THE SEA AND CAKE, LIA ICES, 1939 ENSEMBLE
JACKSTRAW, MARTHA SCANLAN
(Alberta Rose Theatre, 3000 NE Alberta) For nearly 15 years, Jackstraw has been a sturdy foundation of Portland's thriving roots music scene. With a sound firmly planted in stringband traditions, the group's music is still somehow resiliently pliant, shrugging off museum-piece austerity for a personable, daisy-fresh sound. Their sixth album, Sunday Never Comes, is an easygoing affair that features the band's newest member, banjoist Cory Goldman from Water Tower Bucket Boys, and songwriting contributions from the group members as well as likeminded local songwriters like W.C. Beck and Caleb Klauder. With precise, nimble picking and a continually forward-thinking outlook, Jackstraw breathe young life into old-time bluegrass via their tightly strung, hollow-bodied wooden instruments, and imprint a fresh Pacific Northwest stamp on a well-worn, pleasingly familiar sound. NED LANNAMANN
DAN DEACON, PURPLE & GREEN,
(Branx, 320 SE 2nd) Baltimore's Dan Deacon is both serious electronic-music composer and goofy subverter of concert conventions, all contained in an Über-nerdy, roly-poly persona. Typically playing on the floor surrounded by his fans and conducting loony summer-camp games for them, Deacon also creates exciting tracks that alternately tickle synth-pop funnybones and swell into serious hypno-drone jams in the vein of sonic cosmonauts like Boredoms and minimalist masters like Philip Glass. Deacon's shows are like some giddy, chaotic, alternate-world Olympics. DAVE SEGAL
TYPHOON, FOREST PARK (early show); TYPHOON, AAN (late show)
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Aw, remember when no one outside Portland knew about our amazing, adorable 13-piece band? Now folky Typhoon have gone big time and they're BFFs with David Letterman. Luckily, they're no worse for wear and are headlining three sure-to-be-great shows this weekend, playing songs off their new album and EP. SARAH MIRK
MAGNETIC HEALTH FACTORY,
THE SWINDON LOT, DJ NOAH FENCE
(Kenton Club, 2025 N Kilpatrick) The debut album from Portland band Metropolitan Farms, Our Hero Pleads His Flimsy Case, is a charming reminder of the era of classic '60s albums, when assorted Beatles and Kinks and Beach Boys and Stones would, two or three times a year, cram seven or so songs onto each side of a double-sided piece of vinyl, and then immediately get to work writing and recording the next one. Like those early classics, some songs on the 15-track Our Hero are decidedly better than others, but there's plenty of gems scattered throughout, particularly the excellent opening track "Stars All Fall." There is also a song about living in a beer commercial, and one that says, "We're all porn stars just below the clothes"—oh, how not true this statement is, Metropolitan Farms—so it's certainly not intended to be an academic throwback to classic pop or anything. Rather, Metropolitan Farms—made up of Josh Mayer (of Guided By Voices cover band Giant Bug Village), Joe Kobjerowski (the Honus Huffhines) and L.W. McGrath (Sauvie Island Moon Rocket Factory)—have fun making quick bursts of guitar pop that, more likely than not, will get lodged in your head. NL
UNDERBELLY BENDER: HOLLYWOOD TANS, HOUNDSTOOTH, AND AND AND
(The Spare Room, 4830 NE 42nd) Houndstooth is a fledgling of a group—they only recently began playing shows out and have yet to record anything more than a 7-inch—but their levels of potentiality are high. Including members of Parson Red Heads, Denver, Swim Swam Swum, and more, the band conveys a particularly fetching blend of surf and grunge rock—music that is at once laidback and teetering on a desolate edge that keeps their sound sharp and alert—and does so with the hand of a steady craftsman. The Portland natives will head out on a West Coast sojourn this month, so do yourself a favor and catch their live show (tonight as part of the ongoing Underbelly Bender) before they take off for a while. RAQUEL NASSER
PINK FLOYD'S THE WALL ACOUSTIC
(Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) When things are really going to shit—when the environment, the economy, and the state of foreign affairs seem so totally fucked that even middle-aged adults have taken to the streets in the United States of America—well, it's only natural that we should cling to music that's as familiar and comforting as a flannel blanky. The pinnacle of the track-by-track cover album was arguably achieved by the Flaming Lips' doing Dark Side of the Moon two years ago. Now, a group of Portland all-stars are unplugging The Wall, Pink Floyd's other masterpiece of personal isolation. Don't expect an aural facsimile; rumor has it that bluegrass may be involved. Regardless of the interpretation, The Wall wouldn't be the same without a squadron of angry children, which is where the School of Rock Kids Chorus comes in. REBECCA WILSON
THAT INSTRUMENT, STEPKID, THE NEW PIONEERS, MICHAEL BRUCE
(Langano Lounge, 1435 SE Hawthorne) The 10 tracks on Stepkid's new tape, Cosmonaut, are short blasts of sound, sometimes less than a minute long, composed of blunt shards of synthesizer, flurries of white noise, and cascading cymbals. It's the latest in a string of releases from Stepkid—which is the work of one Benjamin Tyler, a drummer who's sat in with a number of bands around town. With Cosmonaut, Tyler has made what sounds like the freaky soundtrack to those scenes from old science-fiction shows, in which the hero somehow gets himself drugged, and it's visualized by all kinds of primitive camera tricks—double vision! Blurriness! Jittery camera movement! Color washes! Stepkid celebrates the release of the cassette at tonight's show. NL
AL ONE, KP OF GOOD BIZ,
RISKY STAR, STEVEO
(Ted's, 231 SW Ankeny) Older heads may recognize Portland native Kevin Pederson, AKA KP, from Proz and Conz, a pre-millennium supergroup of young local hiphop talent. KP's latest endeavor, Good Biz, is a collaboration with Houston emcee Bobbie Fine that features production talent and musical guests from all over the country. Their debut record, Sound Investment, sets its sights much higher than being just a good local effort, although it makes use of some of Portland's best producers (Trox), DJs (DJ Wicked), engineers (Zebulon Dak), and emcees (Epp). Considering that Pederson was just a kid when Proz and Conz made its mark on the local music scene, it's edifying to witness his musical maturation all these years later. RYAN FEIGH
THE POLYPS, TEN SPEED MUSIC
(The Waypost, 3120 N Williams) The Polyps is the alter ego of Raf Spielman, who also runs the local cassette label Eggy Records. But Ants on the Golden Cone, the latest full-length from the Polyps, isn't currently out on tape; rather, it's available on a 12-inch platter of vinyl via Woodsist subsidiary Hello Sunshine. And it's a dizzying head-trip of a record, which can at times seem like it's one long, sustained chord, and at others be full of infinite, ever-changing detail. Drones, pulses, and watery drips create a steady mental headscape and a sense of breath, while drowsily strummed folk songs lurk in and out of the mix. There are squeals and peals, and noises that you've never heard before but sound immediately familiar. And then there are recognizable instruments that have never sounded so weirdly foreign. Spielman has harnessed a compelling, sometimes confounding sound with Ants on the Golden Cone, and what might initially seem like noise reveals itself to be intrinsically, wondrously musical. NL
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