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Last Empire Unfurls Geek-Metal Flag at Satyricon Saturday

 

Last Thursday night, I had dinner at Bar Carlo with my good friend and her one-year-old son Lucian. As the adults sat perusing over the menu, Lucian took it upon himself to bang two knives against the table and crank his head up and down, as he sang a song at the top of his lungs that only he knew the words to. This might have been annoying to the staff and other patrons of the restaurant, but for me it was an enjoyable experience watching a very intelligent child express himself. I turned to my friend in the midst of the noise and said, “Your son is so metal.” And if you think about it, what I said to my friend was completely true. What is metal if not someone pounding on the drums, head banging and bellowing lyrics that you usually can’t understand?

It is generally the high energy, screaming and testosterone that makes us love metal, not necessarily the message behind the music. But many metal bands like Manowar, Iron Maiden and Portland's own Last Empire do have a message, and for Harry Potter nerds like myself, it is a message of heavenly geekiness.

Fantasy-metal purveyors Last Empire sing about unicorns, falcons and kings of the throne. Their sound has a definite old school '80s feel, but mixes in a new school style and swagger. The band has received nothing but great reviews, especially for the out-of-this-world vocals of singer Brian Allen; but they haven’t quite caught on the same way in the U.S. as they have in Europe. Portland is lucky to have access to such a talented band, so you listeners out there need to take advantage of it by seeing them play on Saturday, January 16th with an all-Oregon bill also featuring Portland's Goatsoldiers, Excruciator and Salem's Filth-Machine at Satyricon. 8:00 p.m. All ages. $8.

- Deanna Uutela

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Kick Your Weekend off Right with Guidance Counselor this Friday at Mississippi Studios

 

We all know that Portland is hyper saturated with electro-pop; but in my eyes, this is not a bad thing. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. I love stumbling across new upbeat projects, and there’s nothing quite like an electro-pop show in a small bar. I mean, who doesn’t want to dance his or her ass off at a show and come home smelling like other peoples’ sweat? It’s fantastic.

Local electro-poppers Guidance Counselor take the bloops and bleeps from the city’s beloved genre, but couples them with a lo-fi garage rock sensibility. The three-piece strums simple guitar chords and bass lines atop rhythmic drums, while band founder, Ian Anderson, croons romantic lyrics like, “What is love but flesh and blood and guts?” in deep monotone similar to that of New Order’s Bernard Sumner. The result is marvelous dance music that is not as sugary sweet as some of the band's contemporaries. If this intrigues you, spend your Friday night at Mississippi Studios with Guidance Counselor and a bunch of sweaty strangers.

Seattle's Velella Velella, and Portland's own Arch Cape will open this evening of perspiration starting at 9:00 p.m. (doors at 8:00). $8. 21 and over.

- Katrina Nattress

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Cootie Platoon at Red Room this Friday

 

The members of Cootie Platoon love beer, cigarettes and rock. Surprise, surprise! What garage/punk band doesn’t love those things? Or at least claim to. They also love fishnets, tight short skirts, The Ramones and roller derby. If you're thinking this band sounds a lot like a leftover product of the '90s Riot Grrrl movement, you might be half right—but don’t underestimate the power of a girl rocking.

The members of Cootie Platoon are not at all new to the Portland music scene—their songs have been featured on several compilation cds, including Northwest Kicked In The Nuts, Monkey Business III and PDX POPNOW 2009. Singer/guitarist Melodie Beirwagen went through many bands, including some all-girl groups, before starting Cootie Platoon in 2001 with former members of the White Trash Debutantes, and Candyass via San Francsico transplant Rico De Guyo. Cootie Platoon’s style is similar to that of Veruca Salt, The Donnas and The Butthole Surfers. The band calls their sound "the Brady kids hopped up on cherry squishies," and even though I don’t quite see the connection, considering the Brady kids suck ass and Cootie Platoon doesn’t, I appreciate the imagery.

The Cootie Platoon plays with 48 Thrills, Minty Rosa and Molly Bolt on Friday, January 15th at The Red Room. 9:00 p.m., 21 and over.

- Deanna Uutela

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Soft Tags, Bodhi, We Miss the Earth Set Phasers to Stun at Doug Fir Tomorrow!

 

This all-Portland revue of talented rock bands is sure to please, especially for those looking to find some enjoyable lo-fi pop, shoegaze tones or garage-rock college tunes. Check out these bit-sized features and then check out their tunes.

Soft Tags: Their songwriting is like standing aboard a ship sailing its steady course while cutting through white noise and distortion. It takes no detours until it finds its proper resting point after an enjoyable five-minute tour (sometimes longer). With the recent release of their double LP Mathematical Monsters, Soft Tags are on the rise as they promote their new work.

Bodhi: Quality pop rock. Good leading melodic lines. A breath of '80s spill out the vocal chords, often with tones of Bowie. Songs can vary from a heavy influence of Joy Division to a rock-a-billy groove. All tastefully done, of course.

We Miss the Earth: Smooth reverb guitar effects and delay-soaked synth slide through their chord changes. The songwriting is solid. These guys have a darker side that is at times mixed with more cheerful melodies one might find on a My Bloody Valentine song.

Soft Tags, Bodhi, and We Miss the Earth will be performing at the excellent Doug Fir, for the small cost of $6.

- Joel Sommer

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Album Review: Blind Pilot iTunes Exclusive EP

An empty-echoed harmony breaks through the silence in a cry reminscent of classic American folk. Blind Pilot, in their new iTunes-exclusive release, has truly mastered a style sure to resonate with listeners. Opening with a two-stepped cover of Gillian Welch’s “Look at Miss Ohio,” (which you can see a live clip of above) the band continues on with three re-recorded tracks of their own, each in a spirit deeper and more longing than the last, finishing up with a new song titled “Get it Out.”

Although this exclusive EP features only two previously unreleased songs, each recording was tracked live and has been modified in such a way to make them truly unique from their original, as heard in the ukulele-led rendition of “3 Rounds & a Sound.” This EP is a great start for those unfamiliar with Blind Pilot, and a necessary addition to any current listener’s collection.

- Michael Miller

 

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