SERGE SEVERE
Ash Street Saloon, 2/18

THURSDAY 2/17

JONATHAN COULTON, MIKE PHIRMAN

(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) See My, What a Busy Week!

GANG OF FOUR, HOLLERADO

(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) Read about Gang of Four.

BRAINSTORM, ARCHERS, HAUSU

(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) A handful of Portland's best bands are playing tonight, and the only thing it'll cost you is the energy it takes to get your lazy bones off the couch. Tonight's free show is headlined by the whirlwind duo of Brainstorm, who blaze through an array of musical genres, usually within a single song. Meanwhile, Archers offer a clobbering, frantic power-pop clang of guitar noise, heard to best effect on their destined-to-be-classic debut 7-inch. But it's Hausu—a Portland four-piece featuring Ben Funkhouser of Herr Jazz—that might need the most introductions. With a tight, wiry sound that transforms commonplace '60s-style lo-fi garage into effervescent, optimistic post-punk anthems, Hausu make a sound that's both familiar and intoxicatingly fresh at the same time. Plus, Hausu takes their name from the most bazonkers movie of all time: the 1977 Japanese surreal horror flick that's similarly wrapped in gauzy nostalgia and grinning WTF-ness. Hausu is slated to release a 12-inch record later this year on Seattle imprint Highfives and Handshakes. NED LANNAMANN

INVISIBLE ALLIES, BLUETECH, KILOWATTS

(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Right off the top of my head, I can think of three good reasons to appreciate KiloWatts: (1) He writes weird electronic songs about his cat. (2) He's half of the production brain behind the dark and twisted sounds of Voodeux, one of the most unexpected, interesting, and underappreciated projects to surface in the techno world in the past few years. (3) He has so many collaborative ventures going on, he recently listed and explained them all in a blog post titled, "Confused? Read Here." His most recent consort is Bluetech, a producer known for making floaty downtempo with a bit of an ethereal stoner vibe. Together as Invisible Allies, the two just released Hyperdimensional Animals, an album showcasing a shared interest in what they describe as "futuristic spacefunk, textural ambient, odd time signatures, complex harmonic developments, detailed digitalia, and a sublime sense of the exotic." AVA HEGEDUS

FRIDAY 2/18

GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR

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

DREW GROW BENEFIT: PORTLAND CELLO PROJECT, SHENANDOAH DAVIS, EZZA ROSE

(The Woods, 6637 SE Milwaukie) Last month, Portland musician Drew Grow suffered a serious wreck in his band's touring van. The van didn't make it, but thankfully Grow is recovering as well as could be hoped for, following several surgeries and an extended hospital stay. But as you can imagine, those kind of medical necessities don't come cheap, so as a result—do you see where this is going?—a group of kind Portland musicians have come together to perform a benefit concert to raise funds for Grow's hefty hospital bills. Performers include Seattle singer/songwriter Shenandoah Davis—who's a sometime member of chamber pop group Grand Hallway and whose solo material marries classical and pop styles—alongside Ezza Rose, a Portlander with a stunning voice and a repertoire of gently bewitching jazz-folk. Davis and Rose will be joined by a quartet of cellists from the Portland Cello Project. NL

SERGE SEVERE, MANIMALHOUSE, DESTRO, L PRO, MIC CRENSHAW, LEVEL HEADED, DICTION, UNIVERSAL DJ SECT, GEN. ERIK

(Ash Street Saloon, 225 SW Ash) Serge Severe is a Portland emcee whose dexterous lyricism, combined with his respect for rap history, has been evident ever since he burst upon the scene. Severe's last mixtape found him spitting over classic DJ Premier tracks, cementing his commitment to a culture where rocking the mic right is of the utmost importance; a world where radio spins and social media acolytes are secondary spoils to the true calling of being able to move the crowd with a DJ on the ones and twos. On his latest full-length, Back on My Rhymes, Severe further solidifies this mission with a who's-who guest list of local emcees that proves the respect he's earned from his peers. Perhaps the greatest triumph of the album is deftly not letting reverence slip into retro nostalgia, instead building on the past to create something categorically contemporary. RYAN FEIGH

YO LA TENGO, THE URINALS

(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) A year and a half after their latest release—2009's quietly revered Popular Songs—Yo La Tengo hits the road with a winning gimmick: a two-tiered show whose first chunk will be decided by the spinning of a modified chore wheel (among the options the band must be prepared to execute: comedy skits, audience Q&A, performances as their garage-rock alter egos the Condo Fucks). The second chunk of the show features a set of classic songs spanning the band's 27-year, 12-album career. DAVID SCHMADER

WATER AND BODIES, ARCHEOLOGY, THE DIMES, UHF

(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Water and Bodies have always come off as slight outsiders in this indie rock-centric town of ours. The local act has perfected the rarest of Portland musical qualities: a glossy, hook-heavy rock sound that could hijack the FM airwaves if only given a fair chance. The quartet isn't afraid to bare it all—quite literally, as they appear nude (worry not, their bits and pieces are tastefully covered) on the cover of their debut LP, Light Year—and frontman Christopher Ruff is a heart-on-his-sleeve songwriter unafraid to gush his way though a song (most notably the album's finest track, "Parallels"). The Kickstarter-funded Light Year builds nicely upon their two previous EPs, and if alt-rock radio wises up, it's going to be difficult to keep an ambitious band like this down for long. EZRA ACE CARAEFF

EL REY, AXXICORN

(The Know, 2026 NE Alberta) You may be wondering what an axxicorn is, but don't worry about that yet. All you need to know is the band Axxicorn is a crossbreed of love for classic metal and a penchant for Greek mythology. With songs like "Poseidon" and "Theseus and the Minotaur," this trio of metalheads has been laying waste to Portland audiences in recent months, bringing Sabbath-style metal back to life without a single trace of irony. Guitarist Jeremy Hanson lays out riffs that make heads bang, relentlessly shredding and thick with doom, while bass player Kerr Mahnke thumbs out lines as heavy as Zeus slinging lightning bolts from Mount Olympus, and Mike McDonnell's drumming is like the chaos that existed before the Gods intervened. Altogether they create a cathartic noise much needed in these times, and currently in the process of being captured on tape for their first album. MARANDA BISH

RUNAWAY PRODUCTIONS 10-YEAR ANNIVERSARY PARTY: CHICHARONES, LIVING PROOF, SPACEMAN, RAISE THE BRIDGES, IAME, DJ SPARK

(Someday Lounge, 125 NW 5th) Anthony Sanchez has seen some empty clubs in his day. The man whose heart beats for Portland hiphop founded Runaway Productions a decade ago and has consistently booked shows for this city's underappreciated hiphop community. This meant plenty of sparsely attended shows with more tumbleweeds than emcees, but Sanchez has remained true to the cause just as Portland hiphop has come bubbling back to the surface (where it rightfully belongs). Come celebrate Runaway Productions' first 10 years with a star-studded throwdown headlined by Chicharones (that's Sleep and Josh Martinez, duh), Full Speed creators Living Proof, members of Sandpeople, and plenty more. May decade number two be nothing but sold-out rooms. EAC

SATURDAY 2/19

BEST COAST, WAVVES, NO JOY

(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE 39th) See My, What a Busy Week!

THE DECEMBERISTS, MOUNTAIN MAN

(Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway) Read about the Decemberists.

YOB, RABBITS, NORSKA

(Branx, 320 SE 2nd) Read about Rabbits.

EZRA HOLBROOK, CASEY NEILL, REDRAY FRAZIER, SUSIE BLUE

(Secret Society, 116 NE Russell) Portland musician Ezra Holbrook has fit an impressive career into his years, including time with the Decemberists and the Minus 5, not to mention an ill-fated stint as a solo artist on Capitol Records. Now Holbrook is set to release Save Yourself, a fluid singer/songwriter record that sounds totally unaffected by market expectations or indie cred, instead offering heartwarming and personal ballads that stop just short of schmaltz. It's the sort of folk-rock that had its heyday in the early '70s; horizon-line pedal steel and Holbrook's friendly singing, which sounds not a million miles from Freedy Johnston, augment gentle acoustic plucks. "God Help the Homeless Heart" is among the record's highlights, a shivering hymn with deliberate piano chords, gospel-ghost backing vocals, and tremolo strings. NL

AWOL ONE, CESCHI RAMOS, CARS AND TRAINS, DEMUNE

(Backspace, 115 NW 5th) Nothing cuts through a beat quite like the signature molasses-thick gruff produced by AWOL One's vocal cords. His raps don't quite fit the bill of stream of consciousness; they're more like raging rivers of consciousness. Always keeping his slap-happy sense of self-deprecation alive and well, AWOL keeps on churning out an ever-morphing catalog of hiphop spectacles running the gamut from more traditional boom bap (see: Souldoubt) to whimsical, hallucinatory expeditions of near spoken word (see: Slanguage). His newer records with Factor inch slowly toward a twisted version of more contemporary underground territory, but AWOL always does it his way. And just a quick pro tip: be sure to check Ceschi Ramos. He fuses equal parts coffee-shop singer/songwriter and slick-tongued emcee into an incredible, sometimes tear-jerking, one-man performance. KALEB GUBERNICK

TANGO ALPHA TANGO, LIGHT FOR FIRE, TIGER HOUSE

(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Tiger House is nothing if not prolific, and the local band is dropping another new EP in the form of Doom Pop, a five-track affair that can be downloaded for free from their Bandcamp page. It's eager-to-please indie dance rock, with plenty of '80s synths, twisty guitars, and reconstructed disco beats. With Doom Pop, Tiger House puts the focus on the pop and not so much the doom; at their weakest, they sound less like a flesh-and-blood band than a TV-show approximation of one. But at their best, the four-piece sounds like a party erupting right around the corner from you at this very instant. Might as well stop by, right? NL

SUNDAY 2/20

HOLCOMBE WALLER AND THE HEALERS

(Alberta Rose Theatre, 3000 NE Alberta; Music Millennium, 3158 E Burnside) See My, What a Busy Week!

TELEKINESIS, THE LOVE LANGUAGE, BLACK WHALES

(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Michael Benjamin Lerner isn't reinventing the wheel, but the man behind Telekinesis comes pretty close to reinventing himself on his hot-off-the-presses new album 12 Desperate Straight Lines. This time around the Seattle songwriter goes for the throat while wearing his heart on his sleeve, bashing out prickly pop tunes with a soft center. Unlike his 2009 Merge debut Telekinesis!, this new batch sounds fully realized. Fuzz bass is the main weapon of choice here, buzzing alongside warm, distorted guitars and hop-skip drumbeats as Lerner lugs around two years of emotional baggage. But he's not alone, getting a little help from his bassist Jason Narducy and Blood Brothers guitarist Cody Votolato. Yes, I think Lerner is going to be okay. MARK LORE

JUSTIN TOWNES EARLE, DAWN LANDES

(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) The apple doesn't fall from the tree in the Earle family. Much like his father before him, Justin Townes Earle hasn't had much luck avoiding the needle or the flash of a mugshot camera (parents, never name your son after a man—Townes Van Zandt—that drank himself to death), but the 29-year-old singer/songwriter has been nothing but candid in his attempts to stay true to the righteous path. His latest, last year's Harlem River Blues, proves that JTE's soul-baring tunes will share the longevity of his old man's catalog. Plus, if you ask nicely enough he just might end the show with the 'Mats "Can't Hardly Wait." My thoughts exactly. EAC

MONDAY 2/21

MURS, TABI BONNEY, WHOLE WHEAT BREAD, AB-SOUL, DJ FOUNDATION

(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE 39th) No one "Makes Underground Raw Shit" quite like Murs. The Los Angeles emcee has established himself as one of the most consistent rhymers on the left coast, starting out just a few years after Del the Funky Homosapien, but staying relevant long after the man behind "Mistadobalina" dropped off (sorry, it's true). Murs for President was released pre-Obama election, meaning he's due for another solo disc, but Fornever—last year's full-length collaboration with 9th Wonder—still sounds fresh, capturing the rapper dropping brilliance on the epic title track and his ethnically specific love rhymes in "Asian Girl," which manages to namedrop both kimchi and pho. Clearly the way to this rapper's heart is through his stomach. EAC

TUESDAY 2/22

BEANS, HURTBIRD, HOSTILE TAPEOVER

(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) There are moments in End it All when it feels like I'm drowning. Beans has always been more than just your typical well-lunged emcee armed with some schoolyard bravado and a rhyming dictionary. The voice of Anti-Pop Consortium is in full stride on End it All, his fourth album but first for backpacker imprint Anticon, as his hurried delivery submerges you in a dizzying array of rhymes that'll leave you gasping for air. Man cannot live by Beans alone, so the Brooklyn rhymer sought the likes of Clark, Tobacco (of Black Moth Super Rainbow), and Four Tet to lend production help. End it All is a bit maddening at times and might make your skull feel like it's on the verge of a Scanners-esque wall splattering, but just take a deep breath. We'll get through this together. EAC

WEDNESDAY 2/23

TWISTA, MEEZILINI, 456, 20 BELOW, BIG SMURF

(Mt. Tabor Theater, 4811 SE Hawthorne) See My, What a Busy Week!

MAN OR ASTRO-MAN?, OCTOPUS PROJECT

(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Slide a hollowed-out television set upon your head and light a votive flame upon the altar of the Mummies, for Man or Astro-Man? has returned. The band split for their home planet (wait, was it them or Supernova that claimed to be extraterrestrials stranded on Earth?) in the early '00s, but thankfully these sci-fi surf rock futurists are back. If the Little Prince had a Link Wray LP instead of a rose, he would have ended up like MoAM?, who—much like the spuds of Devo taking root in Middle America—sprouted from rural Alabama with a masterful surf rock sound that was miles (and decades) away from their peers. No word if this is a proper reunion with new records on the horizon, or just a limited run of shows; either way you'd be a fool to miss it. EAC

JOSH RITTER, SCOTT HUTCHISON

(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) Frightened Rabbit began as Scott Hutchison's solo project, so it's not entirely surprising that the frontman is taking the stage on his own tonight. The rest of the Rabbits will be missed, but Hutchison's solo numbers are a reliable highlight of the Scottish band's emotional, high-energy shows. Hutchison's lyrics deploy a poetic sensibility in the service of an occasionally brutal candor ("You won't find love in a hole/It takes more than fucking someone to keep yourself warm"), and his songs find their renewable appeal at the intersection of confession and catharsis. Plus, they're fun as hell—Hutchison is a passionate, engaged performer, and the chance to catch him live, backing band or no, shouldn't be missed. ALISON HALLETT