DRAGGING AN OX THROUGH WATER, JAMONDRIA HARRIS AND SOLAR THROAT, SAINTS OF THE KNIFE, SEAN PIERCE SUMLER, DJ MIXED MESSAGES
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Read our article on Dragging an Ox Through Water.
ED AND THE RED REDS, THE DESERT KIND, HIP HATCHET
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Concept albums are a dime a dozen, but has anyone ever attempted the concept EP? Portland songwriter Ed Thanhouser might be the first. His terrific new record, in which he's joined once again by crackerjack backing band the Red Reds, is a mere six songs long, but depicts in full a story that came to Thanhouser while he snowshoed through Deschutes National Forest. He came upon a large clearing with a single tree in the center, more than three times larger than any of the surrounding trees, with a huge eagle's nest on top. Whoa. The Liar's Dream deals with metaphysics and out-of-body experiences, but you won't get bogged down in any heavy-handed plot devices, as the Red Reds excel at nimble, adventurous folk-rock backing—as evidenced so well in the group's excellent 2012 Lost Leader album. Billmates the Desert Kind also have a new album of winning, backwoods folk called Old Overhaul. NED LANNAMANN
THE DETROIT COBRAS, PUJOL, NO GOOD LOVERS
(Star Theater, 13 NW 6th) Daniel Pujol might have plucked his band's name from the Kip Winger Dollar Bin of Unimaginative Band Names, but Pujol's new album, Kludge, is a total fucking blast. Pujol's sugary glam and junky punk plays like the goofy neighborhood kid who comes over to babysit and lets you stay up all night watching Hardbodies and sucking down Lik-M-Aid. "Pitch Black" is a perfect pop gem with a measure of Ariel Pink weirdness alongside the boinging Big Star guitars, and album opener "Judas Booth" is a mini-symphony that heaves, sighs, then shoots uselessly, joyously at the stars. The Nashville band are ostensibly a garage act, but this is damaged pop that'll bother the shit out of leather-jacketed rock dudes. They open for the Detroit Cobras, the Motor City cover band that'll attract a fair share of said leather-jacketed rock dudes. Arrive early for this one—it'll be a showdown. NL
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) I used to frequent a bar called Crossroads when I lived in Anchorage, and Bone Thugs-n-Harmony's "Tha Crossroads" was a go-to jokey jukebox selection for a lot of the bar's patrons. Maybe you remember the Seven Dwarfs-like names of Krayzie Bone, Layzie Bone, Bizzy Bone, Wish Bone, and Flesh-n-Bone, and if you remember when that song hit in 1995, then you remember how it was everywhere. Between how inescapable that song was back in the day and the amount of time I misspent at Crossroads, I never need to hear "Tha Crossroads" again. But the rest of E. Eternal 1999 I remembered a lot less clearly, and after revisiting it for the first time in probably a decade, it's easy to remember how these guys blew everyone's minds before gangsta rap got turned into something a bit more cartoonish. MATTHEW W. SULLIVAN
SNFU, THE MEATMEN, MY NEW VICE, NIHILIST CUNT, MR. PLOW
(Branx, 320 SE 2nd) Since 1981, Edmonton/Vancouver punks SNFU have worn a groove into the bedrock of the hardcore genre. In particular, frontman Mr. Chi Pig (Ken Chinn) positioned himself as something of a skate-punk guru during a string of mid-'90s albums while the band was signed to Epitaph Records, including such seven-word titles as Something Green and Leafy This Way Comes and The One Voted Most Likely to Succeed. The band's 1996 LP, FYULABA, gained attention for its barbed critiques of then-popular culture icons Kate Moss ("You Make Me Thick"), Eddie Vedder ("Better Than Eddie Vedder"), and John Wayne Bobbitt ("Bobbitt"). After multiple lineup changes over the years, the band's output has grown somewhat inconsistent, and a 2010 documentary—Open Your Mouth and Say...Mr. Chi Pig—exposed Chinn's serious battles with drug addiction, schizophrenia, and homelessness. A new incarnation of the band has formed for this tour, which also features Tesco Vee's legendary Meatmen. RYAN J. PRADO
CHRIS NEWMAN, THE PROTONS, TOY
(Tonic Lounge, 3100 NE Sandy) Napalm Beach's Chris Newman is a local rock 'n' roll icon, but unlike most icons, he's still cutting a relentless path forward like a shark. Fittingly, his new solo record is called Beachcomber, and rather than bringing to mind beach-blanket bingo, its gnarly punk rock evokes black-eyed leviathans chomping down on tanned surfer dudes and their surfboards. Newman and drummer Doug Naish recorded the album with Jack Endino earlier this year, and they've covered an impressive breadth of beachfront property: Beachcomber contains "Planet Caravan"-style sand-dollar psychedelia ("White Sands"), twanging reverb surf-guitar workouts ("Stingray"), and romantic R&B ("Woman and Man"). It'll make for a fine soundtrack to any beachside bonfires you light this summer. NL
GRAVE BABIES, VICE DEVICE, DEATHCHARGE
(East End, 203 SE Grand) Grave Babies are a bright spot—really, that's a compliment—in the neo-goth/post punk movement that finds so many bands watering things down to lighter shades of boring. The Seattle three-piece casts an ominous shadow while making sunny melodies, recalling some of Echo and the Bunnymen's best work. They say they love Nirvana, and are obsessed with death (song titles from their last album, Crusher, include "Skulls," "Blood on the Face," and "Slaughter"), which may give an indication to what they're about—as if the band name doesn't already. The good news is that Grave Babies own it, which is 90 percent of the battle. MARK LORE
IMPROVISATION SUMMIT OF PORTLAND: SCOTT CUTSHALL, TIM BERNE, RICH HALLEY, PINKISH
(Sandbox Studio, 420 NE 9th) The Creative Music Guild have been the most stalwart supporters of experimental sound in Portland for over two decades, and for the past three years, they've focused their annual calendar of events around this three-day blending of artistic disciplines. Key to the success of these Improvisation Summits has been their ability to bring artists from outside the city to collaborate and improvise with local musicians. This year, that guest is saxophonist Tim Berne, a mainstay of the New York avant-jazz scene whose playing continues to breathe life into the post-bop body politic. He plays Friday, both on his own and with an ensemble of local players. The rest of the weekend features a wealth of Portland players in solo performances or random combos, including Golden Retriever keyboardist Matt Carlson, vocalist Amenta Abioto, and free-jazz quintet Pinkish. ROBERT HAM
THE MINUS 5, ROY LONEY AND THE LONG SHOTS, THE TRIPWIRES
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) What began 21 years ago as a fun side project has become a well-established institution of country-tinged power pop. Led by Young Fresh Fellows frontman Scott McCaughey, with R.E.M.'s Peter Buck, the Minus 5's ever-changing lineup has included collaborations with Wilco, John Wesley Harding, Ken Stringfellow and Jon Auer of the Posies, and members of the Decemberists. While the band wears its experience, with tight structures and solid musicianship, their songs are never overly polished. McCaughey and Buck are rough around the edges in all the right ways, and somehow maintain more energy and enthusiasm than most artists half their age can muster. On Record Store Day, the Minus 5 released, in a limited edition of 750, a five-album set of new material called Scott the Hoople in the Dungeon of Terror. Tonight they're joined by legendary Flamin' Groovies singer Roy Loney. JOSHUA JAMES AMBERSON
PACIFIC MEAN TIME, THE MY OH MYS, YOUNG VIENNA
(Alhambra Theatre, 4811 SE Hawthorne) Portland band Little Beirut traded in their gloss-pop chips to become Pacific Mean Time, a new outfit-in-name whose self-titled debut album is equally as shiny and radio-friendly as the three Little Beirut albums that preceded it. Perhaps, though, Pacific Mean Time are opting for something a little more brooding this time around, as the album's 10 tracks ruminate over their melancholy melodies rather than crack them out of the park. What does come through, in Pacific Mean Time's deliberate, careful production and vocalist Hamilton Sims' bedroom-mellow vocals, are sound songwriting instincts, perhaps in spite of all the careful sonic polish that surrounds them. To be sure, this is lush, expensive-sounding soft rock for fans of the Postal Service and Coldplay, but Pacific Mean Time's careful attention to craft pays off on tracks like "How to Cheat Death" and "Bo Derek." NL
IMPROVISATION SUMMIT OF PORTLAND: AMENTA ABIOTO, DOUG THERIAULT, MATT CARLSON, MICHAEL STIRLING, BAD LUCK, MATT HANNAFIN, LOREN CHASSE
(Sandbox Studio, 420 NE 9th) See Friday's listing.
GUIDED BY VOICES, BOBBY BARE JR.
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) While Bobby Bare's career landed him in the Country Music Hall of Fame, his son Bobby Bare Jr. sought his own musical identity in the mid-'90s as a more rough-and-tumble kind of rocker. His band, Bare Jr., played hard-hitting, witty roots rock, but since the early 2000s, he's fronted the more alt-country-leaning Young Criminals' Starvation League. His latest, Undefeated, came out in April and finds Bare still playing in the street at the intersection of country-blues and indie-rock, with extra pop and psychedelic flourishes here and there. And he's still doing it with equal parts self-aware humor, candid confessions, and boozy observations. MWS Also, read our article on Guided by Voices.
ALEX G, SPECIAL EXPLOSION, CREECH, LEE COREY OSWALD
(Slabtown, 1033 NW 16th) The buzz around Alex G—aka Alex Giannascoli—isn't yet deafening, but it will be someday. Maybe soon. At 21 years old, the Philadelphia singer/songwriter has already been stocking his Bandcamp profile (sandy.bandcamp.com) with lovely, laid-back, lo-fi pop-rock songs for years. The peak of that pile of jams is Trick, a 13-track album that, at its noisiest, evokes the squirrelly early days of Built to Spill, and, at its quietest, recalls the untouchable bedroom pop of Elliott Smith. (Yeah, I said it, Portland.) On June 17, Alex G will break free of the Bandcamp life when Orchid Tapes releases DSU, a full-length that bumps up the fidelity just a notch without losing any of the natural intimacy and charm of Giannascoli's tunes. Also on Saturday's bill at Slabtown is another buzzy band: Seattle's Special Explosion, who definitely grew up listening to Built to Spill, too (as they should've). BEN SALMON Also see All-Ages Action!
PAUL COLLINS BEAT, MEAN JEANS, THE CRY
(East End, 203 SE Grand) Perhaps you've heard Blondie's "Hanging on the Telephone"? Well, the Nerves did it first and they might've done it best. A serrated, angular, whip-tight ripper, "Hanging" leads the LA band's first and only EP, released in 1976. It was, alas, only a tantalizing tease of pop-rock promise. The pioneering power trio died on the vine soon after, and each highly proficient player went his own way. Guitarist and lead vocalist Jack Lee, who wrote "Hanging," continued as songwriter. Bassist Peter Case birthed the Plimsouls. And Paul Collins traded drums for guitar and formed the Beat, who released six records between '79 and '89. Under one permutation of the name or another, Collins keeps rolling as a punk-pop progenitor, and the title of his most recent record, 2010's The King of Power Pop, says it all. As noted by this evening's openers, the Mean Jeans—themselves a consummate power-pop trio and inheritors of the Nerves' DNA— "Dude's still got it!" ANDREW R TONRY
TIMBER TIMBRE, TASSEOMANCY
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) It's nearly impossible to talk about the music of Timber Timbre without resorting to cinematic allusions. The Toronto-based trio—made up of Taylor Kirk, Mika Posen, and Simon Trottier, and further expanded in the live setting—conjures a transporting, widescreen sound, falling somewhere in the vicinity of The Last Picture Show and Sin City. Frontman Kirk deftly moves between songs with lead roles we might imagine played by Brando, Newman, and (more lately) McConaughey, all late nights and endless cigarettes. Timber Timbre's latest release, Hot Dreams, is their darkest and most deliberate yet, a dusty, slow-burning collection that specializes in uneasy beauty and places the band a ways out from the Ontario cabin/studio that inspired their name. JEREMY PETERSEN
THOLLEM MCDONAS, ANDRE ST. JAMES, TIM DUROCHE
(TaborSpace, 5441 SE Belmont) Thollem McDonas is a man who never stays in one place too long. The improvisational keyboardist keeps up a steady schedule of performances, recording sessions, and workshops around the world—all the better to collaborate with as many different people as possible. Along his journeys, he's worked with dance companies, filmmaker Matthew Barney, and Wilco guitarist/jazz dynamo Nels Cline. On this Portland stop, McDonas will be in full rhythm trio mode, playing alongside bassist Andre St. James and drummer Tim DuRoche, two artists who strive to carry the torch for experimental jazz in our fair city. Prepare yourself accordingly for plenty of fiery playing and some skin-tingling cacophony. RH
LOS DADDYS, CUCHO PONCE, DOBLE SENTIDO
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) The population of Chinantla, Mexico—a village located about 150 miles southeast of Mexico City, in the state of Puebla—hovers right around 2,000 people. It's where the musical group Los Daddys originate. The group—which, like many people from that region, has connections to New York—plays cumbia sonidera, a style of dance music that was borne in the poor barrios of Mexico City. Los Daddys combine the classic style of tropical cumbia from the '70s, which includes keyboards, horns and traditional percussion, with modern effects and DJs. If you want to shake up your musical week (and shake your tush), this is the place to be. ML
MOUNT EERIE, TOM BLOOD
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Portland's Tom Blood is a poet that shares the stage with bands more often than with other poets. His books are released by Marriage Records' publishing offshoot and come with downloads of his spoken word, and his collaborative album with Portland soundscape artist Jordan Dykstra could be the best experimental spoken word album since Steven Jesse Bernstein's Prison. Somehow this fiercely dedicated writer—who has said he writes for over 10 hours a day and sees twitches and hand-cramps as a sign that he's "finally getting somewhere"—has firmly established himself as part of the Northwest music community. Tonight's billing with Phil Elverum's ever-evolving Mount Eerie project is a perfect pairing: two artists that share a penchant for the natural world and have unique, reclusively obsessive brands of eccentricity that result in gloriously unconventional work. JJA Also see My, What a Busy Week!
FOR THE LOVE OF JANICE: A MUSICAL CELEBRATION OF JANICE SCROGGINS
(Alberta Rose Theatre, 3000 NE Alberta) Beloved local pianist Janice Scroggins died last week of a heart attack at age 58, and reverberations of grief have echoed through the Portland music scene in the days since. Scroggins was a true virtuoso, adept at jazz, gospel, blues, and ragtime, but what rings just as purely as the notes she played during her lifetime is the legacy she left behind. To that end, a huge group of local musicians are assembling to play tonight's tribute show, with proceeds going to benefit Scroggins' family. The list of performers is far too long to reproduce here, but its vastness and stylistic breadth is a testament to the affection and esteem Scroggins engendered among her fellow players. NL
TEEPH, THE SIEGE FIRE, SÓL
(The Know, 2026 NE Alberta) Chico, California, has no shortage of punishing metal outfits, what with heavy hitters like Armed for Apocalypse, Cold Blue Mountain, and Amarok. Teeph, however, are an altogether more virulent strain of savage. The experimental compositions found on their new LP, Solid Jobs, are down-tuned nuggets of grindcore sludge that make you furrow your brow within just a few seconds of tunes like "Marijuana Chaos." Vocalist/guitarist Sesar Sanchez (also of Cold Blue Mountain) does little to pacify his inner animal on tunes like the appropriately titled "Spirit Animal Planet," conjuring square-jawed riffs and controlled chaos that's inspired just as much by Deftones as Crowbar. Recommended listening for people who totally hate everything. RJP
JUSTIN HAYWARD, MIKE DAWES
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) Rest assured, Moody Blues fans: Setlists from Justin Hayward's current run of solo dates indicate that the nostalgic part of your brain will be stimulated often when the 67-year-old stops by the Aladdin Theater this week. But I encourage you to lend your ears to the tracks he'll be playing from his latest album, Spirits of the Western Sky. On the LP, he lends his distinctive pipes to bucolic folk that looks back to the quiet storm of fellow singer/songwriters like John Martyn and Richard Thompson, while also giving knowing nods to his dabblings in progressive rock and pop. If you can't handle it, get a beer and wait quietly for "Nights In White Satin." RH
THIRSTY CITY: BROWNBEAR, DIOGENES, AUTOMATIC THOUGHTS, NORTHERN DRAW, ROANE NAMUH
(The Know, 2026 NE Alberta) For fans of freaky beats, stoned samples, trippy tracks, and hallucinatory head-space, Thirsty City is ground zero for all the wild, weird music made by this city's beatmakers. Dropping Gems' Brownbear makes electronic alchemy with elements of hiphop and glitch, but on a thick forest carpet of Pacific Northwest pine needles. Seattle's Diogenes and Portland's Northern Draw recently collaborated on a split cassette called Weed Island (hmm, wonder what type of weed they're referring to?); it's a heady, dense burst of sound that zooms down the radio dial like a waterslide. Automatic Thoughts weaves chill blankets of soul and kicking electronica. And hiphop producer Roane Namuh has a deep sonic bag of tricks. Tonight, go to the far side and beyond with the help of some very skilled sonic pilots. NL