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This Week's Music Previews

MELVILLE 10/24 Mississippi Studios

MELVILLE 10/24 Mississippi Studios

WEDNESDAY 10/23

WATAIN, IN SOLITUDE, TRIBULATION, CEMETERY LUST
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE César E. Chávez) Read our article on In Solitude.

CHUCK PROPHET
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Chuck Prophet is one of those singer/songwriters whom crusty old music journalists love to tout—an underappreciated rock 'n' roll veteran who deserves to be a household name. In Prophet's case, the esteem is entirely deserved, as he remains truly one of the best in the game. Last year's terrific Temple Beautiful is the most recent in a lengthy string of albums he's released either under his own name or as part of paisley-country band Green on Red, and it contains all the ingredients that make rock crits dizzy: Dylan-descended lyrics, some power-pop melodies, a sorrowful ballad or two ("Museum of Broken Hearts"), and even a song about baseball, for chrissakes ("Willie Mays Is Up at Bat"). Prophet may aim square for the center of critics' hearts, but he'll hit yours as well; his songs really are that good, and his live show is nothing short of outstanding. He performs a solo set tonight. NED LANNAMANN

DEER TICK, ROBERT ELLIS
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) Deer Tick is the name of frontman John McCauley's bluesy, gravelly folk outfit. And the band's reputation for beer-fueled sets and puking through interviews may have calmed down with the release of their fifth studio album, Negativity. Released in September (and recorded in Portland, with Steve Berlin), the album is heavily autobiographical for McCauley, who had a troubling few years dealing with personal battles. The record shows a refreshing maturity that should comfort old and new fans alike—the band goes back to the slower, contemplative songs that ultimately disappeared on their last album, and it also experiments with gospel and more traditional folk sounds. The show might not be on the same spastic level as the late-night drunken performance I caught at Bunk Bar a few years ago, but this sounds like a healthy step for McCauley. RACHEL MILBAUER

THOSE WILLOWS, ADAM BROCK, THE WISHERMEN
(Kelly's Olympian, 426 SW Washington) In 2012, Those Willows moved from Michigan to Portland, and their new EP, Existential Folks, marks a full year in their new city. It's a delicately pretty recording, with Jack Wells and Mel Tarter entwining their voices in such a way that it's difficult to tell who's singing what. Feather-soft percussion, tasteful guitars, and subtle keyboards bring these songs into clear definition, but it's the duo's exquisite, almost eerie vocal blend that sets them apart. They're joined on the bill by Portland songwriter Adam Brock, who produced Those Willows' new EP and has a repertoire full of gentle but laser-sharp songs under his own belt. NL

THURSDAY 10/24

WIDOWSPEAK, PURE BATHING CULTURE
(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) See My, What a Busy Week!

SHY GIRLS, KINGDOM CRUMBS, PORTIA
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Read our article on Shy Girls.

OKKERVIL RIVER, MATTHEW E. WHITE
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) Okkervil River frontman Will Sheff has always told stories through song; he's affixed entire albums to various characters and their (at times less than) heroic journeys. The Silver Gymnasium, however, introduces a refreshing new protagonist: Sheff himself. The band's seventh album is directly inspired by his childhood in Meriden, New Hampshire, invoking youthful blitheness through major chords, spirited brass, and a gloriously anthemic Springsteen tribute to boot ("Down the Deep River"). To further convey the playfulness, the band even designed an eight-bit video game—scored by a chip-music version of the album—as accompanying promotional material. All in all, it's a welcome return from the depths of Okkervil River's last full-length, I Am Very Far, which at times felt like the twitching, many-limbed opus of a mad scientist. With Gymnasium, we are reunited with that smart and joyous rock band we love. RAQUEL NASSER

WOLVSERPENT, DRUDEN, TAURUS, AT THE HEAD OF THE WOODS
(Rotture, 315 SE 3rd) Wolvserpent's Perigea Antahkarana isn't the sort of thing you throw on for a quick listen. The Boise band's sometimes pretty—but more often menacing—Relapse Records debut is built on a foundation of droning doom, carrying shades of black and death metal. But the five tracks take nearly 82 minutes to unwind—and track one is an intro. The string sections, nature recordings, and sprawling ethereal passages share DNA with bands like local black metal troupe Agalloch, though the buzzsaw guitar riffs here have a bit more rumble, and the vocal delivery is a lot more guttural. Just don't jump in looking for a quick fix. MATTHEW W. SULLIVAN

LES McCANN, THE JAVON JACKSON BAND
(Jimmy Mak's, 221 NW 10th) Les McCann is a musical pioneer, the godfather of soul jazz and one of the first musicians to incorporate synthesizers and electric instruments into his unique blend of jazz, R&B, and soul. He's since been name-checked by the Beastie Boys, and his music has been sampled by countless golden-era hiphop acts including Dr. Dre, A Tribe Called Quest, and the Notorious B.I.G. McCann is touring with tenor saxophonist Javon Jackson, a Berklee College of Music graduate and member of the final incarnation of Art Blakely's Jazz Messengers. Together, the two form a dynamic cross-generational project that breathes new life into a genre of music that is increasingly haunted by its past. RYAN FEIGH

MELVILLE, OH DARLING, SPIRIT LAKE
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) On their new EP Maquette, Portland band Melville dug deep and came up with a tumultuous, soulful, country-informed collection that both cuts and heals. It opens with a gusty, guitar-drenched waltz called "The Dead." Later, "Forked Tongue" is a suspenseful, minor-key country rocker that's good enough to have been a Whiskeytown track. The outlook contained in the lyrics of frontman Ryan T. Jacobs seems like a dark one, but the band finds drama and hope in each of the six songs, concluding with the alluring mini-epic "Questions," which turns bummed-out feelings into a whiskey-soaked hymn of redemption. NL

LAURA MARLING, WILLY MASON
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Laura Marling's songs tend to build slowly, fixed upon a foundation of fluid strums and constructed by the richness of her voice and the warmth of her delivery. Then, just as you are becoming fully cognizant of your surroundings, the London-bred, LA-based folk singer lifts your whole body through a towering structure of song on a wave of instrumentation, all the way up to a turret where you can sit quietly and watch it unfold. The Brits are privy to the visceral reactions borne of her music, and thus, Marling has received multiple Mercury Prize nominations over the course of her four-album career. This year's effort, Once I Was an Eagle, best displays her penchant for expansive folk, and its songs will make for one captivated showroom. RN

FRIDAY 10/25

MUSTAPHAMOND, SUN ANGLE, AND AND AND, GRANDPARENTS, TALKATIVE, DJ MAXAMILLION, DJ PAPI, DJ BLVD NIGHTS
(The Waiting Room, SW 10th & Morrison) See My, What a Busy Week!

WICKED AWESOME BIG HOMO HALLOWEEN PARTY
(White Owl Social Club, 1305 SE 8th) See My, What a Busy Week!

MODERN KIN, DUOVER
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Read our article on Modern Kin.

AU REVOIR SIMONE, CALLMEKAT
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) The cool spaceship pop of Au Revoir Simone no longer seems quite as distinctive now that all those other synth-drenched bands have risen in their wake over the past few years, but the Brooklyn trio's expert songwriting still sets them apart. All three members—Erika Forster, Annie Hart, Heather D'Angelo—coax mentholated buzzes and waterfall tones from their synthesizers, and their rhythms have grown continually more assertive and less robotic since their 2005 debut. Their newest album, Move in Spectrums, might be their best so far, full of smart, sophisticated pop that doesn't hide any of its pleasures on the first listen, but reveals subtleties and contagious hooks with each one after. With all three ladies taking turns on lead vocals, Au Revoir Simone remains a trinity of pleasure. NL

MANX, BRAIN CAPITAL, BROTHER ELF, AUTONOMICS, BUBBLE CATS, FOXY LEMON
(Blue Monk, 3341 SE Belmont) Tonight local power-rock trio Manx celebrates the release of its new self-titled album and kicks off a long week of Halloween themed shows while headlining a huge lineup at the Blue Monk. The group's new release offers eight tracks of revved-up, catchy classic rock made for fist pumping. The album is packed with hooks and melodies, anchored by some superbly belted-out vocals that waste no time in getting to the point. They hit their stride on tracks like "Hopeless Case," where bassist John Barnaby and guitarist Thomascyne Ryther echo and trade vocals through the chorus, providing just over two minutes of pure power-pop bliss. All the tracks are well balanced, with enough fresh and creative energy in each quick burst to pull you in, but never lingering long enough to wear out their welcome. CHIPP TERWILLIGER

FLATBUSH ZOMBIES, BODEGA BAMZ
(Peter's Room at Roseland, 8 NW 6th) New York's Flatbush Zombies—Meechy Darko, Zombie Juice, and Erick Arc Elliot, the last of whom also handles most of the group's production—have a lot going for them. Their dark, drugged-up, eyes-rolled-back aesthetic and highly "rebloggable" streetwear fashion sense have made them one of the most buzzed/tweeted/Tumblr'd-about new rap groups on the internet, but their music has mostly been a mere side note to this popularity. And though their latest effort, BetterOffDEAD, is a definite improvement from their lackluster debut, D.R.U.G.S., it still sounds like a distilled, less-talented version of a Tech N9ne or a Gravediggaz-type Wu-affiliate. Unless you're a teenager or brand-new rap fan, Flatbush Zombies will likely have you reminiscing on the time when New York rappers started trends instead of chasing them. MIKE RAMOS

SATURDAY 10/26

RUFUS WAINWRIGHT
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) Loudon Wainwright III has always been one of the most undervalued and misunderstood artists to emerge from the singer-songwriter boom of the early '70s, eschewing the sanitary, sentimental craftiness that characterized the movement, and flaunting an anti-commercial stubbornness that probably cost him the potential for a giant hit but ensured his lasting credibility. There are plenty of fairly essential differences between Loudon Wainwright III and his semi-estranged son Rufus, but here's the fundamental similarity: Neither songwriter has ever compromised his artistic integrity. Rufus burst onto the alternative rock scene in the late '90s with a beautiful record of Edwardian, unpopular pop that arguably sounded nothing like anything that preceded it; follow-up Poses was even stranger (and better). Rufus Wainwright remains an obsessive and passionate synthesizer of (occasionally disparate) styles, and his latest, the technicolored Out of the Game, reflects that knack for musical reconstruction perfectly. MORGAN TROPER

COCOROSIE, BUSDRIVER
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) I can safely say CocoRosie is the only duet that bills itself as "freak folk, experimental hip-hopera." With sounds from electronic kids' toys, as well as real instruments, their music is melodic, haunting, and peculiar. The CocoRosie sisters grew up traveling throughout the US, never finishing high school, and going on "vision quests" with their father at Native American reservations. Their live shows have included a beatboxer in addition to an LSD explosion of background visuals, costumes, and interpretive dances. Their most recent album, Tales of a GrassWidow, incorporates experimental EDM and hiphop, rather than their established sound—two little girls who stumbled upon a recording machine in the nursery next to all of their toys. There's no denying their live show will be a spectacle. ROSE FINN

BARNA HOWARD, SNOWBLIND TRAVELER, THE HIGHWATER RAMBLER
(Elixir Lab, 2734 NE Alberta) Recent Portland transplant Matt Dorrien possesses the uncanny ability to seize an audience. Under the nom de plume Snowblind Traveler, Dorrien's road-weary Americana is equal parts the easy-does-it vocal timbre of early Jackson Browne and the balanced, tribal-like guitar progressions of Curt Kirkwood. Dorrien, who logged time in San Francisco as well as his Long Island home before heading to the Northwest, self-released Lost on the North Hills in March, and it's a collection of gorgeously affecting, lush compositions that cut deep. Songs like "Liar" commit brutally sentimental melodies to Dorrien's poised lyricism and great guitar playing. Dorrien's currently working on the follow-up to Lost, tentatively titled Confederate Burial. In the meantime, his live solo sets are not to be missed. RYAN J. PRADO

JACK RUBY PRESENTS, ED AND THE RED REDS, VICIOUS KISSES
(LaurelThirst Public House, 2958 NE Glisan) Tonight's record release for Jack Ruby Presents' second album, Pale Road, is also their last show for the time being. It's unfortunate timing, as the album is a deft, rousing, rootsy record perfect for late-night barroom encounters and a drink or three too many. Following the show, keyboardist Melissa Davaz is moving to Montana, and the band is drawing things to a halt. So tonight's the perfect occasion to check out Jack Ruby Presents and their rambunctious, high-gear twang and roughshod but accomplished rock. NL

MAGIC CASTLES, DAYDREAM MACHINE, KINGDOM OF THE HOLY SUN
(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) In case this assemblage of band names hasn't already made it crystal clear, this is going to be a night of far-out psychedelic rock. Magic Castles are from Minneapolis, and their roiling, rambling jams are heavy on vibe and light on momentum, but that didn't stop Brian Jonestown Massacre's Anton Newcombe from digging 'em and putting out their self-titled record on his label last year. Seattle's Kingdom of the Holy Sun are a bit more sinister, with a penchant for slowly unfolding drone-rock that recalls the Black Angels. And Daydream Machine is a promising, one-year-old Portland band (including members of the Upsidedown, Hawkeye, and Whole Wide World) that specializes in swirling, reverberant psych designed to bounce around your earholes in perpetuity. Let it. BEN SALMON

MARIA MINERVA, CHERUSHII, MAGIC FADES
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Maria Minerva's art-school concept of bedroom pop expands beyond the lo-fi trappings of the genre. Originally from Estonia, Minerva has found a home on LA's Not Not Fun and 100% Silk labels, and her no-wave disco volitions and existential verses channel a sort of rendered cyborg-ian diva. Her nuanced vocals inhabit a variety of backdrops and personas, including Enigma-esque new age, cabaret-lounge chanteuse, and inflicted R&B siren. Labelmate Cherushii occupies a Technotronic electronic niche, mostly instrumental but with dynamic vocal samples calibrated for optimal dancing. With humanoid boy-band Magic Fades as openers, tonight's show promises a step into an alterna-'90s nostalgia cycle through the web present. WYATT SCHAFFNER

USELESS EATERS, LONG KNIFE, THE PITY FUCKS
(East End, 203 SE Grand) Memphis lo-fi garage-rockers Useless Eaters are cut from the same cloth as the Oblivians, though main Eater Seth Sutton is about two decades younger than that band's snotty punk-rock elder statesman. But like fellow Memphian and former tourmate Jay Reatard, Sutton has cranked out a string of singles and cassettes over the past few years whose influences more closely resemble his parents' record collection than his peers, but with an added bite. Eventually he recruited a full band, and early this year they released Hypertension, a nervy set that finds the group getting a bit more psychedelic. MWS

SUNDAY 10/27

GOSPEL BRUNCH
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) See My, What a Busy Week!

RYAN SOLLEE, SAM COOPER
(Al's Den, 303 SW 12th) See My, What a Busy Week!

MONDAY 10/28

RYAN SOLLEE, SIREN AND THE SEA
(Al's Den 303 SW 12th) See My, What a Busy Week!

THE 1975, LINUS YOUNG
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Naming your band the 1975 seems hopelessly aspirational, as if imbuing it with the presence of a bygone era lends your music some kind of legitimacy. It also seems like an unfortunate misdirection, as the music the Manchester band makes is actually drippy, slightly peppy, radio-designed porridge that is very much 2013's state-of-the-art: a weird and unsatisfying blend of pop, rock, and slick, electronic-enhanced production. The names of 1975's two biggest singles so far are "Chocolate" and "Sex"—no doubt trying to evoke more positive associations—but the band's moniker aside, this is of-the-moment dreck we'll be mortified by in a few short years. NL

TUESDAY 10/29

JANELLE MONÁE, ROMAN GIANARTHUR
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) See My, What a Busy Week!

CHARLI XCX, KITTEN, LIZ
(Star Theater, 13 NW 6th) Charli XCX is like a Spice Girl for our times, a club kid who's much savvier and tougher than those sporty poshy gingers ever were, but with a similar flair for the girlishly dramatic. The British "kid" in question was born Charlotte Emma Aitchison and she's barely 21 years old, but she's been at this for seven years. Her True Romance is an infectious banger full of slick hooks, dance anthems, and some damn fine dark-pop songs. It's music full of girls-past-and-present—the gothy spiderwebs of Zola Jesus, the addictive cheek of Robyn, the frantic mishmash of Grimes, and enough '80s synth to drown a flock of seagulls. I can't say it's the most nutritious bit of brain food, but it's remarkably easy on the ears and drenched in a remember-when collage of optimism, escapism, and young rocky love. The gal is irresistible. COURTNEY FERGUSON

SOFT SHADOWS, WISHYUNU, APPENDIXES
(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) Tonight, Soft Shadows—who formerly went by Sundaze—play a release show for their debut album, Reverb Is for Lovers. The band's dreamy blend of shoegaze pop pairs perfectly with the crisp fall nights we've been having lately. Soft Shadows take cues from the glory days of shoegaze, bringing to mind the delicate bliss of Galaxie 500, adding just enough distortion to tickle your ears but not drench the music. Much like WL did earlier this year on their debut, Soft Shadows position themselves at the front of a strong pack of Portland dream-weavers. If My Bloody Valentine decide to schedule a Portland date, plenty of local bands are making the type of beautiful, thunderous noise that could work as a worthy opening act. On Reverb Is for Lovers, Soft Shadows make an awfully strong case to fill that slot. CT

WOODEN INDIAN BURIAL GROUND, PSYCHO ADORABLE, SUMMER CANNIBALS
(The Know, 2026 NE Alberta) Tonight Wooden Indian Burial Ground kick off a five-week tour, and to mark the occasion, they're releasing a cassette EP that's coming together at the very last minute. The band's Justin Fowler emailed me mere days before the show, with the news that he'll "be locked in a basement tracking and mixing all week, for better or worse. It's going to master next Thursday and we are dubbing the tapes [probably the] day of. May be a disaster! Can't wait." Neither can we—since the release of the Portland band's superb, psychotropic self-titled album in 2012, they've proved themselves an indispensable part of the Portland musical landscape. The existence of some new WIBG songs is very good news indeed. Let's hope they can pull off the EP in time. NL

THE SADIES, MARK PICKEREL
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) The Sadies' long career has been pockmarked by many notable highlights. They've backed up Neil Young, Neko Case, and John Doe. They've collaborated with Jon Spencer and Jon Langford. They've toured a hell of a lot. The release of their new album, Internal Sounds, ought to rank right up there, too. The Canadian country-rock crew sounds just as vibrant and daring in their navigating of quirky aural avenues, executing beautifully crafted tunes like the mandolin-led "So Much Blood," an essentially traditional-sounding track injected with the Sadies' inherent heart. With wobbly harmonies and the band's sneering punk rock underbelly (as found on the teeth-gnashing blazer "Another Tomorrow Again"), Internal Sounds' seemingly innocuous vibe is augmented by visions of rhinestone suits and cowboy boots. You will hoot. You will holler. All hail the Sadies. RJP

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