SUNN O))), DEAD IN THE DIRT, LOINCLOTH, FONTANELLE
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) Read our article on Sunn O))).
LUCK-ONE, BIG MO, J. BURNS
(Backspace, 115 NW 5th) At this point it appears that Luck-One, despite self-generated rumors to the contrary, is just getting started—as evidenced by his latest full-length, which also features the talents of singer, musician, producer, and master hook-writer Dizz. The effort, titled Critical Mass, dropped months ago, yet the duo is only now getting around to celebrating its release in a live setting. The guests on the record—including Portland's own Mica Parris, Tope and Epp from TxE, and Seattle's SPAC3MAN—make a strong case in favor of Luck's continued evolution as a recording artist. It's never a bad thing to back out of a planned retirement after you realize you're at the top of your game. This one dude Shawn Carter even did it. As long as Luck avoids becoming the hiphop Cher, we'll all be straight. RYAN FEIGH
ARANYA, ORDER OF THE GASH, CREATURE GUTS
(Club 21, 2035 NE Glisan) With track titles like "Crom Ghund Walest I" and "Ostp Wird Laugh Fec," you might expect Aranya—the other band of Witch Mountain singer Uta Plotkin—to make metal of the doomiest, darkest, most medieval sort possible. And while there is a streak of black magic running straight through Farabequah, their new split 12-inch (Speed of Darkness helms the flipside), it's more than countered by the band's pastoral tendencies, which rein in a much tamer, but perhaps more exotic beast. "Grasp" sounds like a particularly stormy Fairport Convention (Sandy Denny era), while the Celtic-flavored "Wraith" has inter-looping guitar and fiddle lines that sprout into stoner riffing and a banshee wail from Plotkin. In between the three longer pieces are "ritual chants," a cappella pieces repeated in some arcane, possibly invented tongue. It's to Aranya's credit that their metal-tinged folk-prog never tips into the ridiculous, but remains adventurous, atmospheric, and powerful. NED LANNAMANN
LAVENDER DIAMOND, CALICO ROSE, LUZ ELENA MENDOZA
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) As airy and edgeless as a soap bubble floating in the sunset, Lavender Diamond are weird precisely because they are so sincerely and single-mindedly committed to being pretty, surely the least bizarre of any aesthetic. Apparently, pretty can't be rushed. Incorruptible Heart, their second album, came out this year, five years after their debut, Imagine Our Love. Fronted by LA-based singer Becky Stark, Lavender Diamond strikes a chord for people who are pretty sure the Carpenters represent the pinnacle of popular music. Occasional digital blips, swelling horns, and guitar effects—rarely on the same song—provide just enough texture to signify that all this softness is intentional. The album's A-list producers (OK Go's Damian Kulash Jr. and Dave Fridmann) keep things bright and just a little zany by drawing on a symphony's worth of instruments. REBECCA WILSON
PORTLAND CELLO PROJECT
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) The hometown honeys in the Portland Cello Project bring you the usual bombast of their annual holiday show—now with extra Beck! They'll be playing songs from his new sheet-music-only release Song Reader, so this might be your only chance to hear that new album out loud—unless you're really good at reading sheet music. COURTNEY FERGUSON
CLOSELY WATCHED TRAINS
(East Burn, 1800 E Burnside) Closely Watched Trains will make you want to stand up and square dance (or pretend you know how to). This folk-inspired band plays old-time country with dashes of bluegrass, creating a crisp Americana flavor. Vocalist Lanie White's tones range impressively, commanding your attention with full-bodied power. The band shares instrumental and vocal responsibilities, creating songs that have a natural and complementary flow. As a band that began as a jam session, they've come a long way in performing and perfecting their music. Closely Watched Trains will make you crave summer nights spent around a campfire, but for now, we can sip hot toddies and do a little boot-stompin'. RACHEL MILBAUER
DAVID BAZAN, STAGNANT POOLS
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) David Bazan put Pedro the Lion to rest in 2006 and said adios to God no later than 2009, when his first solo LP, Curse Your Branches, came out. It was a breakup album, to put it mildly. On last year's Strange Negotiations, Bazan resolves faithlessness and skepticism with all the grace of somebody who has come to terms with not having any answers. The best part of this is that, though Pedro is no more, Bazan's solo albums sound less like solo projects and more like a continuation of the indie band that gave Jesus a toehold on college radio in the late '90s. To that end, tonight he's revisiting Pedro's 2002 album Control in its entirety. REBECCA WILSON
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