Category Archives: News

Slowdive To Play Crystal Ballroom November 5th, With Support by Low

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By Hollister Dixon

When people think of shoegaze, they often think of My Bloody Valentine, and for good reason: they’re possibly the finest example of the genre there is. But, when they aren’t thinking of MBV, they’re likely thinking of the band’s Creation Records labelmates Slowdive. The Reading band were the dreamlike, ambient, almost poppy answer to MBV’s sometimes brutal soundscapes, existing for a very short, very pristine six-year span in the late 80s/early 90s, just long enough to release three records – 1991’s Just For A Day, 1993’s Souvlaki (the band’s masterwork), and 1995’s Pygmalion – before stepping down from the stage one day, never to return. But, in early 2014, that changed. The band had gotten back together, ready to perform to rabid, almost religiously devoted fans all over the place, who have been hanging on every syllable that Neil Halstead and Rachel Goswell produced 20 years ago.

Slowdive are currently in the middle of a delightfully long tour across North America and Europe, and this autumn sees the band stopping by the Crystal Ballroom on November 5th, with support by Duluth, MN slowcore giants Low, one of the few bands that manages to capture the same essence that Slowdive did all those years ago. If you’re a fan of rolling sonic landscapes, dreamy vocals, and the feeling of heavy eyelids, this is without a doubt the best way to help you prepare for winter in the Northwest.

You can click right here to head over to the Crystal Ballroom page to read more about the show and buy tickets. You can also continue below to have a look at the rest of the band’s upcoming tour dates.

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Conor Oberst Comes to Crystal Ballroom October 1st

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By Hollister Dixon

Conor Oberst, once (and possibly still?) frontman of seminal Omaha band Bright Eyes/less-seminal-but-still-wonderful Desaparecidos/not-seminal-but-still-very-fun Monsters of Folk, isn’t saying much about the future of his day job (The People’s Key, the band’s fantastic 2011 record, was rumored to be the band’s final album), but he’s keeping himself busy. He’s about to start a nice little month-long jaunt through the heart of America, promoting his newest solo effort, Upside Down Mountain (out now on Nonesuch), and will be dropping by the Crystal Ballroom at the tail end of things, on October 1st, with support by his friend/producer Jonathan Wilson.

This will be Oberst’s first show in Portland since Bright Eyes stopped by the same venue to put on a stellar, hilariously rowdy show in support of the last (and maybe final?) Bright Eyes record, the aforementioned The People’s Key, though to be honest, it’s hard to not envy those attending the last show on the tour, co-headlined by none other than John Prine. Jealousy aside, Oberst is one hell of a performer, and this one shouldn’t be missed.

Click right here to get tickets to this performance and find out more, and click the jump to have a look at Oberst’s upcoming tour dates as well.

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The New Pornographers to Play Crystal Ballroom October 8th

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By Hollister Dixon

In 2007, I set myself down to accomplish some incredibly mundane task. What was that task? I’m not sure. Point is: to keep me company, I decided the best way to spend this time was to put on the internet stream of KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic, then and now one of the most untouchable music programs in the world. As I was cleaning my keyboard (or whatever it was that I was doing), I found myself transfixed by the sounds and voice coming from my speakers. I scrambled to figure out who I was listening to, and discovered the track was “Myriad Harbour” from Challengers by Vancouver, BC’s (arguably) most fun musical export, The New Pornographers. To this day, I can’t listen to that track taking immense joy from the wonderful call-and-response Dan Bejar (aka Destroyer) puts on with himself and a multitracked version of himself, and the line “Do you think the girls here ever wonder how they got so pretty?”, and that’s a joy that permeates a lot of the band’s music.

The New Pornographers – made up of talents like Neko Case, AC Newman, and the aforementioned Dan Bejar – have been pretty quiet in recent years, following the release of 2010’s Together. This week sees the release of their new album, Brill Bruisers (out on Matador), an album as light and breezy as its goofy title suggests. And to support the new record, the band has decided to go on a pretty big ol’ North American tour.

On October 8th, New Pornos will be dropping into the Crystal Ballroom for the first time since their tour supporting Together, and they’ll have all three of the big names (Case, Newman, Bejar) with them. But that’s not all: to support them/help get the crowd in the mood for awesome pop songs, New York noise poppers The Pains of Being Pure at Heart will be opening for a whole bunch of dates. If you’re looking for a good excuse to get out and dance, this is one of the best opportunities you have this autumn, so check it out!

For more info, click here to head over to the Crystal Ballroom’s page, and hit the jump to check out all of the band’s upcoming dates, as well as the video for Brill Bruisers track “War on the East Coast”.

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Swans To Play Roseland September 6th

By Hollister Dixon

To me, there’s always been something incredibly perfect about the name Swans. The bird is one known for being incredibly elegant, but is also known (though to a lesser degree) for being aggressive to an almost laughable degree, especially when threatened. I’m not quite sure if Michael Gira had this in mind when he formed and named his band Swans, but it’s so fitting because they are a band that manages to do build a brutal, aggressive, in-your-face exterior, and while it may appear to be an inelegant mess, every single note is exactly where it should be, thanks to the talents of Michael Gira, the frontman and sole consistent member.

Swans broke up in 1997, only to roar back to life in 2010 with My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky, followed by the monolithic The Seer (2012) and this year’s equally massive To Be Kind. Since then, they’ve done their best to prove themselves (again) as one of the most unwavering, intense live acts around – intense enough to make people in the crowd physically sick at times. The band last played here in Portland in 2012 (at the Hawthorne Theater, as part of MusicFest Northwest), and put on a performance incredible enough to make seeing Dinosaur Jr. and Sebadoh seem like the wrong decision entirely.

Lucky for us, Swans are a beast that don’t seem capable of slowing down. Since reforming, they’ve started an interesting cycle: go on tour (while also working on new material), release a live album documenting that tour, use that money to fund a new album, repeat. And now, on September 6th, the band will be returning to Portland to blow the roof off of the Roseland Theater. The band’s most recent album, To Be Kind, is as close to perfection as one band can get, which says a lot, considering the same was said for the blistering tower that The Seer was. Can the band top these albums? Can they continue to make flawlessly executed songs? Will Michael Gira ever stop being the world’s most intense showman? See the band live and find out! Click right here to buy tickets to this show, or – if you’re outside of Portland – check out the dates below.

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