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Noise Pop Preview: Quick Picks 

Wednesday, Feb 20 2008

If it's the end of February, and the clubs are packed with indie darlings from here and abroad, that can only mean one thing: Noise Pop has once again taken over the town. San Francisco's preeminent pop-culture fest has in recent years expanded its reach into comedy (Dragon Boy Suede, Human Giant); art (Autumn de Wilde's shots of the late Elliott Smith, and Yoko Ono's inclusion in the group show "Sights of Sounds"); film (see this week's Let's Get Killed) and okay, yeah, a buttload of music. And by "buttload" we mean too many bands to feature every single one in these here pages. So we're cramming some recommendations into this intro (go see Birdmonster, Emily Jane White, Saviours, David Dondero, the Entrance Band, Holy Fuck, Mika Miko, MSTRKRFT, and the Walkmen) and across the music section this week and next. Of course, we'll also be blogging our previews, reviews, and skills at drinking local bands under the table online at Below, we squeeze just a few more quickie picks for ways to while away your nights between Tue., Feb. 26, and Sun., March 2 — when calling it an early night will be left for the weak.

Blitzen Trapper

Equal parts Pavement, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and the Steve Miller Band, Portland's Blitzen Trapper kicks up a mighty dust cloud of country-rock shot through with lasers and keyboards. It's all plenty poppy, and last year's lovably erratic Wild Mountain Nation got the band signed to Sub Pop, thus upping expectations for its next record. — Doug Wallen (Thu., Feb. 28, Bottom of the Hill)

The Helio Sequence

Fellow Portlanders and Sub Pop recording artists Brandon Summers and Benjamin Weikel, aka the Helio Sequence, inject indie pop with melodic flourish and metronomic precision. The electrocoustic stargazers just returned after four years away with Keep Your Eyes Ahead, showcasing more folky reverberations in the duo's elliptical maneuvers. — Tony Ware (Fri., Feb. 29, The Independent)

Nick Catchdubs

A talented remixer and DJ who ventures from rap to rock to electro on the dancefloor, this New Yorker (formerly an editor at music mag Fader) is helping to nurture the careers of hip-hop and dance crossover artists Kid Sister and Cool Kids as founder of the Fool's Gold label with A-Trak, Kanye West's DJ. — Tamara Palmer (Fri., Feb. 29, Mighty)

A Place to Bury Strangers

Maintaining a legacy passed down from Suicide, the Jesus and Mary Chain, and the inception of Factory Records, this New York–based trio invites listeners into a brambly maze of pedal-mangled frequencies for a game of hide-and-go-shriek. Treble disorders and other dodged-to-all-hell guitar tones are slathered atop sublimated bass and attenuated drums on the group's self-titled and self-released debut. — T.W. (Fri., Feb. 29, Bottom of the Hill)

Gutter Twins

Described by Greg Dulli as "the satanic Everly Brothers," this unholy union of the former Afghan Whig and Twilight Singer with longtime friend Mark Lanegan has been four years in the making and well worth the wait. Their deliciously dark debut, Saturnalia, is released this month. — Hannah Levin (Sat., Mar. 1, Bimbo's)


Part of a loose R&Beats collective of laptop-tanned Portlanders, this duo rides the rhythm like a crazy ex: things can get wonky, but when it humps this hard, you tolerate the tensions. For Panther's latest full-length, 14kt God, lynchpin Charlie Salas-Humara hooked up with percussionist Joe Kelly and toned down the synths and sequencers in favor of cellos and syncopated six-string, resulting in a funked-up oddyssey. — T.W. (Sat., March 1, Rickshaw Stop)

Port O'Brien

Port O'Brien songwriter Van Pierszalowski burns away his summers working on his dad's fishing boat in Alaska. This is crucial. The quartet's song, "Fisherman's Son," is all Melville pulp. And only months cloistered at sea could produce the Animal Collective–ish, spastic folk of "I Woke Up Today." Elsewhere, Pierszalowski pleads, "Put me on a boat and cut the line." Such are the salt-scrubbed rhymes of a modern-day mariner. — Ryan Foley (Sat., March 1, Café du Nord)

British Sea Power

The band has the sound (think Arcade Fire with a sense of humor), the look (Boy Scout anarchists), and now it has the songs. Do You Like Rock Music? is the album we always hoped the members of British Sea Power would make: catchy and huge. Now they're set to put their underachieving past behind them by spending 2008 conquering music festivals worldwide, starting here. — Keith Laidlaw (Sat., March 1, Bottom of the Hill)


This DJ is the go-to guy for debauched disco, electro, and indie rock mixed with a rare sense of continuity. Shortly after moving here from Florida, Sleazemore started the "Lights Down Low" club night in San Francisco at Club 222, a spicy affair that celebrated its second anniversary last month. — T.P. (Sat., March 1, Mighty)

She and Him

Pair an indie rock darling — M. Ward — with an indie film princess — Zooey Deschanel. Formula for disaster, right? Nope. This duo, She & Him, has the goods. Its forthcoming platter, Volume One, is a nifty mixture of wry Deschanel originals and comforting covers, her genuinely distinctive voice not unlike a teenage Patsy Cline. — Mark Keresman (Sun., March 2, Great American Music Hall)

Read other Noise Pop previews:
Mountain Goats
Kelley Stoltz
Film Festival


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