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Monday, March 17, 2014

Tonight in Music: Harry Smith Night, Carsick Cars, The Sword & More

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Mon, Mar 17, 2014 at 10:47 AM


HARRY SMITH NIGHT: MARISA ANDERSON, DRAGGING AN OX THROUGH WATER, LORI GOLDSTON, JOLIE HOLLAND, MICHAEL HURLEY, JESSIKA KENNEY
(Hollywood Theatre, 4122 NE Sandy) Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music is more than a historical document, it's the audio bible for indigenous musics of the United States. Mississippi Records has lovingly reissued the series on vinyl, and to celebrate, tonight you'll witness rare Harry Smith films, plus performances by Michael Hurley, Jolie Holland, Marisa Anderson, and many more. NED LANNAMANN


HORNET LEG, THE WOOLEN MEN, CARSICK CARS, FLAVOR CRYSTALS
(Habesha, 801 NE Broadway) On first listen, you may not notice that Carsick Cars aren't always singing in English. The Beijing band's new album, 3, is filled with Anglo rockisms like motorik groove, Kiwi jangle, and Yo La Tengo guitar-pop swirl—in other words, the sorts of things that make music writers and record dweebs swoon. Since I fall safely into both categories, I can happily tell you that (a) of course, the album is absolutely fucking fantastic, and (b) there's far more than simple appropriation of Western rock tropes to Carsick Cars—they've got a unique, genuine, and entirely fascinating element of cross-pollination going on. No wonder they're cultural lightning rods in China. The band has opened for Sonic Youth in Europe, and the new album was co-produced by Spacemen 3's Sonic Boom and the Clean's Hamish Kilgour, but you don't need to rely on Carsick Cars' upstanding pedigree and associations—just take a listen to "15 Minutes Older" and try to resist canceling your St. Patrick's Day plans in favor of seeing this band in the flesh. Throw some of Portland's best garage bands on the bill, and this is the absolute can't-miss show of the week. NL


THE SWORD, BIG BUSINESS, O'BROTHER
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE César E. Chávez) Austin, Texas, retro-metal outfit the Sword's initial traditional approach of black-light-poster medieval imagery and chugging doom riffs was cliché but well-executed, but 2010's Warp Riders and 2012's Apocryphon took different approaches in terms of both sound and thematic content, ditching the Dark Ages for outer space and other mythological subjects, and moving to a more classic-sounding hard-rock style. Though this new stuff isn't necessarily better than the old, the band seems to be doing something right, as they have recently been featured on soundtracks of big-budget Hollywood films and released their own line of hot sauces and beers (so metal). Seattle's Big Business manage to do way more with less—that is, make louder, better-sounding records with fewer members/publicity moves. MIKE RAMOS


TOWERS, NORTH, DIE LIKE GENTLEMEN
(The Know, 2026 NE Alberta) "Hell," the opening track off Portland two-piece Towers' latest record, II, is an absolute mindfuck on multiple levels. Clocking in at just over 11 minutes, it's what you might imagine a traipse through the nine circles of Hades sounds like. First try to figure out what solar system these guys are from, then wrap your head around the fact that the noise you're hearing is solely the work of drums and bass. Bassist Rick Duncan and drummer Darryl Swan are going on five years as Towers (they played with garage-dwellers the Troglodytes before that), and they have perfected a sound that's like nothing else. Heavy sludge meets stranger warped-bass delicacies. A word to the wise: When Towers perform no one can hear you scream. MARK LORE

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