FRIGHTENED RABBIT, PLANTS AND ANIMALS, BAD VEINS
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) While the angst-ridden Scots in Frightened Rabbit are justly respected for their albums—2008's lacerating Midnight Organ Fight, 2010's marginally more cheerful The Winter of Mixed Drinks—it's their live shows that seal the deal. Frontman Scott Hutchison sings every song like it's the first time, and the sheer force of his emotional will invariably moves the audience right along with him, from giddy exuberance to—when he busts out that acoustic cover of "Poke"—tears. (Want to see an emo dude cry? Ha! Trick question.) Yes, the name is dumb. Get over it—Frightened Rabbit is quite simply one of the best bands around. ALISON HALLETT
ROSS AND THE HELLPETS, THE CONTESTANTS
(The Waterheater, 750 N Fremont) Ten years ago Ross and the Hellpets played their first show at the LaurelThirst, opening for some band that time forgot (called the Decemberisms or something). A decade later the delightful Ross Beach & Co. are still churning out addictive little pop songs and celebrating a run that few bands can match. If you are unsure what to get the band for this anniversary—tradition dictates tin or aluminum—and don't want to give them a can of beer and a tinfoil hat, just make your presence known at this free, all-ages show at new North Portland showspace the Waterheater. EZRA ACE CARAEFF
FROG EYES, DEER OR THE DOE, HERE COME DOTS
(The Woods, 6637 SE Milwaukie) God bless Carey Mercer, and god bless the weird, operatic, majestically frenzied music he makes with Frog Eyes. Hailing from nearby Victoria on British Columbia's Vancouver Island (not to be confused with the city of Vancouver, which is farther north on Canada's mainland), Frog Eyes makes elemental sounds that tug fiercely at your heart, even if you have no idea what the fuck Mercer is singing about. Paul's Tomb: A Triumph carries forward their flawless string of albums, and it's a ferociously gorgeous record, finding and exploiting the flaws that make their songs sound so delightfully off-kilter. The initial reaction to hearing Frog Eyes is, "Whoa, this sounds weird." Each subsequent reaction is how weird everything else sounds in comparison. NED LANNAMANN
Climber, Mark Sultan, and the Led Zeppelin Cover Night at the Doug Fir, as well as a list to the complete show listings, after the jump!
CLIMBER, THE RO SHAM BOS, VIPER CREEK CLUB
(Someday Lounge, 125 NW 5th) Over the course of three albums Climber have filed down their Anglophile tendencies to create a concise pop sound that is more telling of domestic shores. Problem is, with The Mystic, it doesn't always work. "The Simians Speak" stumbles out of the block, a directionless soul-funk hybrid that can't possibly end soon enough. But perhaps it's a matter of song sequencing, since The Mystic rebounds nicely from there. The resonating bass line from "Stepping into New Rooms" lingers long after the track winds down, and the spacious ballad "The Risk of the Middle Way" is nicely anchored by the swelling voice of frontman Michael Nelson. Ironically it's closing number "Advice," with its muddled electronic beats, that is the album's finest song and the exact moment where you'll swear you were listening to The Mystic in the wrong order. (You weren't.) EZRA ACE CARAEFF
SOUL CLAP DANCE PARTY: MARK SULTAN, PURE COUNTRY GOLD, ROBERT SCOTT, THE BESTIES, JONATHAN TOUBIN
(East End, 203 SE Grand) It's been quite the year for Mark Sultan, AKA BBQ, AKA Kib Husk, AKA Blortz, AKA Celeb Prenup. There was a new album with Montreal crazy-man Bloodshot Bill, under the moniker the Ding-Dongs. There was Coachella with King Khan and the Black Lips, under the moniker the Almighty Defenders. There was the time Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson flew BBQ and King Khan to Australia to play for them at the Sydney Opera House. There were tours of Europe and Asia—even a show at the Cannes Film Festival. The past year also saw the untimely death of King Khan and BBQ as a band. And a new solo album called $. Some of these things were very good. Some of these things were very bad. $ is one of the things that's very good. "I'm playing as a one-man-band on this tour," says Sultan, "supporting $ but also playing stuff from the last 10 years of different incarnations." This show will surely be a history lesson—taught by a highly esteemed professor and inventor of punk-rock doo-wop. KELLY O
LED ZEPPELIN COVER NIGHT: THREADS, PORTLAND CELLO PROJECT, & MORE
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) When local label Jealous Butcher started working years ago on From the Land of Ice and Snow: The Songs of Led Zeppelin, Robert Plant was just a kid living in West Bromwich (that's a lie). Now years later the absolutely mammoth (that's not a lie) Portland Zep tribute record is finally finished. Pretty much every musician in Portland takes the stage tonight for this one-off performance, so unless you choke on your own vomit, you have no excuse to miss it. EZRA ACE CARAEFF
You can view the complete show listings here.