THE WALKMEN, FATHER JOHN MISTY (Roseland, 8 NW 6th) The well-dressed gents of the Walkmen want to show you a polished, lush good time. Let their decadent wall of epic symphonics wash over you as they play heartbreakers from their decade-deep back catalog. Also on the bill is Father John Misty, the druggy, dreamy shaman whose majestic folk-rock is a huge draw in its own right. COURTNEY FERGUSON Also see our article on the Walkmen.
SMALL SOULS, EZZA ROSE, SHOESHINE BLUE (Secret Society, 116 NE Russell) The self-titled album of Portland folkers Small Souls is decorated with the usual ornamentation: plucked acoustic guitars, keening saw, clucking banjo, high lonesome pedal steel. The unusual thing is that Bryan Daste, one of the two members anchoring the band, is playing all of these; the multi-instrumentalist has transformed the lean, appealing songs of bandmate and songwriter Brian Rozendal into elegant, near-symphonic folk. Of course, a bevy of guests—including vocalist Ezza Rose and Radiation City's Patti King on violin—add to the sumptuous surroundings as well, making Small Souls not just the calling card of a fine local band, but also a snapshot of the fertile musical community that birthed it. NED LANNAMANN
TRISTAN PRETTYMAN, PAUL CANNON (Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Tristan Prettyman is an astonishingly pretty lady—indeed, a former Roxy model—who makes accessible, radio-friendly music in the vein of Florence and the Machine. Aside from ensuring healthy sales, Prettyman's sunny songs are note-worthy because her latest, Cedar + Gold, is her second album about breaking up with Jason Mraz. The first, Hello..., came out in 2008. But then they got back together and one thing led to another, and then it all fell apart, and now... You know how it is. Still, the heartbreak of Cedar's more melancholy songs ("Second Chance," "I Was Gonna Marry You," "Come Clean") is tempered by hefty doses of literalism and summery surfer-cowgirl twang. This makes the songs universally relatable, but my favorite, "Bad Drug," is the weirdest, most oblique song on the album, and the only one that evokes emotional confusion rather than just feeling kinda bummed out. REBECCA WILSON
MIC CRENSHAW, RADICAL KLAVICAL, RAFAEL VIGILANTICS, JANA LOSEY AND THE TUESDAY PROJECT CRAY, DJ GRIMM ROCK (The Know, 2026 NE Alberta) Local emcee Mic Crenshaw hasn't performed in Portland for a while, as he recently returned from an international networking trip to Africa. He's heading back next month, performing with a hiphop caravan that is touring to six different cities across the continent. He will be joined by Dead Prez, the Coup, and some of Africa's top hiphop artists. Tonight's show is a benefit to help offset his travel expenses, a worthy cause that will help spread conscious hiphop culture, beginning in Capetown in early February and culminating at the World Social Forum in Tunis at the end of March. Be sure to arrive early for Elton Cray, a 20-year-old rapper who some may recognize from the high-energy Big Bang collective. Cray's latest solo mixtape, the criminally slept-on Indevelopment, is a masterfully mature recording that belies his young age. RYAN FEIGH
WILD ONES, GENDERS, PAPER BRAIN (Backspace, 115 NW 5th) I'm still holding out for Wild Ones. It's been almost a year since they were playing as frequently as I'd like them to, but they're back with a batch of new live shows. Hopefully that time off the stage has meant perfecting this new record and music video I keep hearing about. Their You're a Winner EP from 2011 is earnestly adorable synth-pop, but I'm expecting something deeper and more intricate after such a hiatus. As for Genders, they cannot be stopped. They are steadily winning over and inspiring everyone around them. It might seem like standard beach-pop at first, but there's a depth in the songwriting and a power in the delivery that keeps your eyes wide. There's also something to be said for a four-piece that really works as a team; although the lead vocals are strong, they're intertwined rather than sitting on top of the mix, offering a more compelling sound overall. ROCHELLE HUNTER
PLETHORA MUSIC FEST: HEADSHAPES, THE CENTURY, VANESSA ROGERS, THE WEATHER MACHINE (Firkin Tavern, 1937 SE 11th) Southeast beer haunt Firkin Tavern's inaugural Plethora Music Fest is a model of how to do it right: Three nights of stacked bills featuring great local bands (Pinehurst Kids, Bubble Cats, the Century) from all different genres, and all for the very affordable price of free. NED LANNAMANN