WED AUG 17
The Castaway Kids w/Amber Moon, Pedestrian Street Gang; Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison
Portland is a great incubator for teen indie rock projects, and the Castaway Kids are the next in a long line of young dudes making inoffensive indie pop that’s laced with opportunity. TCK is a group of high school boys, and their songs are indicative of that: long intros of goofy conversation, lyrics about how great the beach is, a confusing mix of sincerity and not giving a fuck that’s standard 17-year-old fare. But their first EP shows immense promise: Every song is crazy catchy, and lead singer Tristan Jackson’s bellows and groans are in a register too low and pained for such poppy melodies, adding layers to the otherwise stock surf rock tunes. While the Castaway Kids could either clean up or fuzz up their sound and find a more comfortable and fruitful home on the surf rock spectrum, unfortunately Saturday’s show at Analog will be their last before disbanding.
SAT AUG 20
Cheena w/Rixe, Mommy, Urochromes, Criminal; Black Water Bar, 835 NE Broadway
Cheena is a band that loves New York, the ’70s, and having long hair. If you love those things too, you’ll probably love Cheena! There isn’t much complexity to the NYC rock band, but their firm grasp on what they like about ’70s Lower East Side rock compensates for a lack of cutting edge. It’s raucous and fun, the perfect party music for dudes in tight denim who don’t quite get King Tuff. A noticeable lack of pretension sets Cheena apart from many other bands on their label, Sacred Bones, a collective of many musicians who are talented, but shrouded in art-house superiority. This pure-and-simple rock ’n’ roll band keeps Sacred Bones down to earth and shows that Cheena has appeal beyond rockabilly throwback enthusiasts.
TUES AUG 23
Teen Suicide w/Elvis Depressedly, Nicole Dollanganger, Molly Shannon Molly Shannon; Analog Café, 720 SE Hawthorne
Everything about Teen Suicide makes sense. It makes sense that the low-fi, emo-drone band found their first fans through Tumblr, the internet’s emotional playground. It makes sense that all of their songs, with titles such as “dead cat” and “everything is going to hell” aren’t capitalized, and it makes sense that the band toured with equally despondent darling Alex G. Teen Suicide knows itself and its appeal, something they sacrifice just slightly for higher production values on their newest release, the 26-track It’s the Big Joyous Celebration, Let’s Stir the Honeypot. They’ve cleaned up their sound and added production techniques absent from their previous bedroom-recording wheelhouse. But while this makes the songs sound more professional, it also robs the tracks of the manic, juvenile despair that made so many manic, desperate juveniles latch on so tightly to the band. Teen Suicide’s roots are still visible; I just hope they don’t lose themselves to forced maturation.