Reviewing Bonaroo earlier this week, the NY Times' Ben Ratliff wrote about the festival he had just attended, but also festivals at large:
I have an unrealistic fantasy of a music festival purely of excellence, with no responsibility toward any aesthetic or sound or region, only toward the principles of unity and purpose in sound. Bonnaroo is not that. But it allows you, at least, to dream in those terms.
With that in mind I'd like to formally invite Mr. Ratliff to Pendarvis Farm this August, as I think Pickathon's near-perfection might shatter such engrained expectations—or at least offer them a slight tug of re-alignment.
Indeed, entering its 15th year, Pickathon's about as good as it gets.
Part of that's about preference, of course, on things like size, texture, palate, history, etc. But a lot of what has come to define Pickathon are the very qualities Ratliff drearily wishes for: "no responsibility toward any aesthetic or sound or region, only toward the principles of unity and purpose in sound."
Last year's highlights are starting to whiz by: There was Bombino, electric and electrifying on the Woods Stage. Cass McCombs, brooding but profound on the Starlight Stage. White Denim, like a bucking bronco in the Galaxy Barn. A husky buzzing day drunk for the War on Drugs, and, nights before, kicking up dust in the inimitable Square Dance. Back in the barn, TheeSatisfaction cool things out. And McCombs once more, just for good measure. Oh, and who could forget the Barr Brothers, a tremendous, effervescent surprise after a hectic day of travel postponed and nearly derailed their set. The list goes on.
On paper, this year's lineup looks as good if not better. For the full 2013 schedule, check Pickathon.com. While you're there you can also pick up some single day passes, which are on sale now. (But seriously, do the right thing and stay the whole weekend.)
And while the ranks run deep each day, a few scheduled performances jump immediately off the page:
The Relatives burning down and building back the Barn. Sharon Van Etten in the Woods, her voice a heavy wisp of sugary sap. Kurt Vile twinkling on the Starlight. Shabazz Palaces in the Woods and in the Barn (a part of me thinks maybe those spaced-out waves would really unfurl beneath the moon at the late-night Starlight stage, but maybe that I want to see Shabazz Palaces on three stages instead of two just means that I'm really excited to finally see Shabazz Palaces, especially at this marvelous festival instead of some ol' club.)
But, as always: it's who I haven't seen or heard yet at Pickathon I'm most excited for. Over the years such unveilings have become tattooed on my musical mind. Like Bonny Prince Billy, who in person, totally clicked. Or Cotton Jones, stunning, beautiful, and hearty. Or my own personal favorite, the beacon, and shining light of my Pickathons past and (hopefully) present, the saddest sweet voice in all of country music, Mr. Sam Quinn.
Indeed, I'd be remiss to leave out yet another last-minute petition to add the Quinner to this year's festivities. One can only hope.
Nonetheless, I'll be there with bells on.
Hopefully, Mr. Ratliff, you will too.
(The whole damn schedule is also available after the jump.)
THE WOOLEN MEN, SAUNA, THE MEMORIES
(Record Room, 8 NE Killingsworth) The Memories' gorgeous druggy offerings slide and chime their way to the two-minute mark before losing interest and moving on. It makes them an oddly compelling act and perfect centerpiece for the Woolen Men's perfectly crafted lo-fi and Sauna's giggling surf-pop. ALEX ROSS
FALL OUT BOY
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) Read our article on Fall Out Boy.
WL, FAKE NAILS
(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) My relationship with local shoegazing three-piece WL (pronounced Well) could play out through a series of missed connections: "Sorry I wasn't able to catch you perform your original live score for René Laloux's Gandahar the other night, maybe you can do it again sometime?" or "Got to the Metz show a bit late, I'm sure that your loud and dreamy opening set would have been lovely to see. Hang out soon?" Bandcamp and Facebook stalking has deepened the intimacy. The band's 7-inch on Death Party Records surrounds you with noise. On "Impermanent," gorgeous vocals and a wall of guitar swirl together over a drumbeat that somehow manages to keep it grounded. The band is putting the finishing touches on an upcoming record, so this headlining show should be just the opportunity I need to take my affair to the next level. CHIPP TERWILLIGER
But back to the music—watch the video above to look at all the artists' names on a bunch of delicious cupcakes. I'll also post the full list after the jump, and it includes many familiar names, plus some excitingly unfamiliar ones. Among many others, I'm excited for Hausu, Orquestra Pacific Tropicale, Shy Girls, Sons of Huns, Richmond Fontaine, Luck One, and LOTS more. Take your clicky mouse to the jump and look at all that'll be going down.
PDX Pop Now! takes place on Friday, July 19 through Sunday, July 21, and is free and all ages. Miss it at your peril.
Martin Mull, it's Music Monday!
Laura Veirs has a new album coming out August 20, and the first song from Warp and Weft can be found in the various farflung corners of the internet. Listen to "Sun Song," a luscious bit of country-tinged folk, with Veirs' assured, calm singing holding down the pillars of a gorgeous production, complete with a string section and a guest vocal from Neko Case. This is absolutely lovely. Veirs will do an international tour following Warp and Weft's release, playing a hometown show at the Doug Fir on Saturday, October 5.
Click the jump for new music from Lord Dying, UMO, Melville, and Radiation City remixed by G_Force!
For past episodes of Pleased to Meet You, click here.
Here's the cool part: MercPerks is selling half-price passes for the music portion only—for those not participating in the race—so you can see all these bands for 20 measly bucks. (Ordinarily, festival-only passes are $40.) So hop over to MercPerks and score.
[Caveat: I'd be remiss if I didn't also mention that PDX Pop Now!, Portland's terrific, all-ages, totally free music fest is happening the exact same weekend. That's where I'll be. Although I suppose I could check out PDX Pop Now! on Saturday until close, and then hop over to 8 Track Relay around 2 am to watch the bands playing 8 Track's overnight slot, until PDX Pop Now! kicks off again around noon the next day. That is logistically possible, and probably insane, and I doubt I'll actually do it. Check back tomorrow for the lineup for this year's PDX Pop Now!]
MARISA ANDERSON, DRAGGING AN OX THROUGH WATER
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Read our article on Marisa Anderson.
OLD JUNIOR, SLEEPTALKER, TERMINAL FUZZ TERROR, TINY LADY
(Langano Lounge, 1435 SE Hawthorne) Old Junior's drummer Ben Muha moved to Seattle earlier this year, which makes tonight's show a very special thing indeed. Rounded out by bassist Cory Decaire—who is recovering well from the serious injury he suffered at the Oregon Coast when a sneaker wave crushed a log into his leg—and the crunching guitar of Johnny Magnifico, Old Junior is a fuzzing, towering monolith of redwood-sized rock. It's the perfect accompaniment to beer or whiskey or bongloads of green, whatever your pleasure happens to be. The band—an offshoot of Old Growth, the just-as-great Portland band with Muha, Magnifico, and bassist Luke Clements—has delivered two excellent, fist-pumping EPs of distortion-pedal rock of the best kind, and while they're not all in the same city anymore, give thanks at the holy altar of Crazy Horse (the band) that we still get to see them play from time to time. NED LANNAMANN
(Portland Expo Center, 2060 N Marine) This is the year that summer festivals are finally getting called out on the pathetically low percentage of female-to-male performers (with Sasquatch/Bonnaroo/Coachella estimated to be 16 percent female.) Of course, in the case of Warped Tour's ultimate gathering of all the young dude-bro punks, the numbers are even worse—female artists appear in the festival at a shockingly low six percent! It often appears as though festival organizers view women in bands more as a footnote or subgenre, dismissively allowing an insignificant quota of "girl bands" to be filled in the same manner that they fill a quota of '90s third-wave ska relics (Reel Big Fish are headlining!). Yes, Gwen Stefani, at least according to the Warped Tour, you ARE just a girl. BREE MCKENNA
SALUTE TO SUMMER: DJ COOKY PARKER, ELECTRIC ILL, ADVENTURE GALLEY
(Grand Central Bowl, 808 SE Morrison) Give a proper salute to the best season of the year with Deschutes' Salute to Summer, featuring jams from DJ Cooky Parker, Electric Ill, and Adventure Galley coming atcha from the lanes. Plus, Da Booth photos and a look at the venue's new game room. MARJORIE SKINNER
BEASTIE BOYS TRIBUTE
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) Last year, right after the Beastie Boys' Adam Yauch died (way too young) of cancer, a whole mess of Portland acts staged a super fun tribute show in his honor. It was such a hoot, they're doing it again—bringing back members of Pinehurst Kids, the Decemberists, and Lifesavas—and helping out the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Oregon. DENIS C. THERIAULT
GATHERING OF THE GOOFPUNX: THE TAXPAYERS, ARTISTIC CRISIS, HI HO SILVER AWAY, DETACHDOLLS, DANGER DEATH RAY, LIVING RHEUM
(PSU's Food for Thought Café, 1825 SW Broadway) The annual Gathering of the Goofpunx festival taking place all weekend (go to gatheringofthegoofpunx.tumblr.com for all shows and locations) was organized by local punk rock mainstays the Taxpayers. It's a celebration of DIY spirit and the community's acceptance of anyone willing to bring a positive attitude and embrace weirdness. It's fitting that the Taxpayers' headlining slot tonight also happens to be a record release for their latest LP, Cold Hearted Town. The nine-track album is layered with sax, trumpet, and piano, hooking you in with its dark jazzy swing and not letting go until the brilliant yet bleak acoustic closer "Evil Men." The vocals find a balance someplace between the deranged bark of Les Savy Fav's Tim Harrington and John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats at his most urgent. It's well worth a listen, and the material should make a nice translation into the band's frantic and energized live set. CHIPP TERWILLIGER Also see My, What a Busy Week!
Vot's this? It's Video Vriday!
Here's the thrilling conclusion to Parenthetical Girls' four-part video series, shot by Into the Woods. (See Parts 1, 2, and 3.) Each clip takes the band to an off-the-beaten-path location in the Portland area, and this one sees them roving the (impressively huge) catacombs at Archery Summit winery in Dayton, Oregon. I'd dismiss this as a transparent attempt for Parenthetical Girls to try to score some free wine, but the remarkable setting speaks for itself. I'd go see a band perform there in a heartbeat.
Did you know that Molly Ringwald has, in fact, been keeping herself mighty busy since her '80s days as John Hughes' muse and star of the most iconic teen movies of all time? In fact, she moved to France and did more movies there, got married, got divorced, wrote two books, did more movies and TV, got married again, had three kids, and now...
She's a singer! A jazz singer. Which isn't as strange as it might seem when you consider that her father was a (blind) jazz pianist. According to "someone on Twitter," her voice sounds like "a dessert." She released the album Except Sometimes in April, and is touring behind it, including a performance at the Newmark on September 27. So how is it going? Well, according to this review in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, in which the critic imagines Hughes giving her notes throughout her set and banter, things are a little shaky:
Ringwald: “How’s everybody’s dinner? Their food is very good. I had a salmon sandwich.”
Hughes: Who wrote this script? And when you introduced one song as “this is track 9 on the CD,” hello? Please say something intelligent, something that’s as classy and fitting as your black cocktail dress.
Hm. Well, curiosity and nostalgia are certainly a potent combination when it comes to selling tickets. Which might have something to do with her album including a cover of "Don't You (Forget About Me)."
I don't think I feel so good about this.
I’m sitting in the garden* of the Doug Fir and my friend’s just texted me saying that Andrew Savage is 20 yards away, sitting by the fire. We’re not usually reduced to text messages and hushed whispers, but for a few brief moments tonight we’ve become shy, giggling schoolgirls. This is because Andrew Savage is no regular Singer In A Band. He’s one of the few rock polymaths of our generation, masterminding lo-fi pop-punk in Teenage Cool Kids and experimental psych band Fergus & Geronimo before leaving Denton, Texas, for New York City, forming Parquet Courts and becoming one of the most talked about musicians in the country. It’s Parquet Courts that he’s brought back to Portland for the second time in six months tonight, and the buzz around the Doug Fir is proof that their star has risen significantly since the release of their magnificent debut Light Up Gold.
* Editor's note: I think this is English-person for "patio"?
Before all this though, there’s Naomi Punk, whose set usually caves in on itself before it has the opportunity to make any sort of impression. Tonight, however, they are a different animal. Tighter and more refined than normal, tracks like "Voodoo Trust" and "Burned Body" hit twice as hard, their bluesy dissonance sounding more terrifying than simply monotonal. Much of this can be attributed to Nick Luempert, whose canon-like drumming dominates the set, and allows Travis Coster and Neil Gregerson the freedom to plunge their guitars into the sludge. Naomi Punk’s embrace of their more technical side could prove to be their secret weapon and, on this showing, the potential that they demonstrated on debut album The Feeling may be realized.
The room is packed by the time Parquet Courts reach the stage and, with all the swagger that’s come to be expected from them, launch into a new and unheard song. In many ways it’s the perfect showcase for their talents, as the guitars of Austin Brown and Savage carelessly play off one another while the rhythm stays hypnotically consistent. Sure, the room is visibly shaken when the magnificent “Master of My Craft” blares out of Brown’s lungs, the sardonic refrain of “fuggedabouddit” chanted back in a manner that can only be described as odd.
PDX POP NOW! COMPILATION RELEASE: SAPIENT, SEAN FLINN AND THE ROYAL WE, SUMMER CANNIBALS, WISHYUNU
(Backspace, 115 NW 5th) PDX Pop Now!'s annual compilation is the best barometer of local music around, and this year's double-disc set is no exception. Featuring a staggeringly diverse 43 tracks from all walks of the Portland music scene, there are local hits, obscurities from unknown bands, and exclusive premieres of new tracks from big names. The only thing these astonishingly diverse songs have in common is that they're all great, and tonight's release party features four of the participants. Sapient—riding high on the artistic triumph of his recent, groundbreaking Slump album—headlines, but be sure to get there in time for Sean Flinn and the Royal We's stately, sun-flared folk-rock, Summer Cannibals' knife-sharp post-punk, and Wishyunu's sexy synth slow jams. NED LANNAMANN
GATHERING OF THE GOOFPUNX
(Various locations) The weekend-long Gathering of the Goofpunx is an all-ages DIY punk fest with more than 30 bands of all stripes and sizes playing various venues around town. Check out the fest site for complete info.
LOVERS, ATOLE, COINS
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Portland queer, indie synth-pop favorites Lovers are bringing their big show to Pride weekend with Atole and Coins opening. Celebrating the community of local out musicians is one of the best ways you can check being proud in public off your list this year—plus it will be cute and fun, so... what else is there? LOGAN LYNN
Have you gotten to know Quadron yet? It's high time you did. The LA-by-way-of-Denmark electrosoul duo—make up of singer Coco O. and producer Robin Hannibal—has just delivered a terrific, breezy pop record in the form of their second album Avalanche, and they're coming to the Hawthorne Theatre next week, on Friday, June 21. (You can be certain they'll play much larger rooms next time they roll through.)
We're giving away a pair of tickets to the show! To enter, all you have to do is send an email to this address with "Quadron" in the headline. Please include your first and last name in the email, and we'll select a winner at random and send them on their way. This contest closes Monday at 5 pm, so do it now! And in the meantime, take a look at Quadron's irresistible video for "Hey Love," and fall in love.
Kelli Schaefer wants you to step through the door with her. And it's definitely something you should do.
LISTEN: Kelli Schaefer - "Giants"
Guitarist Marisa Anderson has long been one of Portland's most inventive musicians, and on her new album Mercury (great title, Marisa!) she makes music that functions as cinema for the mind.
LISTEN: Marisa Anderson - "The New Country"
Attention: The sunny, nostalgic tones of Cayucas are your new summer fling. Get busy.
LISTEN: Cayucas - "East Coast Girl"
Fall Out Boy are back! Which means they were gone! Did you notice?
LISTEN: Fall Out Boy - "My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light 'em Up)"
Plus the usual tangle of Up & Coming shows.
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