When: Sat., March 3, 10 p.m. 2012
Deerhunter front man Bradford Cox seems to be on a quest for human connection on last year's Parallax (4AD), his third and most accomplished album as Atlas Sound. Cox grapples with the vulnerability that's a prerequisite to any meaningful bond, whether he's describing a Howard Hughes type who realizes he collects friends like objects ("The Shakes") or portraying a lost soul yearning for deliverance ("Praying Man"). As usual Cox plays almost everything, frequently overdubbing multiple parts on a single instrument or bathing his fragile croon and ambling drums in milky reverb; on a few tunes the music fades into waves of gently gurgling noise. All these techniques prevent the music from feeling too stripped-down sonically, but it's still emotionally naked: though Cox's previous records have all been pretty bleak, this time around many of the songs are leavened by hope, hooky melodies, and sometimes straight-up beauty. The album closes on a clear note of optimism, as Cox sings, "There is a light / And it will guide the way." He performs solo. —Peter Margasak
White Rainbow main man Adam Forkner is a prolific dude. Since 2010 the Portland sound artist and beat maker has released 13 solo albums of what he calls "pizza-based lazer music" via Bandcamp—and before that he was putting out physical releases through Kranky, States Rights, and other labels. Some of his releases consist of single experimental improvisations that stretch well past the 30-minute mark, usually with breathless caps-locked descriptions on their Bandcamp pages like "over 40 minutes of continuous ambient cloud-bath!" or "this is late night car music for quality car audio environments"; others feature thick, practically danceable beats with heavy thumps and synth swashes. The recent Infinity Beat Tape, which he calls "19 new tracks of weird beats and drifted bliss," falls into the latter category. The ambient-leaning half of Forkner's brain has its way on fractured, schizophrenic mixes like "Only How Peeple 2" and "Blusters," but jams like the opener, "Swangin on 100 Sticks"—with its sci-fi zip-zaps and slow Nintendo-biting beat—keep the scenery colorful and the pizza and lasers intact. —Kevin Warwick Atlas Sound headlines; White Rainbow and Carnivores open.