Tonight: Mount Eerie/WHY?/No Kids, the Oregon Donor, Spiral Stairs' In-Store

oregondonor9.jpg
The Oregon Donor play the Sunset Tavern tonight
Mount Eerie, WHY?, No Kids at the Vera Project, 7:30 p.m., $13, all ages

"Wind's Dark Poem," the opening track from the double-album sprawl of Mount Eerie's recently released Wind's Poem, sounds a lot like a maelstrom. Heavily distorted guitars, thick washes of feedback, and crashing cymbals all whip around Phil Elverum's voice, which sounds a bit like a lost soul that's not really trying to be heard above the cacophony, as if he's speaking calmly from the center of the tornado that's about to toss him into the heavens. This dynamic interplay is how Elverum is able to indulge his black metal ambitions without losing the intimate voice that so typifies Mount Eerie recordings. Of course, not all of Wind's Poem is so brash. "Through the Trees" sounds a lot like a half forgotten lullaby, with gentle organ, softly brushed drums, occasional guitar, and an ethereal presence that only works because it feels so organic and personal, like the sound of your own breathing. These two tracks really act as signifiers for the entire album. Some songs are bracing and almost assault the ears, others so gentle that you can almost forget that they exist external to yourself. The most amazing moments are when these two elements are inexplicably combined, which Elverum manages to do repeatedly here. A masterful album. NICHOLAS HALL

Spiral Stairs at Sonic Boom in Ballard, 6 p.m., free, all ages (big show is tomorrow night at Neumos with Bob Mould)

Now that news of the Pavement reunion is out of the bag, there's an electric buzz of excitement surrounding any activity by the band's individual members. If going to see Scott Kannberg, aka Spiral Stairs, once came with the painful baggage of mourning and wishful thinking, it doesn't have to anymore. But before we get ahead of ourselves, Stairs has a new album coming out within days of his two local appearances. Of course, his opening slot for Bob Mould reads on the marquee like a summit meeting between two of indie rock's most celebrated icons, but watching Kannberg perform for free at a record store for an all-ages crowd is much more in-keeping with the spirit he brought to Pavement in the first place. While Pavement eventually came to be dominated by leader Stephen Malkmus, Kannberg played the part of Malkmus' ideal creative foil perfectly, and his edgier, more out-there sensibility clearly helped shape the band's legendary sound. Like Malkmus, Kannberg has benefitted greatly from taking a less self-conscious approach to his post-Pavement output. His stuff was always pleasantly loose, even sloppy, but these days he sounds like he's having a lot more fun. And, yes, he does do Pavement tunes. SABY REYES-KULKARNI

The Oregon Donor (CD release), the Femurs at the Sunset, 9 p.m., $7

It must be hard to be a musician from Anacortes, given that you will always live in the daunting shadow of the prodigy that is John Van Deusen of the Lonely Forest. It's almost like being from Aberdeen and starting up an angsty grunge band. That being said, there's always room for more indie-rock bands in the Northwest (right?), and the Oregon Donor is one that recalls several of the area's established favorites -- say, an earlier-era Minus the Bear or a less thrash-y Thermals. The foursome formulates textured and jam-heavy songs complete with jerky guitar riffs, frontman Christopher Edwards' rubbery vocals, and a plethora of extended proggy interludes. The group's been working hard recording and playing shows for years now, and earlier this month, finally released their third full-length, A Pageant's End. Tracks like "Morse Code" and "Hostages" highlight the Oregon Donor's friskier side, with picked-up, jittery tempos and echoing layers of vocal harmonies -- definitely the band's sound at its best. E. THOMPSON

 
comments powered by Disqus

Friends to Follow