SUPERFEST: GLASS CANDY, CHROMATICS, LITANIC MASK, ETBONZ, DJ MAXX BASS (Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) Portland's premier annual all-ages dance festival, Superfest, is bigger than ever, spanning four days, three venues, and featuring acts like Glass Candy, Chromatics, White Rainbow, and Strategy. Best of all, it all goes to benefit Music in the Schools, because when government bureaucracy can't save us, music will. MARJORIE SKINNER Also, read our article on Chromatics.
VEKTOR, WITCH MOUNTAIN, STOVOKOR (Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Vektor has been gaining favor in metal circles for years. And for good reason: These kids—who recently relocated to Philadelphia from Tempe, Arizona—are the best of the best in the new wave of thrash, channeling bands like Voivod and Venom for their own nuclear assault. And while the band draws from the familiar, they're already shaping the future of metal, and, perhaps, the future itself. The band's two fantastic long-players—Black Future and Outer Isolation—mix precision, power, and Mad Max. It's the feel-good soundtrack for a dystopian America. And if that's not enough to keep you up at night, wait until you hear vocalist Dave DiSanto's high-pitched shriek. MARK LORE
VINTAGE TROUBLE (Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Viewed a certain way, the very existence of Vintage Trouble is inspiring: Career musicians in their 40s get together to revive soul music as my parents understand it, with the tragic omission of a horns section. They nail the sound, so it's easy to like their first album, The Bomb Shelter Sessions, which came out this spring. Maybe too easy. Because, viewed another way, Vintage Trouble seem suspiciously like a business deal masquerading as a band—their marketing strategy seems to have predated the album itself. But some awfully great soul acts have been formed in this way (see: the Supremes), and the album, an undeniably enjoyable period piece, was recorded in an LA home studio. If you remember the entertainingly maddening reality show Rock Star: INXS, you've heard the singer, Ty Taylor, who was a contestant. He sounds less like Michael Hutchence and more like he time-traveled from 1962. REBECCA WILSON
APE MACHINE, OLD KINGDOM, MONDO DECA (Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) I don't want to name names, but this whole regurgitated classic rock/metal revivalist reclamation thing is really starting to wear on me. It was kind of cute when the Darkness and Steel Panther did it a decade ago, less so when they passed the torch to Wolfmother (remember those jackoffs?). Ape Machine are one of the exceptions. They're authentic—a bunch of dowdy, ordinary dudes whose music actually sounds like it could have been made in the '70s; who are actually passionate about rock and don't rely on silly, meta-ironic music videos and really obvious gothic lyrical tropes. Caleb Heinze is a bona fide fucking vocalist and lead guitarist Ian Watts has clearly spent days, years, eons in solitude studying Master of Reality—this, boys and girls, is the real deal. MORGAN TROPER
KAYO DOT, TOBY DRIVER (Back Door Theater, 4319 SE Hawthorne) If the seminal experimental/avant-garde man-of-all-abilities John Zorn says he wants to put out your band's record, chances run high that you're doing something noteworthy. Kayo Dot's debut album came out on Zorn's Tzadik Records in 2003 and ever since they've been heading strong. They hold back no offerings—their Bandcamp page is ripe with 15 listenable releases, which document the majority of Toby Driver & Co.'s work since the beginning of the millenium. The intimate seating arrangement at the Back Door Theater (tucked behind Common Ground Coffee House) argues strongly against the existence of a more appropriate venue, for it's best to remain still while this group displaces you with their haunting, jagged compositions. JONATHAN MAGDALENO