Mercury Staffers are Sent on the Worst Assignments of their Lives... by YOU
MIKEY GOING DOWN: BRAINSTORM, INTERIORS
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Local comedian Mikey Kampmann is upping the ante in the great American tradition of boring friends with vacation photos. Fortunately, this slideshow will be more exciting than most: The trip was to Antarctica, and the pictures will be accompanied by a few of Portland's more experimental bands. Inhabiting the same world of Africa-tinged experimental pop as the Dodos and Dirty Projectors, Brainstorm's second album, Heat Waves, is due out on October 2 on Tender Loving Empire. It seems sure to be a significant departure from their February EP, The Mdou Moctar Covers, in which they interpret the eponymous Nigerian musician, complete with his apparent fondness for Auto-Tune. This show also marks the release of the ever-mysterious Interiors' new EP, Deep Cave. The brainchild of Thomas Thorson, Interiors creates shimmering dream/nightmare scapes in the vein of Brian Eno. In fact, Deep Cave sounds as if it were composed as an idealized soundtrack for a slideshow of Antarctica. RW Also read our interview with Mikey Kampmann.
ON THE STAIRS, THE BLACK APPLES
(Rontoms, 600 E Burnside) Those prone to genre-lizing wouldn't be incorrect to classify Nate Clark's work as Americana. It's a lazy assessment, sure, but Clark's thoughtful craftsmanship of road-jam psych, organ-heavy rock, and fuzzy guitar explosions is as American as fireworks on a barge in summer. On his third release as On the Stairs, Let My Body Range, Clark fires on all cylinders, commanding immediate attention on LP opener "Great White Heart," a monster of a primer for the rollicking rock found throughout, leading into the Willie Nelson-ish slow-burner "Tennessee." Utilizing the sonic benefits provided by warm reeds, slick guitar leads, and the kind of anthemic alt-country that's as wise as it is carefree, Let My Body Range is a testament to the finer aspects of fun-lovin' rock 'n' roll, and could be a candidate for local album of the year. RYAN J. PRADO
p>SOMETIMES A GREAT NOTION: PEAKING LIGHTS, THE EMERGENCY, PULSE EMITTER, JEFFREY JERUSALEM, STRANGLED DARLINGS & MORE
(Disjecta, 8371 N Interstate) Peaking Lights gently bobbed into consciousness with the release of 2011's psychedelic-dub day-brightener, 936, for Not Not Fun Records. On their Facebook page, members Aaron Coyes and Indra Dunis claim to live in "epic vibeland," and such whimsical jocularity glimmers in their sound. Peaking Lights flirt with cutesy/sunshiny sweetness—particularly regarding Dunis' blithe intonations and chants—but their delayed, chiming guitars, rubbery bass lines, and loping, hydroponic rhythms ultimately keep the high-fructose corn syrup at bay. The new Lucifer full-length tilts into deeper, more blissful kosmische territory and includes a beautiful, gamelan-like Steve Reich homage in "Moonrise." It's one of the feel-great releases of 2012. DAVE SEGAL Also see My, What a Busy Week!
(Langano Lounge, 1435 SE Hawthorne) Through sheer simplicity, Greg Olin channels a keen sense of what it is to live and thrive humbly. His songs sound beautifully spontaneous, like he hit record and told his band to grow naturally, slowly, alongside his lead. Graves, the dark but monumental title of his songwriting project, digs itself a spot somewhere between Lou Reed and the whole P.W. Elverum & Sun crew by remaining freshly languid but confidently in tune with itself. The potential Olin's music has to soundtrack an easy life keeps it digestible, making Langano Lounge a near-perfect venue to catch his live performance—washed over by the Sunday at hand, getting ready for the week ahead, and craving art that helps keep your head calm. JONATHAN MAGDALENO
HARRY AND THE POTTERS, POTTER PUPPET PALS, HANK GREEN
(Backspace, 115 NW 5th) Harry and the Potters occupy a peculiar place in this world: On the one hand, they're the premier "wizard rock" band (not to mention the genre's pioneers), but the band's principal members, brothers Joe and Paul DeGeorge (who both refer to themselves as Harry Potter during live performances) are also incredibly adroit tunesmiths, esoteric subject matter notwithstanding. So in the end, it doesn't really matter how familiar you are with the stories: songs like "Wizard Chess" and "Save Ginny Weasley from Dean Thomas" are as catchy as anything that, say, They Might Be Giants have written, and you're bound to agree if you have even the slightest appreciation for pop music. And I defy you not to have goddamn fun at their live show. Even I do—loads of it—and I'm generally an ol' Scrooge (or should I say Snape?). MORGAN TROPER
WOLF HOTEL, IAME, GEPETTO,GOOD COP/BAD COP, DJ SPARK
(Mt. Tabor Theater, 4811 SE Hawthorne) Wolf Hotel is a Seattle hiphop duo featuring emcee Barfly spitting dystopian bars and singing haunted hooks over producer Graves' subterranean soundscapes. Tonight marks the release of their latest EP, Good Bye, which is accompanied by a signed and numbered run of 250 crafted hardback books penned, illustrated, and hand-bound by Barfly himself. Eschewing the standard model of internet and digital distribution, the EP will only be available at shows as a physical product from the creators. Some of Portland's most experimental independent acts fill out the bill, including Sandpeople/Oldominion member IAMe and Gepetto of the buck-wild collective Big Bang. Good Cop/Bad Cop, the local duo of Mighty Misc and Buck Turtle, get the party started with feel-good party raps that are expertly infused with humor without ever venturing into the realm of ridiculousness. RYAN FEIGH
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