TALKDEMONIC Doug Fir, 7/6
Ben Moon

THURSDAY 7/5

SUNDOWN AT ECOTRUST: TYPHOON, AU
(Ecotrust, 721 NW 9th) See My, What a Busy Week!

LOWER DENS, NO JOY, ALAN RESNICK
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Baltimore five-piece Lower Dens pull at lo-fi heartstrings and bathe the listener in a seductive form of post-punk gloom that gives way to a sweet kind of longing. Embark on a slow train to hazy bliss as frontwoman Jana Hunter lulls you with her soft and thoughtful voice, backed by psychedelic undertones and melodies that work together in spacious harmony. A form of easy listening that pulls one into a kaleidoscope of future-retro ambiance has seen their albums maturing methodically from stripped-down experimentalism to a more complex and driving potency. It seems to make sense on their latest, Nootropics—an album whose songs are based largely on metaphorical drugs that allow for superhuman powers. CHRISTINA BROUSSARD

A HAPPY DEATH, BLACK PUSSY, THE HUGS
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Last week, I previewed Mbrascatu, an Americana-Italian band whose music bears no resemblance to A Happy Death—except for Mathieu Lewis-Rolland, the evidently hardworking drummer in both bands. Though he's not A Happy Death's original drummer, the one you hear on their amazing, bizarre self-titled EP. According to the publicity blurb, that guy died from a rattlesnake bite while the band were moving west from Long Island. Though the tragedy predates the EP, it could easily have inspired it—free-wheeling sonic adventurousness run through with a strange darkness. Take "Mr. Rutter," a '60s style doo-wop number about a transgendered man trapped in his life as a factory worker. Everything moves along so sweetly, dripping with reverb, until it devolves into an anguished, spiky jangle. Ryan Lella keeps his androgynous bleat just detached enough to serve as each song's storyteller, expertly narrating threads of retro soul and British psychedelia. REBECCA WILSON

LUCK-ONE, CLOUDY OCTOBER, CORDUROY THE WONDERBOY, THE RESISTANCE, STEWART VILLAIN
(Gallery 500, 420 SW Washington) The Resistance is a hiphop trio that was born from a track of the same name on North Portland emcee Mic Capes' upcoming release Rise and Grind. The song, which features local rappers Rasheed Jamal and Glenn Waco, was leaked to the internet last February and created enough buzz to warrant an ongoing collaboration. Also on the bill for this First Thursday gallery show, Cloudy October is a wildly inventive lyricist who pushes the boundaries of what it means to be a hiphop artist via his off-kilter flow, surreal subject matter, and adventurous production. And Luck-One is an absolute beast; point blank, I honestly haven't witnessed anyone who can rock a crowd harder than he can. While all three acts vary stylistically, I would recommend each and every one of them to anyone looking for an entry into high-quality Portland hiphop. All told, it's one of the strongest lineups I've seen in a while. RYAN FEIGH

DARK ARTS FESTIVAL 2012: INTERIORS, QUARRY, JATUN, GRAPEFRUIT, APARTMENT FOX, MAGIC FADES, EXTRALONE, PHOTON
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Dark Arts 2012 isn't super great at explaining itself, but from what I can gather, it has ambitious goals. Something along the lines of transforming culture via emerging artistic technologies. And synergizing! But more importantly, the festival is curated by Thomas Thorson, the man behind Interiors—that dreamy collective that has created such elegant, mysterious electronic compositions on a handful of albums and EPs. Since Portland currently has sine waves coming out of its ears, Thorson had his work cut out for him in selecting a scant eight of the eight million local electronic acts to showcase. There is a pleasingly academic diversity among the lineup, including my personal favorite, Grapefruit, the current alias of Charlie Salas Humara. Analog and minimalist, Grapefruit's recent self-titled cassette and Time Drips EP are both meditative and even pretty, while sounding like Germany in 1975. RW

FRIDAY 7/6

WU-TANG CLAN, DEAD PREZ, PERFECT GIDDIMANI, ROMAIN VIRGO, IKRONIK, MADGESDIQ, & MORE
(Refuge, 116 SE Yamhill) See My, What a Busy Week!

RIGSKETBALL KICKOFF: AND AND AND, THE NO TOMORROW BOYS, GRANDPARENTS, CHARTS, OLD AGE, THE WOOLEN MEN, MOJAVE BIRD
(Plan B 1305 SE 8th) See My, What a Busy Week!

TALKDEMONIC, WILD ONES, HOUNDSTOOTH
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) This is a homecoming show for Talkdemonic, who return to us having played several shows around the country with a little band called Modest Mouse. The duo of Kevin O'Connor and Lisa Molinaro have quietly established themselves as a tour de force amid myriad talents our city offers, bringing a completely unique and necessary contribution to the musical atmosphere. On albums such as their latest, Ruins, and in jaw-dropping live performances, the band has been honing their chops for nearly a decade and now present one of the most polished and powerful acts on the local scene. With O'Connor behind the drum kit and Molinaro delivering evocative sounds on the viola, Talkdemonic crafts music that is exuberant, playful, and, above all else, stunningly beautiful. MARANDA BISH

THE LOWER 48, DEATH SONGS, BROTHERS YOUNG
(The Secret Society, 116 NE Russell) Usually I'm quick to judge yearning, soft, pretty music as corny, but I'll make exceptions when music is as sincere and delicate as this. The young and vibrant, Minneapolis-born/Portland-based folk outfit the Lower 48 has been getting songs stuck in my head (and heart, as much as I hate to admit it) since last year's full-length release Where All Maps End. Highlights from the album include familiar acoustic instrumentation and polite vocals on songs like "Traveling Tune" that nod to Sufjan Stevens' early work, and enchanting pop melodies on "Into the Woods." I got a sneak peek of a very promising unreleased track "Rabbit Hole" that makes a departure from simple, sweet folk to more chamber-meets-psych (i.e., a more Portland sound). Take that, Midwest—they're ours now! ROCHELLE HUNTER

THE CASUALTIES, NEKROMANTIX, DOWN BY LAW, LOWER CLASS BRATS, THE SHEDS
(Branx, 320 SE 2nd) Dave Smalley might be the only consistent band member for the on-again, off-again punk-life collective Down by Law, but his pedigree alone seems enough to sustain the group through shifting incarnations. As a member of seminal punk crew Dag Nasty (along with a pre-Bad Religion, post-Minor Threat Brian Baker), and as the original lead singer of Descendents offshoot All, Smalley is a walking messiah in some circles. Topping out in the '90s punk explosion that birthed the mainstream adoration of shitty groups like the Offspring, Down by Law's Punkrockacademyfightsong was an explosive touchstone of emotive, funny, fine-tuned punk. After a hiatus ended in 2009, the band signed with a new label and is expecting a new full-length this August. DBL will be sandwiched between a cornucopia of past-due punkers on this bill, which seems fitting; no one ever really knew where they belonged. RYAN J. PRADO

SATURDAY 7/7

ANDAZ 10-YEAR ANNIVERSARY: DJ ANJALI AND THE INCREDIBLE KID, DJ REKHA
(Branx, 320 SE 2nd) See My, What a Busy Week!

SMASHED BLOCK PARTY: REDD KROSS, LONG KNIFE, QUINTRON AND MISS PUSSYCAT, DENT MAY, DEATH CHARGE, THRONES, & MORE
(East End, 203 SE Grand) Quintron and Miss Pussycat, the ever enigmatic and slightly macabre denizens of "swamp tech," grace Portland with their presence for East End's annual Smashed Block Party. Robert Rolston wails on keys and circuit-bent instruments often of his own design, as he's backed by collaborator and master puppeteer Panacea Pussycat, allowing for quite an interesting combination. A 2012 Grammy nomination for their cover of "Chatterbox" along with their recent release Sucre Du Sauvage, recorded live at the New Orleans Museum of Art, only adds to the duo's fire. Having been at it for over 15 years, a certain brand of polished excellence in the world of crossover performance shines through, and Quintron and Miss Pussycat's shows prove to be quite hypnotizing. CB Also see My, What a Busy Week!

LIARS, CADENCE WEAPON
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Twelve years into their existence, Liars have mastered their peculiar brand of accessible avant rock. Each new record slightly varies from the previous one, but through it all, Liars' music has somehow become more polished and stranger. Daniel Miller (AKA the Normal), the founder of Liars' label, Mute, produced their sixth album, WIXIW, and the result is their slickest to date, Liars at their electronic-poppiest. That being said, the trio haven't lost their lugubrious mystique or knack for brooding melodies and unusual textures, and falsetto-favoring vocalist Angus Andrews still exudes the affecting vulnerability for which he's known. Liars have gone on a very rewarding tangent at time in their career when most bands would be resting on their laurels or fading into oblivion. DAVE SEGAL

THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM, DAVE HAUSE
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE 39th) I don't usually define my favorite songs as guilty pleasures. I'm not ashamed of the music I like. Liking that one My Chemical Romance song that sounds like Queen doesn't make me a bad person (if you mumbled "Yes it does" to yourself just now, then you need to take a good look at the world and revisit what's important). So with that, I have no problem saying this: I like Gaslight Anthem. I don't like like them. I'm not going to go to this show and sing along and jump onstage pretending that I'm Courteney Cox and GA's Brian Fallon is Springsteen (although...). It's just that I have a thing for bands from Jersey—the Bouncing Souls, the Misfits, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, Titus Andronicus, Screaming Females—and the Gaslight Anthem sound exactly like a band from Jersey. Or, at least, Jersey as we knew it, before idiotic orange alcoholics became the state's new mascot. MEGAN SELING

NEW CENTURY SCHOOLBOOK, TOWERING TREES, GRESHAM TRANSIT CENTER
(Kelly's Olympian, 426 SW Washington) Since settling on the Towering Trees name in 2010, the Portland band has released a total of three consistently great records, which is more than most bands have in them, period. Their latest effort, Trees (presumably a companion to the EP they released earlier this year in March, entitled Towering) is their best-sounding little collection of songs yet. The self-aware, Elvis Costello-esque opener, "Opportunity" (perhaps not coincidentally, the name of an actual Costello song, too) is summery, infectious indie pop of the finest variety, and proves that lead singer/guitarist Will Carpenter is a consummate lyricist as well as songwriter. Hopefully they cut a full-length before the year's up. MORGAN TROPER

SUNDAY 7/8

R. KELLY TRIBUTE NIGHT: HOLLA 'N' OATES, MAXX BASS
(Dig a Pony, 736 SE Grand) See My, What a Busy Week!

SMASHED BLOCK PARTY: DANAVA, LORD DYING, DEAD CONSPIRACY, WITCH MOUNTAIN, & MORE
(East End, 203 SE Grand) See My, What a Busy Week!

THE MALLARD, WIMPS
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Read our article on the Mallard.

SIMON JOYNER, THE RENDERERS, DAVIS HOOKER
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) It's not often that Simon Joyner leaves the Midwestern prairie long enough to go on tour, but his new album, Ghosts, is out on August 14, and it's his first since 2009's Out into the Snow. Funded largely through an enormously successful Kickstarter campaign, Ghosts is an anniversary celebration: Joyner began pioneering the Omaha sound with his earliest lo-fi recordings 20 years ago. On his latest, he draws from a deep bag of instruments, including cello, pedal steel guitar, organ, piano, celesta, and vibes. But not even the warm company of all those instruments can disguise the fact that this is an album about profound loneliness—an elegy for Alex Chilton, Skip Spence, and Jackson C. Frank. Despite the full band, there's never any excess, allowing the plaintive squeaks and creaks to shine through, with the dusty intimacy of Leonard Cohen or (closer to home) M. Ward. RW

BLACK PUSSY, MODERN LIVES
(Rontoms, 600 E Burnside) Fresh from a mini-tour of Washington State with hard-hitting local outfit Sons of Huns, Black Pussy offers one of the most unadulterated rock 'n' roll experiences available in this town. The band has members of metal group White Orange, who seem to approach this particular project as a vehicle for the classic-rock side of their musical fervor. Their name itself is an assertion of what the Rolling Stones allegedly would have called their song "Brown Sugar" if they weren't so concerned with getting airplay—and Black Pussy's music reflects a knack for not giving a fuck, along with genuine love for the honky, no-nonsense forms of rock. MB

MONDAY 7/9

PURE BATHING CULTURE, BRYAN JOHN APPLEBY, LEMOLO
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Read our article on Pure Bathing Culture.

TUESDAY 7/10

Ronnie James Dio would have been 70 today. R.I.P., Holy Diver.

WEDNESDAY 7/11

LOOSE FIT: DJ BETELBAUM
(East End, 203 SE Grand) See My, What a Busy Week!

CODEINE, SCOUT NIBLETT, RIVULETS
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Read our article on Codeine.

AGALLOCH, TAURUS, EIGHT BELLS
(Branx, 320 SE 2nd) In case you haven't heard, Agalloch is a big deal these days. Their 2010 full-length Marrow of the Spirit thrust the Portland-birthed band into the international spotlight when it topped best-of-the-year lists everywhere. And rightfully so. With Marrow, Agalloch created a masterful, moody, brooding black metal atmosphere, complete with babbling brooks and swelling, tragic melodies that could bring tears to your eyes. The band's newest EP, Faustian Echoes, has all of the same elements. Its single song, clocking in just under 22 minutes, is a grand retelling of the classic story of Faust and his deal with the devil. Bleak, frightening riffs weave into melancholia and acoustic interludes with ease. A few spoken-word parts help guide you through Faust's struggles, but Agalloch's uncanny ability to create emotion with their music makes you feel like you're part of the story. ARIS WALES Also see My, What a Busy Week!