WOODEN INDIAN BURIAL GROUND, STILL CAVES, AU DUNES
(Barlow Tavern, 6008 N Greeley) Hot holy jeezums, Wooden Indian Burial Ground's new, self-titled record is it. The Portland four-piece hammers out jumping-bean psychedelic garage boogie that's jam-packed with yips, rips, trips, flips, and more unnecessary feedback than an employee evaluation card. Wooden Indian Burial Ground doesn't have a single dull moment on it, whether it be from the full-throttle shredfest of opener "Helicopter," the damaged military three-step of "Waltz for Eldritch," the blunted caravan roll of "Bryant St. Death Cult," or the wah-wah-strewn horror-movie theme of album closer "A Long Way from Cerrillos." With this record, Wooden Indian Burial Ground have squealed and moaned their way to the upper echelon of West Coast psych—a crowded and competitive field, to say the least. To raise money for a cross-country trip to CMJ, they're playing a record release show at Barlow Tavern, the revamped new spot (formerly the Corner Spot Tavern) brought to you by the good folks from Vendetta. NED LANNAMANN
GRIZZLY BEAR, LOWER DENS
(Keller Auditorium, 222 SW Clay) Brooklyn quartet Grizzly Bear have maintained their long-held status as indie-rock royalty the old-fashioned way—by releasing beautifully composed, arranged, and produced albums that reward repeat listens. Shields, their latest, takes a step back from the brighter, upbeat sound on 2009's celebrated Veckatimest, but offers the same kind of complex textures and song structures for listeners to get lost in. The band isn't all mixing/mastering tricks, and they have the instrumental and vocal chops to make their stuff sound even better live. The spacious Keller Auditorium offers an ideal setting to sit back and let the new album material, and probably some old favorites, soak in. MIKE RAMOS
ELVIS TURNS 50
(Star Theater, 13 NW 6th) Fuck Graceland! We've got Downtown Elvis, whose 50th birthday party is free tonight. The old-school Portland weirdo spent 10 of his years playing a tiny guitar in a black pantsuit at Saturday Market, in between operating a spanking booth and starring in a wrestling league. SARAH MIRK
THE PSYCHEDELIC FURS, THE CHEVIN
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) The first two Psychedelic Furs albums—1980's The Psychedelic Furs and 1981's Talk Talk Talk—stand as towering monuments of British post-punk. This was rock shot through with world-weary cynicism, a haggard descendent of glam that had disgustedly thrown off the glitter, platform boots, and feather boas, accruing deep pathos in the process. The Furs' first LP rivals anything done by Echo and the Bunnymen or Joy Division for melodic grandeur and lyrical gravitas, but 1982's Forever Now marked a slow, increasingly sugary decline. Still, those earlier songs should form the nucleus of a strong set. And Richard Butler's cancerous croon remains one of rock's most distinctive sounds. DAVE SEGAL
LAETITIA SADIER, ORCA TEAM
(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) "There Is a Price to Pay for Freedom (And It Isn't Security)," from Laetitia Sadier's second solo outing Silencio, is a mouthful of a song that brings futuristic lounge to good ol' politically divided 2012. While the former Stereolab frontwoman does get in a few political barbs here and there, she's also preoccupied with making pop music that is lush and dramatic. Stereolab did it for more than a decade, offering twee-minded folks a little lyrical sustenance so they didn't have to resort to Rage Against the Machine or Bad Religion. And while things don't always look so bright in her songs, Sadier will at least keep Stereolab hangers-on happy for the time being. MARK LORE
SIX ORGANS OF ADMITTANCE, LOW HUMS, COLOSSAL YES
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Despite Ben Chasny's mercurial nerdiness, I've always liked Six Organs of Admittance. Emotionally, I ascribe this to the fact that the band came into existence at the same time I became an adult, and it's comforting to hear that somebody else also experiences frequent fluctuations in mood and identity. In reality though, SOOA may have faded from my consciousness were it not for Chasny's affiliation with Comets on Fire, the face-melting psychedelic band whose depressingly long hiatus effectively ended with this year's Ascent. In name, it's an SOOA album, but the huge sound, drawn-out solos, and sonic stoniness fill the aural gap where a long-awaited Comets on Fire album should be, and each band's lineup is coterminous with the other. Ascent also marks a meaningful—and by now expected—departure from SOOA's 2011 release, Asleep on the Floodplain, a gorgeously sparse album in which Chasny played every last instrument himself. REBECCA WILSON
BULLETS OR BALLOONS, OUTER SPACE HEATERS, IN PUBLIC VIEW
(Tonic Lounge, 3100 NE Sandy) Olympia trio Bullets or Balloons reside in the sort of free-for-all punk-rock mish-mash first explored by the Minutemen, and later fIREHOSE—all three bands basking in temporal time-signature noodling and noose-tight riffs. Not surprisingly, the band recently opened for Mike Watt and his Missingmen in Spokane. But while the resemblance between the two bands is an easy distinction, Bullets or Balloons is also clearly a conglomeration of varying influences. Their self-titled debut carries bold musical choices, like the instrumental, bass-led track "Number 2," which is followed by the speak-sung political prog-punk tune "GNR," barked in homage to readymade tuneless vocalists like Spencer Moody. With this kind of open-book experimentalism, there are some downright strange avenues explored, too ("Relapsecore"), but the vast majority of the material coming from the trio so far is extremely provocative, and a promising bastion for Northwest punk. RYAN J. PRADO
Tip for End Hits?
Email them here.
Get the best of the Mercury each week in your inbox!