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Sunday, April 7, 2013

Tonight in Music: Jeff Bridges, Charts, Brainstorm & More

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Sun, Apr 7, 2013 at 9:59 AM


JEFF BRIDGES AND THE ABIDERS
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) When he's not being "The Dude" or ending child hunger, he's alt-rocking the country world. From twangy Willie Nelson-style love ballads to rocking guitar riffs, Jeff Bridges and the Abiders know how to throw down the down-home jamz. Just make sure you don't forget his White Russian. ROSE FINN


CHARTS, WEEK OF WONDERS
(Rontoms, 600 E Burnside) Charts' new EP, Vacation, polishes the Portland trio's lo-fi murk to a surprisingly sunny new sheen. Recorded live at Troubadour Studios and mixed by Jeff Bond, the four catchy, rock-solid new tracks find the band discarding their homegrown tape-hiss vibe in favor of a reverb-laden, tropical-tinged version of chiming power-pop. It's a great sounding record, from the gallop of opening track "Settling Down" to the wanderlusting "Get on the Bus," finding room for the '50s sock-hop of "Burn Out" and the slow-dance of "I Don't Mind" along the way. Charts are dipping down to California for a handful of shows, but tonight they celebrate the excellent EP's release and a kickoff to the quick tour. NED LANNAMANN


BRAINSTORM, HOUNDSTOOTH, HUSTLE AND DRONE
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Brainstorm's layered, call-and-response vocals and surf guitar riffs are a welcome pop pairing to the sunstroke weather we've been experiencing. Their newest single, "She Moves," is a burst of electric-fangled energy and bounce that instantaneously springs a crowd to life. Houndstooth plays second tonight, unleashing enchanting, cooing vocals and sweetly understated guitar tones. Hustle and Drone, fresh off their European tour, kick off the evening with serenades of free-flowing electronic-pop-dance tracks. If you've never seen these prominent PDX acts before, this is an excellent opportunity to catch them on one mouth-watering, all-local bill. RACHEL MILBAUER


SKY FERREIRA, HOW TO DRESS WELL, HIGH HIGHS
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Sky Ferreira's first album, I'm Not Alright, isn't out yet, but it's already easy to feel cynical about her. From her earliest days, she was schooled in the ways of pop by none other than Michael Jackson; her unwavering attitude of bummed-out sexuality seems totally put-upon. But damn, then she opens her mouth. Ferreira's "Everything Is Embarrassing" is one of those rare, perfect pop songs that catches you off guard, slithers its way into your brain, and never comes close to annoying, even after hearing it several times in a row. Not trying too hard is the source of Ferreira's cool, and How to Dress Well's Tom Krell could take a lesson here. His immoderate use of layers and textures ultimately causes him to sound so much more fragile than Ferreira. But he's a great songwriter, and the occasional glimpses of a purely soulful Krell, unmediated by the loops, are nothing short of thrilling. REBECCA WILSON


OMD, DIAMOND RINGS
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) It hasn't been 1983 for a few years now, but to listen to English Electric, OMD's 12th studio album, it might as well be. Since I first saw Molly Ringwald make her way through a roomful of mean richies in her pink prom dress to the strains of "If You Leave," I have found it impossible not to love their teenagers-at-a-slumber-party take on new wave. I'm not sure that they've gotten better in the past 30 years, but they certainly haven't gotten worse. And it's possible the themes are a bit more mature, though not as mature as the performers; Paul Humphreys and Andy McCluskey are 53 now. Happily, fashion once again values—and apes—their particular sound, and the songs are just as good for making out as they ever were. "Metroland" and "Night Café" particularly encapsulate that ineffable ache that's just as pervasive as the pleasure of their shiny synthpop. RW

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