portland

A pre-NYE party with Ethereal Sea and more

It's pretty much a general consensus among everyone who paid attention to the excess of crap that happened this year that 2017 can't fuck right off. Seeing as New Year's Eve celebrations are a big deal in Portland there's plenty of opportunity to say that sayonara we all seek, but for New Year's Eve eve? There will be some "heavy music for heavy times," as advertised. 

At the Kenton Club on 12.30, the purveyors of such heaviness range in their sonic density without fail, each elevating their sounds from a foundation of psych. Eugene's Sacred Trees involve hypnotic swirls of sound hazed by unrefined airs of lo-fi garage, while Robots of the Ancient World offer straight up stoner rock. Menin gets a little bit harsher will doom laden riffs, and Ethereal Sea embody facets of each, melding stoner, doom, psych and garage into a pretty powerful force.

Get the pregame started a night early.

   

Helvetia takes on Duster tonight at Mississippi Studios

 Helvetia has been a Pacific Northwest gem for some years now. At times experimental, Helvetia's chill take on alternative and indie has been one thoroughly enjoyed since the band's inception back in the mid-2000s, though none of their sounds would have come to light if it weren't for the dissolution of another prevalent group. Helvetia came from Duster drummer Jason Albertini after the band broke up and tonight, he and the rest of Helvetia will be doing a little bit of a tribute to their catalyst act.

Though they've only a couple releases under their belt, Duster's slowcore sound was a fairly important part of the late 90s. Helvetia's set tonight, which will include participation from original Duster member Dove Amber, will include some of Duster's tracks, though it's not entirely confirmed which ones made the cover set cut.

Playing along with Helvetia will be Floating Room's moody shoegaze and the goth-pop of Deathlist

   

Swamp Boys ring in the new year in Portland

 Young dudes with an affinity for old songs, Swamp Boys have a delightfully nostalgic sound that calls back on a keen sweetness that dominated airway sounds back in the 60s and 70s. A little bit surf, psych and alt-country, the foursome are from a fairly small town not that far from both Portland and Seattle called Ridgefield, but they're making their efforts to put their homebase more on the map.

Swamp Boys just released the first six songs they've ever written on an EP called Bahked, an obvious nod to some of the best greenery the Pacific Northwest offers. Each track on Bahked makes a good accompaniment for a smoking sesh, like the catchy garage tune of "I Don't Know What I'm Doin'" to the ballad-esque "Love So Dear."

Those still local during this holiday week can see Swamp Boys play twice, on 12.27 at the Tardis Room with Freemans Dead from Long Beach, Ca, Rosebud and Major Arcana, and again hosting the American Legion Post 134's New Year's Eve show with Holy Smokes & Godforsaken RollersWeehawk, and New World Aviation Committee.

   

Caustic Touch, EMS, House of Low Culture and Daniel Menche share new 4-way split

 Harsh noise enthusiasts rejoice, as today a 4-way split from some of the most deft musicians in that genre field. Featuring dynamically skilled artist Aaron Turner (Sumac, Old Man Gloom, Isis) and Faith Coloccia of Seattle's Mamiffer as House of Low Culture, Daniel Menche, Andrea K.'s of Vice Device solo project Caustic Touch and EMS, the split showcases each artists' ability to make even the most grating of sounds appealing.

Each artist got at least one track on the split, but Caustic Touch surely commanded much of the album having contributed three. The album carries itself almost like a grating tale, with House of Low Culture's "The Pervasive Mind" as the album's exposition, Caustic Touch's "Desiccating Wind" beginning the rising action, "Is She Ectoplasm?" by Daniel Menche as the falling action, and "Hierarchy of Bodies" by EMS ending it as the resolution.

There's a beauty to its discordance that makes the album gripping. What will be even more interesting to see is how each of these artist's translates these tracks into live performances. See how each of them does it at the release show for the split tonight 12.15 at Modular 8.

   

The Toads drop 'It's for You' today

 *photo by Heather Hanson

The Toads have been a crowd pleaser since they bursted onto the scene almost three years ago. First, their self-titled full length gave us a taste of their callback to 90s alternative and pop punk back in 2016. The Toads, still unsigned, have got a completely and fully supported DIY method of existing as a band that's contributed to what's made them such a delight so far. With Time having already been released earlier this year, band appreciators are lucky enough to get another one just as it's coming to a close. Today, The Toads dropped "It's for You."

Part of what makes The Toads so great is their reliability in sound. Even in welcoming new drummer Dylan Valentine to the mix The Toads haven't stumbled or faltered, the Weezer-esque "You Don't Deserve Me" and the raw punk feels of "Never a Good Time" for the new EP staying true to the band's capacity.

The Toads are offering up two chances this weekend to see them perform all the songs from "It's for You" live -- at tonight's release show at Clinton Street Theater with Cry Babe and Fire Nuns, and tomorrow night at the Turn Turn Turn for the Sounds Illustrated art opening with Piefight and Dr. Something.

Give "It's for You" a listen below.