GUIDED BY VOICES, BOBBY BARE JR.
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) While Bobby Bare's career landed him in the Country Music Hall of Fame, his son Bobby Bare Jr. sought his own musical identity in the mid-'90s as a more rough-and-tumble kind of rocker. His band, Bare Jr., played hard-hitting, witty roots rock, but since the early 2000s, he's fronted the more alt-country-leaning Young Criminals' Starvation League. His latest, Undefeated, came out in April and finds Bare still playing in the street at the intersection of country-blues and indie-rock, with extra pop and psychedelic flourishes here and there. And he's still doing it with equal parts self-aware humor, candid confessions, and boozy observations. MATTHEW W. SULLIVAN Also, read our article on Guided by Voices.
ALEX G, SPECIAL EXPLOSION, CREECH, LEE COREY OSWALD
(Slabtown, 1033 NW 16th) The buzz around Alex G—aka Alex Giannascoli—isn't yet deafening, but it will be someday. Maybe soon. At 21 years old, the Philadelphia singer/songwriter has already been stocking his Bandcamp profile (sandy.bandcamp.com) with lovely, laid-back, lo-fi pop-rock songs for years. The peak of that pile of jams is Trick, a 13-track album that, at its noisiest, evokes the squirrelly early days of Built to Spill, and, at its quietest, recalls the untouchable bedroom pop of Elliott Smith. (Yeah, I said it, Portland.) On June 17, Alex G will break free of the Bandcamp life when Orchid Tapes releases DSU, a full-length that bumps up the fidelity just a notch without losing any of the natural intimacy and charm of Giannascoli's tunes. Also on Saturday's bill at Slabtown is another buzzy band: Seattle's Special Explosion, who definitely grew up listening to Built to Spill, too (as they should've). BEN SALMON Also see All-Ages Action!
PAUL COLLINS BEAT, MEAN JEANS, THE CRY
(East End, 203 SE Grand) Perhaps you've heard Blondie's "Hanging on the Telephone"? Well, the Nerves did it first and they might've done it best. A serrated, angular, whip-tight ripper, "Hanging" leads the LA band's first and only EP, released in 1976. It was, alas, only a tantalizing tease of pop-rock promise. The pioneering power trio died on the vine soon after, and each highly proficient player went his own way. Guitarist and lead vocalist Jack Lee, who wrote "Hanging," continued as songwriter. Bassist Peter Case birthed the Plimsouls. And Paul Collins traded drums for guitar and formed the Beat, who released six records between '79 and '89. Under one permutation of the name or another, Collins keeps rolling as a punk-pop progenitor, and the title of his most recent record, 2010's The King of Power Pop, says it all. As noted by this evening's openers, the Mean Jeans—themselves a consummate power-pop trio and inheritors of the Nerves' DNA— "Dude's still got it!" ANDREW R TONRY
TIMBER TIMBRE, TASSEOMANCY
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) It's nearly impossible to talk about the music of Timber Timbre without resorting to cinematic allusions. The Toronto-based trio—made up of Taylor Kirk, Mika Posen, and Simon Trottier, and further expanded in the live setting—conjures a transporting, widescreen sound, falling somewhere in the vicinity of The Last Picture Show and Sin City. Frontman Kirk deftly moves between songs with lead roles we might imagine played by Brando, Newman, and (more lately) McConaughey, all late nights and endless cigarettes. Timber Timbre's latest release, Hot Dreams, is their darkest and most deliberate yet, a dusty, slow-burning collection that specializes in uneasy beauty and places the band a ways out from the Ontario cabin/studio that inspired their name. JEREMY PETERSEN
SCHOOL OF ROCK DOES SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER
(Star Theater, 13 NW 6th) Anybody who doesn't think the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack is the greatest... well, they aren't people I care to know. And now the talented kids from Portland School of Rock are taking on the disco classic, performing cuts from the Bee Gees, Kool and the Gang, KC and the Sunshine Band, and more. Put on your boogie shoes. You should be dancing. ERIK HENRIKSEN
IMPROVISATION SUMMIT OF PORTLAND: AMENTA ABIOTO, DOUG THERIAULT, MATT CARLSON, MICHAEL STIRLING, BAD LUCK, MATT HANNAFIN, LOREN CHASSE
(Sandbox Studio, 420 NE 9th) The Creative Music Guild have been the most stalwart supporters of experimental sound in Portland for over two decades, and for the past three years, they've focused their annual calendar of events around this three-day blending of artistic disciplines. Key to the success of these Improvisation Summits has been their ability to bring artists from outside the city to collaborate and improvise with local musicians. This year, that guest is saxophonist Tim Berne, a mainstay of the New York avant-jazz scene whose playing continues to breathe life into the post-bop body politic. He plays Friday, both on his own and with an ensemble of local players. The rest of the weekend features a wealth of Portland players in solo performances or random combos, including Golden Retriever keyboardist Matt Carlson, vocalist Amenta Abioto, and free-jazz quintet Pinkish. ROBERT HAM