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Up & Coming

This Week's Music Previews

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WEDNESDAY 5/22

YOUTH LAGOON, SWAHILI
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) Read our article on Youth Lagoon.

RED FANG, GAYTHEIST
(White Owl Social Club, 1305 SE 8th) The metal-tinged power rock of Gaytheist is one of those purely pleasurable things in life—like ice cream, or Lee Van Cleef. The Portland trio's latest album Hold Me... But Not So Tight was just released on Seattle-based label Good to Die Records, and it sees outspoken gay frontman Jason Rivera leading the stampede on another collection of roaring, heavy tunes that joyously bumps the levels into the red. It's a shame tonight's de facto record-release show is already sold out, since as many people as possible should be exposed to the earcrushing delight that is Gaytheist, but they remain one of Portland's most prolific and frequently performing bands; their next local show will be within your grasp. Headliners Red Fang have just announced their third album will come out later this year on Relapse, to be produced by the Decemberists' Chris Funk, who also helmed their last one, Murder the Mountains. NED LANNAMANN Also see My, What a Busy Week!

AKRON/FAMILY, AVI BUFFALO, M. GEDDES GENGRAS
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Akron/Family decided to throw restraint out the window when recording their sixth album, Sub Verses. Loud, untidy, and surprising, the album is experimental and masculine. The best thing about A/F has always been their ability to focus on not giving a shit about popular opinion. While many of their Brooklyn peers tailor albums to be cachet magnets, Akron/Family—some of whom live, or have lived, in Portland—continue to innovate, constantly changing the landscape behind their instantly recognizable three-part harmonies. Those thrilling vocals are still the heart of Sub Verses, but it makes good use of the big, propulsive drums and distorted guitars of less eccentric American rock bands. Avi Buffalo, the moniker/band of Avi Zahner-Isenberg, emerged several years ago with a charming self-titled album of lo-fi pop. Thanks to its low-key sincerity, it managed to ride the wave of whimsy that was happening at the time without coming across as the least bit annoying. REBECCA WILSON

THURSDAY 5/23

VAMPIRE WEEKEND, HIGH HIGHS
(Keller Auditorium, 222 SW Clay) See My, What a Busy Week!

DEVENDRA BANHART, RODRIGO AMARANTE
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) Those that rock out to Andrew Bird, whisk their omelets to Vetiver, and bone all night to Fleet Foxes must also smoke joints in their beds to Devendra Banhart. His songwriting is sweet and melancholy, like the day your seventh-grade girlfriend broke up with you. While Banhart's style floats in between indie and folk, his years growing up in Venezuela paved the way for his Latin-inspired tracks (which still pepper his latest album, Mala). What makes him worthwhile aren't his collaborations with Vetiver, Megapuss, or ex-girlfriend Natalie Portman; it's that somewhere underneath all that hair (since shorn off) and quiet strumming is a very crazy, dynamic musician whose sound offers more complexity than all those other dudes with guitars. ROSE FINN

TRIO FLUX, TRIO SUBTONIC
(Secret Society, 116 NE Russell) As their name suggests, Trio Flux self-identifies as a jazz fusion trio. But they have a dirty little secret, one that I think they are beginning to come to terms with: They are actually a clandestine rock band. A prog rock band, to be sure, but a rock band nonetheless. Their second album, Möbius, was produced by Riley Geare, who has worked with Radiation City and drums for Unknown Mortal Orchestra. It's totally unfettered by pedestrian conventions regarding genre, structure, and length. Neil Mattson's guitar riffs range from the smoothest of smooth to gritty distortion, sometimes in the same song. Bassist Julio Appling and drummer Adam Ochshorn provide the cool heart of the album, playing seamlessly off each other regardless of what else is happening around them. And there's a lot: "For the Simple Reason Is" is a big, dusty, wordless country song; a few tracks later, they cover Miles Davis' "Nardis." RW

ARIEL PINK, PURPLE PILGRIMS
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) Prior to the release of 2010's Before Today, any mention of Ariel Pink being a "pop genius" was laughable. Lo-fi doesn't even begin to describe his early records, which are dense to the point of being impenetrable. Before Today, though, exposed Ariel Pink to the world for what he really is: a chameleonic, stylistically fickle pop almanac, cut from the same cloth as an artist like Prince, and whose immense, effusive talent had been constricted up to that point by a self-imposed cassette-for-the-sake-of-it servitude. Ariel Pink's newest record, Mature Themes, is an exquisite follow-up and companion to Before Today, with pop-of-the-past-pillaging that ranges from the Byrds ("Only in My Dreams") to Zappa ("Schnitzel Boogie") and everyone in between. MORGAN TROPER

FRIDAY 5/24

FLYING LOTUS, THUNDERCAT, TEEBS
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) See My, What a Busy Week!

BLUE CRANES, BILLYGOAT, GOLDEN RETRIEVER
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Read our article on Blue Cranes.

HOLY GHOST!, CLASSIXX
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Gap is selling neon jeans, so it's official: '80s synth nostalgia has officially hit epidemic proportions (blame fluoride). Holy Ghost! got in on the action early and have helped to propel neo-synth pop to its current heights. With connections ranging from DFA and Moby to Michael McDonald, Holy Ghost! have had an easy road to fame. As much of a production force as a pop duo, Alex Frankel and Nick Millhiser seem to spend most of their time doing remixes for big names like MGMT and LCD Soundsystem. This might be their biggest strength. Their self-titled debut, with its accessibility and ebullience, became an immediate club staple, but just a few years later, with the benefit of hindsight and Flume, I find myself wishing it was a bit less faithful to the '80s and slightly more innovative. RW

DANNY BROWN, OVERDOZ, TxE
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE César E. Chávez) Danny Brown is a proud member of the newest generation of hiphop, a student of the genre who grew up listening to his parents' golden-era records and has since transmuted that history into a new thing entirely. Equally influenced by Bay Area street legend E-40 and left-field eccentrics MF Doom and Dizzee Rascal, Brown looks the part, with a David Bowie-inspired haircut and a funky thrift-store wardrobe which famously caused 50 Cent to reject him from the G-Unit family. It's telling that Brown once remarked that getting Aesop Rock's cosign on Twitter humbled him more than if Jay-Z had done the same. Local trio TxE recently did get the Jay-Z cosign on Hova's blog, which featured producer G_Force's remix of the Radiation City song "Zombies," with bars from Tope and Epp. RYAN FEIGH

KEEP YOUR FORK, THERE'S PIE
(Velo Cult, 1969 NE 42nd) It's pretty tough to dislike a band that cheerfully calls itself Keep Your Fork, There's Pie, and it's even tougher once you hear the Portland sextet's new album, the guileless, uplifting We Want You to Know. Marrying soul-pop and junk-folk sounds, the record sounds homespun in all the best ways—kind of like an impromptu backyard barbecue sing-along before your friends get too sloppy. (For good measure, there's a tune called "Monopolowa," showing that the Forkers have good taste in affordable vodka, as well.) The title track has a solid backbeat and a fuzz-guitar lead to accompany the band's ubiquitous banjo strum, offering the kind of harmony-laden pop confection that will appeal to fans of AgesandAges. Tonight's record release show at bar/bike shop Velo Cult will prove that We Want You to Know isn't simply as good as an extra slice of pie—it's better. NL

DAMIEN JURADO, TIBURON
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Beloved for his stark minimalism, found sounds, and subdued emotionality, it was surprising to say the least when Damien Jurado's ninth album, Saint Bartlett, took a decided turn toward the lush. This was the result of a brilliant collaboration with producer/Shins member/force of nature Richard Swift. Jurado's 10th album, Maraqopa, out last year, followed suit. The Jurado-Swift partnership is one of glimmering and moving atmospherics, less subdued and more risk-taking than the lion's share of Jurado's catalog. Maraqopa ranges easily among quiet folk, psychedelic doo-wop, and Neil Young-style acoustic anthems, but Jurado's strong sense of place and the warmth of his voice unifies the album. Like Jurado, Luz Elena Mendoza is drawn to religious imagery and geographical ties. As Y La Bamba's frontwoman, Mendoza explores intersections of cultures and languages through her thrilling voice; tonight she'll do so as half of Tiburon, her very promising collab with Death Songs' Nick Delffs. RW

LEWI LONGMIRE AND THE LEFT COAST ROASTERS, THE JAMES LOW WESTERN FRONT, MICHAEL HURLEY
(Star Theater, 13 NW 6th) Lewi Longmire is everywhere, and that's a really good thing. His sideman stints as a member of Michael Hurley's Portland outfit, the Croakers, plus recording and performance opportunities with the Minus 5, Blue Giant, AgesandAges, and countless others have cemented his status as a formidable man to have in the clutch. Longmire's own band, the Left Coast Roasters, is just as concrete, consisting of local luminaries Bill Rudolph, Ned Folkerth, and the new addition of Richmond Fontaine's Dan Eccles. "Live with Love" b/w "Remedy," the band's new 7-inch, shows the rock-solid roots and Americana sounds Longmire has spent a lot of time cultivating. And lucky us, the 7-inch is being released tonight! RYAN J. PRADO

HELEN CHAYA, THE SEA AND THE MOTHER, ST. EVEN
(The Waypost, 3120 N Williams) Tonight's dual CD release ushers new records from Helen Chaya and Dao Strom into the world. Chaya's new one, I Am Not Thinking of War Today, is a sparse, folk-inflected singer/songwriter effort with straightforward songs that sound like simple, melancholy raindrops. Strom's new one, released under the name the Sea and the Mother, is a conceptual piece titled We Were Meant to Be a Gentle People (East EP). It comes with an accompanying book, and it sees the author/songwriter exploring her Vietnamese heritage both conceptually and musically—Strom's songs make use of both typical American singer/songwriter folk traditions and the Vietnamese ca dao technique of sung poetry. NL

SATURDAY 5/25

EDWARD SHARPE AND THE MAGNETIC ZEROS, SONS OF FATHERS, WAKE OWL, FORT ATLANTIC
(Waterfront Park, 1020 SW Naito) See My, What a Busy Week!

FATHER JOHN MISTY, PURE BATHING CULTURE
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) See My, What a Busy Week!

COOL NUTZ, DJ FATBOY, BEEJAN, JUMA BLAQ, 5 LINE ENT, MANIAC LOK, DREA STEVES
(Ash Street Saloon, 225 SW Ash) Cool Nutz is considered the godfather of the Portland rap scene, a fitting title considering he basically created it from the ground up with childhood friend Bosko. It's an exercise in futility to introduce him to most, as he is to Portland hiphop what Sir Mix-a-Lot is to Seattle. Nutz alludes to this on the single "Young Mix-a-Lot," from his latest full-length, Bars. Speaking of Seattle, Nutz will visit there early next month as a featured speaker on a Grammy Academy panel explaining how to build a professional network. Tonight, however, finds him celebrating the release of the aforementioned Bars, which was mostly recorded in tour stops in Europe (Norway, Amsterdam, and Copenhagen) and the West Coast, featuring production from Norwegian producer Hi-Q and local track master Terminill. RYAN FEIGH

THE KIDS, MEAN JEANS, CHEMICALS, SEX CRIME
(Star Theater, 13 NW 6th) Nearly forgotten Belgian punk legends the Kids are something of a secret handshake band among punk/power-pop enthusiasts, for a few very good reasons; the first being that the group's records are some of the rarest and most coveted from the era. The second is that the band absolutely rips: Here is a band, more or less isolated from the rest of the first-wave punk movement, who released a 25-minute debut record in 1979 (featuring classics like "Fascist Cops" and "Do You Love the Nazis?") that's worlds snottier than their English and American counterparts. But it's on their fourth record, Blackout, where the Kids struck chiming, power-pop gold with the closest they got to a ubiquitous pop single, "There Will Be No Next Time"'—now that's a hook. MT

BEACHWOOD SPARKS, THE PARSON RED HEADS
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Beachwood Sparks have situated themselves at that fertile intersection where folk rock, pop, psychedelia, country, and Beach Boys-style harmonies all come together. The Byrds famously discovered this territory on 1968's classic The Notorious Byrd Brothers, but that fractious band was only able to stay put in that location for the half-hour of that album's runtime. Several decades later, Beachwood Sparks rediscovered the outpost and set up a permanent settlement, claiming it as their own, and breaking only for a hiatus between 2002's Make the Cowboy Robots Cry EP and 2012's full-length The Tarnished Gold. That most recent record is an infatuating slab of space-cowboy sunshine, as true a bit of California as anything from the Golden State. NL

PRIMUS 3D
(Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway) Regardless of whether you love or hate Primus—and for you of the latter category, what is your goddamn deal?—the fact remains that there are few bands who can claim to be more risk-taking, more adventurous, and more downright weird. Their most recent album, Green Naugahyde, was a return to the thwappy swamp-prog found on lesser collections such as The Brown Album, though it still packed a singular punch. But even what might be construed as a dud for Les Claypool is usually more original than half of the crappy pap I spend most of my time listening to. To augment my obviously objective position on the band's music, their current tour is in 3D (whatever that means) and will be heard through quad surround sound! Take that, Pink Floyd laser light show! RJP

BILLY MARTIN/WIL BLADES DUO
(The Goodfoot, 2845 NE Stark) Billy Martin you know as the drummer of Medeski Martin & Wood, one of the baddest avant-soul-jazz trios ever. His loose-limbed funkiness and percussive adventurousness rank highly among the all-time greats. Organist Wil Blades has played with Dr. Lonnie Smith, John Lee Hooker, Idris Muhammad, and other important figures. Together they're natural conspirators in unstoppable groove manufacturing. Martin and Blades find endless ways to boggle your mind with their provocative compositional brilliancies. YouTube their New York City performance of "Toe Thumb" for proof of the disciplined voodoo they conjure with the greatest of expertise. DAVE SEGAL 

SUNDAY 5/26

FITZ AND THE TANTRUMS, LITTLE HURRICANE, MICHAEL KIWANUKA, MILO GREENE
(Waterfront Park, 1020 SW Naito) See My, What a Busy Week!

TAME IMPALA, JONATHAN WILSON
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) Read our article on Tame Impala.

BOMBINO, LAST GOOD TOOTH, MBRASCATU
(Star Theater, 13 NW 6th) On the closing day of Pickathon last year, with both my body and mind little more than dried-up husks, Bombino offered a revitalizing oasis and a defibrillating shock. It was Sunday and the temperature was in the 90s, and after a weekend spent gorging on profound performances I was hardly left wanting for more. Still, the whispers were strong: Bombino was not to be missed. And hell, how many African pickers had had the pleasure of playing Pendarvis Farm? So I started hoofing up that dusty trail to the Woods once more. As I neared, I heard the sound of Stratocasters trickling through the trees—hammering on and off, wild, bent and stammering. Droning both irrepressive and hypnotic. Pulling me like a magnet. Suddenly, camera in my arms, I was dangling from the back of the stage, trying to snap something. More than anything now, I needed to be closer to these frantic, soothing polyrhythms in pentatonic. Guitars tilted back, drums sweating in the pocket, the whole group swayed as one. The stage, the crowd, the trees did, too. The whole forest buzzed before Bombino's electric sun. ANDREW R TONRY Also see My, What a Busy Week!

BOAT, TOWERING TREES, THE WOODCUTS
(Kelly's Olympian, 426 SW Washington) Hooray for BOAT! Over the course of five friendly albums, the Seattle band has become near and dear, making catchy, goofy, fun rock songs that have burrowed into our affections like litters of warm, wriggly puppies. BOAT's newest album, the marvelous Pretend to Be Brave, is perhaps their most realized and least silly to date, with songs about getting older, becoming a responsible adult, and embracing all the best things about not being a kid anymore. (Beer! Friends! Dogs! Eating nachos whenever you want!) The simple pleasures that BOAT espouses apply to their music as well—unlike a lot of current-day pop or rock songs, it's not boastful or angry or forlorn. It's nice music made by nice dudes. Pass the nachos. NL

MONARQUES, LATER DUDES, NEW MOVE
(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) New Move, the new project forged by Oh Captain My Captain's Jesse Bettis, is the by-product of listening to lots of the best kinds of summertime pop. Pinches of Brian Wilson harmonies pervade tracks like "Vegetables," with Bettis' well-used penchant for melody flanking fun blasts of beach-party bombast. But the band gets raw, too. The driving urban malaise of "The City Life," one of a reported album's worth of songs waiting for release, hinges on bridging the baroque epics of Oh Captain and the throwback pop of Monarques (both highly incestuous and interrelated bands) with a grimier sonic aesthetic. The band is tracking with Jeff Bond at Clangor Den for a hopeful summer release. Get excited. RJP

SUUNS, ROSE WINDOWS
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) You may remember the Montreal-based art rockers Suuns, whose 2010 debut, Zeroes QC, was a blatant homage to their favorites: Beck, Clinic, Deerhoof, and T. Rex. On their second album, Images du Futur, they have honed their sound, specifically to Deerhoof-meets-Clinic—so much so that Clinic fans have taken to the internet to register their disapproval. But assuming that Suuns are coming from a place of sincere fandom (which I think is the case), Images du Futur is easy to like in a dreamily electronic, possibly depressed kind of way. Not being a music-maker myself, I find it easy to relate to bands (Foxygen, Suuns) that wear their influences on their sleeves. Hey! I like those bands too! This is endearing to a certain extent. But Suuns are a talented, if emotionally distant band and now it's time they find a voice all their own. RW

MONDAY 5/27

KYLESA, BLOOD CEREMONY, WHITE HILLS, LAZUR/WULF
(Star Theater, 13 NW 6th) White Hills' space rock can take you to the moon, and it can level city blocks right here on Earth. Last year's Frying on This Rock was the closest the New York space cadets have come to bottling their propulsive live shows. The more you listen the more the standard forebears start to emerge—Hawkwind fuzz meets Velvet Underground artiness. In the live setting White Hills gives you the complete package of extraterrestrial rock 'n' roll, looking like a black-light poster come to life. Come to think if it, that's about what they sound like, too. MARK LORE Also read our article on Blood Ceremony.

THE XX, HUNDRED WATERS
(Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway) It remains a bit baffling to me that the xx is consistently able to pack big rooms, but I suppose there will always be a place for sad, goth-tinged, mistily boring English pop. Tonight's one of those cases, though, where special mind should be paid to the openers. Hundred Waters wield a tech-savvy variety of screwed-up folk and triphop, and the Gainesville, Florida, group is capable of breath-sucking sounds that are like being immersed in cold water. Their skeletal songs are passionately icy, if such a thing makes sense, and Hundred Waters recently signed to Skrillex's label, so it's possible that their future work will be more intent on moving the floor. Their self-titled debut, however, remains a willfully weird, low-key listen. NL

TUESDAY 5/28

MUSICFESTNW LAUNCH PARTY: CHVRCHES, STILL CORNERS
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) Read our article on Chvrches.

ETERNAL SUMMERS, DIRTY LOOKS, ATLAS AND THE ASTRONAUT
(Backspace, 115 NW 5th) Eternal Summers' 2012 sophomore album Correct Behavior is a blast of dreamy, punky pop with more than a few moments of absolute perfection. The best of these are album opener "Millions," which immediately hooks the listener with a speedy, tangled guitar riff, and the breathless "You Kill," which will surely be in the closing credits of every teen-romance comedy in a couple years, once the music licensers catch on. If any song deserves to get stuck in your head on the way out of a movie theater, it's "You Kill," the modern-day equivalent of INXS's "Don't Change." But the Virginia band isn't resting on their laurels; they're already raising funds via a Pledge Music campaign to finish up album number three, whose basic tracks were recorded in Austin in February. If this means we'll get another "You Kill," it's time to start smashing the piggy bank. NL

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