TOADIES, FUEL, VENDETTA RED, ROBOTS OF THE ANCIENT WORLD
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE César E. Chávez) The Toadies are primarily, if not exclusively, known for "Possum Kingdom"—a song that boasts one of the most infectious guitar riffs of all time, even if the rest of the song after the initial "Make up your mind..." is impossible to remember. I'm not gonna argue that the group's canon beyond that is underrated; this is not the Big Star of the post-grunge era (that's a tie between Superdrag and the Gin Blossoms). But the group had a much more rounded and enduring hit with "Tyler," also off the band's debut album, Rubberneck. It's probably the best "Where Is My Mind" ripoff of all time (of which there are numerous). MO TROPER
METZ, BIG UPS, DILLY DALLY
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) '90s nostalgia is in full swing, and we're seeing a lot of indie bands revisit the grainy distortion and bitter melodies that made Nirvana famous. Sure, lots of folks wanna write the next "In Bloom," but it takes a special breed to make a whole album cut from the "Scentless Apprentice" cloth. That's why Toronto's Metz stand out. They wholly embrace the screeching feedback, anchor-dragging bass, and kit-mangling drumbeats that Nirvana used to offset their Pixies-inspired pop songs. Maybe that's because Metz sound less like a band inspired directly by Nirvana and more like a band inspired by Cobain's heroes—groups like the Melvins, Black Flag, and the Wipers. So let the masses have the Nevermind clones. Gimme the In Utero disciples. BRIAN COOK Also see My, What a Busy Week!
SARAH BETHE NELSON, JASON LYTLE
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Sarah Bethe Nelson teeters on the edge between indie rockstress and deft storyteller. Her recently released album, Fast Moving Clouds, is a testament to the years she spent people-watching as a bartender in San Francisco, and it's markedly melancholy with a sense of a life well worn. The stories are not new, but Nelson's craftsmanship—paired with twinges of surf guitar and understated vocals—make her more than just another singer/songwriter. Rounding out the night is Jason Lytle, formerly of Grandaddy, another master storyteller whose dark yarns will leave you uplifted. JENI WREN STOTTRUP
AMANDA X, SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE, IS/IS
(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) One of the most staggering things about Philadelphia's music scene is the clear sonic diversity between all the acts that have been garnering attention. This year I've already fallen hard for the soulful power-pop of Sheer Mag, Beach Slang's raspy, heart-on-sleeve rock, and the triumphant, hard-hitting pop-punk of Cayetana. Melodic post-punk band Amanda X share a city and strong DIY approach with those bands, and not much else. The trio released their fantastic debut album, Amnesia, on hometown label Siltbreeze last summer, and since then the band has honed its live show opening for the likes of the Vaselines and Pissed Jeans. Infectious earworms like "Guatemala" and "Tunnels" showcase Amanda X's ability to craft confident, grunge-driven, fuzzed-out pop that feels at home alongside fellow Siltbreeze alumni like Sebadoh and Times New Viking. The band's brand-new Hundreds and Thousands EP should offer a taste of what's to come. CHIPP TERWILLIGER
SMMR BMMR: KIM AND THE CREATED, JOEL JEROME, COOL GHOULS, ADULT BOOKS, POOKIE & THE POODLEZ, CUMSTAIN, ANDY PLACE AND THE COOLHEADS, THE RUBS, THE WOOLEN MEN, THE SCRAPS, HEATERS, UH BONES, MISTER TANG
(Constellation, 66 SE Madison) Long the holdout of Burger Records, Gnar Tapes, In the Red, and other en vogue garage labels, the Smmr Bmmr has returned after a year in hiding. The first day culminates with Lolipop/Burger scuzz-glam powerhouse Kim and the Created. Other highlights from the day include Mister Tang, a local duo (now trio?) who play an even more stripped-down, acid-fried brand of Gories stomp, and Andy Place and the Coolheads, whose patently ridiculous gun-toting demo tape cover betrays an album full of sweet, slightly unhinged, post-Give 'Em Enough Rope anthems that seem like trial runs for a forthcoming Portland classic. MAC POGUE Also see My, What a Busy Week!
ALABAMA SHAKES, BLAKE MILLS
(Edgefield, 2126 SW Halsey, Troutdale) The ascent of Alabama Shakes has been astounding. In 2011 they debuted a four-song EP, and tonight they headline Edgefield, which this summer has played host to Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett, and Morrissey. Not bad for a few high school friends from Athens, Alabama. Bands blow up all the time, but the ones that do usually play sugary, modern pop, with the kind of shiny, immediate hooks that fold seamlessly into commercials for cars and cell phones. Rarely are the overnight successes the kind of slow-burning, heritage-gazing soul and blues throwbacks that Alabama Shakes are. That the group has so flourished is testament to the endearing presence and expressively titanic voice of Brittany Howard, as well as the sharp but understated proficiency of the band. With such rapid and fervent success, Alabama Shakes have presumably been offered opportunities to pervert or water down their original essence. They've been content to grow earnestly and naturally. As such, they're less likely to be left behind like some flash in the pan. ANDREW R TONRY
PORTLAND PSYCH FEST: THE REVERBERATIONS, JULIA DREAM, JACKSON BOONE, THE VERNER PANTONS, THE SHY SEASONS
(Hawthorne Theatre Lounge, 1507 SE César E. Chávez) In its inaugural year, the new Portland Psych Fest is kicking off its "Summer Daze" weekend just in time for the dog days of summer. Intended as a spotlight on the new legion of West Coast trippers and rippers, day one kicks off at the Hawthorne Theatre Lounge with the likes of Portland's Jackson Boone and the Reverberations, along with Korean psych-rock trio Julia Dream. Days two and three of the fest will invade the Star Theater on Saturday and Sunday with 16 more bands, including Portland standouts Still Caves, Souvenir Driver, and Cambrian Explosion, along with Guadalajaran rockers Dorotheo. Get weird and stay that way, y'all. RYAN J. PRADO
SCREAMING FEMALES, VACATION, DIVERS
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) I first heard Screaming Females in a basement in Nashville nearly a decade ago. Even back then, Marissa Paternoster's guitar work was dropping jaws. The New Jersey-based trio was no stranger to off-the-beaten-path venues at the time—they were a focal point of a burgeoning New Brunswick punk scene—but unlike a lot of basement-dwelling punk bands in the mid-'00s, their sound was also ready-made for arenas. Just a couple of years after my introduction to the band, they were touring with one of Jack White's groups, the Dead Weather. Since then, the band's profile has continued to grow, and they recorded a must-hear record with Steve Albini, 2012's Ugly. MATTHEW W. SULLIVAN
THE VACCINES, HOLIDAY FRIENDS
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) The Vaccines follow the Arctic Monkeys' complex of modern British fuzz-pop bands that really, really want to be the next Kinks or the Rolling Stones. (Seriously, frontman Justin Hayward-Young at one point said he wanted to be as important as Beyoncé or Kanye.) Like the Arctic Monkeys, the Vaccines' debut album, What Did You Expect from the Vaccines, was full of great, pop-oriented garage-punk songs like "Post Break-Up Sex," "Nørgaard," and "If You Wanna," to name a few. The follow-up, Coming of Age, continued in the same vein, and while it topped the UK charts it did not fare as well elsewhere. This year the Vaccines have released their third LP, English Graffiti, which is their cleanest record to date, almost completely abandoning the fuzz. Unfortunately for them, the days of anthemic guitar-rock boy-band dominance ended years ago. CAMERON CROWELL
PORTLAND PSYCH FEST: THE UPSIDEDOWN, HIHAZEL, DOROTHEO, PARADISE, KINGDOM OF THE HOLY SUN, HOLLOW SIDEWALKS, JOLLAPIN JASPER, MOON JAIL
(Star Theater, 13 NW 6th) See Friday's listing.
SMMR BMMR: THE NO-TALENTS, MEAN JEANS, MOPE GROOVES, BIG TITS, BUFFALO TOOTH, CHEMICALS, THERAPISTS, RAD, HONEY BUCKET, PSYCHOMAGIC, LADYWOLF, SUPER HIT, MALL CASTE, SBDC, THE SHIVAS
(Constellation, 66 SE Madison) The second day of Smmr Bmmr digs in its heels and reasserts the status of the three-day bash as a Portland festival. Mean Jeans—who, by my quick research, are the only band to have played every Smmr Bmmr (the interns at the Mean Jeans archive at the Multnomah County Library had clocked out by the time I got in)—turn in their annual set, which won't stray far from the whip-crack bubblegum Ramones/Lookout worship of their recorded catalog. Other highlights include Honey Bucket, a trio of stoney skaters whose Futon tape captured a perfect slice of laidback Portland guitar pop, splitting the difference between White Light/White Heat's jammy abandon and The Velvet Underground's transcendent desire to be carefree. They're also named after the portable boxes you poop in. MP Also see My, What a Busy Week!
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) The first time Benjamin Booker came to Portland—almost a year ago to date—he was made to play an early, daytime show on Doug Fir's back patio. The patio was standing-room-only, and though Booker ripped through a quick, blistering set, the audience was regrettably tame, standing immobile and only occasionally lifting a can of Pabst in tribute. This time around he'll be downstairs in the venue proper, with a little more room for his band to deliver their hellfire garage-soul and punk-blues. Booker toured with Jack White last year, and he and his band have performed on The Late Show with David Letterman, Later... with Jools Holland, at the Newport Folk Festival, the Austin City Limits Music Festival, and Lollapalooza, to name a few, so the Doug Fir will be a more intimate stage. But it also has the potential to be one of their more raucous and fun shows, as long as the audience comes ready to get loose. SANTI ELIJAH HOLLEY
LA LUZ, WILL SPROTT
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) In November 2013, La Luz survived a high-speed collision while supporting their debut album, It's Alive. The band has been in perpetual tour mode since, sneaking away to record their new album Weirdo Shrine with garage king Ty Segall, out this week on Hardly Art. The album was inspired by this incident, along with the death of a friend of frontwoman Shana Cleveland. Dark and twisty, Weirdo Shrine builds upon La Luz's trademark surf-noir sound with infectious harmonies and nods to eleki (a brand of '60s Japanese rock inspired by American surf music). With a grittier sound closer to La Luz's electric live shows, Weirdo Shrine touches on themes of death and obsession, spinning a spooky and hypnotizing web. JWS
THE KILLS, BABY IN VAIN
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) Since releasing their last record, 2011's Blood Pressures—the Kills' fourth album and best work yet—singer Alison Mosshart has been busy. She's contributed her Scotch-and-cigarette vocals to new music from Gang of Four, the Stooges' James Williamson, and the Walking Dead soundtrack, while her on-and-off project with Jack White, Dead Weather, is scheduled to release its third album later this year. Meanwhile, Mosshart's partner in the Kills, Jamie Hince, has been busy, well, playing husband to Kate Moss (though not for much longer, reportedly). But nothing comes close to the onstage chemistry between Mosshart and Hince, and when the Kills perform together, something special happens that few bands have been able recreate. SEH
PORTLAND PSYCH FEST: DAYDREAM MACHINE, SOUVENIR DRIVER, PAZ, CAMBRIAN EXPLOSION, DOGHEART, SLOW WHITE, STILL CAVES, VOX WAVES
(Star Theater, 13 NW 6th) See Friday's listing.
SMMR BMMR: WHITE MYSTERY, LONG KNIFE, SCRAPER, WIMPS, GUANTANAMO BAYWATCH, CHARLES ALBRIGHT, USELESS EATERS, PONY TIME, COURTNEY AND THE CRUSHERS, HEY LOVER, PATSY'S RATS, THE PITY FUCKS, SEX CRIME, WARPFIRE
(Constellation, 66 SE Madison) Smmr Bmmr wraps up the weekend with a final day of garage and punk rock. "They let the guy have a band??" was one of the first things I read about Long Knife, written by some Portlander on a punk message board. The band has a full-length and a few singles and EPs—including a split with the legendary, vicious Japanese D-beat crew Forward—and not a single song strays from the formula: They sound exactly like Poison Idea. White Mystery will bring their slowly building shred dynasty to the Smmr Bmmr stage, trading out Long Knife's power chords for extended solos and riffs. Wimps from Seattle round out the Northwest highlights, bringing their finely honed scuzz to the last best party of the summer. MP Also see My, What a Busy Week!
WILCO, SPEEDY ORTIZ
(Edgefield, 2126 SW Halsey, Troutdale) It's easy to slag on Wilco, and calling them "dad rock" seems to be the unimaginative insult du jour. But if you're going to insist upon that term, at least recognize that Wilco have always been, relatively speaking, pretty cool dads—the kind of dads who take you to R-rated movies, keep a kegerator in the basement, and let you and your buds go to the Molly Hatchet concert unchaperoned. The Chicago band just dropped a surprise album on the internet called Star Wars, and it's easily their best work since Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, kicking to the curb the smoother, silkier elements that made albums like 2007's sterile Sky Blue Sky so boring. Conversely, Star Wars is a short, loud collection of sparkle-guitar jams direct from the garage, played by a group of baseball-capped dads who you just know are smoking pot out there. (Don't tell mom.) NED LANNAMANN
ARCO-PDX, JOHN BERENDZEN
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) As we've reported in these pages, the Amplified Repertory Chamber Orchestra of Portland—or ARCO-PDX—is a group that expands on the promise of other groups that try to bring classical music to a modern audience. In this case, they do it by mic'ing up their instruments, cranking up the volume, and adding colorful visual effects. Tonight's performance, Discordia, is one of their darkest yet, including a slowly oozing piece by Russian composer Andrei Eshpai, works by Henry Cowell and Arvo Pärt, and a rendition of Henryk Górecki's horror movie soundtrack-like "Concerto for Harpsichord and String Orchestra, Op. 40." ROBERT HAM
LUST FOR YOUTH, SOFT METALS
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) If the music weren't so cold sounding, you could say that Lust for Youth carry a torch for dreary synth-pop. Started as a solo project by Swedish songwriter Hannes Norrvide, Lust for Youth is an homage to post-punk and new-wave bands gone by, namely New Order, Depeche Mode, and OMD. To that end, Lust for Youth aren't exactly forging new ground—or are they pretending to be—but the lo-fi Casiotone melodies and cold, synth-y backdrops they employ can still make for propulsive music, even if the sound isn't exactly original. MWS
WOLF ALICE, S (JENN GHETTO)
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE César E. Chávez) Forget Mad Max and Furiosa—if you're looking to catch some real-life road warriors, look no further than the London-hailing rock quartet Wolf Alice, who make their third Portland appearance of the year tonight. Formed in 2010, the band built considerable buzz across the pond before launching a relentless worldwide attack on the back of this year's excellent debut album, My Love Is Cool. Wolf Alice originally began as a folk duo with frontwoman Ellie Rowsell and guitarist Joff Oddie, and quickly added a rhythm section, bassist Theo Ellis and drummer Joel Amey. Since expanding, Wolf Alice have managed to synthesize elements of grunge into their folk-pop, making them impossible to pigeonhole. Rowsell's ability to grow from a delicate whisper to a ferocious yowl at a moment's notice has her poised to command stages much larger than this, so catch Wolf Alice while you can. CT
ROYAL HEADACHE, WESTERN PLAZA, FIREBALLS OF FREEDOM
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Sydney's Royal Headache are one of those bands who sound classic without seeming amenably "retro." They're the most profoundly imageless, unassuming punk band since the Minutemen. Lead singer Shogun looks like an emaciated version of the bad guy from Home Alone (the one who looks like the lead singer from the Spin Doctors), and the rest of the band just look totally normal—the most subversive aesthetic for a punk band, really. Royal Headache's debut self-titled LP, released in 2011, was almost Big Star-esque in that it was an effortless mixture of the best qualities from a variety of untouchably great bands. Shogun sounds like a young Rod Stewart (a vocal style that fucking nobody is bold enough to ape), and songs like "Really in Love" and "Girls" are easily on par with the Buzzcocks' best singles. The group's first single, "High," from their forthcoming record of the same name is a predictably indelible slab of sun-kissed power pop that boasts the opening line "Tried to call you on the phone/'Cause you get me high." Brevity is the soul of wit... and perfect pop music. MT
DAN ANDRIANO IN THE EMERGENCY ROOM, JEFF ROSENSTOCK, SPRAYNARD, PET SYMMETRY
(Analog Café, 720 SE Hawthorne) Despite us both hailing from the same (Long) island, I'm guilty of missing the boat with Jeff Rosenstock's previous band, Bomb the Music Industry!, which Rosenstock spearheaded for a decade before disbanding last year. That band became known for shows highlighted by strong DIY ethics and a bolstered sense of community, making them very much a "you had to be there" phenomenon. Fortunately, Rosenstock's recent solo album, We Cool?, feels like a nice place to jump on board. The album finds the unflinchingly candid musician bouncing between guitar rock, power-pop, and country, as he struggles to confront the realities of aging. Rosenstock's self-deprecating approach is anchored by his unwavering enthusiasm, making for some truly impeccable songwriting. Tonight's bill also features Alkaline Trio bassist and singer Dan Andriano, whose latest solo record, the Rosenstock-produced Party Adjacent, finds the singer eschewing his main band's pop flicker and coming across in unsparingly honest form. CT