Up & Coming 

THURSDAY 5/21

MIKE WATT & THE MISSINGMEN, PATTERNS, KRIST KRUEGER

(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Neither serious illness nor time will stop Mike Watt. Already enshrined in the pantheon of all right-thinking people for his low-end wielding in punk-funk rabble-rousers Minutemen, the indomitable bassist also has toiled for the Stooges and issued several albums of some merit under his own name. His latest project with the Missingmen—featuring Tom Watson of Slovenly nonfame on guitar and Raul Morales on drums—is a "punk-rock opera" titled Hyphenated-Man, which Watt describes as being akin to "a mirror from just inside my head... [shattering] into 30 pieces, each showing a piece of my state of mind (or out-of-mind) as of now." The group have been known to execute a nice, understated cover of Television's "Little Johnny Jewel" and a rollicking version of Wire's "Ex Lion Tamer." Mike Watt cannot be stopped. DAVE SEGAL

JOHN VANDERSLICE, MIMICKING BIRDS

(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Hot on the heels of his collaborative tour and EP with the Mountain Goats, John Vanderslice isn't pausing to take a breath before putting out his latest collection of gentle pop. Romanian Names is the Bay Area singer/songwriter's seventh album and his first for Dead Oceans, and it's incredibly competent in the best sense of the word, with thoughtful tunes dressed in unconventional production. In lesser hands, "Too Much Time" could be an unbearably mopey ballad, but instead it's wistful and heartbreaking, inhabiting that same tender spot as the Cars' "Drive." Vanderslice has smoothed up the rough, overdriven edges of 2007's Emerald City, but in no way does the record feel sterile. NED LANNAMANN

LUCERO, BLACK JOE LEWIS & THE HONEYBEARS

(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE 39th) Not to dip too deeply into the Eric Bachmann well, but someone needs to pour a new drink for the old drunks in Lucero. Perched on the same old barstool between Jawbreaker's punk romanticism, the filthy underbelly of outlaw country, and Hot Water Music's graveled vocals and frayed blue collar work ethic, the Lucero boys have been plugging away for well over a decade now. Problem is, the seldom mentioned downside to the band's dedicated touring regiment is that they are always passing through town, and—as someone who has seen them close to a dozen times can attest—their typical live show has grown a bit stale as of late. There is nothing wrong with another stiff round of Ben Nichols shredding his vocal chords in the name of the broken-hearted, but it might be nice to see something just a wee bit different (Horns? Mandolin? Hard-skankin' Bosstone dancer? Cosmic laser light show?) from the Memphis band this time around. EZRA ACE CARAEFF

THE CURIOUS MYSTERY , THE TINERS, HARSH SUNSHINE

(Dunes, 1905 NE MLK) Newly added to the K Records roster, Seattle's the Curious Mystery plows a furrow of drowsy, bluesy psych. Nicolas Gonzalez sets up a drone either on guitar or one of his homemade instruments, while Shana Cleveland plucks banjo, autoharp, or guitar; meanwhile, drummer/whirling dervish Faustine B. Hudson shifts tempos as the band's lengthy patchwork songs unfurl. Their zen country is a strong, surprisingly effective combination of Eastern drone and Western roots music, with a weird and woolly connection to nature. The Curious Mystery recorded their debut album, Rotting Slowly, with Calvin Johnson, and it's full of gently rumpled psychedelic tunes that are perfect for zoning out—but it's worth paying attention. NL

THE LIFE AND TIMES, SYSTEM & STATION, MICROTIA, AM EXCHANGE

(Satyricon, 125 NW 6th) A pox on those who believe the genre of rock music needs saving: It's fucking fine. Your proof lies in Kansas City band the Life and Times, a trio (formerly known as Shiner) with an insatiable appetite for evolving within the context of rock 'n' roll, and sharing their results via a seemingly endless touring schedule. Album number two for the band, Tragic Boogie, is an expansive undertaking of swirling guitars, thwacking drums, distorted vocals, and pop hooks galore. It's like Psychocandy, but sweetened up for the less-refined American palates. If you find you have strayed from the rock 'n' roll flock, the Life and Times will take your hand and gently lead you back into the fold. EAC

SUN KIL MOON, MATT COSTA

(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) Did Mark Kozelek invent the modern singer/songwriter genre? If he didn't quite create it, he at least inhabits it rather comfortably these days. After nearly two decades of work with the Red House Painters, Sun Kil Moon, and countless solo efforts, Kozelek is still going strong. Throughout his career, the man has paid tribute to inspirations as diverse as AC/DC and John Denver, but by now has created his own definitive sound, one that's given cues to the new generation of acoustic musicians. At the backbone of Sun Kil Moon is Kozelek's rambling, trebled voice, delivering evocative narratives of life's sorrows and joys in a way that created the template for today's intimate bedroom-popsters. It makes perfect sense to see both Ben Gibbard and Will Oldham as contributors to SKM's most recent full-length, and paying homage to the symbiotic nature of music-making since Kozelek now covers Oldham's tracks in turn. MARANDA BISH

FLOSSTRADAMUS, RUDE DUDES, CORY O

(Rotture, 315 SE 3rd) Flosstradamus is truly a pair with a no-nonsense approach to making a party go off, and have always been more about the music than the hype, scene, or fashion. After blowing up dance floors in the Midwest for years, the Chicago duo of J2K and DJ Autobot finally got some well-deserved exposure through Kid Sister (J2K's real-life sister), which led to airtime on MTV, a mix for Vice Records, the cover of URB, and an opening slot on the Chromeo tour. Their 2x4 DJ sets cover all the genres of the minute: blogger house, glitch-hop, and indie-electronica. While most other DJs pushing this sound are squarely in the flash-in-the-pan category, Flosstradamus anchor their sound with more traditional dance music styles—funk, soul, and old school hiphop—giving them more staying power than their less permanent peers. AVA HEGEDUS

FRIDAY 5/22

THE AVETT BROTHERS, JASON WEBLEY, SALLIE FORD & THE SOUND OUTSIDE

(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) See My, What a Busy Week!

MOS DEF, THE KNUX, LILLA D'MONE, DJ GEN.ERIK, DJ WELS

(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) See My, What a Busy Week!

DOVES, WILD LIGHT

(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) Carrying the Mancunian torch high, the larger-than-life trio Doves skip over the rowdy days of the Buzzcocks for the arena-ready sound of New Order and the subsequent ecstasy-fueled Madchester scene. Doves originated when Jimi Goodwin joined brothers Jez and Andy Williams in a band called Sub Sub, an early-'90s house music act whose dance pop style explains a lot about the foundation of Doves' epic-sized indie rock. The dance beats are buried deep, but are never completely absent, and the complicated, expensive-sounding production intends to be trance-inducing rather than bombastic. Doves hit their peak with 2002's The Last Broadcast, which was a perfect balance of their pop leanings and their penchant for a zillion overdubs, but the new Kingdom of Rust contains plenty of broad soundscapes to get lost in, with an appealingly dark tone and songs that grow on repeat listens. NL

ETHER CIRCUS , LICKITY , BILL SKINS FIFTH WILL PUNCH YOU RIGHT IN THE FACE, LACTATIOUS, THE RAMJAC

(Plan B, 1305 SE 8th) Not often does a band threaten to destroy itself in correspondence with this writer. But in the case of Portland noise-rock act the Ramjac, the self-mutilating distortion plague of its new 7-inch, Curserer, extends into real-life self-deprecation. "I should quit with music altogether," writes Ramjac vocalist Chris Stamm one week. The next week: "Yeah, we broke up. Jim made out with my wife and then I killed his cat." He is, presumably, joking. Not that the Ramjac, co-founded by multi-instrumentalist ex-Chicagoan Jim Holmes, should be taken lightly. "Flee the Skin" invokes the synthetic industrial collapse and sheer molestation of Big Black's "The Power of Independent Trucking." A buzzing title track, with dance-floor underpinnings, resurrects the darkest Skinny Puppy via Night Wounds. "Queen Energy" could be a collaborative effort with Portland sadomasochistic drumn 'n' bass punks LicKiTy (ex-Fear). Hopefully, both bands will show up tonight. MIKE MEYER

SATURDAY 5/23

THE AVETT BROTHERS, JASON WEBLEY, SALLIE FORD & THE SOUND OUTSIDE

(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) See My, What a Busy Week!

LADY SOVEREIGN, CHESTER FRENCH, HOLLYWOOD HOLT

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

TV ON THE RADIO, DIRTY PROJECTORS

(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) See My, What a Busy Week!

M83, JAMES YUILL

(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE 39th) Splitting the difference between dream pop and shoegaze, M83's music is irresistibly sugary, like falling into a vat of Eurosynth cotton candy. Last year's Saturdays = Youth is still surprising in how many forgotten corners of the memory it jogs, like listening to a concentrated amalgam of every single 1980s youth experience in one fell dose. During "Graveyard Girl," the song stops and a girl's voice speaks, "I'll read poetry to the stones, maybe one day I could be one of them... I'm 15 years old and I feel it's already too late to live." Which is utterly ridiculous. But for some reason, it works. Maybe it's because M83 is French and can get away with it, or maybe it's because the bubble of a song perfectly captures what it's like to live through those silly but utterly desperate teen emotions. NL

ANIMAL FARM, MIC CRENSHAW, SERGE SEVERE, D. BLACK, SPACEMAN, FATAL LUCCIA UNO

(Berbati's Pan, 10 SW 3rd) Say what you will about Gen.Erik, but his hustle is strong. Few hiphop entrepreneurs in Portland are putting forth the effort that he is—running Focused Noise Records, rapping, producing some pretty stellar beats, and finding time to DJ as well—to make his music heard. Along with labemates Serge Severe and the always awesome Mic Crenshaw, Erik has imported Seattle favorites Sportn' Life Records to Portland to create an eclectic but powerful lineup for tonight's show. Best known for their appearance on Jake One's White Van Music, the Sportn' Life crew explode with energy in a live performances that will pry open some eyes here on Focused Noise's home turf.  GRAHAM BAREY

STREET SWEEPER SOCIAL CLUB

(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) No doubt cleansing the streets of pimps named Jesus—and those who kill in the name of—Street Sweeper Social Club is the latest endeavor from political pals Boots Riley (of the Coup) and Tom Morello (of Rage Against the Machine, and that one terrible band with Chris Cornell that wasn't Soundgarden). Much like Morello's finer moments of yore, Street Sweeper allows him to wank it up while a skilled rhymer—in this case, Riley—drops political rhymes all over his shred-fest. This rock-first presentation mirrors the later days of the Coup, where Pam the Funktress exited stage left, and Boots reinvented his hiphop act as a sweltering funk band and the most powerful Oakland export since the chemically altered days of the Bash Brothers. While the Bush doctrine has faded, there will always be villains in the world (Johannes Mehserle, anyone?) for Street Sweeper Social Club to wage war upon. Let's hope the good guys win. EAC

AMANDA BLANK, DEVLIN & DARKO, MILLION DOLLAR MANO, NATHAN DETROIT

(Branx, 320 SE 2nd) Amanda Blank made a name for herself spitting the X-rated solo in Spank Rock's "Bump," the top track off 2006's Yoyoyoyoyo. Her ultra tight, sexed-up verses ended with the memorable line, "I ride like Kelly Bundy/Yo I keep that shit nasty." Her mic skills landed her a spot on tour with the band, and opened the door for collaborations with the trifecta of party jam producers: Diplo, Switch, and MIA. Now the dirty-minded emcee is releasing her first full-length album I Love You. Don't be fooled by the title; if her debut single, "Might Like You Better" (which borrows the hook from Romeo Void's "Never Say Never") is any indication, Blank is still wild one-night stands and no romance. AVA

SUNDAY 5/24

PASSION PIT, HARLEM SHAKES, CALE PARKS

(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) See My, What a Busy Week!

GRIZZLY BEAR, FOREIGN BORN

(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) See Music, pg. 23.

MELVINS

(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) See Music.

AMEBIX, POISON IDEA, NUX VOMICA, LEBANON

(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE 39th) Pioneering crust-punk thrashers Amebix had come to the end back in 1987, after their nuclear-meltdown Monolith LP closed with a burial in apocalyptic space—and a death-rattle vision of pure energy reborn in the clenched hands of opposing men. "Coming Home," of course, didn't dismantle the military-industrial complexes of the world as vocalist/bassist Rob "The Baron" Miller may have hoped, but it left a generation or two of street-yearning crusties a love song with which to comfort and inspire their patchy hearts. Since then, especially in the Pacific Northwest, we've seen the extremes of punk and metal combine: Tragedy, Wolves in the Throne Room, Book of Black Earth. Without the futuristic Sabbath/Crass/Killing Joke genre swirl and anarcho-primitivism laid out by these newly reformed British legends, could this have ever happened? The boys are coming home. MM

DOUBLE PLUS GOOD, BREAKFAST MOUNTAIN, PEP ASSEMBLY

(Rontoms, 600 E Burnside) It's a bit of a shame that Double Plus Good are wearing their party hats and celebrating the release of Dancipation Proclamation on the very same night—and just down the road from—Passion Pit. If there ever was a local band worthy of sharing the stage with the planet's top-tiered electro-pop band, it would be this duo. Less proclamation, and more invitation, the new EP swells with bouncy homemade electronic beats and chirps that beckon you to the dance floor. "We Say it Ourselves" borrows from the Jimmy Tamborello (Dntel, Postal Service) playbook of thick beats, 8-bit digital flair, and some howling keyboards to punctuate it all quite nicely. If there ever was a time to be in two places at the very same time, tonight would be the night. EAC

SHOESHINE BLUE, LEONARD MYNX, RUN ON SENTENCE , NICK JAINA

(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) It's a dual CD release extravaganza! Portland folk mainstays Shoeshine Blue unveil their sophomore offering, Howl at the Wooden Moon, and it shows an incredible leap forward in the songwriting of main Shoeshiner Michael Apinyakul. His spare acoustic songs ride the seemingly never-ending train of bluegrass that winds through nearly every part of American musical history. The album, which begins brightly and grows elegantly dark toward the finish, has attracted some luminous support by the likes of Nick Jaina, Blind Pilot's Shawn Mclain, and... Leonard Mynx, who offers the second of tonight's two CD releases. Mynx's record, Vesper, also features some great local talent, and while it is also a predominantly acoustic singer/songwriter affair, it's a little more lush and haunted than the clear-cut songs of Apinyakul, who also contributes to Vesper. Mynx's songwriting is tinged with regret, and his sad, gently hoarse singing conveys a poignant sense of loss without ever being manipulative. NL

WINDY & CARL, WHITE RAINBOW, CHRISTOPHER WILLITS, BENOIT PIOULARD

(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Fifteen years into their career, Dearborn, Michigan's Windy & Carl aren't about to surprise their loyal fans. The guitar/keyboards/bells duo have gone relatively far with their cirrus-cloud-like ambient rock, a music consisting of sighs, murmurs, gentle oscillations, and seashell roars, with Windy occasionally whispering morosely over it (she's the anti–Janis Joplin). Their latest album, Songs for the Broken Hearted, offers yet more forlorn drones to which to get horizontal and contemplative. White Rainbow keeps improving as a provider of what he probably only half-jokingly calls "full-spectrum vibrational healing audio." His 2007 album Prism of Eternal Now is a sort of "what if Terry Riley recorded for VHF Records?" kosmische klassik. DS

MONDAY 5/25

ANIMAL COLLECTIVE, GROUPER, DJ TURQUOISE WISDOM

(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) See Music.

ST. VINCENT, PATTERN IS MOVEMENT

(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) Annie Clark is a tinkerer—that much was clear from 2007's Marry Me, the first album she released as St. Vincent. On album number two, Actor, her soundscapes are no less dense, though something has hardened within them—it's as if she's finally following her musical convictions rather than chasing the circuitry in her hyperactive brain. On first single "Actor Out of Work" she even allows herself to shred as heartily as she does live. With one of the smartest songwriters around now leaning on her intuition, things are bound to get interesting. Yet Actor feels more like an artist in transition—a refinement of Clark's steady course towards the pop canon—than a full arrival. The question remains: Can she get there from here? ANDREW STOUT Also see My, What a Busy Week!

KING KHAN & THE SHRINES, MARK SULTAN, THE FRESH & ONLYS

(Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) Imagine that under divine circumstances, Iggy Pop and Sun Ra were allowed to mate. Their progeny was then raised in a fertile urban paradise, nurtured with bottles of scotch and pot brownies, and clothed in items left on the set of a 1970s porn set. You're getting close to the essence of King Khan, but there's no way to fully describe the man and what he's made of himself. From humble punk rock beginnings, Khan and cohorts have built an international network of likeminded musicians and fans, all with love for revelry and getting the fuck down. Whether with the Shrines (who compose a full funk orchestra, complete with brass section and a backup dancer), or longtime collaborator BBQ (AKA Mark Sultan, who opens tonight with one-man dirty blues-punk), Khan embodies the idea that this life has no holy grail—to strive to be as badass as possible is both an ends and the means. MB Also see My, What a Busy Week!

FISCHERSPOONER, SSION

(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) My, Fischerspooner are sounding a little old these days, aren't they? No doubt their storied live spectacle is still, well, spectacular, but their new album, Entertainment, is not so entertaining. In fact, it kind of has me thinking that maybe the electronic/performance-art duo were only ever just one great single ("Emerge") and a Wire cover ("The 15th") with the good timing to hit upon a handy aesthetic trend—one that's long since run its course. More exciting by far is the opening act, Kansas City, Missouri, art-star/freak Ssion, who makes campy, fun new wave enhanced by fantastic DIY music videos and elaborately orchestrated but still totally unhinged live performances. I have heard nothing but raves for Ssion from everyone who has had the pleasure of witnessing the act live. ERIC GRANDY

TUESDAY 5/26

BLACK MOTH SUPER RAINBOW, SCHOOL OF SEVEN BELLS, GULLS, DJ SELECTOR DEMONIC

(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) See Music.

NEW YORK DOLLS, THE CLIKS

(Berbati's Pan, 10 SW 3rd) The reunited-and-touring New York Dolls contain but two of the band's original members: lead singer and conceptualist David Johansen and surviving guitarist Sylvain Sylvain, joined by a band of guys you don't know. But as anyone who bothered to listen to the band's excellent 2006 release One Day it Will Please Us to Remember Even This was shocked to discover, the new New York Dolls are of a perfect spiritual and conceptual piece with the old New York Dolls, bone-deep freaks wrestling with big questions in the funnest way they know how. Tonight's show is in support of the Dolls' just-released record, 'Cause I Sez So. DAVID SCHMADER Also see My, What a Busy Week!

THE DEARS, GREAT NORTHERN, EULOGIES

(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Los Angeles pop rockers Eulogies had an eminently likeable beginning in their 2007 self-titled debut. This year's Here Anonymous is even better, with deliriously melodic songs played straight, with just a hint of edge. Lead singer Peter Walker sounds more than a little like Ray Davies, which never hurt anybody, and the rest of the band is a well-oiled machine that give Walker's songs the right amount of gas. They're solid live, too, with their accessibly journeyman indie rock gaining power in front of an audience. They're opening for the Dears, a self-consciously arty band from Montreal who play with a similar lack of irony, but unlike Eulogies manage to get bogged down in their own self-importance. NL

WEDNESDAY 5/27

WISHYUNU, PILL THIEF, CURIOUS HANDS, TIGER HOUSE

(Twilight Café and Bar, 1420 SE Powell) A welcome surprise to our looming mail pile, local duo Wishyunu present a balanced assortment of snuggly folk numbers and loose instrumental improvisation on last year's Age of Revealing. Their finest moments come in blurry-eyed and love-struck songs like "Sooner or Later," which capture that feeling of waking up next to someone you love, complete with obligatory bird chirps to signal the start of a new day (and the slow fade to silence at the end of the song). There is definitely an Azure Ray influence, but less so on the droning vocals, and more along the lines of pure, unfiltered intimacy. Spend some times with Revealing and it feels like you might as well be lying in bed next to Wishyunu. That's not a bad thing. EAC

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