THE BIG FLOAT: RAMONA FALLS, AGESANDAGES, KEEP YOUR FORK THERE'S PIE, ORCA TEAM, BULL RAMOS
(SE Water & Market) Described as a "public display of affection for the Willamette River," The Big Float's big idea is to get Portlanders off their asses and into the water. No, wait—it's safe! Join over 1,000 Portlanders as they parade across the Hawthorne Bridge, toss their floats into the water, and merrily drift across our beloved river. A celebration will greet the "festive floatilla," complete with beer garden, live music, swimming, and food carts. CECILIA D'ANASTASIO Also see our Big Float feature.
DIRTY MITTENS, ASH REITER, WORLD'S GREATEST GHOSTS
(Rontoms, 600 E Burnside) The first thing you'll notice about San Francisco singster/songster Ash Reiter is her voice—a breathy, smoky little thing that hints at Chan Marshall and Jolie Holland, and sounds well suited for the coffeehouse circuit. That was before she formed a full band to back her up. Nowadays Reiter's music moves a little more, the quintet (also called Ash Reiter) providing loads of hooks and layered guitars that wonderfully contrast that wispy voice. It's all on display on the group's latest, Paper Diamonds, a record that's folky enough to maintain some of its intimacy, and poppy enough to keep from fading into the background. I like where this young woman is headed. MARK LORE
POCKETKNIFE, VANIMAL, PEGASUS DREAM
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Tough as Snails, the debut EP from Portland band Pocketknife, is about as friendly an introduction as a band can make. Its six songs are buoyant pop numbers with titles like "Cotton Candy" and "Pillow Talk," each dressed in bubbling synths and hi-hat-slashing disco beats. But the quartet stops short of cloying adorability in favor of lending Tough as Snails just a hint of roiling darkness. There's the languid intro to mini-epic "Normandy," and the black-hearted shadow that looms over "Should I Kiss the Viper's Fang?"—which quotes Bowie's "Quicksand" but whose Teutonic dance-floor sheen might fit better alongside "Joe the Lion." Any lingering bleakness, however, is shunted aside in favor of Pocketknife's melodic breeziness, which was honed at local basement shows and is now on full display on Tough as Snails, recorded at Klickitat Band Camp and newly released on the SoHiTek label. NED LANNAMANN