Monday, January 9th: Company, Freedom Club, Eiger Sanction
Ken Cheppaikode of Dirtnap/Green Noise fame once told me that Freedom Club sounded like a hardcore version of the Marked Men. I think Mr. Cheppaikode wanted to see me get a boner, because I’m pretty sure he knows I love the Marked Men more than almost any other band on the planet, and the name alone makes me feel kinda funny, like when we used to climb the rope in gym class. When I saw Freedom Club at the Know last November, I actually did catch a whiff of that hyperactive Denton sound that Ken has so tirelessly promoted via Dirtnap. Freedom Club has that tightly wound antsiness that Marked Men and its splinter factions share, but these Portland punks are meaner, louder, rougher.
Tuesday, January 10th: Gallons, Hookers, Grapefruit
This show is the week’s wild card event. Let’s call it the “members of” sweepstakes. Gallons features members of Sun Angle and Pluvial. Hookers sports members of Joggers, the Jicks and Scout Niblett’s crew. I can’t find any music by these bands anywhere. Go to the show and tell me what they sound like! Meanwhile, I have no idea who is in Grapefruit, but I heard a few of its droning, blooping, bleeping, trippy songs on the internet. If you like White Rainbow and Golden Retriever you will like Grapefruit. Go to the show and tell me what he/she/it/they look like!
Wednesday, January 11th: Nucular Aminals, Koko & the Sweetmeats, Still Caves
At some point last year, while I wasn’t looking--okay, fine, I was watching my dog clean her butt--Nucular Aminals put out an LP on K Records and a 7-inch on K imprint International Pop Underground. I’m going to chalk my oversight up to the sheer ubiquity of Nucular Aminals, whose presence on seemingly every single bill in town has rendered the band name invisible to me. I’m trying to catch up with Portland’s noise-poppers as we speak, but I’m having a difficult time getting past “Nobody’s Man”, the title track of the new-ish 7-inch. It’s my favorite Nucular Aminals tune yet, a sweet tease that plods spookily along, threatens to become a cover of “Celebrity Skin”, finds its haunted groove again, and then ever so fleetingly echoes Pinback. It’s one of those songs that seems to be hiding a naughty secret.
Thursday, January 12th: Arctic Flowers, Mundo Muerto, Autistic Youth, DJ Skell
Arctic Flowers’ Reveries made just about every punk-oriented end-of-the-year list last month, including mine. An introduction is unnecessary, right? Mundo Muerto is a far less familiar name, at least in these parts. Hailing from El Monte, California (call it L.A.), this band of proud punks is responsible for one of my favorite recent Facebook status updates: “Due To Some Fukked Up && Extreme Tooth Ache Pain MUNDO MUERTO Will Not Be Playing Tonight.” And it turns out “fukked up && extreme tooth ache pain” doubles as a pretty good description of Mundo Muerto’s raw sing-along punk rock. Note: must know Spanish to sing along.
Friday, January 13th: From Ashes Rise, Tragedy, Bi-Marks
Saturday, January 14th: Rabbits, Fist Fite, Nasalrod
I frequently forget about Rabbits, but then I’ll mosey on over to its corner of my iTunes on a cloudy morning such as this, and I will listen to Lower Forms and berate myself for forgetting that Portland is home to such a fantastic crafter of baleful music. If Rabbits wasn’t from Portland, or if Rabbits played less often, I would not take it for granted, and I would be so stoked for this show. It’s kind of disgusting that Portland’s metal and punk scenes are so happening that a band this good can get lost in the mix. Oh well. Rabbits’ loss is your gain.
Sunday, January 15th: Trauma, Raw Nerves, Ripper, DJ Smooth Hopperator
The Know’s booker, David Rose, described Trauma to me as “really ‘tough’ shit.” I agree with his assessment. Members of Trauma also do time in Tragedy, and while the latter band’s towering crust throws shadows in Trauma’s direction, the demo I have is a far more straightforward, fuck-it-all affair than anything Tragedy’s ever done. It’s pissed, spiky, possibly intoxicated hardcore punk rock that sounds like it came out of Minneapolis circa 1997. Bring your dog!