This Week in the Mercury

The Week

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

This Week's Mercury Music Section

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Wed, Apr 9, 2014 at 3:42 PM

Ghost to Falco
  • Ghost to Falco
Another week, another Mercury music section after you wrap your brain around the idea of Joan Jett fronting Nirvana at their Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction performance. Cool, but... wow.

• Eric Crespo's Ghost to Falco project has taken different shapes over the years, creeping around the outskirts of Portland's avant-garde and pop music communities. The new album, Soft Shield, is a record of startling invention and geologic beauty.

• Identical twin sisters Katelyn and Laurie Shook came from Sandpoint, Idaho, to make eclectic folk—fittingly, under the name Shook Twins.

• Northern Spanish band Berri Txarrak is bringing Basque punk stateside. You think your punk band is edgy? Try writing songs in a language that was banned for almost 40 years under a military dictatorship.

• English electronic-art band Factory Floor makes the most discordant kind of disco.

• PLUS! This week's hottest, coolest all-ages shows in another fine installment of All-Ages Action!

• And more hot and cold flashes in our Up & Coming show previews.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

This Week's Mercury Music Section

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Wed, Apr 2, 2014 at 4:47 PM

Future Islands
  • Tim Saccenti
  • Future Islands
Another week, another jam-packed Mercury music section that'll barely fit within the confines of your computer screen. Let's dive in.

Future Islands got a lot of attention when they went on Letterman, but the Baltimore romancers have been working their way up the ladder for some time.

Speaking of romancers, Bryan Ferry needs no introduction. Robert Ham speaks to the man himself.

Lydia Loveless' fiery, confessional new record is getting lots of attention.

Plus the return of our new All-Ages Action! column, featuring the best all-ages show of the week—no ID required.

College radio station KPSU has just launched an ambitious campaign to get itself back on the FM airwaves—where it belongs.

And previews of this week's hottest Up & Coming shows: Golden Retriever! Bad Sports! Cyne! And more!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

This Week's Mercury Music Section

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Wed, Mar 26, 2014 at 3:07 PM

The War on Drugs Adam Granduciel
Another week, another Mercury music section that's FAR more affordable than the new Wu-Tang album.

• For a guy who just released the best album of 2014, the War on Drugs' Adam Granduciel is awfully down to earth.

LISTEN: The War on Drugs - "Red Eyes"

Anne was a shoegaze band. Now it's a darkwave-y dance-music solo project.

LISTEN: Anne - "Terms"

• British extreme metal pioneers Carcass are meddling with their legacy—in a good way.

LISTEN: Carcass - "Captive Bold Pistol"

• Local collective Sonic Debris Multimedia has already embraced the digital revolution. The next challenge? A live monthly showcase—in other words, as analog as it gets.

• Plus! The premiere of our brand-new all-ages column, All Ages Action! It's where to go to find the week's best all-ages shows. No ID? No problem!

• And some morsels of local Music News, plus this week's Up & Coming shows, pressed in a gorgeous ultra-limited edition of one.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

This Week's Mercury Music Section

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Wed, Mar 19, 2014 at 3:49 PM

Perfect Pussy
  • Ben Cleeton
  • Perfect Pussy
Another week, another Mercury music section that's so well hidden, even a snooper troop like Courtney Love couldn't find it.

What's in a name? When you're Perfect Pussy, an attention-grabbing moniker that's as confrontational and potentially outrageous as the band's squalling, super-brief lightning rod of a live show.

LISTEN: Perfect Pussy - "Driver"

Columbus, Ohio, folkers Saintseneca finished their new album. Then they went to Omaha and recorded (most of) it all over again.

LISTEN: Saintseneca - "Happy Alone"

Ikonika's drum lessons as a kid carry through into her modern-day electronic music.

LISTEN: Ikonika - "Mr. Cake"

John Moreland might be the greatest songwriter you've never heard of. But don't take my word for it:

LISTEN: John Moreland - "Nobody Gives a Damn About Songs Anymore"

Plus previews of more Up & Coming shows than you can scan on Tomnod.


Thursday, March 13, 2014

This Week's Mercury Music Section

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Thu, Mar 13, 2014 at 2:33 PM

SHIRLEY NANETTE Back in the day.
  • SHIRLEY NANETTE Back in the day.
Another week, another exciting Mercury music section that, while tastefully decorated, doesn't hold a candle to Tool singer Maynard James Keenan's absurdly furbished home, currently for sale. Metal Sucks says it's like "Liberace Moves to Mexico," which about sums it up.

Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks are still cool. They can't help it, really.

• Inked in Blood/Twohands bassist Matt Thornton's solo project Tada is now making use of all the pieces on the chess board.

• Longtime Portland jazz singer Shirley Nanette recorded a great R&B album back in 1973, which no one's heard until now.

• Philly's Purling Hiss revisits its lo-fi past.

• And a ridiculously overdecorated manse's worth of Up & Coming shows, including a preview of the spectacular Carsick Cars!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

This Week's Mercury Music Section

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Wed, Mar 5, 2014 at 3:37 PM

Tacocat: No, really. They are the best.
  • Kelly O
  • Tacocat: No, really. They are the best.
Another week, another music section, but before we get into that, did you know that Portland's—nay, the world's—greatest musical event happens this weekend? 'Tis the Malt Ball, and it's a beer festival and music festival rolled into one. But of course, there is other music news to talk about, too:

• News editor Denis Theriault spills news all over the music section with an excellent investigative piece on what went down at the Blue Monk on Saturday night. Rapper Illmaculate chose to forgo his performance in protest of excessive police presence, drawing to light a far bigger issue between Portland police and the local hiphop scene. Could Saturday night mark a turning point? I for one sincerely hope so.

Tacocat are fun and games, but they're not all fun and games. Still, they're pretty damn fun. And who doesn't like games?

LISTEN: Tacocat - "Bridge to Hawaii"

Angel Olsen's voice is an instrument with thermodynamic capabilities, and her songwriting ain't bad, either.

LISTEN: Angel Olsen - "Forgiven/Forgotten"

• The Dharma Bums' Jeremy Wilson went to Florida to give it a go. It didn't work out. (Because Florida.)

LISTEN: Jeremy Wilson - "Empty Through Empty Space

Solids' sweet and serrated noise pop puts emphasis on the noise.

LISTEN: Solids - "Haze Away"

• Plus a malty, music-y festival's worth of Up & Coming shows.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

This Week's Mercury Music Section

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Wed, Feb 19, 2014 at 3:21 PM

Cécile McLorin Salvant
  • J.R. Photography
  • Cécile McLorin Salvant
Another week, another music section that's full of our tastiest recipes—although the news that Kelis "Milkshake" Rogers now has her own cooking show has forced us back into the Mercury test kitchen. (You can clear the yard now, boys.)

• We talked with MusicfestNW Executive Director Trevor Solomon about the big changes in store for this year's MFNW—more specifically, the paring down of the fest to a two-day, 18-band event at the Portland Waterfront.

• The Portland Jazz Festival kicks off this week, and if you're looking for jazz's living, breathing cutting edge, look no further than astonishing singer Cécile McLorin Salvant for some high voltage.

Sun Kil Moon's Mark Kozelek is not much for interviews, but he's damn solid at songwriting.

• Canadian punks Propagandhi have a lot on their minds, with their social consciousness bleeding outside of their music into other formats like podcasting.

• Like the sound that electric guitars make? You'll like Cheatahs.

• Plus a few scoops' worth of this week's Up & Coming shows.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

This Week's Mercury Music Section

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Wed, Feb 12, 2014 at 2:58 PM

Big Haunt
  • Mei Ratz
  • Big Haunt
Another week, another Mercury music section that bows down to the lowest common denominator—like the video for "Achy Breaky Heart Part 2"! If you thought conservative Papa Cyrus was disappointed in Miley's new line of twerk, a peep at this will change your tune. It's a taste that apparently runs in the family.

Why have one lead singer when you can have two? Lucius make twinsie pop that's both eye- and ear-catching.

LISTEN: Lucius - "Don't Just Sit There"

In the words of the band's Lars Ballard, Big Haunt is more interested in songs about "getting murdered and drowned and eaten alive by monsters than people canning beans and churning butter."

LISTEN: Big Haunt - "Beds"

Pontiak are three brothers making weirdo rock out of rural Virginia. Their latest record is their most Stooges-y, and most accessible, yet.

LISTEN: Pontiak - "Lack Lustre Rush"

Plus a spaceship's worth of Up & Coming booty.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

This Week's Mercury Music Section

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Wed, Feb 5, 2014 at 4:52 PM

Another week, another Mercury music section that contains none of the witty repartee and wordplay that was found in Axl Rose's stern rebuke to the Red Hot Chili Peppers' admission that their instruments were not plugged in during their Super Bowl performance. Not only did Messr. Rose compose "One in a Million," he's now coined the phrase "Google glass"! Ah, we mere mortals can only bask in such intellect.

• If you don't know the new band Eyelids, perhaps you know one of the umpteen bajillion other bands its members have played in—like, say, Guided by Voices, or the Decemberists, or Sunset Valley. Ring any bells?

• Arkansas doomers Pallbearer have come to Portland, Oregon, to record their second full-length album. So THAT'S what that low, cavernous rumbling is.

Touché Amoré adore l'accent aigu! Les hommes musiques jouent l'emo, parce que l'emo est chouette encore! Incroyable! Magnifique! Quelle surprise! C'est la vie!

• By naming themselves Princess, don't think the Seattle heavy loaders are being ironic. Instead, think "women with swords."

Plus a tightly braided cornrow's worth of this week's Up & Coming show previews.


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

This Week's Mercury Music Section

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Wed, Jan 29, 2014 at 2:51 PM

Action Bronson
  • Action Bronson
Another week, another Mercury music section that starts off strong with a great, sexy Beyoncé performance, then plods along pointlessly for another four soul-crushing hours.
• • •
Portland band Aan have an album! It took a while, for several good reasons. The tangled, off-kilter rock they produce was well worth the wait.

LISTEN: Aan - "I Don't Need Love"
• • •
I can't stop mistyping Action Bronson as "Archie Bronson," due to the inactive English band Archie Bronson Outfit that I love so dearly. In reality, comic rapper Action Bronson has virtually nothing in common with those guys, apart from some letters (and possibly a love for the '80s solo work of Genesis lead singers, because who doesn't love that?).

LISTEN: Archie Action Bronson with Party Supplies - "Contemporary Man"
• • •
Plus a fruitcage's worth of Up & Coming shows.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

This Week's Mercury Music Section

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Wed, Jan 22, 2014 at 1:55 PM

School of Rock students play with members of Red Fang at 2013s Best! of Portland show.
Another week, another Mercury music section that doesn't care what platform you use to listen to your music. (Well, except for SpiralFrog... it knows what it did.)

Once a year, students of the Portland chapter of School of Rock team up with adult members of local bands. The resultant Best! of Portland show is exactly that: a life-affirming, heart-warming, butt-kicking rock show that's one of the best experiences on the local live-music calendar.

Like many acts that start off as solo recording projects, Jordan Lee's Mutual Benefit has blossomed into a band. But don't expect the live incarnation to stay in one place for long.

Despite its very famous lead singer, Wisconsin's Volcano Choir has an identity all its own—not to mention a pedigree that includes bands that aren't Bon Iver, like the excellent All Tiny Creatures and Collections of Colonies of Bees.

Plus a super-sized Up & Coming section with additional previews you won't find in our pesky, papercut-inducing print edition!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

This Week's Mercury Music Section

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Wed, Jan 15, 2014 at 4:44 PM

Wooden Shjips
  • Anna Ignatenko
  • Wooden Shjips
Another week, another Mercury music section that's dipped in the hues of nostalia, as we learn the news that Roland is bringing back its classic 808 drum machine. Old is new again! Wonder if this means the telephone microcassette answering machine and the five-inch floppy diskette are also due for a resurgence.

Erik "Ripley" Johnson, of Bay Area psychedelic voyagers Wooden Shjips, has found safe harbor in Portland.

LISTEN: Wooden Shjips - "Back to Land"

Crooks on Tape improvise all their music. No, it does not sound like Phish.

LISTEN: Crooks on Tape - "Duper"

Our Q&A with legendary metal frontman Phil Anselmo of Pantera, Down, and the currently touring band Philip H Anselmo and the Illegals.

LISTEN: Philip H. Anselmo and the Illegals - "Usurper Bastard's Rant"

WEB EXCLUSIVE! As it's progressed, the music of Chicago band Disappears has become more mechanical, dark, and introverted—not to mention scarier.

LISTEN - Disappears - "Ultra"

Plus a beat bank's worth of Up & Coming shows.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

This Week's Mercury Music Section

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Wed, Jan 8, 2014 at 2:25 PM

  • Greg Morgan
Another week, another Mercury music section that includes none of the wonder and sheer theatricality of this photo of Insane Clown Posse, with help from the ACLU, suing the FBI. (ICP + ACLU v. FBI?? LOL!) Still, it's a fine section if I say so myself.

Patterson Hood and his family are trying out Portland for a spell. A cold, dark, wet spell. The idea is, if they can get through a winter and still love Portland, the rest of the year should be a snap. In the meantime, Hood has a residency at the Doug Fir this month; his band Drive-By Truckers is playing the Roseland on April 24.

The Monolith Agency is bringing Portland bands up to Alaska to play all around the great northern state. It's a great way for Portland bands to get out-of-state gigs and see Alaska at the same time.

And a fizzing Faygo bottle's worth of Up & Coming shows.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

This Week's Mercury Music Section

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Wed, Dec 11, 2013 at 3:55 PM

King Krule
  • King Krule
Another week, another Mercury music section to crumple up and wad inside your clothing to serve as insulation, as you read the chilly news about Metallica's concert in Antarctica, making them the first-ever band to tour all seven continents in a single year. Pffft. Single year?—let's see someone do it in a single day. How about you, Mr. Philip Collins? You're apparently out of retirement now, and you've already done this.

King Krule is the young man with the ageless voice. Does this sounds like the 19-year-old with red hair and freckles pictured above to you?

LISTEN: King Krule - "Easy Easy"

Pere Ubu, on the other hand, are as old as punk itself. Unlike many of their contemporaries, however, the experimental rockers certainly haven't mellowed into accessibility.

LISTEN: Pere Ubu - "414 Seconds"

Conversely, alt-country veteran Robbie Fulks has begun to act his age (50). It suits him very well.

LISTEN: Robbie Fulks - "Long I Ride"

Plus a crumpled-up wad's worth of this week's Up & Coming shows, longfellow.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

This Week's Mercury Music Section

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Wed, Dec 4, 2013 at 2:18 PM

  • Jim Leisy
  • Genders
Another week, another Mercury music section. Pay attention! There will be a test.

Multiple choice! Portland band Genders have done which of the following?
A. Hit a deer with their van
B. Left a somewhat aggressive note on the door of Built to Spill's practice space
C. Released an exceptional debut album
D. All of the above

LISTEN: Genders - "Something to Get You By"

True or false? Fanno Creek's new album contains songs about aliens and outer space.

LISTEN: Fanno Creek - "On My Way"

Essay section! Explain, in detail, how the Dismemberment Plan's shadow of influence grew in their absence, and how they indirectly shaped the course of what is now commonly referred to as "indie rock." Show your work.

LISTEN: The Dismemberment Plan - "Daddy Was a Real Good Dancer"

All the answers and more, in the new Mercury music section! Plus an answer key full of this week's Up & Coming shows.

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