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Friday, January 31, 2014

Tonight in Music: St. Lucia, Graves at Sea, Marcellus Pittman

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Fri, Jan 31, 2014 at 10:25 AM

(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE César E. Chávez) There's nothing new to be gleaned from the sound of St. Lucia, the Brooklyn-based synthpop ensemble formed around South African-born producer/songwriter Jean-Philip Grobler. That's not to say the sparkling, crystal-wave '80s retroglide of Columbia-released debut album When the Night doesn't contain its pleasures. Big gated drums, glassily glossy guitars, "All Night Long" street-dancing rhythms, and multiple saxophone solos put this squarely in the realm of nostalgia zeitgeist, and it might very well sound astonishing to those who were too young to dig Simple Minds the first time around, or those who missed Swedish band Studio's capable, wonderful reinvention of the Balearic sound in the mid '00s. Still, St. Lucia's songs sound awfully good, even on repeat listens, reminding me that solid songwriting trumps affectedly retro production every time. NED LANNAMANN

(Tonic Lounge, 3100 NE Sandy) The reanimation of Graves at Sea began in 2012, when the vaunted sludge/doom band regrouped after a four-year hiatus caused in large part by distance (for years, founding members Nick Phit and Nathan Misterek lived 600-plus miles apart, in Portland and Oakland, respectively). But earlier this month, Misterek officially moved north to our fair city, and 2014 is looking like the year he and Phit reclaim their rightful place at the top of the West Coast's heavy scene. With three releases and extensive touring planned in the coming months, Graves at Sea appears ready, willing, and able to give the people what they want: devastating, downtempo doom metal paired with Misterek's strangled howls and growls. It's a combination that is positively suffocating, in a good way. They'll begin their sonic assault Friday night with three other Portland-based heavies: Rabbits, Norska, and Drunk Dad. BEN SALMON

(Blue Monk, 3341 SE Belmont) Detroit electronic music legend and founder of Unirhythm Records, Marcellus Pittman has been making a name for himself in the house music world for over a decade—a name that lends itself to sincere passion for the art form. Known for his unique blend of soulful house tinged with elements of jazz and funk, Pittman brings the best elements of electronic music into the foreground, lighting up dance floors in the process. His deep knowledge of electronic music is obvious, as his DJ sets draw from a spectrum of tunes from many decades. Portland is in store for a treat with this rare Northwest appearance. CHRISTINA BROUSSARD


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