RUN ON SENTENCE
The Woods, 7/17

THURSDAY 7/15

Leaders, River City Tanlines, Problems

(Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) Crack open a Rand McNally road atlas and you'll find Memphis labeled in the same large font as New York and Los Angeles. After all, Memphis was a vibrant cultural center for a good chunk of the 20th century—home of Sun Records, arguably the birthplace of rock and roll. Memphis may be a tertiary market these days, but River City Tanlines are proof that the city still has a raging rock pulse. Guitarist Alicja Trout (formerly of synth punks Lost Sounds) and rhythm section Bubba and T Money (formerly R. L. Burnside's backing band) combine the feminine energy of the Runaways with the classic swagger of early Stones, effectively maintaining the lineage of top-notch garage acts from that bold-typefaced Southern city. BRIAN COOK

FRIDAY 7/16

The New Pornographers, The Dodos, Imaad Wasif

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

Superfest 2: Copy, Wampire, Fake Drugs, Hosannas, Strategy, Joey Casio, Rude Dudes

(Rotture, 315 SE 3rd) See My, What a Busy Week!

THE MYNABIRDS, Celilo, SEAN FLINN AND THE ROYAL WE, The Physical Hearts

(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) See Music.

KAISER CARTEL, STEPHEN ASHBROOK, JOSH GARRELS

(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Kaiser Cartel might seem like an invented band name, but it's actually the surnames of its two members, Courtney Kaiser and Benjamin Cartel. The Brooklyn-based pair just released their second album, Secret Transit, and it ranges from moody, crescent-moon balladry to peppy, strummy pop songs. It's a darker record than their debut, and a more complex, rewarding listen. Kaiser leads the way most of the time, with a clarion and assured voice supported by Cartel's unobtrusive harmonies. These songs grow on you, with watertight pop construction, and sunny turns of phrase balanced by just a little bit of black-heart moroseness to keep things from being too cloying. NED LANNAMANN

BUILT TO SPILL, QUASI

(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) A summer night colliding with sprawling guitars means hot, sweaty, rockin' fun. Combine said collision with you-know-'em-you-love-'em Built to Spill and you're reliving a late-'90s July night, sitting around the fireside drinking beer with your best friends "Car" and "I Would Hurt a Fly." Continuing their tour on last year's great There Is No Enemy, Doug Martsch and the boys of Built to Spill bust out the epic guitaring, beard swinging, and all-around indie rock history-making. Meanwhile Sam Coomes, Janet Weiss, and Joanna Bolme of Quasi open up the summer sweat-off with much rockage from their hot-shit album American Gong (not to be confused with their 2003 album Hot Shit!). Remember to hydrate for this one, y'all. You might want to carb load too, for maximum dancing energy. COURTNEY FERGUSON

Black Cobra, Howl, Lesbian, Nether Regions, Wizard Rifle

(Satyricon, 125 NW 6th) If you missed High on Fire as they scorched through town earlier this year, tonight may be your only chance to see a show of the same caliber. However, instead of Oakland's purveyors of monstrous doom and Black Cobra, you get Howl and Black Cobra. On their debut full-length Full of Hell, Providence's Howl sounds very similar to High on Fire's first two recordings. Full of Hell has floor-tom-heavy drumming, thick-as-molasses riffs played at a funeral dirge pace, and a thick layer of sludge caked all over every track. Each instrument is distinguishable, but Full sounds like something produced by the Creature from the Black Lagoon. ARIS WALES

Swingin' Utters, The Cute Lepers, My Life in Black AND White

(Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) There's a lot to like about the Cute Lepers. That's a good thing, because geniality seems to be the Seattle foursome's foremost goal. Unlike vocalist Steve E. Nix's better-known group the Briefs, the Cute Lepers eschew the snottiness and danger of '70s punk while still doing their best to sound like Stiff Records also-rans. The result is like a goofy bridge between the Knack and the punk rockers that hated them. The Lepers sand the edges of tried-and-true punk formula and give it an arena rock boost, which might grate a little on those punk fans not comfortable in the middle of the road. The hooks are easy to swallow, and just as easy to forget, and in the end it's just as easy to dance to the Lepers as it is to dismiss them—but the former is much more fun. DAVE BOW

SATURDAY 7/17

The Avett Brothers, Thao with the Get Down Stay Down

(Edgefield, 2126 SW Halsey, Troutdale) See My, What a Busy Week!.

Bastille Day Block Party: NICE NICE, TYPHOON, Jared Mees and the Grown Children & MORE

(Pix Pâtisserie, 3901 N Williams) See My, What a Busy Week!

Run On Sentence, Scrimshander

(The Woods, 6637 SE Milwaukie) Dustin Hamman might look more at home downing trees with a swinging axe—or selling paper towels, if Brawny was seeking a new, bearded pitchman—than he does onstage. But it is under the Run on Sentence moniker that Hamman does his finest work. Tonight he releases You, the Darkness, and Me, a tender collection of seemingly compact folk offerings that gradually expand into massive songs, swollen with grand arrangements, Hamman's off-kilter voice, and lyrics that are more haunted backwoods than front-porch sing-alongs. Hamman is not the first musician, or Portlander for that matter, to sound like a disciple of Jeff Mangum, but his Neutral Milk Hotel influence is respectful, if not pleasantly restrained. The best moments of You, the Darkness, and Me come from the gradual build and tension of six-plus minute numbers like "I Am Blood" and "Wide Open Sky," songs that illustrate Hamman's gift for songwriting and patience as an artist. EZRA ACE CARAEFF

THE DUTCHESS AND THE DUKE, MONARQUES, VIRGIN BLOOD, MEAT SLUTS

(East End, 203 SE Grand) Last year's Sunrise/Sunset, the magnificent second album from Seattle "campfire punk" duo the Dutchess and the Duke, simply gets better and better with time. The group—whose lineup can swell to include percussion, bass, and organ, or sometimes performs as simply the duo of guitarist/singers Jesse Lortz and Kimberly Morrison—convincingly summons an unaffected 1960s sound, with octave-straddling 12-string guitars, folk-circle harmonies, and naturally flowing melodies. What makes the Dutchess and the Duke so tremendous is that the music never sounds affected—they effortlessly maintain a totally unlabored frankness that other bands work too hard to achieve. Lortz is simply a fantastic songwriter, and the Dutchess and the Duke remain a terrific band; the chance to see their intimate, personable live show in the tiny East End basement should not be missed. NL

Superfest 2: Deelay Ceelay, Strength, Atole, Operative, E*Rock, Pegasus Dream, DJ Linoleum

(Rotture, 315 SE 3rd) There is no better time than now to anoint the second annual Superfest gathering as the pinnacle of Portland's burgeoning live-band dance scene. For years E*Rock has been urging Portlanders to shake free their inhibitions, uncross their arms, and hit the dance floor. Unfortunately, it took about a decade before this actually caught on. But now the glittering neon rainbow of Deelay Ceelay's bouncy dance-pop is standard fare, no longer limited to fringe after-hour parties in someone's basement. While Superfest acts tend to lean a bit too heavy upon the great crutch of '80s synth revisionism, there is real life here, proof that Portlanders can do more dance moves than "the stand still," "the wall lean," and my personal favorite, "the Twitter update while holding a beer in the back of the room." I am the Fred Astaire of that move. EAC

The Big Busk

(Various locations, downtown Portland) At its very core, busking is a musical endeavor unsuited to a festival of any sort. How can you reign in and organize a performance style that thrives outside—literally—of the traditional musical settings? But tonight's Big Busk does a fine job of organizing, but not constraining, the various acts that will take to the streets of downtown Portland, instruments in hand and tip jars at the ready. Considering the sheer number of corporate dollars it takes to host any sort of musical festival, the second year of this totally independent event is worthy of your support. Plus the streets of Portland can be a scary place on a Saturday night—unless you look like you belong at the Dixie Tavern—so bring some spare change and support the artists of the Big Busk. EAC

SUNDAY 7/18

Quiet Life, Shoeshine Blue, The Dimes

(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) If sitting in the sun guzzling PBRs—delivered to you in a bucket, no less—is wrong, then friends, I never want to be right. Doug Fir's "Pickin' on Sundays" series is the perfect excuse to waste a sunny weekend afternoon with copious amounts of domestic beer and free music on their patio. Recent transplants Quiet Life sound like they stumbled from Big Pink, with a rambunctious roots sound that would make Robbie Robertson smile from ear-to-ear (then maybe call his attorney to make sure Quiet Life's "Storm Clouds" wasn't lifted from his back catalog). The band—not The Band—have a new record entitled Big Green due out in September, and chances are you'll hear some of it in the environment best suited for their laidback sound: outside, in the sun, beer in hand, and with friends close by. EAC

MONDAY 7/19

Antibalas, The Sway Machinery

(Berbati's Pan, 10 SW 3rd) See Music.

Neil Young

(Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway) See Music.

TUESDAY 7/20

HERE COMES A BIG BLACK CLOUD, DRAGGING AN OX THROUGH WATER, BATMEN

(Valentine's, 232 SW Ankeny) Portland trash-garage-punkers Here Comes a Big Black Cloud have been kings of the DIY house-party scene for some time now, and they've made the leap to the next level by starting their own label, Stankhouse Records. A bunch of vinyl releases have already surfaced, but Big Black Cloud's very first full-length, Dark Age, makes its skuzzy way into the world at tonight's record release show. It's a howling, shattering collection of white-knuckle garage-psych, recorded with Alex Yusimov at the Pool in North Portland, that comes with screenprinted cover art and an MP3 download card. Dark Age contains some of the most powerful music Big Black Cloud have done to date, including the throbbingly epic "Allergic to Love," a swaying, combustible journey down a deep dark psychedelic tunnel. You can preview the entirety of Dark Age by going to bigblackcloud.bandcamp.com, and you should, because it's awesome. NL

White Fang, Meth Teeth, Besties, Virgin Blood

(Plan B, 1305 SE 8th) The 2010 SMMR BMMR Festival is still a month away, but like my old man always said, three-day garage punk festivals with quality bands from all over the country don't grow on trees. Naturally, the BMMR folks are throwing a benefit show to raise some money for the cost of the fest—feel free to insert joke about buying a vowel here. With White Fang's Wham!-on-drugs pop punk—listen to their new song "Grateful to Shred," and tell me it doesn't sound like a thrashy, barfed-up "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go"—the overexposed, blown-out riff-folk of Meth Teeth, and Plan B's positively epic patio, this preview of the festivities to come should tide you over until the real deal on August 13. ETHAN JAYNE

SOFT TAGS, THE SECRET HISTORY, FATHER FIGURES

(The Woods, 6637 SE Milwaukie) Prolific Portland lo-fi savants Soft Tags have a new recording to unleash. It's called Tape Side A and was recorded on the road with a handheld tape recorder that Tags' frontman Richard Shirk bought at a garage sale for 99 cents. He describes Tape Side A as a "mixture of field recordings and spooky folk," and it will likely go to the stranger depths the Tags have visited over their already substantial catalog of full-lengths and EPs. Also on the bill is New York's the Secret History, whose singer Lisa Ronson is daughter of the late, legendary guitarist Mick Ronson, who collaborated with glam rock's two greatest songwriters, David Bowie and Ian Hunter (for whom Lisa once sang backup). The Secret History is a continuation of bandleader Michael Grace's previous band My Favorite, and the songs are unruffled, classicist pop, equal parts Motown and the Smiths, delivered with museum-piece precision. NL

WEDNESDAY 7/21

Bassekou Kouyate

(Oregon Zoo, 4001 SW Canyon) In the 1980s, when Bassekou Kouyate was still making a name for himself as a sideman, playing in groups with the likes of Ali Farka Touré and Toumani Diabaté, he shocked his native Mali simply by wearing a strap and standing up to play solos on his ngoni—an ancient, traditional West African stringed instrument akin to a lute crossed with a banjo. Now the leader of his own band, Ngoni ba—with four standing ngoni players—Kouyate plucks out a jubilant, life-affirming style of desert blues that just can't be played, or watched, while sitting down. Having already solidified his place as a West African folk hero, Kouyate's new album, I Speak Fula, is the first release from Sub Pop imprint Next Ambience and this North American tour should garner him well-deserved Western recognition. EJ Also, See My, What a Busy Week!

The Foreign Exchange, Yahzarah, Darien Brockington, Zo, Reva Devito

(Someday Lounge, 125 NW 5th) The Foreign Exchange is a collaboration between North Carolina emcee/singer Phonte and producer Nicolay, originally from Holland (but now settled Stateside as well). The duo came together after meeting in an online hiphop community and constructed their debut full-length Connected entirely via instant messaging and file sharing. Building on the groundwork laid by Phonte in his criminally slept-on hiphop group Little Brother, Nicolay's sublime blissed-out beats proved to be the perfect match for Phonte's staccato, no-nonsense delivery on the mic. Their follow-up, 2008's Leave It All Behind, ventured even further musically, finding Phonte shedding his emcee skin and emerging as an R&B/soul crooner, gaining a Grammy nomination along the way. This nebulous genre bending, while sometimes upsetting to the hardcore heads, is a testament to high quality music transcending the limits of categorization. RYAN FEIGH

Admiral Radley, Carcrashlander, BuzzyShyface

(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) What do you get when you cross a couple members of beloved sad-sack indie rock bands Grandaddy and Earlimart? Well, you get Admiral Radley and a sunny little pop record called I Heart California. Grandaddy's Jason Lytle teamed up with Aaron Espinoza and Ariana Murray of Earlimart to create a beautiful and layered record that digs through deep piles of emotional baggage. The opening title track merrily checks off every California cliché (year-round tans, breast implants), while "I'm All Fucked on Beer" sinisterly rattles forward with its namesake sing-along piercing through the haze of distortion and mechanical beats. I Heart California closes with "I Left U Cuz I Luft U," a return to the mopey moods of the members' former bands (I guess you can't be happy all the time... they do live in California, after all.) MARK LORE