SAMA DAMS Wed 12/17 Doug Fir
Anna Larina/Skeleton Key Photography

WEDNESDAY 12/17

PHANTOGRAM, WILD ONES
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) See My, What a Busy Week!, and All-Ages Action!

MAGIC MOUTH, SWAHILI
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) See My, What a Busy Week!

JOYCE MANOR, TOYS THAT KILL, DIVERS
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE César E. Chávez) I could stomp and stammer about how Joyce Manor masterfully fan the waning flames of carefree teenage years alongside the gnawing ache of adulthood. Or I could ditch the pretense and loudly declare that Never Hungover Again is the best album of 2014 and the closest thing this generation has had to a successor to Jawbreaker. Either path, the destination is the same. An album with a 19-minute runtime that somehow never feels rushed, Never Hungover Again has no business being this revelatory, yet Joyce Manor have effortlessly crafted an absolutely perfect assembly of pop-punk songs for the sort of person who wouldn't be caught dead listening to pop-punk at this stage in life. The hardest part is listening to any other music afterward. It's just not the same. EZRA ACE CARAEFF Also see All-Ages Action!

SAMA DAMS, GRANDPARENTS, WL
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) On their second full-length, Portland experimental trio Sama Dams explores some exciting musical territory. Comfort in Doubt exhibits a marked evolution from the band's math-y origins, infusing polyrhythmic grooves beneath Sam Adams' fragile, soaring croon. "Back Aways" delves into jazzy foundations with a gorgeous guitar progression and ethereal swells of digital hiss, creating a kind of creepy aural wonderland too beautiful to ignore. Songs like "Dirty Work" and "Maggie" mark a new and welcome songwriting dynamic as well, with organist/vocalist Lisa Adams penning both with elegance, and crafting a bold tension between Sam's effusive work and her own. Elsewhere, the jittery groove of "Sawtooth" sets Sama Dams apart from pretty much every band in Portland, showcasing Sam's affinity for employing screechy effects and feedback as fodder for a gritty sonic patina. Comfort in Doubt came out in November but tonight is the official record-release show, so bring whatever's left of your holiday cash stash. RYAN J. PRADO

THE GROUCH AND ELIGH, CUNNINLYNGUISTS, DJ ABILITIES, DJ FRESH, ILLMACULATE
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) Grouch and Eligh, two of the best-known members of LA's Living Legends crew, have been undie-rap workhorses for what seems like forever (a quick internet check reveals it to be closer to a decade and a half—close to forever in rap years). Earlier this year, they released a triple album (!) called Tortoise and the Crow, and if you fuck with heart-on-the-sleeve wise-guy hiphop, you can probably recite half the lyrics from memory by now, as few do it better than these guys. If you've graduated beyond the backpack, there's always dubious crossover attempts like "All These Lights," in which perma-melancholy Eligh tries his damnedest to spit a party rhyme. Props to these dudes' work ethic, but at a certain point rapping just to hear yourself flow gets a little stale—just ask the sober dude at your next late-night cipher. KYLE FLECK

BURIALS, WAYFARER, BASTARD FEAST
(Rotture, 315 SE 3rd) It's been about 16 months since Burials released The Tide, which was not only the local quartet's second album, but also one of the best heavy releases by a Portland band in 2013. Want proof? Point your favorite web-wandering machine to Burials' Bandcamp, click the play button, and get lost in their imposing arsenal of blackened death metal and twinkling progressive hardcore. It's easy to do; these dudes (Benjamin Caragol, Adam Wheeler, Isaac Davis, and Fester) blend beauty and brutality as well as anyone in town. Anyway, The Tide is finally out on vinyl—marbled blue and green vinyl, no less!—and tonight's show is a celebration of that fact. If that's not enough reason to party, the bill also includes Denver atmospheric black-metallers Wayfarer and harrowing local sludge-punks Bastard Feast, whose Osculum Infame is one of the best heavy releases by a Portland band this year. BEN SALMON

TENDER AGE, APPENDIXES, WARM HANDS
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Tender Age are a chill person's chill band. Listening to their spookily great "Anything/Mirrors" 7-inch is like learning the Roger Rabbit inside a sensory-deprivation tank; you find yourself floating in some white-noise molasses with your head suddenly weighing 47 pounds and your eyelids struggling to stay open. Rich, warm tones and ripples of ambient acid-pop provoke euphoric moments within their slow-moving sonic avenues. These are all complimentary observations, to be sure. The band's steady clip of live performances all over the city, and with a wide range of bands, has endeared them to fans not just of shoegaze and dream pop, but also to anyone who digs great, understated rock 'n' roll. If the band's recently posted demo for "Get High" is any indication, it looks like 2015 ought to be a big year for the group. RJP

THURSDAY 12/18

GAYTHEIST, POLST
(Star Bar, 639 SE Morrison) See My, What a Busy Week!

SECRET DRUM BAND, DANA VALATKA, PAPER/UPPER/CUTS, BEN STOLLER
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) See My, What a Busy Week!

THE MUFFS, SUMMER CANNIBALS, THE SUICIDE NOTES
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Read our article on the Muffs.

X, THE BLASTERS
(Star Theater, 13 NW 6th) Though typically regarded as the acme of early American punk, X's Los Angeles is so much more than that. Vocalist Exene Cervenka's hyper-literate prose and musical flexibility—as indebted to classic rock 'n' roll and psychedelia as it is to late-'70s LA hardcore—established X as, if nothing else, the boldest and most distinct act of the era. (See: the sultry, organ-laden "Nausea," Nuggets-on-78-RPM cut "Sugarlight," and the menacing cover of "Soul Kitchen," a cheeky nod to producer Ray Manzarek that happens to be a million times better than the Doors' version.) More than three decades after its release, Los Angeles remains one of the most vital and enduring rock records ever committed to wax (and X's follow-up, Wild Gift, sure ain't bad, either). MORGAN TROPER

JASON WEBLEY, CHICKEN JOHN RINALDI, LED TO SEA, ELIZA RICKMAN, SHENANDOAH DAVIS, LONESOME LEASH
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) In the mid '90s, former GG Allin guitarist and Burning Man co-founder Chicken John Rinaldi found a scrapbook at the bottom of a Bay Area dumpster, documenting the tragic life of a woman from Everett, Washington, named Margaret Rucker, who was born in 1907 and died from an overdose of sleeping pills in 1959. Last year Rinaldi broke out the slideshow he'd made from the discovered scrapbook to show to accordion troubadour and Everett native Jason Webley. Webley become transfixed by the photos, newspaper clippings, and Rucker's dark poetry, and decided to call together a group of his favorite musicians to write songs about her life and join him in a performance based on her. The album based on the project, Margaret, comes out this week, and the show goes on the road. When playing in Everett, the performers led the audience to the pyramid-shaped mausoleum Rucker was buried in. While this obviously can't happen here, you can reasonably expect something grand from tonight. JOSHUA JAMES AMBERSON

EPHEMEROS, WORM OUROBOROS, DISPOSSESSED, NOESIS
(Rotture, 315 SE 3rd) Never accuse Ephemeros of being unwilling to take the time to do things right. Evidence of the Portland-based funeral doom quintet's patience can be found all over All Hail Corrosion, the band's 2013 debut album, which stretches three songs across 40 minutes of death, doom, and drone metal that's as sophisticated as it is slow and sludgy. The despair is deep and dark and palpable on this one, friends. All Hail Corrosion was released by Seventh Rule two summers ago, and since then, Ephemeros and partner-in-vinyl Parasitic Records have been exercising a different kind of patience, soldiering through not one but two botched LP pressings. Finally, both parties have a vinyl edition that they're happy with, and they're celebrating tonight with a release show that also features Oakland dark-metal weirdos Worm Ouroboros and newish local heavies Dispossessed (featuring members of Bastard Feast and Raw Nerves), plus Noesis' first-ever show. BS

FRIDAY 12/19

PORTLAND'S HOLIDAY OFFICE PARTY: ANCIENT HEAT, DJ EVIL ONE
(Branx, 320 SE 2nd) See My, What a Busy Week!

THE LOWER 48, BROWNISH BLACK, MOON BY YOU
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) See My, What a Busy Week!

NOT SO SILENT NIGHT: WARRANT, GREAT WHITE, BLACK 'N BLUE
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) 105.9 The Brew kinda hit the nail on the head with their Not So Silent Night bill. It's gonna be equal parts comedy show and rock 'n' roll party. Warrant (with Lynch Mob's Robert Mason taking over for the late Jani Lane), Great White (featuring original vocalist Jack Russell), and local heroes Black 'N Blue are guaranteed to play hits like "Cherry Pie" and "Once Bitten, Twice Shy," and provide immense amounts of silliness, awkwardness, and brainless fun. This show isn't about timeless music, it's about cheesy, anthemic love songs and catchy, blatant double entendre. It's about has-beens desperately grasping onto an extremely bygone era. It's about mid-life crises, and forty- to fiftysomethings' bellies sticking out about as far as their feathered hair once stood high. Forget modern music movements and teleport back to a time when men dressed up in leather and lace could slather themselves in make-up, pucker their lips, and break the heart of any woman who laid eyes on them. ARIS WALES

STUMPTOWN SOUL HOLIDAY SPECTACULAR
(Dante's, 350 W Burnside) For the first of what will hopefully become an annual tradition, the organizers of the inaugural Stumptown Soul Holiday Spectacular opted to bring out the big guns. Headlined by the fantastic Ural Thomas, Karen Lovely, and Michael Dean Damron (of I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch in the House), this stacked evening of soul-kissed tuneage isn't just an excuse to unleash your debauchery before Jesus' alleged birthday; proceeds from the event go to Shriners Hospitals for Children. You can leave an unwrapped toy at the door or donate directly. Meanwhile, musical backing by the Georgies (Aundria Lauren, Katy O'Berg, Tim Shaunessy, Jim Wolfe, Ron Cockerham and Mark Bowden) and a stellar lineup of some of Portland's finest performers is certain to make this a fun, charitable night. Do the right thing. RJP

SATURDAY 12/20

THE SATIN CHAPS, THE APOLLO FOUR
(Kenton Club, 2025 N Kilpatrick) See My, What a Busy Week!

COOL BREEZE
(The Spare Room, 4830 NE 42nd) See My, What a Busy Week!

YUNG LEAN, SAD BOYS, GRAVITY BOYS
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE César E. Chávez) In March 2013, a 16-year-old Swedish kid sat on a sleek, modern staircase in a bucket hat and rapped about buying morphine in the club, getting his balls licked by girls who look like Zooey Deschanel, and being sad. He recorded this, laid WordArt and Photo Booth effects over the footage, and uploaded it to YouTube. A month later he was being interviewed by national music publications. That's how this weird thing called the internet works. But Yung Lean proved more than just a viral fluke, consistently releasing bizarre and beguiling pieces of work. He and his team of sad boys—Yung Gud and Yung Sherman—have paved this lane to create an off-brand product, something artificial and yet freshly captivating. Since those early videos, Lean has toured Europe and America, been written up in the New York Times, and released his debut album, Unknown Memory. MATTHEW B. SCHONFELD

MICHAEL HURLEY, HEARTS OF OAK, FLASH FLOOD AND THE DIKES, OLD BARN PRESERVATION SOCIETY
(Turn! Turn! Turn!, 8 NE Killingsworth) There are many reasons to feel lucky to live in Portland, and a huge one is that mystical folk legend Michael Hurley still regularly plays around town without pomp and circumstance. With a career spanning more than 50 years and dozens of albums, Hurley offers not just the chance to hear an impressive catalog of sincere folk music, but also a chance to connect to a different generation of music history. This time, Hurley plays at lovely local record shop Turn! Turn! Turn! with a handful of other local folks, including the earnestly and honestly talented bluegrassers of Old Barn Preservation Society. ROBIN BACIOR

PSYCHOMAGIC, MINDEN, TALKATIVE
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Portland's flock of young psych bands is growing bigger and stronger all the time, it seems, and none embodies it more so than Psychomagic, a fuzzy-minded five-piece led by a fellow named Steven Fusco. After releasing its fine debut album last year, Psychomagic is back with Bad Ideas, a 10-track collection of '60s-leaning surf-pop and psychedelic garage-rock that's so wonderfully weird and woozy, you'll wonder if you're hearing it through a funhouse mirror. Which is not to say that Bad Ideas is sloppy. In fact, Fusco and his cohorts have an impressive ability to take tight songs built out of time-honored ideas and play 'em loose without letting them derail. Bad Ideas is packed with hazy, understated psych-pop that will bounce around your skull for a while without clobbering you over the head. Psychomagic is just home from a national tour, and they'll celebrate the release of Bad Ideas tonight. Go help 'em! BS

SUNDAY 12/21

X, THE BLASTERS
(Star Theater, 13 NW 6th) See Thursday's listing.

SHANNON AND THE CLAMS, LA LUZ
(Rotture, 315 SE 3rd) Sock-hop rock might be as easy to find these days as it was in 1965, but the East Bay's Shannon and the Clams are some of the finest practitioners of R&B-fueled garage rock. Of course, Seattle's La Luz is right up there with them, too, bringing in the right mix of girl-group harmonies and overdriven fuzz guitar to make boys and girls scream and swoon. I know it's common practice to stand with arms folded at rock shows in 2014, but I challenge you to break out the Swim or the Mashed Potato tonight. Actually, you probably won't have much of a choice. MARK LORE Also see My, What a Busy Week!

M.A.S.S.: MICHAEL STIRLING, MATT CARLSON, DOUG THERIAULT, FOUNTAINSUN
(Alberta Abbey, 126 NE Alberta) The regular avant/experimental concert series M.A.S.S. wraps up an amazing year with a show that nicely encapsulates the wide-ranging sonic interests of its organizer, Matt Henderson. This installment includes a performance by Fountainsun, a new ecstatic-music project that finds former Lungfish vocalist Daniel Higgs playing banjo and chanting along with the sparse percussion and fluttering flute of cohort Fumie Ishii. Joining them is an amazing trio made up of modular synth master (and one-half of Golden Retriever) Matt Carlson, guitarist Doug Theriault, and singer/tambura player Michael Stirling that aims to mesh modern electronics-based excursions with classical Indian music. ROBERT HAM

SYMMETRY/SYMMETRY, NORMAN, BRETTE AND BLAKE
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) At first listen, Portland band Symmetry/Symmetry sounds like Radiohead's younger American brother. Their rhythms deviate from basic indie-rock beats, producing a very diverse range of sounds, from slow and meandering to tricky and intricate. Symmetry/Symmetry is made up of three local dudes who clearly got together more for their love of music than girls—which is not to say some of these thoughtful, sad ballads won't score them a few. This show is the release of their most recent album, Infinity (Zero), which promises similar proggy vibes, with innovative drum parts and contemplative Pacific Northwest melodies. ROSE FINN

MONDAY 12/22

AN APPALACHIAN CHRISTMAS: MARK O'CONNOR
(Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway) My appetite for Christmas music is pretty small, so you won't find me recommending a lot of local Christmas concerts this year. (No one ever needs to hear "Santa Baby" ever again, ever!) I'll make a happy exception for Seattle violinist Mark O'Connor, though: His 2011 An Appalachian Christmas album turns a lot of those (very) familiar yuletide tunes on their ear with striking arrangements that reside in the fascinating, largely unexplored chasm between bluegrass and classical music. Tonight's show is sponsored by Portland's All Classical radio station (89.9 FM), who are perhaps the city's most unsung musical resource, and they're touting this as their biggest event to date. So support an oft-overlooked standby, and hear some interesting Christmas music—for once—in the bargain. NED LANNAMANN

TUESDAY 12/23

IT'S A TONY STARLIGHT CHRISTMAS
(The Tony Starlight Showroom, 1125 SE Madison) See My, What a Busy Week!