ROCKY VOTOLATO, LANGHORNE SLIM, LUKE TEMPLE
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) When Luke Temple released Hold A Match For A Gasoline World two years ago, the New England native created a landscape that was heavy on beautiful (but dangerous) things. He is one of the world's great young songwriters, a superlative that he's earned with next month's Snowbeast, the best album to be released in 2007. His people are real people, pumping full of blood—when it's working, it's recognizably natural, and when it's spilled, things can get tragic and terribly interesting. Just the threat is enough to drive these absolute gems. SEAN MOELLER
CASEY NEILL & THE NORWAY RATS, MIKE D & THEE LOYAL BASTARDS, EZRA HOLBROOK
(Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) Casey Neil is a working class tough with a heart of gold—think a young Rocky Balboa in the first Rocky, doing mob shakedowns down at the docks. At least, that's the image of him you get from the songs of Brooklyn Bridge. His latest is a vivid homage to the storied history and characters that call New York home. The lone exception to this parade of praise is "We Are The City," with lyrics like "We are the city, we are its pulse and its beat/We are the city, see us tramp the streets," which feels like a Brooklyn version of Starship's "We Built This City." But whatever. Neill is a real talent, and here's hoping his next record focuses on a bridge closer to town. Perhaps the St. Johns Bridge? I heard it's haunted. EZRA ACE CARAEFF
SILVERCHAIR, WE ARE THE FURY
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) OK, someone dropped the ball on this one. Silverchair was rightfully dead and buried, their legacy little more than an embarrassing reminder of the music industry's desperation to find a new Kurt Cobain, even if it came in the form of a 14-year-old from Australia. Frogstomp anyone? Yet somehow—in a direct rebellion against God's very will—Silverchair is back, and they are huge again. Who let this happen? Did someone forget to roll a boulder on their grave, thus allowing the band to rise up as another Coldplay replica climbing the pop charts? This is horrible news, as the return of a band of Silverchair's caliber now injects the faintest amount of comeback hope into bands like Dig, Eve 6, Oleander, and (gasp!) Seven Mary Three. God help us all. EAC
LYLE LOVETT, K.D. LANG
(Edgefield, 2126 SW Halsey, Troutdale) Poor Lyle Lovett. Despite a distinguished career as a country singer-songwriter, he is primarily known as that dude who somehow married Julia Roberts for a while (and also for his abysmal performances in Robert Altman films). Dude just never should have moved to Hollywood. Actually, wait a minute... I don't feel that sorry for him. He hasn't released an album or "acted" in four years. I wish I could sit on my butt and twiddle my thumbs for half a decade, then tour with k.d. lang and pull in up to $90 a ticket. Hey! k.d. lang hasn't released an album in three years, and her last album was just a collection of mediocre covers! What do these lazy old Julia-lovin' has-beens think they're doing!? JUSTIN W. SANDERS
AIDEN, I AM GHOST, SCHOOLYARD HEROES, NIGHT KILLS THE DAY
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE 39th) Aiden is ugly. Sorry to be so blunt, but of all the looks-challenged bands (from Tad to Gene Simmons sans makeup) to haunt the musical landscape, this hideous crew of emo-goth rockers takes the cake... then they eat said cake and smear frosting all over their mangled faces. The band suffers from an outbreak of poor tattoos, unfortunate hair, and acne-riddled mugs begging for a merciful Oxycution. Of course this is just a welcome distraction from the trainwreck of bottom-feeding emo that Aiden generates, shamelessly stealing from the Misfits, My Chemical Romance, and AFI without a shred of guilt. EAC
BOY EATS DRUM MACHINE, DAT'R, JUNKFACE
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) See Music, pg. 21.
THE DRIFT, PETER BRODERICK
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) See Our Town Could Be Your Life, pg. 28.
THE HUGS, THE LONELY H
(Grapedrink, 4949 SW Landing) The Lonely H is a band from Port Angeles, WA that aspires to slip into the dirty-seated, holey-kneed jeans of classic rockers from the '60s and '70s. The kids of the Lonely H—not to be confused with the "And you just don't get it/You keep it copasetic," Chicago-duo Local H—are a conglomeration of magical imagery, slanted and enchanting, and they just might have eggs enough to use a harpsichord in a live setting. SM
THE FIELD, STRATEGY, M. QUIET, DJ COPY
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Going to giant music festivals in California in the late '90s always led to a strange occurrence: the rave tent. Regardless of the show, ravers would always come out in droves, battling the brutal California sun and dancing to exhaustion, always to the same repetitive beat that could be heard for miles. Back then, I never understood this, but as I now listen to the Field's latest album, From Here We Go Sublime, it makes me yearn to be tucked away from the blistering sun in a giant tent, dancing my ass off to—dare I say it—trance. Repetition is the Field's strong point, every song building and building with the same beat until one tiny change makes the whole song explode in euphoria, allowing this whole "in search of sunrise" thing to suddenly feel less foreign. Glow-sticks and candy necklaces, here I come. ROB SIMONSEN
THE TEENAGE FRAMES, THE NIGHTMARES, AVENUE ROSE
(Towne Lounge, 714 SW 20th Pl) California's Teenage Frames make fun, jangly garage-pop that ranges from the mid-tempo meandering tune to the punked-out rock jam. Poppy repetition, near-harmonies, and plenty of handclaps—all the bases are covered here. These guys have their notes down and their songs blissfully, pop-perfectly short, and while they're no Exploding Hearts or Figgs, per se, they do make some damn fine tunes and should find a happy niche of fans here in Portland. Note that openers the Nightmares are Portland punk band the Nightmares, not San Diego garage band the Nightmares, so plan accordingly. HANNAH CARLEN
YOU AM I, BOBBY BARE JR., THE HUGS
(Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) See My, What a Busy Week!, pg. 19.
CHROMEO, FLOSSTRADAMUS, DJ BEYONDA
(Rotture, 315 SE 3rd) See My, What a Busy Week!, pg. 19.
CASIOTONE FOR THE PAINFULLY ALONE, THE DONKEYS, VAMPIRE WEEKEND, FALL OF SNOW, DJ PRETTY PLEASE
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) EPs are the quintessential summer standby, aren't they? You get a quick hello, three songs, and you're out—the musical equivalent of a quick dip in the pool before you head home. Vampire Weekend's eponymous EP had me at "Who gives a fuck about the Oxford comma?" and it just got better from there. Their Graceland-esque guitar and rhythms bring a mojito-like summer refreshment, and despite the reggae tinge to all of this (especially the vocals), it doesn't make me want to stab folks, which is no small feat, I assure you. JIM WITHINGTON
MIKE DAMERON BAND, GHOST BUFFALO
(Berbati's Pan, 10 SW 3rd) The haunted roots of Ghost Buffalo stretch deep into the barren soil of alt-country, in addition to grabbing hold of their fair share of atmospheric rock along the way. The Denver-based quartet (which features a pair of former Planes Mistaken for Stars members) gets lost in the shuffle, the price they pay for straddling genres, as they refuse to pander to the pearl snaps crowd, while their Americana sound strays from under the typical rock umbrella. The wonderful singing voice of Marie Litton mirrors that of Neko Case, but with less vintage soul and more angelic warble—like the bad girl from the church choir, trading cigarette drags in the parking lot after skipping out on youth group. EAC
JESSE SYKES & THE SWEET HEREAFTER, THE MOANERS
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) See My, What a Busy Week!, pg. 19.
THE DECEMBERISTS, MENOMENA
(Edgefield, 2126 SW Halsey, Troutdale) Since releasing the amazing album, Friend and Foe (and with it, one of the best indie singles in years, the dreamy "Wet and Rusting"), Portland's smartest band, Menomena, have been touring relentlessly. They just got back from a summer trip through Europe, where they shared venues with the likes of Frank Black and the Kaiser Chiefs. They are officially getting huge, though there's no way they'll ever be as huge as the Decemberists, who are fresh off a stint playing a... wait for it... MySpace Secret Show!!! Huger than huge. JWS
THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM, SIGNAL TO NOISE, ET3
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE 39th) Flying the Colorado flag with pride (literally, they drape their merch table in one), Signal to Noise is another overlooked band from the Rockies (Ghost Buffalo, the other) gracing our town this weekend. Tristan Shaffer's vocals are of the shredded-throat variety, and while the words themselves might be heartbroken tales of suburban woe, the man's textured rasp tells a different story, something far more downtrodden and painful than getting dumped via text message, or however kids do it these days. It's a potent listen, taking the listener way back to the last century, when scruffy working class bands like Hot Water Music were able to pull some heartstrings and throw some punches, emoting like a leaky sieve but without trading their dignity for girl jeans and a haircut that resembles a gunshot wound to the head. EAC
THE DOOBIE BROTHERS, LEROY BELL
(Les Schwab Amphitheater, 344 SW Shevlin-Hixon, Bend) "The Doobie Brothers broke up? Shit, when did that happen?!" So mourns Michael Douglas in Romancing the Stone, winner of every single Oscar at the 1984 Academy Awards (including Best Animated Short). Douglas plays a "reckless soldier of fortune" who's been machete-ing his way through the jungles of Colombia; when Kathleen Turner brings him this terrible news, it nearly destroys our hero with grief. And rightly so: The Doobies are the ones who gave us "What a Fool Believes," "Black Water," "China Grove," and "Listen to the Music"—some of the finest pop rock to grace the airwaves in the 1970s. (They had 16 Top 40 hits in their heyday! 16!) And yes, okay, all of us—you, me, Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner (is she still alive?)—can admit that the Doobies who'll be rockin' Bend this evening are but a pale, tired version of their former selves. But: "What a Fool Believes." "Black Water." "China Grove." "Listen to the Music." I have a hunch that this will still be excellent. Fear not, reckless soldiers of fortune. ERIK HENRIKSEN
THE AX, PUSSY GUTT, ROLLIE FINGERS
(Tonic Lounge, 3100 NE Sandy) The last time I saw Pussy Gutt was four years ago in Moscow, ID. They had driven all the way from Boise to play a very loose set of Lightning Bolt-inspired duo-core. Fast forward to the present, and Pussy Gutt just set up the latest Lightning Bolt show in their hometown, which also featured PG playing their first live show since last 2006. Just last Sunday, the expanded trio devastated Rotture, playing an immaculate heavy drone set fueled by a wall of amplification, violin, and sampled waterfalls. It's very pleasant to see such an evolutionary leap from a dedicated young band. (Obviously I missed a few chapters along the way.) NATHAN CARSON
KRISTEN WARD, GARTH REEVES, JEFF FIELDER, CARRIE AKRE
(Towne Lounge, 714 SW 20th Pl) Country really shines when you hear it in a bar, tap your toe, and feel unified with every bleach-blonde 40-year-old mom, frat boy pool player, and smarmy hipster in the joint. In a world that likes terms such as "alt-country" and "Americana," Garth Reeves simply brings to mind the word "shit-kickin'," from the first stompy chord to the last piano line. "Please don't stay away too long, darlin'/ I love you dear, with all of my soul," he sings. "If we can stay together, our love will not grow cold." The fact that you can get Reeves' album for free from his label (Chroma Records)—and also the albums of labelmates Kristen Ward and Jeff Fielder—means that you have no reason to let this fun, twangy evening pass you by. JW
GOLDEN BEARS, TARA JANE O'NEIL, STRANGERS DIE EVERY DAY, LLOYD & MICHAEL
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) The ex-member resumé of newcomers Gold Bears is damn impressive—Circus Lupus, Crime in Choir, and the Quails—so you better pay mind to this local duo. Julianna Bright and Seth Lorinczi (Who needs extra members when you did time in art-punk legends Circus Lupus?) play jangly open-ended pop music, similar to the barren style of Quix*o*tic, another band with some noteworthy ex-member bragging rights. Bright's vocals waver about each song, finding their subtle range between instrumental breaks and never drifting far from the forefront of the song. Here's hoping the Bears stay together, since there's clearly no need to tack on another "ex" tag before their names. EAC
PORTUGAL, THE MAN, PLAYRADIOPLAY!, THE PHOTO ATLAS, SHEPHERDS OF ONTARIO
(Satyricon, 125 NW 6th) See Music, pg. 21.
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) See My, What a Busy Week!, pg. 19.
MAXIMO PARK, MONSTERS ARE WAITING, THE OOHLAS
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) See Music, pg. 21.
RISE AGAINST, SILVERSTEIN, COMEBACK KID, HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) I might have to turn in my hipster card for saying this, but I'm going to go ahead and do it anyway: Rise Against are pretty awesome. I realize this puts me about two steps away from buying an XS hoodie from Hot Topic, but whatever, I can't help it. Every genre has its winners, bands that deserve credit even though it might not be your thing, and Rise Against are one of those acts. Hooks galore, passionately sung vocals, build-ups and break-downs—these, my friend, are the things teenage dreams are made of. Call it pop punk, call it emo, call it whatever you want, it doesn't change the fact that I'm a grown-ass man unabashedly listening to kid's music. RS
Z-TRIP, GIFT OF GAB, ACEYALONE, DJ PHOREYZ, CHALI 2NA
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE 39th) See My, What a Busy Week!, pg. 19.
OLD TIME RELIJUN, THE WATERY GRAVES
(City Hall, 1221 SW 4th) The brave souls behind PDX Pop Now! (including Mercury columnist Cary Clarke) are building up for another amazing festival this year, taking place the first weekend of August at AudioCinema. But since August is so far away, and kids these days are so impatient, the PDX Pop folks have teamed up with "the Man" (AKA local city officials) to offer a free afternoon concert featuring punk deconstructionists Old Time Relijun and the improv stylings of the Watery Graves. Plus a secret third band has yet to be announced. The intimate singer-songwriting stylings of Mayor Tom Potter, perhaps? EAC
ALAN SINGLEY & PANTS MACHINE, THE SORT OFS, DEER OR THE DOE
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Are you one of those people who can get lost staring at the patterns in a piece of wallpaper, tracing the dots with your eyes, and counting the squares in a grid? The layered parts in Deer or the Doe's tracks remind me of that—interlacing guitar, Rhodes, and well-placed bass, all in a way that lends an epic quality. Their dual Rainer Maria-style background vocals are yet another conscious choice, proving once again that even opening bands from this town are forces to be reckoned with. JW