I hate San Luis Obispo. As a younger man I even contemplated attending California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo (their most famous alum, this guy), only to have the repressed memory of the horrific San Luis Obispo Mission I built for a third grade school project come bubbling back to the surface. It was made of sugar cubes. I got a C- on it.
Fuck that place, I'd rather hang in Morro Bay.
But I do not hate "San Luis Obispo." The latest single from Quiet Life is the first we've heard from the local roots rockers since the release of their fine Big Green LP earlier this year. Frontman Sean Spellman channels his innermost Ryan Adams (circa Heartbreaker, not Gold) on this uptempo number about the central coastal city. The band is about to embark on a series of tour dates supporting The Mother Hips (both bands will be at the Doug Fir on October 15), and then a stretch with Dr. Dog on the Eastern seaboard as well.
Quiet Life - "San Luis Obispo"
Last year's Loneliness Is a Dirty Mattress is one of the best records to come out of Australia in quite some time, and after Kitchen's Floor's performance at East End a couple weeks ago, we were more sold than ever on the band. That's why, when we caught wind of a new LP for iconic Philly label Siltbreeze, we were like, "Oh. Shit. Well, let's have a listen to it then."
Naturally, we're glad we did. Look Forward to Nothing is chock full of the good ol' downer-pop Kitchen's Floor have made their name on, but with an added oomph courtesy of new drummer Joe Alexander from Brisbane power trio Per Purpose. Well played, guys. Alexander is really slamming his sticks on the backbeat, which is great considering the rest of the band is infernally sloppy and benefits from the reinforcement. Still, the real story here is songwriter Matt Kennedy's bleak lyricism and apathetic approach to grungy kiwi-pop. Exploring themes of failure and detachment throughout, Kennedy continues to present with the same fuck-this attitude that made the band so cool in the first place. The end result is a keyed up take on no-wave folk (à la Pink Reason) as channeled through the currently thriving Sacto punk scene.
Have a listen to "Regrets" below, and head on down to Siltbreeze for more info.
Kitchen's Floor - "Regrets"
As part of their themed week of music, all this week Late Night with Jimmy Fallon is opening up their stage to contemporary acts covering Pink Floyd. Unfortunately these guys couldn't make it, but the new-look The Shins were available.
Shockingly, James Mercer and company passed on playing anything from The Division Bell and instead went with a more predictable cover, “Breathe” from Dark Side of the Moon. Cue up The Wizard of Oz—dude, when the MGM lion roars for the third time hit the play button—and check it out.
LADYTRON, GEOGRAPHER, SONOIO
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) The electropop charmers of Ladytron have been releasing stylish, sexy dance records for over a decade—this week, they drop into Portland to promote their fifth studio album, the alluringly titled Gravity the Seducer. ALISON HALLETT
WEEKEND, TALK NORMAL, HAUSU, GHOST ANIMAL
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) San Franners Weekend are starting to seek treatment for their troubled sound, but it hasn't beeneasy. Their needle-flicking no-wave punk is laced with Shin-ei fuzz bursts and dipped in dubby, junked-out atmospherics that get your brain firing on all cylinders. Not the kind of habit you kick overnight. Last year's addictive debut, Sports, sounded like Sonic Youth's Bad Moon Rising overdosing on itself: terminally void, with debilitating endorphin surges. Now, the trio's post-punk pastiche certainly took the senses on a heavy trip, but too much of that stuff would have eventually been the death of them. Fortunately, the band has undergone a rehabilitation of sorts on their new EP, Red, for Slumberland Records. They're still prone to noisy relapses here and there, but their songs are now injected with a higher dosage of songwriting and production value. And now that these guys are off the hard stuff, maybe they'll clean up after all. CHRIS CANTINO
The first issue from burgeoning label Public Information is a clear contender for analog synthesizer record of the year. Brooklynite and multimedia artist Aaron David Ross (ADR) is best known for his work as half of NYC's "CG hell-scape" duo Gatekeeper, but the arrival of his new solo record Solitary Pursuits presents a notable departure from the Portable Grindhouse aesthetic he has been so closely identified with as of late. The record retains the unworldly sci-fi elements inherent in all of Reed's work, but noticeably absent are the overpitched synth textures and VHS style visual art. Rather, Solitary Pursuits recalls the multidimensional Korg-scape of Piero Umiliani, Parry Library Music, or a tape saturated Jean Michel Jarre. What separates him from his peers, however, is not merely a fortunate confluence of influences. What's really impressive here is ADR's deliberate diversity of field, and playful expositions upon a variety of emotional realms throughout the record.
Solitary Pursuits is out today on Public Information.
Saturday night marked the final concert of the season on the Edgefield lawn, but a couple stray late-September raindrops couldn't, uh, dampen the waaay sold-out crowd there to see Bon Iver. And it may not have been the Bon Iver that people were expecting: This was Super-Sized, Post-Kanye, Arena-Ready Bon Iver, a nine-member-strong ensemble armed with saxes and extra guitars and ample percussion and lots of vocals in order to flawlessly capture the ambitious tracks from the second Bon Iver record (which I have decided is actually called Bon Iver, Bon Iver). The mammoth group also beefed up tunes from Bon Iver's first, stark, acoustic record For Emma, Forever Ago, with mostly tasteful and successful results.
(Star Theater, 13 NW 6th) Since the beautifully timid bedroom assembly of 2003's Catalpa, Jolie Holland has proven herself an exceptional, genre-spanning songwriter with a unique voice, her words often scrawled and fluttering across the tracks in a hard drawl. Holland's latest release, Pint of Blood, provides a measurable assessment of her departure from those creakier low-fidelity days, yet it feels more well worn and earthbound than 2008's tautly produced alt-country foray, The Living and the Dead. The album is littered with candid moments, like in the sweeping classic rock number "Gold and Yellow," where Holland nearly trails off altogether as she closes out the tune, singing, "I come unraveled/you come unfastened/and we take hold." Pint of Blood even features a reimagined, improvisational jazz rendition of "The Littlest Birds" (now titled "Little Birds"), a particularly precious song from Catalpa. If nothing else, it's good to see Holland reemerging in familiar territory. RAQUEL NASSER
TWIN SHADOW, DIAMOND RINGS
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) The music of Twin Shadow (George Lewis Jr.) resembles Junior Boys' sensitive-guy bedroomtronica, which has roots in Depeche Mode, New Order, and Soft Cell's most introspective material. He's also something of a romantic crooner in the vein of Bryan Ferry and Morrissey, but without those icons' more sweeping dramatic range. With Twin Shadow's 2010 album Forget (produced by Grizzly Bear's Chris Taylor), we're in the familiar territory of semi-danceable, '80s synth-pop revivalism, but done with heartfelt sincerity instead of neon-Ray-Ban'd irony. Lewis is obviously a scrupulous songwriter, hyper aware of the sonic signifiers that trigger nostalgic pangs in synthesizer fetishists with a weakness for fey-male-centric tunesmithery and understatedly glittery production techniques. DAVE SEGAL
Hold on, let me take out my Daytrotter Mad Libs template...
Recently __________ (Portland band) stopped by Daytrotter's studio in Rock Island, IL to record this __________ (a number) song session that sounds ___________ (any adjective, but you'll probably just use the word "awesome").
Typhoon - "Common Sentiment" (live at Daytrotter)
Also, the band is about to embark on new slate of tour dates (with Youth and Wild Ones supporting) and have made a wet T-shirt party video (after the jump) to celebrate this fact. 13 band members and 27 nipples? Someone's not telling me something here.
Has it been seven years already? It seemed like it was just yesterday that the Doug Fir Lounge swung up their wooden doors and permanently changed the face of East Burnside for good. Back then, pre-Doug Fir, that stretch only had a pair of businesses (Oregon Artificial Limb Company and Union Jacks), Quality Bar was still not open, and the streets were paved with used syringes. My, how things have changed.
To celebrate their seventh year, the Doug Furries are hosting a week of big shows, marking down food and drink specials, and giving away some goodies in the process. Included in this is a VIP pass for two that gets you and a friend into every 2012 show with $700 to spend on booze or chow. Or, if you don't win that, perhaps you can take home the runner-up prize which is tickets to any show in 2012 plus $700 to make you fat/drunk (and happy). Anyone who purchases a ticket to the shows listed below is eligible to win:
October 3: Neon Indian
October 4: Lisa Hannigan
October 5: Reva Devito
October 6: Megafaun
October 7: Dum Dum Girls/Crocodiles
October 8: Mona
October 9: Wild Beats/EMA
BRAIDS, PEPPER RABBIT, PAINTED PALMS
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Montreal pop zealots Braids (lose the "S" and they become the best Midwest emo band of the '90s) headline this stellar lineup of three diverse yet oddly similar acts that are unafraid to let their artistic vision bleed into their music. On Native Speaker, Braids open up a rabbit hole of swirling melodic synth numbers that could liquify a glacier with the wondrously warm vocal delivery of frontwoman Raphaelle Standell-Preston. Pepper Rabbit's adventurous sound is rooted firmly in folk music, sounding like the Shins might have had they not given up a few years back (sorry, but you know it's true). With invigorating, high-energy arrangements, Painted Palms just might be the best of the bunch—which is saying a lot—as their debut EP, Canopy, channels all the good of Passion Pit (addictive candy-coated electro pop) and none of the bad (that damn helium voice). With a lineup this impressive, it'll be worth your while to come early and stay late. EZRA ACE CARAEFF
CESCHI, RICKOLUS, KAIGEN, HIVES INQUIRY SQUAD
(Rotture, 315 SE 3rd) Fake Four Inc., the label helmed by Ceschi Ramos with his brother David, is a genre-bending collective with a lineage that extends from, and expands beyond, the Anticon school of thought. With a hiphop ethos as the jump-off, Fake Four Inc. releases have varied from the folk-electronic Cars & Trains to the morose goth-hop of Dark Time Sunshine. In his current musical incarnation, Ramos plays solo with an acoustic guitar and laptop, emceeing as Ceschi with a commanding delivery that sounds like Everlast on mushrooms jamming with Little Wings. RickoLus is a solo endeavor that eludes genre categorization, although the work of one Richard J. Colado is the most melodic option of the night, and his releases come courtesy of local label Circle into Square. Japanese emcee Kaigen is a kinetic performer with top-tier global connections, while Southeast Portland's own Hives Inquiry Squad bring it all back home again. RYAN FEIGH
BON IVER, OTHER LIVES
(Edgefield, 2126 SW Halsey, Troutdale, OR) All hyperbole aside, Justin Vernon of Bon Iver is a once-in-a-lifetime singer. Vernon's golden voice and tender songs have resonated with the masses in a way that few artists will ever experience. Tonight's show is way sold out, but you can always sit in the parking lot and bask in the glorious sounds. EZRA ACE CARAEFF
RADIATION CITY, BLOUSE, AAN
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Read our article on Radiation City.
Some people really hate this song. For these folks, listening to Bon Iver's "Beth/Rest" (the final track on this year's self-titled LP) is a visceral roller coaster ride through a valley of repressed memories—it prompts negative associations with certain songs, pop culture minutiae, and faint semi-dark impressions of times spent alone in high school with nothing good to listen to on the car radio. The first thing they hear is that compressed Korg M1 keyboard sound that reminds them of something like this. The song then settles into a mid-tempo ballad groove which takes them back here. And soon after—and this is the last straw—the smooth, warm '90s sitcom-sounding saxophone tucks itself right beneath Justin Vernon's echoed tenor and there's only this on their mind. It's everything that hasn't been cool for a long time—or ever.
All Stone Roses and Go-Betweens references aside, this new track from New Jersey dream-poppers Real Estate is a straight up lovely tune of plushy guitars and drip-droppy constitution; how appropriate for it to drop on this first day of autumn. If you haven't been sold on the band already (I wasn't), it's probably time to reconsider.
"Green Aisles" is taken from Real Estate's forthcoming LP, Days, which is slated to arrive October 18th on Domino. You can also look forward to the band stopping through town on November 6th at the Doug Fir.
Real Estate - "Green Aisles"
JAMES BLAKE, TEENGIRL FANTASY
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) James Blake might be quiet in sound, but his deeply personal and evolved take on restrained dubstep packs a mighty wallop. The Londoner's wounded vocoder-assisted croon draws comparisons to his pal Justin Vernon (Bon Iver, duh), and his deeply focused live show will send your heart aflutter. EZRA ACE CARAEFF
GRAND REOPENING: SONS OF HUNS, THE LORDY LORDS, ADVISORY, THE NO TOMORROW BOYS
(Club 21, 2035 NE Glisan) Beloved local dive bar Club 21 just got a facelift, courtesy of new owners (who also own Gold Dust Meridian). An expanded patio is chief among the Club's new assets, but don't worry—the iconic "Steaks" sign isn't going anywhere. Celebrate the bar's reopening tonight alongside bar regulars and a handful of local bands. ALISON HALLETT
Cinderella came here to kick ass and eat chili dogs, and looks like they are all out of chili... oh wait, no, there seems to be enough chili dogs to go around.
The hair metal band that single-handedly kept Aqua Net in business during the 1980s, Cinderella weren't too cool to turn down some commercial work on the side—that's what we in the industry call "chili money," you never walk away from that—including this incredible advertisement for Pat's Chilli Dogs. If you look close enough you'll notice that their drummer is playing air drums instead of using an actual kit, or a snare drum packed full of delicious chili.
I think someone needs to recreate this ad for Zach's Shack.
End Hits: Pat's Dogs! The cook is never tired!
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