Portland's very own Toxic Holocaust has teamed with Portland's very own Relapse Records who has teamed with Portland's very own Blank TV (they just moved here from LA) for this video premiere of" Judgment Awaits You."
Wow, that's a whole lotta Portland.
"Judgment Awaits You" is from the recently released Conjure and Command, the latest LP from aptly-named Toxic Holocaust frontman Joel Grind and company. Composed of black and white live footage the video hammers home the scorching sound of the band and confirms my suspicion that all of their T-shirts are missing sleeves. Come on guys, sleeves are your friend.
CELILO, SEAN FLINN AND THE ROYAL WE, CARCRASHLANDER
(Alberta Rose Theatre, 3000 NE Alberta) Local laidback rockers Celilo started working on Buoy Bell way back in 2009, but the recording process took a devastating setback when drummer Kipp Crawford was killed in a hit-and-run accident. Now two years later the band has recovered the best they could and are prepared to share this wonderfully layered recording—with elements of spacious folk and dirt road Americana. EZRA ACE CARAEFF
WOODEN SHJIPS, THE NIGHT BEATS
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) My reaction to the droning, groaning psych from San Francisco band Wooden Shjips can run both hot and cold: I've been stirred by their immersive space beats, sucked into their lysergic whorls of guitar and organ, seen red-hot synesthetic flashes behind my eyelids as their fuzzed-out acid rock pulses through my skull. I've also been lightly, casually bored at one of their shows, jangling ice cubes in an empty glass instead of succumbing to their repetitive, somewhat wanky vortex. The Shjips' latest, West, finds them (very slightly) tightening up the sprawling grooves in favor of melody, a trick that worked splendidly for the Black Angels on their last record. Tonight's show is sponsored by Sailor Jerry Rum, not exactly a psychotropic substance, so you may want to do a little prep work before descending to the Doug Fir's underground bunker. Get in for free by RSVPing at tour.sailorjerrypresents.com. NED LANNAMANN
BRAILLE, ODD THOMAS, THEORY HAZIT, TXE, DAVE NOTTI, CALVIN VALENTINE, XPERIMENT, TROX
(Branx, 320 SE 2nd) Portland native Braille is already a seasoned hiphop veteran despite the fact that he has yet to celebrate his 30th birthday. Braille's latest solo album, Native Lungs, is his seventh and a welcome return to form. The wish list roster of producers, beat crafters, and record scratchers is reason alone to cop the album. Producer S1 (Kanye, Jay-Z, BeyoncÉ) lends a track and legendary DJ Rob Swift showcases his scratching abilities on another. Local up-and-coming producers Trox and Calvin Valentine are also featured, proving that Braille is still repping his hometown hard despite his international accolades. Lyrically and thematically the album is a masterful balance between playful and dead serious, broaching serious themes without ever taking itself too seriously. While Braille's Christian faith is one of those themes, it never comes across as preachy. Think "Jesus Walks," not DC Talk—thank God.
On September 20, Nurses will play not one, not two, but three in-store performances at Portland's finest record emporiums, and they'll no doubt be playing tunes from the new record. The shows are free! The shows are all ages! The shows are all over town, so it'll be easy for you to check out at least one! Here's the schedule:
4:30 pm - Jackpot Records, 3574 SE HawthorneNurses also play a release show at Holocene on Thursday, September 22.
5:30 pm - Everyday Music (downtown), 1313 W Burnside
7 pm - Music Millennium, 3158 E Burnside
Are you curious how The We Shared Milk spends their time? Wonder no more, my friend. This fine video for "Drag" reveals all their secrets: sweat-soaked concerts, lawless loitering, impromptu haircuts on pedestrian bridges, and (oddest of all) playing with a deceased crow.
The duo of former Alaskans—Boone Howard and Eric Ambrosius—released the holy Jesuses EP a couple months back and it's a solid collection of off-kilter rock numbers that just so happens to be free for your downloading pleasure.
I'm not gonna lie, we were pretty damn excited to hear that Richmond Fontaine had returned with a new album. Due out September 20, The High Country is a conceptual recording—or, as they call it, a "song-novel concept album"—that takes full advantage of frontman Willy Vlautin's gift for writing (sad) stories about fascinating (and sad) characters. Shockingly, the album has no songs about Vlautin's other favorite topics: Reno, horses, drunk jockeys, and a drunk Reno jockey who rides a horse that has a gambling problem.
Come on Mr. Cinnamon, you always split aces! Stupid horse.
Anyway, back to the video. True to its title, this clip for "Lost in the Trees" pieces together (via hazy flashbacks) a particularly harrowing night of heavy partying deep in the woods. It's a bit creepy, so don't watch this if you are about to head into the wilderness for a weekend camping trip.
I don't know if you've noticed but I certainly have: it's been a time since AU last played in Portland. It's been so long, in fact, Luke Wyland can't remember when the band last took stage in their hometown.
"Years?," he wondered in an email to the Mercury.
During some of AU's extended break Wyland played in Sporting. I wrote about them towards the end of last year. Like AU, Sporting is a duo. It's an arrangement Wyland apparently loves. An excerpt from that interview:
"Two-pieces allow for a greater sense of intimacy and interplay. Essentially two people sitting down with the ability to let the conversation go wherever it leads them."
With virtuosic drummer Dana Valatka, the conversation in AU is grand, effervescent and supremely dynamic. At their best, AU are a mainline of utter musical joy. Orcestral swoops and crashing catharsis from just eight limbs, twenty dancing fingers and two brains deep in the mind-meld.
This show becomes all the more exciting as AU plan to trot out a number of new songs from their recently-finished record. According to Wyland, they just finished mastering. A 7-inch single is coming out in a "few months." Expect the full-length in early 2012.
That feels like a long time from now. Luckily, live is where I get the real fix. Don't miss it.
TONIGHT: AU w/ Operative & Archers @ Mississippi Studios, 9:00PM, $5.00 Advance / $7.00 Door
Holocene gets dressed up as an empyrean dreamworld 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.
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
"Black Hills Gold" is an interesting selection for a single from Dolorean's flawless The Unfazed LP. Not because the song's title reminds me of this tune, but because it's a hazy, cinematic song that takes its sweet time to get settled in. Then again, this clip for "Black Hills Gold" is hardly your traditional music video. Instead, it's more of a short film that was directed by Dicky Dahl and takes inspiration from the tragic passing of the Beach Boy's Dennis Wilson.
As Dolorean's Al James explains:
My fascination with and appreciation for Dennis Wilson, the late drummer for the Beach Boys, has continued unabated for the last decade. Dennis is an everlasting Greek God - the blonde haired, blue-eyed Adonis of the 60s and the only Beach Boy that mattered as far as every girl in Southern California was concerned. Everything came easy to Denny - surfing, motorcycles, partying, acting, he even learned to play drums on the fly when the Wilson family formed their band as teenagers. For all his natural talent, Dennis had his troubles. With his 1977 solo album "Pacific Ocean Blue," Dennis wrestled these troubles and shaped them into something beautiful and personal. In 1983, however, he gave into the darkness and drowned at Marina Del Rey, the dock where his beloved sailboat "The Harmony" was once moored. He spent that day drinking and swimming, discovering bits of his life that had been thrown overboard years before during an explosive argument with an ex-wife. Dennis dove into the ocean over and over retrieving memories of his love and his life that were buried at sea. Ultimately, he dove too deep and was washed out into the abyss.
Poor Dennis. Everyone knows it should have been you, Mike Love.
Another week, another Mercury music section to ignore while you read about Al Pacino thanking "the hip-hop people and the rappers" for the prolonged success of Scarface. Mountains of cocaine for everyone!
The Oregon Rocks exhibit is a fun and educational (funucational, y'all!) look at Portland's fascinating musical history. Jazz from the '40s, punk bands from the '70s, and just about everything else in between is covered here. You need to see this exhibit.
Johnnie Ray - "Just Walking In The Rain"
A true pioneer of the bedroom-recording scene, R. Stevie Moore makes a very rare Portland performance early next week. It's his first show here since OzzFest 2001, where he shared a stage with Mudvayne. [Please, for the love of God, fact check this sentence.—Ed.]
R. Stevie Moore - "California Rhythm"
Oh, Saskatchewan. The home of the Saskatchewan Roughriders, a popular livestock show, and a city called Moose Jaw now has a new reason to be the envy of the other provinces: Library Voices. The up-and-coming band continues the tradition of great pop ensembles (think: New Pornographers or Broken Social Scene) courtesy of our neighbours to the north.
Library Voices - "If Raymond Carver Were Born In The 90’s"
The man behind the influential house music imprint Classic Music Company , Luke Solomon reboots his record label after a six year break.
Luke Solomon - "People, Places, Thoughts & Faces" (Ajello remix)
MusicFest NW has a history of innovative advertisements (here is 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010) and this year's "market research" clip (starring eBay Power Seller Andrew Dickson) continues that fine tradition.
If there are two things I know about suburban moms, they refuse to pronounce the name Butthole Surfers (Boot-hole Surfers!) and they love Blind Pilot.
The lead track on Celilo's forthcoming record, Buoy Bell, also appeared on the Portland group's 2009 LP Bending Mirrors. The original version of "Sunken Ships" featured frontman Sloan Martin alone with an acoustic guitar, while this version has a whole lot of open space filled out only slightly with faint sustained synthesizer chords in the background and a delicate master reverb. A brushed snare drops in the closing moments of this solo-acoustic edition only to fade out a few seconds later. This momentary rhythmic passage was originally felt as a motion of movement on Bending Mirrors towards the next track. But this moment's meaning evolves completely after listening to Buoy Bell's reprise—it becomes a gesture towards the future sound of Celilo.
Buoy Bell's version of "Sunken Ships" features the full band with gorgeous pedal steel colors, surfy electric guitar, and that breezy snare-focused percussion as a rhythmic backbone. The most beautiful moments in the song are the brisk snare fills that patiently fall in after Martin's band hits that incomplete cadence as his chorus lyrics sink away. It's a mature, measured moment that is just one example on Buoy Bell of Celilo's development as a band.
Catch Celilo this Friday at The Alberta Rose Theater with Sean Flinn and the Royal We and Carcrashlander. They're celebrating the official release of Buoy Bell ... in Europe. The record is due out in the U.S. on September 27th.
Celilo - "Sunken Ships" (Reprise)
Outsider pop songwriter Daniel Johnston's brilliantly titled new comic Space Ducks has been hanging all month over at the Wieden+Kennedy gallery space, and apparently the show was a big success—every piece sold before the show could even begin.
Now the gallery is hosting a free live performance by everyone's favorite oddball this Thursday at 6:00 PM in the W+K gallery space (224 NW 13th Avenue). Those who arrive early will be treated to one last viewing of the Space Ducks exhibit, which also features popular selections from his previous work.
While you're at it, make sure you visit the re-launch of Johnston's website hihowareyou.com.
Don't believe Google! Cyclotron is not just a death metal band from Germany. They're garage glam from Portland. And they're playing at East End tonight.
Featuring members of the Nice Boys and former Hunches singer Hart Gledhill, the group is sort of rag tag.
As you see in the photo above, Gledhill is missing (Update: Whoops. That's not Cyclotron in the photo. My fault. All those damn glam haircuts look the same to me.) I get the feeling Cyclotron don't practice all that much. They've nothing recorded, or at least made none of it available online. The band pops up every so often, just a handfull of times each year. They strut, twisted and loud as Gledhill unleashes his cockeyed hobo clown on the confused, perhaps unsuspecting—but always rapt—audience.
TONIGHT: Cyclotron @ East End w/ Apache, Daddy Long Legs
NICK JAINA, DOVEKINS, RUN ON SENTENCE
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) You might know the music of Portland songwriter Nick Jaina, but you've never heard it quite like this before: On his new album The Beanstalks That Have Brought Us Here Are Dead, each song is voiced by a different female singer, including Laura Gibson, Jolie Holland, and Corrina Repp. The result is some of the finest work of Jaina's career. ALISON HALLETT
MATTRESS, RELIGIOUS GIRLS, THE CROW, JIZZ WISARD
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Lonely Souls, the new six-song cassette from Mattress, has been released in a limited edition of 100 by Field Hymns, and it's a fine, weird iteration of Rex Marshall's lounge-singing apocalyptic preacher. His deep baritone effortlessly sidles through both balmy Blade Runner synths and disquieting glitchwork quilts, with the result sounding like Suicide decided their sound was too commercial and they wanted to make something truly strange, with Johnny Cash on vocals to boot. For whatever claustrophobic unease Mattress on record invokes—and it's a substantial amount—Marshall remains a riveting performer in the live setting, weaving and bobbing over his seasick sounds with the confidence of a seasoned tour guide. It's tough not to feel drawn in. Tonight also marks the vinyl re-release of Mattress' 2006 debut Eldorado via Malt Duck Records. NED LANNAMANN
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