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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Tonight in Music: Johnny Marr, the Telescopes, the Gaslight Anthem & More

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Tue, Apr 16, 2013 at 9:23 AM

(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) Read our article on Johnny Marr.

(Dante's, 350 W Burnside) In the late '80s and early '90s, UK band the Telescopes challenged Spacemen 3 and Loop for space-rock supremacy. Stephen Lawrie and company veered more toward Loop's Stooges-esque savagery than S3's more devotional, stellar hymns: Their early songs seesawed between psychotic psych-rock turmoil and dreamy yet unnerving bliss-outs. When the 'Scopes signed to Creation Records, they embraced '60s California psychedelia and even executed an ebullient cover of Charles Manson's (via the Beach Boys) "Never Learn Not to Love." Recent recordings prove that the Telescopes haven't softened in their advanced age, with gritty forays into abstract noise and hypnotic, enigmatic rock composition. LSD and the Search for God's name sets you up for unrealistic expectations. The San Francisco band don't live up to their handle, but their self-titled 2007 EP on Randall Nieman's Mind Expansion label radiates understated beauty. Its five songs conjure a swirling magenta blur of rock somewhere between Souvlaki-era Slowdive and My Bloody Valentine circa Loveless. The hooks and taffeta male/female vocals are submerged in FX'd drones, coaxing that familiar aura of mystery that shoegaze fans lurve. DAVE SEGAL

(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) At its most beloved, punk music has a distinct sense of humor underlying tight-as-a-tick licks and razor sharp songwriting. And that's why the Gaslight Anthem become better as they evolve away from punk and toward roots rock. This is a band as earnest as their name; there is no sense of irony waiting in the wings. And that's okay. At their best, they call to mind another perpetually earnest (and exceptionally brilliant) songwriter also from New Jersey. Apparently Brian Fallon dislikes comparisons to this guitar-wielding megastar, but embrace your roots, man, because that's when you're at your best. On last year's Handwritten, the Gaslight Anthem wear their influences a little too glaringly—there is a song called "Howl" and there is also an uncomfortably faithful cover/impression of Nirvana's "Sliver." However, the more Fallon embraces his inner Midwesterner and his working man's passion, the more believable the tunes. REBECCA WILSON

(Music Millennium, 3158 E Burnside) Maybe you already saw Nick Jaina earlier this month at the Doug Fir. Maybe you didn't. Doesn't matter. Go see him again—this time for free!—and bask in the presence of one of Portland's true local lights and his peculiar brand of soft-spoken literary melodic brilliance. DENIS C. THERIAULT


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