BLUEPRINT
Roseland, 5/9

THURSDAY 5/5

NIGHT TRAIN SOUL CLAP AND DANCE OFF
(East End, 203 SE Grand) See My, What a Busy Week!

ZOLA JESUS, NAKED ON THE VAGUE, PETE SWANSON, DJ NIGHTSCHOOL
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Naked on the Vague appeared out of nowhere in 2008 with a debut LP that had an ominous, purple-hued photograph of a man and woman holding antlers, candles, mirrors, and other things on the cover. But you gotta give the Sydney, Australia-based duo (Lucy Cliché and Matthew Hopkins) some credit for paving the black tar on the new goth scene that currently resonates in hipster cliques worldwide. (I think people call it grave wave?) Naked on the Vague's music is a racket of dissonant tones and morbid fascinations. Their latest full-length, Twelve Dark Noons, recorded as a four-piece, showcases their decidedly fuller doom vibes brilliantly. Witchy young lady Zola Jesus is a hybrid of Stevie Nicks, Diamanda Galás, and Siouxsie Sioux, and her classical take on material Swans never wrote is good enough to win over the veteran goths who actually partied in the Batcave. TRAVIS RITTER

Y LA BAMBA, GRAND HALLWAY
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Looking for a Cinco de Mayo option that doesn't involve tequila and a shot-glass bandolier? Class up your fifth of May with a cuddly evening spent beside Y La Bamba and some very special guests (shhh, it's a mariachi band). Luz Elena Mendoza's mystical folk outfit recently raised $8,386 on Kickstarter—their goal was $8,000, so they now have an extra $386 to spend on something worthwhile, like a sweet airbrushed mural of an Aztec god painted on their van for their upcoming tour with Neko Case. Those donations will be used to fund their second full-length and follow-up to the promising Lupon. Joining them will be the sweet sounds of Seattle indie pop sextet Grand Hallway, who are about to release Winter Creatures, a new full-length recorded right here in Portland. EZRA ACE CARAEFF Also see My, What a Busy Week!

MOGWAI, ERRORS
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) There are folks who insist that Mogwai's breakthrough 1999 album Come on Die Young is the pinnacle of their recording career. They'll tell you how the Scottish post-rock band took Slint's beautiful and beastly extremes to new levels, and about how explosively loud they were live back in the day. But there were critics who initially panned the album, viewing it as a letdown after their promising Young Team debut. The thing is, Mogwai continue to expand their sound on every record, borrowing ideas from various corners of the rock spectrum, delivering everything from piano ballads to vocoder-enhanced pop songs to Kraut rock exercises. Their consistent creative adventurism and high-quality output ultimately make whichever album served as your introduction, the most likely to be cemented into place as your favorite. BRIAN COOK

FRIDAY 5/6

BEACH FOSSILS, CRAFT SPELLS, SOFT METALS
(Berbati's, 10 SW 3rd) You didn't think the last show you'd ever see at Berbati's would be Five Fingers of Funk, did you? No, fate is not that cruel. But we were surprised—and pleased—to see the legendary downtown venue reopen its doors so quickly after its supposed final show on New Year's Eve. This show was originally slated for the refurbished Star Theater (13 NW 6th), but that venue still needs the finishing touches put on before it is show ready, so a slightly remodeled Berbati's fills the gap. The venue is now a bit smaller to make room for an expanded Voodoo Doughnut, and at some point in the future it will be renamed Ted's, in memory of Berbati's owner Ted Papaioannou, who died last year. In the meantime, Berbati's is back with tonight's very solid show, headlined by Brooklyn's Beach Fossils, who make echoey jangle pop with a hint of sadness, played to the fore on their latest EP, What a Pleasure. NED LANNAMANN

STEPHANIE SCHNEIDERMAN, DIRTY MARTINI
(Alberta Rose Theatre, 3000 NE Alberta) Stephanie Schneiderman's 2008 album Dangerous Fruit was a major shift from the acoustic folk sound of her previous five albums. Working with electronic producer Keith Schreiner, she transformed from mere singer/songwriter to heartfelt electronica pop queen. The two musicians have fine-tuned this metamorphosis with a second collaboration entitled Rubber Teardrop. Schreiner is versatile, moving through ambient background textures to upbeat dance tempos, always coming up with just the right landscape for Schneiderman's moving lyrics. Together they've found a formula that renews the relevance of a talented songwriter and opens all kinds of possibilities for respectfully expanding into the larger pop music realm. AVA HEGEDUS

LADIES NIGHT: REPORTER, WAMPIRE, AROHAN, LINGER AND QUIET
(Branx, 320 SE 2nd) Reporter's 2010 debut album, Time Incredible, was an excellent platter of dance-floor synths and Italo-tinged disco, but it could never have been labeled anything close to "warm." That's definitely not the case with their new single, "Skin Like Fire," which damn near has steam rising off it. Heated synth pads glow over an inescapable beat as the band slowly works things to a boil, with singer Alberta Poon cooing, "Rest your head on me/Skin like fire." It's their most humane number and perhaps the catchiest thing they've done since they switched their name from Wet Confetti a few years back. Reporter caps off a very danceable Ladies Night at Branx, in which ladies pay a three-dollar cover while gentlemen pay seven—unless you come dressed in drag. Gents, it will be the best four bucks you've ever saved. NL

TIM XAVIER, BRYAN ZENTZ, JAK, GEORGE HOLLAND, NICODEMUS, TRAVISMODE
(Whiskey Bar, 31 NW 1st) Tim Xavier is best known for his releases with Clink Recordings, one of only a few beacons of high-art minimal techno based in the United States. He's also left his mark on the scene at large with his mastering work for respected record labels like Minus, Spectral, and Wagon Repair. Naturally, Xavier eventually relocated to Berlin to be at the epicenter of the techno world, so that makes his visit to Portland just a little more special. What sets him apart from other techno producers is a deep understanding of sound engineering. A recent collaboration with fellow Clink artist Insideout entitled "Girl on Fire" seems like a pretty simple loop-meets-vocal-sample formula, but something about it is just so addictive. The subtle tampering of the slowed-down, narcotic-induced vocals is obviously the work of someone who understands the intricacies of sound production and how to manipulate them to work like a drug. AVA

SATURDAY 5/7

DAVE DEPPER, LEWI LONGMIRE BAND, SEAN NELSON
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Dave Depper performs Paul and Linda McCartney's Ram album, while the Lewi Longmire Band tackles Neil Young's After the Gold Rush and Sean Nelson plays a set of tunes by Harry Nilsson. Meanwhile, read our article on Dave Depper.

WANDA JACKSON, RED MEAT
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) Read our article on Wanda Jackson.

LOUDNESS, DIRTY PASSION, WAR MACHINE
(Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) My first exposure to Loudness was when I was given their fifth studio album Thunder in the East from someone who had received it as a gag gift. They displayed the LP in their living room like an ironic knickknack. The Japanese band's name made me chuckle and the photos of them on the back with their pouty lips, red and black leather, and animal prints in unnatural colors added to the comedy. However, once I played the album and "Crazy Nights" started chugging, I knew the beast from the east was no joke. Loudness' pounding heavy metal has the hooks and chops to measure up to Priest, Maiden, or any other legendary act that comes to mind. Guitarist Akira Takasaki has a ripping, classical style that makes him one of the most underrated guitar players in the genre. In short, Loudness provided me with my very first lesson in not judging a band by its feathered hair. ARIS WALES

AGENT RIBBONS, ORCA TEAM, THE HAPPENING
(Saratoga, 6910 N Interstate) The Austin-based duo of Natalie Gordon and Lauren Hess, known as Agent Ribbons, are doing their part to build upon the legacy of modern female music, emulating Amanda Palmer's antics and Joanna Newsom's lyrical prowess with a newly minted type of baroque bedroom pop—the thinking woman's doo-wop, if you will. Agent Ribbons have put a lot of thought into what they want to be, and have a meticulous sound as a result—pretty melodies thrown off kilter by slightly-out-of-tune instruments and heady lyrics. This can be overly obtuse, as in the vaudeville "Your Love Is the Smallest Doll." ("Infinities are like Russian dolls/they fit inside of each other/so what did you mean when you proclaimed/ that you'd love me forever?") That said, most of their music sounds pleasant enough, and I imagine that their zealousness makes for an entertaining live show. MARANDA BISH

SUNDAY 5/8

VIVIAN GIRLS, NO JOY, BLOOD BEACH
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) See My, What a Busy Week!

NATE LACY
(Al's Den, 303 SW 12th) See My, What a Busy Week!

THAO AND MIRAH WITH THE MOST OF ALL, LED TO SEA, MARISA ANDERSON
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) Read our article on Thao and Mirah.

MONDAY 5/9

NATE LACY
(Al's Den, 303 SW 12th) See My, What a Busy Week!

CASS McCOMBS, FRANK FAIRFIELD
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) If you have not yet listened to Cass McCombs' latest, Wit's End, I suggest you do so immediately—though initially, it's best you reserve a late night and a dim room with a comfortable seat (and a comparable head space) to take it in as an entity. I'm warning you: This record will blow the cobwebs from the darkest corners of your brain and, at times, render you inconsolable. But with great tact, McCombs draws the beauty from that place, translated into lonely waltzes and the starkly vulnerable imagery he invokes—solemnly stating that "a calf is easy to brand" in the heart-wrenching song, "Memory's Stain," or slowing down through familiar territory (and mellowed, tremulous electric piano) of the first single, "County Line." It's likely to be a night for bourbon and reckoning at Mississippi Studios, though one to be ushered in welcomingly and without fear. RAQUEL NASSER Also see My, What a Busy Week!

ATMOSPHERE, BLUEPRINT, GRIEVES, BUDO, SAB THE ARTIST, DJ ABILITIES
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) Slug, of Twin Cities hiphop institution Atmosphere, has been flirting with it for years, but now with the release of The Family Sign it's downright official: He's a grown-ass man. Maintaining relevancy while aging in independent hiphop is a journey into uncharted territory, and while Atmosphere's recent output has varied—2008's When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold was a hit, 2005's You Can't Imagine How Much Fun We're Having was not—it's hard to hate on the backpacker icon and co-founder of Rhymesayers Entertainment. Speaking of, the criminally underappreciated Blueprint just delivered Adventures in Counter-Culture on the very same label. His most balanced full-length to date, Adventures expands on the emcee's previous material and balances boastful rhymes with a genuine sincerity. As he puts it, "My perfect day is to make a beat and have sex." Can't argue with that. EAC

THE DONKEYS, SOCIAL STUDIES, YOURS
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Remember when it was deemed uncool to be even remotely associated with the Grateful Dead? (Just mere moments before it was perfectly okay to "jam" and wear tie-dye.) It's a crazy, cyclical world we live in. The Donkeys have dirt-twirled dangerously close to the Dead's twangy jams, but the San Diego four-piece also has the wherewithal to stay within the lines of pop music. Born with Stripes—the band's second release on Dead Oceans—is a breezy road trip down the West Coast with your slacker friends, who also happen to listen to punk rock. Where was I going with this? These guys deliver laidback sounds of the '70s that are actually fun to listen to. No simple feat. MARK LORE

TUESDAY 5/10

NATE LACY
(Al's Den, 303 SW 12th) See My, What a Busy Week!

THE KILLS, COLD CAVE, THE ENTRANCE BAND
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) If you were to take some members of late-'90s/early-'00s punk/hardcore—members of Discount, American Nightmare, and the Convocation Of—and tell them that more than a decade into the future they'd all be touring together, playing music in different bands that barely resemble their hardcore past, they'd probably just write it off as some farfetched prophecy. But since Discount's Alison Mosshart went on to form the long-running Kills, American Nightmare's Wesley Eisold found the goth that lingered inside with Cold Cave, and the Convocation Of's Guy Blakeslee grew his hair out long with the Entrance Band after fiddling with the blues, you could say it all came true. Now we have three people, each carving out their own darkest pleasures with a night's worth of music that you could never pick pennies, windmill, or stage dive aggressively to. Let's forgive ourselves for our past actions and embrace the future. TR

JOAN OF ARC, AIR WAVES
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Kinsella alert! Long associated with emo's brief, not-yet-shameful heyday of the late '90s, Tim Kinsella's shape-shifting Joan of Arc project has gone to heroic lengths to distance themselves from the diary toters of yore. (If you want to get your bawl on, brother Mike Kinsella of American Football and Owen is a far better option.) As for JOA, they are still at it—this time around touring in support of the forthcoming Life Like, which incorporates former Cap'n Jazz member and longtime Kinsella collaborator (Kinsellaborator?) Victor Villarreal into the quartet. It's a stretch to say Life Like is more approachable than previous recordings—especially considering that the opening song is nearly 11 minutes in length—but there is a certain return to form and youthfulness, permeating this dutifully stringent recording. EAC

CRYSTAL STILTS, CASE STUDIES, ARCHERS
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) The seamy, detective-riff garage-pop of Brooklyn band Crystal Stilts rewards deep listening. Like New Zealand's Kilgour brothers or Liverpool's Clinic, they subvert the catchy aspects of 20th-century blues-based rock and roll under walls of murk and layers of intrigue. Their latest, In Love with Oblivion, manages the feat of being both a party starter and a nod-off chillout record. Arrive in plenty of time to catch Case Studies, the new project of the Dutchess and the Duke's Jesse Lortz, which is described as a "revolving-door sing-along/play-along art project." Several times over the past few months, Lortz invited friends over to his Seattle apartment to sing and play on some new songs. A portion of the results were captured on video by Andrew Waits, and they appear to be personal, incredibly moving songs in the vein of Leonard Cohen. Lortz recently went to a cabin in rural Washington with producer Greg Ashley, who produced the excellent final Dutchess and the Duke album Sunset/Sunrise, to make the first Case Studies record. In the meantime, Lortz performs tonight with an unknown quantity of friends/musicians. The Dutchess and the Duke's recent breakup was a tremendous loss, but thankfully Lortz still has plenty of songs to play. NL

CLOUDLAND CANYON, ETERNAL TAPESTRY, RENE HELL
(The Woods, 6637 SE Milwaukie) This stacked lineup of psychedelic- and space-rocking gallants is topped by Cloudland Canyon, a project headed by Kip Uhlhorn. Cloudland’s last three albums—Silver Tongued Sisyphus, Lie in Light, and Fin Eaves (for the Kranky and Holy Mountain labels)—contain some of the most exquisitely wrought kraut-/space-/shoegaze-rock put to wax this century. Uhlhorn manifests his cosmic proclivities into towering, shimmering obelisks of sound—most recently on Fin Eaves, where he and various comrades-in-FX-pedals generate a profusion of flowery, fructose-y anthems for the sun. Guitars and keyboards oscillate wildly and soar in a vast hall of mirrors while Kip gauzily sighs in the distance. It’s an overwhelmingly blissful and disorienting sound, although hooks abound; they’re subliminal, but terminally infectious. DAVE SEGAL

WEDNESDAY 5/11

SIERRA LEONE'S REFUGEE ALL STARS
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) See My, What a Busy Week!

THE BLACK ANGELS, SLEEPY SUN
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) See My, What a Busy Week!

NATE LACY
(Al's Den, 303 SW 12th) See My, What a Busy Week!