URAL THOMAS AND THE PAIN Sat 2/14 Rontoms


WEDNESDAY 2/11

BENEFIT FOR NICHOLAS GORDON
(Rontoms, 600 E Burnside) See My, What a Busy Week!

DR. DOG, HANNI EL KHATIB
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) Dr. Dog is all but infallible at this point. Cementing the raw power of naked pop-rock grit through a roots-jam, the band has been consistently fantastic over the last decade, and their chops are at the fore on their new live album, Live at a Flamingo Hotel. The story for this evening, then, is sound-collagist Hanni El Khatib, who very nearly created a new genre on his third LP, Moonlight. It's a riveting collection of organic improvisation that asks the question: What would an album sound like with contributions from Trent Reznor and Avey Tare (Animal Collective), curated by a guy who doesn't really know what he wants it to sound like? Moonlight is the result, a resplendent piece of work that bridges and burns and rebuilds, sometimes within the same song. Don't sleep on the opener tonight, people. RYAN J. PRADO

DENGUE FEVER, PIGWAR, HONG KONG BANANA
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) For the past decade-plus, LA-based sextet Dengue Fever have plied their own take on retro Cambodian pop, a fever dream of new meets old and East meets West. Call it world fusion if you're lazy, but the cross-cultural exchange that has always informed the band's music is a dizzying back-and-forth, with much of its authenticity resting on the vocals of Chhom Nimol. On their sixth full-length, The Deepest Lake (just out on their own Tuk Tuk label), Dengue Fever removes the shackles of those beginnings more than ever, coming into their own while incorporating elements of soul and free jazz, and vocal trade-offs reminiscent of their hometown's John & Exene. At one point, Nimol even breaks into what can only be called Khmer rap. There's still plenty of the psychedelia that brought them, too, as extended cuts like "Ghost Voice" and "Cardboard Castles" on record hint at the sweaty maelstrom they're sure to bring live. JEREMY PETERSEN

THURSDAY 2/12

ALIALUJAH CHOIR, WILD ONES
(Revolution Hall, 1300 SE Stark #110) See My, What a Busy Week!, and read our article on Alialujah Choir and Revolution Hall's opening night.

CATFISH AND THE BOTTLEMEN, WILD PARTY
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Bands like Catfish and the Bottlemen make me feel old. Not because I don't like what they do—what they do is called "rock 'n' roll" and I like rock 'n' roll—but because they're apparently a pretty big deal and I somehow missed it. To wit: The band launched a North American tour behind its debut album, The Balcony, last weekend with more than half of the 25 dates sold out in advance. Pretty impressive for a Welsh act with a thin résumé. It's easy to see why folks are snapping up tickets. Catfish and the Bottlemen seem to crank out catchy, scruffy rock songs with ease, sounding like a cross between the Strokes and the Vaccines, without reaching the heights of either. You know how you're supposed to paint a home a neutral color if you want it to sell? Catfish and the Bottlemen are kind of like that. BEN SALMON

KRIS ORLOWSKI, BALTO, WINTERHAVEN
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Some years back, Daniel Sheron fled his life in Moscow with little more than a guitar and what can be presumed to be a bold case of wanderlust. In Siberia, Sheron's ultimate destination, the seeds of Balto's 2011 debut, October's Road, were sewn. Sprouting confessional folk compositions rich with imagery of the bleak Russian landscape, Balto's debut was a great introduction to Sheron's refined wellsprings of sound. Fast-forward to 2015 and Balto is back, following up their 2012 release, Monuments, with a new LP, Call It by Name, from which they've leaked the single "Saints and Crows." If the new track is any indication, the upcoming album is a more expansive disbursement of their rock sensibilities. Balto's road-weary Americana feels nomadic, practically mid-transit. You may want to keep an ear out for where that journey's headed. RJP

FRIDAY 2/13

TOYBOAT TOYBOAT TOYBOAT, COTTON, RAYMOND ANDERSON
(Mothership Music, 3611 NE MLK) See All-Ages Action!

SCOTT H. BIRAM, JESSE DAYTON, ROOTJACK
(Dante's, 350 W Burnside) Read our article on Scott H. Biram.

MEGHAN TRAINOR
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) Pop music has shown an unexpectedly refreshing swing toward inclusivity and body-positivity lately (cf. "Cool Kids" by Echosmith, Bruno Mars's "Just the Way You Are"), and no one represents this trend more assertively than Meghan Trainor. The young songwriter's ubiquitous "All About That Bass" is a self-esteem-boosting atom bomb of throwback pop, all brassy insouciance and hip-shaking bounce, with a touch of PG-13 cursing to underscore the subversion at hand. Title, Trainor's major-label debut, leads off with "Bass" and then essentially offers nine variations on the theme: big band horns, modern R&B and dancehall rhythms, and a knack for non-cloying yet tween-friendly songwriting. Which raises the question: Will Trainor be able to capitalize on her radio-friendly goodwill and translate into something more enduring than a one-hit wonder? Smart money's on no, but it'd be nice to get this one wrong. KYLE FLECK

ANIMAL EYES, FANNO CREEK
(The Spare Room, 4830 NE 42nd) The Spare Room is one of the rare places left in Portland that is still freakin' weird. The venue used to be a bowling alley, but it's now a spacious bar full of character(s) and a killer dance floor. I can't think of a better place for Fanno Creek's catchy, folk-tinged rock songs and Animal Eyes' melodic, thunderous pop to come together. These bands have shared members, gone on tour, and in a way, grown up together in the Portland music community. There's another thing they have in common—the ability to spur sudden mosh pits in an unassuming crowd. This is not a show you're going to want to miss; while you're there, order a mystery shot from the bar. RACHEL MILBAUER

JOËLLE LÉANDRE, DANA REASON
(Redeemer Lutheran Church, 5431 NE 20th) Joëlle Léandre's voice is arguably as important as her double bass playing. Whenever this 63-year-old gets particularly lost in an improvisation, you can hear her singing along, offering up a contrapuntal melody to whatever her hands are plucking or bowing out. It's a fascinating tic from one of the best jazz players in the world, a class that Léandre most definitely belongs in. She's equally adept at interpreting modern classical works, lending the rich tones of her bass and voice to pieces by John Cage and Giacinto Scelsi. Léandre plays two sets tonight, one with local pianist Dana Reason, and a second with an ensemble that includes guitarist Doug Theriault and electronics specialist Juniana Lanning. ROBERT HAM

SATURDAY 2/14

SMOKEY ROBINSON, OREGON SYMPHONY
(Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway) See My, What a Busy Week!

URAL THOMAS AND THE PAIN, NICK WATERHOUSE, NEWROTICS
(Rontoms, 600 E Burnside) Whatever you and your sweetheart have scheduled tonight—dinner, movie, cutting out little paper hearts—you'd be well advised to change your plans immediately. Portland's hottest soul band, Ural Thomas and the Pain, joins forces with Los Angeles soul man Nick Waterhouse for a special Valentine's Day show at Portland's sexiest bar. The band is scheduled to release their Waterhouse-produced debut album later this year, and it's certain to bring them much-deserved national exposure. It also means there will not be many more opportunities to catch them at sexy little places like Rontoms. It's pleasurable enough when Mr. Thomas and company hit the stage, but adding Nick Waterhouse's creamy vocals to the mix is damn near sinful. Mark my words: somebody's gonna get laid tonight. SANTI ELIJAH HOLLEY

BODY ACADEMICS, TOWERING TREES, KIZMET, LIL PDF
(Rotture, 315 SE 3rd) Local queer electro-pop band Body Academics gets messy. Their shows are sweaty affairs with back-up dancers and members writhing on the floor, feeding beer to one another and squirting ketchup on the crowd. Tonight they celebrate the release of their latest bizarre masterpiece, Spiritual Sequel. The album runs hiphop and radio pop through a lo-fi outsider-punk aesthetic to produce something infectiously garish, and the cover art mashes together Sailor Moon, cats in Valentine's hearts, basketballs, panties, and pink handkerchiefs. The fact that their concepts seem insular and hard to decipher is part of their appeal. Imagine Scream Club's Life of a Heartbreaker with a lot more weed, then come to their show ready to join in the revelry. JOSHUA JAMES AMBERSON

FELIX MARTIN, BARISHI, BLACKWITCH PUDDING, A VOLCANO
(High Water Mark, 6800 NE MLK) Portland trio Blackwitch Pudding work serious majick with their influences, sifting the glacial doom of Saint Vitus and Candlemass with '70s space rockers like Hawkwind and Sir Lord Baltimore. It makes for a lighter take on doom, driven home by cheeky lyrics about wizards and undies (the members' names—Space Wizard, Lizard Wizard, and Wizard Wizard—say a lot). The band's latest EP, Covered in Pudding Vol. 1, offers sludgy, bong-resin-clogged takes on some classics: "Toke'n Man" sounds a lot like Rush's "Working Man" and "Gods of Grungus" is a heavy-duty version of KISS's "God of Thunder." They're on the bill with 14-string (!) guitarist Felix Martin, so expect plenty of shredding. MARK LORE

BRONCHO, PSYCHOMAGIC, DAISY DEATH
(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) Broncho's 2011 album Can't Get Past the Lips was a free-wheeling, freakishly catchy garage-pop-punk record. So it was discouraging to read middling reviews of last year's Just Enough Hip to be Woman, which said the band's follow-up lacked the fire of the debut. It's true that Hip doesn't feel as loose and rockin' as Lips, but after a few spins, it's obvious this Oklahoma trio was trying to pull back on the reins a bit while still showcasing the qualities that make them great: tight power-chord riffing and candy-coated melodies that echo endlessly around a cool sunglasses-at-night vibe. Imagine Cheap Trick going through a Jesus and Mary Chain phase and you've got the idea. Hip may not be as instantly gratifying as Lips, but it sounds like Broncho tried to grow up gracefully on its sophomore effort, and I think they did just that. BS

SUNDAY 2/15

DIVERS, PAGERIPPER, MARRIAGE + CANCER, THIN COAT
(High Water Mark, 6800 NE MLK) See My, What a Busy Week!, and read our article on Divers.

MOON BY YOU, IS/IS, APPENDIXES
(Rontoms, 600 E Burnside) Astronauts, scientists, and filmmakers have long used reduced-gravity aircraft—nicknamed "vomit comets"—to establish near-weightless environments without leaving the earth's atmosphere.  While the prospect of taking a ride in one might appeal to thrill seekers with strong stomachs, most of us need to seek out that sensation elsewhere. Fortunately, local dream-pop trio Appendixes provide an alluring substitute for achieving that floating feeling in the form of their Everyday Use EP, which was released last month on Portland-based Track and Field Records. "Burn" is a flawlessly crafted ethereal pop gem that will lift you miles into the night sky before gently laying you back down on solid ground. Tonight, Appendixes play as part of a stacked Rontoms Sunday Session, where they are joined by the bluesy psychedelic rock quintet Moon By You, who celebrate the release of a brand-new 7-inch, Got My People. CHIPP TERWILLIGER

CURSIVE, BEACH SLANG, SLOW BIRD
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) If it weren't for Portland, there would be no Cursive: No founding fathers of Saddle Creek's indie movement, no bourbon ballads from the Good Life, and most certainly no masses of kids wailing along to the burst and bloom of Domestica. In the late '90s, Tim Kasher dissolved Cursive in its earliest of stages to tie the knot and move to Portland. Shortly afterward, both his marriage and our city failed him, and Kasher found himself back in Omaha, ready to rekindle Cursive. The rest is emo history (the best kind of history). Cursive is currently touring for the expanded reissue of their brilliant flagship recording, 2003's The Ugly Organ, a well-deserved victory lap for an album that's still one of the finest of its era. And to think, if it weren't for Portland crushing a young man's soul, all of this would have never happened. EZRA ACE CARAEFF

GRAND LAKE ISLANDS, FUTURE HISTORIANS, JACKSON BOONE
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Song from Far, the new album from Grand Lake Islands, was recorded "during Portland's bleakest months," in a "dank, unheated basement," according to their website. Listening to these songs, this backdrop makes perfect sense, as you can almost hear the band shivering in their sweaters while recording their parts. Song from Far is Erik Emanuelson's second album under his Grand Lake Islands moniker, written after he left a job teaching English in New York and relocated to Portland. With delicate guitar and bass, minimal percussion, and discreet lap steel by multi-instrumentalist Evan Krogh, Song from Far is a quiet and slow-moving country-rock album, reminiscent of Dolorean or Deep Dark Woods. Standout "Monterey"—with vocal harmonies from Emanuelson's fiancée, Robin Bacior—calls to mind long drives through sleepy Northern California towns. "Over the country radio," Emanuelson sings, "Through the open car window/The battery is breathing shallow." SEH

MONDAY 2/16

JESSICA LEA MAYFIELD
(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) See My, What a Busy Week!

MOTION CITY SOUNDTRACK, WILLIAM BECKETT, BRICK + MORTAR
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE César E. Chávez) See All-Ages Action!

BODY LANGUAGE, SAPPHO, JPREZ
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Sugar-sweet New York synth poppers Body Language have been turning a few heads with Grammar, the follow-up LP to their well-received debut, Social Studies. The four-piece electro-dance quartet sells out venues in NYC with their futuristic take on soul and R&B, and it's easy to see why—their music is just fun to listen to. Boasting a sound that's upbeat and fresh without sounding corporatized, these young 'uns seem ahead of their time. With local support provided by some of Portland's favorite turntable junkies, Sappho and Jprez, get ready for a happy Monday. CHRISTINA BROUSSARD

TUESDAY 2/17

SONNY AND THE SUNSETS, COLLEEN GREEN, LARRY YES
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) On Sock It to Me, Colleen Green's 2013 Hardly Art-issued debut, the California songwriter showcased her knack for simple, charming pop-punk using little more than a guitar and drum machine. Green's strong melodic sensibility combines well with her introverted recording techniques, and had she decided to approach future recordings with that same bedroom-pop mentality, you wouldn't hear me complaining. On her follow-up album, the soon to be released I Want to Grow Up, Green entered the studio with Jeff the Brotherhood guitarist Jake Orrall and ex-Diarrhea Planet drummer Casey Weissbuch to give her sugary, fuzzed-out pop an added layer of sheen, while still retaining a scrappy, slacker-rock approach. Joining Green are Sonny and the Sunsets, whose latest release, Talent Night at the Ashram, takes listeners on another genre-morphing journey into the strange and radiant mind of prolific frontman Sonny Smith. CT Also see My, What a Busy Week!