FIRST ANNUAL HOLIDAY SPECIAL: LAURA GIBSON, MUSEE MECANIQUE, ALELA DIANE, & MORE
(The Woods, 6637 SE Milwaukie) It's the Woods' first annual Holiday Special, a night of local musicians playing holiday music just for you. There'll be cozy performances from Laura Gibson, Alela Diane, Duover (who just released their own full-length Christmas album), Musee Mecanique, and tons more, including some special surprise guests. Wear your favorite/worst Christmas sweater. NED LANNAMANN
BUZZOV*EN, RABBITS, WITCH MOUNTAIN, STONE BURNER
(Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) Mastodon, Baroness, Kylesa, and every other scummy punk-infused Southern metal band making waves of late owes a debt of gratitude to North Carolina's sludge forefathers Buzzov*en. Appropriate adjectives to describe the blunt force of the band's feedback-stained power chords and drugged-down lurch have been exhausted on the recent tide of unwashed beardos slinging guitars tuned to drop C, but it's crucial to remember that back in 1992 Buzzov*en was unlike anything else. They were violent, reckless, and absolutely terrifying. The band suffered from drug problems, lineup changes, and bad record deals, eventually leading to their breakup in '01. With recent compilations from underground mainstays Alternative Tentacles and Relapse, the band is back on the radar and ready to deliver a history lesson to the mangy hordes. BRIAN COOK
HELLO ELECTRIC, BRAINSTORM, HOLY CHILDREN
(Rotture, 315 SE 3rd) Skychief, the new album from hometown band Hello Electric, was recorded with Portugal. The Man's John Gourley behind the boards, and it shares some of that band's envelope-pushing approach to pop. But Hello Electric—the one-time solo project of Kirk Ohnstad, which has since expanded to a trio to include Zach Bendt and Henry Gibson—is also not afraid to strip things back to their bare essentials, resulting in nakedly harrowing moments like the screamed chorus of "Cosine," which subverts the rest of the song's carefully layered vocals. Skychief is the kind of statement that's impossible to ignore; it's the sound of a band finding a wealth of terrific material by being clearly attuned to all the possibilities of their sound, including mathy progressions, crust-punk rumble, art-rock non sequiturs, and post-psych languor. "Bear King II" is a ferocious highlight, a grumbling, stuttering electric number whose refrain, "This is the fucking woodland!/I am the king!" is bound to tap into something elemental and wild underneath your skin. NED LANNAMANN
Killing Joke, Water and Bodies, and Vellarest, as well as a link to the complete show listings, after the jump!
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) Over the past three decades Killing Joke became all things to everyone, a band that was difficult to pin down and influenced countless artists, from punk bands and new wavers to industrial rock machines and metalheads. It could be said that the band's tenacity and influence (not necessarily their musical output) is comparable to that of KISS. Keyboardist-vocalist Jaz Coleman and guitarist Geordie Walker have been the constants, ably guiding the band as trends lived and died and the music industry disintegrated around them. Hell, Killing Joke probably supplied the soundtrack. And they're not finished yet. The original members reunited after the death of bassist Paul Raven, an odd twist that pushed the band to record more music and perform live. Given the band's peculiar history (drug use, accusations of being neo-Nazis, etc.), it's surprising that Killing Joke is still around. I'm beginning to think they're going to outlast all of us. MARK LORE
AND I WAS LIKE WHAT?, WATER AND BODIES, HOUSEFIRE, SYMMETRY/SYMMETRY
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) The cumbersome mouthful of the band moniker that is And I Was Like, What? is a bit of a distraction. If anything, the name does the Portland quintet a disservice, labeling the band as a sort of musical punchline, or at least an outfit that might be less than serious about their intentions. Yet on the band's just-released EP We Have Nothing, AIWLW? deliver a dynamic rock recording, one that doesn't fit the typical jangle-and-mumble template of so many other local acts. "Birthday Suite" sways with a violin hook and the finest guitar complexity this side of Karate's masterful Bed Is in the Ocean, while opener "Secular Eyes" is a bit more direct, with its catchy chorus of "She left me for some Christian girl/And I don't know what to say." Don't get hung up on the band's name, since there is something truly great about We Have Nothing. EZRA ACE CARAEFF
NATHANIEL TALBOT, BRITTLE BONES, VELLAREST, SQUALORA
The complete show listings can be viewed here.