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Saturday, June 16, 2012

Tonight in Music: Ghost Animal, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Larry Yes and the Tangled Mess and more!

Posted by Lex Chase on Sat, Jun 16, 2012 at 11:57 AM


GHOST ANIMAL, GRAVE BABIES, NIGHTMARE FORTRESS, ASSS

(East End, 203 SE Grand) Last year, Ghost Animal was featured in the Pacific Northwest edition of an online video series sponsored by JanSport (of backpack fame) called Practice Space, which showcases hip bands in their alleged elements. Ghost Animal's segment was filmed (by Lance Bangs!) in their studio at Reed College, with Marisa Rowland and Michael Avishay discussing the literary and sonic influences of their fledgling efforts. They strike me as an interesting choice to represent the PNW, not yet having released an album, but they make a strong impression with an aesthetic swerve and a setlist that includes ballsy covers of New Order and Black Tambourine. Their promising start has evolved into an intriguing project, marked by Avishay's articulate guitar reverberations, Rowland's unflinching percussion, and an eerie, twin-pronged vocal approach heard on their latest track, "Dreaming of Love and Death Part I," a frenetic, pulsing exultation of a song. MARANDA BISH


UNKNOWN MORTAL ORCHESTRA, RELIGIOUS GIRLS, HUSTLE AND DRONE

(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) A groovy bass line and falsetto have become the Ray-Ban Wayfarers of stylish bands, an accoutrement slapped on for the sole purpose of looking cool. Which is too bad, because when used properly—with a bizarre sense of experimentation, for example—nothing sounds better than funk. It's already been a year since Unknown Mortal Orchestra's first album was released, and despite the self-deprecating modifier, Ruban Nielson of Portland (formerly of New Zealand) has become very much known for his weird, lo-fi funk tunes with beats that stand out in front. UMO is best known for catchy singles like "Ffunny Ffriends," but I like them most at their weirdest, when they sound like nothing so much as the recently, tragically disbanded Ween. Like Dean and Gene, Nielson knows how to push the boundaries of the unexpected and experimental, while never sacrificing enjoyability. REBECCA WILSON

LARRY YES AND THE TANGLED MESS, TOUSSAINT PERRAULT, MANGAS

(Kenton Club, 2025 N Kilpatrick) I'm of the mindset that where you've been isn't as important as where you're headed, but it's important to mention the path that Larry Yes has traveled en route to tonight's album release. As a youth in '90s Portland, Yes cut his teeth at the X-Ray Cafe, our town's original all-ages incubator for music creation and community. From then to now, Larry Yes has not stopped making music—as a member of myriad projects and as a leader of troupes such as tonight's Tangled Mess, which celebrates the release of new album The Next Wave of Omnigalactic Peace Warriors. Yes' distinctive and endearing drawl leads a veritable orchestra of instruments and hearty voices in playful, pleasing ruminations on love and the nature of being, all of which resonate soundly with the joy of putting fingers to strings, mouths to microphones, and making music in order to most fully live in your time and place, even as it ceaselessly evolves. As Yes sings: "If there's a time, it's now, so take it"—oddly enough, echoing the sentiments of his namesake, UK proggers Yes, and their own "Time and Word." MARANDA BISH


QUIET MUSIC FESTIVAL: LICHENS, VETIVER, SCOUT NIBLETT, URAL THOMAS, KEVIN THOMSON, STRAWBERRY SMOG

(Disjecta, 8371 N Interstate) Keep your voice down: It's the return of the Quiet Music Festival, which softly landed in Disjecta last year and now makes a hushed return for its second installment. A bevy of excellent acts—some who ordinarily keep things on the muted end of the audio spectrum, and some who certainly don't—have all agreed to turn down the volume knob for two full nights. The acts that festival curator Chris Johanson has assembled are impressive in any capacity, including several of Portland's finest (Grouper and Sam Coomes on Friday; Scout Niblett and Ural Thomas on Saturday) plus others from down the coast (Sonny Smith, Vetiver, others). It'll be a remarkable two days that won't leave your ears ringing. NED LANNAMANN

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