Heavy songs for slaying foes

Wax Tablet
By NICHOLAS SCHROEDER  |  January 16, 2014

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-- Whole mess of new and heartwarming info from local rock label Deporter Records. They’ve announced a new album for Pigboat, the indomitable hard rock trio headed by Mark Belanger, who we’re happy to report is in remission after battling lymphoma for much of last year. Clearly rejuvenated, the band hope to put out their new record, Distracted by Adventures in Healthcare — one of the most truly brutal names for a heavy record ever — in early spring. The group just slayed a New Year’s Eve show at Geno’s, and leaked a teaser track from the album called “The Moth,” a revamped tune from Belanger’s Broken Clown days, online. Visit deporterrecords.com for more info.

-- Also from Deporter comes a rather epic full length from Sunrunner, a group we’ve known about awhile but were never aware made such excellent, epic-in-a-compelling-way material. Their new nine-song record Time in Stone is a tangled, brilliant mess of tortuous, punk-influenced prog-metal, and we love it much more than we first thought we could. We understand how divisive prog can be — the very term sends pain or pleasure signals to the cortices of potential listeners. But we assure you, Time in Stone falls squarely on the more interesting side of the fence, containing nine looong tracks lyrically obsessed with nature, space travel, and plotting the beyond. All of it’s pretty steeped in metal formula, but Sunrunner are far more musical than most of the takes we hear in this genre, and these songs have a ton of depth — expansive, bewitching intros that morph into melodic twin-guitar sectionals, muscular riffery, and out-of-nowhere jazz-fusion meditations. Equal parts Iron Maiden, Wishbone Ash, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Fairport Convention, Jupiter-era Cave In, and Vangelis — we’ll take it!

-- Florida hip hop artist Astronautalis is no stranger to Portland. He’s played Bubba’s, SPACE Gallery, and a small RV parked alongside Forest Ave. Plus his band contains Endless Jags founder and former Gully frontman Oscar Romero, who’s been making rock music in this city for the better part of a decade now. The two collaborated for one side of a notable Springsteen covers record out this week, putting their spin on the Boss’s sleeper hit “I’m on Fire” for one-half of a 7-inch with Hot Water Music songwriter Chuck Ragan, who takes on the Nebraska coda “Reason to Believe.” Check for the limited edition pressing at Asbestos Records — digital tracks reportedly available soon.

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