DEATH SONGS, DESERT DAYS, AH GOD
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Read our article on Death Songs.
BUILT TO SPILL, FINN RIGGINS
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Did you miss the secret, invite-only Built to Spill show at Bunk Bar this past October? Here's your consolation prize—two cozy shows at the Doug Fir with the Idaho band's new lineup. Their last album is four years old, so I'm willing to bet your parched ears are going to hear some new tunes! COURTNEY FERGUSON
MUSE, BAND OF SKULLS
(Rose Garden, 1 Center Ct) There isn't really anything wrong with Muse, just like there isn't really anything wrong with applesauce, but unless you're missing all your teeth (or have a serious case of the scoots and just can't handle the fiber), wouldn't you rather have the raw ingredients? Raw ingredients in this case being: Queen, Electric Light Orchestra, Radiohead, Genesis, Pink Floyd, Depeche Mode, any number of more inventive and interesting British bands. Still, for those who prefer their rock 'n' roll all mushed up, Muse offers some simulated videogame thrills, with a good grasp of dynamics and a truly impressive ability to find and repurpose melodic carrion. (For example, "Uprising" is a perfect blend of Gary Glitter's "Rock 'n' Roll Part 2" and Blondie's "Call Me" with a sprinkle of the "rain down" section from Radiohead's "Paranoid Android," while "Knights of Cydonia" is a shiny CGI update of Joe Meek's "Telstar.") Muse offers the jukebox-musical version of prog rock, and it all will go down easily tonight with lots of sparkly, moving lights to look at. NED LANNAMANN
BEACH PARTY, SOFT SKILLS
(Hawthorne Theater Lounge, 1507 SE CÉsar E. ChÁvez) Beach Party's batting average is one of the most consistent around. Their self-titled, five-song debut was easily one of the best local EPs of 2011, and their half of a recently released split single with Boston-based Dan Webb and the Spiders is equally excellent. Standout track "Useless" (from the EP) is at once reminiscent of Tim-era Replacements and crucial "premo" bands like the Promise Ring and Texas Is the Reason. Like those groups, Beach Party have managed to balance punk fervor with a classic pop sensibility, two genres that are all too often considered incompatible. Also playing are Soft Skills, a relatively new project featuring one half of eminent (math-)rock stars Duck. Little Brother, Duck! MORGAN TROPER
CRUSHED OUT, DESERT NOISES, SUMMER CANNIBALS
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Desert Noises come from the Utah Valley, and their sound reflects the sheer gorgeousness of that region's topography, using jangling guitars and Beach Boys harmonies to depict all those snowy mountaintops and silver clouds and green forest floors. 2011's Mountain Sea is a solid full-length, showcasing the band's musical pliancy and expert vocal work. Their new EP, I Won't See You, is even better, offering lush, frayed pop that works well on both small and grand scales. Recorded in part in Portland with Graeme Gibson, I Won't See You finds the band fully out of the shadows of Fleet Foxes and tackling territory of their own. Tonight they join New York's Crushed Out, the drums-and-guitar duo whose Want to Give album from last year was bluesy, bruised garage fun. NL
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