NOMMO OGO, MYRIONOS MARIONETTE, RENDING SINEW
(Someday Lounge, 125 NW 5th) You've got to hand it to the Someday Lounge for managing to challenge even those of us who think ourselves unchallengeable. Tonight the new venue hosts Nommo Ogo, a strange caste of experimentalists who formed out of the basement of an Alaskan trophy shop 10 years ago. Self described as "music for large-scale natural phenomena," these fringe artists offer up a post-industrial grab bag of crackling machine noises and unsettling whispers. This is reportedly only their third Portland performance, so if you are one of the special souls who thrives on this type of mind fuck, then pop your meds and head on down. JOSH BLANCHARD
JEREMY ENIGK, BLUE SKIES FOR BLACK HEARTS, THE BEND
(Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) See Music, pg. 19.
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) See My, What a Busy Week, pg. 15.
(Fez Ballroom, 316 SW 11th) Why the fuck don't hippies wear shoes? What's wrong with shoes? Is there a connection between their barefooted approach to life and the wandering, never-ending Garaj Mahal tracks packed inside their trust-fund iPods? Perhaps. Maybe listening to Garaj Mahal all day, and having a crossbred mutt mix of experimental jazz, world music, and sterile funk pumped into your head is enough to make you actually enjoy pulling rocks, pointy little sticks, wayward staples, and shards of glass from your hard, weather-beaten feet? I guess whether or not Garaj Mahal is the reason for shoeless hippies is debatable. The fact that the jam band's hour-and-a-half-long sitar solos are enough to captivate music majors and kids on so many hallucinogens that their mouths won't shut speaks for itself. Garaj Mahal is powerful stuff. MATT DRISCOLL
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) No, music is not exactly like a pizza (the more people who dig in, the smaller piece that you can enjoy). But then again, it isn't that different, is it? I mean, who wouldn't rather devour a live show from big name talent with fewer people in the crowd? And that's precisely Mississippi Studios' charm. Barely bigger than a shoebox, over the past few years the venue has been drawing in big, big, big talent to its tiny space. A week or so ago, for example, after their blowout show at Wonder Ballroom, Storm and the Balls wandered over and played to a handful of late-night carousers. It was a remarkable show, so intimate that nearly everyone there was close enough to reach out and touch the buxom star. (No, I resisted!) Tonight, gypsy jazz guitarist Robin Nolan brings his own enormous talent to the intimate venue. With a playful and quick-witted style, Nolan has filled massive auditoriums like the Lincoln Center, played elite shows like the Montreal Jazz Festival and headlined the Django Tribute Festival. Tonight he squeezes his huge talent onto the small stage—and trust me, this will only intensify the music's punch. PHIL BUSSE
CROSSTIDE, TEA FOR JULIE, SCISSORS FOR LEFTY
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) A while back, a friend and I got into one of those utterly absurd debates about music. I was desperately trying to convince him that the Spice Girls make good music. I mean, really, sort of like candy canes and crack, they're hard not to enjoy, right? And isn't that what music should be about? Enjoyment? He retorted, "It's just way too easy to like the Spice Girls." He went on to explain that to truly love a song, you need to work to understand it. Something like John Coltrane. What the heck does Crosstide have to do with this debate? They may be a band that satisfies both requirements: Their brand of emo-pop is instantly likeable, but their music also demands work, and deepens with each listen. Bret Vogel's voice is wonderfully sweet and alluring, but there are also profound complexities to it; it is languid but simultaneously uplifting. Likewise, at first listen, the music seems reminiscent of radio-friendly R.E.M. or Echo & the Bunnymen songs, but then the songs unfold into dramatically epic and complex soundscapes that no Clear Channel station would comprehend. Decide for yourself tonight if the band's charm lies in their catchy pop ballads, or the complex music labyrinths they construct. PB
3 INCHES OF BLOOD, ZEKE, BOOK OF BLACK EARTH, ALMOST IS NOTHING
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE 39th) There's nothing like a night with Zeke—if you can make it through. Think clenched necks wet with sweat, flexed forearms thick with veins on the verge of bursting, scrawny heroin bodies trapped inside tight faded black T-shirts, stringy hair slapping and slicing the air, black boots stuck like rock foundations to the stage, indecipherable yelps spitting into the microphone as if to destroy it, and the fastest goddamn machinegun guitar playing you've ever seen. A mess of screeching guitars, spiteful screams, colliding elbows, shared sweat, pummeling drums, and the combined stench of body odor and booze, it's a simultaneously dizzying and thrilling night that will ring through your ears for years to come. Like I said, there's nothing like a night with Zeke, if you're tough enough to take it. JENNY TATONE
(Tonic Lounge, 3100 NE Sandy) Matt Latorre, Tom Glose, Don Capuano, and Erik Trammell are Black Elk and, sweet Jesus, do they pack a wallop! I'm talkin' metal and stoner rock that grinds all crazy-heavy and delivers killer smackdowns like some vintage Hulk Hogan shit. Their self-titled release on Crucial Blast is a crucial blast of wicked heaviness for any head-banger's collection. The Craig Finn-ish vocals, death ray guitars, and sludgy Northwest-isms make these dudes one of the most fun to watch bands I've seen, like, ever. Beware PDX metal scene, these players will straight up SCHOOL you. GRANT MORRIS
MAGICK DAGGERS, DJ MAXAMILLION, DJ BARONESS
(Dunes, 1905 NE MLK) Magick Daggers are poised to become the queens of the goth scene here. Their nods to tradition (Birthday Party and Bauhaus) are sensual and sleek. Luckily they break the mold in places, particularly when it comes to the vocal effects. Singer/bassist Jessy Montaigne (former ringleader of SF's all femme superband Subtonix) sings through a wall of reverb that would drive Phil Spector mad. This is of course a purposeful aesthetic, which makes them more original than they might otherwise sound in such a formal genre. Using synth-organ instead of guitar doesn't hurt either. All of this churning dark rock is kept in constant motion by drummer Maxamillion from the Get Hustle. It's a treat to see him go off in such a melodic environment. And if you don't get enough of him on the skins, you can enjoy his DJ set afterward. Jessy will DJ too under her Baroness moniker. Just don't confuse her with Jessy Eva from the Vanishing or she will wring your scrawny, pale, gothic neck. NATHAN CARSON
(Mississippi Pizza, 3552 N Mississippi) So, everyone and their girlfriend may be a self-professed musician these days, but that's no guarantee they know how to cough up a decent song. That's why I'm proposing an initiative throughout the city of Portland that every new band must serve a one-year "trial period" as a cover band to learn the tricks of the trade before subjecting the rest of us to their half-baked compositions. Well, all fascism aside, the Byrds are undeniably one of the most influential groups of the '60s, so the Byrd Brains revival of McGuinn and company's material is a welcome treat indeed. If you can't make it down tonight, do yourself a favor and pick a copy of the Byrds' Notorious Byrds Brothers, the most flashback-inducing country rock record you'll ever hear. JB
INCA ORE, ARGUMENTIX, OCEAN BEACH
(Valentine's, 232 SW Ankeny) I don't know who I'm more excited about on this bill, Inca Ore's free-noise-folk clatter operas or the X factor, this Ocean Beach band. It's a tough one for sure, but Ocean Beach looks pretty promising. Deal is, Liz Harris (Grouper), Gabriel Mindel (Yellow Swans), and Zachary Reno (Ghosting) put together Ocean Beach as a noise supergroup to play Valentine's final show of 2006. To make it even more special, this'll be their only show together. It's kind of a get it while it's hot thing, if you will. But even if you can't get there early enough for Ocean Beach or Argumentix, you'll be doing yourself a big disservice if you miss Inca Ore. Please allow me to suggest the new Inca Ore CD, Birds in the Bushes, as a solid post-Christmas present for anyone down with weird and haunting sound adventures. ADAM GNADE
(Berbati's, 10 SW 3rd) See My, What a Busy Week, pg. 15.
THE MELVINS, BIG BUSINESS, PORN, "HOT SAUCE" BUTCH DARLENE
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) See Music, pg. 19
(Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) Man, oh man! Do I love me some Titans of Oblivion! The local four-piece (Misters Steven Szwaja, Rob Wesley, Phil Austin, and Ryan Moore) takes all the best parts of heavy, doped-out '70s rock, strips it of any pretentious proggy poop and turns it into a very modern and totally PDX-y sound. We got Jimi Hendrix Hawkwinded into a Leaden Zep sludge fest where members of the Who, Sabbath, and Blue Cheer pop up like the plastic moles in the Whack-a-Mole arcade. Only you don't bop 'em over the noggin with a mallet; you totally rock out to 'em! Come for the rock (the Titans, natch) and stay for the PUNK 'cuz the always funny and entertaining new wave spaceballs in the Punk Group are headlining this slammer. Hello Lobster sounds like the Rentals covering Pulp—only hilarious. Request their track "Haircut City," a song about a city where the only thing to do is get haircuts and drink orange juice. ("OJ/give me some OJ/Sunny-D/Give me Hi-C.") Hell yeah, yo! Two of the best things in life. GM
THE JOGGERS, QUASI, DANTRONIX, GRAILS
(Disjecta, 230 E Burnside) See My, What a Busy Week, pg. 15.
LIFESAVAS, SANDPEOPLE, DJ KEZ
(Berbati's, 10 SW 3rd) Everyone is a little tired of seeing Quannum emcees grace Portland stages. Personally, I can't count how many dollars I've flushed down the toilet to see Lyrics Born flail about onstage performing the same set list, to the same lackluster crowd of a 100 hipsters. You know what's even more tiresome, though? New Year's Eves spent whacking on pots and pans, carousing the dancefloors for loose women, and drinking warm Cold Duck champagne out of plastic cups. So drop your I'm-so-bored-of-Quannum train of thought for a moment and indulge in what should be one slightly magnificent evening. Yes, the Lifesavas' debut, Spirit in Stone, was an overlong, overindulgent album that fell apart after song 10. Sure, they've been nearly silent in terms of production since the 2003 release. But c'mon, they're upbeat, crowd-rocking rap music that'll hopefully bring in the New Year with a boom-bap. Hell, it's better then getting shitfaced and watching that stupid fucking ball drop, right? Right. NOAH SANDERS
FIR BALL W/THE HELIO SEQUENCE, STARS OF TRACK & FIELD, OHMEGA WATTS, DJ SAFI
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Stars of Track and Field are preparing for the proper release of Centuries Before Love and War (now available on iTunes) in a few weeks. They play so much and are blurbed so often that if you don't know what they're all about by now—anthemic melodies over spacey electronics, lazy, languid vocals, and an almost Coldplay-esque sense of grandeur—you have pretty much missed the boat. This is a show for people who want to spend New Year's Eve seeing some of Portland's best bands. JOEL HARTSE
TOO SLIM AND THE TAILDRAGGERS, JIMMY THACKERY, HENRY COOPER
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) When I was growing up in Spokane, Washington, Too Slim and the Taildraggers were a musical inevitability. You could be sure of death and taxes and that Too Slim would be playing blues country-rock at a bar or club or crummy festival on any given day of the week. They were so ubiquitous that we just ignored them, and we didn't notice when somehow they went from being a ho-hum bar band to a crack alt-country outfit on par with acts like the Drive-By Truckers and I Can Lick any SOB. Like all Spokanites aspire to do, they hightailed to Seattle and now tour nonstop, kicking twangy ass and taking names. JH
(Towne Lounge, 714 SW 20th Pl) In Toby Driver's more infamous experimental outfit Kayo Dot, he has built a classical behemoth where violins and metal riffs collide with free jazz and music concrete. In Tartar Lamb, he pares it way down. Along with Kayo Dot violinist Mia Matsumiya, Driver creates a long form duet that sounds like a slow ride in a time machine; mountain ranges stretch flat into barren deserts, ice crystals burst into artificial birds cloaked in flurries of sunlit snow. Drums and trumpet (compliments of the Friendly Bears) round out this visitation, punctuating stops in several centuries and strange wilderness landscapes. Let your January 2 hangover blur in time and space. NC
WE'RE FROM JAPAN, JON GARCIA, SILVERHAWK
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) See My, What a Busy Week, pg. 15.