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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Tonight in Music: Janelle Monáe, Charli XCX, Soft Shadows & More

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Tue, Oct 29, 2013 at 10:47 AM


JANELLE MONÁE, ROMAN GIANARTHUR
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) Janelle Monáe is inarguably the coolest musician on the planet... nay, the solar system. Her crazy, unique blend of jazzed-up futuristic funk, R&B, and hiphop proves she's the heir apparent to Prince and OutKast's legacies. She's a whirling dervish of pompadour'd, tuxedoed, fast-stepping fun. Seriously, do not miss her—she's a crackling sparkplug! COURTNEY FERGUSON


CHARLI XCX, KITTEN, LIZ
(Star Theater, 13 NW 6th) Charli XCX is like a Spice Girl for our times, a club kid who's much savvier and tougher than those sporty poshy gingers ever were, but with a similar flair for the girlishly dramatic. The British "kid" in question was born Charlotte Emma Aitchison and she's barely 21 years old, but she's been at this for seven years. Her True Romance is an infectious banger full of slick hooks, dance anthems, and some damn fine dark-pop songs. It's music full of girls-past-and-present—the gothy spiderwebs of Zola Jesus, the addictive cheek of Robyn, the frantic mishmash of Grimes, and enough '80s synth to drown a flock of seagulls. I can't say it's the most nutritious bit of brain food, but it's remarkably easy on the ears and drenched in a remember-when collage of optimism, escapism, and young rocky love. The gal is irresistible. CF


SOFT SHADOWS, WISHYUNU, APPENDIXES
(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) Tonight, Soft Shadows—who formerly went by Sundaze—play a release show for their debut album, Reverb Is for Lovers. The band's dreamy blend of shoegaze pop pairs perfectly with the crisp fall nights we've been having lately. Soft Shadows take cues from the glory days of shoegaze, bringing to mind the delicate bliss of Galaxie 500, adding just enough distortion to tickle your ears but not drench the music. Much like WL did earlier this year on their debut, Soft Shadows position themselves at the front of a strong pack of Portland dream-weavers. If My Bloody Valentine decide to schedule a Portland date, plenty of local bands are making the type of beautiful, thunderous noise that could work as a worthy opening act. On Reverb Is for Lovers, Soft Shadows make an awfully strong case to fill that slot. CHIPP TERWILLIGER


WOODEN INDIAN BURIAL GROUND, PSYCHO ADORABLE, SUMMER CANNIBALS
(The Know, 2026 NE Alberta) Tonight Wooden Indian Burial Ground kick off a five-week tour, and to mark the occasion, they're releasing a cassette EP that's coming together at the very last minute. The band's Justin Fowler emailed me mere days before the show, with the news that he'll "be locked in a basement tracking and mixing all week, for better or worse. It's going to master next Thursday and we are dubbing the tapes [probably the] day of. May be a disaster! Can't wait." Neither can we—since the release of the Portland band's superb, psychotropic self-titled album in 2012, they've proved themselves an indispensable part of the Portland musical landscape. The existence of some new WIBG songs is very good news indeed. Let's hope they can pull off the EP in time. NED LANNAMANN


THE SADIES, MARK PICKEREL
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) The Sadies' long career has been pockmarked by many notable highlights. They've backed up Neil Young, Neko Case, and John Doe. They've collaborated with Jon Spencer and Jon Langford. They've toured a hell of a lot. The release of their new album, Internal Sounds, ought to rank right up there, too. The Canadian country-rock crew sounds just as vibrant and daring in their navigating of quirky aural avenues, executing beautifully crafted tunes like the mandolin-led "So Much Blood," an essentially traditional-sounding track injected with the Sadies' inherent heart. With wobbly harmonies and the band's sneering punk rock underbelly (as found on the teeth-gnashing blazer "Another Tomorrow Again"), Internal Sounds' seemingly innocuous vibe is augmented by visions of rhinestone suits and cowboy boots. You will hoot. You will holler. All hail the Sadies. RYAN J. PRADO

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