Thursday, 11:20 p.m., The Bunkhouse, $10
The Slovenly Records Showcase will be a garage punk fan’s wet dream: two stages featuring unadulterated dive-rawk bands from all over the world. One of the best bands on the bill, Las Ardillas (or, The Squirrels), hails from San Juan. According to my Puerto Rican pal, they’re one of the few authentic punk rock bands to emerge from the island. I can’t vouch for the punk scene there, but I can sure as shit vouch for the band after taking in its crack-catchy 2011 album, Ardillas. The quick read: It finds middle ground between the old-school acts like The Dead Boys and more recent groups like Titus Andronicus. But dig in there and you’ll find nods to early 1960s greaser pop, Nuggets-era West Coast garage and British post-punk. And all of it would sound like empty nostalgia if the songwriting didn’t suck you in like a tractor beam. That caveat earns our attendance Thursday night.
All the Apparatus
Friday, midnight, Beauty Bar, $8
This Hawaii-cum-Portland collective would rather be busking. And I can only imagine the heads it turns and the bodies it stops on the street, given its double-digit size and its robust, ebullient sound. Nearly every song sounds like a parade anthem. Stylistically, All the Apparatus is all over the place; some songs employ a kitchen-sink strategy with regards to instruments and genres. The presence of horns, strings and vibraphones provokes comparisons to Arcade Fire, Devotchka and Edward Sharpe, while the multi-culti vibe suggests Manu Chao and Gogol Bordello. And yet, amid all that, the band never makes a mess. The results are rhythmically cohesive and often melodically resounding. Festival organizers were wise to schedule this one at the end of the evening — this is a band to build up to, one that ought to deliver the sort of release that sends you home both exhausted and exhilarated.
Sunday, 10:30 p.m., Beauty Bar, $5
The easy comparison, of course, is Sonic Youth, with Dylan Sharp and Carrie Keith sharing mic duties much like Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon did. But the Olympia/Los Angeles lo-fi band embodies more romanticism and defers more to indie tradition. Case in point: new song “Flyin’ Low, Maria,” a minor-key anthem that might’ve sounded at home on Daydream Nation, but also boasts an urgent jangle reminiscent of the college rock scene of the 1980s. It’s gorgeous, with just enough tweaks to avoid sounding precious — like much of the band’s previous output, but more assured. It behooves anyone who grew up on MTV’s 120 Minutes, or paid attention to the Pacific Northwest music scene that wasn’t held hostage by grunge, to bask in the downtuned yet tuneful glory that is Gun Outfit.