NAUTICAL ALMANAC, DANIEL HIGGS, MONOPOLY CHILD STAR SEARCHERS, DIAMOND CATALOG
(The Artistery, 4315 SE Division) You may know Daniel Higgs from his incantatory songifying with beloved mantra-rock band Lungfish, the crown jewel of Dischord Records. Higgs established himself as a poet of romance ("Love Will Ruin Your Mind" is the truth) and mysticism over 11 albums with that band and then embarked on a solo career that veered down stranger paths. On albums for the Holy Mountain and Thrill Jockey labels (Metempsychotic Melodies on the former gets the highest recommendation), Higgs stakes out a severe, intense, itinerant-loner brand of folk troubadourism and cracked-preacher testifying that carry a mesmerizing authority. Even when he goes on (and on) about God (see the new banjo- and harmonium-heavy Say God), Higgs is riveting. Plus, he can play a mean Jew's harp—and draw a wicked tattoo, should the occasion arise. DAVE SEGAL
SWEET ROCK PARTY, LITTLE VOLCANO
(Ella Street Social Club, 714 SW 20th Pl) It would be easy to typecast the ladies of Little Volcano for their all-female presence in the often Über-masculine world of rock and roll and embrace them as little more than a novelty act. But that would sell short this quartet of musicians, who, since forming at the beginning of this year (their inception is described as "love at first note"), have shown Portland their talent via their debut EP Precious Beast. The four-song EP is anchored by the soulful-voiced Elizabeth Hendrix alongside the crunchy guitar work of Melanie Hindman, and acts as a nice halfway point between raw garage rock and soulful punk-influenced blues. MARANDA BISH
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