(Valentine's, 232 SW Ankeny) Carcrashlander's latest, A Plan to Tell the Future, surfaced online last May, but tonight Cory Gray's macabre dirges receive physical release, as the album comes out on vinyl through Jealous Butcher and tape via Curly Cassettes. (What, no CD? It's like Sam Goody circa 1982 in here!) Gray, the main man behind the Carcrashlander moniker, has collaborated with dozens of Portland musicians, but his own work carves out unique territory, and the album is a subterranean folio of keyboard-driven compositions that at times buzz with futuristic electricity and at others seem exhumed from centuries past. The daring, dark A Plan to Tell the Future won't make your winter any brighter, but it will inject it with some tumultuous excitement. NED LANNAMANN
(Al's Den, 303 SW 12th) Portland keyboardist/composer Ben Darwish holds down the fort this week at Al's Den, performing nightly with a variety of special guests dropping by (including a secret guest band on Saturday, January 18). One of Portland's most adventurous musicians, Darwish will play jazz, pop, funk, and R&B (sometimes all at once), plus material from his recent multimedia project, The Lonely Night. NL
OREGON SYMPHONY, EMANUEL AX: BACH AND STRAUSS
(Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway) There's a shit-ton of reasons to be stoked about this particular show: Beethoven's Symphony No. 8 on the program; Emanuel Ax at the piano; Carlos Kalmar atop the podium. I could certainly devote all these words to any of those supreme joys, but here's a little secret: It doesn't matter what the fuck is on the program, or who the hell happens to be at the piano, or atop the goddamned podium. Why? Because after witnessing every classical concert the Oregon Symphony's performed the past three seasons, the one constant that can always be counted on is the band itself, in all its 76-piece glory. In this town, where any inked yahoo with a washboard can call himself a "musician" when he's not whipping up a mocha soy latte, it's utterly inspiring to behold these crazy, brave masters of music on the Schnitzer stage, who week in and week out guarantee blown minds and broken hearts. Resolve to start the new year off right by witnessing brilliance for once in your worthless life. ANGRY SYMPHONY GUY
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