La Femme Live Show Review (Austin, TX & Portland, OR)

Lucky me; I’ve managed to see the French electro-surf-punk band La Femme twice in the past month! Touring the States following the release of their insane new 15-track deluxe album, Psycho Tropical Berlin, La Femme are a Parisian six-piece that encompass the city’s stereotypes in a most playful manner, while riffing equally off other cultural stereotypes. One finds this most apparent in their fashion sense, which sometimes includes the donning of cowboy hats and American flags right alongside dainty neck scarves and tourist t-shirts of Paris. When I caught them in Austin during SXSW 2014, La Femme were exceptionally stylish and fresh-faced, rocking a 1:00am slot at The Iron Bear, a gay bar for bears. That particular set was almost

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Golden Retriever, Litanic Mask, Valet, Pinhead in Fantasia Live Show Review

There has always been a divide between the daytime and the night — a war between Saturday night and the Sunday morning penitents. Since the beginning of time, people have gathered in caves and juke joints and space stations to dance and dream and make believe in dim light. It makes it hard to wake up in the morning, and do what we’re told, but it’s important. We can’t ALL fall in line — what a boring, beige reality! On this Sunday night, near the bowels of industrial SE Portland, four very different and special noisemakers gathered to lead a black-clad audience into four very different worlds. From tropical fantasy, to a tent in Marco Polo’s desert, to a freeway

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Wire, Helmet Live Show Review (Portland, OR)

This evening, the spirit of the ’60s seems alive and thriving in the Crystal Ballroom. You can sense the remnants of bands like New Riders Of The Purple Sage or The Byrds, as you set foot upon the legendary bouncing dancefloor. It is a grand West Coast ballroom, in the tradition of the Fillmores; there’s an epic chandelier, worthy of the Phantom Of The Opera, and Renaissance paintings al fresco on the walls. It’s a classy place to see a real rock n’ roll show. I don’t know what it is about these ballrooms, but they always seem primed to go off. Maybe it’s because they were designed for getting down, with wide open wooden dancefloors and killer sound systems.

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Austra Live Show Review (Berlin, Germany)

Austra’s two sold out shows in Berlin are expressive of the band’s massive appeal in a city that thrives upon innovative music programming, anachronisms of the 1980s, and advocation for LGBT acceptance. Touring behind the sophomore album Olympia, an effort that features all of the aforementioned three, Katie Stelmanis and company delivered a set of darkly emotional synthpop that did not disappoint either night.

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Mountain Oasis Electronic Music Summit 2013 Festival Live Show Review (Asheville, NC)

Moogfest took a break this year in order to regroup, change promoters and pick itself up out of the brisk air of autumn and move itself to the promising days of spring (it will be held April 25-27 in 2014). Into its silent void flowed Mountain Oasis Electronic Music Summit, a three-day electronicaganza (promoted by Bonaroo-bringers, AC Entertainment) that delivered a variety of both big-name acts and up-and-comers. The gigs were held in various venues throughout the city, which helped create different pools of mood you could dive into and out of throughout the weekend, from the stadium-like Exploreasheville.com Arena (formerly the Civic Center) and Thomas Wolfe Auditorium (both of which comprise the US Cellular Center—confused yet?) to the intimate and indie-feeling Asheville Music Hall.

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CMJ Music Marathon 2013 Live Show Review & Festival Recap: Caveman, Grandchildren, Porcelain Raft, Speedy Ortiz, More

CMJ Music Marathon 2013 yet again saw a convergence of hundreds of bands and thousands of fans on the clubs of the Lower East Side, East Village, and Williamsburg in New York City. Coincidentally, many of the bands we were most looking forward to were female-fronted (Speedy Ortiz, Eternal Summers, Hunters), and they did not disappoint. While times have certainly progressed, female-fronted bands still have something to prove, and it was good to see several super-talented guitar players and songwriters, as well as singers and performers, show themselves to be just as good as their male counterparts. All-dude groups Caveman and Grandchildren both had solid performances that left me with a good “I-discovered-something-cool-at-CMJ” feeling as well, and electropop groups were

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Symbiosis Gathering 2013 Live Show Review: The Coup, Mount Kimbie, Lynx & More

With an emphasis on the magic of transformation, Symbiosis Gathering 2013 provided an enchanted space of bio-psycho-spiritual healing, environmental and sociocultural conscious learning, and a unique source of musical inspiration. Among the many loved and soon-to-be loved artists was the powerful voice of Lynx, the free-flowing explorations of Mount Kimbie, and the ever-passionate words of The Coup.

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Decibel Festival 2013 Live Show Review: JETS & Machinedrum, Nils Frahm, The Orb & Juan Atkins

The Pacific Northwest’s premiere music festival, Decibel Festival 2013, has come and gone, with another half-week stint of dream electronic music lineups for all. The type of festival that non-Seattle music lovers drool over and Seattle music lovers take amazing late-night advantage of, Decibel has come a long way in the ten years since its inception… and with this review, we celebrate the best of year 10′s acts, which include a party sounds by JETS, the collaboration between Jimmy Edgar and Machinedrum, Machinedrum‘s visually-entrancing new live show, neo-classical-meets-electronic composer Nils Frahm, and goofy electronic pioneers, The Orb.

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Body Head - Kim Gordon Bill Nace - Live Show Review

TBA Festival 2013: Body/Head – Kim Gordon & Bill Nace – Live Show Review

Try as I might, it was hard not to see every artistic choice that surrounded the first Portland appearance by Body/Head as a reaction to the divorce of Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore. There was the steadily unrolling video – directed by longtime Sonic Youth collaborator Richard Kern – that accompanied the hour-long performance. The slow motion clips cut between a man (actor James Ransone, best known for his work as Ziggy in season two of The Wire) and a woman who draw closer and closer in the space of an art studio. At one point, Ransone is on top of the young woman, straddling her as he takes her photograph. But by the end, the woman is alone, making

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Midday Veil, ALTO! Live Show Review (Portland, OR)

The sixteeth installment of Experimental Portland’s on-going concert series took place at Rotture on a humid Wednesday night, and for $5, featured an amazing lineup consisting of Midday Veil, ALTO!, and Antecessor. I apologize to the internet and myself for having missed what was supposedly an amazing set by Antecessor — but the remainder of the show was inspiring enough for me to unexpectedly pen a few words.

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MusicfestNW 2013 Live Show Review: Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Mount Eerie, Frank Fairfield

MusicfestNW has always had one of the more diverse festival lineups around. A large part of that is because — rather than jamming thousands upon thousands of people asses to elbows in a huge field on some farm somewhere — MusicfestNW puts the action into venues scattered around Portland, setting the population loose. It is less of a festival and more a set of well-curated shows that all just happen to take place on the same weekend. Accordingly, I skipped around town to see multiple acts, my favorite of which were Godspeed You! Black Emperor at Roseland Theatre, Mount Eerie at Aladdin Theater, and Frank Fairfield at Bunk Bar.

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MusicfestNW 2013 Live Show Review: Tobacco, Natasha Kmeto, Royal Canoe (Portland, OR)

MusicfestNW began for me like every other MusicfestNW experience. I consistently respect the festival’s curatorial efforts, which always yield at least a handful of acts I am excited about, and an even larger smattering that I don’t exactly care for but greatly approve of from an objective standpoint. This year, however, I decided to take it preeeeeetty easy, both because I’ve seen many of the bands in the recent past and because I wanted to save myself for the rest of the September festival whirlwind (Decibel Festival and TBA Festival are still on the horizon). The positive news to report is that I saw no filler acts at this year’s MusicfestNW. Every act I saw was fantastic… but here are my top three.

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