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Sunday, August 8, 2010

Tonight in Music: Bonnie "Prince" Billy, Levon Helm, Puffy Areolas and More

Posted by Ethan Jayne on Sun, Aug 8, 2010 at 10:00 AM

PICKATHON: BONNIE 'PRINCE' BILLY, LANGHORNE SLIM, THE CAVE SINGERS, SAM QUINN, & MORE (Pendarvis Farm, 16581 SE Hagen, Happy Valley)
See Pickathon coverage in our music section.

LEVON HELM BAND, JOE PUG (Oregon Zoo, 4001 SW Canyon) Take a load off and spend a nice August evening on the grass with this fascinating pairing of folk singers. As you should already be well aware, Levon Helm was the drummer and memorable voice of "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down," "The Weight," and plenty of other landmark songs for the Band. His pair of Dirt recordings (2007's Dirt Farmer and last year's Electric Dirt) are a welcome return to form, each of which won him a Grammy. It might not be long before Joe Pug clears off some mantel space for such hardware: His debut LP Messenger is a wonderfully raw and textured roots recording crowned by his wounded twang. If you want a little Pickathon without the drive east, this is it. EZRA ACE CARAEFF

PUFFY AREOLAS, ETERNAL TAPESTRY, MEERCAZ (East End, 203 SE Grand) Puffy Areolas are scary. The Ohio band has been releasing CD-Rs for a few years now, and has finally dropped a proper LP called In the Army 1981. Like their fellow Siltbreeze brethren, Puffy Areolas have found the tinny, no-fi sounds that spawned the shitgaze movement to their liking. The band brings to mind the spacey vibes of Hawkwind, but it's when they conjure the directed rage of Black Flag that things really come unhinged. Essentially, you'll feel like you're being shoved and browbeaten for the record's 36-minute duration—I can only imagine what a half-hour in the same room will do to your nervous system. MARK LORE

A friendly reminder: tonight's Seu Jorge show has been cancelled. Videos from David Dondero and Violet Isle coming up after the jump!

As always, you can find our complete live show listings here.

DAVID DONDERO, SHOESHINE BLUE, JOHN VECCHIARELLI (Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) David Dondero named his new record #Zero with a Bullet, a clear indication that the Minnesota-born songwriter's not harboring any illusions of still climbing to the top of the pops. And nearly all of Dondero's songs similarly deal with the absence of illusions—of coping with frustration and unhappiness and the encroaching insanity of always being on the road. If anything, #Zero sounds even more bummed out than 2007's astonishingly great Simple Love. But Dondero's got a direct line on honesty, which gives his music a weird kind of optimism in that the good things, when they finally come along, are deservedly earned, not invented or concocted. He is—no debate—one of this country's absolute best songwriters, with a waver in his voice that taught Conor Oberst everything he knows; Dondero's songs are ruthless, unforgettable, and almost blinding in their truth telling. NL

VIOLET ISLE, HUTSON, SEACATS (Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Tonight marks the release of I Am Ivy, the debut long-player from local quintet Violet Isle. It's a well-intentioned recording brimming with radio-friendly alternative rock songs—there is no shortage of hooks here—capped by the inviting voice of frontman Sean Garcia. That's the good news. The bad news is that I Am Ivy's songs labor with awkward time signature changes and a few lyrical missteps along the way. For Violet Isle it's a respectable start, but there's no denying that the band still has plenty of room to grow. EAC

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