UNKNOWN MORTAL ORCHESTRA, GAUNTLET HAIR
(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) To be sure, Unknown Mortal Orchestra's relatively meteoric rise shall not go without (continued) mention. In less than a year they've ridden a wave of guitar stabs, crispy break-beats, and funky, falsetto hooks from secretive solo project to prolifically touring power-trio. Since February UMO have been criss-crossing the country like Mitt Romney. This time they return to Northwest soil in what feels like an odd, or possibly premature, victory lap with back to-back nights at Bunk Bar. Perhaps less familiar but equally intriguing are Gauntlet Hair, a duo from Denver who share more than a label (Dead Oceans) in common with Portland's beloved Nurses. Like our boys, Gauntlet Hair shimmer in a wash of reverb, funhouse mirrors, and bright technicolor globs. But where Nurses stack intricate hooks like wood for winter, Gauntlet Hair prefers to thrash a bit more in the pile, snapping sticks, thumping stumps, and shouting out. If they're as active and full as the recently released, self-titled record suggests, these back-to-back nights might make sense after all. ANDREW R TONRY
THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS, JONATHAN COULTON
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) For 30 years we've been wondering if they are indeed giants or not. But really, we resoundingly know the answer to that musical quandary, as John Linnell and John Flansburgh have been nerd-rocking us hard for so many years they feel like trusted confidants and besties. They released Join Us this summer—their 15th album and their first non-children's work since 2007—only to follow it up with the piping fresh Album Raises New and Troubling Questions, a digital-download album of rarities, outtakes, and a particularly spirited cover of Chumbawamba's "Tubthumping," with the AV Club acting as the "get knocked down" chumba-choir. TMBG are pretty concerned about getting knocked down, also evidenced in the lyrics of "Can't Keep Johnny Down" on Join Us, with its line of "Outnumbered a million to one/all of the dicks in this dick town/can't keep Johnny down." So take a whiskey drink, or maybe a soda drink, and show all the Johns (plus one Jonathan Coulton) at the Crystal that they can still make you dance your fool faces off with their smart, fun get-down-ness. COURTNEY FERGUSON Also see My, What a Busy Week!
WILD FLAG, DREW GROW AND THE PASTORS' WIVES
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Read our article on Wild Flag.
SCORPIO PARTY!: DEELAY CEELAY, FATHA GREEN, TUNNELS, DJ SNAKKS
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Wampire's Rocky Tinder curates his own birthday party with performances from Deelay Ceelay, Fatha Green (of Purple and Green), and synth king Tunnels. This power lineup of dance bands promises an epic night, and it might be even more fun than Rocky Tinder's birthday party last year. SUZETTE SMITH