ESPERANZA SPALDING
(Gerding Theater at the Armory, 128 NW 11th) Despite the shrill cries and tear-streaked cheeks of Bieberites the world over, the great Esperanza Spalding took home the Grammy for Best New Artist in 2010. Once a fledging musical prodigy in Noise for Pretend, Spalding has become one of the biggest names in jazz and can count the president of the United States as one of her biggest fans. Not bad for a kid from Northeast Portland. EZRA ACE CARAEFF


CRAFT SPELLS, HAUSU, PRESCRIPTION PILLS
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Craft Spells is not just an alchemist's skill attribute; it's also the moniker of '80s pop revivalist Justin Vallesteros. Craft Spells began unassumingly in Vallesteros' Stockton bedroom two years ago but took off when his penchant for New Romanticism and affected baritone vocals generated enough blog buzz to earn him a contract with the like-minded revivalists at Captured Tracks. Vallesteros then put together a band, moved to Seattle, and released Craft Spells' well-received debut Idle Labor. But while Craft Spells excels at cogently mining the benchmarks of '80s new wave (especially New Order and Echo & the Bunnymen), the band is more than just another derivative. Replete with complex arrangements, an arsenal of perfectly dialed-in synth tones, and a lucid sensibility, Craft Spells is magical, indeed. CHRIS CANTINO


MALAIKAT DAN SINGA, JOEY CASIO, FRED THOMAS
(Valentine's, 232 SW Ankeny) In the past Fred Thomas might have been a part-time Portlander, but the man has always been a full-time popsmith. No matter his locale (Detroit, Brooklyn, right down the block) or project name (Lovesick, Saturday Looks Good to Me, City Center), Thomas' work has been plentiful and prolific, an introspective sound that effortlessly blooms and wilts along with its author's dour voice. The remnants of pop music have been picked over, but Thomas has always managed to find fresh ways of revisiting familiar sounds, from the melodic (and sorely underappreciated) Saturday Looks Good to Me, to Night Times, his most recent reflective solo recording to date. EAC