This Week in the Mercury


Thursday, July 5, 2012

Tonight in Music: Sundown at Ecotrust, Lower Dens, A Happy Death & More

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Thu, Jul 5, 2012 at 3:39 PM


SUNDOWN AT ECOTRUST: TYPHOON, AU
(Ecotrust, 721 NW 9th) With a theme like "Protecting Water" it is no wonder Typhoon is kicking off the Sundown at Ecotrust concert series. Throughout the month Ecotrust will be honoring parts of the ecosystem with local food and entertainment. This is one wave you'll definitely want to catch. ZIBBY PILLOTE


LOWER DENS, NO JOY, ALAN RESNICK
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Baltimore five-piece Lower Dens pull at lo-fi heartstrings and bathe the listener in a seductive form of post-punk gloom that gives way to a sweet kind of longing. Embark on a slow train to hazy bliss as frontwoman Jana Hunter lulls you with her soft and thoughtful voice, backed by psychedelic undertones and melodies that work together in spacious harmony. A form of easy listening that pulls one into a kaleidoscope of future-retro ambiance has seen their albums maturing methodically from stripped-down experimentalism to a more complex and driving potency. It seems to make sense on their latest, Nootropics—an album whose songs are based largely on metaphorical drugs that allow for superhuman powers. CHRISTINA BROUSSARD


A HAPPY DEATH, BLACK PUSSY, THE HUGS
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Last week, I previewed Mbrascatu, an Americana-Italian band whose music bears no resemblance to A Happy Death—except for Mathieu Lewis-Rolland, the evidently hardworking drummer in both bands. Though he's not A Happy Death's original drummer, the one you hear on their amazing, bizarre self-titled EP. According to the publicity blurb, that guy died from a rattlesnake bite while the band were moving west from Long Island. Though the tragedy predates the EP, it could easily have inspired it—free-wheeling sonic adventurousness run through with a strange darkness. Take "Mr. Rutter," a '60s style doo-wop number about a transgendered man trapped in his life as a factory worker. Everything moves along so sweetly, dripping with reverb, until it devolves into an anguished, spiky jangle. Ryan Lella keeps his androgynous bleat just detached enough to serve as each song's storyteller, expertly narrating threads of retro soul and British psychedelia. REBECCA WILSON


LUCK-ONE, CLOUDY OCTOBER, CORDUROY THE WONDERBOY, THE RESISTANCE, STEWART VILLAIN
(Gallery 500, 420 SW Washington) The Resistance is a hiphop trio that was born from a track of the same name on North Portland emcee Mic Capes' upcoming release Rise and Grind. The song, which features local rappers Rasheed Jamal and Glenn Waco, was leaked to the internet last February and created enough buzz to warrant an ongoing collaboration. Also on the bill for this First Thursday gallery show, Cloudy October is a wildly inventive lyricist who pushes the boundaries of what it means to be a hiphop artist via his off-kilter flow, surreal subject matter, and adventurous production. And Luck-One is an absolute beast; point blank, I honestly haven't witnessed anyone who can rock a crowd harder than he can. While all three acts vary stylistically, I would recommend each and every one of them to anyone looking for an entry into high-quality Portland hiphop. All told, it's one of the strongest lineups I've seen in a while. RYAN FEIGH


DARK ARTS FESTIVAL 2012: INTERIORS, QUARRY, JATUN, GRAPEFRUIT, APARTMENT FOX, MAGIC FADES, EXTRALONE, PHOTON
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Dark Arts 2012 isn't super great at explaining itself, but from what I can gather, it has ambitious goals. Something along the lines of transforming culture via emerging artistic technologies. And synergizing! But more importantly, the festival is curated by Thomas Thorson, the man behind Interiors—that dreamy collective that has created such elegant, mysterious electronic compositions on a handful of albums and EPs. Since Portland currently has sine waves coming out of its ears, Thorson had his work cut out for him in selecting a scant eight of the eight million local electronic acts to showcase. There is a pleasingly academic diversity among the lineup, including my personal favorite, Grapefruit, the current alias of Charlie Salas Humara. Analog and minimalist, Grapefruit's recent self-titled cassette and Time Drips EP are both meditative and even pretty, while sounding like Germany in 1975. RW

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