STARFUCKER
Holocene, 4/28
Doug Fir, 4/29
Mississippi Studios, 4/30
Sarah Cass

THURSDAY 4/28

PDX POP NOW! BENEFIT: LAURA VEIRS, ERIC EARLEY, LAURA GIBSON, ISRAEL NEBEKER, DJ JEREMY PETERSON

(The Cleaners at Ace Hotel Portland, 403 SW 10th) See My, What a Busy Week!

TUNE-YARDS, BUKE AND GASS, WHITE HINTERLAND

(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) The two members of Buke and Gass are not actually named Buke and Gass—improbably, they have practically the same first name: Aron Sanchez plays the "gass," which is a guitar/bass hybrid, while Arone Dyer plays the "buke," a baritone ukulele. Their unconventional instrumentation is reason enough to draw your ear, but the Brooklyn duo also bash on percussion with their feet, and the result is a fully fleshed-out clatter, with footstomps on the downbeats and strange stringed sounds coming from the buke and gass. Sanchez designs and constructs instruments for Blue Man Group—he made the gass, along with the band's amps—and Dyer, whose vocal lines swoop around the songs like springtime birds, works as a bike mechanic. Their hands-on abilities are reflected in their music as ideas are presented, toyed with, and tested right down to the framework, resulting in noise that is as futuristic as it is homemade. NED LANNAMANN Read our article on Tune-Yards.

STARFUCKER, GUIDANCE COUNSELOR, DJ BRKFST SNDWCH

(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Starfucker (and all variations of their contentious name) might just be the bellwether for the next generation of Portland music. From their modest house-show roots to the recent string of sold-out dates across the country, Starfucker have assembled a respectable empire on their own terms. The quartet's bouncy sound is unlike anything typically associated with the Pacific Northwest, yet at the same time it's a unique snapshot of modern-day Portland. (In many ways, to not like, or "get," Starfucker is to not like modern-day Portland.) There is little denying that with their breakthrough Reptilians, Josh Hodges & Co. have created an accessible, simplistically precise sound that resonates with kids far beyond this little bubble we call home. If you need more proof of Starfucker's broad and well-deserved appeal, then catch them on any one of their three local release shows for Reptilians, each at a different venue, and each with a different selection of up-and-coming support bands. First they paved the future of Portland music, and now they are cultivating it. EZRA ACE CARAEFF

ARCHERS, SONS OF HUNS, SUPPORT FORCE, YOUTH

(East End, 203 SE Grand) What's better than seeing a great local band for free? Try seeing four great local bands for free. We've said plenty of nice things about the explosive Archers in the past, so hopefully you know about their spectacular 7-inch and forthcoming full-length. And Sons of Huns are cataclysmically good, an explosive collision of metal, punk, and psychedelic rock that hits like a landslide—and not the Fleetwood Mac kind. But the band you might be most excited about is Support Force, a trio who build pop songs out of surprising pieces, changing direction mid-song and stacking different parts together into precarious patterns. Their balance of catchiness and experimentalism results in vividly listenable music that's full of surprises. Support Force has a 7-inch due in the summer; in the meantime, expect to be hearing their name plenty. NL

TERROR, STICK TO YOUR GUNS, TRAPPED UNDER ICE, CLOSE YOUR EYES, YOUR DEMISE

(Branx, 320 SE 2nd) Given that Terror are a blistering hardcore band who have been delivering bass-heavy anthems for nearly 10 years, one could think their reputation would rest on their music. But no. Instead, Terror are known more for their “Vogelisms,” the accidentally hilarious quips the band’s lead singer, Scott Vogel, shouts out between songs. Examples: “Maximum output! Activate the pit!” “I want to see exactly 17 stage dives during this song. No more, no less.” “If you’re a little dude, get a bunch of other little dudes and take a big motherfucker down.” Go to vogelisms.com for more, and to waste a good 30 minutes of your day. MEGAN SELING

JAMAICA, THE CHAIN GANG OF 1974, WILD ONES

(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) The Chain Gang of 1974 is the handiwork of Denver’s Kamtin Mohager on record, with a full backing band for the live show. Mohager’s unabashed love for Anglo pop music creeps up all over the band’s forthcoming album Wayward Fire—particularly the familiar synth-gloss of the same ’80s tunes that every other band is ripping off these days. The obvious conclusion is that the Chain Gang of 1974’s moniker is off by about a decade. They open for Jamaica, who are also deceitfully named: The electropop duo is not from Jamaica, nor do they play ska or dancehall or anything you’d expect to come from that island. Instead, Jamaica performs slick haircut music with a teensy twinge of Strokes-y paint-by-numbers rock ’n’ roll—kind of like their fellow Frenchmen in Phoenix, who don’t come from Phoenix, nor do they play… uh, what kind of music comes from Phoenix? Jordin Sparks? NL

FRIDAY 4/29

KPSU BENEFIT: THE MEAN JEANS, GUANTANAMO BAYWATCH, STARPARTY

(Backspace, 115 NW 5th) See My, What a Busy Week!

STARFUCKER, BLOUSE

(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) See Thursday's listing above

PORTUGAL. THE MAN, TELEKINESIS, BRAINSTORM

(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) Seattle's Telekinesis make some of the brightest, most ebullient indie pop coming out of the Pacific Northwest, and have been on a major upswing since signing to Merge Records, who released 2009's self-titled debut, and the new 12 Desperate Straight Lines. Spearheaded by multi-instrumentalist/songwriter Michael Benjamin Lerner, the lineup has changed many times, but now Lerner has found a solid running mate with former Blood Brother Cody Votolato. On 12 Desperate Straight Lines, Telekinesis crunched up their sound a bit, drawing influence from the darker contours of the Cure's The Head on the Door while still engaging in power-pop hooks and effusive indie rock stylings à la Death Cab for Cutie (DCFC's Chris Walla produced both Telekinesis records). Lerner isn't as smitten as he was on his debut, which was largely written while in a cross-country long-distance relationship. But for all of Lerner's slight bitterness and hopelessness that comes across on 12 Desperate Straight Lines, he still has a way of making you fall in love, all over again. TRAVIS RITTER

ARCHITECTS AND HEROES: STEPHEN R, BUSINESS 80, CHRIS ALICE, AUDIOELECTRONIC

(BC's, 2433 SE Powell) Tonight's Architects and Heroes showcase is hosted by Nude Photo Music, a Portland-based record label with a focus on soulful, melodic house music. Architects and Heroes is a Southern California label that releases eclectic sounds that are a little difficult to classify, but definitely more aligned with the future beat movement of Los Angeles than anything in the house or techno realm. The somewhat unlikely collaboration features performances by artists from both rosters, aiming to build a connection between LA and Portland's electronic music scenes in a post-genre context. What a welcome sentiment and a perfect opportunity to close up some of the unnecessary fractures in our own community. Oh! And there's a laptop battle, which at press time still had a few spots available. AVA HEGEDUS

THE FELICE BROTHERS, YOU ARE PLURAL, VIKESH KAPOOR

(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Loving the Felice Brothers has always been a tricky proposition. These are the Upstate New Yorkers responsible for "Frankie's Gun!" one of the greatest roots-rock tunes to ever get woozily pumped out of an accordion, hoarsely hollered, and strummed on out-of-tune guitars all the way through its "sha na na" chorus. But the Felice's 2009 record, Yonder Is the Clock, didn't quite connect—more of a glancing blow than a full-on punch. And now there's the puzzling new Celebration, Florida, which incorporates electronic, dancehall, and stadium jock-rock elements into the band's dirty folk sound, to uncomfortable effect. The album, recorded in the basement of a high school near the Hudson River, is unlike anything else out there, and while it might take awhile to determine whether it's a piece of inspired genius or colossal folly, at least there's a good chance you'll get to hear "Frankie's Gun!" tonight. NL

DESSA, SIMS, LAZERBEAK, SAPIENT, CLOUDY OCTOBER

(Rotture, 315 SE 3rd) The fairest member of the Doomtree crew, Dessa, is making the rounds in support of her debut solo long-player A Badly Broken Code. This Lazerbeak-produced recording is hardly your typical hiphop affair, as Dessa bounces between a gentle R&B croon and a breathy, rapid-fire flow. Traditionalists will have to scrape their jaw off the linoleum after witnessing a set that features both boisterous call-and-response rhymes, and smoldering torch songs anchored by a stand-up bass player. If you are looking for reference points to Dessa's sound, you won't find any here (and not just because female emcees are an endangered species in the dude-first rap kingdom). But if you have grown fatigued with the typical hiphop live show (hey look, its three emcees on stage, all clutching mics and towels!), then you have your destination for tonight. EAC

SATURDAY 4/30

JAPAN RELIEF BENEFIT: TOM MITCHELL, M. QUIET, BRYAN ZENTZ, RYAN ORGAN, PIPEDREAM, IAN OBE, CLOUDBURST

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

RED FANG, MONGOLOID VILLAGE, LORD DYING, DRUNK LADIES

(Branx, 320 SE 2nd) Read our article on Red Fang.

STARFUCKER, CHAMPAGNE CHAMPAGNE, AROHAN

(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) See Thursday's listing above.

J MASCIS, BLACK HEART PROCESSION

(Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) If any eardrum-punishing guitarist has earned the right to chill the hell out and release an album of laidback folk rock, it's Dinosaur Jr. leader J Mascis. Wielding an acoustic for most of his Sub Pop solo debut, Several Shades of Why, Mascis goes against his trademark heavy-rock blowouts in favor of stripped-down, heartfelt balladeering. This kinder, gentler version of Mascis spotlights the wistful ache that's always nestled in his melodies; now it's just much easier to discern. Like Neil Young (an easy but totally apt comparison), Mascis exudes a charming vulnerability—and a poignant whine—beneath his gnarly exterior. The malicious dude who's been giving you tinnitus is actually an old softy whose tunesmithing can wring genuine tears. All is forgiven. DAVE SEGAL Also see My, What a Busy Week!

DESTRO, VURSATYL, SLEEP, JFK AKA NINJAFACE, OLDOMINION, DK SPARK, L PRO

(Slabtown, 1033 NW 16th) It's a mixed blessing being a veteran of the independent music scene. Working hard can bring respect from your peers and create solid connections with your contemporaries, but paying your dues doesn't necessarily translate into getting paid. Local emcee Destro, of Oldominion and the Boom Bap Project, seems well aware of this as he flips an old hiphop maxim on its head in the title track of his debut solo release Ill.ustrated. "Stress always a part of it, I use my gift to go. They say more money, more problems—like it's easy being broke. That's a joke for anybody trying to make it in this biz. Trying to juggle life and work and make this music what we live." The art/commerce paradigm has always been a slippery slope to navigate, yet Destro's drive and experience leave him better equipped than most to find the right balance. RYAN FEIGH

THE PIPETTES, GINA NOELL, BLUE SKIES FOR BLACK HEARTS

(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) The Pipettes are still a quintessential girl group, but instead of making great singles with personality to spare, nowadays their chief adherence to tradition seems to be rotating membership; the current two-piece incarnation includes none of the three original singers, and only one featured on We Are the Pipettes. Far more troubling was the decision to swap out spirited '60s pastiches for rudimentary dance pop on last year's Earth vs. the Pipettes. Displaying neither the steely professionalism of Girls Aloud nor the WTF joie de vivre of latter-day Bananarama, the Pipettes circa 2011 mostly evoke the interchangeable chart acts that soundtrack summer vacations in lands where Eurovision placement remains a matter of national pride—and are promptly forgotten upon returning home. KURT B. REIGHLEY

SUNDAY 5/1

THE HEAD AND THE HEART, THE DEVIL WHALE, QUIET LIFE

(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) See My, What a Busy Week!

FLEET FOXES

(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) Of all the records I expected to fall in love with in 2011, Fleet Foxes' hugely anticipated second album, Helplessness Blues, was not one of them. Their first full-length, 2008's Fleet Foxes, rightly catapulted the Seattle group to the top of the class of indie folkers (with particularly high marks for vocal harmonizing, NPR-friendliness, and beards). Perhaps because enough time had passed—or, actually, probably because of all the imitators that fell in their wake—I believed, as maybe you do, that I'd had my fill of their swooping, gracious balladry. But lo and behold, May 3 sees the release of their dreaded second record, and as it turns out, it's fucking marvelous, guided by the compassionate voice of frontman (and newly minted Portlander) Robin Pecknold. Helplessness Blues' title track alone is a full album's worth of goose-bump moments, a two-part saga that transforms from quick-strumming hoedown into elegant pastoral, on par with the orchestral sculptures Neil Young constructed on the second Buffalo Springfield album. Fleet Foxes is back, and true believers have been rewarded with a sold-out show. Doubters will have to wait for their Edgefield show in July. NL

MOJAVE BIRD, PORT ST. WILLOW, HOUSE OF WOLVES

(Valentine's, 232 SW Ankeny) Mojave Bird is the nom de music of Portlander Grace Peters, and she's releasing the seven-song You Animal People at tonight's show. The record is a disquieting but gorgeous bath of sound, carved from delicate and chilly timbres, like the blurry sounds of Grouper twisted into sharp, crisp focus. Dollhouse piano is paired with soft clouds of vocals from Peters; submerged synths rise up from their underwater beds; ghosts permeate every bar. The title track is one of several highlights, a lullaby that's equally soothing and terrifying—as if the sleep it wishes to send you to is not one you're likely to ever wake from. Produced by Port St. Willow's Nick Principe (also on the bill tonight), the record is an exquisite solo debut from an elusive and haunting talent. NL

MONDAY 5/2

MENOMENA, EMA, HOSANNAS

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

JESSICA LEA MAYFIELD, NATHANIEL RATELIFF

(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) There has been a fair amount of fussing about Jessica Lea Mayfield lately. And rightfully so. The 21-year old Ohio native began fine-tuning her career early, recording her first EP—a well-worn collection of heartsick love songs sung with womanly grace—at the tender age of 15. And since being taken under the wings of the Black Keys' Dan Auerbach, who produced her 2008 debut With Blasphemy So Heartfelt and this year's Tell Me, Mayfield has been traveling the tour circuit, opening for nearly every good Americana act out there—she's certainly paid her dues. Tell Me, Mayfield's multi-faceted sophomore release, skillfully commingles her country roots with more driving pop hooks and experimental beats to lift her ballads right out of the speakers. Not to mention that her voice, which evokes the sweet, drawling lilt of Aimee Mann, is easy on the ears. It will be a true privilege to catch Mayfield this time around at Mississippi Studios, for her days of intimate club gigs are surely numbered. RAQUEL NASSER

TUESDAY 5/3

MENOMENA, TALKDEMONIC

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

CRYSTAL HOTEL OPENING: M. WARD, CORIN TUCKER BAND, THE LORD'S OWN CHOIR

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

THE CHARTS, THE WOOLEN MEN

(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) When you have a minute, do yourself a favor and get on over to the Free Music Archive, a website where artists can post their tracks for free download. Portland's Woolen Men—the trio of Rafael Spielman, Lawton Browning, and Alex Geddes—have a handful of songs available that you should be listening to every day. Their potent combination of classic, shimmery rhythm guitar, pummeling drumbeats, and anthemic songwriting shows a band that sonically encapsulates aspects of this time and place. The selection of releases they've delivered during their two-year tenure is ripe with a sense of musical heritage—from the blissfully unabashed tone of Daniel Johnston to the lightly distorted jangle of New Zealand pop. On their latest, the magnificent The Portland Building EP, you can hear both the confluence of all these good things, and the birth of the Woolen Men's own sound. MARANDA BISH

WEDNESDAY 5/4

CRYSTAL HOTEL OPENING: M. WARD, DAVID BAZAN, THE LORD'S OWN CHOIR

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

BATTLES, 1939 ENSEMBLE

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

JUNIP, ACRYLICS

(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) Junip are a Swedish trio invariably known as José González's pre-stardom group, but they deserve respect in their own right. Their 2010 album, Fields, induces shivers with their famous frontman's hushed, dulcet vocals tiptoeing over touching, pastoral rock and krautrock-y, cruise-control jams. Bonus: Drummer Elias Araya is a veritable Scandinavian Jaki Liebezeit. Recognize. NYC duo Acrylics (Molly Shea and Jason Klauber; their rhythm section upped and joined MGMT a while ago) recently released Lives and Treasure, a collection of understated, elegantly honed pop songs that resolves male/female twosomes' innate yin-yang tension with grace and verve. Easy sighs all around. DS