DETACHED OBJECTS, NUMBERED, LITHICS
(The Know, 2026 NE Alberta) Tonight's show celebrates the release of Lithics' debut full-length, Borrowed Floors, a calculated examination of minimalistic but cacophonous noise. With casual expertise the Portland punk four-piece throws seemingly disparate sounds together like they're unblushingly mixing stripes and polka dots. The result is arresting—tense asymmetrical guitar riffs contrast sharply against Aubrey Hornor's detached vocals. I'd gladly rattle off artists with a similar sound if only I could think of any. Listening to Borrowed Floors feels like absorbing a particularly perplexing piece of abstract art—although it might initially appear simple, the album's geometric orchestral layers are arranged with deft grace and painstaking precision, like an indestructible Jenga tower. CIARA DOLAN
THE COOL NUTZ B-DAY EXTRAVAGANZA: COOL NUTZ, BOSKO, LIFESAVAS, BOOM BAP PROJECT, E-DAWG, MANIAC LOK, WISE ONE, DJ CHILL
(Ash Street Saloon, 225 SW Ash) In similar fashion to years past, Cool Nutz (AKA Terrance Scott, host of The Breakout Show on JAM'N 107.5 and co-founder of Jus Family Records) is presenting a night of live hip-hop to celebrate another year of his life. Even if you're just a casual Portland concertgoer, you're probably familiar with Cool Nutz—his name constantly appears on local hip-hop bills as a host or supporting performer. When he's not hosting or performing, he's most likely somewhere behind the scenes or at the very least in the audience. This year on his birthday the rapper/radio personality/scene-leader will release Neva Play Yaself, a project featuring Illmaculate, Bosko, Mikey Vegaz, Slum Village, Mitchy Slick, and more. Though the event's details are vague, the Ash Street Saloon is sure to be crackin' since Cool Nutz has a seemingly endless network of friends and colleagues. JENNI MOORE
BOB MOULD, MIKE KROL
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) As a member of SST Records legends Hüsker Dü, Bob Mould was one of the primary architects of a sound most commonly referred to as "alternative rock," directly influencing some of the most notable names in its pantheon like Nirvana, Dinosaur Jr., and the Pixies. What these luminaries gleaned from Mould's style was his uncanny ability to fuse the caustic, edgy blade of hardcore punk with emotionally melodic sensibilities and an acute ear for monolithic guitars. All of these gifts are on full display throughout his newest solo LP, Patch the Sky, where his trademark wall of scream is accompanied by the heavy undertow of bassist Jason Narducy and the flailing stomp of drummer Jon Wurster (Superchunk, Best Show). If the sonic results of this thunderous album are any indication of this power trio's live acumen, both hearts and minds are sure to be blown into glorious oblivion. CHRIS SUTTON Also see My, What a Busy Week!
JENNY DON'T AND THE SPURS, ROSELIT BONE, MATTRESS
(The Liquor Store, 3341 SE Belmont) "Oh, I want to be a well-oiled machine," bellows Josh McCaslin at the beginning of Roselit Bone's "Dreamless Sleep." The track is from the self-described "apocalyptic country" nine-piece's brand-new 7-inch split with Jenny Don't and the Spurs. It's easily one of the best nü-country tracks released by a Portland band in a hot minute—McCaslin sings with the cool immediacy of classic crooners of yore, while cascading flute melodies, syrupy slide guitar, and climactic horns build the lonesome ballad into a nostalgia-hued symphony. There's been a fair share of bands disingenuously repurposing Americana for years, but here Roselit Bone kicks those imposters out the saloon doors on their bums. Although the band's been at it since 2011, the overtly country tone of "Dreamless Sleep" suits them—Roselit Bone, you have our attention. CD
PALLBEARER, NORSKA, THIEVES
(Analog Café, 720 SE Hawthorne) Arkansas doom metal outfit Pallbearer soars high on their second record, 2014's Foundations of Burden. They've won accolades from several notable publications, rendering them an uncommon degree of visibility in the sometimes-obscure world of metal. Pallbearer—who are often called a crossover band—draw influence from classic rock icons like Black Sabbath, who they actually thank in the album's liner notes. Layers upon layers of epic guitar lines overlay soaring vocals, with harmonies that are simultaneously gritty and alluring. Pallbearer's melodies are mournful but uplifting, creating a sound that transcends itself. CHRISTINA BROUSSARD
MODERN ENGLISH, SOFT KILL, UNDERPASS, LUNCH
(Star Theater, 13 NW 6th) The thought of seeing Modern English causes me to grin as stupidly as the vest-without-shirt-wearing Nicolas Cage alongside Deborah Foreman in Valley Girl's love montage. Such a visceral reaction is alarming for a band whose 1982 hit "I Melt with You" is pretty much the only thing anybody cares about. Modern English were number seven on VH1's Greatest One-Hit Wonders of the '80s, and it's precisely this that makes Modern English's perseverance so purely beautiful. Once given the title "One Hit Wonder" there's no turning back; it's a cementation of their legacy. Still, 34 years later, Modern English are touring. Touring, knowing that only when they start that iconic bassline will the entire audience be truly satisfied. The rest of their set they're free to do whatever they want without any expectation of the audience other than filling their allotted 45 minutes with some noise. Was it Camus who said, "One must imagine Modern English happy"? CAMERON CROWELL
AARON CARTER, YOUNG LOVE, CHANDLER P, SMOKEY CHARLES (Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE César E. Chávez) Aaron Carter, the king of candy pop, is plotting a big comeback. After beating Shaq in the best game of basketball ever to grace pop music, it was hard to bounce back. His most recent blunders include his brief support of Donald Trump and a weird stretch of tattoo removal videos that ended with re-inking all of them. Plus, he has been spotted baring a brand-new neck piece—the word "Love" surrounded by flames, a proud proclamation of his big return album LØVË, which is slated to be released later this year. Carter has a lot to lose. He's ready to grow up and move on to bigger things. With his last release in 2002, Carter's act in recent years has looked to the past. From sweet metaphors of the '90s to his Weeknd-esque new hit "Fools Gold," there's a new kind of Aaron's Party in town. EMILY VANKOUGHNETT
MEAN JEANS, FIRE RETARDED, MISTER TANG
(The Liquor Store, 3341 SE Belmont) Portland punk band Mean Jeans don't just borrow from the Ramones playbook, they've photocopied it. Touring in support of the brand-new album Tight New Dimension, out now on Fat Wreck Chords, Mean Jeans play amped-up, melodic, three-chord punk, rarely expressing anything much more meaningful than GO, GO FASTER, and don't forget to party along the way! Also like the Ramones, Mean Jeans heavily reference bubblegum pop and surf rock. Lyrically, Mean Jeans are juvenile and funny, with song titles like "4 Coors Meal" and "Michael Jackson Was Tight." While doing absolutely nothing to push punk's envelope, Mean Jeans are fun as hell. But like anything adolescent, a little Mean Jeans goes a long way. WILLIAM KENNEDY Also see My, What a Busy Week!
ANIMAL EYES, FAUNA SHADE, SAMA DAMS
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N. Mississippi) Where We Go, the latest album from local psych-rockers Animal Eyes, was two years in the making. Judging by the end result, we can say that it was time well spent. The band of Alaskan ex-pats got started in 2011 with a distinctly folk-rock influence, borrowing liberally from Eastern European sounds. For the most part, the lone relic from that era of the band is the fact that they have an accordion, but you wouldn't guess it just by listening to the new album's 11 tracks. Where We Go is sonically adventurous and detailed, with said accordion usually run through a slew of effects, but songcraft is still the primary objective here. Finding that balance takes time. MATTHEW W. SULLIVAN
THE BLIND BOYS OF ALABAMA
(Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway) The terms "living legend" and "national treasure" get thrown around so much by critics the words have lost nearly all meaning. But if ever there was a group that deserved those honors and more, it would be the Blind Boys of Alabama. Still regularly recording and performing into what is now their 7th decade as a group, the Blind Boys have seen a number of members pass on, but original member Jimmy Carter still continues to lead the group, with occasional contributions by other surviving original member, Clarence Fountain—one of the greatest gospel soloists of all time. Though they are perhaps best known among the under-50 crowd for their Tom Waits cover during the opening credits of The Wire, and though they now sprinkle their repertoire with secular tunes, the Blind Boys remain first and foremost a gospel group. But what has sustained them for over half a century is their ability to connect with god-fearing believers and unrepentant sinners alike (of which they'll find many during their stop in Portland). SANTI ELIJAH HOLLEY
STRIKER, SPELLCASTER, WERESQUATCH, SANCTIFYRE
(Bossanova Ballroom, 722 E Burnside) Historically, Canada has produced some quality heavy-metal acts. Presently, Edmonton's Striker is proof that our northern neighbors still do. The band's most recent and fourth full-length, 2016's Stand in the Fire, is a stellar example of competent heavy metal. Every element is there, and expertly executed. Melodic, soaring vocals, galloping riffs, rumbling double-kick, impressive solos, all paced perfectly for maximum headbang-ability. This show also sees local ambassadors of choice heavy-metal licks Spellcaster on the cusp of releasing their Prosthetic Records debut, Night Hides the World. It wouldn't be a surprise if they snuck a few cuts from Hides into their set before it drops in July. ARIS HUNTER WALES
TANGERINE, CANDACE, BITCH'N
(The Know, 2026 NE Alberta) Nobody is having as much fun as Tangerine right now. With a four-on-the-floor feel, the band, made up of sister duo Marika and Miro Justad and Toby Kuhn, exudes the electricity of Animal Collective and the playful side of Yeah Yeah Yeahs, basically a less pop version of Tegan and Sara. At once introspective, the band has a heart that is hard to miss. "Sugar Teeth," the Seattle-based band's latest release, finds them settling deeper in their sound, founded in a simple indie rock core with a playfulness that breaks the mold of the Northwest's stoic crowds. This a band you won't be able to miss. JENI WREN STOTTRUP
THE THERMALS, SUMMER CANNIBALS, LITTLE STAR
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) Who the hell in Portland still needs us to make a case for the Thermals? Whether you'd call it power-pop or pop-punk or hyper-active post-pop-punk, you wouldn't be wrong. The three-piece has built a bedrock of infectious, brute-force tracks over the past 14 years, managing to harness the sort of youthful vibes that make human adults want to jump up and down all the while. On the road in support of their latest LP, We Disappear, the trio's hometown stop (which happens criminally few times per year) presents the perfect opportunity for a raucous Friday night sing-along. You might want to rest your voice in advance. JENNA FLETCHER Also see My, What a Busy Week!
JEFF ROSENSTOCK, UPSET
(Analog Café, 720 SE Hawthorne) There may be no album that better summarizes itself within its first 20 words than We Cool? by Jeff Rosenstock. "When your friends are buying starter homes with their accomplishments," Rosenstock sings over a speed-strummed acoustic guitar to open the record, "drinking at a house show can feel childish and embarrassing." Charmingly rumpled and ridiculously catchy, We Cool? is a master class on how it feels when you get older and everyone around you stays the same age. And Rosenstock is a DIY/punk-rock lifer (formerly of the band Bomb the Music Industry!) who has no doubt attended his share of house shows, but he reached a larger audience in 2015 thanks to the album's Weezeresque hooks, irresistible energy, and everyman relatability. If you're worried about feeling like the weird old guy at the show tonight, don't worry: Jeff Rosenstock will be there for you. BEN SALMON
ST. JOHNS BIZARRE: QUASI, CHANTI DARLING, MINDEN, THE DOMESTICS, PATSY'S RATS, DJ DIRTYNICK, HENRIK BOTHE, CARDBOARD SONGSTERS
(St. Johns Plaza, N Lombard & Philadelphia) This is a ridiculous chance to see one of the best bands from the '90s Portland music scene for free—Quasi is the project of former spouses Sam Coomes, who played with good friend Elliott Smith back in the day, and Janet Weiss, who's been slaying in Sleater-Kinney for years. Over the course of eight albums Quasi haven't always hit the mark, but at their best Coomes' cynical musings layer over driving pop melodies atop Weiss' killer dynamic drum fills. Quasi is the gold here, but there are some other seriously sweet acts playing at this event—make sure to also check out Chanti Darling, Minden, the Domestics, and Patsy's Rats. FIONA GABRIELLE WOODMAN Also see My, What a Busy Week!
BLOWOUT, SOAR, ALIEN BOY, SWEEPING EXITS
(Turn! Turn! Turn!, 8 NE Killingsworth) Not unlike the atmospheric, moody punk of Samiam, Knapsack, or the Jealous Sound, Portland quartet Alien Boy posture affecting, melodic masterpieces heavy on the guitar and light on flash. Their debut LP, Never Getting over It, is the type of album best played in the throes of some emotional crisis—a kind of therapeutic fuck-you love letter. The sentiment hits hard on solid tracks like "I Want You," delivered with a subtle sneer under all those layered guitars. A fantastic cover of the Smiths' "Hand in Glove" paces the back half of the record, segueing into the dreamy grunge of "Never Will" and the frenzied sonics of standout track "Blacking Out." Portland's Blowout headlines a completely non-ironic '90s revival night that people who came of age in the '90s would be thoughtless to skip. RYAN J. PRADO
PDX POP NOW! COMPILATION RELEASE PARTY: THE MINDERS, MONTHS, KULULULU
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) See My, What a Busy Week!
DAMIEN JURADO AND THE HEAVY LIGHT, BEN ABRAHAM
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) With 14 albums under his belt, Seattle artist Damien Jurado is as creative as he is prolific. Just when we thought Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son couldn't be matched, the underrated indie rock veteran has proven that he still has more tricks up his sleeve. Nowhere is it more evident than on his latest album, Visions of Us on the Land. Over Jurado's nearly 20-year career, the velvet-voiced musician has successfully transitioned from grunge-folk to a complex, sophisticated pop sound while still staying true to his rock 'n' roll roots. If Beck were ever to produce a Chris Isaak/Jose Gonzalez collaboration on the moon, it would probably sound a lot like Jurado's two most recent albums. With songs like "Walrus," "Silver Timothy," "Jericho Road," and "Qachina," Jurado and his producer Richard Swift may have created their own epic genre of music that can only be described as bluesy-psych-lounge-spaghetti-western. ZARA ZHI
UNITED WITH BERNIE!: ORQUESTRA PACIFICO TROPICAL, EDNA VAZQUEZ, LUZ ELENA MENDOZA, THE CHICHARONES, ADRIAN H AND THE WOUNDS, LEE AND THE BEES, BEVELERS
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Feel the Bern while catching a diverse selection of the Pacific Northwest's most impressive live acts at this fundraiser hosted by the Doug Fir. Eleven-piece band Orquestra Pacifico Tropical bring scorching South American cumbia rhythms to Portland dance floors, while singer/songwriters Edna Vazquez and Luz Elena Mendoza (of Y La Bamba) display quiet power in their soulful compositions, each with a unique take on traditional Mexican sounds. Now in their 15th year, underground hip-hop duo the Chicharones back their pop- and funk-infused rhymes with an animated live show complete with costume changes. Folk and rock acts Adrian H and the Wounds, Lee and the Bees, and Bevelers round out the night. Entry is free but bring your wallet and donate to the Sanders campaign inside. DANIELA SERNA
WILD BELLE, JAMES SUPERCAVE
(Star Theater, 13 NW 6th) Chicago-based Wild Belle grew out of Ann Arbor, Michigan-based Afrobeat group NOMO, who themselves grew out of Detroit's venerated indie-pop band Saturday Looks Good Me. The thread through all of these groups is Elliot Bergman, a talented multi-instrumentalist and composer. Bergman began taking his younger sister Natalie on tour with NOMO, inviting her to write and sing over some of their songs. The collaboration between these two fashionable (and smoking hot) siblings proved fruitful, as the band—now reinvented as Wild Belle—signed a three-record deal with Columbia, who released their 2013 debut album, Isles. Their follow-up, Dreamland, released in April, is a more polished collection than their debut, with fewer of the rocksteady grooves and island vibes. But Dreamland keeps with their disco-funk and heavy psych-pop, custom-tailored for getting fancy and sweaty on the dance floor. SEH
HORSE LORDS, BLESST CHEST, ABRONIA
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) The Baltimore-based quartet Horse Lords have been building in strength and clarity over the past four years. Early mixtape releases found them recording lo-fi sound collages that switched from fiery stompers to placid synth explorations. Their bona fide albums, though, capture the band in crisp quality, with the four men responding with a marked uptick in dynamics and intricacy. The Lords' latest effort Interventions is their most confident effort to date, with polyrhythms connecting like threads in a cable-knit sweater and riding on one melodic idea to entirely hypnotic effect. Shades of Afropop and post-rock are found within their knotted-up playing, but those descriptors feel completely limiting when trying to explain the brilliance of their very original work. ROBERT HAM