CLARKE AND THE HIMSELFS Tues 12/29 The Liquor Store
Jeremy Conant


(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) This month's edition of Ear Candy is a high-energy exposition of electronic wonderment, and you're going to feel stupid if you don't go. Ali Muhareb's Mujahadeen is Ali Muhareb, a one-man wrecking crew of textured, reverb-y pop, exemplified best on his 2013 album Mujahadeen. Muhareb slaps together heavy beats and distorted melodies, adding a nefarious contingent to tunes like "Modern Grime," which bear the torch for the burgeoning local psychedelic-pop movement. Hands In (AKA Erick Crosby) similarly performs mainly as a solo artist, manning multiple instruments and ushering in a more heavy-lidded approach, as found on his excellent new album Migrainer. Wring out the remainder of your yuletide stresses at this absolutely free show. RYAN J. PRADO Also see My, What a Busy Week!, pg. 17.

(The Liquor Store, 3341 SE Belmont) Tonight finds Portland rapper/producer Soopah Eype showcasing a diverse musical lineup with some close friends in a rare club setting. Eype is one of the best emcees in town, but he may have slipped under your radar if your only exposure to hip-hop shows is through club dates. You're much more likely to catch him performing in an art gallery, bodega, or record store—which makes tonight all the more special. For the uninitiated, check out his excellent Cassava... Peace, which he released through the website Tiny Mix Tapes over the summer. You can also hear him flexing his instrumental electronic music muscles on his most recent release, Vanport Vanishing, under the alias Bel'Air Verde. The night also includes Futro collective member Ripley Snell, and will feature Bryson Fisher alongside other musical guests. RYAN FEIGH


(Al's Den, 303 SW 12th) It's that time of year again: Erstwhile Portlander Scott Fisher is coming back to town and playing a bunch of shows at Al's Den. Fisher's one of those guys who has always seemed on the verge of big things, whether the launchpad was his fine 2007 jammy-jazz-pop album Step into the Future or the slew of his songs placed on popular TV shows over the years. And he's always had the chops, as evidenced by his most recent album, a collection of nine original solo pieces for piano called Ballads Minuets and Waltzes. (Fisher is a classically trained pianist.) Per the Al's Den website, Fisher will be joined by guests including Tony Furtado, Stephanie Schneiderman, Moody Little Sister, and more for each night of his week-long residency—which began on Sunday, December 20 and continues all through the week, with shows on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. There are many worse ways to spend the holidays than by letting Fisher soundtrack an evening at the underground nightclub. BEN SALMON

FRIDAY 12/25

(The Goodfoot, 2845 SE Stark) See My, What a Busy Week!, pg. 17.

(Landmark Saloon, 4847 SE Division) Like a lighthouse in the fog of the war on Christmas, or maybe just a middle finger in the face of family values—or, most likely, just offering another way to prolong your uninterrupted holiday drinking regimen—the Landmark Saloon triumphantly holds its doors open on Jesus' birthday. A band named Honky Tonk Union will play, and damned if I know what they sound like, but I will gladly throw a 10-spot in the hat to hear something that isn't "The Little Drummer Boy." I once spent Christmas Eve stranded in a Denny's, drinking refill after refill of coffee, reading essays and chatting with the waiter. Do whatever makes you happy on this miserable holiday. MAC POGUE


(Kenton Masonic Lodge, 8130 N Denver) With the chaos of the holidays subsiding, here's a chance to give back and have fun at the same time on the day after Christmas. Six experimental sound artists will perform ambient and drone music at this all-ages fundraiser to help the fight against Multiple Sclerosis. All proceeds will go to Masons Against MS. Jeph Nor, curator of the Lovecraft's regular modular-synth night of mayhem, Volt Divers, will perform alongside an array of talented electronic-music nomads, so put on your transmission caps and get ready to tune into the ether of hidden worlds, where they bring forth the alien language of experimental sound from their wildest imaginations. CHRISTINA BROUSSARD

(The Goodfoot, 2845 SE Stark) One of Portland's most underappreciated gems is its vibrant funk scene, which has set the foundation for artists like the stunning Liv Warfield, along with heavies in the touring bands for musicians such as Jill Scott, Bootsy Collins, and more. At the front of the pack is jazz-funk trumpeter Farnell Newton, whose album Ready to Roll came out on Ropeadope Records earlier this year. The vibrant and funky Newton and his band the Othership Connection are bringing a much-deserved light to Portland's jazz, soul, and gospel community.  The Connection will embark on their first West Coast tour this spring, but you can catch a sneak peek this weekend in the Goodfoot Lounge's funk basement. JENI WREN STOTTRUP

(Kelly's Olympian, 426 SW Washington) Christmas is OVER, man, and you don't feel like doing any more dishes, talking to any of your snoopy in-laws, cleaning up any more wrapping paper, or pretending to like eggnog for another minute. Luckily, there are those in the trenches for whom a live show on December 26 isn't a scary proposition. Challenger '70, for one, is poised to rock your wintertime mind with potent Americana rock. They're pitted on this Boxing Day bill with the Tennesseans in a kind of comedy/cabaret/live-music grudge match, emceed by Tres Shannon. Whoever the victor is at the final bell, it's safe to say that your Saturday should be in safe hands. RJP

SUNDAY 12/27

(Rontoms, 600 E Burnside) Jason Albertini doesn't sound like he's trying to be nice when he sings, "You should go to Bermuda." The Built to Spill bassist—whose main gig is fronting the Portland-based band Helvetia—absorbs the Kinks-patented sneer-as-pop-charm and regurgitates it into a strummy, Laurel Canyon-esque kiss-off. Well, "kiss-off" makes Albertini sound like he's putting in effort; rather, the singer shrugs as he tells the scorned party to fuck off to the titular destination of "Bermuda." The point isn't the trip to a lush island paradise—the point is that the singer won't be there. Helvetia takes its name from the embodiment of the nation of Switzerland, an otherworldly woman draped in flowing robes who adorns most of the country's coinage. The word also sounds strikingly similar to helvete, the Swedish and Norwegian word for hell. Bermuda looks quite like heaven, but it could be hell, for all Albertini cares. MP Also see My, What a Busy Week!, pg. 17.

MONDAY 12/28

(LaurelThirst Public House, 2958 NE Glisan) Monday nights at LaurelThirst are about as reliable an evening of local live music you could possibly ask for. While the venue's weekly happy-hour slot is routinely filled by all-star ensemble Portland Country Underground, later in the evening the vibes transition from West to East, as the venerated Kung Pao Chickens turn the joint into a swingin' jazz joint that brings out some serious rug-cutters. The quartet's been around about 15 years, originally started by guitarist Pete Krebs and offering a mix of eastern gypsy jazz, swing, and Brazilian bossa nova. The ensemble includes Jon Neufeld, also of Jackstraw and Black Prairie, and his technical dexterity is matched note for note by the gifted guitar work of Tracy Kim. Rounded out by Gary Guenther's bewitching clarinet and Tim Acott's walking bass, Kung Pao Chickens are a no-brainer for easing into your between-holiday Monday. RJP


(The Know, 2026 NE Alberta) Arizona has fomented something of an alternative universe of punk music, with bands like Phoenix's Dogbreth building a catalog of suburban pop-punk and Destruction Unit deconstructing weirdo desert hardcore. Phoenix's Red Tank build off of late-'00s noisy punk, recalling the snottier sides of No Age, Ty Segall, and Harlem (remember freakin' Harlem?). Their tract-home anomie sounds less garage in terms of genre and more in terms of production: Red Tank's scrappy power chords and wails sound composed in an actual garage (and anyone from the Southwest knows "garage bands" are formed out of necessity—basements don't exist there). Funeral Gold, a Portland duo known for their similar scrappy triumph, rounds out the night's charged energy. MP

(The Liquor Store, 3341 SE Belmont) Clarke Howell is a singular cavalcade, a one-man parade of infectious, deliciously doomy songs. The Boise-based artist—who performs as Clarke and the Himselfs—has just come out with his first full-length LP, The Well Rounded Clarke and the Himselfs, a catchy anthology of new songs and reimagined tunes from cassette releases, including high points "Suicide Girl" and "Toxic World." Recorded at Portland's Fluff and Gravy studio, the album finds its cohesion in straightforward, no-frills mixes, allowing simple instrumental accents and Howell's distinctive voice to shine. His vocal trill effect creates an interesting vibe in his creamy and confident baritone, reminiscent of what the National's Matt Berninger might sound like if he were lead singer of Built to Spill. Howell's songs do not take themselves too seriously, taking severed relationships and the mire of the world, then applying them to beachy anthems that will stick in your head long after they've ended. JWS