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November 2nd, 2005 Jason Simms, Michael Byrne, Casey Jarman | Album Reviews
 

LIVE AND ALBUM REVIEWS

     
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IMAGE: NATHAN LENZ

The Clorox Girls Oct. 29

The dirty boys in the Clorox Girls celebrate a new album with a three-diculous evening.

[BREAKING-THINGS CORE] If you were between the Paris Theatre and the Doug Fir around 7:20 pm Saturday night, or on Hawthorne Boulevard between 30th and 39th a few minutes after, chances are you got mooned by a Clorox Girl. "Stay on target!" yelled drummer Clay Silva to band leader Justin Maurer, honking to draw attention to Maurer's ass, a great white sight that was blazing a trail around the city as the Clorox Girls celebrated the release of their sophomore album, This Dimension, with three shows at three seperate venues.

The evening started with a 6 pm performance under the fluorescent lights at Ozone UK, where bassist Colin Grigson spent most of the time headbutting, leaning on and otherwise harassing the somewhat stiff crowd of about 30. "I think I have more fun when people don't dig it," Grigson said later. "Of course, it's great when people like the music, but I really love making an awkward atmosphere."

Arriving at the Hawthorne Theatre, Maurer cured any of his awkwardness with alcohol. After shotgunning eight or so Budweisers with Dan Travanti of the Briefs, Johnny Kashani of the Observers and this reporter, Maurer led the all-ages crowd in a slam-dancing, pogoing frenzy. And when the first-ever live performance of new song "Tara" (with Kashani on keyboards) fell apart, Maurer solved the slip-up by simply slashing some pillows with a switchblade (also accidentally cutting his hand), and let the crowd throw glowing cotton beneath the club's black-lights.

A short while later, the Girls took the stage at Slabtown in front of a 21-plus crowd, and played a set that belied any exhaustion they might have felt after already playing two shows; Silva set a fast pace and the rest of the band followed for the tightest and most energetic performance of the night.

The set was also enhanced by the time-honored punk tradition of breaking things: Maurer smashed a disco ball and a lamp, toppled a small fence, broke an electric Santa Claus while dancing with it, and, even after being asked to stop by a bartender dressed as the Phantom of the Opera, wrapped his neck in Christmas lights. And then, after a full night spent shocking pedestrians and enthralling fans, the Clorox Girls rode their trail of destruction home. JASON SIMMS.

Go to www.cloroxgirls.com for info on future Clorox Girls shows.

Self-Titled EP - The Village Green (Hidden Peak Records)

This quartet brings you Brit-pop, Portland. But do you want it?

[FAUX BRIT-POP] About a month before the release of this, the Village Green's debut EP, the band suffered a supreme image setback in being the opener for the opener of the Lashes, one of the most hollow "fashion" bands to get snatched off Seattle's Capitol Hill. Regardless, the Green played with the fever and attitude its cocky Brit-pop demands, and probably bagged around 11 fans, from a crowd of 12.

The band isn't blazing new territory with its music, but, for Portland, the Village Green's sound is unique. This self-titled EP is an experiment in the odd application of a hometown style to a genre of music that has become nearly formulaic since the bands of Brit-pop erected their wonderwall in the mid-'90s. The Village Green's opener "Let It Go" pairs irritated Northwest garage guitar just beneath vocals that sound like a rough mean of Liam Gallagher, Supergrass' Gaz Coombs and Blur's Damon Albarn. The initial five notes of reverb on "Come On" circuit straight back to Blur's "Song 2." But, instead of jerking into Albarn's cracked-out woo-hoos, the Village Green's J. Nicholas Arnold keeps us in the rain with a barely burnished harmony.

The Village Green is filling the Brit-pop hole Portland didn't know it had. This town's got bands playing in multiple dimensions, but it doesn't really have this: music that just gets us going. How we could have gone this long without that swagger and aural sneer is a mystery. Right?

Maybe not. In the end, it could be too soon to start hearing this again. Affected by a few rainy days or not, this is still textbook Brit-pop, which faded away for good reason. The catchier a hook is, the more disposable it is, whether it's made in Portland or London. MICHAEL BYRNE.

The Village Green plays with DJ Sars Wednesday, Nov. 2, at the Fez Ballroom. 10 pm. $5. 21+.

Psychopath Society Suckapunch (Auditory Sculpture)

This all-star hip-hop trio doesn't play nice, adding up to less than the sum of its parts.

[HIP-HOP] The men in Suckapunch are strange revolutionary bedfellows. Celebrated Northwest slam poet Mic Crenshaw, electronica-centric producer/DJ Keith Schreiner and eclectic guitar whiz Dale Morris each bring talent to the project, but with mixed results.

Crenshaw's flow is refreshingly unpredictable. He is at his strongest with his heart on his sleeve, rhyming about the rocky road to manhood. On "Just a Man," he talks plainly about responsibility finding him at 21, when his girlfriend became unexpectedly pregnant, accompanied by stand-up bass and Morris' wah-wah guitar. Crenshaw's persona here is in stark contrast to tracks like "Success," where his vocabulary-flaunting can overshadow his personal and revolutionary messages.

Morris' guitar work is inspired but oversaturated. There are four stylistically distinctive layers of guitar on "Workin'," and they push Crenshaw's vocals and Schreiner's beats out of the limelight where they belong. And instead of putting exclamation points on Crenshaw's strongest statements, Schreiner's production often leaves Crenshaw hanging, which makes Psychopath Society sound less like the "global movement" it is billed as than one man's uphill battle against his own group.

Suckapunch is perfectly capable of firing on all cylinders. "Blade Drink," despite oddly macabre lyrics like "Feel the beat/ I put the pill in the meat," is a balanced track. "Memories" bumps along to Crenshaw's reminiscing cleanly, with appropriate, head-nodding throwback instrumentation. Suckapunch needs to heed the fist on he album cover and make a unified artistic statement. CASEY JARMAN.

Suckapunch plays Hiphopalooza 2005 Friday, Nov. 4, at Berbati's Pan. 9 pm. $15 advance, $18 day of show. 21+.


o to www.cloroxgirls.com for info on future Clorox Girls shows.

The Village Green plays with DJ Sars Wednesday, Nov. 2, at the Fez Ballroom. 10 pm. $5. 21+.

Suckapunch plays Hiphopalooza 2005 Friday, Nov. 4, at Berbati's Pan. 9 pm. $15 advance, $18 day of show. 21+.

 
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