Norfolk & Western, Point Juncture WA, WYE Oak

Nonexistent namesakes--but the music thrills, for real

Point Juncture, WA is not actually a place but a Portland band of equal parts energy and eclecticism. Employing trumpet, vibraphone, autoharp, synthesizer, and the usual rock set-up, Point Juncture make bright, smart, indie-pop while redefining “musical chairs,” as members expertly switch between instruments and singing duties at shows. A refreshing optimism seems to float around the band, whether from their tasteful song arrangements or free-time activity of teaching kids around Oregon to play rock music. Go tonight if you want to recharge your battery on something fun and inspired. Joining Point Juncture are Norfolk and Western, named after a 19th-century railway and including a cast of Portland all-stars headed by Type Foundry studio operator Adam Selzer. N & W’s brand of rock is drenched in a 1930s sepia-tone shuffle. Both groups have been mysteriously absent from Seattle’s music calendar—Point Juncture for no excusable reason and N & W due to tours with The Decemberists, Sparklehorse, and DeVotchKa—so take advantage of this show while you can. Playing with Merge Records duo Wye Oak. Comet Tavern, 922 E. Pike St. $6. 9 p.m. ERIK NEUMANN

THE SHORT LIST

If Point Juncture, WA was a real place instead of a modest DIY band from Portland, it would probably look like the charming barefoot village Edward Bloom came across in the film Big Fish: picturesque, unpretentious, and infused with the yearning of those who can’t quite banish the notion that something great lies beyond the forbidding foliage. In the real world, Point Juncture, WA are a Portland-based electro-pop group that specializes in hopeful, halcyon ditties about happy endings and overdosing on sweets. Not as cheerfully bubblegum as Portland’s dance-party staple the Blow, the material falls in more tranquil, introspective territory, with vibraphonist Victor Nash blurring the edges of the band’s traditional voice-guitar-bass-drums instrumentation. Enticing as Nash’s and Amanda Spring’s soft vocal stylings are, it’s the harmonious blend of instruments and unexpected tempo changes that keep the listener engaged, cementing Point Juncture, WA’s place near the top of the PDX pop pecking order. With Norfolk & Western and WYE Oak. Comet Tavern, 922 E. Pike St., 323-9853. 9 p.m. $6. SARA BRICKNER

Listen to a sample of Pr. Juncture WA's "Sick On Sugar."

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Fri., Jan. 25, 9 p.m., 2008

 
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