JESSE SYKES & THE SWEET HEREAFTER, HELLO DAMASCUS, LOCH LOMOND
(Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) See Music, pg. 17.
MUSEE MECANIQUE, A WEATHER, KELE GOODWIN
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) See Music, pg. 17.
CONFLICT, SCARRED FOR LIFE, ANIMA MUNDI, FORCED MARCH
(Satyricon, 125 NW 6th) If I had a dollar for every time I used the words "fascist," "proletariat," "the state," etc., between the ages of 14 and 16, I'd be mildly wealthy right now. However, if my receiving those dollars was contingent on my actually knowing what I was talking about, I'd still be broke. See, I'm not very punk rock. As much as I wish I could relate to what it was like growing up under Reagan or Thatcher, my teens were spent under Clinton, and things seemed pretty okay then. It didn't stop me from listening to Conflict's The Ungovernable Force, though. That was the first album of that kind (read: political crust punk) that I ever bought, and it still probably holds up as one of the better albums of that genre. It is nice to see they're still around, being all political and crusty. I don't know if you've heard or not, but that Bush fellow, he's a pretty bad dude. ROB SIMONSEN
DIE! DIE! DIE!, MAPS AND ATLASES,THE ANGRY ORTS
(Towne Lounge, 714 SW 20th Pl) Chicago band Maps and Atlases plays frantic, nervous, twitchy reminders that complication can grab a listener instead of pushing them away. Singer Dave Davison's yelps and speak-singing remind me so much of Charles Westmoreland from the Kingdom that I wonder if this really is him, in disguise. A lot of what they do fits into the "play as many notes as possible on every instrument possible" school, and it certainly gets under your skin—for better and worse—after a while. "Feet on the dashboard on the way home/ clipping your nails like a metronome," exemplifies the oddness of their lyrics, another tool used to add more chaos to the mix. JIM WITHINGTON
JOHN VANDERSLICE, ST. VINCENT
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) See My, What a Busy Week!, pg. 15.
(Berbati's Pan, 10 SW 3rd) Indulgent. That is the one word that describes the Jet City Fix. If Buckcherry (oh, remember them?) were from Tacoma, Washington, they'd look an awful lot like the JCF. I realize it's not very "hip" right now to openly dig rock 'n' roll songs inspired by Barbie-shaped women and endless rails of coke, but shit, go old school on that ass. Fuck all this indie elitism. Pound a lite beer. Shave that silly mustache you and everyone else thought it'd be "quirky" to grow. Roll your sleeves up so everyone can see the tribal armband tattoo. And be free. The Jet City Fix can show you the way. MATT DRISCOLL
WHIP, THE DYING CALIFORNIAN,H IS FOR HELLGATE
(Acme, 1305 SE 8th) While Jason Merritt (AKA Whip) calls Puddletown home, his music lives somewhere else. His aged, troublesome country lays its head on sullen prairied landscapes, surrounded by dilapidated remnants of a better time, and perhaps even a torched grain silo or two. Like a Tom Waits character holed up in the barn, Merritt is soft as a prayer and sharp as a razorblade as he sings, "Home is where you hang yourself" and "I'm riding the curse of the world to your beck and call." Merritt is also playing this coming Wednesday, April 11, at Valentine's, a performance similar to this show, but with more delicious sandwich options. EZRA ACE CARAEFF
RED ELVISES, MIRUMIR, THE CRACKERTONES
ALAN SINGLEY & PANTS MACHINE, ANGELO SPENCER, ANDREW KAFFER
(The Artistery, 4315 SE Division) Somewhere within that goofy head of his, Alan Singley has an "Incense and Peppermints" waiting to get out. It's just a matter of him actually maintaining focus on anything long enough to make his masterwork. For example, the new preview videos he posted on the band's MySpace page. Instead of him "preparing for our new album," as advertised, the videos just show Singley on a roller rink date, playing videogames, and exploring the park. All great things, but come on Singley, let's focus here! No filming your cat or riding your bike through the damp Southeast Portland streets. In fact, stop the videos altogether. Here is your new mantra: new record, now! EAC
THE WILLOWZ, THE BUILDERS AND THE BUTCHERS, SHIM
(Towne Lounge, 714 SW 20th Pl) Whoever put this show together, goddamn, they've got our best interests in mind. First off, you get Portland's own the Builders and the Butchers, a screaming, stomping death-march of evil fanged bluegrass gospel songs. They set up on the floor, they don't use amps (yet still scream), and they definitely are loud, honest, and both modern and old-timey at once. Then you get California's the Willowz—bluesy hipster kids who actually got it right. I know, I can't believe it either, but it's true. ANDREW R. TONRY
AMBER PACIFIC, JUST SURRENDER, MONTY ARE I, POWERSPACE
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE 39th) The aw-shucks emo upstarts from Amber Pacific have a few things going for them. Lots of emotionally validating e-friends, sick new jeans, etc. Sure, they only sort of know how to write one song. But darn it, two albums into their career, and they're so close to perfecting it. And they're all handsome young chaps (well, except for that drummer... didn't he used to be in Disturbed?) with, one assumes, plenty of Ambers eager to get oceaned on. Yet with all this posi chi floating around, they go and enlist former Yellowcard blowhard Ben Harper to spoil the fun. Or so it seems. Harper, who spent time in the band last year, is AWOL today as the band readies their latest guide to artful subtlety, called Truth in Sincerity. Lead single "Fall Back into My Life" appears on the new Ninja Turtles soundtrack. 'Nuff said, no? TRISTAN STADDON
ANDREW WK, PRETTY TITTY
(Rotture, 315 SE 3rd) See Feature, pg. 11.
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) See Music, pg. 19.
ROBYN HITCHCOCK & THE VENUS THREE, SEAN NELSON & HIS MORTAL ENEMIES
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) See Music, pg. 19.
RICHARD BUCKNER & BAND, SIX PARTS SEVEN, MIKE D & THEE LOYAL BASTARDS
(Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) 469,000. That's the number of miles Richard Buckner has put on his Toyota pickup truck while on tour, traversing the continent of North America over and over and over. It's an amazing stat. And it says everything about Buckner. Raised up during the mid-'90s alt-country boom, mistakenly lodged in with the fakers, and then dropped when the boom went bust, Buckner has persevered and stayed true. Eight records into a career that has yet to peak, Buckner writes the songs that no one knows how to write anymore. Songs of love, death, regret, hope, and doom. And while his style is based in the rock/country traditions of Nashville and Texas, Buckner's inspiring catalog manages to defy category and convention. "I'm gonna keep doing this as long as I can," says Buckner. "I'll just keep writing songs until they make me stop." BRIAN T. SMITH
LIGHTNING BOLT, DANAVA, SUBARACHNOID SPACE, BUG SIZED MIND
(Satyricon, 125 NW 6th) Even if you get bored at the Boredoms—or hear the words "The Locust" and think it's God's vengeful wrath—you need to see Lightning Bolt. This Rhode Island duo is the pinnacle of art-noise bands and seeing them in all their frantic glory is an experience akin to catching Haley's Comet, or at least having your pudgy li'l face melted off due to the abrasive noise. Flesh-eating virus? Bird flu? Blind staggers? None of those are excuses for you not to be front and center (technically, front and center on the floor, where the band prefers to play) for tonight's show. EAC
ARRINGTON DE DIONYSO, WHITE RAINBOW, GHOSTING, METAL
(Towne Lounge, 714 SW 20th Pl) Arrington de Dionyso sings and plays guitar in Old Time Relijun, the raddest band in our fair neighborhood. Really they are, and if you don't know already, please, for once, take my word for it and find out. Tonight Arrington is doing his solo thing, and god knows what that might entail—I wonder if he even knows. But it's a good thing. When you're as seasoned and skilled a performer as Dionyso, you can afford to fly by the seat of your pants, or boxer briefs as it may be. The performance might entail a bunch of huffs and puffs in the microphone, a raga, or a full goddamn free-jazz freakout. It might end up being ridiculous, or it might be the best night of musical spontaneity you've seen in some time. So I guess the question is, are you ready for the gamble? ART
CLOROX GIRLS, RED DONS, KILLER DREAMER, THE SLIP-ITS
(Slabtown, 1033 NW 16th) While they might sport those skinny ties, the Clorox Girls are as blue-collared as a punk band could get. Last year saw the band performing 47 shows in 46 days—all of which were on another continent—plus countless US shows and dates in Mexico and South America. So could there be a better Saturday night plan of action than getting your teenage kicks with the Clorox Girls? Knowing that you'll be downing a few too many domestic beers and pogo-ing foolishly about to the Girls' rumbling modern—yet still sort of retro—punk is the sort of event that will get you through the doldrums of the work week. EAC
THE GOURDS, SPIGOT
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) It's sad that the best thing Austin-based band the Gourds are known for is their boot-stomping, hillbilly cover of Snoop Dogg's gangster-rap classic "Gin and Juice." It's a great song—a clap-your-hands-swing-your-lady-to-and-fro rendition of the 'hood anthem—but with the heightened recognition came the stigma of being a one-hit-wonder type of band. College-age music fans downloaded the single, overplayed it to no end, and then moved on to the next catchy single to bump at the closest frat's keg party. The Gourds are far more than this, though. A group of fun-loving, ultra-talented musicians that combine simplistic alt-country with funk, and a sort of grass-roots jamminess that'll make you want to shed your shoes, cover yourself in henna tattoos, and dance like the hippies you always make fun of. Sure, they can rock a Snoop Dogg track like his corn-fed cousin Cletus, but beneath the catchy cover there lies a whole different sound—one well worth seeking out. NOAH SANDERS
THE FRAMES, DOLOREAN
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) See My, What a Busy Week!, pg. 15.
AMIINA, PETER & THE WOLF
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) See My, What a Busy Week!, pg. 15.
DEAN & BRITTA, JENNIFER O'CONNER
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) Except for those few years that Superchunk's Mac and Laura held the crown, Dean and Britta have been slow dancing as Indierock Prom King and Queen for the past seven years or so. They are a perfect match, the hipster power couple that you view amid a haze of both fandom lust and pure seething envy. Now that Luna is in the ground, the duo continues under their own names, still making beautifully deliberate pop music. While everyone fawns (and deservingly so) over Dean and his days in Galaxie 500, it's a little known fact that Britta was the singing voice of Jem. As in Jem and the Holograms. That really is truly, truly, truly outrageous! EAC
THE UNIT BREED, THE PRAYERS, THE MINT CHICKS
(Tonic Lounge, 3100 NE Sandy) Though they feature half of gone-too-soon San Diego envelope pushers the Plot to Blow up the Eiffel Tower, the Prayers' sound ices that band's hot-piss punk attack and relies instead upon clashing, crashing guitar parts and dreamboat harmonies. Their punk's still snotty as a February hanky, only here it's filtered through a new pop sensibility instead of mind-melting spazz-jazz. For now, evidence can be found on the band's God Save the Prayers EP (released via their own Art Fag imprint earlier this year) while a future full-length awaits. Meantime, maybe the Plot boys can make some calls and put together that already-rumored-about reunion record. Y'know, seeing as how THE POWER OF CHRIST COMPELS THEM TO. Just a thought. Like-minded Kiwis the Mint Chicks kick this show off, so drink early and often. And don't forget your white sunglasses. TS
XOTICA GO-GO: WHITEY
(Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) Though he's still largely a mystery on our side of the Atlantic, there's plenty about Whitey (Nathan J, to friends) to get the hearts and feet of Portland properly stoked. Dude's songs are lyrically miserable but sonically blissful fusions of electronica and sexy, wiry shake-rock for those in the misanthropic masses who can dig on a guy and his live band dressing up in absurd animal and sandwich costumes. Whitey was last seen putting the final wraps on his latest junk-mover, which he's aptly titled Great Shakes, so expect that teased upon here. If you ever wished that James Murphy had a little brother who was less smart-ass and more bitter (perhaps about big bro's success), this is your man. TS
THE DAYS, GO FEVER, THE FAST COMPUTERS
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) If the advance tracks from the Fast Computers' June 2007 full-length Heart Geometry are any indication, I think I'm getting another band crush. Summery and shimmery, these former Chicagoans seem to have taken some cues from the Sea and Cake. I'm totally digging their analog/digital combination that includes very computer-y (though not very fast) keyboards balanced by organic drums and tambourine. Smooth, understated background vocals and tasteful xylophone make sure that lyrics like "Gravity is all we feel" don't become too precious. When they sing, "Math can take your heart/but math couldn't take your side," the nerd factor makes them even dreamier. JW
THE LIFE & TIMES, APPLESEED CAST, CAVES
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Ah, Emo, how I loved thee. Remember, back when I was young and first discovered you? We used to get along so well! It was you, me, Jawbreaker, Sunny Day, Mineral... you know, the glory days. But then, well, you changed, and I don't even know who you are anymore. All I see now are pathetic boys in eyeliner screaming a lot, and frankly, it depresses me to know that is what you've become. The bands I once loved have either broken up or turned into parodies of themselves, and as for the music? That died along with my teens. Thank god for Appleseed Cast, though. While I'm sure they would never claim to be you, Emo—they border more on epic post-rock than anything else—it's clear they once loved you the way I did. So this is it, Emo, I'm leaving you. I've found someone else, someone who, albeit indirectly, reminds me of what you used to be like. RS