TOTALLY ENORMOUS EXTINCT DINOSAURS (Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Orlando Higginbottom, out of Oxford, has been releasing songs and remixes under his Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs moniker for a few years, but Trouble is his first album. Though he reportedly chose his name because it has no potential to ever become remotely cool, he has nevertheless made an extremely cool album. There's no denying that Trouble features incredible production, and Higginbottom seems to be an excellent singer. But even though it sounds confident and innovative, there's nothing particularly warm or inviting here; it's music for nightclubs not where people dance, but where they sip futuristic martinis and avoid making eye contact. Which may account for some of his angst. According to his lyrics, he doesn't have much luck with the ladies, and not for lack of trying. On "Household Goods," my favorite song, he offers up a misguided plea: "Forgive me if I'm wrong/But you look shit/All alone/So give me another shot." REBECCA WILSON Also see My, What a Busy Week!
DAX RIGGS (Star Bar, 13 NW 6th) Rising from the eerie swamps of Louisiana, Dax Riggs began making a name for himself over a decade ago as frontman for seminal black/doom metal band Acid Bath. His drawing from many different styles over time—including psychedelia, hardcore punk, and his own self-described "folk metal"—has generated a prismatic evolution for the accompaniment of his hauntingly dark and powerful voice, which has been front and center on his last three solo albums. The symmetry of his dynamic song arrangements and his tormented, thrashing guitar has cultivated a fertile playground for Rigg's gritty blues rock. CHRISTINA BROUSSARD
BILLIONS AND BILLIONS (Tube 18 NW 3rd) Sonically, Billions and Billions take the wiry blues of ZZ Top and crank it up to 13—it sounds like they're playing their instruments with sledgehammers. Riffs are otherworldly. Drums are caveman. "Grass Snake" is one of the spaciest and heaviest things I've experienced live. The Portland power quartet has managed to capture the experience on their recordings, too—if you listen with headphones accompanied by a bag of grass, you're guaranteed to see Carl Sagan dancing with pink elephants. Billions and Billions just might be the missing link. MARK LORE