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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Tonight in Music: Torres, Emily Wells, Colin Stetson

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Thu, Jun 20, 2013 at 12:09 PM


TORRES, LADY LAMB THE BEEKEEPER
(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) Mackenzie Scott's delicately impassioned debut LP as Torres has shot her from her Nashville home into the pages of every music magazine in the country. Possessing a voice and a mind far beyond her 22 years, her first visit to Portland is a chance to witness this year's outstanding breakout songwriter in an intimate setting. ALEX ROSS


EMILY WELLS, 1939 ENSEMBLE
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Emily Wells' 2012 LP Mama was a meeting of folk, hiphop, and classical—a vessel for all sorts of unique instrumental divergences. The spectrum-spanning Wells has expanded on those experimental urges by stripping away the not-insubstantial production from Mama on her new Mama Acoustic Recordings. The title gets straight to the point, but it's worth mentioning that the virtuosic Wells lays herself bare within the frail shells of her sprawling melodies to the degree of uneasiness. Songs like "Los Angeles" flitter about like haunted fairy tales, supplemented by little more than a creaky acoustic guitar and a breathy Wells whispering words into a cavernous room. How well that translates or how much of the acoustic renditions she'll play tonight is unknown. What you can count on is Wells' ability to command the atmosphere either way. RYAN J. PRADO


COLIN STETSON, JUSTIN WALTER, GRAMMIES
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Colin Stetson doesn't really play the saxophone; he inhabits it. As a sideman, Stetson has performed on albums with the likes of Tom Waits, TV on the Radio, and Feist while touring as a member of Arcade Fire and Bon Iver, but his solo output is a different beast entirely. His latest, New History Warfare Vol. 3: To See More Light (featuring occasional guest vocals by Bon Iver's Justin Vernon), is as good a place to start as any. The saxophone is recorded with no overdubs, with looping phrases made possible by circular breathing, overtones the result of embouchure, percussion courtesy of Stetson's fingers flying across the instrument and the stamina to do it all at once coming from sheer force of will. But Stetson's solo work is more than just a marvel in technique—it's a bubbling stew that's as hearty as it is exotic. MATT SULLIVAN

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