THE GREATEST RAP SHOW EVER: COOL NUTZ, DJ FATBOY, VURSATYL, TxE, SERGE SEVERE, TRIPLE SB, DJ WICKED, BEEJAN
(Ash Street Saloon, 225 SW Ash) Local favorite Cool Nutz is calling his upcoming show, timed to mark the release of his new album The Cook Up, "The Greatest Rap Show Ever"—which, considering it'll include performances from the likes of Vursatyl of the Lifesavas... well, who are we to argue with that? ERIK HENRIKSEN
TY SEGALL, MIKAL CRONIN, CYCLOTRON, STILL CAVES
(East End, 203 SE Grand) It's already December, but I think I might have only now just heard one of my favorite songs of the entire year. It's "You Gotta Have Someone," one of the sides on the upcoming Goner Records single from Mikal Cronin, which is due out later this month. Cronin's a relatively fresh face in San Francisco's saturated garage-rock scene, but he's the high-school pal of Ty Segall and has released a split record with him as well. Segall's playing in Cronin's band this time around (as well as headlining, with a special solo set), and in addition to the absolutely fantastic "You Gotta Have Someone," they'll likely be playing tunes from Cronin's just-as-fantastic self-titled full-length, which came out earlier this year on Chicago's Trouble in Mind label. Expect Cronin to dominate the garage-pop scene in 2012—and likely the years to come as well. The guy's tunes are absolutely phenomenal: pop perfection rolled in candy fuzz. NED LANNAMANN Also see My, What a Busy Week!.
LAUREL BRAUNS, SAM COOPER, ANNA FRITZ
(Alberta Street Public House, 1036 NE Alberta) Singer/songwriter Laurel Brauns is best known, along with cellist Amy Mitchell, as part of the band Sweet Harlots, but now Brauns has moved back to Portland from Bend brandishing a beauteous solo record called House of Snow. Recorded in a small nursery school here in town, Snow features an enviable selection of guest musicians, including the Golden Bears' Seth Lorinczi, the Decemberists' Jenny Conlee, and plenty others. With equal hints of dusky bluegrass and clarion Celtic folk, Brauns has written a batch of tunes that are brimming with earthy pulchritude, highlighted by her remarkable vocals and subtle but involving production from Portland Cello Project's Douglas Jenkins. Remarkable songs like the gamboling "Maps" and the stirring, album-opening title track prove that Brauns has made a record destined to become an evergreen. NL
DANAVA, RABBITS, LESBIAN, DIESTO
(Plan B, 1305 SE 8th) The Pacific Northwest's answer to the Big Four? While not nearly as metallic (or old) as those '80s thrash monsters, the four bands on the bill tonight are just as abrasive, and far more interesting. Portland's Danava are hot off the release of their latest, Hemisphere of Shadows, a riff-heavy bastard that gets even more unruly at the four-piece's voluminous live shows. Rabbits continue to crush skulls (or at least rattle the skin off of skulls). Leading the self-proclaimed New Wave of American Psychedelic Metal, Seattle's Lesbian will make you feel like you've been punched in the stones while being stoned. And locals Diesto throw in lap steel on their recordings. Tonight = heavy rock at its finest. MARK LORE
JACOB ARNOLD, MIKAH SYKES
(Jade Lounge, 2342 SE Ankeny) Mikah Sykes and Jacob Arnold came of age musically in West Eugene, which in the '90s was an especially fervent hotbed of old hippies, peace-loving anarchists, and fringe drifters. Theirs, like so much of Oregon's homegrown art, pays homage to its land and the peaceful ways of its people. Arnold has spent the last near-decade with Cabinessence, a twangy outfit devoted to pristine composition, harmony, and exquisite instrumentation. Sykes, meanwhile, has been bouncing around avant-folk circles. After some time in respite, Sykes returns with a new album, Love Consequences and Serenity, recorded across the Northwest, from K Records' Dub Narcotic Studio in Olympia to sessions in Portland with the Decemberists' John Moen and others. A step away from his more challenging, free-jazz muses, Sykes' latest is sunny and open armed. It's one I've been waiting for from him for some time. ANDREW R TONRY
COMPANY, OLD JUNIOR, YOU
(The Alleyway, 2415 NE Alberta) Die on This Island—the six-song, 12-inch record from Portland rockers Company that came out earlier this year on Bulkhead Records—isn't your garden-variety, brash, bratty punk. Rather, Company helms a thick, sludgy sound with guitars that sound like jet airliners, and vocals that sound like barely audible dudes shouting over jet airliners. With tempos that go all the way up to "breakneck," Company also isn't afraid to dial things down to "slightly slower than breakneck," as on the deliberately paced, anthemic "Fire Escape," one of the highlights of the marvelous Die on This Island. They're kicking off a West Coast tour next week, so bid the local quartet adieu and make sure we send 'em off with wicked hangovers. Also on the bill is Old Junior, the current model of Old Growth, which earned a reputation as reliably one of the best, loudest, guitar-iest bands in town. The good news is that Old Junior is just as loud and just as good, as evidenced on their outstanding new debut EP. NL
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