This Time of Year Is About Frivolity and Fun and Being Alive and I Hate It
BIG BUSINESS, RABBITS
(White Owl Social Club, 1305 SE 8th) Seattle sludge-metal juggernaut Big Business is consistently one of the most engaging live acts around. The band's recorded catalog is nothing to sneeze at, either, with LPs Here Come the Waterworks and Mind the Drift dominating the headspace of pretty much anyone who's ever heard them. Core members Jared Warren (bass/vocals) and Coady Willis (drums) have spent the last six years or so as half of Melvins, too, embarking on lots of touring and recording, thus relegating Big Business' road regimen to a mere whimper of what it used to be—the lava-low thud of the band's compositions has become an increasingly rare sight to behold. Equally ferocious Portland outfit Rabbits are opening, making this one of the rawest and loudest events scheduled in the history of mankind. RYAN J. PRADO
DJ TAN'T, REGULAR MUSIC, HATS OFF, DJ KEVITUP
(Rotture, 315 SE 3rd) It's been six years since DJ Tan't (that's short for Tantrum) released Notes of Abrasion, and his new joint Mega Bloks is aptly named. Chunky, day-glo building blocks of sound are clicked and locked together to form thick beats—some that have the elasticity of hiphop and others the rigidity of chiptune. Tan't is the alter ego of Paul Lynch, who's filled the gap since Notes of Abrasion by working on his other projects, (((In Mono))) and Headphone Party. But Mega Bloks sees Lynch corralling a formidable list of Portland talent—including Sophie Vitells, Oh, and the ubiquitous Papi Fimbres—into an album that's playful, bright, and with surprising nuance, like a model city made out of toys that, on closer examination, reveals exhaustive and exacting detail. NED LANNAMANN
DÉTECTIVE, THE MEMORIES
(White Eagle, 836 N Russell) Détective is the latest fabulous thing to come from 21st-century renaissance man James Greer. A former member of Guided by Voices and senior editor at Spin, Greer now spends most of his time writing excellent novels. In France, naturally. Greer's collaborator in Détective is Guylaine Vivarat, a former member of the LA bands Useless Keys and Tennis System. Since Greer doesn't half-ass anything, Détective have released two EPs, Very Fallen World and Basket of Masks, and a full-length album, However Strange, in the past 10 months; a further double album is planned for March. Oh, and they opened for GBV on a national tour. However Strange is a solid, sophisticated rock album whose songwriting stands out just as much as its musicianship. Vivarat's low, effortless voice makes even the straightforward "Holy Ghost Citizens Club" sultry and mysterious, but the real magic happens when Greer sings too ("Telephonia" and "Cornflower Blues"). REBECCA WILSON
KEN STRINGFELLOW, THE MALDIVES
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) The first thing I ever wrote for the Mercury was a preview for a Posies show, when I was but a dewy-eyed, 18-year-old boy (as opposed to the 21-year-old manboy I am today). It was around the time of the Posies' 2010 LP, Blood/Candy, which was a flawless pop comeback if ever there was one. Ken Stringfellow and Jon Auer, the two constant members of the Posies, are well into their 40s, yet somehow managed to make a record as raw and vernal as their early work. Comparatively, Stringfellow's new record, Danzig in the Moonlight, is movingly disappointing. Gone is pretty much all and any semblance of power pop, the genre that the Posies peerlessly personify. Danzig is dark, subdued, and generally lacking in terms of melody, perhaps the sole constituent that in the past has ranked Stringfellow so far above his peers. I get it: He's going for the "mature solo artist" thing. But sometimes growing up is the worst thing you can do. Stringfellow also plays an in-store at Music Millennium (3158 E Burnside) earlier in the evening. MORGAN TROPER
DOWN, WARBEAST, LORD DYING
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) Down has stuck around longer than I ever anticipated. The band—featuring former Pantera vocalist Phil Anselmo and Corrosion of Conformity guitarist Pepper Keenan—was more a side project than anything. But more than two decades after first coming together, Down rages on. In that time, many lesser bands have latched onto Down's swampy metal sludge. It's no-frills stuff, given more weight by the band's stellar lineup. The band's latest, Down IV Part I: The Purple EP, is as lean and mean as their 1995 debut. And they've proven themselves road warriors, too, bringing graying metalheads and young heshers into the same pit. Down aren't in the same league as the "Big Four" of Slayer, Metallica, Anthrax, and Megadeth, but an argument can be made that they could take one of those bands out on a good night. MARK LORE
DENIM WEDDING, ANNE-MARIE SANDERSON, BLUE BLOCKERS
(LaurelThirst Public House, 2958 NE Glisan) Jennifer Faust and Brian Kunkel are Denim Wedding, a rustic Americana duo that, remarkably, stands out in a crowded field of local rustic Americana bands. Denim Wedding's new EP, Fancy Diving, is dreamlike and succulently earthy, a collection of five subdued but provocative tunes that range from upbeat Southern soul ballads ("Ankles Off") to delicate bell-and-accordion songs ("Ebb and Flow") to haunted dirges ("Traveling Circus"). While the music Faust and Kunkel sometimes make is spare, it is never stark, and it's imbued with a warmth that's impossible to fake. Fancy Diving's utmost strengths, though, are its songs, which are adventurously written—and impeccably dressed, even if Denim Wedding's name might make you suspect otherwise. NL
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