ROCKY VOTOLATO, OWEN, MICHAEL DEAN DAMRON
(Berbati's Pan, 10 SW 3rd) See Whatever is Is You Think You Are.
JESUS FUCKING CHRIST, RESIST
(Plan B, 1305 SE 8th) See Up the Punx.
BORIS, TORCHE, LAIR OF THE MINOTAUR
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE 39th) It's a timeless debate: Ought truly filthy metal bands to let the dreaded "hook" into the mix? Doesn't that, by way of some mysterious and storied rock 'n' roll tablature, go against the grain of what metal is supposed to be? I don't have the answer, but Torche doesn't give a hoot what you think anyway. Hydra Head's latest doom-metal wunderkinds are basking in the wake of their second full-length album, Meanderthal—an absolutely punishing breed of crushing rock and surprisingly catchy melodicism—and have taken steps to cobble the dirt road of stoner metal for the sophisticated listener. It's a melding that's in close stead to the fringe-pop meanderings of groups like Cave In, applying just a pinch of mainstream resonance to an otherwise scathing miasma of underground rock noise. Just when you thought every metal band had to sound like Isis (or actually be in Isis) to get things moving... RYAN J. PRADO
FREAK MOUNTAIN RAMBLERS
(Greenway Park, 8350 SW Greenway, Beaverton) With a name like the Freak Mountain Ramblers, you'd be inclined to expect some semblance of trippy voodoo ear candy, replete with onstage props of boiling cauldrons and withered ivy propelling down from the light racks, with the band chewing on licorice root and bullseye-ing spittoons with blasts of chaw juice. But while the initial daydream will invariably subside after viewing the modesty of the band in real time, you're still in for a smokin' rug-cut with FMR's rugged, feel-good mesh of classic rock, bluegrass, and alt-country. The band has locally cultivated a loyal following for consistent live shows and the release of four full-length albums, the newest of which, Flxible, will be available a few days after the free Greenway Park show. Definitely for fans of freaks, mountains, or ramblers, and if you like all three with a healthy dash of highly listenable bluegrass/jam/country/rock, then this will undoubtedly be the best show of all time. RJP
PICKATHON: JOLIE HOLLAND, LANGHORNE SLIM, MELISSA FERRICK, BOMBADIL & MORE
(Pendarvis Farm, 16581 SE Hagen, Happy Valley) See Take Your Pick.
POWER OF COUNTY, THE QUICK & EASY BOYS, CAGUAMA, MICHAEL DEAN DAMRON
(Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) "Beware any band that wears a leather vest." Those were my grandfather's dying words to me, and gramps, I'm sorry, but even your salty ol' ghost couldn't keep me away from Power of County. Especially not tonight, when the band—and their cobra-printed leather vests—celebrates the release of their boot-stomping, troublemaking new album, See You in Rock 'n' Roll Heaven. Expect rumbling country fight songs, boxcar ballads, and enough sinning to make our elders spin in their graves. EAC
WOW & FLUTTER, TEAM SHARK WEEK, THE VALIANT ARMS
(Ground Kontrol, 511 NW Couch) See Our Town Could Be Your Life.
(The Modern Age, 1825 SW Broadway) See Our Town Could Be Your Life.
EEF BARZELAY, THE SLEEPOVER DISASTER
(Towne Lounge, 714 SW 20th Pl) Eef Barzelay's main gig, the New York-based band Clem Snide, finally dissolved during the making of Barzelay's second solo disc. Unlike his first disc, Bitter Honey, which was an entirely solo acoustic affair, this year's Lose Big is fully produced and arranged, with the songs getting caught in all kinds of sticky corners: pop, folk, soul, alt-country, and a dusting of rock. Barzelay is a terrific songwriter—sly, witty, and sardonic—but never at the expense of the pocket-sized mini-emotions in which pop songs traffic. In fact, Lose Big is a pretty heartfelt affair, with Barzelay's casual but genuine singing paired with unabashed melodies, for a record that frequently soars and just as frequently crash lands, knowing that the hurt is what makes it all worthwhile. Perhaps Barzelay isn't doing anything that hasn't been done before, but he does it so fluidly, and with such high-yielding results, that you can't help but turn it up and hurt along. NED LANNAMANN
SAM COOKE VS. MARVIN GAYE: TAHOE JACKSON, THE WARFIELD EXPERIENCE, BARRY HAMPTON, JR PELLA
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) Goodness me, I wonder who would win in a standoff between these two soulful giants. Marvin Gaye was essentially the cornerstone of Motown, but then Cooke is generally referred to as the father of soul music. I think Gaye easily wins in the field of pure sexiness, but then Cooke rose to prominence in a more conservative time, and wasn't exactly a gorgon himself. Christ, why am I even forced to pit these two legends against each other at all!? It's like putting a puppy and a kitten into the ring and trying to choose one to root for. Oh, I see, we're putting Cooke vs. Gaye because it gives us an excuse to hear lovely local crooners like Tahoe Jackson and Liv Warfield sing strong, resonant covers of their tunes. Was it really necessary to be so confrontational about it? JUSTIN W. SANDERS
ANNIHILATION TIME, ACID REFLUX, COWER, SILENT MAJORITY
(Laughing Horse Books, 12 NE 10th) Now that Municipal Waste is touring the concert-hall circuit, the underground metal scene is lamenting the loss of its premier party-metal band. But fear not, elitists, for there is still Annihilation Time, whose blend of Black Flag and Anthrax is so much goddamned fun, even Laughing Horse Books—amid its leftist propaganda and concerned sobriety—will turn into a raging party. They've been a band for years, but it wasn't until the release of Annihilation Time III: Tales of the Ancient Age that they honed in their sound and almost—almost—succeeded in capturing the insanity of their live shows. So throw a few back (in the parking lot) and get crazy. For those old enough, there's a bonus East End show later tonight with Brux Blackhawk on the tables and a bar full of fashionistas certain to get their hair tussled by the Hessian invasion. ZACH BROOKS
ANNIHILATION TIME, DEAD SECTION, RIPPER, DJ BRUX BLACKHAWK
(East End, 203 SE Grand) See above listing.
ALEXIS GIDEON, FUTURE ISLANDS, ATOLE, FLASPAR, EAR PWR, DJ LINOLEUM
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Could the Baltimore music scene get any more inspiring? Judging by the quality of Future Islands, the next in line from a long list of Charm City exports, I'd say not. The band plays the kind of spastic electro music that Baltimore has become known for, but do so in a totally sincere, hook-friendly, New Order-on-the-pipe kind of way. They rock fat bass lines and lush keyboards while the cymbal-heavy drums keep the party rolling, as singer Sam Herring steals the show. Dude belts it out like a drunken karaoke champion, emoting his way through each song like it's the closing credits to some long-forgotten '80s movie. He's Joe Cocker really trying to get up where he belongs. ROB SIMONSEN
THE AMERICAS, SQUALORA, EUPHORBIA
(Plan B, 1305 SE 8th) Having formed in 2000 in the college town hush of Chico, California, the Americas realized early on that they needed little to maintain themselves. Existing as a duo for eight years with a handful of tours and somewhere in the neighborhood of 300 shows together is almost unheard of for an unsigned band with only two members. But they've done it. Now calling Santa Rosa home, the twosome (Travis Wuerthner on guitar/vocals, and Casey Deitz as the one-man wrecking crew/Bonham-incarnate drummer, also of the Velvet Teen) have sustained by way of crucial networking, and on the weight of their vibrant songcraft, which is often cited as sounding less like two men and more like five or six (depending on how close you're standing to the stage). It's a witchy brew of odd-timed punk rock and experimental noise that you'll wish you'd have known about eight years ago. RJP
PICKATHON: BAD LIVERS, LANGHORNE SLIM, MELISSA FERRICK, SEAN HAYES, WAYNE HANCOCK & MORE
(Pendarvis Farm, 16581 SE Hagen, Happy Valley) See Take Your Pick.
HARVEY MILK, BROTHERS OF THE SONIC CLOTH, SEXVID, RABBITS
(Berbati's Pan, 10 SW 3rd) See No Use Crying.
BENJAMIN STARSHINE, REBEL DRONES, SINGAPORE SLING
(East End, 203 SE Grand) Former Shrills member Benjamin Starshine has assembled a mighty band (which features Terry Six of the Nice Boys) to support him on his self-titled full-length, whose release is being celebrated tonight. Properly seasoned as a music fan first and a musician second, Starshine & Co. have toured as the backing band for the Seeds' iconic frontman Sky Saxon, but their true voice is best heard on their new record. Sincerely glam in all the right ways, Starshine displays an enigmatic voice and mysterious delivery that feels so authentically vintage that it's hard to believe these recordings weren't unearthed from some '60s time capsule (think a localized version of Velvet Goldmine's Brian Slade). If the bubblegum charm of "Stars and Suns"—which proudly pays tribute to the finest pop bands of yore, such as the Turtles—doesn't draw you in, then you might as well give up on music all together. EZRA ACE CARAEFF
FILM SCHOOL, ANOTHER CYNTHIA, GO FEVER
(Towne Lounge, 714 SW 20th Pl) Greg Bertens has maintained the San Francisco-based Film School though a series of fluctuating lineups since the late '90s. Their music ebbs and flows, and while the atmospheric feel and (occasionally manipulated) vocals might suggest a shoegaze influence, the group's music evades easy classification. Their latest album, 2007's Hideout, brings in a glistening guitar tone reminiscent of Chavez and bonds it to an offbeat, jaded lyrical sensibility (sample title: "Sick Hipster Nursed by Suicide Girl"). Through the buoyant tone, Bertens lulls in the listener with melodic, evenhanded vocals, only to reveal a grim turn of phrase or a thick onrush of distortion. TOBIAS CARROLL
GATOS, ELIOT ROSE
(Mississippi Pizza Pub, 3552 N Mississippi) One half of the instrumental banjo/cello duo Ponderosa, Stephen Kierniesky packs his bags and goes global for his new project, Gatos. Tonight Kierniesky will be toasting to the release of his debut release, The Empty Silo, as he utilizes a vast influx of influences not normally associated with his stringed companion. Pairing his intricate banjo licks alongside vocals in Spanish and Portuguese, Kierniesky stretches the limits of his indie pop tunes to ambitious levels, succeeding more often than not. This is most evident on the shuffling "Frozen," with its dusty barroom piano line and a sincere lyrical plea ("I was going to come over last night, I swear") that acts as a centerpiece to the dense instrumental display. Also featured at this dual CD release show is The Calculated Dream, the latest from bedroom electro-popster Eliot Rose. EAC
PICKATHON: THE GOURDS, KELLY JOE PHELPS, THE CAVE SINGERS, LAURA GIBSON & MORE
(Pendarvis Farm, 16581 SE Hagen, Happy Valley) See Take Your Pick.
(Exit Only, 1121 N Loring) See Friday's listing.
THE FAINT, JAGUAR LOVE, SHY CHILD
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) Jaguar Love's vocalist Johnny Whitney and guitarist Cody Votolato were both mainstays in the Blood Brothers' lineup for the duration of said band's existence. Their new band joins them with Pretty Girls Make Graves multi-instrumentalist Jay Clark, and while Whitney's howl is as prominent as ever, the overall effect is unabashedly pop, albeit in a frenzied, raved-up vein. It's gloriously over the top, with cabaret piano interludes shifting to solo vocal testifying and epic guitar lines abutting basement-show screams. Between the surreal lyrical imagery and the unexpected pop hooks, this is a band that finds the right balance between idiosyncratic music and intellectual stimulation. TC
SECRET CHIEFS 3, DIMINISHED MEN, SECRET CHEFS
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) A lot of experimental music folk embrace the pursuit of esoteric knowledge, real-world magic(k), and the appealing rumored super humanness of ancient lost sects, but few become agents of these interests with as much hard-bitten discipline as Secret Chiefs 3. The shifting lineup, led by guitarist Trey Spruance, is staggeringly masterful in their execution; there is an awesome thoroughness to the group's performance that's reflective of the divinely touched skill of the assassins, warriors, and magicians of yore. Their music–a heady swirl of Morricone's ecstatic grandeur, the oceanic snap of surf music, and intricate North African and Asiatic melodies and time signatures–murders with holy fire. SAM MICKENS
THE SABBATH: TECUMSEH, VELNIAS, PUSSYGUTT, DJ NATE C
(Rotture, 315 SE 3rd) Two years ago, domestic dark metal began making international waves with the principal impact of Agalloch's Ashes Against the Grain. More surprisingly, it began influencing its own country. Excerpts from Velnias' Sovereign Nocturnal show glints of Agalloch—both the neo-folk and post-metal varieties—in an otherwise inky cauldron of lead-heavy death/doom. Take Agalloch's 2006 European jaunt with Chicago's Novembers Doom and imagine a collaborative tour LP pairing Don Anderson's lead-guitar upswing with Paul Kuhr's subterranean gut-speak. Velnias' new material bears the dark metal mark of R&B-eschewing martial drumming when its spacious structure allows for ancient meter. It's even scarier than the raw black n' roll chamber-plod of Pacing the Cyclic Nether, last year's demo that the Illinois band has forsaken. MIKE MEYER
VALET, BARN OWL, SCOTT GOODWIN
(Valentine's, 232 SW Ankeny) Thank the stars Honey Owens can find time in that insanely busy schedule (she splits her time in, what, 42 bands?) to churn out music under the Valet moniker. With laser-infused guitars, drums from another room, and vocals from another planet, she manages to run the gamut from ambient drones to psyche guitar jams to blues to textured noise, all of it held together by her singularly distinct voice and impressive playing. The music is a slow procession; the songs flow with dreamlike narration, fading in and out with haunting immediacy. RS
JOSHUA JAMES, CORY CHISEL
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Not to be confused with Portland's Joshua James and the Runaway Trains, this Joshua James is a Nebraska folkie touring on last year's The Sun Is Always Brighter. Undoubtedly gifted with a unique raspy delivery, James' material is sadly best primed for the KINK FM demographic, as it lacks the teeth to make any tangible impact in the long run. Even the meta gaze into the songwriter mirror in "The New Love Song" comes off contrived ("Well, another silly love song could make me sick/About a heart-broke emo rocker and his messed-up chick"), sounding similar to something that fellow Cornhusker Conor Oberst would have penned a half-decade ago. EAC
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) The poppy rock of Climber goes so well with warm nights and cold drinks that the Doug Fir has invited them to take up residency on the club's stage every Tuesday for the month of August. It kicks off tonight, with special guests Derby and Tango Alpha Tango stepping in for support. MS
TU FAWNING, PINK WIDOWER, EVOLUTIONARY JASS BAND
(Someday Lounge, 125 NW 5th) Pink Widower—headed by the Jed, formerly of Six Foot Sloth—have picked a damn good time to release their first album of summertime pop gems. With handclaps, horns, shakers, warm keyboards, and the Jed's reedy vocals, the band breezily plows through a very Northwestern take on psychedelic pop on The Enchanted Realm of the Pink Widower, which will see the light of day in mid-August. "Let Me See" begs to be brought along on your next river trip, while "Baby Elephant" just knocked back another beer on your porch. The time is ripe to fall in love with this record, so do it before the sun leaves for another nine months. RS
(Backspace, 115 NW 5th) Jeremy Jay is a tall, wispy guy from LA whose music is similarly wispy, evoking '50s American pop idols, '60s French New Wave film stars, '70s glam androgyny, and the cheaply produced synth-hazy videos of the early '80s. A Place Where We Could Go, out on K Records, is a fairly lethargic debut full-length, following some early singles that packed more of a punch. All told, his music is fairly primitive, with minimalist melodies and simple riffs hanging onto gentle grooves, but the old-school synths and sighing vocals lend a certain amount of menace. Jay has tons of star quality, and a huge amount of potential, but his overriding cool often sounds like he's disaffected and disengaged. NL