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.
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
It's a manic Music Monday!
Portland sludge-math-noise-metal-??? band Drunk Dad have a 12-inch on the way, and the violent closing track "Scum Fee" premiered on Pitchfork today. Listen to it for yourself, and get tied up in knots by the savage riffing, the drums that sound like bunch of heavy items being dropped down the stairs, the roaring vocals that hurt just to listen to. Good times for the whole family! The Morbid Reality 12-inch comes out on local label Eolian on June 11, and Drunk Dad play a record release show at Ash Street Saloon on Saturday, June 7.
Italians Do It Better released the long-awaited After Dark 2 compilation on Friday via iTunes, and here's the contribution from Mirage: "Let's Kiss" echoes Prince's "I Would Die 4 U" by way of some crunchy vocoder. Compiled by IDIB mastermind Johnny Jewel, After Dark gathers unique and new Italo-disco tracks from the label's artists (including Glass Candy, Chromatics, and Desire) into an integrated album meant to stand fully on its own.
Here's the new track from local band Eidolons, who have a new album called Skyhook coming out digitally on June 3. A cassette release will follow on Friday, June 7 with a show at a Portland house venue to celebrate its release, with a national tour to follow. "Gordy" is a tangled, exploratory song that runs a range of dynamics, interpolating between harmonious moments and discordant instrumental passages.
Click the jump for tracks by Quiet Life, Bear & Moose, Keep Your Fork There's Pie, Perhapst, and not one but TWO remakes of the new Radiation City song "Zombies."
Ray Manzarek, keyboardist for the Doors, has died. He was 74. Manzarek passed away in Germany this morning; he had been fighting bile duct cancer. Along with his work with the Doors, Manzarek produced X's classic Los Angeles album from 1980. Here are the two best songs he did with the Doors:
I know the Stefon clip was the thing on SNL everybody wouldn't shut up about over the weekend, but, ah... you guys noticed Kanye West kind of killed it, right?
West performed two new tracks, both of which are generally and accurately being described as "intense" (here's the other one, "New Slaves"); they're presumably from his upcoming album, Yeezus (subtle, Kanye), which'll be out June 18. Considering West's last solo album, 2010's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, was his best and weirdest thus far (here we are three years later, and I'm still not sick of "Runaway"), and that even the relative let-down of his Jay-Z collaboration Watch the Throne still led to some astonishing live shows, it's safe to say Yeezus will be worth getting excited for.
The week kicks off excitingly with news about Pure Bathing Culture's forthcoming album, Moon Tides. It's their first full-length, following up their splendid 2012 self-titled EP, and it's due on August 20 on Partisan Records (in the UK, August 19 on Memphis Industries).
There's also a new track to listen to—"Pendulum" just premiered this morning on Gorilla vs. Bear, but you can listen to it here. The track graced many of PBC's hometown live shows last year, so it should sound pretty familiar. With Dan Hindman's immaculately clean electric guitar and Sarah Versprille's airy but distinct vocals, the track will also open the new album, which—like the self-titled EP—was recorded with Richard Swift at his Cottage Grove, Oregon, studio.
Here's the tracklisting for Moon Tides; amazingly, it will not duplicate any of the incredible tracks from the EP:
2. Dream the Dare
5. Only Lonely Lovers
7. Seven 2 One
8. Golden Girl
9. Temples of the Moon
Pure Bathing Culture plays the Wonder Ballroom this Saturday, May 25, opening for Father John Misty—AKA Josh Tillman, whose brother Zach plays bass in Pure Bathing Culture.
FABOLOUS, PUSHA T, PORTLAND EXPRESS, SUPANOVA, MR. C, CASPA
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) Two nice men named "Fabulous" and "Pusher Tee" [He means Fabolous and Pusha T. Sigh.—Eds.] will perform an uplifting array of danceable tunes. They also are good at wordplay. AKA "rap," like what you do when you go to your friend's apartment and the door is locked and you hope they didn't fall in the bathtub and die. I'm old! DENIS C. THERIAULT
STAY CALM, WEEK OF WONDERS, WL, SURFS DRUGS
(Rotture, 315 SE 3rd) A few years ago, Orca Team were among the best bands in Portland that not many people paid attention to. They garnered a smattering of local press and played at all the "right" bars, but something about the band just didn't seem to connect with Portland audiences. The band packed their things and relocated to Seattle, made a single record (2012's excellent Restraint, which almost blew up), and called it quits. But here's the good news: Former Orca Team bassist/ringleader Leif Anders' new band, Week of Wonders, is essentially a continuation of his previous project, and it's terrific in all the same ways. The group's debut EP Failures is a quintessentially Pacific Northwest take on beach pop that manages to be nostalgic and reminiscent of I-vi-IV-V shit without ever being too desperately "retro." But most importantly, stripped of their aesthetic, the songs are fundamentally great. If Failures isn't an indication we've been taking Anders for granted, I don't know what is. MORGAN TROPER
BRAHMS' FIRST SYMPHONY: OREGON SYMPHONY
(Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway) Achtung, procrastinators: Did you promise yourself you'd finally catch at least one Oregon Symphony concert this classical season? If so, heads up that tonight, tomorrow, and Monday mark the very last shows of 2012/2013, so get your skinny-jeaned asses in gear and grab some tix before the band embarks on their richly deserved summer vacay. Maestro Carlos Kalmar and the gang kick off this glorious program with a rousing seven-minute overture from Franz von Suppé before turning things over to guest soloist Jennifer Koh—a globally acclaimed fiddler who I guarantee will dazzle the crowd with a brilliant Hungarian violin concerto by Béla Bartók. Following Ms. Koh's gypsy virtuosity, Stumplandia's ultimate cover band will soar with the old-school sounds of Brahms' massive Symphony No. 1. Jesus H. Christ, people, pass up the PlayStation and nix the Netflix for just one goddamn night. It's high time for some fucking culture... unplug and get you some at the Schnitz! ANGRY SYMPHONY GUY
ALELA DIANE, VIKESH KAPOOR, BARNA HOWARD
(Portland Playhouse, 602 NE Prescott) Churches are an entirely appropriate place to experience the tears-inducing loveliness of Alela Diane's ever-so-slightly-trance folk, replete with poignant lyrics about family, nature, and lovers. It's the latter that's the focus of the forthcoming About Farewell, due out next month. Here's your chance to preview it in the formerly holy confines of Portland Playhouse. MARJORIE SKINNER
SPECK MOUNTAIN, ANDREW GRAHAM AND THE SWARMING BRANCH, THE SLIDELLS
(Valentine's, 232 SW Ankeny) Fans of Opal, Kendra Smith, Mazzy Star, and Hope Sandoval should devote some quality headphone time to Speck Mountain. The Chicago band's lazed, glazed rock locks into the same time-stopping beauty-mongering of those artists' mellowest meanderings. On albums like Summer Above, Some Sweet Relief, and Badwater, Speck Mountain eke out gorgeous, laidback melodies marked by Marie-Claire Balabanian's consolingly downcast vocals and her and Karl Briedrick's dewy, bejeweled guitar textures. Easy does it, over and over, for Speck Mountain—who are promising a cover of Alex Chilton's jaunty "Hey! Little Child" on this tour. DAVE SEGAL
I CAN LICK ANY SONOFABITCH IN THE HOUSE, SEPARATION OF SANITY, JACKRABBIT, MATT WOODS
(Dante's, 350 W Burnside) "They don't make men like Andy Griffith anymore," sings I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch in the House's grizzled frontman Mike Damron on his band's new LP, Mayberry. It could be argued that they don't make guys like Damron anymore either. The band's long been a staple of the Northwest's Southern-fried punk underground, sharing stages with such touring acts as Drag the River, Two Cow Garage, and more. On their new album, ICLASOBITH treads familiar territory: Mike D's ongoing fuck you to conformity, spliced with tender, anthemic diatribes on family values, government, and religion. The energy of the band's beginning stages remains very much alive, which you can chalk up to the consistency in their lineup, from the rhythm section of Mole Harris and Flapjack Texas, to the fantastic harpist Dave Lipkind, to lead guitarist Handsome Jon. This release show will be a rocker. RYAN J. PRADO
MIC CRENSHAW, REDRAY FRAZIER, FINGERPAINT AFRO JAZZ, DJ DEFF RO
(The Know, 2026 NE Alberta) Local emcee Mic Crenshaw may choose to call Portland home, but it's abundantly clear that his musical influence extends far beyond the borders of our town. A recent trip to six cities in Africa as part of the Afrikan Hiphop Caravan found him touring with the likes of political rappers Dead Prez, who then found time to record the track "Superheros" with Crenshaw, featuring production by Maestro of D-12. Tonight marks the release of a new EP for Crenshaw, titled Bionic Metal. The resulting effort is an ode to his Midwestern roots, with prominent shoutouts to Minneapolis. It also finds him in the precarious position of rapping over rock production, a move which thankfully ends up sounding more like the Judgment Night soundtrack than it does Limp Bizkit. RYAN FEIGH
DON AND THE QUIXOTES, FRUIT OF THE LEGION OF LOOM, THEE HEADLINERS, GHOST TRAIN
(Kenton Club, 2025 N Kilpatrick) It took 10 years for Portland's own Fruit of the Legion of Loom to release its first album, but Humandatory Genocide is now an actual thing, and one that will surely burn up the hit parade. After all, nothing says chart success like "instrumental concept album," and Legion of Loom's zooming, gonzo shredding is the sort of thing that makes music writers type words that wouldn't otherwise exist in the English language, like "frenetic" and "skronk." There are three acts to the sci-fi themed Humandatory Genocide, and the story itself is all laid out inside the CD booklet, although I doubt it will help much to get your bearings. Instead, sit back and let the instru-mental (sorry, another bullshit music critic tactic) trio's mathy, metal-tinged, progressive delirium work you over. Tonight's CD release is also the release show for Teflon Don, album number two from surf-rockers Don and the Quixotes. NED LANNAMANN
Sigh. Everyone went to see Star Trek into Darkness and I'm stuck Googling the correct spellings of various dried Italian meats. I'm going to watch my own futuristic space opera with Janelle Monáe's new song "Q.U.E.E.N." from her upcoming album Electric Lady. That'll cheer me up. It'll work for you too, I bet. She has that effect.
Oy vey, it's Video Vriday!
Videos from Youthbitch, Barry Brusseau, and Sara Jackson-Holman after the jump!
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