MATTRESS, BIRD COSTUMES, ME CON, GULLS
(Rotture, 315 SE 3rd) If you like your dance jams flavored with a spicy, tasty hint of "crazy," then Mattress is your new boyfriend and he's gonna straight kick your old boyfriend's ass back to the Stone Age. Like Quintron, Mattress' version of dance is hectic, thrilling, and full of sweet-ass crooner howls. And this is all coming from a guy with a bona fide noise background, making Mattress' music totally un-clichéd and totally refreshing. GRANT MORRIS
DEAR NORA, CYNTHIA NELSON, ANDREW KAFFER, KAIA WILSON
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) The first band I ever fell in love with in Portland was Dear Nora (who were actually based out of San Francisco at the time and now they're back here again, but who's counting?). Their just-released pop record We'll Have a Time (2001) was damn perfect, and their final record, the half experimental/half weird pop There Is No Home is just as wonderful. Yes, "final." They're breaking up. I interviewed Dear Nora's Katy Davidson and got the latest news. Q: So why the breakup? A: I'm basically breaking up with myself. The name "Dear Nora" feels very dated to me; it reminds me too much of being 22. And my music has really changed over the years. I'd like to make new music that won't be held under that umbrella, that won't necessarily be compared to music I was making when I was much younger than I am now. I'll probably start a couple bands next year. Probably weirder, more instrumental, more fantasy, more performance-based bands. My friend Marianna Ritchey and I already started a new band called Katy and Marianna. Q: There Is No Home has the feel of a "California record." Was that the intention, to make a California record? A: Not really the intention, just the surroundings seeping into the music. California's an intense place to be right now, what with the world ending and everything (partially joking). No, check it out: I'm living and breathing late '70s/early '80s Fleetwood Mac right now. We're talking Tusk and Mirage. That's California to me. That seeped into the music too. I wanted my record to be one part "stuck in nasty freeway traffic when it's 105 degrees and the sun's blinding you" and one part Fleetwood Mac. Q: Finally, who was Nora? A: Nora is Nora Beck, a music professor at Lewis and Clark College, and the original namesake of the band. And, newly, Nora is also Nora Roman, a nurse, activist, and conga drum player living in San Francisco. She joined the band in early 2004. ADAM GNADE
CSS, COPY, DJ BEYONDA
(Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) See My, What a Busy Week!, pg. 33.
(Valentine's, 232 SW Ankeny) When most music scene savvy folks think about modern psychedelic bands, they usually think of the young turks, of hairy fairies like Devendra Banhart or any of the billion youngsters making trippy music in '06. Psychedelic music, for all its flaws and faults, has always been at its best as "young" music, music that brimmed with '60s-ish optimism, and innocent (sometimes ill-advised) disdain for pop convention. Tres Gone, then, are the grizzled veterans of the Portland psyche scene. But while they may look like your dad, they don't sound like him. Improvs yield golden nuggets of druggy noise, elements of classic rock can be seen (if you look close) in full-on noise collages. This is a very Portland 2006 sounding sound, but just know it's also pretty timeless. BRENT RICHARSON
DRATS!!!, SWIM SWAM SWUM, PIRATE RADIO, TRANQUILAZER, MODERNSTATE
(Acme, 1305 SE 8th) Modernstate's dreamguitar electronic pop is too perfect for these autumn afternoons. I've been nesting a bit this week, getting ready to hunker down for the long spell of rain. While I'm packing bikinis and beach towels to be taken to storage, and harvesting the last summer garden tomatoes, Modernstate is my soundtrack. Sam Schauer's solo project is sweet and mellow, somewhat melancholy and gray, like walking to Stumptown on a Sunday to drink coffee and read the newspaper with your lover. "My Heart Stood Still," a track on the 2003 Lucky Madison release Highwater Moonboot, begins with an unsuspecting melody and beats, and Schauer goes on to sing, "She was smiling and backlit by the car that would kill her/her face disappeared and all I could see was light in her hair." These powerful lines introduce a gritty guitar solo and crashing thunder of drums, and the song ends with Schauer's poignant recollection of the loss. Modernstate is beautifully delicate and at the same time, strong with lyrical invention. Schauer's dramatic ability to tell an honest story is what carries through and keeps you. There is no doubt that tonight's show will be both profound and perfect for the season. SALINA NUÑEZ
SOUNDS LIKE FUN, THE CAPITOL YEARS, NATIONAL EYE
(The Artistery, 4315 SE Division) Based around guitar, keyboards, and a minimalist drum kit played with brushes, locals Sounds Like Fun rock a simple, happy pop music that is almost shockingly catchy. Songs like "Luv Ya" sound like the product of a relaxed, confident Strokes. This is classy radio rock so upbeat you're driven to extreme and crushing fits of... shit, of fun (think: The Muppet Show.) If ever there were a group named perfectly, it's these Sounds Like Fun boys. Because, really, it sounds like fun. It does, and it is. BR
COLISEUM, COLDBRINGER, WARCRY, CRIMINAL DAMAGE
(Satyricon, 125 NW 6th) In the interest of full disclosure, I have to admit that Coldbringer's bassist, Jason Irish, works as a Mercury distro driver. That said, you should take a listen to them on this week's Mercury drivers' edition of Three-Minute Limit on our Pod 'n' Vod page (portlandmercury.com/podcasts). Coldbringer are melodic but tough, sounding like Hüsker Dü with Lemmy Kilmister on vocals, which is a very interesting proposition. Plus, most of their material is dark in a way that doubts a positive return from life in the immediate future. Add Louisville's gritty Coliseum to the bill at the reborn Satyricon on a Friday the 13th and you've got yourself one of those brisk and memorable October evenings that will stick in your craw as the nights draw long. LANCE CHESS
THRONES, PORTALS, THE AXE, DJ YETI
(Ground Kontrol, 511 NW Couch) Whether glitch electronic delighter or sludge doom metal-ite, Ground Kontrol will provide the soundtrack for friends and foes to unite. Thrones' Joe Preston incorporates both elements in a monumental collision of exceptionally heavy (my favorite of all time) bass playing and snappy, sharp drum machine sequencer programming. Weaving an epic ancient world of brazen knights doing battle with scaly beasts to take hold of a maiden's hand, his voice thunders with masculine command. A fiery drone of blistering white light glazed with thick cannabis ghee pitch-shift effects, there is a mournful cry in Joe's music that is simultaneously bold and lonely; above all else, endearing. JAMES SQUEAKY
400 BLOWS, SCIENCE OF YABRA, BLACK ELK
(Towne Lounge, 714 SW 20th Pl) I am so fucking excited for this show, I can't even contain myself. Black Elk is going to slay you like 300 tribes on a massacre spree with their killer metal, and then raise you from the dead to blow your mind one more time. It's like Mount St. Helens erupting with molten lava and you're chilling out on a plastic lawn chair beneath it, laughing and waiting for your last breath. Black Elk is like prodding a beehive with a long stick and then the adrenaline rush when you realize that those bees are coming after you and they are going to fuck you up. You are allergic to bee stings. It's like smoking hash and spacing out with your ear a half an inch away from a Marshall stack while you are listening to a raging lightning storm of heavy shit (this actually happened to me, and now I'm practically deaf in my left ear). Black Elk is as thick and rich and dark as a just-baked chocolate angel's food cake—the sweetest sludge you'll ever swallow. How's that for a metal-phor? SN
SUFJAN STEVENS, MY BRIGHTEST DIAMOND
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) See Music, pg. 35.
TWIN CRYSTALS, N.213
(Rotture, 315 SE 3rd) Like the Sanrio of art-punk, Twin Crystals are some cutie Canucks with a bunch of sass heaped on a dose of trash. Instrumentally consisting of disco beat drumming activated with hefty swirls and stabs of keyboard giving you something to bop your head to. All their catchy coherence is obliterated by vocalist Jesse's Darby Crash-style confrontational snarls through teetering-on-destroyed rack delay unit. On paper, this band should be kinda terrible, but somehow they pull off something that is endearing, like someone else's puppy wagging their tail after taking a piss on the rug. JS
BOB DYLAN, KINGS OF LEON
(Memorial Coliseum, 300 Winning Way) See My, What a Busy Week!, pg. 33.
MICHAEL FRANTI AND SPEARHEAD, LIFESAVAS
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) Michael Franti and Spearhead are following in the footsteps of such political rockers as the Clash and Bob Marley, and it could not be a better time. While we are in the midst of ideological conflict, it can be extremely dangerous to speak out against the governments who oppress people's freedom. Franti/Spearhead are not just using their mash-up of hiphop/reggae/funk to spread a message of peace, they are actively going to parts of the world where the danger of death is greater, and risking their lives to tell the story. Their latest release, Yell Fire!, is inspired by Franti's trek into Baghdad and the Gaza Strip during the most dangerous time of the Middle East conflict. Regardless of what political side you are on, Michael Franti and Spearhead are an important listen because they try to honestly chronicle the violence against the oppressed and poor, and all the while give you something to dance for. SN
(Le Bloody Hummus Haus, 6805 N Maryland) True rock 'n' roll adventurers read a review, and without a clue as to whether the expedition will bear fruit, head out into the cold, rainy night. While they are navigating the stormy seas of Portland's underground music scene, there are times when their compass reading is amiss and their ship is dashed into the rocks. Other times, these fortune hunters are rewarded with a chest overflowing with gold: a sound that is innovative, dynamic, and seemingly paving the way for modern music. LKN is this treasure worth her weight in gold. Her raw and vital performances are well on their way to becoming legendary and, surprisingly, she has not yet been spirited away to a larger city. This woman is not just playing the guitar—her shows are powerful presentations of a true art. While she thrashes and howls, she is exorcising the demons from the cynical world of performance and opens doors for dialogue—whether you are down for her aggressive spazz rock or not, you'll for sure be talking about it. LKN's work is inspirational and a thorough ass-kicking—take a chance on this show tonight and be able to say you knew her when. SN
MICHAEL FRANTI AND SPEARHEAD, OHMEGA WATTS
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) See Saturday's listing.
VALET, SILENTIST, WHITE RAINBOW, GARLAND RAY PROJECT
(Rotture, 315 SE 3rd) See My, What a Busy Week!, pg. 33.
MANOUK, MATT SHEEHY, THE SLATS
(Towne Lounge, 714 SW 20th Pl) See Music, pg. 35.
YO LA TENGO, WHY?
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) First hitting the rock pavement when Reagan was in office, Ira Kaplan and Georgia Hubley started out as an intriguing/weird/boring folk-rock project. They played with their friends. Released some LPs. Toured. Made tiny waves. Then, following a now somewhat-famous jaunt opening up for My Bloody Valentine, the band "found themselves." Bassist James McNew jumped on board in 1992. Painful was released on Matador in 1993. And the indierock world hasn't been the same since. Cranking out three-part vocal melodies, feedback-soaked Jazzmaster squeals and fuzzed-out Acetone drone (all on top of Hubley's vast drumming) for years like it was nothing, Yo La Tengo has put together a body of work that is simply stunning. (Save for Summer Sun. Stay away from that one. I sold it in two days. No one's perfect.) And with the fabulous, just released, soon-to-be record-of-the-year I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass (they're talking to you, Dubya), the YLT is back, Jack. BRIAN T. SMITH
KILT, ANIMAL WRITES, VIEW, PULSE EMITTER
(Food Hole, 20 NW 3rd) Animal Writes is going to lash you to a chair and beat you with a switch 'til you're crying to be put out of your misery. Wait, those aren't tears... you're loving it. You're laughing. You're dancing in your chair and slipping it across the hardwood (in your own blood) to the beats. Are there beats? There are BEATS—big stomping electro fuckers like Jabba the Hutt lashing out with his tail while Princess Leia chokes him to death with her slave chain. Vocals are menacing growls and hissing snake calls. If dance punk is too middling for you, but you still want aggressive dance music, this is your baby. It's my baby too. AG
WOODEN WAND, PLANTS, O'GRADY
(Someday, 125 NW 5th) The Wooden Wand you'll see tonight at Someday is not the Wooden Wand that got a ton of press last year. Gone are the jangling tambourine and hand-drum tapestries. There are no weirdo spoken vocal biblical rants and there are no witchy campfire jams. Instead, we get Wooden Wand as seen on Second Attention, the group's new Kill Rock Stars release (billed as Wooden Wand and the Sky High Band.) This is a more acoustic country Dylan vibe. It's clear-eyed, focused, and a little less exciting with all the rough improv edges sanded off, and any and all "freak" removed from the "folk." This isn't necessarily a bad thing, it's just a different animal. AG
DECEMBERISTS, LAVENDER DIAMOND
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) See Music, pg. 37.
JASON ANDERSON, JASON WEBLEY, GOLDEN BOOTS
(The Artistery, 4315 SE Division) Talk about Bland Canyon. Sorry everybody, but I just can't wrap my mind around Golden Boots, the self-proclaimed "Crumbly Western Alt-Alt Country Band." It's like, let's take all of the watered-down peyote mysticism of Carlos Castaneda, the hot pants of a Flying Burrito Brother, every goddawful psyche-folk song about butterflies, pirates, and seashell telephone aeroplanes (airplanes! airplanes!) and start a jam band where we'll wear funny clownish costumes and not call ourselves hippies. Dude, this has gone too far. Once Devendra Banhart has been interviewed by Lindsay Lohan in Interview magazine, it's safe to say that this "underground" genre of music is done for. "Olde" is no longer the new "new." "Olde" is old. Civil war caps, banjos, and twangy gee-tars, concertinas, and hillbilly handclapping has gone the way of grunge—marketed to teenagers wearing their father's and mother's pointed leather boots and shrink-to-fit Levi's. Honestly, I'd rather just stick to the source and listen to the Grateful Dead. I can't help but think that maybe the Golden Boots should learn a few lessons and start there too. SN
DECEMBERISTS, LAVENDER DIAMOND
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) See Music, pg. 37.
BEIRUT, A HAWK AND A HACKSAW, ANIMAL HOSPITAL, TOM HEINL
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Once upon a time, there was this music collective called Elephant 6. Originally based in and around Athens, Georgia, the group of friends comprising this collective went on to make some of the best music of the '90s under such strange and lovely monikers as Olivia Tremor Control, Apples in Stereo, and Neutral Milk Hotel. But that's just to name a few. The E6 family tree extends in many directions (Elf Power, the Gerbils, Of Montreal) and it's difficult (the Music Tapes, Major Organ, and the Adding Machine) to map its branches (Great Lakes, Marshmallow Coast, the Late B.P. Helium). Some say the collective is dead, though its various members continue to produce music clearly of an E6 heritage. With his project A Hawk and a Hacksaw, Jeremy Barnes (formerly of Neutral Milk Hotel) is doing just that—weaving complex, experimental Eastern European-tinged tapestries with the same joy, enthusiasm, and psychedelic gusto that won Elephant 6 a place in indie history. So check it out. You'll be glad you did. GARETT STRICKLAND See Music, pg. 37.