PORTLAND'S INDIES: BLACK PRAIRIE, MIRAH, HOLCOMBE WALLER, OREGON SYMPHONY
(Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway) Feel lucky you live in a city where the classical musicians know their place so well. The Oregon Symphony, never afraid of modern music, continues breaking down its genre's stuffy walls by putting on a stage show with indie darlings like Black Prairie (AKA the almost-Decemberists), Holcombe Waller, and the gossamer-voiced Mirah. DENIS C. THERIAULT
DUSTIN WONG AND TAKAKO MINEKAWA, JASON URICK, RAUELSSON
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) When Baltimore art-rock band Ponytail called it quits in 2011, the band's swansong, Do Whatever You Want All The Time, put a bittersweet end-cap on an excellent run. Since then, Ponytail's guitarist Dustin Wong has kept the band's playful spirit alive using loop and delay effects to an amazing degree. In layering arrangements, Wong is able to create stunning and hypnotic live compositions, able to tell profound stories without the need for words. After relocating back to his childhood home of Japan, Wong began to collaborate with Takako Minekawa. Minekawa, who was involved in Tokyo's Shibuya-kei pop scene throughout the '90s, lends her whimsical pop sensibilities to Wong's bright Lego-brick song structuring. The recent resulting effort, Toropical Circle, has the two worlds combining with a refreshing jovial ease. Opening act Rauelsson, the Spanish composer and sometimes Oregon native, combed influences from both locations and combines them to great effect on his grandiose 2013 release, Vora. CHIPP TERWILLIGER
HUNX AND HIS PUNX, THERAPISTS, THE HUNDREDS AND THOUSANDS
(Backspace, 115 NW 5th) Like a mashup between the Runaways and Pansy Division, Hunx and His Punx is a queercore dream come true, with poppy, punky, profane anthems designed to make you put on a garbage bag, cut your hair into a funny shape, smoke clove cigarettes, and squeal, "Fuck this shit forever—I'M GONNA DANCE!" (At least that's how they make me feel.) WM.™ STEVEN HUMPHREY
JOHN VANDERSLICE, PRISM TATS
(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) John Vanderslice shook things up a bit in 2013. First, he started his own record label to release album number nine, Dagger Beach. The record came out after a successful Kickstarter campaign that also helped bankroll the release of Vanderslice Plays Diamond Dogs, a covers album in which he put his own spin on David Bowie's 1974 classic. But after a decade and a half of solo records, you pretty much know what to expect from a new Vanderslice album at this point. While most of Dagger Beach doesn't find the songwriter at his most playful, there's still plenty of heart-on-sleeve confessions cloaked in clever wordplay and bedroom-pop sensibilities. MATTHEW W. SULLIVAN
RED YARN, LAND BETWEEN THE LAKES
(The Waypost, 3120 N Williams) Andy Furgeson—formerly of Bark Hide and Horn, and currently of Scrimshander—moonlights, or make that daylights, as Red Yarn, in which he performs animal-themed adaptations of folk songs for children while wearing a beard made out of, you guessed it, red yarn. Puppets are involved, and it's altogether entirely delightful, as evidenced on Red Yarn's really good first album, The Deep Woods, the kind of kids' album to which mom and dad find themselves sneaking a listen on the sly. With a seven-piece band and guest puppeteers, Red Yarn celebrates the record's release for grownups tonight at the Waypost; meanwhile, families can go to the kid-friendly afternoon release show on Sunday at the Village Ballroom. NED LANNAMANN
TWIN FORKS, MATRIMONY, BIKE THIEF
(Star Theater, 13 NW 6th) Ever wonder what Dashboard Confessional's Chris Carrabba is up to these days (if you even consider his existence in the first place)? Stop right now or you'll regret it: That middling worm has a new band called Twin Forks, and their debut EP contains some of the worst music I've heard all year. It's hardly a surprise—Carrabba's "good" material has always been cloying and melodramatic at best and impossibly inane at worst. This is the worst. Fame and a disassociation from his punk roots allegedly played a large part in contributing to Carrabba's disenchantment with Dashboard Confessional—good thing he started over and went all Mumford and Sons, then. It's a wonder anyone ever took him so, so seriously. MORGAN TROPER
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