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Up & Coming

Highlights in Music the Week of March 22-28

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THURSDAY 3/22

PHAME: THE H IS FOR HONORED SHOWCASE
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) See My, What a Busy Week!

HUNX AND HIS PUNX, HEAVY CREAM, ADRIAN PIPER COVER BAND
(Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) Seth Bogart, best known as Hunx, didn't enlist his Punx on Hairdresser Blues, his swishy new record on Hardly Art, but they'll be in tow for a rip-roaring night of super-campy garage rock. Bogart's kind of a genius at unearthing the inherent homosexual undertones in pop music's past—particularly in glam rock, girl group sounds, and tight leather-clad punk—and playing them to the fore. Hairdresser Blues is the kind of juicy, undeniable pop record that might slip past the ears of the most guarded, rightwing anti-gay before he knows what he's listening to. And what's the problem, anyway, homophobe? It's only rock 'n' roll, and you know you like it. NED LANNAMANN

WHITE RABBITS, GULL
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) In 2012 Brooklyn, plenty of bands surely sound like White Rabbits: agreeably tuneful, handy (footy?) with guitar pedals, rhythmically tough, accessible yet edgy dance rock for on-top-of-it 20-somethings. Their new album, Milk Famous, flits by with a handful of semi-memorable melodies that will not impede your shopping errands or disrupt your coding session. Sorry if this sounds like damning with faint praise. White Rabbits, who originate from Columbia, Missouri, have some interesting, dissonant guitar textures and hum-able tunes, and they're far superior to the Strokes and Interpol and their disciples. But something about this group strikes an overly contrived note. I bet they have stylists. DAVE SEGAL

CURSEBREAKER, UNRESTRAINED, TWOHANDS, BLACKHEATH
(Rotture, 315 SE 3rd) Portland's hardcore scene, sadly, is relegated to the few willing venues who don't mind spit and blown PAs, and to lots of basement and living room shows whose residents don't mind shoeprints on the ceiling. Luckily for shadow kung-fu dudes, windmill kickers, and penny picker-uppers, Rotture's hosting of PDX flag-bearers Cursebreaker and Twohands, plus straightedge shredders Unrestrained and newcomers Blackheath, is a welcome shift in environment. Shakeups in the Twohands lineup over the last few months have yielded more brutal, hedonistic aural pathways, namely in the addition of Matt Hagan (ex-Brutal Fight) on vocals and Jayson Smith (ex-the Hedonist) on guitar. Cursebreaker's unsolicited perch at the head of the local hardcore pack has come by way of aggressive live shows and tons of DIY mettle. This show will be loud and awesome, and a great introduction to PDX hardcore. Let's get ready to rumble. RYAN J. PRADO

FRIDAY 3/23

MR. GNOME, POINT JUNCTURE WA, SUN ANGLE
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) See My, What a Busy Week!

SHARON VAN ETTEN, THE WAR ON DRUGS
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) Read our article on Sharon Van Etten.

OF MONTREAL, DEERHOOF, KISHI BASHI
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) Of Montreal's mind-fuck, community-theater pageantry is the reason most folks will truck themselves to tonight's show, but for my money, the can't-miss part of this bill is opener Kishi Bashi. The one-man recording project of K. Ishibashi (who's also in Of Montreal) yields sumptuous orchestral brilliance, evidenced on the latest full-length 151a. It's a stunningly good record, not merely chirpy, zany, and whimsical—but also packed full of harmonious, heart-stopping beauty. If you can imagine ELO's very best moments combined with Andrew Bird and a bit of weird Björk introspection—well, even that doesn't really do it justice. Apart from Pet Sounds, perhaps, I can't think of a record that's as singly captivating in its sonic beauty. NL Also see My, What a Busy Week!

KOOL KEITH, SERGE SEVERE, DAIN, BIG BANG
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE 39th) For the better part of three decades, Kool Keith has rarely paused his hilariously disgusting flow, and only then for something really pressing—like designing lingerie, producing pornos, or devising yet another alter ego. The latest in a long line of characters was featured on 2009's Tashan Dorrsett, about a New York City everyman with a characteristically Keith affection for poop and pee. Dorrsett didn't come close to the brilliance of Black Elvis or Dr. Octagon, mostly because Keith's notoriously creative lyricism seemed to be missing—a form of the verb to defecate showed up on every song. Word has it that a new LP, Love & Danger, is set to drop at some point this year; fingers crossed that it will mark a return to the unhinged lyrical innovation that made the Ultramagnetic MCs one of the most influential hiphop groups of the '80s. REBECCA WILSON

NADA SURF, AN HORSE
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) In hindsight, Nada Surf's debut album High/Low (which is best, if not exclusively, remembered as being produced by Ric Ocasek and featuring the near-novelty ode to high school prestige, "Popular") stacks up nicely against its exemplars (Weezer, Superchunk) in the cavorting '90s pop/rock oeuvre, and is long overdue for reassessment (the band should really jump on the "exalted album performed live in its entirety" bandwagon). Surf's latest release The Stars Are Indifferent to Astronomy is also their first non-covers album in four years, and it contains several songs reminiscent of this golden period, such as the propulsive opener "Clear Eye Clouded Mind" and the sparkling, downright exceptional "Teenage Dreams." I'd say they've still got it. MORGAN TROPER 

CALEB KLAUDER TRIO, NEW COUNTRY REHAB
(Mississippi Pizza Pub, 3552 N Mississippi) It's time for America to take back Americana from the Canadians. I think the problem all began back with the Band, who did those rusty, folky tropes better than we ever did—and now here's Ontario's New Country Rehab. They make foot stompin', guitar strummin', fiddle sawin' music that has its ancestry in old-time American music but rocks a little too hard to be relegated to the folk bin. Their excellent self-titled debut is nothing but a pleasure from start to finish, and this is their first Portland show. With Caleb Klauder's crew also on the bill, this will be the place to park your cowboy boots tonight. NL

MICHAEL GIRA, SIR RICHARD BISHOP, MIKE SCHEIDT
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) 2010 saw the release of Michael Gira's most recent solo album, I Am Not Insane, as well as the glorious return of his seminal band Swans with My Father Will Guide Me up a Rope to the Sky, their first album in 14 years. Solo Gira is sparse and acoustic, without Swans' baroque arrangements or wacky experimentalism, but he brings his signature desolation to both the songwriting and the lyrics. The music is just as bleak as any Swans album, with unexpected song structures and melodies, and words just as literate and abrasive. This could reek of trying too hard—a concerted effort to focus on the dark side. But Gira's masculine, affecting voice never sounds contrived, even at its most melodramatic. RW

UNICORN DOMINATION, OTIS HEAT, DJ PIPEDREAM
(Tonic Lounge, 3100 NE Sandy) It's always very much appreciated when bands let us know about their upcoming record release shows. It's possible, however, to commit overkill: Local synth-dance/performance-art outfit Unicorn Domination recently dropped off nine copies of their new full-length, Status. One for me, two for freelancers, one for that guy who doesn't work here anymore, one for the unspecific "Attn: Music" catchall, and four extra copies for good measure. Each press pack was adorned with candy and glossy photos and stickers. Fortunately, Status is a dopily fun record with twinkly synth glistens and crunky bottom end, proving even further that Unicorn Domination is nothing if not committed. They celebrate Status' release tonight; if you're looking for a copy, uh, you can hit me up. NL

SATURDAY 3/24

THE MALT BALL
(Bossanova Ballroom, 722 E Burnside) Read our feature article on the Malt Ball.

PLANTS AND ANIMALS, LITTLE SCREAM, HOSANNAS
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Read our article on Plants and Animals.

YPPAH, ANOMIE BELLE, CARS AND TRAINS
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Yppah (AKA Long Beach-based multi-instrumentalist/producer Joe Corrales Jr.) is one of those rare Americans who record for England's venerable Ninja Tune label. On his new full-length, Eighty One, he constructs moving, electro-organic instrumentals not too different from those of celebrated veteran Ninja Tune acts like Cinematic Orchestra and Bonobo. Yppah creates the illusion of leading a full band (perhaps one produced by orchestral-funk genius David Axelrod and enamored of shoegaze rock), but Eighty One consists only of his handiwork, along with exquisite parts on four tracks by classically trained Seattle violinist/vocalist Anomie Belle. Should be a grand(iose) night. DS

SHROUDED STRANGERS, SAD HORSE, KARL AND THE JERKS
(Kenton Club, 2025 N Kilpatrick) Portland ramshackle rock weirdos Karl and the Jerks are a motley crew, featuring members of the Bugs, Evolutionary Jass Band, and New Bad Things. The six-piece plays rock and roll that's straightforward and off-balance at the same time—there's enough guitar fuzz and sax skronk here to stick to the walls of a dimly lit basement, or a sock hop in Hades. Rolling through town for the bill are Virginia's Shrouded Strangers, another pieced-together group of misfits known for lengthy stabs at the Velvet Underground and Sonic Youth in addition to their own otherworldly tunes. Watch as these space cadets bring the Messier 83 galaxy to the Kenton Club. MARK LORE

PARADISE, 1939 ENSEMBLE, DJ MERCEDEZ
(Langano Lounge, 1435 SE Hawthorne) Diary of an Old Soul, the debut from Portland band Paradise, is a jackbooted, blue-jeaned rock 'n' roll record, with plenty of distorted organ and crunchy guitar. Their debut video is a straight-up homage to the Small Faces, and they've got a bit of ? and the Mysterians in their jumpy, nervy garage. Diary of an Old Soul is a very good debut indeed, and it sees a release on 12-inch vinyl tonight at what should be a very mod kind of party—be prepared to shake it Shindig-style. NL

ROBERT GLASPER EXPERIMENT, SOULMATES
(Star Theater, 13 NW 6th) Jazz pianist Robert Glasper's musical genius resolves jazz, hiphop, and neo-soul into one smooth and limpid stream of sound. If you are not familiar with his work—and you probably are but do not know it (he has worked with Common, J Dilla, Erykah Badu, and Jay-Z)—a great place to start is his version of Sade's "Cherish the Day." Who knew you could squeeze even more beauty out of that already very beautiful tune? Robert Glasper makes music for a black race that has been to space and back. CHARLES MUDEDE

LUCERO, THE DROWNING MEN
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) Breaking news: Lucero's new album, Women & Work, features Southern barroom rock songs about women, ghosts, and drinking. There's slide guitar, there are horns. There's a high-energy love song about a woman with a kiss like lightning and a weepy, self-deprecating tune about the one who got away. Hunky singer Ben Nichols says the words "baby," "darlin'," "honey," and "drink" over and over again. Women & Work is everything that every Lucero record has been before. But goddamn if I don't fall for it each time. Sure, the Memphis band keeps writing the same few songs repeatedly, but what's the crime in that when they do it so well? MEGAN SELING

SUNDAY 3/25

LOCH LOMOND, DINOSAUR FEATHERS, LEMOLO
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) See My, What a Busy Week!

THE LOOM, PURE BATHING CULTURE
(Rontoms, 600 E Burnside) Having relocated from Brooklyn to Portland on a whim, Pure Bathing Culture's Sarah Versprille and Dan Hindman played their very first show at the Doug Fir in January. It's a good thing their restorative pop survived the trip without any damage, as the slightest environmental changes would surely disrupt its perfect balance. Their songs, though scant in number, are washed out in just enough reverb and the exact amount of '80s soft-rock motifs allowed before tawdriness sets in. You might wonder how supposed neophytes could work with such finesse. However, a bit more research reveals that Versprille and Hindman are both touring members of Vetiver; they're no strangers to the construction of smooth tunes. And though their debut EP (out later this year on Father/Daughter Records) has yet to surface, it's clear that great things are in store for Pure Bathing Culture. RAQUEL NASSER

DAN BERN, MIKE MIDLO
(Alberta Rose Theatre, 3000 NE Alberta) Dan Bern has a song called "Talkin' Woody, Bob, Bruce, and Dan Blues," a self-aware acknowledgment of the three groundbreakers he can't not be compared to—Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, and Bruce Springsteen. It's true that Bern sounds an awful lot like '60s Dylan, but like any folk rocker worth his salt, Bern reflects the time he's living in, which in case you hadn't noticed is jaded and cynical. Bern values irony over earnest idealism, reflected in the name of his sometime band, the International Jewish Banking Conspiracy, as well as the songs he's written for the movies Walk Hard and Get Him to the Greek. This is not to say that Bern is never political. His biggest gift as a songwriter might be his knack for infusing current events with the sardonically surreal. RW

LOST IN THE TREES, POOR MOON
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) It's only taken about four years for Poor Moon to fully realize itself as a working band. After existing as a demo-trading side gig for Christian Wargo and Casey Wescott (of Fleet Foxes and Crystal Skulls) with Ian and Peter Murray of the Christmas Cards, the project flew by the wayside following the massive success of Fleet Foxes. Now with some time at their disposal, Poor Moon's debut EP, Illusion (released by Sub Pop), has been unleashed, drifting in currents of lush, dreamy pop and echo-heavy acoustic shuffles, the former of which is best executed on the single "People in Her Mind." Sluggishly paced though it may be, the bulk of the EP retains clarity thanks to fantastic melodies (as in the excellent title track opener), fertile harmonies, and nimbly executed songcraft. RJP

STATIONTOSTATION: DUOVER
(Secret Society, 116 NE Russell) Portland acoustic duo Duover (get it?) are likeable on many levels. Rebecca Rasmussen and Nathan Junior serve up lovely country folk that adheres to the rustic stylings of Arnold Schultz and Bill Monroe. They'd probably even serve you breakfast in bed if given the chance. That sweetness carries over into unassuming songs that are quirky and occasionally wander off to a dark place. Nathan Junior—who also does time with Fruit Bats and M. Ward—picks and strums with precision. But it's all held together by those voices, which have the power to melt hearts and then put them back together again (try "Raining Love" on for size). Tonight's performance will be recorded and broadcast for engineer Sean Flora's StationToStation. ML

MONDAY 3/26

WHITE MYSTERY, THE COATHANGERS, GHOST MOM, PATAHA HISS
(East End, 203 SE Grand) See My, What a Busy Week!

SHADOWS ON STARS, LUCK-ONE, TxE
(White Eagle, 836 N Russell) Read our article on Luck-One.

HOWLER, YELLOW OSTRICH, APPETITE
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Read our article on Yellow Ostrich.

LOZEN, BLASTED CANYONS, HOT VICTORY, DJ MATT SCAPHISM
(The Know, 2026 NE Alberta) You already love the brutal and beautiful sounds of Helms Alee (I mean, right? I hope!). Now make some room on your record shelf for Lozen. The noisy Seattle-based duo features HA drummer Hozoji Matheson-Margullis on guitar and Justine Maria Valdez on drums and their songs—with dueling vocals, fuzzy guitar, and pounding drumming—will definitely appeal to fans of Helms and Shellac. The band hasn't released anything since 2009's Oona (which you can hear at ruralwolf.bandcamp.com), but those of you already in the Lozen fan base will be happy to hear there are plans to release their follow-up, Para Vida, very soon on their own label, Silent Queef (which, as far as I'm concerned, gets the Record Label Name of the Year award). MS

TUESDAY 3/27

Happy birthday to Mariah Carey and Genesis keyboardist Tony Banks! May you two never, ever collaborate.

WEDNESDAY 3/28

ANAÏS MITCHELL: HADESTOWN
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Anaïs Mitchell's sterling new album, Young Man in America, is already one of the year's most striking and rewarding listens, a gorgeously shimmering record of literate, adventurous folk. Mitchell's unconventional voice sounds simultaneously childlike and old as time itself; her songwriting captures both the wintry austerity and lush verdancy of her Vermont upbringing. I don't know how many of her excellent new songs she'll be performing tonight, though, as this show is dedicated to a performance of her folk opera Hadestown—released on record in 2010 with guest singers like Justin Vernon, Greg Brown, and Ani DeFranco. It's a retelling of the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, and Mitchell's assembled an all-star crew of Portland musicians for tonight's performance, including Corin Tucker, Nick Jaina, Adam Shearer, and others. I'd be more upset about Mitchell not using this Portland date to air all of those great, new Young Man songs (and who knows? There's always the encore) if this performance of Hadestown didn't sound so completely incredible. This should be a remarkable, once-in-a-lifetime show. NL

THE TERROR PIGEON DANCE REVOLT, NETHERFRIENDS
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) This is a message to the more subdued brand of Portland showgoers (read: nearly all of you)—cancel all previous engagements, call in sick from work, get a babysitter, or do whatever you must to the obstacles that might interfere with your attendance at this show. Why so urgent? Well, you need this. The Terror Pigeon Dance Revolt will stir you from your spectator's coma not only with frenetic dance/soul/garage songs about snow days and friendship, but also with choreographed sword fights, garish costumes (for you, too!), and other various unpredictable behavior. They are bound to have you using more explanation points than necessary to describe them to your friends later!!!!!!!!!! And goddammit, it's time to shake off this seasonal catatonia; you have the tools and the support, so let this be the first leap that you take. RN

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