This Week in the Mercury

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The Portland Black Film Festival Charts a Moviemaking Legacy

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Cue the Guns, Swords, and, Oh, so Many Jokes about Ball-Related Trauma

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tonight in Music: Yeah Great Fine, High Places, Circle Pit, and more

Posted by Morgan Troper on Wed, Nov 17, 2010 at 10:00 AM


(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Depending on your frame of mind while you're listening to it, the self-titled debut album from Yeah Great Fine is a shiny, friendly pop album. Or an energetic, wirey post-punk record. Or a dance-friendly, slightly stoney collection of jams. Or a dense and heady slab of math-rock. That Yeah Great Fine is all these things and more simply indicates the number of tricks the Portland quintet has mastered. The guitars spiral in African circular patterns; the drums refuse to settle on a 4/4 beat; the whole ensemble occasionally clicks into a viselike, proggy "YYZ" pattern before soaring into a smooth, cloudlike vista of vocal harmonies. But their greatest trick of all is to do each of these things while keeping their music inviting and tastefully infectious. NED LANNAMANN


(Rotture, 315 SE 3rd) The duo of Mary Pearson and Rob Barber—better known as High Places—recently relocated from Brooklyn to sunny Los Angeles, and while it's tempting to attribute the brightening of their sound to the move westward, the cheerful sounds of their recent High Places vs. Mankind were hinted at even on their first singles in 2007. And whatever Balearic ecstasy is demonstrated on the new record still remains ambiguous and subdued—the beats lightly trip over themselves, and the synth washes shimmer in and out of focus. But Pearson's voice has never been heard with such clarity, and the band never sounded as ready to commandeer a rave 'til dawn. Perhaps all that newfound sun plays a part after all. NED LANNAMANN


(East End, 203 SE Grand) While it's not always safe to judge a book by its cover, just a cursory look at the front jacket of Bruise Constellation, the debut LP from Circle Pit, does the record inside justice. The grainy cover photo shows core members Jack Mannix and Angie Bermuda smoking and splayed on a bed—looking detached, drugged, grimy, and pretty fucking cool. The two Aussies—who previously were two-thirds of DIY punks Kiosk—maintain that aesthetic through 10 queasily swaggering tracks of junkie blues, gutter psych-raunch and a bilious Iggy vs. Courtney vocal dialogue. With its one-take, no-overdub rock and roll ripped and frayed to threadbare, heroin-chic fits, Bruise Constellation begs to be seen live—don't miss out, this is the only chance you'll get before Circle Pit stumbles back to Sydney. ETHAN JAYNE

Clinic, as well as a link to the complete show listings, after the jump!


(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Clinic's music once seethed and throbbed like a subliminal threat. It was an exhilarating, melodica-augmented, garage-psych update of Suicide's minimalist menace, marked by Ade Blackburn's nervy, grudgeful vocals. Yeah, these surgical-mask-wearing Brits began to repeat themselves over the years, but theirs was a steez worth reiterating. Clinic's sixth album, Bubblegum, however, softens the attack and aerates the angst. Change is often good, but Clinic have ditched nearly everything that made them enticing, save for a few beguiling melodies. Maybe Bubblegum's a grower. We'll see. The Fresh and Onlys play reverberant, melodious, ’60s-flecked rock, like a slightly less interesting Outrageous Cherry. Some people really dig F&O, but they fail to elicit real or virtual exclamation marks from me. DAVE SEGAL

Complete show listings can be viewed here.


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