This Week in the Mercury


Friday, December 6, 2013

Tonight in Music: Lee Ranaldo and the Dust, Pierced Arrows, KINK's Jingle Bell Jam

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Fri, Dec 6, 2013 at 11:13 AM


LEE RANALDO AND THE DUST, EYELIDS
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Lee Ranaldo was always something like Sonic Youth's George Harrison: consigned to one or two songs an album, holding it down with subdued flair on guitar, going underappreciated. As leader of his own band in recent years, Ranaldo's flaws become more apparent. His voice's dullness doesn't stand up to scrutiny over an entire album, and his songwriting lacks the fiery dynamics and tonal adventurousness of the best Sonic Youth material. Sadly, I don't think Lee has an All Things Must Pass in him. His last two albums as a leader—Between the Times and the Tides and Last Night on Earth—chug and jangle with the underwhelming pleasantness of late-era R.E.M. Nothing quite unsettles or seethes like earlier Ranaldo songs such as "In the Kingdom #19," "Eric's Trip," or "Pipeline/Kill Time." Mellowing with age isn't a crime, but it does often lead to shrug-worthy releases. DAVE SEGAL


PIERCED ARROWS, AUDIOS AMIGOS, DIVERS
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) It's a good time to be a Fred and Toody Cole fan living in Portland. Come fall and winter, this always seems to be the case, but this year seems especially noteworthy. And between stripped-down unplugged sets, Pierced Arrow's annual Halloween show, and a Dead Moon reunion show set for January, it would be a shame to overlook tonight's show. We're lucky enough to be able to witness the trio's legendary garage-rock all over town, but in a setting like Mississippi Studios you can really come to appreciate the fine-tuned songwriting and unparalleled chemistry that lurks behind the force. Be sure to arrive early: While opening act Divers might be best known for rowdy house and dive bar shows, they are more than capable of bringing down the house on their own. CHIPP TERWILLIGER


KINK'S JINGLE BELL JAM: THE HEAD AND THE HEART, WILD FEATHERS, FRANK TURNER AND THE SLEEPING SOULS
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) Two things work against Seattle folk-pop band the Head and the Heart in the eyes of indie-rock's cred police: (1) The band's rise from open-mic jam thing to headliner of big rooms happened quickly, with very little paying of dues in small, smelly clubs. (2) The group's sound—all-in harmonies and friendly handclaps set to the easily digestible strum of acoustic guitars—has about as much edge as a cue ball. But on its self-titled debut album, self-released in 2010 and reissued by Sub Pop in 2011, the Head and the Heart delivered a set of tunes so undeniably catchy that listeners with an ear for well-crafted pop music could only give credit where it was due. Now, the band is back with its second effort, Let's Be Still, which features more melancholic grappling with big questions and life lessons. These new songs don't seem to have quite as much immediate appeal as the band's previous work, but perhaps that's a good thing. BEN SALMON


SHUT UP AND DANCE: DJ GREGARIOUS
(Rotture, 315 SE 3rd) All good—and fantastic—things must come to an end, and so we bid a fond farewell to Portland's longest-running dance night, Shut Up and Dance. A master at inspiring booties to shake, DJ Gregarious is putting this particular evening to rest (though you'll still be seeing his terrific turntablism all over town). So come out and give him a proper sendoff! WM.™ STEVEN HUMPHREY

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