HURRY UP, HORNET LEG, BLESST CHEST
(East End, 203 SE Grand) I've said it before, but Hornet Leg is one of the best and prickliest pop bands in Portland, whether they're tripping through the garage, making arty noise, or working with sleek dance grooves. On the band's latest long-player, Wrecking Ball, Chris Sutton (also of Dub Narcotic Sound System) leads us through another dark pop journey filled with loads of hooky twists and turns. One listen, and I'm ready to call it my favorite of 2013 (hear the proof in "Summer's Eve" and "Slave Ship"). Hornet Leg remains a sort of enigma, creeping out for select performances, which always add an extra layer of grit and stench to Sutton's fantastic pop songs. Creepy, sexy, cool. MARK LORE


BARRA BROWN, VIKESH KAPOOR
(Secret Society, 116 NE Russell) There are seemingly infinite amounts of up-and-coming musicians in Portland, but it's very rare to find a universally talented musician with such promise. Barra Brown and his quintet stand more of a chance for longevity than the average indie rocker or electronic artist that we're seeing pop up with increasing frequency. It's also highly unusual to find new jazz artists, let alone ones producing a truly unique sound. Brown has a contemporary flair, with finely tuned improvised jazz skills, and a tight set that will surely captivate a growing audience. "Songs for a Young Heart" includes Cake-style rocking trumpet parts, with diverse tempos and tight instrumentation. There aren't many drummers/composers/flautists flooding the music scene right now, and this one you certainly shouldn't miss. ROSE FINN


ANDREW W.K., SONS OF HUNS, BLACK SNAKE
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE César E. Chávez) Party party party party party party party party party party party party party party party party party party party party party party party party party party party party party party party party party party party party party party party party party party party party party party party party party party party party party party party party party party party party party party party party party party party party party party party.


HERE COME DOTS, BOOKS ON FATE, QUIET COUNTRIES
(Alhambra Theatre, 4811 SE Hawthorne) Earlier this year, Here Come Dots released A House in the Country, the full-length follow-up to their 2011 EP Dusk. And House is aces, an overlooked but worthy rock record with smart songwriting and involving production. Opening track "It's a Curse" barrels out of the gate with stratospheric guitar chimes and a tornado-like melody. Meanwhile, "The Plans" steadily builds up a massive sound with a few simple ingredients. Here Comes Dots all came from Southern Oregon, although I don't know if that's the reason their sound has a broader scope than typical Portland guitar-based bands. Still, they fit right in with other great Pacific Northwest rock bands, a region that's downright lousy with them. Make no mistake, though; Here Comes Dots is one worth getting acquainted with. NED LANNAMANN


SOUVENIR DRIVER, PSYCHOMAGIC
(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) Souvenir Driver's 2012 release, Lifts the Curse, was the first album recorded by the now four-piece band that evolved out of frontman Nate Wey's solo project of the same name. Over the course of 10 tracks, far-off vocals get drenched, but never lost, in a dreamy haze. The band allows their audience to drift along with amazing ease. It's the kind of music that feels so familiar on the first listen that you could spend hours trying to pin down what is so haunting about tracks like "Futures" or "More." I've given up on trying to connect the dots. Clear and emotive lyrics cascade and resonate with repetition, as they draw the listener into a self-contained comfort zone on each track. "Feel the Flood," a new song off the band's upcoming album, Living Water, takes a similar approach, and adds a thick layer of driving synth to the mix. CHIPP TERWILLIGER