FRIDAY, JULY 20
Indie rock, at this space and point in time, is a well-worn genre with little earth-shattering capacity. But there are some bands that can capture a vibe and a spirit that Pacific Northwesters just dig. In Radiation City’s case, their fast ascension has not made them lose a sense of intimacy that makes them a great closing act for any community-centered event like PDX Pop Now! Their music is romantic, just like Portland’s summer nights.
SATURDAY, JULY 21
The Miracles Club
Dance and music go hand-in-hand with The Miracles Club, both on stage and in the crowd. So many Soul Train good times have been had with them at the helm, and as they’re closing out Saturday night’s PDX Pop Now! (the most exciting day of the festival), Refuge will be bumping and vibing, house-style, into the night. Expect a REDEFINE and Holocene partnership with them later this September, for MusicfestNW and a dance-related panel we’re curating! Details to come.
SUNDAY, JULY 22
The beginning of next month, Golden Retriever will be playing alongside Pulse Emitter, aka Daryl Groetsch, for their CD release show. Expect the same kind of far-out cosmic synth washes from Groetsch, which are guaranteed to create a spacey and meditative good time for those in the proper mindset.
FRIDAY, JULY 20 (cont’d)
Litanic Mask first caught my attention for their film scoring effort for Holocene’s Fin De Cinema series, where they darkly soundtracked Jan Svankmajer‘s Alice with an incredible mastery of sound depth. Their recordings are much lighter than that, but leave a listener with a similar sense of wonder.
This instrumental duo will xylophone and drum their way into your heart!! Welcome it!
One of the more banging acts on the PDX Pop Now! lineup that is worth checking out, with a brand of surf-inspired psych-garage that seems more notable (as a genre) than in Portland. They played our SXSW Unofficial House Party this year, and are guaranteed to put on a solid high-energy show.
As we learned this past SXSW, AU is a band best enjoyed in a party atmosphere. Headlining the opening day of PDX Pop Now!, they’ll certainly bring the chaotic party to the late outdoors, in grand style.
SATURDAY, JULY 21 (cont’d)
Like A Villain
I don’t know where this act came from (other than Portland, obviously), but I’m quite into it. It seems that some of the best acts of PDX Pop Now!’s lineup this year tow the experimental jazz and avant-garde line, and Like A Villain are one of those bands. Unlike 1939 Ensemble and Smegma, however, they have a female vocalist and seemingly much more diversity to their catalog.
Secret Drum Band
Drums!!!!!! Pounding rhythms set atop experimental anything-goes. The folks will tip-tap their way into your brain as a perfect introduction to a block of ill body-oriented music to follow.
A dance-house friend favorite, Jeffrey Jerusalem has played three REDEFINE events now, and energizes the crowd with his one-man solo synth-drum show like none other. His music has few bells and whistles, but he shines forth as a bright beacon for all who are looking for “dude who just really likes the music he’s into.” This is evidenced further by his always banging just-for-fun mixes that he posts on his SoundCloud. Git it! Git em all!
Avant-garde local legends Smegma come out of the woodwork to grace PDX Pop Now! with their unlikely presence. They are very much welcome to provide a jazzy and experimental change of pace from the more straight-forward acts on the lineup.
I find it hard to believe that watching Portland’s Bruxa in the middle of the afternoon would be an actually good idea, but it may be worth trying just for the weirdness. With their brand of dark and basement witch vibes, Bruxa brings with them many a pre-scripted idea and association, but the individual to note here is the band’s electronics wizard and beatmaker, who is fucking. sick.
A wide-reaching strain of post-metal and heaviness that cares only to manifest an epic sound through stretched out and distorted guitars and chaotic songwriting.
SUNDAY, JULY 22 (cont’d)
A laid-back R&B-minded act with a full EP for free download HERE. Simple and groovy beats galore, providing a welcome change of pace! This and Pulse Emitter are my only recommendations for Sunday, but they are excellent ones for a back-to-back mellow afternoon.