Ned and I can't quite figure out why Sasquatch bothers to make such an awesome and thorough gallery of music posters for their fest lineup every year. Who brings money to buy music posters at the Gorge? Who lugs those posters around from stage to stage, hoping to hell and back that their signed prints don't get mangled by a drunken girl in a romper? Last time I was at Sasquatch they didn't allow re-entry, so you'd be stuck carting that cardboard tube around until you could get it back to your rain-soaked tent. BUT ANYWAY... who cares why Sasquatch does it, I'm just ecstatic that they do, because it's an incredible collection of artwork from mind-blowing artists. Here's a sampler of the best from the 2013 Memorial Day Weekend fest, and check out the full gallery here.
More after the jump.
This is a tale of two rappers, one clever and suave, the other punishing and incendiary, sharing the stage at the Roseland for the Portland stop of their "Life Is So Exciting" tour. As an aging hiphop fan attending an all-ages show featuring two aging rappers, I struggle to muster much of my own excitement as Pusha T's DJ begins warming up the crowd with time-proven exclamatory verbalizations accompanied by an array of bomb and siren sounds.
I find myself wondering where either Pusha T or Fabolous will be in 10 years—the popular transition from rapping into acting represents a foreboding challenge for both: Despite his tremendous charisma within the confines of 16 bars, Fabolous is surprisingly shy and awkward in music videos and skits. And Pusha T is far too menacing a persona to get cast for anything but long-departed gritty prison dramas such as Oz and The Wire.
I'm posting this for no other reason than that Peter Gabriel's third album was released on this very day in 1980. Here is a "demo" version of "And Through the Wire," perhaps the least known song on that record and probably my favorite as well. I don't think this is a "demo" at all, but rather an alternate mix from the master take. That's Paul Weller of the Jam playing the snarling guitar riff, and Gabriel sings some different lyrics in this version.
With his 1980 album, Peter Gabriel anticipated many of the sounds and recording approaches that dominated the rest of the decade. Now with the '80s revival in full swing, there are echoes of this album everywhere.
VAMPIRE WEEKEND, HIGH HIGHS
(Keller Auditorium, 222 SW Clay) Nobody expected Vampire Weekend's third album to be this good, especially with the title Modern Vampires of the City. Yet the New York boat-shoe prep-poppers—who even recorded part of the new album on blue-blood resort isle Martha's Vineyard—have delivered their best work yet, a mature, nuanced, and of course, catchy work that makes good on all their early promise. NED LANNAMANN
DEVENDRA BANHART, RODRIGO AMARANTE
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) Those that rock out to Andrew Bird, whisk their omelets to Vetiver, and bone all night to Fleet Foxes must also smoke joints in their beds to Devendra Banhart. His songwriting is sweet and melancholy, like the day your seventh-grade girlfriend broke up with you. While Banhart's style floats in between indie and folk, his years growing up in Venezuela paved the way for his Latin-inspired tracks (which still pepper his latest album, Mala). What makes him worthwhile aren't his collaborations with Vetiver, Megapuss, or ex-girlfriend Natalie Portman; it's that somewhere underneath all that hair (since shorn off) and quiet strumming is a very crazy, dynamic musician whose sound offers more complexity than all those other dudes with guitars. ROSE FINN
ARIEL PINK, PURPLE PILGRIMS
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) Prior to the release of 2010's Before Today, any mention of Ariel Pink being a "pop genius" was laughable. Lo-fi doesn't even begin to describe his early records, which are dense to the point of being impenetrable. Before Today, though, exposed Ariel Pink to the world for what he really is: a chameleonic, stylistically fickle pop almanac, cut from the same cloth as an artist like Prince, and whose immense, effusive talent had been constricted up to that point by a self-imposed cassette-for-the-sake-of-it servitude. Ariel Pink's newest record, Mature Themes, is an exquisite follow-up and companion to Before Today, with pop-of-the-past-pillaging that ranges from the Byrds ("Only in My Dreams") to Zappa ("Schnitzel Boogie") and everyone in between. MORGAN TROPER
Portland's Blue Cranes (pictured above) is more than a post-jazz ensemble. It's a collection of songwriters. It's an assemblage of like-minded improvisers. It's an outfit that embraces more styles and genres that perhaps any other band in town. And it's also a support group. (P.S. Hey, we're giving away a pair of tickets to see them Friday at Mississippi Studios—right here!)
LISTEN: Blue Cranes - "Everything Is Going to Be Okay"
Tame Impala's dimension-spanning space rock comes from the most isolated city on the planet—Perth, Australia.
LISTEN: Tame Impala - "Feels Like We Only Go Backwards"
Blood Ceremony are a welcome throwback to the simpler days of rock—the days when it was possible to be as influenced by Fairport Convention as Black Sabbath, when the pagan lyrical imagery was just for show, when you could still get away with using a flute, fer chrissakes.
LISTEN: Blood Ceremony - "Goodbye Gemini"
Chvrches are synthpop done right, correct spelling be danmed.
LISTEN: Chvrches - "Recover"
Youth Lagoon is like a musical asylum of the mind. And you thought Wondrous Bughouse was all about insects.
LISTEN: Youth Lagoon - "Dropla"
Plus a few more Up & Coming previews than usual.
YOUTH LAGOON, SWAHILI
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) Read our article on Youth Lagoon.
RED FANG, GAYTHEIST
(White Owl Social Club, 1305 SE 8th) The metal-tinged power rock of Gaytheist is one of those purely pleasurable things in life—like ice cream, or Lee Van Cleef. The Portland trio's latest album Hold Me... But Not So Tight was just released on Seattle-based label Good to Die Records, and it sees outspoken gay frontman Jason Rivera leading the stampede on another collection of roaring, heavy tunes that joyously bumps the levels into the red. It's a shame tonight's de facto record-release show is already sold out, since as many people as possible should be exposed to the earcrushing delight that is Gaytheist, but they remain one of Portland's most prolific and frequently performing bands; their next local show will be within your grasp. Headliners Red Fang have just announced their third album will come out later this year on Relapse, to be produced by the Decemberists' Chris Funk, who also helmed their last one, Murder the Mountains. NED LANNAMANN Also see My, What a Busy Week!
AKRON/FAMILY, AVI BUFFALO,
M. GEDDES GENGRAS
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Akron/Family decided to throw restraint out the window when recording their sixth album, Sub Verses. Loud, untidy, and surprising, the album is experimental and masculine. The best thing about A/F has always been their ability to focus on not giving a shit about popular opinion. While many of their Brooklyn peers tailor albums to be cachet magnets, Akron/Family—some of whom live, or have lived, in Portland—continue to innovate, constantly changing the landscape behind their instantly recognizable three-part harmonies. Those thrilling vocals are still the heart of Sub Verses, but it makes good use of the big, propulsive drums and distorted guitars of less eccentric American rock bands. Avi Buffalo, the moniker/band of Avi Zahner-Isenberg, emerged several years ago with a charming self-titled album of lo-fi pop. Thanks to its low-key sincerity, it managed to ride the wave of whimsy that was happening at the time without coming across as the least bit annoying. REBECCA WILSON
Oxford's Foals return to Portland on Wednesday, May 29, bringing their sweaty, brilliant live show to the Crystal Ballroom. On their exhaustive jaunt around the US they've been striking their best Willy Wonka-meets-indie rock pose, hiding a pair of tickets and a CD of their brilliant album Holy Fire in every city for fans to track down on the day of the show.
We at End Hits have our very own ticket/CD package to give away like sweet, sweet musical candy. Check back here next Wednesday (the day of the show) and we'll give you a series of numbers that reveal its location. Tasty.
That's the album cover up there, and here's the album's first single, "Curse Over Me," a bouncing, midtempo dazzler that meshes the band's many elements: synth-laden electro-pop, laidback R&B, forceful post-punk via a growling bass, and a tweeish sweater-pop element as well. The result is a tropically tinged track that's a great introduction to the new album. (You can check out the previously posted video for Keep It Safe's opening track, "Golden Twin," over here.)
Here's a bit more about the album, from Party Damage's press release:
Dream-pop outfit Wild Ones, one of the most talked-about acts in their native Portland, OR, have completed their debut album Keep It Safe after over a year of intense recording and mixing sessions. The band, which faced lineup changes, hospital visits and financial drama en route to finishing its debut, took a deeply collaborative approach to crafting the record. Keep It Safe was largely self-recorded and produced, and each sonic puzzle piece has been carefully selected by the band. (Even the album artwork was created by the band’s Thomas Himes.) The resulting record is staggering: A swirling, deep concoction of electronic and analog elements that features both huge pop hooks and obsessive attention to detail. Keep It Safe is a Rubik’s Cube of a record that will appeal to fans of everything from Can to Beach House to Brian Eno.The new album can be pre-ordered on Bandcamp, and Wild Ones play a record release show on July 5 at Mississippi Studios. They're also playing the "Cancer Sucks!" benefit with Typhoon on Saturday, June 1, also at Mississippi Studios, which I am certain is gonna hella sell out.
Here's the best part: We're giving away a pair of tickets to Friday's Mississippi Studios show to one lucky End Hits reader (cash value = $20, musical value = $Infinity-kabillion). Local musical explorers Billygoat and Golden Retriever are also on the jam-packed bill. Since you undoubtedly want a piece of this, send an email to this address with "Blue Cranes" in the subject line. Please include your first and last name. We'll select a winner at random and send them on their way. This contest closes Thursday at noon, so hop to it!
BLACK MOTH SUPER RAINBOW, THE HOOD INTERNET, OSCILLATOR BUG
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE César E. Chávez) Enigmatic Pittsburgh oddballs Black Moth Super Rainbow's hushed, synth-led experiments with psychedelic electro-pop are engrossing, sinister, and strangely accessible on their most recent effort Cobra Juicy. If you can fight your way through their die-hard fans to see them at the Hawthorne, there's every chance you'll get an unsettling yet blissful contact high. ALEX ROSS
SHOUT OUT LOUDS, HAERTS
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) Daft Punk's much anticipated album Random Access Memories is physically released in the US today, and it's one of the biggest musical disappointments in recent memory, in which the French EDM pioneers opt for a lightly disco-tinged, incredibly repetitive album of soft rock that would send Christopher Cross into snoozes of boredom. While it seems obvious Daft Punk is reaching for the sort of jetstream adult-contempo that likely filled their parents' record collection (Serge Gainsbourg, Air Supply, Alan Parsons Project, possibly Floyd), they approach it like EDM, locking in their programmed, quantized sequences and letting them play for minutes on end with absolutely no development and no drama. For a completely successful, absolutely lovely version of the kind of airbrushed, slick, easy-listening Europop that Daft Punk has utterly bungled, turn your ears instead to Shout Out Louds. The Stockholm quintet's fourth album, Optica, is a gorgeous, wide-eyed, perfectly posed collection of gentle rock with not a single mussed hair or note out of place. Eighties-gazing singles like "Illusions" and "Walking in Your Footsteps" continue Shout Out Louds' string of wistful, highly processed pop songs, done with absolute mastery. NED LANNAMANN
AND AND AND, SAMA DAMS
(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) Though some musicians sound undeniably better with the benefit of a production studio and engineers, And And And sound drastically different. This can be a good thing. For example, I sometimes enjoy hearing their songs played at a relatively soft level, and I think the arrangements on Lost glow with the warmth of 1,000 sunsets. The downside is that the recordings capture nothing of the depravity, the loudness, the punk-rock spirit of their live shows. Not until now. In a fortunate development for posterity, And And And are the latest installment of Live from the Banana Stand, that beloved local series of sonic time capsules in the form of live albums. Finally, I can fit the frenzied chaos of And And And right in my pocket. There are several new and unreleased songs here, but the real pleasure is the raw, unfiltered versions of songs that I've grown so used to hearing in their mixed-and-mastered state. REBECCA WILSON
It's a manic Music Monday!
Portland sludge-math-noise-metal-??? band Drunk Dad have a 12-inch on the way, and the violent closing track "Scum Fee" premiered on Pitchfork today. Listen to it for yourself, and get tied up in knots by the savage riffing, the drums that sound like bunch of heavy items being dropped down the stairs, the roaring vocals that hurt just to listen to. Good times for the whole family! The Morbid Reality 12-inch comes out on local label Eolian on June 11, and Drunk Dad play a record release show at Ash Street Saloon on Saturday, June 7.
Italians Do It Better released the long-awaited After Dark 2 compilation on Friday via iTunes, and here's the contribution from Mirage: "Let's Kiss" echoes Prince's "I Would Die 4 U" by way of some crunchy vocoder. Compiled by IDIB mastermind Johnny Jewel, After Dark gathers unique and new Italo-disco tracks from the label's artists (including Glass Candy, Chromatics, and Desire) into an integrated album meant to stand fully on its own.
Here's the new track from local band Eidolons, who have a new album called Skyhook coming out digitally on June 3. A cassette release will follow on Friday, June 7 with a show at a Portland house venue to celebrate its release, with a national tour to follow. "Gordy" is a tangled, exploratory song that runs a range of dynamics, interpolating between harmonious moments and discordant instrumental passages.
Click the jump for tracks by Quiet Life, Bear & Moose, Keep Your Fork There's Pie, Perhapst, and not one but TWO remakes of the new Radiation City song "Zombies."
Ray Manzarek, keyboardist for the Doors, has died. He was 74. Manzarek passed away in Germany this morning; he had been fighting bile duct cancer. Along with his work with the Doors, Manzarek produced X's classic Los Angeles album from 1980. Here are the two best songs he did with the Doors:
I know the Stefon clip was the thing on SNL everybody wouldn't shut up about over the weekend, but, ah... you guys noticed Kanye West kind of killed it, right?
West performed two new tracks, both of which are generally and accurately being described as "intense" (here's the other one, "New Slaves"); they're presumably from his upcoming album, Yeezus (subtle, Kanye), which'll be out June 18. Considering West's last solo album, 2010's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, was his best and weirdest thus far (here we are three years later, and I'm still not sick of "Runaway"), and that even the relative let-down of his Jay-Z collaboration Watch the Throne still led to some astonishing live shows, it's safe to say Yeezus will be worth getting excited for.
The week kicks off excitingly with news about Pure Bathing Culture's forthcoming album, Moon Tides. It's their first full-length, following up their splendid 2012 self-titled EP, and it's due on August 20 on Partisan Records (in the UK, August 19 on Memphis Industries).
There's also a new track to listen to—"Pendulum" just premiered this morning on Gorilla vs. Bear, but you can listen to it here. The track graced many of PBC's hometown live shows last year, so it should sound pretty familiar. With Dan Hindman's immaculately clean electric guitar and Sarah Versprille's airy but distinct vocals, the track will also open the new album, which—like the self-titled EP—was recorded with Richard Swift at his Cottage Grove, Oregon, studio.
Here's the tracklisting for Moon Tides; amazingly, it will not duplicate any of the incredible tracks from the EP:
2. Dream the Dare
5. Only Lonely Lovers
7. Seven 2 One
8. Golden Girl
9. Temples of the Moon
Pure Bathing Culture plays the Wonder Ballroom this Saturday, May 25, opening for Father John Misty—AKA Josh Tillman, whose brother Zach plays bass in Pure Bathing Culture.
FABOLOUS, PUSHA T, PORTLAND EXPRESS, SUPANOVA, MR. C, CASPA
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) Two nice men named "Fabulous" and "Pusher Tee" [He means Fabolous and Pusha T. Sigh.—Eds.] will perform an uplifting array of danceable tunes. They also are good at wordplay. AKA "rap," like what you do when you go to your friend's apartment and the door is locked and you hope they didn't fall in the bathtub and die. I'm old! DENIS C. THERIAULT
STAY CALM, WEEK OF WONDERS, WL, SURFS DRUGS
(Rotture, 315 SE 3rd) A few years ago, Orca Team were among the best bands in Portland that not many people paid attention to. They garnered a smattering of local press and played at all the "right" bars, but something about the band just didn't seem to connect with Portland audiences. The band packed their things and relocated to Seattle, made a single record (2012's excellent Restraint, which almost blew up), and called it quits. But here's the good news: Former Orca Team bassist/ringleader Leif Anders' new band, Week of Wonders, is essentially a continuation of his previous project, and it's terrific in all the same ways. The group's debut EP Failures is a quintessentially Pacific Northwest take on beach pop that manages to be nostalgic and reminiscent of I-vi-IV-V shit without ever being too desperately "retro." But most importantly, stripped of their aesthetic, the songs are fundamentally great. If Failures isn't an indication we've been taking Anders for granted, I don't know what is. MORGAN TROPER
BRAHMS' FIRST SYMPHONY: OREGON SYMPHONY
(Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway) Achtung, procrastinators: Did you promise yourself you'd finally catch at least one Oregon Symphony concert this classical season? If so, heads up that tonight, tomorrow, and Monday mark the very last shows of 2012/2013, so get your skinny-jeaned asses in gear and grab some tix before the band embarks on their richly deserved summer vacay. Maestro Carlos Kalmar and the gang kick off this glorious program with a rousing seven-minute overture from Franz von Suppé before turning things over to guest soloist Jennifer Koh—a globally acclaimed fiddler who I guarantee will dazzle the crowd with a brilliant Hungarian violin concerto by Béla Bartók. Following Ms. Koh's gypsy virtuosity, Stumplandia's ultimate cover band will soar with the old-school sounds of Brahms' massive Symphony No. 1. Jesus H. Christ, people, pass up the PlayStation and nix the Netflix for just one goddamn night. It's high time for some fucking culture... unplug and get you some at the Schnitz! ANGRY SYMPHONY GUY
Tip for End Hits?
Email them here.
Get the best of the Mercury each week in your inbox!