OREGON ROCKS: URAL THOMAS, THE KINGSMEN, PIERCED ARROWS, QUASI, DJ HWY 7
(Oregon Historical Society, 1200 SW Park) Three years in the making, the Oregon Rocks musical history exhibit launches tonight with a concert that reflects the depth of the project itself. The varied lineup of Ural Thomas, the Kingsmen, Pierced Arrows, Quasi, and DJ Hwy 7 kick off the most far-reaching exploration of Oregon musical history ever. ALISON HALLETT Also, read our article on Oregon Rocks.
THE DECEMBERISTS, OKKERVIL RIVER, POINT JUNCTURE WA
(Edgefield, 2126 SW Halsey, Troutdale) Two years. That's the word around the water cooler, at least. The Decemberists, riding high as kites upon the much-deserved success of their masterful The King Is Dead, are on the precipice of a hiatus that is rumored to stretch—Mayan Apocalypse pending—well into 2013. It'll be a lengthy respite, since never in their history have the Decemberists been as relevant—and just plain good—as they are right this very moment. Joining them for this two-night (temporary) farewell are the marvelous Okkervil River, who, despite overreaching on the unnecessarily dense I Am Very Far, are still one of the finest domestic bands of the past decade. Since I'm already making bold claims: Point Juncture, WA's Handsome Orders is the best record of 2011 that you have not heard. EZRA ACE CARAEFF
GRASS WIDOW, BLOOD BEACH, XDS, NATURE
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) The A-side of new single from Bay Area trio Grass Widow is called "Milo Minute" and it's one of those puzzling, intriguing songs that sounds both lush and jagged, both languid and peppy. All three members—guitarist Raven Mahon, bassist Hannah Lew, drummer Lillian Maring—play with speed and intricacy, resulting in a fresh tangle of sound that gets feet quickly tapping. But the sighing, layered vocals soothe rather than agitate, and the end result is a song so interesting that you'll need to listen to it about 10 times in a row before you're able to think about anything else. In the video for "Milo Minute," the trio plays for an audience of gorillas at Boston's Franklin Park Zoo, no doubt atoning for all the terrible atrocities in Kevin James' Zookeeper, which also took place at Franklin Park. "Milo Minute" is the first in a batch of new singles from Grass Widow; an upcoming split with Portland band Nature—also playing tonight—is in the works. NED LANNAMANN
INTUITIVE NAVIGATION: GOLDEN RETRIEVER, SWAHILI, MIDDAY VEIL, BILLIONS AND BILLIONS, BLACK SCIENCE
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Holocene gets dressed up as an empyrean dream world tonight for Redefine magazine's Intuitive Navigation, a cross-disciplinary indulgence of film, music, dance, wearable sculpture, and art installation. Intended to facilitate a self-reflective state of meditation for the attendee, expect ritualistic performance art and hypnotic stimuli galore. The event will be soundtracked by some of the Northwest's most prismatic artists, who will perform in costume along with visual artists and dancers to enhance the immersive experience. Take special note of the evening's headliner, Portland's best bet for trance-induction: the soporifically zonked Golden Retriever. CHRIS CANTINO
GRAVE BABIES, FEVER, PERPETUAL RITUAL
(East End, 203 SE Grand) If the phrase "enthusiastic nihilism" seems contradictory, give a listen to Seattle noisemakers Grave Babies. Building on the blurry appeal established by 2009's Deathface (which continues to make waves in independent markets in Japan and Europe), the quartet, anchored by Danny Wahlfeldt's lyrics and unique aesthetic, are embarking on their first domestic tour in support of their new 7-inch from Hardly Art. Title track "Pleasures" is rooted in a classic pop sensibility almost smothered by gleeful distortion, while the B-side, "Deathwish," takes a spookier turn and a heavier hand with the reverb pedal, showing the gloomy underbelly of a band thoroughly dismayed with the state of affairs, yet still interested, as their new single's title suggests, in pursuing the finer things in life as they drift toward doom. MARANDA BISH
FUCKING LESBIAN BITCHES, STREET EATERS, THE MISHAPS
(The Saratoga, 6910 N Interstate) Berserkely rock and roll duo Street Eaters are ferocious yet gentle, bringing the best qualities of K Records and the Bay Area together in one compact little package. On their debut full-length Rusty Eyes and Hydrocarbons, Johnny No and Megan March deliver sweet (but not overly precious) boy/girl vocals over ominous, sinewy guitars and clangy drums. Need proof? "Nation Builder" packs four decades of rock music into four moody minutes. Live, these kids have shared the stage with punk bands, metal bands, and every other type of music that lurks on the outskirts. MARK LORE
MARES OF THRACE, SEI HEXE, NATUR
(Plan B, 1305 SE 8th) ThÉrÈse Lanz, guitarist and singer for Mares of Thrace, was featured in the June issue of Revolver as one of "The Hottest Chicks in Metal." While that's all well and good, metal is not a beauty pageant (if it were, MotÖrhead would've been disqualified decades ago). Western Canada's most ferociously crushing two-piece, Mares of Thrace (Lanz and drummer Stefani MacKichan) utilize abrasive melodies and a somber tone to create a sludgy hardcore death march. Lanz takes her vocals from throat-shredding screams to creepy harmonies, and into guttural chokes with ease. They may look like the girls-next-door, but once they get behind their instruments, Mares of Thrace are snarling and vengeful, not cute and cuddly. ARIS WALES
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