RUSSIAN CIRCLES, AND SO I WATCH YOU FROM AFAR, CRYPTS
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Last week was the 10th anniversary of Botch breaking up. They are perhaps the most beloved and influential experimental hardcore band to ever come out of the Pacific Northwest, and unlike so many of their peers, they've chosen not to reunite. That fact would be a lot more difficult to accept if the band members didn't go on to do such fantastic things, including Russian Circles, featuring former Botch bassist (and sometime Mercury contributor) Brian Cook. I foolishly slept on Russian Circles' latest record, Empros, when it was first released last fall, and I beg you to not make the same mistake. Russian Circles' releases have always been impressive, but the band turned everything up to 11 for Empros, somehow capturing the mind-blowing dynamics of their live show in the studio. It's almost too brutal to listen to on headphones. Almost. MEGAN SELING
THE MOUNTAIN GOATS, DUSTIN WONG
(Mission Theater, 1624 NW Glisan) Few musicians inspire such profound devotion among their fans as John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats—evidenced by the fact that nearly all the upcoming West Coast dates are sold out. Not many bands peak with their 13th album, but that's just what the Mountain Goats did with last year's All Eternals Deck, which set a high bar for the upcoming, as yet unheard Transcendental Youth, due out in a matter of months. Darnielle has spent the last two decades consistently reinventing the Mountain Goats, and this version sees him performing solo. For those drawn to Darnielle's lyrics, and his willingness to stare into the face of darkness and still find hope, this will be plenty. REBECCA WILSON
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