September 3rd, 2008 Erik Bader | Special Section Stories
 

Polvo

Midnight Saturday, Berbati’s

     
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[HEROES OF ROCK] “Guitar-based soundtracks to kung-fu movies.” That’s how Polvo describes its sound. But that and any other attempted description just flows through the fingers like the English translation of the band’s name, which in Spanish means “dust.” From 1990 to 1998, Polvo existed as one of the kingpins of the burgeoning music scene coming out of the unlikely location of Chapel Hill, N.C.—holding its place in the brainier, weirder corner of the indie-rock triumvirate that included fellow slack motherfuckers Superchunk and Archers of Loaf. Mixing oddly tuned, pedal-treated guitar histrionics with more elegant Eastern influences, Polvo turned the indie-rock formula upside down, reflecting angular pop through a cracked glass mirror, fractured like broken chandeliers.

In the 10 years since the band’s members initially parted ways, they’ve done time in bands as disparate as seminal indie-rock outfit Helium (Polvo’s Ash Bowie and Helium’s Mary Timony dated for a spell) and the classic rock-loving Black Taj. They reunited as Polvo earlier this year for the Explosions in the Sky-curated All Tomorrow’s Parties festival. Polvo has played only a handful of East Coast dates in addition to ATP, so its MusicfestNW appearance will be a rare opportunity for lucky Portlanders who missed the legendary string-bending quartet the first time around, or for ’90s nostalgists looking to Celebrate the New Dark Age one more time.

 
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