Portishead at Hammerstein.
Twenty years ago (sigh), my favorite band was the Bay Area post-punk outfit Thinking Fellers Union Local 282. I went to see them four or five times when I was living in Berkeley in 1990-91, always getting excited when they pulled out the trombone. A few years later, I reviewed them for the New York Times, and also covered the allied weirdness of Caroliner. After a dormant decade, the Thinking Fellers are back in circulation; they played at All Tomorrow's Parties over the weekend, and you can hear the result at NPR. "Hurricane" remains sublime.... I saw Portishead at Hammerstein Ballroom last night — always a great place to hear music, with the ghost of Mary Garden's Salome haunting the corridors — and was hypnotized along with the rest of the sell-out crowd. "Machine Gun," whose pulsing ostinato somehow reminds me of the second movement of Sibelius's Kullervo Symphony, was the ferocious highlight. There was some classical relevance to the expedition, since Adrian Utley, one of the band's master texturalists, has collaborated with Will Gregory on a score for Carl Dreyer's The Passion of Joan of Arc, which will play at the White Light Festival later this month.... Here's a Nate Chinen piece on Anthony Braxton, who is the subject of a four-day festival at Roulette starting tonight.... Have you heard anything created by people under forty, Mr. Ross? Well, a friend pointed me into the intriguing world of Nicolas Jaar, a Brown University undergraduate who describes himself as "haunted by Mulatu Astatke and Erik Satie." I also like Jace Clayton's work on the collaborative project El Resplandor, a sonic imagining of a remake of The Shining in Dubai.... Annie Clark, aka St. Vincent, is one of many artists moving unaffectedly between indie-pop and classical worlds. She has a winning piece called Proven Badlands on yMusic's Beautiful Mechanical CD, and she's been collaborating with David Byrne and the Asphalt Orchestra on a series of songs that should see the light of day at some point; they have an incredibly infectious number called "I Am an Ape."... Heck, I've even been listening to a bit of black metal, which Sasha Frere-Jones surveys in this week's New Yorker. It's important to keep in mind that Bernard Gann, guitarist of Liturgy, is the son of Kyle Gann. Under the tutelage of Brandon Stosuy, I've fallen cautiously in love with the overawing noise of WOLD, from southern Saskatchewan. Their only public show to date, in Long Island City, is documented in Brandon and Matthew Barney's book Tubal Cain. This is the sum of my current non-classical knowledge.