El Guincho
Holocene, 11/23

THURSDAY 11/20

OF MONTREAL, HEALTH

(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) See Listing

POINT JUNCTURE WA , A WEATHER,

(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) See Music.

MY BRIGHTEST DIAMOND, CLARE & THE REASONS

(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Shara Worden, leader of the New York-based group My Brightest Diamond, has a bold vocal range and formal training in opera. Her stage presence is equally commanding, and the presence of a series of microphones adorned with a floral motif links the group's music to both modern technology and an aesthetic absorbed from some forgotten time. The group's second album, A Thousand Shark's Teeth, moves from orchestral sweep to precise tightrope walking, held together by the breadth of Worden's vocal range. Tourmates Clare & the Reasons share a fondness for pre-rock forms and the sound of strings; 2007's The Movie features guest appearances by both Sufjan Stevens and Van Dyke Parks. TOBIAS CARROLL

THE CHECKERED PRESENT, THE PHYSICAL HEARTS, TELESCOPE VEHICLE

(Alberta Street Public House, 1036 NE Alberta) With a name to match their tear-in-your-beer country sound, the Checkered Present are a sad lot. Not content with just dipping their toes into gloomy waters, the band dives right in, basking in a level of sadness that works quite nicely around their mournful country ballads. On their debut recording, Hyperbole and Horsefeathers, the intertwined vocals of Chris Beck and Sara Catherine Wheatley mesh nicely with the band's tempered delivery, since, after all, if you're this down and out, you might as well enjoy it for a while. EZRA ACE CARAEFF

FRIDAY 11/21

STIFFWIFF, SABERTOOTH, WROOM, DL SPARKS

(Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) See Music.

YEASAYER, ICY DEMONS

(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) Hearkening back to Anglo pop's assimilation of "world music" in the '80s, Yeasayer have more in common with the kaleidoscope of Eno-era Talking Heads than the vacantly cheery Paul Simon-influenced guitar pop of Vampire Weekend. Despite potentially disastrous instruments like fretless bass, sitar, and looped percussion adorning Yeasayer's music, in practice it's accessible, moving, and refreshingly inventive. Chris Keating is a hell of a frontman, incorporating an emcee's swagger into his preacher-man showmanship, and if the bleak apocalyptic vision of "2080" seems outdated in light of recent political transpirings, the All Hour Cymbals record still holds up to repeated listenings over a year after its big-indie-splash release. NED LANNAMANN

SERGE SEVERE, ANIMAL FARM, , MIC CRENSHAW, NEGATV, PANAMA RED, DICTION, THE UNIVERSAL DJ SECT

(Ash Street Saloon, 225 SW Ash) Many an emcee has reminisced about "back in the day," and many an emcee has recorded an album with a retro sound that seeks to revisit that magically vague time period. One of the more overt attempts in recent memory is the sophomore release from Serge Severe, Concrete Techniques, which drops this week. The beat foundation of the album is compiled from funk and jazz loops cooked up by DJ Sect, spicy elements that at times come out mild in the mix. Serge handles the lyrical side of things capably, retaining a nifty cadence throughout, but a tendency toward over-complexity in his rhyme scheme can muddle his message. The album stands as an homage to a bygone era made by some true fans−sonic time travel can be a fun escape, but all the same I'd rather listen to Lord Finesse. GRAHAM BAREY

PINEHURST KIDS, PITCHFORKMOTORWAY , MINNOW

(Tonic Lounge, 3100 NE Sandy) Surely it doesn't need to be explained that Pinehurst Kids are no longer, well, kids. If anything, they might well be Pinehurst Parents these days. With the exception of a few one-off shows, it's been about six years since the brazen power-pop band—the late '90s should've-been-a-contender act that never got the national attention they so rightfully deserved—hit the canvas for the final time. But frontman Joe Davis (full disclosure: Davis is currently employed as a font monkey here at the Mercury) has dusted himself off and officially reunited the Kids with not just a reunion show, but plans for a new album as well. And all jokes about their youthful moniker aside, a return of Pinehurst Kids—in all their hook-heavy glory—is a welcome addition to this town's musical community. EAC

SATURDAY 11/22

THE HOLD STEADY, DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS

(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) See Listing

LOVE IS ALL, VIVIAN GIRLS, NODZZZ, ROMANCING

(Backspace, 115 NW 5th) See Music.

THE ROSEBUDS, NO KIDS

(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) See listing.

THE OCEAN FLOOR, POLKA DOT DOT DOT, FIRS OF PREY

(The Artistery, 4315 SE Division) Keep the Lions Asleep, the second album from Firs of Prey (AKA Andrew Miller of Datura Blues) basks in the glow of a West Coast sunray—odd, given the dichotomy of sunshine-y folk-pop harmonies being augmented by a falsetto that Nick Drake might gush over. Represented by small local label BPBS Arts and Media Collective, Firs of Prey's minimalist approach takes on the form of a CD-R disc with no titles provided, but track number four might range as the pinnacle of the collection, snipping Beach Boys arpeggio and flattening it with the drone of a grumpy organ. Track five sounds like it's playing out of a gramophone, a compliment that, as vinyl buffs can attest, means something warm and raw and great. RYAN J. PRADO

DEERHUNTER, TIMES NEW VIKING, SOUTHERN BELLE

(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE 39th) Enough has been written about Deerhunter—much of it by frontman Bradford Cox himself—for one's eyes to glaze over whenever someone mentions the shape-shifting noise-pop group. It's best, then, to listen to their latest album, Microcastle, without paying any attention to their Pitchfork-anointed status or Cox's embarrassingly effusive blog posts. Stripped of all the attendant hoopla, it's a fine if unexceptional dunk into the shoegazing end of the indie rock pool, with clanking guitars, basic drumbeats, and the occasional girl-group melody. Cox's off-putting lyrics are best enjoyed buried under the gooey sonic frosting that Deerhunter whips up; for instance, the naked guitar-and-vocal moaning of the title track thankfully gives way to a wordless full-band groove that redeems some of the indulgent nonsense that preceded it. NL

LITTLE SUE, CASEY NEILL & THE NORWAY RATS, FROM WORDS TO BLOWS

(Mission Theater, 1624 NW Glisan) Little Sue's Baby Knows Better sizzles with vintage pop and country songwriting; songs as moody as "Hate to Be" are flanked by the upbeat opener "Pictures Are Perfect," indicating a rare talent of writing from both ends of an emotional spectrum and sounding like she's spent enough time on either side to mean it. Case in point: "Don't Look Down" is credited as being inspired by "Portland, rain, alcohol, depression," with the valediction, "Thanks a lot." Still, Sue's voice harnesses the calm of someone comfortingly vulnerable, easing you into the feather bed of her rough-and-tender tunes, only to wake you up with a bourbon hangover. RJP

VANISHING KIDS, HOT VICTORY, TORNADO ATTACK, 450 DEGREES

(East End, 203 SE Grand) One of the many perks the mighty LP has over its inferior yet shinier little brother, the CD, is that LPs have two separate, and often different, sides to them. This is the motivation behind local label Bright as Night Records and their brand-new self-titled vinyl compilation. Side A, the "Bright Side," is loaded to the grooves with local acts like Vanishing Kids, Enough Static, and the unfuckwithable drum warriors of Hot Victory. Flip that baby over and you have the "Night Side" with national acts like Tornado Attack, Omega Weapon, and more. Bring some spending cash, since this two-sided vinyl attack belongs in your collection. EAC

JAMES LOW BAND, MIKE COYKENDALL BAND, ADAM SHEARER

(LaurelThirst Public House, 2958 NE Glisan) He's been kicking around the Portland scene for quite a while, but it's been six years since James Low put out his last studio record. And the wait for his next full-length ain't over yet—his newest, The Blackguard's Waltz, is a short, five-song EP. Its brevity emphasizes Low's standing as a singer/songwriter in the classic mold; acoustic guitar chimes through each song, and the inescapable influences of John Lennon and Neil Young are gently felt but not emphasized. Low is working on a folk opera and film project about a suicide in 1895 New York, in addition to preparing a new pop album called Mr. Blue. But in the meantime, we have The Blackguard's Waltz, whose succinctness does what all good EPs should: make us want to hear more. NL

MIKE D & THEE LOYAL BASTARDS, KATE MANN, RIGHT ON JOHN

(White Eagle, 836 N Russell) Kate Mann's voice struts out of your speakers like a Southern belle dancing in the alleyways of a Nashville ghetto; her sway and cadence sashays over a decidedly Red-Stated influence, making songs like "Robert Johnson Knew" hot, even in the cold Northwest. Mann's new album, Things Look Different When the Sun Goes Down, splashes Pollock speckles of torn struggles, never musically relenting on the hunch that most days have their fair share of speed bumps. The songs do manage to remain hopeful, however, thanks to the power of Mann's poetic verses and the mystical bliss of deep cello on songs like "Needles and Pins," or with accordion on the Spanish-sung "La Llorona." So it seems the sun also rises on Kate Mann's horizon; thankfully we're there to see it. RJP

SUNDAY 11/23

CANCER BENEFIT: MENOMENA, DOLOREAN, ELUVIUM, TRACTOR OPERATOR

(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside)See Our Town Could Be Your Life.

SUPER XX MAN, SHOESHINE BLUE, TEAM EVIL

(Someday Lounge, 125 NW 5th) See Once More with Feeling.

AIDS WOLF, MAGICK DAGGERS, EAT SKULL, LITTLE CLAW, AUNT DRACULA

(East End, 203 SE Grand) Survivors of the long-defunct "now wave"—a Midwest and Japan (and Portland, with Point Line Plane) consortium of experimental punk—must think they're seeing things when AIDS Wolf comes down from Montreal. Vocalist Chloe Lum sports the vintage Skin Graft Ts they threw away last decade. She shrieks in tongues over her players' atonal tumble, summoning the vitriolic shatter-throat of Scissor Girls-era Azita Youssefi and Melt-Banana's Yasuko Onuki. There is occasional nudity. Everything is slightly offensive, and that's the point. "Become the weird punks," the band says in its press kit. "Remember when punk was weird?" Band producer Weasel Walter bluntly echoes the sentiment on his MySpace page: "Stay fucking weird or die." Portland's next bumper sticker? MIKE MEYER

THE PASTIES

(Alberta Street Public House, 1036 NE Alberta) Bands have always prevailed in the face of tragedy: AC/DC marched on after Bon Scott took the great Highway to Hell; Paul continued after Linda passed away from cancer; hell, even Blind Melon found another singer. But few bands have suffered like the Pasties have suffered, when, earlier this year, their beloved van, "Tony Vanza," died, thus stranding them in Texas during a tour. Texas! Have you ever been there? It's a fate I wish upon no man. But the Pasties have recovered, and are it back on the road in a new van—Tony would have wanted that way—sharing their fantastic acoustic punk with the masses. And with their loving ode to the joys of two-wheel transportation—the hilarious "Bikes Are Sexy"—it's only a matter of time before this Olympia group wises up and moves here anyway. EAC

EL GUINCHO, ATOLE, BREAKFAST MOUNTAIN

(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) For your sake I hope you have Monday off, as Spain's El Guincho show may well become the most bubbling dance party we've witnessed in some time. Guincho (or Pablo Diaz-Reixa) totes a bright smiling sound you might call "future world," as in the cutting edge of world music—where laptops trump paper, Chuck Taylors are swapped for sandals, and we all move wildly rather than study dance history. You might even call it "flat" or "post-world." The Guinch Dog is often compared to Animal Collective and rightly so, as their construction techniques, repetitive, loop-heavy euphoria, and performance modes are all akin. Guincho mans the sampler, sings, and bounces around, all while smashing polyrhythms. Think Animal Collective in the tropics. And, my god—amid the drudgery of these dark, wet, truncated days, what could be better than an evening spent dancing in the sand? ANDREW R TONRY

HORNA, BLOOD STAINED DUSK, INFERNUS, TORMENTIUM

(Rotture, 315 SE 3rd) Finland's Horna probably won't ever be credited with carrying black metal into the mainstream. Disc one of this year's Sanojesi Äärelle sounds like an idealized Axis of World War II put to wax—blast-beats and gnarled guitar wage the ground attack, atoms collide over six million screams, and we're all speaking German (err, Finnish). Of course, Horna are not a political band; they just play one on CD. Blood Stained Dusk's new album, Black Faith Inquisition, is a bit more serious. The longtime USBM act lost vocalist/guitarist Dageth in a 2005 car accident. But they recruited ex-Gorgoroth vocalist Pest for the recording session, soldiering onward with an unsettling collection of symphonic, push-pull anti-gospel. God don't bless 'em. MM

MONDAY 11/24

IMMORTAL TECHNIQUE, HASAN SALAAM, DA CIRCLE, MIC CRENSHAW

(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) A few years ago at a benefit concert in New York City, David Banner took thinly veiled shots at Immortal Technique's sober style. Where some, like the often shirtless and baby-oiled Banner, offer revolutionary fervor as an occasional garnish to stripper anthems, Technique, a Peruvian American ex-con, offers up anti-racist, anti-globalization, countercultural critique with no MC Hammer flourishes. And in the Harlemite's recordings he never exempts himself from his lyrical scalpel. His hustling days were relayed with sensitivity to his victims and that perspective extends to his current mixtape's emphasis on global inequity in distinction from the real challenges of urban America. So expect the caustic, but not the cynical. JALYLAH BURRELL Also see listing.

TUESDAY 11/25

LAKE, DESOLATION WILDERNESS, AH HOLLY FAM'LY

(Rotture, 315 SE 3rd) See listing.

MAC LETHAL, GRIEVES, SOULCRATES MUSIC, ELEMENTS

(Berbati's Pan, 10 SW 3rd) Rhymesayers' Kansas City representative, the belligerently bitter Mac Lethal, has started his own label/crew, Black Clover Records. Among their ranks are Sioux Falls crew Soulcrates Music and Grieves, formerly of Seattle, now of San Diego. Grieves recently paired his cold-world emo-heartthrob style with Sea-town wunderkind Budo's repertoire of warm analog synths and ace live instrumentation for the excellent 88 Keys & Counting. Boss Lethal's punk rock ethics break hard from the indie-hop norm, with BBQ, beer, and bass-heavy slaps underpinning his un-PC putdowns and hilarious (but not novelty) party songs. LARRY MIZELL JR

FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH, IN THIS MOMENT, BURY YOUR DEAD

(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE 39th) It's true. Metal often doesn't care about melody, and In this Moment is the obvious reaction to a genre of grunts and growls. Century Media Records has made certain we all can enjoy the band's new album The Dream, which features ridiculously glossy production by Kevin Churko (Britney Spears, Celine Dion, Ozzy Osbourne). Tracks like "Her Kiss" turn the band's one-time metalcore into something Evanescence-pretty, with nü-groove chords getting the angel-wing treatment. But vocalist/pianist Maria Brink—who harmonizes with so many of herself—has someone besides Amy Lee in mind: Gerard Way, who is evoked on the overtly Black Parade-influenced emo-pop of "Forever" and "All for You." It's unlikely she'll pull off such digital magic on stage, but it'll be fine just watching one of her. MM

WEDNESDAY 11/26

HOLLY GOLIGHTLY & THE BROKEOFFS, TOM HEINL

(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) See listing.