Tickets and official site: musicfestnw.com
[HIP-HOP] There’s another side to hip-hop’s coin, and Antwon is making himself a contender to be its face. Dropping raw, DIY mixtapes like March’s In Dark Denim from his San Jose, Calif., home, Antwon is about as interested in money, liquor and hoes as the rest of us average people—that is to say, somewhat interested, but not obsessed. (ML) Roseland Theater, 9 pm.
[FUNK ROCK] Jennifer Herrema had been doing just fine continuing on with the classic rock-inspired spirit of her band Royal Trux, but the 46-year-old vocalist wants to prove she still has some original spark with new project Black Bananas. The group’s 2012 debut, Rad Times Xpress IV, is some of the most unhinged, funky rock around, akin to the work of ’70s icons like Betty Davis and Parliament. (RH) Dante’s, 10 pm.
[ELECTRO HIP-HOP] At 24, Portland DJ Gang$ign$—aka Nick Sisouphanh—possesses a musical palate that belies his age. This is a dude who isn’t afraid to mix braggadocio-laced gangster thump with Doris Day samples, electronic fuzz, jazz, punk and indie rock, putting it all through a Skrillex- and Dre-infused filter. (APK) Roseland Theater, 7 pm.
[FREAK RAP] Part Shabazz Palaces, part Tyler the Creator, part feral beast, Nacho Picasso proves you can get experimental without ditching all the nasty shit built into the foundation of post-gangster rap. Nacho’s beats run the gamut from hypnotically ambient to darkly stirring, punctuated by deep thumps that make the MC’s slow, steady flow all the more menacing. (APK) Roseland Theater, 8 pm.
[POWER POP] There’s a strong case to be made for Redd Kross being L.A.’s greatest band. The long-running outfit, led by brothers Steve and Jeff McDonald, has survived everything from the “live fast, die young” days of punk to the rise of glam metal to the birth of Alternative Nation, all while resisting the urge to adjust their powerful, arena-ready pop one iota. (RH) Dante’s, 11 pm.
[GARAGE ROCK] Summer Cannibals’ Jessica Boudreaux doesn’t scream her anger. Throughout No Makeup, the Portland band’s debut album, Boudreaux seethes with raw tunefulness rather than open-throated rage. She leaves the aggression to guitarist Marc Swart, who plugs directly into the shared amp of the Cannibals’ Pacific Northwest garage-punk forebears, from Dead Moon through Sleater-Kinney. (MPS) Dante’s, 9 pm.
[QUAD ROCK] Minneapolitans the 4onthefloor are a foursome who play four bass drums as well as, respectively, guitar, guitar, bass, and the rest of the drum kit. Oh, and its tough, melodic, hard roots-rock songs are exclusively in 4/4 time. Its debut album, naturally titled 4x4, features, yes, 16 songs. The recently issued follow-up, Spirit of Minneapolis, features 13 songs that expand on the sound of the debut. Just wait until album No. 4. (JR) Dante’s, 10 pm.
The Baseball Project
[JOCK JAMS] A band themed on America’s pastime? What, do they stand around tuning for four hours, playing a full song once every 16 tries? The jokes, they write themselves. But seriously, the Baseball Project sports an all-star roster, including the Minus 5’s Scott McCaughey, Scott Wynn of Dream Syndicate, and sometimes R.E.M.’s Peter Buck, elevating murder ballads about Carl May and power-pop tributes to Ichiro Suzuki above fun diversions into something kind of great. (MPS) Doug Fir Lounge, 11 pm.
[THROWBACK HIP-HOP] The Portland duo of Jon Belz and Jesse PC recalls an often-forgotten era of ’90s hip-hop in which a gruff MC and a smooth talker combined forces to at once throw down some badassery and make panties melt. The two pull it off beautifully while bringing their own brand of kush-laced spit to the game. (APK) Hawthorne Theatre, 8 pm.
[NOISE POP] Atlanta quintet Deerhunter doesn’t write songs. It creates vortexes: swirling masses of cacophonous cymbals, fuzz-drenched guitars, distorted vocals and stray sound waves. It’s the kind of music that makes early Butthole Surfers sound like Brahms in comparison. Leader Bradford Cox has built his own world by defying expectations and layering the most seemingly incompatible sounds into something abstractly beautiful.
Deerhunter sprung out of the gate with 2005’s Turn It Up Faggot, a record steeped in anger —its title comes from a recurring audience heckle during the band’s infancy—and pain stemming from the death of original bassist Justin Bosworth. The record, despite its dark production history—or perhaps because of it—turned heads, leading to the release of 2007’s more-subdued Cryptograms and 2008 breakthrough Microcastle, which unexpectedly hit the Billboard Top 200 charts, and landed the band a steady run of headlining spots.
Riding high on a wave of acclaim and a growing fan base, the group went on hiatus. But the break was short-lived, and a year later the band stormed back with 2010’s Halcyon Digest. Its most critically lauded record to date, the album showed a more densely layered side of Deerhunter, blending its milieu of noise rock, shoegaze, classic rock and punk more densely than ever before.
With the May release of sixth album Monomania, Deerhunter has managed to continue its tremendous momentum with another masterpiece of ambience. The group has graduated to the point of giving full-album performances, vividly bringing to life its swirl of contrasting sounds and winning new fans by refusing to sugarcoat the sharp musical pill it has assembled. AP KRYZA. Crystal Ballroom, 10:30 pm Wednesday, Sept. 4.
[SYNTH POP] Scotland’s Lauren Mayberry, Iain Cook and Martin Doherty made a big impression in Portland earlier this summer when they brought their shimmery sounds to the MusicfestNW kickoff party. It was just the latest in a slate of attention-grabbing gigs for Chvrches.
A festival-circuit favorite since forming in 2011, the trio has been riding the Next Big Thing wave with widespread critical acclaim: kudos from the press at South by Southwest and the BBC’s Sound of 2013 poll, a live TV debut on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, sold-out headlining dates, a slot opening for Depeche Mode. All this for an act whose full-length studio debut doesn’t drop until Sept. 24.
Breakthrough tracks “The Mother We Share” and “Lies,” released online last year, and the post-apocalyptic title clip for the Recover EP, are gloriously pretty washes of retro textures—punk, New Wave, goth, hip-hop. Epic production flourishes are on trend in the age of Purity Ring, M83, Passion Pit, et al., but credit Mayberry’s delicate lead vocals, Cook’s grounding guitars and Doherty’s sweeping samples for setting the band apart from the electro-pop crop.
Lyrics follow suit. It’s rare that nods to burned bridges and an Earth gone cold sound both sad and soaring.
With Mayberry at the helm, Chvrches’ wounded-warrior dance parties—see hooky, stomping electro anthem “Recover”—become radiant without being woe-is-me navel-gazing or twee breakup posturing.
The results are dreamy synth gems of curious strength—in words and melody—that’s worthy of the hype. Chvrches’ date at Roseland Theater kicks off its latest North American tour, and a whole lot more of “I saw them when” talk. AMANDA SCHURR. Roseland Theater, 10 pm Wednesday, Sept. 4.
[INDIE ROCK] Though they’ve only played a handful of shows, the main members of Eyelids—Jonathan Drews (Sunset Valley), Chris Slusarenko (Guided by Voices) and John Moen (the Decemberists, Elliott Smith, Stephen Malkmus)—are well used to the stares of the adoring faithful through their key roles in legendary acts. The illustrious sidemen bring the same instrumental facility and formidable connoisseurship to this guitar-pop master class. (JH) Doug Fir Lounge, 8 pm.
Fred & Toody Cole (Unplugged)
[PUNK ROYALTY] After birthing Portland
punk with the Rats, defining it with Dead Moon and then refining it with
Pierced Arrows, no one would’ve begrudged Fred and Toody Cole if they
retired to a little house in the country once they hit 60. But then, a
little house in the country—otherwise known as Clackamas—is where they
started, and it’s where they’ve stayed, so what’s the point of
retirement? An acoustic show is certainly a rarity, but if anyone
deserves the Storytellers format, it’s the royal grandparents of the PDX underground. (MPS) Doug Fir Lounge, 10 pm.
[HIP-HOP BEATS] Calvin Valentine is making moves, in and out of Portland. In the last year, the rapper-producer—known by the nom de beatsmith G_Force—has teamed with battle-rap extraordinaire Illmaculate on the excellent Green Tape mixtape, remixed local indie-pop sensations Radiation City and collaborated with Houston’s legendary underground king Bun B. That’s not to mention his continued work with TxE, turning out booming boom bap for one of the hottest MC tandems in town. (MPS) Hawthorne Theatre, 7:30 pm.
[SYNTH POP] Australian synth-poppers Gold Fields are creating the soundtrack for the ’80s movie that is your life. “Closest I Could Get” sounds like a Simple Minds B-Side, while the propulsive synths of “Treehouse” would have fit well in a John Hughes film. The swelling dance beats of “Dark Again” combine with Mark Robert Fuller’s vocals to great effect, recalling the group’s countrymen in Atlas Genius. (BP) Mississippi Studios, 11 pm.
[HIP-HOP] A few years on the road have lent Seattle-via-Chicago MC Grieves a certain maturity. Atop intricate beats ranging from bombastic to mellow, Grieves still packs an aggressive flow, but it’s now marked by a deeper, breathier cadence that adds gravity to the young gun’s drops of real knowledge. (APK) Hawthorne Theatre, 11 pm.
Hiss Golden Messenger
[DREAM FOLK] Like all good country-folk-blues-rock hybrid projects, this ongoing pursuit by singer-songwriter M.C. Taylor unfolds melodic ideas and lyrics slowly and with deliberate care. You fear one sudden movement will send the North Carolina musician and his friends scurrying back to their warrens. While the group is above ground, delight in its quiet country shuffling and mildly psychedelic highs. (RH) Aladdin Theater, 9 pm.
[PSYCH POP] L.A. based duo Aaron Shanahan and Benjamin Plant spend much of their time in experimental pop group Honeymooon wishing they could live in the 1960s and ’70s. Single “Hail the Madmen” might be about the homeless population in California, but the groovy, dreamlike tune’s effervescent vocals and curving synths will send you on a trip that’ll have you dreaming of a life far beyond the streets. (HM) Mississippi Studios, 9 pm.
Justin Townes Earle
[AMERICANA] Justin Townes Earle can’t
escape the shadow of his country legend father, Steve Earle, and it
seems to be wearing on him: The younger Earle begins his last album, Nothing’s Gonna Change the Way You Feel About Me Now,
singing with a tinge of regret about how he doesn’t talk to his dad as
often as he should. But after five albums he finally seems to be carving
out a niche as an accomplished singer-songwriter on his own terms. (JD)
Aladdin Theater, 10 pm.
[HIP-HOP] It’s tempting to describe K. Flay as the alternate-universe Kreayshawn. But that would imply just the sort of gimmicky connotations the unassuming, defiantly dressed-down former Kristine Flaherty has taken pains to avoid. Absent electro collaborators or indie samples, she tends toward coldly sparse self-production bolstering dominant lyrical themes of over-aware alienation that only really diminish mid-concert as, beats constructed and audience enthralled, she indulges a richly deserved swag. (JH) Hawthorne Theatre, 10:15 pm.
Larry and His Flask
[PUNKGRASS] Initially a going-nowhere Central Oregon punk band, Larry and His Flask began throwing banjo and mandolin into its Sturm und Drang on 2011’s All That We Know, drawing in both folks who like a little melody with their hardcore and those who want their string music with a grittier edge. It’s been a winning combination so far: The band has played the Warped Tour twice, drawing big crowds each time and blurring the line between hoedown and bro-down. (MPS) Dante’s, 11 pm.
[FOLK ART] Although his paintings and found-object collages have appeared in the Smithsonian and the White House, 63-year-old Birmingham, Ala., native Lonnie Holley has seemingly occupied his own plane of existence since the late ’70s. Last year’s Just Before Music, his first official album, is a transfixing star map of free-form soul, revealing Holley to be something of a cosmic Gil Scott-Heron. (MPS) Crystal Ballroom, 9:30 pm.
[DANCE POP] Taking cues from the likes of Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark and Depeche Mode, the music of Ben Braun and Ian Mackintosh manages to be machine-driven while still beating with a human heart. The Portland-based duo’s 2010 sophomore album, Where We Are, is full of swooning synths, dance rhythms and processed vocals that make them sound like lovesick androids. (MPS) Mississippi Studios, 8 pm.
Murder By Death
[GALLOWS FOLK] Murder by Death has always been a band that’s existed just shy of cheery. The Midwesterners find solace in the kind of boisterous Southern gothic tunes you’d expect once wafted from old-time bordellos. Sixth album Bitter Drink, Bitter Moon is brimming with dark, acoustic ballads and Adam Turla’s Johnny Cash-esque baritone. It’s a collection of brooding songs culled from American roots spliced with punk fervor and bold brass tinges. (BW) Dante’s, midnight.
[THROWBACK POP] The bassist for buzz-worthy synth-pop maven Twin Shadow, Russ Manning, aka Rush Midnight, avoids the hard-edged synths or distinct vocals of his side project. Instead, Rush Midnight adopts the voice as just another washed-out instrument in a New Wave orchestra, perfect for chilling out after midnight. (ML) Mississippi Studios, 10 pm.
[HIP-POP] Momentum stalled after a lawsuit shelved her debut, but Sirah finally found global success with a star turn as a guest MC for Grammy-winning Skrillex smash “Bangarang,” while also perfecting the playful flow that propels her most recent EP, Inhale. (JH) Hawthorne Theatre, 9:30 pm.
[HIP-HOP CLASSICISM] No other rappers in Portland regard the past with such warmth as TxE. On his own, Tope can barely go a verse without paying homage to his idols, and together with Epp, he forms a duo brimming with golden-age chemistry. On 2012 EP Tetherball, they even borrow directly from the greats, sampling Biggie and trading childhood memories over a version of A Tribe Called Quest’s “Luck of Lucien,” remixed by third member G_Force. (MPS) Hawthorne Theatre, 8:45 pm.
[EXPERIMENTAL BOUNCE] Introducing teenage dial-and-knob phenom Marcel Everett. There’s an icy coolness about Everett’s creations, but XXYYXX goes beyond chillwave into zones of trip-hop, art pop, even dubstep. (MAS) Roseland Theater, 9 pm.
CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Emilee Booher, Ruth Brown, Nathan Carson, Pete Cottell, Joe Donovan, Jonathan Frochtzwajg, Robert Ham, Jay Horton, Reed Jackson, Matthew Korfhage, AP Kryza, Mitch Lillie, Haley Martin, Brian Palmer, Jeff Rosenberg, Amanda Schurr, Matthew P. Singer, Grace Stainback, Chris Stamm, Mark A. Stock, Brandon Widder.