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.
The Portland event kicks off the series on Sunday, August 4, and it'll be hosted by PDX film director Gus Van Sant, who of course is partly responsible for bringing Smith to the mainstream by including his music in Good Will Hunting. It hasn't been announced who's playing—the press release I received simply says "Members of Grandaddy, plus very special guests." Proceeds from the Portland show will go to benefit Outside In (the other events will benefit local charities in those areas). Participants in other cities include Jon Brion, David Garza, Chris Thile, Rhett Miller, and others.
Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside, Sun Aug 4, 8 pm, $30-35, tickets here
XRAY FEST: KELLI SCHAEFER, THE BEAUTY, VIN BLANC, GHOST TO FALCO, NO MORE TRAIN GHOSTS, DJ BILL PORTLAND
(Union/Pine, 525 SE Pine) Read our article on Kelli Schaefer.
ELEANOR FRIEDBERGER, TEEN
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) An occupational hazard of being in a band with an exceptionally talented sibling—especially one as good as the Fiery Furnaces—is that folks will tend to perceive one of you as being the more gifted, the other as being the hanger-on. Matthew Friedberger has always been seen as the main Furnace, but Eleanor's solo career has proven that she is so much more than the lesser sibling in a buzz-worthy indie band. On 2011's Last Summer, and now with her just-released Personal Record, Friedberger's songwriting, instrumentation, and lyrics shine in new and unexpected ways. On this latest album, she collaborated with NPR darling John Wesley Harding, whose ironic worldview is perfectly tailored to Friedberger's self-aware subversion of singer/songwriter tropes. Meanwhile, Kristina Lieberson, formerly of Here We Go Magic, is responsible for the keyboard drones that serve as the backdrop for Teen's atmospheric vocals and complicated percussion. REBECCA WILSON
THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS, MOON HOOCH
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) What has 16 albums, four arms, six eyes, and two Johns? Nope, not a very specific prostitute! It's the loveable goofballs They Might Be Giants, touring the land with their backing band on the wings of new album Nanobots. Maybe you've seen the rowdy popsters before, but have you ever regretted it? COURTNEY FERGUSON
Perhaps they're taking their cue from Coachella, which expanded to incorporate two weekends last year, or perhaps Sasquatch is capitalizing on the spectacular success of this year's festival, which sold out completely in 90 minutes. Unlike Coachella, the two weekends of Sasquatch next year will have entirely different lineups from each other, with no acts repeating from one to the next.
This is a boon to the Pacific Northwest concert calendar, I think, although the idea of actually going to Sasquatch twice in one year is a little daunting. On the surface, it does sound like the opportunity to see more bands, especially big ones from overseas that don't always get to the Northwest. Here's hoping the mammoth fest doesn't affect other summer festivals in the area, and doesn't take anything away from the Portland live music calendar. (Sasquatch often cuts both ways, with many acts unable to contractually play both Portland and Sasquatch, while others are able to use the opportunity to do a Portland show before or after their Sasquatch slot.)
PARQUET COURTS, NAOMI PUNK, BLOOD BEACH
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Andrew Savage's ADD-induced musical chameleonism has finally led him to something essential rather than merely excellent. Parquet Courts are post-punk for the post-everything generation, with a soul and swagger that's even more impressive in the flesh. Turn up early for Naomi Punk's riff-heavy sludge. ALEX ROSS
XRAY FEST: 31KNOTS, MADE FOR TV MOVIE, E*ROCK, DJ CHAMPAGNE JAM, DJ SAFI
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Way back when this city's early adopters were laying the groundwork for the culture Portland would become known for, everyone was drinking at the Blackbird—a club that literally got hit by a car and died. Pay tribute tonight with XRAY Fest's retrospective, featuring some of its elder denizens! MARJORIE SKINNER
THE RIVERA, LESSER BANGS
(The Goodfoot, 2845 SE Stark) Tonight songwriter Josh Rivera debuts the new lineup of his band the Rivera, which has recently completed work on a new album, recorded onto tape at Jackpot! Studio with John Askew. The album won't be out until later this summer, but the preview single, "Midnight Choir," is enough to get me incredibly excited about what the Rivera have in store. A soulful, Springsteen-esque rocker ingrained with shiny strands of power-pop, "Midnight Choir" is a humming, buzzing, flat-out terrific anthem that's half desperation and half joy. It's guided by a missile-like lead guitar that basically solos through the entire thing, Thin Lizzy style, while the male/female backing vocals on the chorus (by Hunter Paye and Amelia Thornton) echo Brill Building auteurs Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich. Even though I've just been streaming it on Soundcloud, I bet "Midnight Choir" has already become one of my most played songs of 2013, and I only became aware of it two weeks ago. NED LANNAMANN
With the release of MCII early last month, it became clear that Long Beach export Mikal Cronin had crafted a record that infused the garage-rock prototype of his peers with more heart than many of them could manage in a career beneath all the bluster. Whether or not they were favorable (they were, actually, always favorable), the comparisons with his friend and collaborator Ty Segall had grown tiresome in the two years since Cronin's self-titled debut, and his emotionally fraught old soul has finally come to be lauded in its own right. All of this is justified. MCII is is one of 2013’s most accomplished releases, a joyous combination of heart-on-sleeve indie rock and psychedelia that reveals its creator as one of the most paradoxically self-assured authors of self-conflict in his generation.
All of this is in evidence before Cronin even steps towards the microphone at Mississippi Studios. His long hair draped over the shoulders of his tie-dye T-shirt, Cronin looks like a more charming, fresh-faced Jimmy Page and his smile is half embarrassed, half ecstatic. Then, as if it was the easiest thing imaginable, he sings the a cappella introduction to "Is It Alright," originally a rich harmony, completely on his own without missing a note. Calling him shy—as so many critics have chosen to—seems hasty. The modest confidence that underpins his set can be seen in the punch he gives to "Get Along" and the swagger with which he bleeds into "Apathy," wheeling away to Emily Rose Epstein’s drum kit and throwing himself head first into another solo.
THE BATS, EAT SKULL
(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) Read our article on the Bats.
XRAY FEST: REV SHINES, DJ SAM ADAMS
(Produce Row, 204 SE Oak) The old X-Ray Café—anarchist den, weirdo art incubator, and springboard for Voodoo Doughnut's impresario Tres Shannon—looms large in Portland's crusty lore. The gang is getting back together for nine days for the upcoming launch of FM radio's 91.1 KXRY, celebrating and reminiscing at the aptly named XRAY Fest. Tonight, Sam Adams will still be mayor (of the party's music selections; he's guest DJ). DENIS C. THERIAULT
GENERATIONALS, YOUNG EMPIRES
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Generationals make timeless pop, mining the best practitioners from the past four decades. The New Orleans two-piece have a few records under their belts, but their latest, Heza, is easily their best. "Spinoza" is such an earworm you might actually need surgery to remove it. Not many bands can bring sounds from vastly different eras into a cohesive whole, but Generationals have managed to pull it off. Heza, their first for Polyvinyl, should attract a few more ears, and maybe put no-frills pop back in the spotlight. There's nothing flashy here. But a good hook is forever. MARK LORE
Two things that taste great... Y La Bamba and synchronized swimming. This 16mm-shot video for the song "Ponce Pilato," off their album Oh February, is a dreamy confection, floating among big trees and deep waters. It was shot on the Oregon Coast, in the Redwoods, and in Puget Sound, starring a troupe of professional synchronized swimmers. The whole endeavor came about because our local amateur synchronized swimming collective, the Olivia Darlings, really wants to keep the aquatic arts alive for a new generation of budding Esther Williamses. (The film star sadly passed away at the age of 91 on June 6. She was a masterfully daring mermaid.) So the group has set about filming music videos for local bands, featuring the fine art of synchronized swimming. This here's their debut—directed by Madison Rowley—and a fine one it is, bypassing the strangely lurid present-day of Olympic synchronized swimming (eeeeeek!), for the beautiful and graceful days of Esther. In the gorgeous out of doors! Sign me up as a supporter.
Speaking of support... the Olivia Darlings are in the midst of a Kickstarter campaign to send out 100 packets to local pools, community organizations, dance schools, and swim clubs. These kits will give a primer course on how to dive in (DON'T SHOOT ME) to the art. They're also giving out a host of goodies for contributors. Here, I'll let their adorable video, starring Minka of the Olivia Darlings, explain it.
Case spent several months out of the past year here in Portland, recording tracks for the album with Tucker Martine at his Flora Recording & Playback. The Worse Things Get... was also recorded in Tucson, Brooklyn, and LA, and includes guest appearances by Portland musicians like M. Ward (his guitar graces "Man"), Steve Turner, and "members of Los Lobos," which probably includes Steve Berlin. The album also includes a cover of "Afraid" by the other Nico.
Neko Case plays Pioneer Courthouse Square as part of MusicfestNW on Sunday, September 8. Meanwhile, take a listen to "Man" below, a quick-paced rocker with a bridge that reminds me of late '60s Kinks, followed immediately by a guitar solo that reminds me of early '60s Kinks. It also includes a few words that you won't hear on the radio.
The Harvey Girls, Load B, Summer Cannibals, and Hausu after the jump!
If anything, the Mercury is committed to keeping you up-to-date on the latest obsessions of 11-year-old girls, and UK girl group Little Mix are your tween niece's new favoritest thing EVARRR. The four young ladies were contestants on The X Factor UK before all joining forces, becoming heirs apparent to the Spice Girls' throne (it's a really nice throne, but they left a lot of gum under the seat).
And the mania has already started. Here is the video for "Wings," which was a huge hit in Britain last year and is slowly but surely going to do the same here. It's the kind of song that you can't fucking stand for the first 60 seconds, then you slowly warm up to for the next 60, and by the end you are a shrieking, teary-eyed fanatic.
So "Wings" is all fine and good, but what I really want to show you is this wonderful, heartwarming video of Little Mix's first CD signing in the US, at a mall somewhere in the New York area (they want you to think it's Manhattan, but I bet it's somewhere in Jersey). These fans—girls all, except for one very special boy at the 2:34 mark—are SOOO HAPPY to meet their heroes. I bet they already have picked their favorite Little Mixes, like the violet-haired one with the Scottish accent, or the one with the creepily huge doll hair with the pretty bow in it, or the tough (read: black—see also: Scary Spice) one with the backwards combat-green hat, or the one that looks a little like Thnooki (that's "Thin Snooki").
These borderline hysterical fans are delightful, and this is guaranteed to put a smile on your face. :D
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