Brainstorm at Snug Harbor tonight (10/7/2012)
BRAINSTORM This Portland, Ore., outfit was voted Best New Band of 2011 by the Willamette Week, and in that competitive, Brooklyn-of-the-West-Coast cauldron, an imprimatur like that has to say something about the band, doesn’t it? Well, Brainstorm has just released its debut, Heat Waves, so the rest of us can decide on our own. Instantly notable are the cumbia rhythms, West African guitar lines, tuba and polyrhythmic harmonies that weave into an international art pop located somewhere between Le Loup, Fool’s Gold and Bitter Orca-era Dirty Projectors (Robby Moncrieff produced this one, too). What separates the songs from those acts, though, is a tangible ’70s soul undercurrent that results in more on-the-nose melodies. That’s great on tracks like “Death Bells,” whose inescapable riffs and three-part harmonies tap into a joy that completely belies the song title; it’s less impressive on a track like “Maybe A Memory,” where Brainstorm sounds like Hall & Oates lost in a Ghanaian desert. That’s thankfully the exception among these 10 tracks. Built around the duo of Adam Baz and Patrick Phillips in 2008 (bassist/singer Tamara Barnes recently joined), the band would seem to have a bright future even besides the fact that they’ve tapped into one of today’s most popular musical currents. With Dinosaur Feathers. $5. Oct. 7, 10 p.m. Snug Harbor, 1228 Gordon St. 704-333-9799.