This Week in the Mercury


Friday, July 2, 2010

Tonight in Music: The Penny Jam Showcase, Erykah Badu, Hosannas and More

Posted by Ethan Jayne on Fri, Jul 2, 2010 at 9:00 AM

THE PENNY JAM SHOWCASE: LOCH LOMOND, TANGO ALPHA TANGO, DOUBLEPLUSGOOD, DJ COOKY (Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) PORTLAND HEARTS PORTLAND—If you have yet to check out Penny Jam (the online video series of local bands playing their tunes in different Portland locations), nine episodes will screen tonight—plus! Live performances from three bands featured in the series: Loch Lomond, Tango Alpha Tango, and Doubleplusgood. ND 

THE LILITH FAIR: ERYKAH BADU, SARA MCLACHLAN, SUGARLAND, COLBIE CAILLAT, SHERYL CROW & MORE (Sleep County Amphitheater, 17200 NE Delfel) Erykah Badu is naked on the streets of Dallas, Texas. She doesn't start this way when the white-walled tires of her vintage ride pulls up to park in Dealey Plaza. She feeds the meter a handful of change, then begins the meticulous process of removing her overcoat, T-shirt, bra, and underwear as she walks toward the camera—not singing—completely oblivious to the notion that this shaky hand footage is supposed be a music video for her sweeping new single "Window Seat." The footage is the polar opposite of a typical music video striptease. As Badu clinically removes her clothes (until her exposed skin is little more than a mass of blurred, censoring pixels), a single shot rings out from a nearby grassy knoll. Her naked body hits the pavement and a slow stream of (blue) blood trickles from her head, spelling out the word "groupthink," on the very same pavement where JFK was assassinated 47 years ago. It's an ambitious undertaking to artistically recreate the most famous death in American history—completely void of mournful patriotism or conspiracy theories, but with copious nudity and off-colored blood—yet it's a task Erykah Badu masterfully completes. EAC

...Continue reading the rest of Ezra Ace Caraeff's article on Erykah Badu here. If you've never seen that video be sure to check it out above.

HOSANNAS, SNUFFALUFFAGUS, WITT
(The Artistery, 4315 SE Division) Do not get Snuffaluffagus confused with Mr. Snuffleupagus, the big furry elephant from Sesame Street. This Snuffaluffagus is the project of Chris Braciszewski, and his new album Brazil Wood Poetry embraces the sound of late '60s Brazilian Tropicália. It's filled with samba beats, nylon guitar plucks, gently percolating percussion, yawning melodies, and a faint whiff of sun-dappled psychedelia. Many Californians before Braciszewski—looking in your patchouli-scented direction, Devendra—have gotten ensnared in Tropicália's seductive blend of brain-expanding futurism and easygoing breeziness, and the music of Snuffy focuses on its laidback qualities, resulting in a lightly hazy bit of exotic pop. They join fellow San Diegans Witt on a meandering West Coast tour. On this date the two bands open for Hosannas—formerly Church—for the Portland quartet's last show with keyboardist Cristof Hendrickson and drummer Lane Barrington. Brothers Brandon and Richard Laws are reportedly going to continue making music together, while Hendrickson and Barrington are departing (amicably, the band is happy to say) to pursue other endeavors—in Barrington's case, his ongoing musical project the Ocean Floor. NED LANNAMANN Snuffaluffagus and Witt also play Wednesday, July 7 at Ella Street Social Club.

Gay Beast, Femi Kuti, Rozendal, The Harvey Girls and The Moondoggies coming up after the jump!

Need more? You can find our complete live show listings here.

ART PARTY: GAY BEAST, ZZYZZAX, PERMANENT WAVE, DJ RAD, DJ LADYFINGERS (Branx, 320 SE 2nd) It's hard to put guitar/synth/drums trio Gay Beast into a neat little genre box, as they make some seriously, awesomely weird noise. The Minnesota three-piece (a hard butch, soft femme, and a "just right") have coined the term neo-wave to distance themselves from the no-wave and the now-wavers. They're labelmates with AIDS Wolf and Melt-Banana on the also awesomely weird label Skin Graft Records. They mix progressive rock with some math and little bit of saxophone. They have songs about second-wave feminism that you can dance to. They have super cool T-shirts because synth man Dan Luedtke is an amazing artist and graphic designer. They look and sound like something new. That's not easy. Hell, in this day and age of recycled everything, doing something different or new is almost impossible. They should have called themselves the Gay Pioneers. Or the Queer Pathfinders. KELLY O

FEMI KUTI AND THE POSITIVE FORCE (Oregon Zoo, 4001 SW Canyon) Femi Kuti is certainly his father's son, but do not mistake Femi for Fela. For instance, Fela—the hugely influential and pioneering Afrobeat titan—would probably not have lent his voice to Grand Theft Auto IV, as Femi did. Nor did Fela Kuti have to suffer through the post-jazz-fusion, post-"world"-music landscape that Femi now has to navigate, where the raw veins of both indigenous tribal beats and American bop have been watered down to scholarly exercise or, even worse, "lifestyle" music to accompany a range of scented candles or a Starbucks on Safari! compilation CD. (Admittedly, this is a landscape that Fela's groundbreaking work helped create.) Nor would Fela have incorporated a twinkly, bullshit-sounding Roland digital synth into his hard-edged funk. Yes, Femi does all these things, but he also burnishes the legacy of his father's amazing music, and there is little doubt that this evening, with his music playing as you recline in the setting summer sun, will be anything less than a great time. NL

ROZENDAL, KELLY BLAIR BAUMAN, STEVE HEFTER (The Woods, 6637 SE Milwaukie) Portland's Brian Rozendal plays gritty indie rock that successfully pulls from some of America's most familiar musical eras. Successful in that he (and his namesake band) deftly take elements of country, folk, and late-'80s/early-'90s alternative and mash them into spare, working-class pop songs that don't merely ape what came before. Rozendal doesn't hold back in his tales of love lost, either. I'm guessing he's probably a blast at parties. Also on the bill is Kelly Blair Bauman, who's found a second life making jangly Americana that gives a nod to Sweetheart of the Rodeo-era Byrds. It's a far cry from the noise he made in seminal Northern California bands Deathstar and the North Magnetic, but Bauman's ability to assemble layers and hooks still comes off as loud as bombs. MARK LORE

BIG SPIDER'S BACK, THE HARVEY GIRLS, CARS AND TRAINS, CAMPING PARTY (Backspace, 115 NW 5th) Hiram Lucke plays different instruments—guitar, keys, percussion—and layers them with a Boss RC-20 Loop Station, while both he and wife Melissa Rodenbeek sing. The end result is the Harvey Girls, a decidedly slanted, thrilling avant-pop duo whose new album, I've Been Watching a Lot of Horror Movies Lately, is a varied, ranging collection of weird and happy music. The songs don't really resemble each other, except that they're all trippy and full of good cheer, kind of like S.F. Sorrow combined with "The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)." I've Been Watching just came out on Circle into Square Records, also the home of Big Spider's Back and Cars and Trains (also on the bill tonight). New album aside, there's no shortage of Harvey Girls material: The full-length was preceded by a free EP called The Prisoners of Candy Island, a relaxed if even more left-field collection of sound landscapes, and they've got some new tracks floating around, including a fractured, Spanish-ballad version of the Clash's "Spanish Bombs" which works astonishingly well. NL

THE MOONDOGGIES, THE HEAD AND THE HEART, QUIET LIFE (Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Kevin Murphy, lead singer and songwriter for Seattle's Moondoggies, spoke of how the band crammed every good song they had onto 2008's Don't Be a Stranger, not knowing if they'd have an opportunity to put out another record. Fortunately, the roots-rock group got another chance and the Moondoggies were more meticulous with their selections for follow-up Tidelands. Their brand-new EP You'll Find No Answers Here contains songs that didn't make it onto the LP, including "Fly Mama Fly," a Neil Young-tinged lullaby that sounds at home alongside music by Northwest chamber-folk contemporaries the Cave Singers and the Fleet Foxes. At times more adventurous, exploratory, and soulful than the finger-picking ditties that earned them acclaim, the Moondoggies' latest work elaborates upon the heartfelt appeal of their modern-day down-home sounds. MARANDA BISH

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