It's an Important Question for the Last Two Dudes on Earth!
QUASI, BLUES CONTROL
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Quasi's latest, Mole City, follows up 2010's wall-of-noisefest American Gong. And while Sam Coomes' guitar is still as wonderfully unruly as ever, this time around Coomes and drummer Janet Weiss have devised a more textured and moody double LP that plays to their love of the Beatles and Sonic Youth (and everything in between). For every noise bomb like "You Can Stay But You Gotta Go," there's a sneaky psych nugget like "Geraldine" or a glammy power popper like "Double Deuce." The fact that Mole City comes off as one long collection of all of Weiss and Coomes' whims is what makes it both fantastic and overly fantastical. It's made to be listened to in one sitting, preferably with headphones. In 2013, that might be the most avant thing about Mole City. ML Also see My, What a Busy Week!
NEUROSIS, ATRIARCH, TRAGEDY, THE BODY
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) When Neurosis comes to town—and that hasn't been often in the past several years, regardless of what town you're in—it's closer to a capital E Event than a regular ol' show. Every few years they put out a new record, and in between albums they play random smatterings of shows. It's a process as methodical and deliberate as their music, a sound that serves as the primary reference point for any band that's ever been called "post-metal," while more than a few bands have done well for themselves by just aping the Neurosis sound (see: Isis). The undercard makes this even more of a happening: The recent Portland transplants of doomy duo the Body open, joined by Atriarch's metal-infused death rock and Tragedy's punishing crust punk. MATTHEW W. SULLIVAN
PACKARD BROWNE, BIGMO, SAMAREI, REY TOTEM, JOY PEARSON, & MORE
(Kelly's Olympian, 426 SW Washington) Tonight celebrates the release of Both Sides of the Sand, the debut full-length from Arab American emcee Mohammed "BigMo" Alkhadher. Born in America and raised in Kuwait, BigMo uses his unique perspective to both synthesize and deconstruct the dichotomies of Western and Middle Eastern cultures. It's telling that BigMo gained his intro into hiphop through spoken word, as his lyricism deftly pinpoints political hypocrisies in an entertaining way without ever sounding preachy or pedantic. Standout track "Heavy" finds BigMo rejecting the dangers of lazy labels and challenging the constructs that seek reductive worldviews to further their own agenda. “Arab white kid, American terrorist/Labeled a terrorist in a country where terror is/mediated fiction, media addiction/You smelt it, you dealt it, that kind of system.” RYAN FEIGH
JULIANNA BARWICK, HANNAH EPPERSON
(The Old Church, 1422 SW 11th) Ambient music possesses a unique ability to make writers erupt with fancy adjectives. However, while "sweeping" and "ethereal" are ostensibly apt to describe Julianna Barwick's songs, their presence here feels futile; the strength of her latest album, Nepenthe, lies in its ability to strike on a cellular level. The instrumentation is spare and there are very few discernible lyrics, yet the way she loops and layers her voice—like a fresco viewable only to the somatic nervous system—is enough to leave you sobbing over a loved one or reveling in a sense of calm. And once her loop station starts spewing towering sounds into the rafters of the Old Church, you will follow Barwick's lead and eschew words as well; sometimes, there is just no need. RAQUEL NASSER
FEDERALE, DENVER, DJ TENDER LOVING CARE
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) On 2012's The Blood Flowed Like Wine, Portland's Federale widened their spaghetti-western scope to incorporate less desert drag, and more orchestral oomph. Having entrenched themselves as astute purveyors of the Ennio Morricone style of cowpoke soundtrack, the group—led by Collin Hegna—detoured with partnerships as far-ranging as Portland's 45th Parallel Ensemble, members of the Oregon Symphony, and vocal cameos by the Black Angels' Alex Maas and Spindrift's KP Thomas. The collective has been tracking new material at Hegna's Revolver Studios since July, and there's no news yet on a tentative release date. In the meantime, Federale are one of the more-unique live experiences your old dusty boots could ever hope for, so go on an' git! RYAN J. PRADO