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This Week's Music Previews

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WEDNESDAY 2/20

SWING FOR PETE: THE MIDNIGHT SERENADERS, JENNY FINN ORCHESTRA, EVERYTHING'S JAKE, THE STOLEN SWEETS & MORE
(Secret Society, 116 NE Russell) Read our article on Pete Krebs.

DORO, SISTER SIN, EARTH TO ASHES, STONECREEP
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE César E. Chávez) Heavy metal's royalty is getting old. For the most part, if they're not passing on to the next world (RIP, Ronnie James), they are burning out or making complete fools of themselves musically or otherwise (hi, Ozzy Osbourne). However, there are a proud few that haven't lost a step since the '80s, and Germany's Doro Pesch—AKA the Metal Queen—is most certainly in that category. Doro has been ruling since 1984, releasing four albums fronting Warlock before striking out on her own. Her newest effort, Raise Your Fist, doesn't stray too far away from the aged-metal-performer formula—it's not groundbreaking, but it chugs and soars like heavy metal should, and she sounds as good as she did in her Warlock days. Plus, it features Lemmy on a ballad, and that's never a bad move. Some performers never lose it, and it seems like Doro will be seated firmly upon her throne as Metal Queen for many years to come. ARIS WALES

THURSDAY 2/21

ROCK FOR PETE: BLACK PRAIRIE, COLIN MELOY, SEAN CROGHAN, CASEY NEILL, LEWI LONGMIRE, JAMES LOW & MORE
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) See My, What a Busy Week! and read our article on Pete Krebs.

NUCULAR AMINALS, STAY CALM, FOR THE LASH
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Nucular Aminals write swirling, multi-dimensional grunge-rock songs. For the past few years, they have been making albums and touring extensively, performing with acts like Ty Segall and White Fence. Their music melds reverb-saturated garage guitar and funeral-parlor organ with expressive drums and low, droning vocals, creating a truly stand-out, aggressive sound. Their most recent full-length, Start from an End, is heavy and heady; the track "Untitled" is a perfect example of how their music steers narrowly into the uneasy and edgy before directing their audience back in a melodic, rockin' direction. They also have a new 7-inch due out on Hovercraft, just in time for their European tour in March. RACHEL MILBAUER

FRIDAY 2/22

LUZ ELENA MENDOZA, EDNA VAZQUEZ, LEO
(Alberta Rose Theatre, 3000 NE Alberta) See My, What a Busy Week!

WORKS: LOST LANDER, THE ALIALUJAH CHOIR
(The Old Church, 1422 SW 11th) See My, What a Busy Week!

SALLIE FORD AND THE SOUND OUTSIDE, AGESANDAGES
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) Read our article on Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside.

EAT SKULL, THE WOOLEN MEN, STILL CAVES, LITTLE PILGRIMS
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Read our article on Eat Skull.

RARE MONK, NINJA TURTLE NINJA TIGER, BIKE THIEF
(Tonic Lounge, 3100 NE Sandy) The opening track of Sleep/Attack, the new album from Portland band Rare Monk, has all the ingredients you could want: a rocking but dance-friendly beat, a hooky melody, a squiggly synth solo or two, and harmony vocals up the wazoo. As good as that track is, Rare Monk saves their surprises for later in the album, blending shreddy guitar rawk with folky violin and nice-guy harmonies. It all totally works, and Rare Monk are skilled at putting these disparate elements together, while offering something dance-floor friendly to boot. Produced by Skyler Norwood and with striking cover artwork by Chris Bigalke, Death by Proxy is not just the first full-length album from Rare Monk, but the announcement of their arrival as a fully loaded Swiss-army knife of a band, capable of most anything you'd need 'em to do. NED LANNAMANN

THE RESIDENTS
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE César E. Chávez) The first lyrics the Residents officially released into the world on their 1972 debut single were "Santa Dog's a Jesus fetus," and in the decades since, the band has not paused in their ceaseless propagation of similarly derisive, acerbic, and playful communications to humankind. Across a maddening amount of material that spans every possible type of media and format, the Residents have slyly employed the trappings of popular music—severely bending its limits in the process—in spectacles that radically, artfully reflect cultural institutions like religion, commerce, and politics, and expose their foundations of absurdity. When the band's earliest efforts struggled to find support from traditional outlets, counterculture outposts—including KBOO and Music Millennium, locally—helped them to develop their audience, one so enduring and loyal that tonight's show celebrates their 40th anniversary with the "Wonder of Weird" tour. MARANDA BISH

GRAVE BABIES, VICE DEVICE, TYRANTS
(Record Room, 8 NE Killingsworth) Seattle's Grave Babies would probably prefer not to be filed under goth or industrial, which is perfectly understandable. Their second full-length, Crusher (out on Hardly Art), is a lot of things: morbidly discordant, toneless, beat-heavy, and often brooding. It's not, however, particularly gloomy, even when it's trying its hardest to be. The band somehow bridges—and not always entirely seamlessly—the tenets of sludgy metal with a dark pop not unlike a drugged-up Tears for Fears. Mashing danceable beats, fuzzy, chant-like vocals, and hook-lite melodies within a guitar-heavy miasma, Grave Babies appear to be appealing to a rough hybrid of all the scenes they wish they didn't have to. That Crusher is a pretty decent record of moping rock makes any expectation of categorization more or less moot. RYAN J. PRADO

SATURDAY 2/23

PORTLAND A GO-GO!: THE SATIN CHAPS, BANG GIRL GROUP REVIEW, BROWNISH BLACK, THE MOON SPINNERS, THE PYNNACLES, DJ DREW GROOVE, DJ CECILIA
(Secret Society, 116 NE Russell) See My, What a Busy Week!

SALLIE FORD AND THE SOUND OUTSIDE, SONS OF HUNS
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) Read our article on Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside.

SCRIMSHANDER, FANNO CREEK, DESERT DAYS
(Someday Lounge, 125 NW 5th) The first time I saw Fanno Creek, I was struck by the intense chemistry and energy of the performance. The three-piece is fronted by Quinn Mulligan and Evan Hailstone, whose complementary vocals and guitar are backed by drummer Dane Brist (who you can sometimes spot bursting into song from behind the kit). Their music is upbeat, folk-soaked, and instantly infectious. A song can start off in quiet melodies, but quickly transition into a raucous, declarative chorus that gets the room jumping happily. Their lyrics touch on heartache, being broke, and the daily grind, in an eloquent and relatable flow. From their fingerpicking verses to their sweet harmonies, Fanno Creek have got something special going on. RACHEL MILBAUER Also, read our article on Scrimshander.

STEPHEN HOUGH, OREGON SYMPHONY
(Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway) Chief cultural blogger for the Telegraph of London. Prodigious recorder of more than 50 albums. MacArthur genius. Theologian. Poet. Queer activist. Composer. The guy wears a lot of (size 60) hats, but first and foremost: Stephen Hough plays piano and will forever and ever reign at the high altar of my personal pianoforte pantheon. Our very own Oregon Symphony is thankfully hosting Mr. Hough on his latest visit to Portland—this time 'round for a pair of concerts featuring the sometimes romantic, sometimes explosive, always kick-ass Piano Concerto No. 2 composed by Franz Liszt. If Hough's last appearance with the symphony was any indication, the pride of the Wirral Peninsula will be fueled by dark chocolate and British puddings, with his virtuosic wonders on full display as he gives all 88 keys the proverbial what-for. Look, I realize the social calendar of most Mercury readers has been full for weeks now, but c'mon... Fuck the cat show. Fuck the unicycle convention. Fuck the locally sourced paleo potluck. Globally adored virtuosos like Stephen Hough don't come to town every week, you know. Did I mention a Beethoven symphony is also on the program? Bring a change of shorts (you'll need 'em) and I'll see you at the Schnitz, goddammit. ANGRY SYMPHONY GUY

MIKAL CRONIN, BIG EYES, JOLLAPIN JASPER
(Dante's, 350 W Burnside) The city by the bay is still brimming with great rock 'n' roll, to the point where I'm actually starting to become a little suspicious. Mikal Cronin—aside from his work with Ty Segall on a number of singles, and the recently reissued Reverse Shark Attack LP—put out a terrific garage-pop record of his own in 2011. Ya know... just another songwriting wunderkind from the Bay Area. Cronin's latest single, "Shout It Out"—the first off his forthcoming album for Merge, titled MCII—cuts out the garage grime for some downright tidy power pop. It feels as FM ready as if it were 1978. Think Dwight Twilley with a little more fuzz. MARK LORE

CAMPER VAN BEETHOVEN, CASEY NEILL AND THE NORWAY RATS
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) I should've known it was bad after seeing that Cracker is playing on a '90s band cruise out of Miami in October, featuring such luminaries as Smash Mouth! Sugar Ray! Spin Doctors! Collective Soul! Vomit in your mouth! I'd rather be on that Carnival boat full of sewage and incontinent old people. But I always held out hope that Cracker was just a strange anomaly for vocalist David Lowery, who had a truly excellent band in the '80s, Camper Van Beethoven. But they're a hot pile now, too. Just check out a few songs from their new album La Costa Perdida for proof. It's full of cringes like a terrible seven-minute Beach Boys ripoff about Northern California girls. There's also ample echoes of the Beatles' druggy era, and let's face it, it's no compliment to say your stuff sounds like the bad bits of Magical Mystery Tour. If those were Camper Van Beethoven's biggest missteps all could be forgiven. But alas, there is ska. Might I suggest putting 1988's near-perfect Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart on never-ending shuffle and avoiding this shitshow. COURTNEY FERGUSON

GALACTIC, LATYRX
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) If Soulive and Dr. John took some tequila shots and jammed, their sound could be described as "Galactic." With Galactic's ever-evolving song structure and party atmosphere, the New Orleans band produces a funkiness that could make even Ann Romney's butt twitch. Originally an eight-piece, this sextet has been providing the proverbial funk for nearly 20 years. Their most recent album, Carnivale Electros, feels like you're parading through the streets of New Orleans with a hurricane in one hand and a tit in the other. A departure from their usual funky jam sets, Electros plays more like an electric samba during Rio's Carnivale, but remains faithful to the sound of a funeral march at Mardi Gras. Whichever musical role they act, your legs and hips won't be able to ignore the tight horns, powerful syncopation, and true New Orleans soul that Galactic always delivers. ROSE FINN

ULTRA GOAT, CONTEMPT, STEELHYMEN
(The Know, 2026 NE Alberta) In the wake of the departure of bass player Andrew Lincoln, the minimalist-doom metal of Portland project Steelhymen has arrived at another transitory point in their brief yet promising existence. Originally forming around a decidedly female take on hard rock (thus, perhaps, the name), the duo of Becca VandeWalle on guitar and Lauren Vidal on drums carved out an essential, urgent sound before expanding to include Lincoln and additional gentleman Chris Conway on guitar and vocals. As evidenced on their recently released album 0 || 0/0, Steel Hymen's music achieves a harsh expansiveness that blurs the gender spectrum, and in the act of finding a new bass player, the band stands poised to further approach new sonic territory. MB

GEEKLESQUE GETS WEIRD: A TRIBUTE TO "WEIRD AL" YANKOVIC
(Star Theater, 13 NW 6th) There may not be a more deserving lightning rod for the geek-leaning generation than "Weird Al" Yankovic. And what better way to pay tribute to the maestro of the skewed lampoon than with a bunch of sexy burlesque dancers from San Francisco and Portland dressed up in classic Yankovic ensembles, performing scintillatingly nerdy numbers? Featuring Portland's Angelique DeVil, Babs Jamboree, Sophie Maltease, and more, along with the Bay's Pickles Kintaro, Mistress Marla Spankx, and Lady Satan, Geeklesque Gets Weird is poised to ring in its third year with powerfully sardonic sass. The prospect of watching a trained burlesque dancer attempt sultriness while crooning "Fat" (crossing fingers!) is more than reason enough to check this out. RJP

SUNDAY 2/24

KISHI BASHI, SHUGO TOKUMARU, TALL TALL TREES
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) See My, What a Busy Week!

WORMBAG, STEELHYMEN, A HAPPY DEATH, PISS TEST
(Slabtown, 1033 NW 16th) See Saturday's listing.

NIGHT BEDS, INDIANS, CAT MARTINO
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) I don't think I'm the only one who finds it hard to take seriously the entitlement and relationship gymnastics of the people we've started calling millennials (see: Girls). The exception for me is if these protoadults manage to set their (not so very) deep thoughts to music so transcendentally lovely that I have no choice but to feel moved. Case in point: Night Beds. Their first full-length, Country Sleep, came out a few weeks ago, and it is breathtaking. Frontman Winston Yellen sounds much like another astonishingly precocious songwriter, Robin Pecknold, but his music and words are affecting in a completely different way. Co-headlining are Indians, the project and now band of Søren Løkke Juul, a Danish man with a voice a lot like Justin Vernon's. But on his album, Somewhere Else, he's shown himself to be more eccentric and experimental than Bon Iver—which means a lot more interesting. REBECCA WILSON

MOLLY HATCHET, ROOT JACK
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) My memories of Molly Hatchet have zero to do with their music and everything to do with those Frank Frazetta-inked album covers, depicting muscular sword-wielding warriors perched atop armored stallions. They looked bitchin' on both vinyl jackets and jean jackets. I have to admit when I finally heard the band's best-known cut, "Flirtin' with Disaster," it was kind of a letdown. To use an analogy that captures the spirit of the band's music: The carpet didn't match the drapes. Molly Hatchet's classic-rock Southern-boogie is boozy fun, though, if mostly forgettable and forever yellowed by cigarette smoke. I'm sure whichever lineup Molly Hatchet rolls out tonight will capture that in spades. ML

MONDAY 2/25

STEPHEN HOUGH, OREGON SYMPHONY
(Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway) See Saturday's listing.

R. STEVIE MOORE, LAKE, PALEO
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Every artist who's ever been classified as "lo-fi" or "bedroom pop"—from Guided by Voices to Ariel Pink—owes a huge debt to R. Stevie Moore. The son of an esteemed Music City session musician, Moore began making erratically brilliant, scrappy home recordings when he was a teenager and has since released over 400 records. Sifting through his dauntingly extensive discography is a journey in itself (one which has consumed way too much of my time), but his best record is without a doubt the roundly flawless Phonography. Its follow-up Delicate Tensions and at least two thirds of Games and Groceries are nearly as good. Oh, and "The Winner" is one of the best underdog anthems ever, although I have no clue what album that was on originally. Inevitably, I'm forgetting something. MORGAN TROPER Also see My, What a Busy Week!

A SILENT FILM, ROYAL TEETH
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) British bands have long looked toward the US for inspiration, but A Silent Film is positioned firmly within a distinctly British milieu of radio-friendly pop. This milieu has taken an obvious cue from wildly successful bands like Coldplay and Snow Patrol. A Silent Film specializes in music that is both evocative and impeccably produced—and that sounds suspiciously similar to Coldplay and Snow Patrol. These songs are the perfect backdrop to a particularly challenging spin class or any montage in any Garry Marshall movie that has ever existed. Their second LP, Sand and Snow, is not an album so much as a collection of lush textures, each of which more or less stands up on its own. Uplifting, pretty melodies can carry a band far, especially with a fanbase that wishes every frontman played the piano and inflected exactly like Chris Martin. RW

TUESDAY 2/26

PATTI SMITH, SAINT MAYBE
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) See My, What a Busy Week!

THE CHICHARONES, ELECTRIC ILL, RAGS AND RIBBONS, 1776
(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) The road to Austin, Texas, is 2,055 miles long, and that's without any detours along the way. Which means any Portland band that wants to play the annual South by Southwest music conference/festival/clusterfuck has their work cut out for them. Every year, though, a clutch of Portland bands valiantly make their way south for a hard-earned slice of that SXSW pie. And for the second year running, there's been a Portland home-away-from-home—a special showcase for many of the Portland acts that find themselves down there. It's one of the best parties in a week of very good parties, and tonight's a fundraiser to help the organizers get it done. Funk-party purveyors the Chicharones and rockers Rags and Ribbons and 1776 will be there, along with Electric Ill, the new nocturnal-synth outfit of Viva Voce's Kevin Robinson. NL

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