SWAMP DOGG, THE PYNNACLES
(Dante's, 350 W Burnside) While Swamp Dogg's tight, kicking, '70s funk tunes may not ring a bell, his record sleeves might. The most (in)famous features Dogg riding the back of a giant albino rat. He is stocky, mustachioed, and black, wearing a fringed leather vest and a matching shirt and beret while smiling wide, his arms raised in celebration. Recently Dogg—AKA Jerry Williams—expounded on the image to LA Weekly: "That cover was about me finally getting on top of the white man... Notice that the rat is smiling. He knows I'm gonna fall off soon." Indeed, Dogg is nothing if not far out. And while his latest touring incarnation may appear a bit more anodyne, a bit more church band than the crisp, raspy, quick-burning folk-funk found on the original recordings—in particular, the album The Total Destruction of Your Mind—Swamp Dogg's oeuvre amounts to much more than just a few iconic images. ANDREW R TONRY
LOVERS WITHOUT BORDERS, MEMORY BOYS, SILM, BLIND LOVEJOY
(Habesha, 801 NE Broadway) Karl Blau is making a trip south from Anacortes, Washington, and after opening for Why? on Wednesday with a solo marimba set, he's playing with his irresistible pop-rock band, Lovers without Borders. The group is Blau on sax and vocals, guitarist Allen Peril, and Jessica Bonin playing a kid-sized drum kit and providing backing vocals. The light and mellow pop music the band plays is every bit as tender as the name might suggest. It's impossible not to smile and sway with Blau's soothing vocals as they float along on a track like "She Wants a Baby" off of the band's recent 7-inch. Portland trio Memory Boys make for a nice, warm pairing here. The band, often joined by members of Olympia's LAKE, used this expanded five-piece lineup to record 2012's excellent Send It Across to Me. The chemistry at work throughout the release makes for plenty of unique and playful pop moments to tease the ear, and they released a cassette EP in June called Second Layer. CHIPP TERWILLIGER
JULIA HOLTER, NEDELLE TORRISI
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) I don't quite know what to make of Julia Holter and maybe you don't either, but the good thing is that her art is generous and involving enough that there's plenty to take away, even if the larger picture is elusive. Her new album, Loud City Song, is a riff on Gigi—the novella, and possibly also the movie, which I saw a long time ago and couldn't stomach for more than 10 minutes—and the sounds contained in it traipse from wine-drunk cabaret to electronic minimalism to brittle modern classical, often within a single song. Holter's working from her own sense-memory, and if Gigi is the particular door she found into Loud City Song's world, I found it vivid enough to evoke my own sense-memory (which conjured up a world somewhere in between Melville's Bob le Flambeur and Ludwig Bemelmans' illustrations). It's a defiantly strange, confounding, and occasionally breathtaking record, and I have no idea how she'll manage to reproduce it on the stage. NED LANNAMANN
GRAVES, WOODEN INDIAN BURIAL GROUND, WOOLEN MEN
(Langano Lounge, 1435 SE Hawthorne) If you've been to the Langano Lounge, you're familiar with the scene. There's maybe one bartender who's a total sweetheart, making all the drinks and bussing all the tables herself (probably making small plates of food, too), and she never complains. When there are shows, the stress level heightens, and you feel for her. Wooden Indian Burial Ground has toured incessantly, played one of the best sets ever at this year's PDX Pop Now! festival during peak capacity, and are generally revered regionally as one of Portland's best live bands. Toss in the meandering pop of the Woolen Men and Graves, and I'm pulling for that bartender's sanity to overcome what ought to be a deluge of rowdy patrons. Tip, tip, tip. RYAN J. PRADO
THE GHOST EASE, PINK SLIP, A HAPPY DEATH, YOUNG DAD, SHADY CHARACTERS, DJ HERO WORSHIP
(Record Room, 8 NE Killingsworth) The Ghost Ease has taken on several shapes and shifts since its inception in 2010, and the band's current state is the perfect storm of collaboration. Guitarist Jem Marie is joined by bassist Fabi Reyna and drummer Nsayi, and the trio creates mesmerizing tracks that are seductive and edgy, with vocals that tease on the border of Cat Power and Deerhoof, and instrumentation that claims territory both in the deep, dark garage and the otherworldly dream realm. Their sound is simultaneously urgent and delicate, and possesses a raw honesty that grabs you in the gut. They play a loaded bill to celebrate the release of the Cassingle and Loving It label's new compilation, Friends and Acquaintances—not to be confused with Tender Loving Empire's excellent, long-running Friends and Friends of Friends series. RACHEL MILBAUER
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