ESKMO
Rotture, 10/22

THURSDAY 10/21

FOALS, ESBEN AND THE WITCH

(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Like no other band, Oxford, UK's Foals can leap between slowly sad and jumpily danceable. Their songs—such as "Blue Blood" or "Spanish Sahara," both from their striking recent album Total Life Forever—can begin languidly then acquire a floor-shaking twitch that is almost unthinkable, given the song's beginnings. But Foals pull it off, and with Total Life Forever, they've also pulled off an effective growth from their 2008 debut, the much-hyped Antidotes. With Total Life Forever, they've gotten artier, richer, and more fluid than on early songs like "Cassius" and "Balloons," which sometimes felt a little like jerky dance-floor filler. Their songs now are no less danceable, to be certain, but Foals have found more than one shade to color with. NED LANNAMANN

DEER TICK, J-RODDY WALSTON AND THE BUSINESS, THE QUICK & EASY BOYS

(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) Much like the fabled ascension of the Avett Brothers, Providence, Rhode Island's Deer Tick have found a respectable level of success, courtesy of years of backbreaking touring and a sound that firmly resides in the middle ground between Americana, folk, and back-porch country. But don't let last year's The Black Dirt Sessions fool you with its wounded songs of trampled hearts; Deer Tick keep their chins up onstage, delivering a live show that is nothing short of mandatory. Also, if you were in the market for a high mileage school bus, too late: The band just auctioned off their trusted tour vehicle "The Flagship" for charity. A portion of proceeds are going to Pakistan flood victims and Oxfam America. The winning bid: a steal at $1,741. EZRA ACE CARAEFF

FRUIT BATS, WYE OAK, NORMAN

(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) The Fruit Bats' earthy pop has the ability to be a worthy soundtrack for almost any setting, be it a sun-drenched backyard shindig or a chilly evening under the covers with a book. It's as inoffensive as it is catchy. Even head Bat-man Eric Johnson's vocals are beyond unobtrusive. After doing some time with the Shins (remember them?) and Vetiver, Johnson got the Bats back together for 2009's The Ruminant Band, recorded a nice cover of Hall & Oates' "One On One" for A.V. Undercover back in March, and more recently has been calling the road home. Tonight's setting is neither a backyard nor a cozy nook, but Mississippi Studios will serve as yet another perfect locale for the Seattle five-piece's comfy power pop. MARK LORE

KELE GOODWIN, DENVER, JENNIE WAYNE

(The Woods, 6637 SE Milwaukie) Nick Drake. There, I said it. Take one listen to Hymns and you will understand that Kele Goodwin is very much a disciple of Pink Moon. But that's not a bad thing at all, and honestly, if you are a singer/songwriter armed with an acoustic guitar and a book of songs, you damn well better be a fan of Drake. Hymns continues forth in the Hush Records tradition of painfully intimate recordings that are perfect for rainy days spent indoors—basically the ideal soundtrack for the city we call home. Goodwin keeps good company, too, as Hymns is bolstered by cameos from Laura Gibson (her voice sprouting up in the chorus of "A Kiss for Your Eyes" is a heavenly experience), Alela Diane, and members of Musée Mécanique and the Portland Cello Project. While he has bounced around from Alaska to the Navajo reservations, Goodwin's soft voice, sentimental words, and gentle music definitely belong here. EAC

FRIDAY 10/22

SHE AND HIM, MIKE COYKENDALL AND THE GOLDEN SHAG

(Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway) See our article on She & Him

ROKY ERICKSON, BOO FROG

(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) For his work with garage-psych legends the 13th Floor Elevators, Roky Erickson is a rock god; anyone who disagrees deserves to have his/her ears dunked in Nickelback. Roky's articulate howls and incisive harmonica and guitar playing remain forever distinctive in the underground-rock canon. While Erickson's solo career never really connected with me, its obsession with demons, zombies, two-headed dogs, myriad B-movie tropes, and manifestations of a mentally disturbed mind struck a deep chord with many. Considering his history of psychiatric problems and involuntary electroshock treatments, it's a victory that he's even alive and performing in 2010. However, Erickson's serviceable backing band and diminished vocal and instrumental powers in recent live performances have left this hardcore Elevators fanatic underwhelmed. Still, you'll get chills when they inevitably do "You're Gonna Miss Me." DAVE SEGAL Also see My, What a Busy Week!

MUMFORD AND SONS, MT. DESOLATION, KING CHARLES

(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) You might know British foursome Mumford & Sons from soundtrack appearances on Stargate Universe and Grey's Anatomy—or, maybe, from their assured debut Sigh No More, which has gained such a fervent following in the US that tonight's show sold out almost immediately. Like their more melancholy British schoolmates Noah and the Whale, Mumford and Sons marry lyric-driven folk numbers with choruses that border on anthemic. It might be worth trolling Craigslist for tickets to this one—the Crystal Ballroom's quasi-hippie murals are the perfect backdrop for a show that promises to be at once intimate and inspiring. ALISON HALLETT

JONAH, CLIMBER, DEEPEST DARKEST

(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) There was always something quite intriguing about Jonah's previous efforts, an underlying darkness buried beneath their anglophilic rock-and-roll swagger. Whatever it was, it's come to the surface on The Wonder and The Thrill, a surprisingly grown-up pop recording in which the quartet outgrows their previous niche appeal and aims for the heavens with immaculately crafted rock numbers that balance homemade tarnish and mass-consumption sheen. Simply put, opening number "Please Let Go" is one of the finer rock songs you will hear this year—a slinky and harmony-heavy track that plays off the vocal strengths of frontman Henry Curl—and you'll get equal pleasure from the Travis-sounding "Bees" and the mournful "Crowns (If You Must Follow)." Actually, no matter where you find yourself in The Wonder and The Thrill, you'll be content. EAC

EARLY MAN, EVILE, BONDED BY BLOOD, GAMA BOMB

(Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) The evolution and growth of Brooklyn born, LA-based Early Man is fascinating. If the band were a developing human being, it would be hitting adolescence around now. Its debut album Closing In captured the band as a frothing four-year-old in the toy aisle. The album displays serious metal chops, but there is little focus throughout—they really wanted the Black Sabbath action figures, but those Metallica Transformers were cool too. The band's next release, Beware the Circling Fin, is complete '80s thrash worship and put the personified band at around the seven-year mark, just when they are learning to ride a bike. Early Man found their focus and got excited, then rode it all over the neighborhood, which now brings us to their new album Death Potion. A bit older, they have become very comfortable on their thrash bike and can now do sweet BMX tricks as well. Point is, Early Man is still maturing and I don't think this is the last side of them we will see. ARIS WALES

ESKMO, SUB SWARA, LORN, BARISONE

(Rotture, 315 SE 3rd) San Francisco-based producer Eskmo (Brendan Angelides) said he had "a lot of deep life-experience type stuff happening" while he was working on his debut self-titled album for Ninja Tune. The resulting collection of churning, contemplative soundscapes combines an inventive bedrock of sludgy bass with layers of piercing synthesizers, shimmering water, hissing airflow, and silverware percussion that all slowly heave up, dissipate, and finally come crashing down into dramatic walls of sound. Adding even more depth to the already dense compositions are Angelides' vocals—deep and dispassionate echoes that somehow tie everything together despite feeling completely divorced from the emotion surging out through the rest of the music. Then again, that sense of separation merged with the muddy oscillation of the album as a whole is not unlike what one feels when going through "deep life-experience type stuff." AVA HEGEDUS

WATERHEATER BENEFIT SHOW: K-TEL '79, BLOOD BEACH, CAT STALKS BIRD, HEAVY SWEATERS, MY AUTUMN'S DONE COME, SALLO, QUIET LIFE, DJ XCALIBER

(The Waterheater, 750 N Fremont) The tumultuous history of the effort to run viable all-ages music venues in Portland has a new chapter. The Waterheater, a former industrial building off Mississippi, is emerging as a multi-purpose space dedicated to bringing Portland's "new" industries to the community at large. The building will house studios for arts and various crafts, a commercial kitchen, a brewery, a stage, and a gallery, any of which the public is encouraged to learn about and participate in. Musical performances will be just one of the Waterheater's offerings, and over two days this weekend an assortment of local acts will perform as a benefit to get some cash rolling. Although this is a space for young and old, the emphasis won't be as much on common age as on shared interest. Here's hoping that's enough to keep the Waterheater afloat. MARANDA BISH

SATURDAY 10/23

QUASI, POND, M99

(Satyricon, 125 NW 6th) See My, What a Busy Week!

BOOM!, WHITE FANG, GHOST MOM, NUCULAR AMINALS

(The Artistery, 4315 SE Division) Also read our article on Boom!.

BREATHE OWL BREATHE, LITTLE WINGS, GRAVES

(The Woods, 6637 SE Milwaukie) We seldom run articles in which one artist interviews another, as these can easily spiral into exercises in directionless navel-gazing (at best). But we made an exception this week for Micah Middaugh of Breathe Owl Breathe—a band we've been championing for far too long—and Kyle Field of Little Wings. Middaugh is a printmaker and Field is an artist (whose work has adorned the cover of this here paper). The pair is collaborating on a tour poster, so why not an interview as well? The result? An absolute trainwreck, albeit a hilarious and confusing one. Everything we adore about this pair of freethinking artists is the exact reason why they should never be left alone in a room with a tape recorder and an interview deadline. While we won't know what goes on in their strange minds, we do know that both artists create marvelous recordings of childlike wonder that sound good in both venue and pillow fort. EAC

BORN RUFFIANS, MELIGROVE BAND, AAN

(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) On first listen, "What to Say," the de-facto title track from Born Ruffians' latest, Say It, sounds like someone is monkeying with the mix. Lead singer Luke Lalonde's voice slides in and out of room-sized reverb; the mix is dry as a bone, and a noodling guitar slices through the muffle like a cheese cutter. But the song slowly builds momentum, bringing a mid-song bridge into effective relief. The band communicates a tremendous amount in the fewest notes possible, and there's similar restraint and efficiency throughout the rest of Say It. The Canadian trio has an elastic and shifting sound, at times evoking a pre-E Street Band Bruce Springsteen, at others a stripped-down Thin Lizzy, and still others a Pigpen-era Grateful Dead—often all within the same song. NL

BLUE SCHOLARS, GRIEVES, BUDO

(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) Their rhymes portray them as average dudes with average problems, handling them by average means. But while that lyrical realm in underground hiphop can be an easy path to regurgitated coffee-shop politics, Seattle's Blue Scholars narrowly elude that trap with smart, honest wordplay, a distinctly Northwest perspective, and a knack for triumphant hooks. Blue Scholars rock an evolving catalog that spans from the snappy jazz-encrusted foreground of 2007's high-energy and dreamy Bayani, to the recent OOF! EP's breezy tone and pared-down, deliberate sampling. All of this wraps around emcee Geologic's rich voice and worldly (yet colloquial) anecdotes. They're doing all this with the integrity of a truly artist-controlled music project, and they're making it sound downright classy. KEVIN OTZENBERGER

SUNDAY 10/24

THE VASELINES, DUM DUM GIRLS

(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) When the Vaselines reunited for a few shows last year, it came off more as a genuine desire to play those old songs again than a simple cash grab. "Playing electric guitar again is fantastic," guitarist Eugene Kelly told me in an interview. "I've missed making a racket." That said, I didn't see a new record in the Scotland duo's future (should I have?). But Sex with an X is here, picking up right where 1990's Dum-Dum left off. Kelly and fellow core member Frances McKee still know how to dish up simple (and effective) jangle-pop songs that are sexed up and snotty (and not at all twee). One thing is certain: The Vaselines' bare-bones pop is of an ilk that never really goes out of vogue, even though I think the members might be milking it at this point. ML Also see My, What a Busy Week!

THE MIGRANT, THE MORALS, RIVERBANKS

(Rontoms, 600 E Burnside) Bjarke Bendtsen is the Migrant, a Scandinavian folk singer working in American idioms—like First Aid Kit or the Tallest Man on Earth, if you need to draw direct comparisons. But Bendtsen is Danish, and his music is warmer and sloppier than his Swedish counterparts. The Migrant's debut, Travels in Lowland, is a freewheeling collection of excellent pop-folk recorded, in Bendtsen's own words, "with some hippie Copenhageners at a summerhouse in Lolland, which is by the southern Danish coast." It has Basement Tapes charm delivered with In the Aeroplane Over the Sea urgency, and Bendtsen has been taking his pseudonym to heart: He spent a large part of the past few years journeying around the States with only a guitar and a suitcase. The ramshackle charm of his debut will no doubt carry through to this show, and he may have a few extra Migrants in tow as well. NL

MONDAY 10/25

WOMEN, MANCHILD

(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Two years after their stellar self-titled debut, Canadian indie genre-smashers Women have given us Public Strain, apparently after misplacing their memo about the sophomore slump. Everything Women had, Public Strain delivers better—the hooks dig in deeper, the fuzz is dolloped on thicker, and the brilliantly ramshackle dual-guitar interplay gives Deerhoof a run for their money. The album's unpolished but shimmering psychedelia burrows a lo-fi trip into the heart of winter bummers—the whole thing was recorded during a particularly brutal Canadian winter—emerging victorious with an enchanting listen that, by the end of the surprisingly sunny closing track "Eyesore," leaves you not entirely sure what just happened, but ready to flip the record and try again. ETHAN JAYNE Also see My, What a Busy Week!

TUESDAY 10/26

AZURE RAY, TIM FITE, WHISPERTOWN

(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Azure Ray might be one of the rare "indefinite hiatus" bands to actually not break up, instead using their hiatus to cultivate a pair of solo careers for the whispering duo of Orenda Fink and Maria Taylor. Seven years back, the pair was basking in the praise from their heartbreakingly sparse Hold on Love, plus riding the (fur-free) coattails of Moby as guest vocalists on his 18 LP. Sounding like they never left, Azure Ray return with the Eric Bachmann-produced Drawing Down the Moon, a moody recording of ghostly pop numbers soft on volume, but heavy on emotional impact. Don't call it a comeback because, well, it's not one. EAC

THE HENRY CLAY PEOPLE, THE DIG, SWIM SWAM SWUM

(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Somewhere on the Golden Coast, the third album from the Henry Clay People, breaks one of the cardinal rules of rock and roll: It includes new versions of old songs, buried in with the rest of the new material. But one listen to Golden Coast and all is forgiven. "Working Part Time" is brasher and thicker and snottier, and "This Ain't a Scene" is tauter, more melancholy, more elegantly bruised than it was on 2008's For Cheap or for Free. Anyway, the two tracks just exemplify the number of excellent songs in the Henry Clay People's impressive back catalog, which escaped most people the first time around. Playing classic rock with boozy bonhomie, they're a little reminiscent of the Replacements, perhaps because the band's lineup also includes two brothers, Joey and Andy Siara. The Henry Clay People is a damn fine band, their shows are a damn good time, and their songs are damn well worth listening to, even if they've been recycled. NL

AND AND AND, ARCHERS, THE WOOLEN MEN

(Lola's Room, 1332 W Burnside) Portland music, while you were sleeping Archers just might have become the best damn band in this town. You might have been unaware, but UK label Heavenly Records was not. The respected London imprint will be releasing the band's excellent self-titled 7-inch the world over. Side A track "Brussels Truffles" is a wide-eyed and urgent call-to-action of sheer unbridled enthusiasm. You'll get no rest when you flip the wax, as "Radical Opinion" flops around like a livewire, with an influential trail of crumbs that leads back to the Jam, Guided by Voices, and maybe just a wee bit of Exploding Hearts as well. Portland, this is your new obsession. EAC

RUSSIAN CIRCLES, KEELHAUL, CALL ME LIGHTNING

(Rotture, 315 SE 3rd) Russian Circles' dark and cinematic instrumental songs are fantastic any and every time of year, but if there's ever a time to see the band live and really get into their music, it's now, when Halloween is around the corner and everything feels a little bit spooky. The Chicago-based trio is basically a really well done soundtrack to my nightmares. Through their epic sonic journeys (many of their songs reach the eight-minute mark), they give you a few chances to relax, with moments of sweeping melodies and beautiful guitar work, but mostly they sound like what you'd expect to hear when foolishly wandering through a haunted house—right before whatever undead monster lives there decides to make a meal out of your brains. MEGAN SELING

BROKEN WATER, SILVER INTERIOR, MORGAN AND THE ORGAN DONORS, HYPNOGOGUE

(Valentine's, 232 SW Ankeny) The middle-child city between Portland and Seattle is always rife with talented young bands drinking from its creative fount—after all, "It's the Water"—but right now there is nobody in Olympia as exciting or promising as Broken Water. Since their birth in 2008, the band has sweated out multiple tours, a pair of 7-inch singles, and a debut full-length: a particularly grungy trip of ecstatic psych-punk called Whet. Blanketing their overdriven, melodious noise and boy/girl vocals in a heady fog of reverb, Broken Water give their songs space to churn and rumble—letting loose frenzied artesian swells of shoegazing post-punk to roil around in your brain. EJ

ELF POWER

(Someday Lounge, 125 NW 5th) Not to play God—or in this case, Brian Wilson—but shouldn't tonight's Elf Power show and tomorrow's Apples in Stereo date just be combined to form a mini-Elephant 6 festival?(Working title: Elefest 6.) Include the Minders and maybe get that Neutral Uke Hotel tribute band to open things up? Since that's not in the cards, just enjoy the delectable pop of Athens' Elf Power, who will screening the totally odd Major Organ and the Adding Machine (named after the secretive project of the same name) movie before their set. If you have seen the trailer for this feature film you will agree wholeheartedly with what I am about to say: come stoned. Very, very, very (*takes bong rip*), very, very, very stoned. EAC

WEDNESDAY 10/27

ISOBEL CAMPBELL AND MARK LANEGAN, WILLY MASON

(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) See My, What a Busy Week!

DJ SHADOW, DJ WICKED

(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) Read our article on DJ Shadow.

THE APPLES IN STEREO, FOL CHEN, THE MINDERS

(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) The cuddliest of the Elephant 6 gang, the Apples in Stereo have churned out a mammoth selection of delectable pop over the course of their seven albums. That momentum continues with Travellers in Space and Time, this year's bouncy collection of candy-coated disco (yes, disco) pop tunes from Robert Schneider and company. No longer staring longingly at the '60s, the Apples seem to have come down with Xanadu fever, which makes Travellers sound like roller-disco night at the skate rink. As bizarre as that sounds, it works, thanks to Schneider's uncanny ability to turn every song into a brain-burrowing hit that won't divorce itself from your skull anytime soon. EAC