This Week in the Mercury


Friday, October 4, 2013

Tonight in Music: Pet Shop Boys, Trio Subtonic, the Cabin Project & More

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Fri, Oct 4, 2013 at 10:41 AM


PET SHOP BOYS
(Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway) God bless the Pet Shop Boys. From "Surburbia" to "Left to My Own Devices" to "Love Comes Quickly" to "It's a Sin" to "Domino Dancing" to a goddamn track they share with Elvis Presley and Willie Nelson ("Always on My Mind"), Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe have been entirely awesome since—good god—1981. Shit, I forgot about "West End Girls"! That one's awesome too! ERIK HENRIKSEN Read our article on Pet Shop Boys.


TRIO SUBTONIC, BLUE CRANES
(Jimmy Mak's, 221 NW 10th) Trio Subtonic's understated technicality makes them one of the region's more formidable jazz trios. Led by the nimble digits of Galen Clark and his fluid piano tinkling, Trio Subtonic operates under free-ranging fits of fusion and funk, often melding the two into bafflingly good covers, like Radiohead's "Pyramid Song." The band's brand-new LP, Night Runners, moves at a brisk clip, covering meandering neo-jazz terrain while keeping one foot cemented in an experimental limbo of bizarre feedback and spiraling, gorgeously chaotic instrumentation, as found on the appropriately titled "Existential Crisis" and the title track. Trio Subtonic's ability to weather musical storms both sunny and sordid places them in an exciting league of forward-thinking, jazz-based groups. That they're joined by the equally ambitious Blue Cranes tonight only sweetens the deal. RYAN J. PRADO


THE CABIN PROJECT, CUMULUS, YOU ARE PLURAL
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Heliotrope is the second album from the Cabin Project, the Portland group that describes itself as "orchestral indie pop from the Pacific Northwest." This phrase evokes the sound of the majestic Heliotrope perfectly; it's a record whose prettiness is vast and rainy and windswept, and rooted in what seems like a small and sturdy community. Singer Katie Sawicki's understated voice lets the album's spangled arrangements do much of the work, as songs like "Eastern Minds" and "Rolfast Luna" sail effortlessly across the music's widescreen storminess. The result is lovely and absolutely compelling. The group celebrates the record's release tonight before hitting the road for a short West Coast tour. NED LANNAMANN


HORRENDOUS, VASSAFOR, RITUAL NECROMANCY, SEMPITERNAL DUSK
(Ash Street Saloon, 225 SW Ash) Sometimes, metal shows can be scary. Not like in a scared-for-your-personal-safety way, but in a pit-of-your-stomach, ominous, impending-doom kind of way. For the next two nights, Dark Descent Records has put together a showcase of 10 bands who specialize in aural terror. The highlights (or darks) on Friday include the crawling death metal of Sempiternal Dusk, and the evil, bottom-feeding brutality of Portland's Ritual Necromancy. On Saturday, Seattle's Anhedonist will provide a crushing doom/death dirge, while Portland's Weregoat and Victoria, BC's Mitochondrion will twist your bowels with chaotic riffage and blast beats. Don't be scared, it's only metal. ARIS WALES


MAN MAN, XENIA RUBINOS
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE César E. Chávez) Man Man are difficult to pin down, traversing the musical landscape like a band of gypsies and employing an ample amount of eccentricity. They're either geniuses or just too much, depending on your own headspace. Finding out what makes them tick almost trumps the actual music. Over the years Man Man have refined their sound, from their earlier ragged gypsy-folk to their more recent, polished junkyard tales. Their records are filled with deep layers of sounds and dark emotional baggage that carry over into intense live sets. Like I said, Man Man is not for everyone, but one thing is certain—no one else sounds like them. MARK LORE


HOUSES, AMP LIVE, JENI WREN
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) It can't be punk rock all the time. I don't care how tough you think you are—sometimes you just need some devastatingly pretty music to soothe your jangled nerves. I resisted A Quiet Darkness, the new album from Houses, for a good long while, judging it to be needlessly poignant, touchy-feely, Coldplayish adult comtempo. But slowly and surely, its warm, enveloping melodies and breathily airy sounds worked their delicate magic on me. "The Beauty Surrounds" is a lullaby so stunning that the only thing left for it is to graft it onto a car commercial someday; the rest of A Quiet Darkness—which the couple of Dexter Tortoriello and Megan Messina recorded in a series of abandoned houses along the West Coast—is equally as ravishing. This is music for putting on slippers, making tea you can't pronounce, and writing letters to old and cherished friends. If you're too cool for that, I don't wanna know you. NED LANNAMANN

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