THE ORWELLS, TWIN PEAKS, CRIMINAL HYGIENE
(Star Theater, 13 NW 6th) When the Orwells made their Late Show with David Letterman debut earlier this year, the Chicago-area garage-rock quintet tore through a sloppy, rousing performance of the title track from their recent EP, Who Needs You. Strings were snapped, and frontman Mario Cuomo seized the opportunity to give viewers at home a TV eye into his Iggy Pop-indebted persona. As Cuomo bounced from floor to couch, seemingly possessed and/or wasted, the band made it all look completely routine. Letterman and his bandleader Paul Shaffer instantly demanded an encore, with Shaffer going so far as to have his band deliver a bit of a reprise. While it's hard to gauge the sincerity of the hosts, the Orwells' organic performance is a weird and wonderful example of a young band going for broke when presented with a significant opportunity. CHIPP TERWILLIGER Also see All Ages Action!
MILAGRES, THE FAMILY CREST
(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) It's not every Kill Rock Stars release that can garner comparisons to the likes of Coldplay—close to none of them, in fact. That's what's been written about Brooklyn's Milagres, although you shouldn't let that lazy bit of journalism dissuade you from seeing their show. Sure, they've made the occasional reach for the stadium rafters on the wings of frontman Kyle Wilson's soaring vocals, but theirs is a much darker and more subdued sound than Chris Martin's mawkish act. Milagres' third and latest release, Violent Light, finds them adding a bit more polish, its best moments found in low-end heavy cuts like "Jeweled Cave," and "The Black Table," as well as the fractured first single "The Letterbomb." JEREMY PETERSEN
OUR FIRST BRAINS, VALLEY GIRLS, MR. BONES
(Laughing Horse Books, 12 NE 10th) From this week's All Ages Action!: Local power-pop/lo-fi upstarts Mr. Bones' band name is a reference to a horrible Sega Saturn game starring a talking (and musically inclined) skeleton, and the band's debut EP, Grum, is a reference to a Tim and Eric skit that is essentially a parody of Shrek. Nonetheless, opening track "You Don't Have a Skull of Your Own" sports a chorus that Bob Pollard would have traded away all his Beatles records to be able to write. MORGAN TROPER
CAMBRIAN EXPLOSION, HATS OFF, CLOUD BECOMES YOUR HAND
(Valentine's, 232 SW Ankeny) As the most obvious torchbearers for Portland's psychedelic revival, Cambrian Explosion possess both the youthful vitality and the chops to take you deep into a vortex of swirling soundscapes. The band's repetitive groove is given legs by deft keyboard mashing from the multi-talented Adria Ivanitsky, and triumphant wah-wah guitar from Nori Lockhart. The band's The Sun EP swims in trance-y seas, anchored by the explosive opener "Umbra of Mind." The soaring title track unfolds slowly, emitting hallucinatory drones and minimal vocals. In a relatively short time, Cambrian Explosion has commanded the attention of psych-rock purists as a pristine embodiment of the spirit of psychedelia's wanderlusting whims, and the attention is well deserved. RYAN J. PRADO
WILD CHILD, ROBERT ELLIS
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) While it once might have been easy to think of Robert Ellis as a throwback to the classic troubadour tradition of country music, he's given us a lot more to chew on with his latest, The Lights from the Chemical Plant. He's still mindful of those traditions, and he's skilled and familiar enough with the genre's tropes to bend them to his own devices. But he's broken new ground on Lights, employing cinematic arrangements to back evocative narratives. The personal songs, like the ode to his former hometown on "Houston" or the confessional "Tour Song," are the finest he's crafted so far. MATTHEW W. SULLIVAN
ANIMALS AS LEADERS, AFTER THE BURIAL, NAVENE-K, CHON, SISYPHEAN CONSCIENCE
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE César E. Chávez) Eight-string shredmeister Tosin Abasi started DC new age-y prog-metal band Animals as Leaders as a solo venture before recruiting a couple of like-minded noodlers to expand the band's sound. It's essentially music for those who prefer to fix their eyes on fretboards during live shows. Abasi will wow you with his finger flitting, although a half-hour of these instrumental shenanigans might start to wear thin. I'm listening to the band's latest The Joy of Motion, and I'm seeing visions of Joe Satriani and Yanni and Dream Theater. If that's your bag, then go forth. I'm sure it's something to behold. MARK LORE
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