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Friday, November 12, 2010

Tonight in Music: Watain, Junip, Mono/Poly, and more

Posted by Morgan Troper on Fri, Nov 12, 2010 at 12:27 PM

WATAIN, GOATWHORE, BLACK ANVIL

(10:30 PM)

(Branx, 320 SE 2nd) Rotture's downstairs neighbor Branx has expanded in a huge way. The big room is now a full-time, 600-capacity venue. To kick things off this weekend, tonight's double-header features a late-night performance by the evilest band on earth, Watain, and tomorrow they bring in the one and only Biz Markie. EZRA ACE CARAEFF Also, read our article on Watain.

JUNIP, SHARON VAN ETTEN

(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) The Swedish guitarist with the Argentinean name, JosÉ GonzÁlez is best known for his whisper-quiet covers of the Knife and Joy Division. But he's also part of the band Junip, which just released the excellent Fields album, a collection of darkly tinted, propulsive folk-rock with groovy jazz overtones. NED LANNAMANN Also read our article on Sharon Van Etten.

AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY BENEFIT: MONO/POLY, YUK, HERU, DEVONWHO, GRAINTABLE, BROWNBEAR

(Whiskey Bar, 31 NW 1st) Portland's Dropping Gems collective is hosting a benefit for the local chapter of the American Cancer Society. They've invited a couple of likeminded musicians from Los Angeles' thriving beat scene, including the brash and overtly political Mono/Poly, who is as influenced by Noam Chomsky as he is by time spent at LA's eminent Low End Theory night. Also appearing is Yuk, whose tape collages merge calming organic sounds with swells of layered elegance that you can't help but compare to Flying Lotus. Throw in a chance to check out a handful of obscure but inspired local electronic musicians and the fact that 100 percent of the door money goes to a testicular cancer grant research project at Oregon Health and Science University, and you have somewhere to be tonight. AVA HEGEDUS

Pomegranates and Velella Velella, as well as a link to the complete show listings, after the jump!

POMEGRANATES, OH NO OH MY

(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Don't be fooled by the cover of One of Us, the third record from Cincinnati's Pomegranates. While it depicts a skull evilly glaring out at the world, the songs contained inside are as bright and sunny as pop music can get without becoming dumb or sickly sweet. In fact, Pomegranates are downright masterful at their game, weaving complex and sonically arresting arrangements around simple—but not simplistic—melodies. This time around they've incorporated some psychedelic tricks, like whirling synths and organs, and guitar lines that stoop and pose moodily around the rest of the band. And Pomegranates drop brain-candy hooks (a synth line here, a falsetto vocal there) that're so damn catchy, they're irresistible. Getting hooked never sounded so good. NED LANNAMANN

VELELLA VELELLA, DAT'R, THE BRAN FLAKES (10 PM)

(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Way back in the first phase of LCD Soundsystem, James Murphy did an "Invisible Jukebox" interview with Pitchfork in which they played him a track off Michael Mayer's album Touch (Mayer and Murphy both being label bosses as well as flagship artists). Murphy's reaction was something like, "Oh, great, a reverse key-follow filter? What's the point of this shit? It never goes anywhere." (I'm paraphrasing from memory.) He was talking about mid-'00s minimal techno, but the same critique can just as easily be applied to live-band electro funk. Which brings us to Seattle outfit Velella Velella, whose synth and guitar workouts have always been pleasing enough to the ear and persuasive enough to the feet, but which have often seemed not quite capable of arriving entirely where they mean to go. (Also: if you're going to power your dance music with an iPod instead of a live drummer, those backing beats better bang.) Maybe the band's forthcoming album, Atlantis Massif, will put an end to any such aimlessness and finally fix the band's effervescent grooves to a more fully satisfying course; if I had a promo copy of the album handy I would tell you for sure. ERIC GRANDY

You can check out the complete show listings here.

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