When: Fri., Oct. 7, 10 p.m. 2011
On their fourth and best album, The Gathering (Thrill Jockey), Baltimore's Arbouretum stomp with the ragged glory of Neil Young's Crazy Horse, striding through monolithic grooves like Bigfoot. You might be tempted to describe it as stoner folk-rock, but the way David Heumann's biting guitar and raw, extended solos (see the key-shifting epic "Song of the Nile") mesh with the fuzzed-out bass of Corey Alexander suggests the buzzing precision of the Wipers—and Heumann's beautiful songs elevate the quartet's music way beyond that pigeonhole. His stately melodies often sound like they've emerged from the countryside of 18th-century Britain, earning him frequent and justified comparisons to early Richard Thompson. Portland's Eternal Tapestry engage in extended sonic explorations, but they don't bother writing songs to do so. The group's recent album, Beyond the 4th Door (Thrill Jockey), consists of five rambling, spacey improvisations, driven by the ambling guitars of Nick Bindeman and Dewey Mahood. At their best, Eternal Tapestry create a delicate lattice of complementary, druggy tones. But the rhythm section's primitive grooves have a tendency to fall into a somnambulant rut instead of propelling the sound, so that only listeners lost in a thick haze of weed would experience much more than high-volume torpor. Eternal Tapestry's recent collaboration with Sun Araw, Night Gallery (Thrill Jockey), follows the same path, but succeeds because of a greater intensity and more concentrated sound—the energy and direction never waver. —Peter Margasak Arbouretum headlines; Eternal Tapestry and Matthew Hale Clark open.