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Can't See 'Em All!

A Whole Lotta MFNW Shows

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WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 4

Hiss Golden Messenger - PHOTO BY TERRI LOEWENTHAL
  • Photo by Terri Loewenthal
  • Hiss Golden Messenger

JUSTIN TOWNES EARLE, HISS GOLDEN MESSENGER
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) Wednesday's lineup at the Aladdin will show what North Carolina can do to a man. The headliner is Justin Townes Earle, who shed his throwback-twang thing last year with the release of Nothing's Gonna Change the Way You Feel About Me Now, a sublime soul album recorded in the Appalachian hippie-haven of Asheville, North Carolina. Opening the evening will be Hiss Golden Messenger, led by songwriter MC Taylor of Durham, North Carolina, the trucker-capped godhead of the region's burgeoning cosmic Americana scene. Along with longtime collaborator Scott Hirsch and an all-star cast of pickin'-wizard friends, Taylor has released a slew of excellent records in recent years, culminating with Haw in April. For lack of better words, Haw is darn near perfect, an adventurous amble through low-key country-rock, front-porch folk, sleepy '70s pop, Southern soul, and spiritual imagery that'll make you want to pack up your necessities and take a pilgrimage to the Piedmont. BEN SALMON

CHVRCHES, XXYYXX
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) The glossy, glassy synth pop of Chvrches has already built a steady mass of listeners, thanks to the strengths of early singles "Recover" and "The Mother We Share." Their debut album, The Bones of What You Believe, comes out later this month on Glassnote, but right now the only chance to hear most of these songs is by seeing the Scottish trio in person. While the group plays perfectly into the zeitgeist of current, '80s-gazing electronic music, every tune is built upon serious songwriting chops, and their remarkably speedy rise to headlining major venues feels entirely deserved. NED LANNAMANN

GOLD FIELDS, RUSH MIDNIGHT, MACKINTOSH BRAUN
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) One thing Rush Midnight and Gold Fields have in common is a knack for a smooth, synthy, pop sound that will make your Lee dungarees wiggle and bounce. Though Gold Fields only recently put out their debut album, this Australian quintet sounds like they've been the soundtrack to more than a few indie movie montage scenes. Bringing the dancey kick of Daft Punk to sensual chord progressions, Gold Fields overlays strings and haunting melodies onto straightforward pop roots. Gold Fields pairs well with Rush Midnight, an ambient, electronically based artist from Brooklyn. One could argue Russ Manning got his stage name after his friends said his name five times fast, but his music demonstrates real creativity. Rush Midnight innovatively combines his vocals with such a full-bodied sound that the absence of a band goes without notice. ROSE FINN

Deerhunter - PHOTO BY ROBERT SEMMER
  • Photo by Robert Semmer
  • Deerhunter

DEERHUNTER, LONNIE HOLLEY
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) Over the past few years Deerhunter has transformed from a noisy and polished post-punk band to essentially one of the best garage rock bands around. We got a taste on 2010's excellent Halcyon Digest, and with their latest, Monomania, Bradford Cox & Co. have gone deeper into the dilapidated garage inhabited by bands like Thee Oh Sees and Sic Alps. Cox is an unapologetic music sponge, and his lyrics veer from brash whimsy to autobiography on "Punk (La Vie Antérieure)," whose sinewy guitar line recalls Deerhunter's earlier work. But even when Cox wants to grip and rip, it's always elegant. MARK LORE

MURDER BY DEATH, LARRY AND HIS FLASK, THE 4ONTHEFLOOR
(Dante's, 350 W Burnside) Murder by Death hasn't shape-shifted so much as adapted and outrun any quantifiable niche. Charting time within the gothic Southern folk arena on breakout LP In Boca Al Lupo, then the devilish folklore overtones of Red of Tooth and Claw and Good Morning, Magpie, MBD stretches its legs on their newest record, Bitter Drink, Bitter Moon. The band's first release for Bloodshot Records is just as dark as previous efforts, and vocalist/guitarist Adam Turla's spooky baritone is equally as menacing. Those main elements are drizzled over a richer, fuller sound, which at times reaches into heavier cuts like the sinister "Straight at the Sun." Bend, Oregon's Larry and his Flask promise an explosive opener to MBD. Their new record, By the Lamplight, proffers a grass-punk revival of epic proportions. RYAN J. PRADO

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 5

TYPHOON, LIKE A VILLAIN
(The Old Church, 1422 SW 11th) Read our article on Typhoon.

BARONESS, ROYAL THUNDER
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE César E. Chávez) Read our article on Baroness.

YOUNG THE GIANT, YOUTH LAGOON, VANAPRASTA
(Pioneer Courthouse Square, 701 SW 6th) Nobody has ever voluntarily listened to the gaping mediocrity that is Young the Giant, including you. So why on earth are they headlining this thing? Weird fact: No actual humans were involved in Young the Giant's apparent rise to success. Rather, an unholy combination of radio airplay and product placement have put this conglomeration of old, disused parts from crappy Killers albums into the forefront of American popular music consciousness simply because we're all too tired to fight it anymore. Arrive early for Boise's Youth Lagoon, who have transformed the fragile, sulking bedroom synth-sketches of Trevor Powers into widescreen epics that will fill up the entire square. Then, get the hell out. NED LANNAMANN

BONNIE "PRINCE" BILLY, MT. EERIE
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) That it falls under the banner of a music festival is startling enough, but tonight's pairing is truly extraordinary. Bonnie "Prince" Billy (Will Oldham), on his first solo tour since 2007, and Mount Eerie (Phil Elverum) are artists of the highest caliber—singular, iconoclastic, unspoiled, and, many years in, every bit inspired as they are inspiring. Each draws from the distinctive musical tradition of their respective homes, Oldham of the golden country-folk of the American South, and Elverum from the elemental indie rock of the Northwest. Each has built dedicated fanbases while largely eschewing commercial and corporate opportunity. Each employs wry senses of humor, yet cultivates tangible emotional connection with deceptively straight talk. Both too, are insatiable students of the craft, artists outside of music, and prolific collaborators. Speaking of collaborations, Elverum provided backing vocals on Bonnie "Prince" Billy's stirring "Go Folks Go," in 2010. Whether or not they'll share the stage tonight is anyone's guess. As Oldham relayed through his publicist, "Who knows about the collab possibilities?" ANDREW R TONRY Also see My, What a Busy Week!

IAN RUBBISH
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) While he's been around since the punk explosion, the aptly named Ian Rubbish is practically a parody of the genre. His razor-thin discography—try to find a record store in this town that carries any of his back catalog—could practically be filed in the novelty bin. His now-infamous Margaret Thatcher songs are just the tip of a tepid iceberg. Look at dreck like 1981's Flat Soda; or the regrettable dub-infused single he recorded in 1987 with bassist Jop Wibble, "Nice Time Innit?"; or even 1998's laughable Bacharach collaboration, It Were Like That When I Got 'Ere. Compared to the vitality of his class-of-'77 peers, it's apparent that Rubbish is a fraud, a veritable caricature of what punk rock stands for. STIV BOILS

THE MEN, BLEACHED, HAUSU, BRONCHO
(Dante's, 350 W Burnside) Amazingly, the Men's official website is the first hit in a Google search of "the men." That probably wasn't the case back in the early days of the Brooklyn band's existence, when they were releasing noisy cassettes of grimy punk and post-hardcore. But the one-two punch of Leave Home and Open Your Heart heightened the group's profile, infusing their racket with strands of krautrock, country, and surf. They got a little twangier on this year's New Moon, dropping some of the caterwauling in favor of something more akin to classic rock, but there are plenty of gritty-sounding cues to let you know that this is still the band that was once too underground for Google. MATTHEW W. SULLIVAN

BOB MOULD, JOHN VANDERSLICE, KRIS ORLOWSKI
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) As recent as a year and a half ago, I would have argued that Bob Mould jumped the shark. A punk legend, no doubt, but his recent solo records up to that point had been weird and consistently boring, at the very most proof that creative brilliance is finite. And then Silver Age came out last summer, and it fucking ripped out of nowhere. A year later, it's still a record I bump constantly (and I'm still pissed I wasn't able to see Mould play it and Sugar's Copper Blue back-to-back in their entirety last year). Its best songs sound like lost Sugar cuts, and "The Descent" in particular ranks among Mould's very finest. Silver Age has completely absolved Mould of prior artistic transgressions—hopefully he stops making music before he loses it again. MORGAN TROPER

THE JOY FORMIDABLE, ON AN ON, LOST LANDER
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) Give In, the debut album from On an On, remains a terrific listen eight months after its January release. The dramatic, inventive collection of heart-swollen, astral pop sounds mere inches away from becoming the biggest thing going. Perhaps it's the wonderfully ragged edges that the Chicago/Minneapolis group leaves showing, or their clever, deconstructionist inversion of pop-music clichés that has kept them from exploding into the stratosphere. Or maybe it's just a matter of time. Arrive in time for the always-outstanding Lost Lander, who have a batch new songs in their arsenal. NED LANNAMANN

TOBACCO, MAGIC FADES, PORTIA, BRUXA
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Over the past decade, the musician known as Tobacco—AKA Tom Fec, AKA the camera-shy oddball behind oozey electro-psych band Black Moth Super Rainbow—has carved out one of the most distinctive catalogs in underground music. The syrupy synths. The wheezing, vintage organs. The breathy vocals, vocodered to infinity. The analog sheen smeared across every square inch of sound. From his classic work with Black Moth (2007's Dandelion Gum is the immersive peak) to his more drip-hoppy solo albums to his recent Demon Queen collaboration with Arizona alt-rapper Zackey Force Fun, Tobacco's tracks are unmistakable. When you hear a Tobacco joint, you know it's a Tobacco joint. BEN SALMON

AUSTRA, DIANA, VICE DEVICE
(Star Theater, 13 NW 6th) The sensuous sound of Toronto's Diana stands atop a lush mountain of dreamy melodics pulsating with the easy rhythm of vintage pop. A rare synergy is created as the meticulous instrumentation attends to the alluring voice of Carmen Elle. Touring in support of their debut full-length Perpetual Surrender, out on Jagjaguwar Records and greeted with growing high praise, Diana is one to keep an eye on. Powerhouse stunners Austra on the heels of their sophomore release, Olympia, and Portland new-wave favorites Vice Device are also on the bill, making for an intriguing evening of magnificently edgy interpretations of synth pop. CHRISTINA BROUSSARD

THE LOVE LANGUAGE, HOUNDSTOOTH, PRISM TATS
(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) The Love Language's latest, Ruby Red, is an explosive pop record that culls from everything that is great about rock music—British Invasion, '60s garage, Byrds-eye country, all wrapped in a warm Spector blanky. It's a far cry from frontman Stuart McLamb's earlier TLL recordings, whose charms were indebted to his ramshackle approach. Some of that innocence may be lost, but this more fully formed version of the Love Language is just as fun. Maybe more. With McLamb, you can be pretty sure the songs will always be strong; now it's just a matter of which form they'll take on. If Ruby Red is any indication, the Love Language is moving in the right direction. MARK LORE

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 6

SUPERCHUNK, TITUS ANDRONICUS, NAOMI PUNK
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) Read our article on Superchunk, and see My, What a Busy Week!

TYPHOON, NEAL MORGAN
(The Old Church, 1422 SW 11th) Read our article on Typhoon.

BONNIE PRINCE BILLY, MT. EERIE
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) See Thursday's listing, and My, What a Busy Week!

GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR, GATE
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) See Saturday's listing.

Animal Collective - PHOTO BY DAVE LICHTERMAN
  • Photo by Dave Lichterman
  • Animal Collective

ANIMAL COLLECTIVE, DAN DEACON, HAERTS
(Pioneer Courthouse Square, 701 SW 6th) It's become increasingly clear how Animal Collective's neon-pagan electronic innovations speak across a variety of genres. As their fellowship grows, the band—superficially defined by drugs and internet-as-audience—has staked its claim as a heady, albeit family-friendly, brew of kinetic energy through a hallucinatory veil. With a stage set like a day-glo playground, Animal Collective's cyberdelic plateau invokes the spiritual reverie of open-air music as hypermodern ritual and communal tradition. Although this one is for the kids, boomers in the audience should expect an obligatory flashback or two. WYATT SCHAFFNER

SURFER BLOOD, AGESANDAGES, WILD ONES, HOLIDAY FRIENDS
(Star Theater, 13 NW 6th) People are waiting and wishing for Surfer Blood to fail. Even before frontman John Paul Pitts was arrested for domestic battery last year (the case was later dropped), he exuded a vaguely off-putting vibe that belied the sunny fuzz-pop of his band's instant-hit debut, 2009's Astro Coast. And that album's overnight success didn't exactly endear the Florida band to indie rock's cred hawks, who want to see some dues paid before the praise starts pouring in. If its new album is any indication, however, Surfer Blood is not going to just wither and fade. Pythons is a taut collection of snappy pop-rock potshots that are musically sweet but lyrically sour; many of its songs revolve around the crumbling relationship that ended with Pitts' arrest. The chorus of "I Was Wrong" lays out the past, present, and future quite succinctly: "In a place riddled with liars and fools, you are now taking the high road out," Pitts sings. "All along I was wrong, I was wrong. I'm moving on with or without." BEN SALMON

FIDLAR, MEAN JEANS, YOUTHBITCH
(Backspace, 115 NW 5th) Forget self-absorption, top-button fashion, and reading between the lines—this is, without question, the dumbest show of MusicfestNW. And to be clear: To these bands, dumbness is a badge of honor, worn proudly like a tattoo of the Tasmanian Devil dunking a basketball. By now you know about the Mean Jeans, the world's pre-eminent party punks. Newer to playing the Northwest, however, are FIDLAR, from Los Angeles. The acronym says it all: "Fuck It Dog Life's a Risk." Much like their Northwest contemporaries, FIDLAR burp, fart, and scratch out pop nuggets about getting wasted, fried, and fucked. It's in the song titles; names like "Cheap Beer," "Stoked and Broke," and "Wake Bake Skate" lay it bare. There are differences, of course. While the Jeans bang major chords with Ramones-style precision and unshakeable harmony, FIDLAR gnarl in a more burnt-out garage, a bit more trash and thrash. And though the Jeans chuckle at sadness, FIDLAR stumble toward full-on nihilism. Think of it like this: While the Jeans' eyes are crossed, FIDLAR's roll back. ANDREW R TONRY

UNKNOWN MORTAL ORCHESTRA, WOODEN INDIAN BURIAL GROUND, THE WE SHARED MILK
(Branx, 320 SE 2nd) Even if Unknown Mortal Orchestra were to shrug off some slapdash renditions of tunes from their amazing second album, II, that should be enough to get you in the door. But Ruban Nielson leads a firebrand trio that's responsible for positively explosive live shows. It helps that he's a world-class dervish on lead guitar, turning UMO's basement-psych recordings into freakouts that need to be experienced in the flesh. Much has been made of Nielson's move from New Zealand and the anonymity of the original UMO recordings that were posted online, but the narrative has already moved well beyond that. Unknown Mortal Orchestra is a can't-miss band, and if Nielson isn't Portland's biggest rock star, he very well might be its best. NED LANNAMANN

FRANK FAIRFIELD, HURRAY FOR THE RIFF RAFF, THE LONESOME BILLIES
(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) There is a video on the internet in which guitarist/fiddler/banjo player Frank Fairfield performs two songs in the studio at the KEXP radio station in Seattle. Everything around him—the microphone, the festive lighting, a wall clock straight off the shelf at Target—comes from modern times. And then there's Fairfield, a native Californian who appears to have been beamed in, 2Pac-hologram-style, from another era. From his bulky pre-war suit and sculpted black hair, to his mannerisms and song selection (including the traditional song "Nine Pound Hammer"), to the thin piece of twine—no really, twine—holding a grimy old banjo over his shoulder, Fairfield isn't a throwback, he's a time traveler. He's also a marvel, musically, whose nimble picking and sense of melody put him at the forefront of a class of old-time outsiders pushing their way in. BEN SALMON

TY SEGALL, MIKE DONOVAN, OLD LIGHT, LA LUZ
(Dante's, 350 W Burnside) Ty Segall continues his uncanny ability to crank out records at an astonishing pace, with a consistency that should give bands that have been around twice as long something to think about. Segall hasn't put out a single dud. His latest full-length Sleeper isn't aligned with the raucous noise of Melted and Slaughterhouse, instead stripping away the fuzz and the lyrical ambiguity in favor of acoustic guitars and personal sentiments. Those who attended Pickathon last month got a taste of Segall's stripped-down acoustic set (his first such performances, as he told NPR recently)—it was quieter, but no less powerful. Segall has written some of the best pop hooks in recent memory. Sleeper shows that whether they're cloaked in fuzz or or left threadbare, they still dig deep. MARK LORE

SAVES THE DAY, INTO IT OVER IT, HOSTAGE CALM
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE César E. Chávez) Saves the Day have been a couple different bands (or many more, if you count the never-ending lineup changes). The group's first two records, Can't Slow Down (recorded while singer and sole constant member Chris Conley was still in high school) and Through Being Cool are considered by many pop-punk enthusiasts to be among the genre's crowning achievements. The following two records, however, revealed that Conley's relevance as a songwriter extended far beyond the Warped Tour's boundaries: 2001's Stay What You Are represented everything great and pure about emo before it was co-opted by the mainstream, and 2003's In Reverie (which was produced by legendary Elliott Smith producer Rob Schnapf) showed the band moving in a mature, promising direction. Unfortunately, the group's last three records have all been separate installments in a convoluted, vaguely conceptual rock opera trilogy, something Conley—or anyone—can't pull off interestingly. But here's the good news: The group's forthcoming, self-titled record has been touted by the band as a return to form. My fingers are crossed for songs about girls. MORGAN TROPER

PREFUSE 73, NATASHA KMETO, THE GREAT MUNDANE, BRAXTON PALMER
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Located somewhere in between the legacy established by the MPC-soul-vival of J Dilla and the futro-jazz of Flying Lotus, Guillermo Scott Herren's work as Prefuse 73 functions as an essential layer in the bedrock of contemporary sample-centric beat production. A true alchemist of style and source, Herren enacts an aural concoction of psych-rock, jazz, SFX, and other disparate origins of sound to fabricate a visceral realm of fusion as an elemental foundation of songcraft. Prefuse 73 is best known for constructing cinematic, head-nodding instrumentals, yet his collaborations with members of Sunn 0))), School of Seven Bells, and Hella point toward Herren's talent for enveloping concrete beats with ambient soundscapes and dedication to sonic ambiguity. Together with Natasha Kmeto, this show guarantees to entertain and elevate with electronic music that moves mind and muscle. WYATT SCHAFFNER

WASHED OUT, LE1F, SHY GIRLS, LARRY G(EE)
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) For Ernest Greene—the Georgia-based musician behind the dreamy soundscapes of Washed Out—the idea of creating an imaginary universe comes to full fruition on his second full-length, Paracosm. Digital beats swim through analog oceans on watery tunes like the appropriately named "Weightless," as Greene draws out syllables, elongates cadence, and forges a temporary fantasyland of swarming sounds. The album's second single, "Don't Give Up," blips in at a different clip, pouncing disco-tinged pulses over swirling synth for a dance-heavy jam that's just as stony-sounding as the rest of the album. Is it music to zone out to? Totally. But there are enough temporal parameters to keep you moving, and there are few artists of the chillwave persuasion composing as compelling a mesh of noises as Washed Out. RYAN J. PRADO

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 7

SONNY AND THE SUNSETS, LOVE AS LAUGHTER, LONNIE WINN
(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) Read our article on Sonny and the Sunsets.

CHARLES BRADLEY, SHUGGIE OTIS, MORNING RITUAL
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) Read our article on Charles Bradley.

THE HELIO SEQUENCE, 1939 ENSEMBLE
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) See My, What a Busy Week!

MARIACHI EL BRONX, TIBURONES
(Dr. Martens Store, 2 NW 10th) Though the roots of the Bronx's alter ego Mariachi el Bronx are in alt-punk, their minor-key mariachi music is legit, even if they still look like a rock band accidentally given a mariachi band's ticket in a hilarious dry cleaner mix-up. Mariachi el Bronx takes the fun, upbeat accordion stylings of mariachi music, and swirls it together with punkish beats and riffs, making for a highly unique, well-executed sound. Tiburones is a newer outfit; consisting of Luz Elena Mendoza of Y La Bamba and Nick Delffs of Death Songs, their three-piece band will captivate you with its lively tempo and beautiful harmonies. ROSE FINN

The Head and The Heart - PHOTO BY CURTIS WAVE MILLARD
  • Photo by Curtis Wave Millard
  • The Head and The Heart

THE HEAD AND THE HEART, THAO AND THE GET DOWN STAY DOWN, DEEP SEA DIVER
(Pioneer Courthouse Square, 701 SW 6th) The huggy folk of the Head and the Heart never did anything for me. I've seen the Seattle group more than once, and walked away each time baffled by the rapturous response to their good-hearted but generally unsurprising clap-alongs. So I'm happy to say that their new song, "Shake," is actually pretty decent, easily the best thing I've heard from them. They've dispensed with the open-mic coffeehouse vibe in favor of something slightly less earnest, something with a bit more shadow and body to it. Their new album, Let's Be Still, doesn't come out until October 15, so it remains to be seen whether this MFNW set will be an exclusive, exciting preview of what's to come, or a warm-up show for them to relearn all their old songs before the national tour that will follow the album's release. NED LANNAMANN

GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR, EARTH
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) Here are a couple bands making the most of their second acts. First, there's the reanimated Godspeed You! Black Emperor, whose celebrated reunion became even worthier of celebration with 'Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend!, the venerable post-rock band's first album in 10 years that just so happens to be one of the best releases in their catalog. As for Earth, guitarist Dylan Carlson resurrected his long-dormant drone-doom project in 2005, but instead of just fine-tuning his previous approach à la Godspeed, he re-imagined Earth as something of a desert-scorched blues band that could easily soundtrack a spaghetti western. MATTHEW W. SULLIVAN

TEAM DRESCH, THE PYNNACLES, SAD HORSE
(Backspace, 115 NW 5th) It's taken two decades for most people to catch up to Team Dresch, the prickly political four-piece that were pivotal in the '90s queercore movement. That's not to say everything's been peachy-keen since the release of their impassioned and perfect 1994 debut LP, Personal Best. Far from it. Let's just say they got the ball... err, the massive boulder rolling as far as opening up the discussion on women's issues and what it is to be queer in a homophobic society. It would have been easy to beat it over people's heads with pure punk-rock rage, but there's always been an elegance to Team Dresch's music. After going on hiatus in the late '90s, the band reunited for Homo-a-Go-Go in 2004. Team Dresch is still performing, and showing that they're just as—if not more—important now as they were 20 years ago. MARK LORE

P.O.S, SHAD, THE CHICHARONES
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE César E. Chávez) Shad may be Canadian, but he ain't no puss. This Kenyan-born emcee's flow is smooth, while his DJ sets the tone for a sound similar in thoughtful tonality to Atmosphere and A Tribe Called Quest. What elevates his lyrics from the usual wealth-centric raps is his unabashed willingness to discuss consumerist culture, personal anxiety, and even genocide in Rwanda. Meanwhile, P.O.S (not to be confused with '90s band/nightmare P.O.D.) hails from Minneapolis, nexus of America's underground hiphop scene. P.O.S is the king of side projects, fronting to numerous punk-rock bands and playing in Building Better Bombs, and co-founding indie hiphop collective Doomtree. P.O.S' insightful lyrics and dynamic sound make him a force to be reckoned with. What better cherry on the hiphop sundae the Chicharones, a Portland hiphop duo, known for lively shows and a unique mix of hiphop, rock, and funk. ROSE FINN

Angel Olsen - PHOTO BY SABRINA RUSH
  • Photo by Sabrina Rush
  • Angel Olsen

HORSE FEATHERS, ANGEL OLSEN
(The Old Church, 1422 SW 11th) If you've never listened to Angel Olsen, the possessed quality of her vocals can be jarring. Operating somewhere in between the monotone flatline of Nico and the spatial dreaminess of Mazzy Star, Olsen champions a hypnotic contingent to her songs that implores repeated listens. After you hear the lo-fi warble of "Lonely Universe" from her most recent LP Half Way Home—and one of the most melancholy songs penned in the last five years—it's clear that Olsen's knack for isolating despair and putting it through the wringer is eerily spot-on. With Portland folksters Horse Feathers on the bill, this showcase is guaranteed to yield emotive ebb and flow. RYAN J. PRADO

THE DODOS, BLEEDING RAINBOW, QUEEN KWONG
(Star Theater, 13 NW 6th) I became hooked on San Francisco band the Dodos after catching them at a festival in the summer of 2008. It was shortly after the release of their second album, Visiter, which I stuck on repeat long after hearing the band live. I watched in the hot Coney Island sun as Meric Long finger-picked acoustic guitars alongside Logan Kroeber's mind-blowingly technical syncopated drumbeats, and the pair managed to deliver a captivating set that soared above the rattling tracks and screams of Cyclone riders off to the side of the stage. The Star Theater should be a much better fit for the MFNW alums, who return to Portland the week after the release of their fifth album, Carrier.  The album follows their outstanding 2011 release, No Color, and finds the group expanding their established folk roots with more electric guitar, offering plenty of moments sure to rival those Visiter-era favorites in the live setting. CHIPP TERWILLIGER

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 8

NEKO CASE, PICKWICK, THE MOONDOGGIES
(Pioneer Courthouse Square, 701 SW 6th) Read our article on Neko Case.

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