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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Tonight in Music: Emily Wells, Lick, David Dondero & More

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Thu, Jan 12, 2012 at 2:09 PM


EMILY WELLS, TIMMY STRAW

(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) When considering New York-based Emily Wells, one cannot help but observe, in awe, the amount of sounds that can emit from one woman. Beginning as a classically trained violinist, Wells merges perfectly the well-groomed nuances of symphonic grandeur with the undeniably carnal, primal pulse of heavy hiphop beats, in cooperation with whatever other devices might exist to help her achieve looped sonic bliss. Wells' relatively quiet internet presence depicts her as blurry and enigmatic. Not to mention the scant recordings; she has only three official albums to date, with the curiously dulcet Dirty EP last appearing in 2009 (and containing the best cover of Biggie's "Juicy"... well, ever). However, she undoubtedly made it out here with something to show, and supposedly she has a renewed interest in live drumming, which should make for a particularly enlivened performance. RAQUEL NASSER

The Earth Burns, A Black Detroit by LICK

LICK, DEFENERATE, SLIPPERY SEATS

(Plan B, 1305 SE 8th) The new 12-inch release from local noise act Lick takes place on a dense, charred landscape of digital squall and institution-sized thrum. The two lengthy, side-long pieces—"The Earth Burns, a Black Detroit" and "Dripping Mass Fire Whispss"—stitch their numerous, unsettling themes into massive suites of discord, lurching from wet, dripping caverns to blown-out fuzz. Some passages are coiled up in metallic feedback while others are bathed in bright synths; the percussion clatters arrhythmically, offering no sense of anchor. With their faces concealed, Lick improvises their live sets on the spot, so while you'll want to pick up a copy of the self-titled 12-inch, you'll probably be hearing a completely different shade of cacophony emitting from the stage. NED LANNAMANN


DAVID DONDERO, ST. EVEN, VIKESH KAPOOR

(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) David Dondero is nothing if not a musical fixture. The man has been playing and touring nonstop since 1990, beginning with Clemson, South Carolina-based punk band Sunbrain, and moving out on his own in 1998. And while Dondero is a prolific and renowned songwriter, last year's A Pre-Existing Condition is mostly covers—the album's credits read like a list of country legends, and there is a lithe quality to the recording, which is glaringly uncharacteristic of Dondero's other work. Charley Pride's "(Is Anyone Going to) San Antone?" lopes gently, while Little Feat's "Willin'" opens the record appropriately, as Dondero sings, "I've been kicked by the wind/Robbed by the snow/Drunk and dirty/Don't you know/But I'm still willin'." By the time the dobro makes its sliding entrance, it's clear that this album exists to rejuvenate an artist stretched thin across the relentless highways, and thank god for that. RN

Rats In Walls by arcticflowerspdx

ARCTIC FLOWERS, MUNDO MUERTO, AUTISTIC YOUTH, DJ SKELL

(The Know, 2026 NE Alberta) Hmm... frenetic punk rock with a female vocalist that hits Geddy Lee registers? Could work. Actually, it does work. Portland's Arctic Flowers are a powerhouse, a band I could imagine laying waste to a live audience. And for a group that has such a (cold, black) punk-rawk heart, there are an awful lot of moving parts—spiky, angular guitars, hairpin-turn dynamics, spooky vocal melodies—and their latest LP Reveries manages to bottle up all that fury. Arctic Flowers are their own deal, doing what all good bands do: take their influences and make their own rock 'n' roll mess. Tonight they headline the Know's seven-year anniversary bash. MARK LORE


SQUID ATTACK!, MYTHOLOGIES, LATHER RINSE REPEAT, IBID

(Backspace, 115 NW 5th) Squid Attack! is the loveable father-son band from Portland, and tonight Issac and Sid Scott return for their first local show since the younger Scott (Issac) left town for Evergreen State College. While up in Olympia, Issac started a solo project, and he'll be preceding the Squid Attack! set with one from his new act Mythologies, which also releases its debut EP, Mud Bay, at tonight's show. While the self-appointed genre descriptor of "ambient punk/noise pop" is partially accurate, I'd also add in the terms "electric folk" and "slow-burning guitar overtures." With Mud Bay, Issac has crafted a subtle but involving work of plugged-in meditations, using layers of amplified stringwork to evoke both dread and desire. To round out the Mythologies live lineup, Issac will be joined by Squid Attack! bassist Ben West, and drummer Alan Bishop. NL

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