(Star Theater, 13 NW 6th) The cool, smoky R&B of Nick Waterhouse has all of its vintage accoutrements perfectly on display, but Waterhouse is no blast from the past. By injecting his soul shakedowns with sweat, tears, and even a little blood, these lost-in-time sounds have never sounded more alive. NED LANNAMANN

(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Los Angeles' the Soft Pack (is it still worth mentioning that they were formerly called the Muslims? Probably not) have always been able to do a lot with very little. Their loose and uncomplicated rock, which had them touted as the next Strokes by some, earned them a lot of initial buzz. Thing is, the Soft Pack really are good, serving up jangly rock fronted by a singer who sounds like he doesn't get out of bed before noon. Their latest album, Strapped, adds a few more bells and whistles (i.e. synths and horns) to the mix, which in the end really don't add a whole lot to the mix. Imagine if they were still called the Muslims? MARK LORE

(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Kaki King's work has been given a lot of makeovers over the past decade. Her 2003 debut, Everybody Loves You, swam in the high-waisted tides of tricky percussive guitar manipulations, alternately stunning and baffling technical string junkies. And while King's still as engaging as a kind of one-woman acoustic orchestra, her subsequent releases have ranged from minimalist to enormous, culminating with her biggest step yet toward pop with the rockin' 2010 LP Junior. King's sixth studio album, Glow, was just released, and manages to keep a foot in both her past and present, cultivating savage guitar pieces that are augmented by noodling strings, melodic mandolin flourishes, and stirring crescendos. King is, simply, one of the most unique composers making music today, and your bows at her feet will be rewarded. RYAN J. PRADO

(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Jules Baenziger records under the name Sea of Bees, and her 2009 debut album, Songs for the Ravens, was a positive stunner, the kind of fully realized work that even veteran songwriters can only dream of pulling off. After such an auspicious start, it makes sense that Sea of Bees' second full-length, the oddly titled Orangefarben, might initially seem to suffer from a sophomore slump. (The bill's headliner, Jason Lytle of Grandaddy, maybe knows a little something about slumps, Sophtware or otherwise.) As it turns out, Bee's Orangefarben is a strong and lovely record, with melodies just as ravishing as those on Ravens and perhaps a greater sense of confidence. Built on a bed of palliative, soft rock, Baenziger's charming, assured, folk-flecked melodies both comfort and exhilarate. NL