ALOE BLACC
Dante's, 5/27

THURSDAY 5/26

USHER, AKON
(Rose Garden, 1 Center Ct) See My, What a Busy Week!

SLEIGH BELLS, NEON INDIAN, OBERHOFER
Roseland, 8 NW 6th) Read our article on Sleigh Bells.

S. CAREY, OTHER LIVES
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Bon Iver drummer (and sometimes Gayngs member) Sean Carey has made a solo record that's a delicate and involving listen, even if his even-keeled vocals lack the emotional punch of Justin Vernon's falsetto. Still, the stately, classically tinged folk of All We Grow is as warm and inviting as a fire crackling in a hearth, and the record sounds like it was crafted with artful subtlety and a genuine love of music. Considering Carey's day job is drummer for one of the best bands in the world—I am referring to Bon Iver, whose new, incredible full-length comes out in June and will likely dominate your listening habits until 2013—his solo work feels like a welcome addition to an already overflowing bounty. NED LANNAMANN

GUITAR WOLF, CHEAP TIME, THE FLIP-TOPS
(Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) It's this writer/hack's humble opinion that the majority of new rock and roll actually worth a damn is being produced overseas. While the US cultivates and supports acts like Avenged Sevenfold and Shinedown, Japan exports greasy, ass-kicking rockers like Guitar Wolf. Their "jet rock and roll" sound resembles Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry—if they were both rubbed raw by a belt sander. Though Guitar Wolf may sound extremely harsh, their style is very traditional. Why is it that a band from Japan can understand and embrace something as culturally important to America as rock and roll, and execute it better than this country's own inhabitants? It's high time for rock-and-roll rapture on US soil. Whisk away "modern rock" and all other false prophets, and leave us sinners behind. We'll take our cues from Guitar Wolf. ARIS WALES

RIVAL SCHOOLS
(Peter's Room at the Roseland, 8 NW 6th) There is an unresolved restlessness to Walter Schreifels. With a pedigree of noteworthy former acts that cover everything from the heroic stage dives of yore (Youth of Today/Gorilla Biscuit) to an unhealthy Elvis Costello obsession (Walking Concert), Schreifels is a man adrift, still trying to uncover a sound he's likely to never find. Now a decade after their stellar debut, Schreifels dusts off Rival Schools to release Pedals, an overly slick and slightly uneven follow-up to 2001's stellar United by Fate. While it's not the sort of recording one waits 10 years for, Pedals does expand the vast musical palette of an artist unwilling to settle on a single path. EZRA ACE CARAEFF

FRIDAY 5/27

SUPERNATURE: E*ROCK, STRATEGY, DJ COPY, DJ ZAC ENO
(Rotture, 315 SE 3rd) See My, What a Busy Week!

ANIMAL FARM, PHILLY'S PHUNKESTRA, AL 1, KP, COOL NUTZ
(Mt. Tabor Theater, 4811 SE Hawthorne) Read our article on Animal Farm.

ALOE BLACC
(Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) Simply put, Aloe Blacc's Good Things is a damn near perfect album. Last year's breakthrough recording for the soulful Cali crooner—who is also an integral part of the afternoon sangria-and-sunshine party the Do-Over—topped many a critic's year-end list, and established lead single "I Need a Dollar" as the omnipresent anthem for the hand-to-mouth underclass. In fact, the entirety of Good Things resonates like a re-imagined What's Going On?, delicately capturing the worrisome reality of youth in modern-day America. Along with Raphael Saadiq, Blacc is at the forefront of the modern soul renaissance, and his unrestricted, medley-heavy live sets only seem to confirm this. Missing this show would be an outright crime. EAC

COTTON JONES, THE PARSON RED HEADS, SCRIMSHANDER
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) This little newspaper has yet to rappel down from its Cotton Jones reverie. The husband/wife duo of Michael Nau and Whitney McGraw wowed us at last year's Pickathon with an honest performance under the momentary Oregon sun, and their records—most recently, the reverberating late afternoons of full-length Tall Hours in the Glowstream, and a joyful gospel blip of the EP Sit Beside Your Vegetables—have remained as constant in our ears as their shows in our music listings. And what once began as a re-imagining of Nau and McGraw's nationally heralded act Page France, Cotton Jones is gaining more momentum and attention based on its own merits—this show at the Doug Fir is their first headlining gig in Portland, with a trip to play Sasquatch! in the Gorge shortly thereafter, and all of it is extremely well deserved. If you haven't yet had the pleasure of seeing this fantastic band live, tonight is your chance—don't miss it. RAQUEL NASSER

YEASAYER, SMITH WESTERNS, HUSH HUSH
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) The Hype Machine declared New York art-rockers Yeasayer the most blogged about band in 2010, which in this digital age perhaps seems like a greater accolade than actually selling the most records. But this seems surprising: Were more people really talking about Yeasayer on the internet last year than any other band? After a striking debut with 2007's All Hour Cymbals, the group released a mostly unpleasant-sounding follow-up with Odd Blood in February of 2010. That record had high expectations and a strong lead single in the form of "Ambling Alp," but then turned out to be a day-glo mush of headachy digital sounds, occasionally gelling into appealing retro-'80s pop alchemy, as on "O.N.E." and "Madder Red." This is Yeasayer's final push before retreating into the studio for album number three, and it's likely they'll preview some new songs; whether the third album will be as good as the first is anyone's guess. At the very least, the band has proven that they're worth talking about. NL

FLOATER, THE DAYS THE NIGHTS
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) Radical Sabbatical, the 2009 release from local rockers the Days the Nights, was a welcome surprise of complex, hook-heavy anthems aimed squarely at listeners who appreciate the fine art of riffage, plus those who recognize the underappreciated influence of Ken Andrews. The band returns with a seven-song EP, Neon Lion, which continues this trend and helps fill the woefully depleted genre of listenable heavy rock. Good luck dislodging the hook from "America's Religion" from your brain—it's a must-hear hit song that KUFO should put in heavy rotation. That is, if KUFO ever played local music during decent hours and, well, still existed. EAC

SATURDAY 5/28

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

FITZ AND THE TANTRUMS, LEROY BELL AND HIS ONLY FRIENDS, BUSHWALLA, CAS HALLEY
(Tom McCall Waterfront Park, 1020 SW Naito) See My, What a Busy Week!

THE UNDERTONES, THE POLAROIDS, PITCHFORKMOTORWAY
(Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) Read our article on The Undertones

GAYNGS, WHITE HINTERLAND
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Read our article on Gayngs.

ETERNAL SUMMERS, THE BEETS, AWKWARD ENERGY
(East End, 203 SE Grand) Though they share the same name as the fictional band beloved by cartoon's Doug Funnie, the Beets from Queens, New York, are not merely animated Fab Four impostors. Rather, they're a lo-fi garage band making catchy songs with repetitive choruses that inch their way into your ears and latch onto your brain. Like a lot of music these days, the Beets require repeated listens before something in their music finally clicks. It took me two years and a pair of albums before I finally began to appreciate their bratty, nonsensical ramshackle pop (I obviously wasn't cool enough to "get" their debut Spit in the Face of People Who Don't Want to Be Cool.) Their latest full-length, Stay Home, is incidentally what brought it all back. I'm just waiting for them to come full circle and cover "Killer Tofu." TRAVIS RITTER

THRONES, SEDAN, WIZARD RIFLE, PRACTISE
(Someday Lounge, 125 NW 5th) From his synthesizer work with drone metal band Sunn O))) to playing bass with rock bands such as Earth, High on Fire and the Melvins, Joe Preston is a household name among fans of loud and heavy music. After years of touring and multiple releases on Kill Rock Stars, little was heard from his solo project, Thrones, other than the occasional live date. Finally, after a six-year wait, Joe Preston Solid Gold Recordings is presenting us with a Thrones/Sedan split. Sedan's side of the 12-inch is an epic and ethereal track made of beautiful soundscapes and crashing drums. Thrones' side is a haunting drone piece filled with synthesizers and vocoders drenched in dark reverb. ARIAN JALALI

JAILL, THE NEEDFUL LONGINGS
(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) I cannot tell you a single thing about what the Needful Longings sound like, as tonight will be only their second show. But the local act's reputation certainly precedes them. The Needful Longings are made up of Sean Croghan (Rapids, Crackerbash), Jim Talstra (Dharma Bums), Chris Slusarenko (Guided by Voices), and Paul Pulvirenti (Atom 61). When a new project comes from a group of musicians that have been making cherished music for a few decades, it's cause for celebration. I can't wait to hear the band so that we can talk about these artists not for what they have done, but for what they're still doing. MARANDA BISH

SUNDAY 5/29

WHITE DENIM, WHITE ARROWS
(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) See My, What a Busy Week!

CAT STALKS BIRD, THE RESERVATIONS, BLOOD BEACH
(Valentine's, 232 SW Ankeny) The duo of Cat Stalks Bird moved to Portland from Michigan, and brought with them a unique and arresting version of guitar rock. Drummer/vocalist Nate Weber also holds a guitar in his lap, hammering down chords with one hand while his remaining three limbs keep heavy time. Meanwhile, Jake Early also wields an ax, playing complicated, arpeggiated figures underneath Weber's swampwater vocals. The result is far denser than two ordinary people could muster, but Cat Stalks Bird manage to sound like an army of giants. The group celebrates their first release as a Portland band tonight with the new Vacant Space EP, and they've assembled a dynamite bill of Portland's best, weirdest psych-rock outfits in the form of the Reservations and Blood Beach. NL

MONDAY 5/30

DOOM, HELLSHOCK, DEATHCHARGE, RELIGIOUS WAR, RIPPER
(Branx, 320 SE 2nd) After 20-plus years, UK crust pioneers Doom have finally decided to play a few shows in the States. Portland is in the middle of a tour that brings them to two of the most important pilgrimages for DIY punk and metal fans in the US: Maryland Deathfest and Chaos in Tejas. Which is fitting, being that Doom are cornerstones of the scene, and 99 percent of the fans at these shows will be seeing them for the first time—strange for such a hugely influential and accepted band that has been around off and on since 1987. It's also a bit odd considering that Bri Doom and Stick are all that remain of the first incarnation of Doom. Why now? Does it really matter? The volume of anger, desperation, frustration, and urgency in their records is still thick and fresh as ever, and so many crust, metal, and even some grind bands are still trying to capture the feeling that Doom absolutely nailed to the wall over two decades ago. JAY WILLIAMS

TUESDAY 5/31

IRON AND WINE, THE HEAD AND THE HEART
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) See My, What a Busy Week!

MAD RAD, WEINLAND, AND AND AND, THE GLOBES
(Star Theater, 13 NW 6th) Dying to know what bands are going to steal you away in September during the 11th year of MusicfestNW? Then come on down to the freshly remodeled Star Theater—no longer just a hobo graveyard—for the free MusicfestNW lineup announcement party. In between sets from a diverse lineup of talent—the transition between the whiskey-drowning sorrows of Weinland to the in-your-grill electro party rap of Mad Rad might make your head explode—the 2011 festival lineup will be unveiled. Spoiler alert: We have it on good authority that this year's lineup will feature a collaboration between Merzbow and Cody Simpson. EAC

14 ICED BEARS, ORCA TEAM, GHOST ANIMAL
(East End, 203 SE Grand) 14 Iced Bears barely received the recognition for spawning the jangly, jaunty C86 sound that contemporary bands like Vivian Girls, the Pains of Being Pure at Heart, and Comet Gain have warmly embraced. It's a shame because the band, formed in London just over 25 years ago, makes some of the most ebullient indie pop you've probably never heard. Combining frantic Feelies-esque rhythms, delicately distorted guitar chops, and soft-spoken, whimsical vocals about falling in love and running away, 14 Iced Bears should be a household name to current Slumberland Records fans (Slumberland even released In the Beginning, a 14 Iced Bears compilation of singles and Peel Sessions back in 2001). But because they seldom play live and haven't released a full-length of new material in more than a decade, that might explain why they're not playing to the same sizable crowds as their predecessors. No worries, they'll still be my little secret that I always put on mixtapes. TR

!!!, BREAKFAST MOUNTAIN
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Truth be told, we've been a little harsh on !!! (pronounced "chk chk chk"—why do we still need to explain this?) over the years. Following their exhilarating debut, the funk-heavy Brooklyn-via-Sacramento ensemble stalled out, leaving us to pen less-than-flattering pieces on the band (one such headline was "Schtick! Schtick! Schtick!"—god, we're such dicks, dicks, dicks). But with the release of Strange Weather, Isn't It?, their 2010 Warp Records debut, it's clear that !!! should be commended for their Andrew WK-esque commitment to keeping the party going strong, and the band's sheer longevity, easily outlasting the early aughts' short-lived dance-punk explosion. Considering that LCD Soundsystem has shuffled off this mortal coil, we all just need to dance and not overthink things for once. EAC

WEDNESDAY 6/1

AMOR DE DIAS, DAMON AND NAOMI
(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) British singer/songwriter/guitarist Alasdair MacLean breathes delicate sonic beauty. As leader of the Clientele, he's helmed five albums awash with subdued pop charmers, each LP a classic of hushed, autumnal splendor. MacLean's new project with Pipas singer Lupe Núñez-Fernández, Amor de Dias, is a subtly different endeavor, but the outcome is similar: You get chills all over. Nuanced bossa-nova rhythms gently nudge things along on Amor de Dias' Street of the Love of Days, but Clientele fans will lurve this stuff. Damon and Naomi traffic in similar realms of melancholy, flower-petal-soft ballads, although electric guitarist Michio Kurihara occasionally adds ascending, baroque embellishments. Their latest full-length, False Beats and True Hearts, proves that these ex-Galaxie 500 vets haven't lost any of their chamber-pop wiles. DAVE SEGAL

OLD 97'S, SARAH JAFFE
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) The bona fides of Dallas' Old 97's are already well established: They're perhaps the only remaining reliable workhorse in the bevy of bands that rose to prominence during the No Depression/alt-country wave of the late '90s. So turn your attention to opener Sarah Jaffe, the Denton, Texas, singer/songwriter whose first full-length album, Suburban Nature, is monumentally great. Excellent opening track "Before You Go" is a waltz carved out of huge drum cracks and drowsy down strokes on Jaffe's acoustic guitar, all with her surly-sweet growl drawing out notes to haunting lengths. It's a remarkable introduction, and the rest of Suburban Nature is just as good, particularly the road-trip ache of "Clementine," which moves along like a car getting the fuck out of Dodge, putting broken love and bad memories in the rearview mirror. Jaffe sings truth, and beating under the surface of her anguished songs is the undeniable hope that goes along with that truth. NL