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Friday, December 7, 2012

Tonight in Music: How to Dress Well, the Sword, Helms Alee & More

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Fri, Dec 7, 2012 at 11:26 AM


HOW TO DRESS WELL, BEACON, HUSTLE AND DRONE
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) The minimal, haunting R&B of How to Dress Well (the alter ego of Tom Krell) is delicately, icily beautiful, with glowing crystals of sound forming to make tragic love songs. New York duo Beacon opens, and they're no strangers to melancholy, offering subdued electronica that pulses and shivers. NED LANNAMANN


THE SWORD, GYPSYHAWK, AMERICAN SHARKS
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE Cesar E. Chavez) While metalheads of the old-school variety eagerly await a new Sabbath record, they'll always have the Sword to tide them over. The Austin quartet's latest, Apocryphon, leans even more heavily on the NWOBHM than their previous efforts do. It's no surprise that another little band reared on Sabbath and Diamond Head, called Metallica, has taken the Sword on tour several times. But whether these denim-clad metallers are playing head-whipping thrash or voyaging into more early-'70s psych territory—as they did on 2010's Warp Riders—the Sword do it with the same fuck-all attitude. And until they release their "Enter Sandman," the worst the Sword can do is bring sorcery and sci-fi to those willing to eat it up. This might be seen as crimes against humanity, but to others it's simply righting the wrongs. MARK LORE


HOT VICTORY, HELMS ALEE, KOWLOON WALLED CITY, THE BODY
(Slabtown, 1033 NW 16th) Call it an insult, a cop out, or just plain lazy, but Weatherhead, Helms Alee's most recent effort, could be called indie metal. (Ugh, I'm sorry. Does it feel gross reading it, too?) It's heavy but hip, multi-influenced but untraceable. The first few tracks are loud and abrasive with rumbling bass, thumping Big Business-like drums, and red-in-the-face vocals. Weatherhead then quickly turns a sensitive corner and gets all shoegaze-y and psychedelic. The band weaves gentle, two-part harmonies and spaced-out guitars that make for good night driving. However, the psychedelics don't last long before they drop back into a fuzzed brain-smasher of a riff with vein-bulging screams. The whole thing feels very stream-of-consciousness. Helms Alee seems to take inspiration from anything and everything, at any given time, and runs with it. ARIS WALES


NO KIND OF RIDER, BY SUNLIGHT
(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) No Kind of Rider have been playing together since childhood in Tulsa, writing music that's smart and charged with raw energy. Their songs switch between moody and melodic to poppy and electronic, with Sam Alexander's brooding vocals and lyrics leaving a lasting impression. Layers of guitar and synth create an electric atmosphere in their music, like witnessing a storm and the calm that comes after it. They have been playing around Portland for a couple of years now, so if you haven't already seen them, they put on a live show that you will not want to miss. RACHEL MILBAUER


BLUE SKIES FOR BLACK HEARTS
(Someday Lounge, 125 NW 5th) When I first became involved with the music scene here, I developed a remote kinship with Pat Kearns of Blue Skies for Black Hearts. I spent the majority of my free time in high school exhuming and obsessing over obscure power-pop bands like Shoes and the Records (after a while, Big Star and Badfinger simply weren't enough) and was pleasantly surprised to discover a fellow champion of classicist power-pop was contemporaneously making music in that same vein, in my hometown. Not a lot of local releases have hit me as hard as 2008's Serenades and Hand Grenades did, and last year's follow-up, Embracing the Modern Age, was pretty damn good, too. Blue Skies for Black Hearts provide precisely what their name suggests: a inspiriting, sympathetic soundtrack for those who have been ravaged by love. They're like an umbrella in the rain. MORGAN TROPER

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