SAM AMIDON, ALESSI'S ARK, BARNA HOWARD
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Folk-music polymath Sam Amidon has turned American musical traditions on their ear in a series of stunning albums, and his latest, Bright Sunny South, is no exception. His goose-pimple music is absolutely worth seeing live—he's no less captivating a performer than he is a songwriter and interpreter. NED LANNAMANN


TIGERS JAW, PIANOS BECOME THE TEETH, SAINTHOOD REPS, LEE COREY OSWALD
(Backspace, 115 NW 5th) Read our article on Tigers Jaw.


THE PARSON RED HEADS, DESERT NOISES, SAID THE WHALE
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) With only a handful of freakish mutations surviving the fallout of the folk explosion, it's a relief that some bands persevered without the fanfare or sanctimony of their more monstrous peers. Between the wistful, romantic charm of the harmony-drenched Parson Red Heads and the buoyant, fresh-faced optimism of Desert Noises, there may just be hope for all of us yet. ALEX ROSS