A VOLCANO Living in Stone Castles by a Cold, Cold Sea

School of Rock Lake Oswego Performs Weezer; Star Theater, 13 NW 6th, early show (noon)
Rivers Cuomo was in his mid-20s when his band Weezer's self-titled debut record—affectionately referred to as the Blue Album by pretty much everyone—was released, but one of its most endearing qualities is its convincingly childlike perspective. Often literally: "Say It Ain't So" was inspired by an incident that young Cuomo associated with his parents' failing marriage (a bottle of beer in the fridge, or something), and "Buddy Holly" is unquestionably the nerd anthem to end them all. It's only fitting that the Lake Oswego chapter of School of Rock should pay tribute to the Blue Album (alongside other Weezer favorites), as it's one of the few records in the pantheon of rock masterpieces that kids can eminently relate to. God knows they'll play those songs with more conviction than present-day Weezer ever could.

REVIEW: A Volcano,
Living in Stone Castles by a Cold, Cold Sea

Self-identified "cavenoise" duo and fixtures of the Portland punk scene A Volcano have come a long way in a short period of time. A spastic irreverence and borderline psychedelic bearing characterized the group's previous releases. (See: "Mr. Screwdriver Man" off the band's 2013 7-inch split with the terrific, likeminded Oakland group Burnt Thrones Club.) The group's forthcoming EP, Living in Stone Castles by a Cold, Cold Sea, finds the group exchanging (some of) their signature flamboyance and booze-fueled flippancy for a much moodier essence—without sacrificing any of their "party" appeal, naturally.

Clocking in under 20 minutes, Stone Castles is a terse, uncompromising record that simultaneously never feels rushed or unnecessarily sustained. Standout, straightforward opener "An Abandoned Existence" starts dumb—in a good way—and climaxes with guitarist/vocalist Johnny Brooke's frenzied, throaty screams and a shelling of hyper-melodic octaves that suggest a profoundly poppy luster bubbling underneath the waves of doom. On the other end of the spectrum is "Ursus," which sees the band at their most dizzying and technical (although still poppy) and the merciless, aptly titled "End" which highlights the group's schizophrenic indecision between discordant shredding (the first half of the song) and tuneful restraint (the second half).

All in all, Stone Castles elevates A Volcano from one of Portland's premier party bands to one of Portland's brightest and as-of-now most under-discussed metal practitioners. They celebrate the release of Living in Stone Castles by a Cold, Cold Sea on Friday, January 23, with an all-ages show at an undisclosed location with Moan, Towers, and TOIM.