SAD13 Wed 11/30 Bunk Bar SHERVIN LAINEZ

WEDNESDAY 11/30

SAD13, VAGABON, LISA PRANK
(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) Laetitia Tamko has been releasing music under the moniker Vagabon for two years, but she’s just now gearing up to release her debut full-length, Infinite Worlds. Her guitar rock pulses with stinging rawness, exposing the kind of extreme vulnerability that sounds like the most intimate punk music. CIARA DOLAN Read our story on Vagabon.

KYLE CRAFT
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) With the release of his 2015 debut, Dolls of Highland, the cunning publicists at Sub Pop managed to manipulate the bulk of critics into referencing his Shreveport, Louisiana heritage, and here I am, doing it too. It’s an appealing narrative, but there’s way more classic rock in Craft’s makeup than Lead Belly. He even sort of admits this in a recent interview with KEXP: “When I was a kid, like really young, I was into Guns N’ Roses, and maybe that’s why I sing so high and loud.” But Craft’s incendiary tenor isn’t a mere facsimile of Axl’s—it’s a composite of every great ’70s and ’80s rock singing voice, and it comes at a time when “good singing” in the context of indie rock couldn’t be more passé. Dolls of Highland sounds like Robin Zander sitting in with the Band, leaving our aghast Nobel Laureate to sulk and chain-smoke in the corner. But it’s worth bringing attention to the non-album cut “Before the Wall,” an anti-Trump protest song that surfaced over the summer, when the prospect of a maniac running our country still ultimately seemed like a remote, Orwellian nightmare. It’s taken on an added resonance now that it’s a nightmare we can’t wake up from. MORGAN TROPER

ORCHESTRA BECOMES RADICALIZED, VISIBLE CLOAKS, IAN CHRISTENSEN QUARTET
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Percussionist John Niekrasz is one of Portland’s true artistic treasures, having led and accompanied dozens of groups throughout his time in the city. For the second time, Niekrasz is pooling the many musical resources at his disposal for a project called Orchestra Becomes Radicalized, which, this time around, will perform a politically charged composition based on Subcomandante Marcos’ descriptions of his Zapatista Capitánes. Joining him in this endeavor are experimental geniuses like Holland Andrews (Like a Villain), Sage Fisher (Dolphin Midwives), Jonathan Sielaff (Golden Retriever), Ben Kates, and Brian Mumford. The bill also features the modern synth wizards of Visible Cloaks, who just released a fantastic new collaboration with Japanese artist Dip in the Pool. ROBERT HAM

KRISTIN HERSH
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Whether she’s fronting projects like Throwing Muses and 50FootWave or playing solo, Kristen Hersh has quietly contributed to the traditionally male-dominated world of indie rock for decades. Hersh’s songwriting blends punk, indie, and folk, with lyrics that touch on her struggle with bipolar disorder. But her talent isn’t limited to the recording studio—her third book, last year’s Don’t Suck, Don’t Die: Giving Up Vic Chesnutt, is a memoir of her friendship with the legendary songwriter. Now Hersh comes to Portland behind her latest release, Wyatt at the Coyote Palace, a book of essays and 24-song record. WILLIAM KENNEDY

THURSDAY 12/1

THE THESIS: ILLMACULATE, ROBY, BLOSSOM, CORY KENDRIX, DJ VERBZ
(Kelly’s Olympian, 426 SW Washington) Since its inception nearly two years ago, the Thesis has dramatically transformed the landscape of Portland music. Every month the hip-hop concert series delivers lineups showcasing promising up-and-coming local artists alongside seasoned veterans—a feat that seamlessly weaves together the transforming city’s past and present. To celebrate its second birthday, this month the Thesis is stretching out over two days: Thursday it’ll go down as usual at Kelly’s Olympian with a bill that includes the already legendary St. Johns battle rapper Illmaculate and the smooth R&B of Blossom, who recently appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon to back Portland emcee Aminé. Friday’s all-ages lineup at the Compound Gallery boasts some of the organizers’ favorite young squads, like SQD and STRAY. The Thesis is known for its early sell-outs, so avoid unfashionable lateness. CIARA DOLAN

KAMASI WASHINGTON, 1939 ENSEMBLE
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) Last year, Kamasi Washington ignited a flame within the jazz world by releasing a sonically ambitious debut called The Epic. The aptly named triple LP conjured all of the great spirits of jazz history while updating the genre and increasing its acceptance within pop circles. The cascading orchestrations and highly cerebral instrumentation in Washington’s recorded compositions embrace a sacred magic shared by greats from the past like Sun Ra, Coltrane, and David Axelrod. His talent and reputation as a brand-new saxophone hero have aligned him with a young vanguard of forward-thinking peers that include Kendrick Lamar and Thundercat, artists who empower black music through limitless creativity, an ethos perfectly suited to help heal today’s spiritual climate. CHRIS SUTTON

KELLI SCHAEFER, FANNO CREEK, MORDECAI
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) For almost 10 years, Portland artist Kelli Schaefer has tapped into the emotional pulses of an ever-changing pop culture landscape. On 2013’s experimental EP 601, Schaefer shed the skin of her folky muses, inviting electronic flourishes to glaze her avant-garde pop gems. Her evolution continues on her forthcoming follow-up, No Identity, produced by Modern Kin’s Drew Grow and due in early 2017 on local label Amigo/Amiga. Schaefer leaked the wholly appropriate track “Underground” on November 9, that confounding day after Donald Trump was elected president. The song’s art-pop mechanics bore deep amid that disorienting haze as Schaefer coos, “We are all waterfalls slipping through the cracks downtown/I will meet you underground.” The song unfurls steadily, building urgency until the four-minute mark, which is full-on revolutionary revelry. It’s an exciting indication of the album to come, and yet another reminder of why Schaefer is one of Portland’s best and most inventive artists. RYAN J. PRADO

FRIDAY 12/2

THE THESIS: SQD, STRAY, GVE, RARE VIBE, DJ VERBZ
(Hoop Dreams, 1402 NW Glisan) See Thursday's preview.

MIC CAPES, SERGE SEVERE, RASHEED JAMAL, SWIGGLE MANDELA
(The Fixin’ To, 8218 N Lombard) I’ve told ya’ll once, and I’m gonna keep telling you: Mic Capes, with his heavy vocals and arresting flow, is leading the new wave of Portland hip-hop. He’ll be performing tracks off his stellar new LP Concrete Dreams, no doubt with backup from featured artist and billmate Rasheed Jamal. This show is literally close to home, going off in Capes’ own neighborhood of St. Johns, marking just the second hip-hop show that the southern-ish bar The Fixin’ To has hosted. JENNI MOORE

X, SMALL WIGS, SKATING POLLY
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) 2016 has robbed the world of many of its musical heroes, including Prince, Bowie, and Leonard Cohen, who have passed and left fans striving to fill the void on this retrenching Earth. Thankfully, there’s one seminal band that brings hope to the end of this terrible year, and that band is X. The SoCal punks are perhaps most famous for their track “Los Angeles,” which reps those palm tree-lined streets they call home. Now X is celebrating its 40th year in the game with a series of shows along the best coast—and while San Francisco, Seattle, San Diego, and Los Angeles were originally the only cities to be blessed by the X, luckily they added a stop in Portland. Get ready to revel in hits from Hey Zeus! and beyond, while begging for comment on what it was like to be on an episode of the Adult Swim TV series Childrens Hospital. CERVANTE POPE

BRANCHES, WESLEY RANDOLPH EADER, HANNAH GLAVOR
(Secret Society, 116 NE Russell) “I was raised beneath the silver sun, down in western Tennessee.” These are the first 11 words sung on Wesley Randolph Eader’s new album, Highway Winds. They’re not true for the guy singing—Eader was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest—but boy, does he sound convincing. Highway Winds follows his 2012 debut, Of Old It Was Recorded, and it’s a pitch-perfect tour of various old-timey styles, from folk to country to traditional gospel music, with tasteful touches of slide guitar, piano, and basic percussion, but only when necessary. Recorded entirely to tape, the record captures a warm and intimate performance that sounds like Eader’s playing just for you in your living room. It’s hard to imagine a better way to hear him. BEN SALMON

SATURDAY 12/3

NELSON GOERNER
(PSU Lincoln Performance Hall, 1620 SW Park) A mere 24 hours after his recital Saturday, Argentinean pianist Nelson Goerner returns on Sunday afternoon for a completely different program that spans 300 years of keyboard composition. The eclectic show kicks off with a bit of Bach, continues with a scherzo and a pair of nocturnes from Chopin, then veers into decidedly Spanish waters with three choice cuts from Iberia—a towering, 20th-century piano suite created by Isaac Albéniz that requires intense technical chops. As if that weren’t enough, our soloist proves his unsurpassed virtuosity (and stamina) by closing out the evening like a boss with Maurice Ravel’s absolutely wicked transcription of La Valse. If you’re wondering what extremes two hands and 88 keys are capable of, this is your ticket. BRIAN HORAY

GHOUL, HELLSHOCK, CLITERATI
(The Raven, 3100 NE Sandy) These days, when everyone’s got a mini-computer in their pocket, you’d think the world would be devoid of enduring mysteries or secrets. But this world’s a weird, wild place—who’s to say the country of Creepsylvania doesn’t exist, and that it isn’t producing hooded thrash bands of cannibals like Ghoul? Though there’s no real evidence, parts of the internet will have you believe that Ghoul is an all-star band from Oakland featuring members of Impaled, Exhumed, and Wolves in the Throne Room. But whether or not they’re a pack of murderous psychopaths from a war-torn, plague-ridden European country, Ghoul’s slash-and-burn “splatterthrash” is most certainly real, and it’s real good, too. The band’s latest offering, Dungeon Bastards, has all the gurgling, theatrical mayhem and razor-sharp death/thrash crossover riffs you can handle. Ghoul’s gore-dripping live shows also feature a cast of characters and monsters outside the band themselves, giving Gwar a run for its money. Seeing is believing, but seeing Ghoul could still leave you scratching your head in wonderment. ARIS HUNTER WALES

SUNDAY 12/4

YOUNG AUDIENCES LIVE SET: BITCH’N, SAMA DAMS, SEA CHARMS, LIKE A VILLAIN
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) This free matinee show is the capstone event of Young Audiences of Oregon and SW Washington’s Sound Engineering for Teens program—it’s their class-end final presentation, if you will—but we reap the benefits, as amazing Portland bands like Bitch’n, Sama Dams, Sea Charms, and Like a Villain will be playing electric sets mixed by local teenagers. NED LANNAMANN

HASTE, SINLESS, AZUL TOGA
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Read our story on Haste.

NELSON GOERNER
(PSU Lincoln Performance Hall, 1620 SW Park) See Saturday’s preview.

TWELVE GARDENS, BREAK UP FLOWERS, DON GERO
(Turn! Turn! Turn!, 8 NE Killingsworth) The opening track of Twelve Gardens’ newest album, Feed the Bug, is an instrumental overture to a release that tugs desperately from all directions. The droning guitar and steady drumbeat of “Crossing” becomes increasingly frantic as the band’s world comes into full frame. Though it’s nearly eight minutes, the song sounds claustrophobic, a feeling that courses throughout the record. The Portland duo of vocalist/guitarist Chetty B. and drummer Katie K. (of Golden Hour) builds upon their early 2016 tape No More Cool ’93, pairing breathy vocals with gothic guitars and sparse, affective drums. While songs like “Hahaha” and “Shimmer” are by no means sprawling (they stay within the four-minute pop parameters), Chetty’s catchy, repetitious riffs have room to feel comforting and alienating within the span of the same song. At its best, Feed the Bug invites listeners into a cramped universe that’s about to burst at its seams, settling into sweet, understated conclusions as if to downplay its own intensity. CAMERON CROWELL

PERE UBU, OBNOX
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Yes, Cleveland, Ohio, is home to perhaps our nation’s most prominent physical monument to the music establishment, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but few American cities deliver so bountifully when it comes to legitimately out-there sounds. Take, for example, Obnox, the punk rock handle of Lamont “Bim” Thomas, a one-man wrecking crew known for his prolific recorded output and his powder-keg live shows. Thomas’ music is a coarse blend of punk, soul, hip-hop, noise, and wild-eyed vocals, and usually sounds like it was recorded inside a crappy old dishwasher tumbling several stories down a garbage chute. It also oozes effortless charm, and never lacks a strong melody or a deep, dark groove. This is punk rock with a big, loud, pounding heart. Tonight, Obnox opens for the godfathers of Cleveland’s weirdo scene, the veteran art-punk band Pere Ubu. BS

JUSTIN TOWNES EARLE, JASON DODSON
(Revolution Hall, 1300 SE Stark) The specter of heritage looms large over the understated Americana of Justin Townes Earle. His early material often felt marinated in the idea that where we’re going is often a function of where we’re from, and recent companion albums Single Mothers and Absent Fathers tackle this by exploring disadvantaged parenting directly. It’s not a surprising thematic obsession for the son of a celebrated songwriter and country legend. Indeed, Earle did for a time follow in the hard-living footsteps of his largely absent father Steve Earle, who gave Justin his middle name to honor his mentor, Townes van Zandt. These days, though, what the now-sober younger Earle has inherited most from his forebears is a deep understanding of what makes a song work. His percussive acoustic guitar playing prizes feeling over accuracy, and his tense vocal delivery squeezes every drop of emotion from nimble, thrifty lyrics. NATHAN TUCKER

MONDAY 12/5

LEE FIELDS AND THE EXPRESSIONS, LADY WRAY
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) “Both country music and rhythm and blues are the same stuff,” Lee Fields once said in a 2012 interview with Soul Express. Fields, who spent his childhood in the North Carolina countryside, modeled his music after Otis Redding. After losing the late, great Sharon Jones, those of us who get down to funk, soul, and R&B can look to him to fulfill our funky urges. Fields’ influences range from Earl Scruggs to Rihanna to James Brown, and in his nearly 43-year career he’s played with many funk and soul greats like Kool and the Gang, Sammy Gordon and the Hip-Huggers, and Little Royal. His band’s latest album, Special Night, is a seasoned, thoughtful venture into love and loss, where we realize that while rhythm and blues and country aren’t the same, they can certainly get along. ROSE FINN

JIMMY EAT WORLD, DIVERS
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) How can they revive you if you were never dead? That’s the crucial question for Arizona pop-rock band Jimmy Eat World, who released their ninth studio album, Integrity Blues, in October. With a good-sized chunk of the underground rock scene engaged in a revival of the classic emo sound, it’s reasonable to revisit Jimmy Eat World’s influence on said scene. After all, kids who grew up with the impeccable songs on Clarity (1999) and Static Prevails (1996) are at a prime music-making age now. But 2016’s Integrity Blues proves that Jimmy Eat World has plenty of its own story left to write, as frontman Jim Adkins spends 11 tracks expertly unfurling pillowy melodies over the band’s familiar, polished churn. Like fellow emo granddads Braid a couple years ago, it’s nice to have a terrific new Jimmy Eat World album in 2016. But unlike Braid, Jimmy Eat World never went anywhere. They’ve been doing this all along. BS

TUESDAY 12/6

EAR CANDY: ICE QUEENS, THE WILD BODY
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) The holidays are upon us, so consider Ear Candy—the Mercury’s free monthly music showcase in partnership with Mississippi Studios—our first gift to you. On deck this evening? Rough-and-tumble guitar rockers Ice Queens, whose riffage will ease the early winter bleakness as we slump-shuffle toward 2017. DIRK VANDERHART