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. MORGAN TROPER
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. NED LANNAMANN
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
It's a very, very Video Vriday, with an exclusive premiere and lots more to look at!
Jump for more Video Vriday!
BLUE CRANES, BILLYGOAT, GOLDEN RETRIEVER
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Read our article on Blue Cranes.
FLYING LOTUS, THUNDERCAT, TEEBS
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) Steven Ellison, AKA Flying Lotus, makes sounds with his laptop you'd be hard pressed to create with a bottle of Adderall and limitless magical powers. It's meticulous, vaguely experimental stuff—jarring on first listen, but familiar soon enough. And Lotus' work is only going to get more familiar—he'll have his own dedicated radio station in the upcoming Grand Theft Auto V. DIRK VANDERHART
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. NED LANNAMANN
It's a cuddly new episode of Pleased to Meet You, in which our host Nilina Mason-Campbell interviews emerging Portland musicians in unconventional ways.
For past episodes of Pleased to Meet You, click here.
I kid, I kid. Yes, the history of music is lousy with Bob Dylan covers, but this gang knows what it's doing. Take a look at the lineup: Portland Country Underground, Kory Quinn, Little Sue, Marisa Anderson, Lewi Longmire, Jim Brunberg, Ezza Rose, Brad Parsons, Santi Elijah Holley, Will West, David Lipkind, Scott Law, Joe McMurrian, Simon Tucker, Michael Sheridan, Boy & Bean, Suzanne Tufan, Amanda Breese, Ashleigh Flynn, WC Beck, Hunter Paye. Oh mercy!
In my shameful youth, I used to think that Dylan was only listenable when he was being covered by someone else. Back when I was first becoming familiar with Guns N' Roses' version of "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" and Jimi Hendrix's "All Along the Watchtower," I arrived the conclusion that Dylan could write a song but he sure as hell couldn't sing it. And that may be a popular opinion, but it is a wrong one—as I later discovered when I sat down with my mom's copy of Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits and all revealed itself. (Weed may have been involved.)
So in honor of tonight's many, many musicians covering Dylan, here's a link to one of my favorite Dylan covers, "Farewell Angelina" as performed by Jeff Buckley and Gary Lucas, under the name Gods and Monsters. This beautiful, haunting version is a live track from a WFMU session in 1991, and it appeared on one of the station's fundraising compilation albums, but to my knowledge it hasn't been re-released on any of the countless posthumous Buckley albums. (I can't embed it, sorry, so you'll have to jump to Lucas' Soundcloud page to check it out, which is well worth doing.)
Speaking of Jeff Buckley, a movie about him and his father, Tim Buckley, opens tomorrow at the Hollywood. It's called Greetings from Tim Buckley, and it has some good moments—most of which center around the elder Buckley's songs—and it's also severely flawed. This is what I thought of it.
• Bob Dylan tribute tonight at Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi, 8 pm, $8-10
• Greetings from Tim Buckley at the Hollywood Theatre, 4122 NE Sandy, opens Fri May 24, 9:15 pm nightly (Sat/Sun matinees at 3 pm)
Ned and I can't quite figure out why Sasquatch bothers to make such an awesome and thorough gallery of music posters for their fest lineup every year. Who brings money to buy music posters at the Gorge? Who lugs those posters around from stage to stage, hoping to hell and back that their signed prints don't get mangled by a drunken girl in a romper? Last time I was at Sasquatch they didn't allow re-entry, so you'd be stuck carting that cardboard tube around until you could get it back to your rain-soaked tent. BUT ANYWAY... who cares why Sasquatch does it, I'm just ecstatic that they do, because it's an incredible collection of artwork from mind-blowing artists. Here's a sampler of the best from the 2013 Memorial Day Weekend fest, and check out the full gallery here.
More after the jump.
This is a tale of two rappers, one clever and suave, the other punishing and incendiary, sharing the stage at the Roseland for the Portland stop of their "Life Is So Exciting" tour. As an aging hiphop fan attending an all-ages show featuring two aging rappers, I struggle to muster much of my own excitement as Pusha T's DJ begins warming up the crowd with time-proven exclamatory verbalizations accompanied by an array of bomb and siren sounds.
I find myself wondering where either Pusha T or Fabolous will be in 10 years—the popular transition from rapping into acting represents a foreboding challenge for both: Despite his tremendous charisma within the confines of 16 bars, Fabolous is surprisingly shy and awkward in music videos and skits. And Pusha T is far too menacing a persona to get cast for anything but long-departed gritty prison dramas such as Oz and The Wire.
I'm posting this for no other reason than that Peter Gabriel's third album was released on this very day in 1980. Here is a "demo" version of "And Through the Wire," perhaps the least known song on that record and probably my favorite as well. I don't think this is a "demo" at all, but rather an alternate mix from the master take. That's Paul Weller of the Jam playing the snarling guitar riff, and Gabriel sings some different lyrics in this version.
With his 1980 album, Peter Gabriel anticipated many of the sounds and recording approaches that dominated the rest of the decade. Now with the '80s revival in full swing, there are echoes of this album everywhere.
VAMPIRE WEEKEND, HIGH HIGHS
(Keller Auditorium, 222 SW Clay) Nobody expected Vampire Weekend's third album to be this good, especially with the title Modern Vampires of the City. Yet the New York boat-shoe prep-poppers—who even recorded part of the new album on blue-blood resort isle Martha's Vineyard—have delivered their best work yet, a mature, nuanced, and of course, catchy work that makes good on all their early promise. NED LANNAMANN
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
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
Portland's Blue Cranes (pictured above) is more than a post-jazz ensemble. It's a collection of songwriters. It's an assemblage of like-minded improvisers. It's an outfit that embraces more styles and genres that perhaps any other band in town. And it's also a support group. (P.S. Hey, we're giving away a pair of tickets to see them Friday at Mississippi Studios—right here!)
LISTEN: Blue Cranes - "Everything Is Going to Be Okay"
Tame Impala's dimension-spanning space rock comes from the most isolated city on the planet—Perth, Australia.
LISTEN: Tame Impala - "Feels Like We Only Go Backwards"
Blood Ceremony are a welcome throwback to the simpler days of rock—the days when it was possible to be as influenced by Fairport Convention as Black Sabbath, when the pagan lyrical imagery was just for show, when you could still get away with using a flute, fer chrissakes.
LISTEN: Blood Ceremony - "Goodbye Gemini"
Chvrches are synthpop done right, correct spelling be danmed.
LISTEN: Chvrches - "Recover"
Youth Lagoon is like a musical asylum of the mind. And you thought Wondrous Bughouse was all about insects.
LISTEN: Youth Lagoon - "Dropla"
Plus a few more Up & Coming previews than usual.
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
Oxford's Foals return to Portland on Wednesday, May 29, bringing their sweaty, brilliant live show to the Crystal Ballroom. On their exhaustive jaunt around the US they've been striking their best Willy Wonka-meets-indie rock pose, hiding a pair of tickets and a CD of their brilliant album Holy Fire in every city for fans to track down on the day of the show.
We at End Hits have our very own ticket/CD package to give away like sweet, sweet musical candy. Check back here next Wednesday (the day of the show) and we'll give you a series of numbers that reveal its location. Tasty.
That's the album cover up there, and here's the album's first single, "Curse Over Me," a bouncing, midtempo dazzler that meshes the band's many elements: synth-laden electro-pop, laidback R&B, forceful post-punk via a growling bass, and a tweeish sweater-pop element as well. The result is a tropically tinged track that's a great introduction to the new album. (You can check out the previously posted video for Keep It Safe's opening track, "Golden Twin," over here.)
Here's a bit more about the album, from Party Damage's press release:
Dream-pop outfit Wild Ones, one of the most talked-about acts in their native Portland, OR, have completed their debut album Keep It Safe after over a year of intense recording and mixing sessions. The band, which faced lineup changes, hospital visits and financial drama en route to finishing its debut, took a deeply collaborative approach to crafting the record. Keep It Safe was largely self-recorded and produced, and each sonic puzzle piece has been carefully selected by the band. (Even the album artwork was created by the band’s Thomas Himes.) The resulting record is staggering: A swirling, deep concoction of electronic and analog elements that features both huge pop hooks and obsessive attention to detail. Keep It Safe is a Rubik’s Cube of a record that will appeal to fans of everything from Can to Beach House to Brian Eno.The new album can be pre-ordered on Bandcamp, and Wild Ones play a record release show on July 5 at Mississippi Studios. They're also playing the "Cancer Sucks!" benefit with Typhoon on Saturday, June 1, also at Mississippi Studios, which I am certain is gonna hella sell out.
Portland post-jazz ensemble Blue Cranes have a fine new album titled Swim due out on June 4, and they're playing a record release show this Friday, May 24, at Mississippi Studios. Kick off your Memorial Day weekend with their songs and improvisations, some of which could be called jazz, and some of which could not. Who cares? Throw your music-genre-labeling compulsions to the wind and enjoy their passionate, adventurous, instrumental music, safe in the knowledge that music writers like me will never be able to adequately define it. (For more on this, check this week's upcoming issue of the Portland Mercury.)
Here's the best part: We're giving away a pair of tickets to Friday's Mississippi Studios show to one lucky End Hits reader (cash value = $20, musical value = $Infinity-kabillion). Local musical explorers Billygoat and Golden Retriever are also on the jam-packed bill. Since you undoubtedly want a piece of this, send an email to this address with "Blue Cranes" in the subject line. Please include your first and last name. We'll select a winner at random and send them on their way. This contest closes Thursday at noon, so hop to it!
BLACK MOTH SUPER RAINBOW, THE HOOD INTERNET, OSCILLATOR BUG
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE César E. Chávez) Enigmatic Pittsburgh oddballs Black Moth Super Rainbow's hushed, synth-led experiments with psychedelic electro-pop are engrossing, sinister, and strangely accessible on their most recent effort Cobra Juicy. If you can fight your way through their die-hard fans to see them at the Hawthorne, there's every chance you'll get an unsettling yet blissful contact high. ALEX ROSS
SHOUT OUT LOUDS, HAERTS
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) Daft Punk's much anticipated album Random Access Memories is physically released in the US today, and it's one of the biggest musical disappointments in recent memory, in which the French EDM pioneers opt for a lightly disco-tinged, incredibly repetitive album of soft rock that would send Christopher Cross into snoozes of boredom. While it seems obvious Daft Punk is reaching for the sort of jetstream adult-contempo that likely filled their parents' record collection (Serge Gainsbourg, Air Supply, Alan Parsons Project, possibly Floyd), they approach it like EDM, locking in their programmed, quantized sequences and letting them play for minutes on end with absolutely no development and no drama. For a completely successful, absolutely lovely version of the kind of airbrushed, slick, easy-listening Europop that Daft Punk has utterly bungled, turn your ears instead to Shout Out Louds. The Stockholm quintet's fourth album, Optica, is a gorgeous, wide-eyed, perfectly posed collection of gentle rock with not a single mussed hair or note out of place. Eighties-gazing singles like "Illusions" and "Walking in Your Footsteps" continue Shout Out Louds' string of wistful, highly processed pop songs, done with absolute mastery. NED LANNAMANN
AND AND AND, SAMA DAMS
(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) Though some musicians sound undeniably better with the benefit of a production studio and engineers, And And And sound drastically different. This can be a good thing. For example, I sometimes enjoy hearing their songs played at a relatively soft level, and I think the arrangements on Lost glow with the warmth of 1,000 sunsets. The downside is that the recordings capture nothing of the depravity, the loudness, the punk-rock spirit of their live shows. Not until now. In a fortunate development for posterity, And And And are the latest installment of Live from the Banana Stand, that beloved local series of sonic time capsules in the form of live albums. Finally, I can fit the frenzied chaos of And And And right in my pocket. There are several new and unreleased songs here, but the real pleasure is the raw, unfiltered versions of songs that I've grown so used to hearing in their mixed-and-mastered state. REBECCA WILSON
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