LSDXOXO Fri 12/16 Jade Club COURTESY OF THE ARTIST

WEDNESDAY 12/14

A GOOD CHEER HOLIDAY SHOW: TURTLENECKED, COOL AMERICAN, FLOATING ROOM, MAYHAW HOONS, TWO MOONS, CHAIN
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Three cheers for Good Cheer Records, the local label started in 2014 by Blake Hickman and Mercury contributor Morgan Troper with the intent to document the fertile DIY scene in Portland and the Northwest. (Troper has since left the business, and Maya Stoner of Floating Room has joined as president.) Good Cheer had an absolutely killer year, with several of the best releases in Portland (or anywhere else) in 2016. Point your web-browsing thingy at Good Cheer’s Bandcamp page and bathe in the healing waters of catchy, lo-fi indie rock. Then hit up Holocene tonight and see those sounds come to life as Turtlenecked, Cool American, Floating Room, Mayhaw Hoons, Two Moons, and Chain play music for folks of all ages and raise money for Young Audiences of Oregon. BEN SALMON

TYUS, CASSOW, JONNY COOL, A-RUSS
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE César E. Chávez) The preservation of slow jams is a cause I can get behind. As long as there’s sex to be had and grinding to be done, the human race is going to need a steady stream of R&B. A child of the ’90s, an era known for its foundational slow jams, Portland’s Tyus makes music that drips with contemporary sensuality. The 20-year-old crooner’s influences are apparent, but his lyrics and mature sound make it easy to forget that he’s still very young and in his formative listening years. Though his full-length debut, Never Forget, isn’t necessarily brimming with innovation, it reframes traditional R&B tropes—allusions to sex, echoed vocals, an exploration of vocal range—with modern effects. Tyus collects inspiration from past greats, but paired with his talent and youthful energy, he shows promise as a source of sexy, radio-ready neo-soul. EMMA BURKE

SOFT KILL, ALL YOUR SISTERS, LUNCH, SEX PARK
(High Water Mark, 6800 NE MLK) Soft Kill has a gently abrasive sound that explores moody and atmospheric realms similar to gloomy titans like the Cure and the Sisters of Mercy. Recently the Chicago-by-way-of-Portland band released Choke, an album characterized by crystalline, cascading guitar melodies, occasional synth flavors, and an economical, heartbeat-like rhythm section. But what Soft Kill owes most to bands of the early goth and post-punk era is an upending of the traditional rock band formula. Throughout Choke, guitar and bass carry the melody, with Tobias Sinclair’s somber vocals providing accent marks and punctuation against backdrops that are at once warm and chilling. WILLIAM KENNEDY

GLASS ANIMALS, HUSTLE AND DRONE
Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) The holidays are nice and all, but December’s dreary afternoons can bring just about anybody down. Thank goodness for Glass Animals and their inviting, sonically neon world. The English crew’s recently released sophomore LP, How to Be a Human Being, is a mesh of video-game blips, tight percussion, and simple synth licks that take on a smooth R&B edge against Dave Bayley’s sultry vocals. Each song represents a different character, and since the album’s release Glass Animals have started to reveal separate interactive websites for each. For instance, their single “Season 2 Episode 3” pairs with a video game that ponders the consequences of spending too much time online. ROBIN BACIOR


THURSDAY 12/15

MEL BROWN B-3 ORGAN GROUP
(Jimmy Mak’s, 221 NW 10th) In just a couple of weeks, local jazz lovers will lose a longtime pillar when the Pearl District club Jimmy Mak’s closes for good. At the same time, Mel Brown—the godfather of Portland jazz and a former Motown staff drummer—will lose three regular gigs he’s been holding down for a long, long time. From behind his kit (and always with a smile on his face), Brown anchors a septet that plays Jimmy Mak’s every Tuesday night and a quartet that plays every Wednesday. But tonight, it’s time for his B-3 Organ Band, a quintet that’s been filling the club with exhilarating, airtight soul-jazz for two decades. Joining Brown in the band are organist Louis Pain, guitarist Dan Balmer, saxophonist Renato Caranto, and percussionist Curtis Craft. Together, these five dudes are a joy to watch—do so while you still can. BS


Foghorn Stringband

FRIDAY 12/16

FOGHORN STRINGBAND, KEVIN BURKE
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Foghorn Stringband is among the finest practitioners of American old-time music on the globe, a string band whose faithful renditions of songs from bygone decades are no less than living, breathing history. That's not to say they play museum pieces; Foghorn's remarkable achievement is in making these careworn tunes sound vital, present, and fully relevant. In a town that's riddled with whimsical throwbacks to old-timey fetishes, Foghorn Stringband remain absolutely authentic and without discernible gimmick. NED LANNAMANN

LSDXOXO, NO CONTROL DJs
(Jade Club, 315 SE 3rd) Brave the rain and swaddle yourself in the silky, minimalist house of NYC-based beatmaker LSDXOXO. His most recent release, October’s timely single “Creepy Clown Sighting (A Warning),” oozes spook and demands prompt booty pops. LSDXOXO has described the aesthetic of his 2015 mixtape Sacanagem as “crying in the club,” yet simultaneously sets the stage for sorrow-fueled sexcapades. With elements of R&B and pop injected throughout, this recipe generates max danceability. Warm up by vibing with the folks of No Control, an impressive collective of local DJs—Troubled Youth, Princess Dimebag, Daniela Karina, and Casual Aztec—who all identify as queer, femme, and/or POC and deliver sets that are equally potent and commanding. EMILLY PRADO

LAVENDER COUNTRY, THE WAYSIDERS, DJ ACTION SLACKS
(Kenton Club, 2025 N Kilpatrick) More than 40 years ago, a young, free-spirited dairy farmer from rural Washington named Patrick Haggerty did something no one else had done up until that point—release a country record that dealt with being a gay male. It took a lot of courage for Haggerty to release an album that documented his life in closed-minded rural America in the years following the Stonewall Riots, let alone expressing it through the machismo-laden style of country music. Though his band Lavender Country’s 1973 self-titled debut was its only album, these days Haggerty’s biting social commentary—filled with naked truth and barbed humor (most notably on “Cryin’ These Cocksucking Tears”)—is rightfully recognized as being hugely important in the LGBTQ rights movement. To many, Haggerty is a hero, and that little country record from 1973 is a beautiful gem on so many levels. MARK LORE

Ural Thomas and The Pain Brud Giles

URAL THOMAS AND THE PAIN, THE DALHHARTS, DJ CALLIE DANGER
(The Spare Room, 4830 NE 42nd) It’s tragic that in this era of revitalized appreciation for deep soul heroes, Ural Thomas, Portland’s best-kept secret, hasn’t hit the national consciousness as Charles Bradley and the late, great Sharon Jones have. Thomas is the absolute definition of a genuine article—despite releasing a few criminally obscure (yet collector-coveted) gems in the late ’60s, he’s still delivering his tireless passion for music to his beloved community. Simply put, Ural Thomas is a Northwest treasure, and watching him radiate wizened positivity through the warm grooves of an excellent band is a must for music fans searching for heartwarming togetherness. No one appreciates this more than DJ Callie Danger, who’ll spin her expertly curated cache of dusty 45s to accentuate what’s sure to be a church-like atmosphere. CHRIS SUTTON


SATURDAY 12/17

RED FANG, TORCHE, WHORES
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) Read our story on Red Fang.

TENDER LOVING EMPIRE WINTER FORMAL: ORQUESTRA PACIFICO TROPICAL, MAARQUII, RAP CLASS
(Alberta Abbey, 126 NE Alberta) For nearly 10 years, Portland’s Tender Loving Empire has been the little engine that could. Marrying a record label, local craftspeople, and just the right amount of twee, TLE’s storefronts, events, and staff remain a bastion of local goodness. Don’t let those Portlandia vibes make you roll your eyes, though—this small operation has managed to keep its ear to the ground over the years. The Winter Formal is a great example, featuring a diverse and drool-worthy lineup that includes Orquestra Pacifico Tropical’s cumbia-infused rhythms, Maarquii’s smooth, self-described “snatch-your-edges booty-house,” and electro beats by Rap Class. As if you needed another reason to go, the night’s festivities also act as a fundraiser for Portland Fire and Rescue’s Toy and Joy Makers, which has been providing toys to children in low-income families during the holiday season since 1914. JENNA FLETCHER

THE OREGON SYMPHONY PLAYS IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway) Please stop pigeonholing Frank Capra’s most important work as a holiday movie. While It’s a Wonderful Life does contain a few scenes with a Christmas tree, the core of this film involves a family-owned savings and loan struggling to stay afloat in the face of corporate banking greed, eventually claiming victory over an evil financial executive through the power of community lending, and angelic suicide prevention. Capra’s 1946 production is nothing short of a master class in making movies, featuring a brilliant screenplay, beguiling cinematography, and a kick-ass cast anchored by the inimitable Jimmy Stewart, who gives the performance of his career. As if the evening couldn’t get any sweeter, our hometown orchestra accompanies the high-definition screening with a live performance of the score. Hot damn, get yourself to the Schnitz if you can. BRIAN HORAY

CLUB KAI-KAI PRESENTS AMANDA LEPORE, MISS PRYS, ILL CAMINO, THUMPER, DJ BUCKMASTER
(Bossanova Ballroom, 722 E Burnside) Tonight Club Kai-Kai hosts “the Most Expensive Body on Earth,” Amanda Lepore, for a rare live performance. The iconic socialite, model, and performance artist will grace Portland with her arresting presence for a night of glamour, opulence, and fierce music. Lepore took an unconventional route to stardom: After working the makeup counter at counterculture bastion Patricia Field and running early-’90s New York City nightlife alongside Michael Alig and the Club Kids, she eventually found her spotlight as David LaChapelle’s muse. She quickly became a prominent and trailblazing transgender celebrity, practically becoming a living piece of art. Lepore has modeled in countless fashion magazines, appeared in dozens of movies, and recorded albums of pop fluff and lighthearted electro-influenced club anthems. For those looking for a closer brush with Lepore, VIP tickets include a holiday photo booth session with the living legend. DANIELA SERNA

David Bazan Ryan Russell

DAVID BAZAN, ADVANCE BASE
(Revolution Hall, 1300 SE Stark) It’s surely been a long time coming—David Bazan, the Pedro the Lion leader turned solo artist who’s spent the better part of the last two decades grappling publicly with his Christian faith or lack thereof, has gone the way of cultishly beloved singer/songwriters everywhere: He’s released a Christmas album. And surprise! It’s mostly hymns. Luckily, anyone scarred by, say, Bob Dylan’s Christmas in the Heart can rest easy. The songs on Dark Sacred Night, culled from past small releases, aren’t trite or a deviation from what Bazan fans love about his music. The serpentine melody of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” is particularly suited to his hushed delivery, and sits over minor-key guitar in a way that’s frankly reminiscent of Pedro the Lion’s early ’00s Jade Tree output. And that’s even before two new Bazan verses pivot the carol toward a quiet meditation on how evolving personal values color the adult experience of the holidays. NATHAN TUCKER


SUNDAY 12/18

MOON BY YOU, WEEED, REPTALIENS
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Hailing from the mysterious confines of Bainbridge Island, Washington, stoner-y trio Weeed posits its majesty most aptly during the ambient expanses of a 25-minute title track from its summertime 2016 release, Meta. The song’s Eno-esque vitality pairs well with equally meditative, though less atavistic tracks like the proto-blues jammer “Enchant the Love Alive” and the epically weird “Spiders, Spiders... Spiders.” Weeed’s mystifying lo-fi sound collages are an interesting pairing with the self-described “psych-doo-wop” of psychotropic Portland popsters Moon by You and the dreamy pop explorations of Reptaliens. This show is both a record release for Moon by You’s new LP, as well as its final show, since its members have decided to call it quits. The band’s 2015 7-inch, “Got My People,” is probably the most feel-good record produced in Portland this decade, and feeling good during the month of December is a rare commodity. Let this evening of secular pop heal your yuletide malaise. RYAN J. PRADO


MONDAY 12/19

THEE COMMONS, MÁSCARAS
(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) The Pacheco brothers of Thee Commons have spent the past four years using the traditional sounds they grew up with to reflect the vibrancy of East Los Angeles’ Latino communities in a manner that even the most vanilla of ears can understand and appreciate. The band’s music blends cumbia stylings, psychedelia, and surf, mostly through instrumentals made great by session bassists and a saxophonist, and sometimes punctuated with lyrics. Thee Commons’ delicious tastes, perfected dance moves, and lively personalities create a transformative experience right in your eardrum. The band’s April release on Burger Records, Loteria Tribal, is proof enough that when paired with Máscaras’ progressive cumbia and krautrock, this will be the ultimate night of POC shredding. CERVANTE POPE


TUESDAY 12/20

art by Adam Grano

PETER AMES CARLIN’S HOMEWARD BOUND: AN ALL-STAR TRIBUTE TO PAUL SIMON WITH LUZ ELENA MENDOZA, REBECCA GATES, CASEY NEILL, & MORE
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) In his previous books, Portland’s bestselling rock biographer Peter Ames Carlin took on such influential but largely covered subjects as Paul McCartney, Brian Wilson, and Bruce Springsteen. For his latest, Homeward Bound, Carlin gives us the first major biography of a much more difficult nut to crack: the brilliant but famously taciturn Paul Simon. To celebrate its October release, Carlin’s hosting a reading party and show. He’s invited a bunch of his friends, who of course happen to be some of Portland’s best singers and songwriters: Luz Elena Mendoza, Jim Brunberg, Casey Neill, Ashleigh Flynn, Sarah Gwen, Ezra Holbrook, and others will be offering their takes on the music of the bard of Queens, while Carlin reads excerpts from the book. No word yet on which lucky guest gets to play the role of Art Garfunkel, but the show won’t be complete if no one attempts “Hey Schoolgirl.” SANTI ELIJAH HOLLEY

AESOP ROCK, ROB SONIC, DJ ZONE, HOMEBOY SANDMAN
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) Underground emcee Aesop Rock is a model of hip-hop consistency and quality work. The NYC rapper’s seven potent albums display his incredibly distinguished mind for verbal athletics and an adherence to the genre’s classic spirit. On his latest LP, The Impossible Kid (featuring amazing cover art by Alex Pardee), dense, literate lyrics battle hyper-grooved beats for aural space, creating an atmosphere of poetic funkiness that makes you move inside and out—a signature of Aesop’s prolific catalog. On each release since his debut, Aesop has never shied away from challenging both the listeners and his own musical expectations with adventurous collaborations and complex lyrical concepts. It’s this boundary-less ethic coupled with an authentic and grounded respect for rap music that has solidified his status as a backpacker legend. CS