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Friday, April 4, 2014

Tonight in Music: Cabinet of Wonders, Bad Sports, A Happy Death & More

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Fri, Apr 4, 2014 at 11:52 AM


WESLEY STACE'S CABINET OF WONDERS
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) What kind of monster wouldn't want to help sick kids get sweet healing music into their ears? This star-studded variety show night, Wesley Stace's Cabinet of Wonders, benefits the kids at Children's Cancer Association, with performances by My Morning Jacket's Jim James, Colin Meloy, Ural Thomas and the Pain, and many more. You monster... of charity and kindness! COURTNEY FERGUSON


BAD SPORTS, YOUTHBITCH, PISS TEST
(The Know, 2026 NE Alberta) I had two pressing matters to address in the direct aftermath of last September's Dirtnap Records 14th anniversary show. The pink goo smeared all over my shoes could wait, though—at least until I was able to throw on the latest Bad Sports album, Bras, in an attempt to work out a deeply rooted earworm or two. The shoe stains, as well as my newly kindled affinity for the Denton, Texas, garage-rock band, could be traced back to the same whirlwind of bodies and limbs that formed as the trio took the stage. Half a year later, rain has washed my shoes back to white, but I still can't get enough of a track like "Terrible Place," where Bad Sports take a Buzzcocks-esque punk snarl, pair it with some pogo-inducing power-pop hooks, and cap it off with a sing-along chorus just aching to be shouted to the rafters of dive bars everywhere. CHIPP TERWILLIGER


A HAPPY DEATH, MISTER TANG, CAMBRIAN EXPLOSION
(Firkin Tavern, 1937 SE 11th) The new cassette Introducing: A Happy Death isn't my first introduction to the group; I first heard the Portland band on its debut 7-inch, which contained some fine psychedelic rock tunes—"Nazi Zombies," "Ghost House"—within its grooves. But if this is your first tango with A Happy Death, Introducing should work nicely. Apart from frontman Ryan Lella, the band's lineup has turned over completely since that earlier effort, but Introducing still contains plenty of spiky, lysergic rock suited for all shades of paranoia. "Wet Dreams" might be the highlight here, a deliberately paced, glam-tinged scorcher with a mumbled, comedown chorus of "I think I'll go back to sleep." Elsewhere, the band stretches things to freakout lengths, as if the UFO Club never shut its doors. While the brand of punk-flavored psychedelia that A Happy Death deals in isn't exactly uncommon these days, it's not often you hear a band do it this well. NED LANNAMANN


WEED, MODERN MARRIAGE
(Discourage Records, 1737 SE Morrison) From All-Ages Action!: The appropriately named Vancouver, BC, band Weed's latest record, Deserve, begins with approximately a minute of doom-y noise before unexpectedly metamorphosing into a glorious pop butterfly. Highly recommended for anyone who has ever wondered what Neil Young would sound like with Kyuss as his backing band. MORGAN TROPER


BETTY WHO, ZAK WATERS, CARDIKNOX
(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) I've never been to Australia, but I imagine if I transported my hipster lifestyle to a sunny beach in a country with gun control, Betty Who would write the soundtrack. Who sounds like a more mature version of Chvrches' Lauren Mayberry, and her neo-'80s indie pop is set against a backdrop of very danceable songs slathered in synth beats. Her "Somebody Loves You" recently reached number one on Billboard's dance chart, but unlike a lot of popular club music, it has a good riff and the structure of a well-crafted pop song. ROSE FINN


DARSOMBRA, THRONES, EIGHT BELLS, PRIZEHOG
(Tonic Lounge, 3100 NE Sandy) Baltimore's Darsombra draws just the right amount of influence from metal, krautrock, drone, and the psychedelic firepower of Hawkwind. The brainchild of former Meatjack guitarist Brian Daniloski, the duo also includes visual artist Ann Everton, who creates backdrops at live shows, as well as adding synths and voice. Darsombra's latest LP, Climax Community, fittingly kicks off with a 23-minute opus that showcases Daniloski's penchant for getting lost in his own world. Upon first listen, it verges on dude-sitting-on-the-edge-of-his-bed-with-a-guitar-at-3-am sort of obliviousness. But another spin or two and it starts making sense. I haven't decided if Daniloski is a genius, or if I just drank the Kool-Aid. MARK LORE


MARCO BENEVENTO, OLD LIGHT
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Old Light has slowly but surely secured itself as a cornerstone in the Portland music community. The group has released album after album of fuzzed out, melodic, spacey rock that will weasel its way into your raging, lo-fi, feedback-loving heart. Old Light released five full-lengths in 2013 alone, all available as an incredible box set from local label Curly Cassettes. Tonight they play with experimental jazz keyboard phenomenon Marco Benevento. After the recent release of TigerFace, his most pop-influenced album yet, Benevento has been on the West Coast a lot, and this summer will be at Pickathon for the second year. Using loops and circuit-bent toys, Benevento makes smart, catchy electronic music just right for dancing. RACHEL MILBAUER

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