. Molina also performs an all-ages show at Winch Hall at Reed College (3203 SE Woodstock) on Sunday, November 15, with Rod, Pass, Alyeska, and Dog Thieves.
The Menzingers w/MewithoutYou, Pianos Become the Teeth, Restorations; Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell
Bearing an explicit Bruce Springsteen influence—especially if you're a punk band—is surefire artistic hara-kiri. I mean, shit, taking the Boss seriously is hard enough as it is.
An exception to that rule is Scranton, Pennsylvania's the Menzingers, whose 2012 LP On the Impossible Past is great through and through, in spite of its evocations of Northeastern malaise (that may or may not have been inspired by real experiences). Opening track "Good Things" is a near-perfect punk anthem that probes the inescapable bewilderment of young adulthood without seeming like hackneyed, Tumblr garbage—and its pronouncement in the chorus that "all good things should fall apart" is perfect and painful in all of its aphoristic glory.
Dance Gavin Dance w/Slaves, A Lot Like Birds, Dayshell, Strawberry Girls; Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE César E. Chávez
Say what you will about Dance Gavin Dance's more recent outings—"they're awful," for instance—but the band's 2007 debut, Downtown Battle Mountain, is still one of the more interesting documents of mid- to late-'00s mall emo miscellanea. It's one of those rare records with a virtuosic saunter that still manages a semblance of human feeling. Remember that stuff?
SAT NOV 14
All-Ages Action Presents: Dog Mountain w/Amos Val, Chung Antique, Sabonis; Mother Foucault's Bookshop, 523 SE Morrison
Bellingham's Dog Mountain—who just recently changed their name from Dogs—released a terrific EP this spring called Well Dressed Dogs. It's a record that constantly toes the line between Ween-ish, ironic attitudinizing and shambolic twee in the tradition of Tullycraft or Calvin Johnson. "In My Head" typifies this dichotomy best, with a jangly, self-conscious verse that transmogrifies into a "loud" chorus characterized by a melody that brings to mind heyday Built to Spill—heavily distorted electric guitar and shout-along background vocals. At the heart, Well Dressed Dogs' eminently chill aesthetic (which borders on self-parody at times) contains a fair degree of guts and pop aptitude. This shit ain't easy, even if these dogs want you to think otherwise.