Rod w/Sweeping Exits, Dim Desires, Riled; Anarres Infoshop, 7101 N Lombard

As we ease into Portland’s dark, dank fall season, Rod helps us reflect on a bygone summer. Even as lead singer Tommy Celt breaches from pop-punk croon into screamer territory, Rod’s songs are loaded with humid pleasantries. Pretty Sure is a catchy, fun departure from Rod’s prior releases; here the band owns a very relatable feeling of reckless abandon. The album’s lead single, “Cemetery,” clocks in at a minute and a half, and by the end you feel like you’ve just sprinted on hot asphalt.

The Hotelier w/Joyce Manor, Crying; Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE Cesar E. Chavez

Home, Like Noplace Is There, the Hotelier’s 2014 breakthrough, remains a tour de force of emotional and musical competency. The record’s cover, an image of a dark suburban home, rings in feelings of residential ennui and youthful despair, which the Hotelier express in a way that’s validating, consoling, and mature. Their lyrics are as despondent and soaked in cafard as the cover’s suburban tableau, and are delivered in histrionic belting. Since then, the band has continued to grow; their May release, Goodness, is still emotionally divulging, but its gutting disinterest is cut with the optimism that comes with growing up and out of existential adolescence.


Mecca Normal w/the Julie Ruin, Allison Crutchfield and the Fizz; Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell

When I was 15, I would listen to Mecca Normal’s “I Walk Alone” every day as I maneuvered the desolate and lonely 10 blocks between the bus stop and my house. This was the year I began to learn the intricacies of girlhood, soundtracked by riot grrrl bands, fresh to my previously pop-occupied ears. Jean Smith’s politicized lyrics and occasionally grating singing style created alluring discomfort—Mecca Normal empowered girls to be angry and critical. Their refusal to assimilate or soften their message makes them a truly foundational feminist punk group, and one whose voice is still desperately needed.