ZOLA JESUS, XANOPTICON

(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Over the course of a single LP and a pair of EPs, Zola Jesus has established herself at the pinnacle of the art-pop world. Clearly that wasn't enough for the bewitching 22-year-old, since she just released her finest work to date, the brooding and complex Conatus. Even better, Jesus and her backing band are always captivating when onstage. EZRA ACE CARAEFF


CHAD VANGAALEN, GARY WAR, AAN

(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Read our article on Chad VanGaalen.


MEGAFAUN, DOUG PAISLEY

(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) The new self-titled record from Megafaun—out on sumptuous double vinyl from Portland label Hometapes—is a charmer the whole way through. Atonal saxes and outrÉ sound experiments butt up against oddball pop, and rootsy backwoods numbers like "Real Slow" steal the Workingman back from the Dead. There's an extended guitar jam with Bon Iver's Justin Vernon on the slightly motorik groove of "Get Right," and the lovely, wobbling voice of Frazey Ford graces the lavish chamber-gospel of "Everything." There are also gorgeous ballads like "Hope You Know" and "Kill the Horns" alongside indescribable weirdness. It's the most esoteric recording those hairy oddballs from North Carolina have done yet, and while comparisons to another band's self-titled double album are inevitable, it's evidence of Megafaun's pleasures that it doesn't suffer from it. NED LANNAMANN


GIRLS, SONNY & THE SUNSETS, PAPA

(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) San Francisco's Girls have proven themselves to be more than just a nascent blog band. Their second full-length, Father, Son, Holy Ghost packs as much classic pop punch as 2009's lauded Album, but with a more fearless execution. Christopher Owens—the band's rather unabashedly opiated frontman—sings out more on this record, and notably employs a three-piece gospel choir to lend their reverberating harmonies behind his somewhat tenuous voice on seven of the 11 tracks. And the album's subject matter delves a bit deeper than the last, referencing his spiritual background, his struggles with drug addiction, and his complicated relationship with his mother. But the breezy pop flourishes and slackened, carefree postures have not been abandoned entirely; the album's first track, "Honey Bunny," carries on with an infectious "Kodachrome"-esque exuberance that will leave any problem behind in a Camaro's exhaust. RAQUEL NASSER