JON SPENCER BLUES EXPLOSION
Wonder Ballroom, 8/18

THURSDAY 8/18

MISTER HEAVENLY, WATERS, ANNE
(Branx, 320 SE 2nd) See our article on Mister Heavenly.

DESCHUTES STREET FARE: THE BUILDERS AND THE BUTCHERS, OLD LIGHT, LOST LANDER, HILLSTOMP
(NW Davis between 10th and 11th) See My, What a Busy Week!

NICE NICE, WHITE RAINBOW, USF, BIG SPIDER'S BACK
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) The Spray, album number two from Seattle electronic duo USF—abbreviating their Universal Studios Florida moniker—won't be out until October on the Circle into Square label, but taster track "Close Your Eyes" is a dizzy sugar rush of cheerful synths and whirligig percussion. Like its found-footage video, it evokes the day-glo familiarity of '80s kitsch and filters it through a prism of information-age sensory overload. USF collaborates with labelmate (and former fellow Seattleite) Big Spider's Back—AKA one Yair Rubinstein—on "Brigitte Bombay," a soothing, gently percolating highlight from BSB's latest full-length, Memory Man. Both acts climb aboard a bill that also features two of Portland's own sonic travelers: White Rainbow, whose wide-ranging electronic output ranges from hard-art epics to infatuating dance beats, and Nice Nice, whose digital finery is supplemented with heavy guitar and drums—and who may have something new up their sleeve since the release of Extra Wow in April of last year. NED LANNAMANN

AVENGERS, ROXY EPOXY AND THE REBOUND, DEFECT DEFECT, ARI SHINE
(Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) Sound Fest 2011 is sort of like the anti-Warped Tour, a festival of all things punk rock, sans the compromise, corporations, and crunk (emo crunk, that is). Sadly it's also in Seattle, so unless you want to drag your liberty spikes up north you'll have to settle for the trickle-down talent, which in this case ain't too shabby. The Avengers are the stuff of legend, the Bay Area act fronted by Penelope Houston that reunited in 2004 and, ironically, have been around longer in their current incarnation than their initial run in the late '70s. (Fun/depressing fact: The reunited Dead Kennedys have been a band without Jello Biafra longer than they were with him.) Despite no proper full-lengths (although they have plenty of EPs and compilations) and two decades of dormancy, Houston & Co. still sound as lively as ever, still screaming about "fascist pigs" in their de facto anthem "We Are the One." EZRA ACE CARAEFF

DANAVA, WHITE ORANGE, WIZARD RIFLE, SONS OF HUNS
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) For the unbeatable cost of free, here's a chance to see four of Portland's heaviest rockers in one night. Danava have reportedly put the finishing touches on album number three, and if it's anything like their first two—or "The Illusion Crawls," their contribution to a 12-inch split with Earthless and Lecherous Gaze from earlier this year—it'll be a welcome throwback to the bong-huffing days of early '70s metal, when blues and psych and prog all violently collided and turned the volume way, way up. Wizard Rifle, meanwhile, make a full-throttle, athletic squall with just two members, and White Orange are on the cusp of releasing their self-titled debut (out September 20), in which shoegaze riffs are exploded to the biggest size imaginable. Get there in plenty of time for Sons of Huns, whose exhilarating concoction of punk and metal make them one of the best up-and-coming bands in town. NL

JON SPENCER BLUES EXPLOSION, YOUTHBITCH
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) I remember being blown away by the first performance I ever saw of the Black Keys in 2004—when Patrick Carney's punishing, blistering drumming caused multiple drumsticks to splinter, wood shards everywhere, while his hands bled all over his kit, droplets flying. They were white hot. But then I flashed back to 1996 at Seattle's Moore Theatre, when Jon Spencer Blues Explosion spit, jumped, decimated, and very nearly raised the ever-loving roof off that place, touring on their album Now I Got Worry. With frenzy and chops, they really paved the driveway to the garage rock of the mid-'00s. Say what you will about their particular brand of "blues"—but JSBX are the best performers you will likely ever see. They are fearless and rabid—the charismatic Spencer is a panty-dropping wizard, performing complicated and mystical spells on his theremin, evoking a snake-oil James Brown persona, while guitarist Judah Bauer and drummer Russell Simins flay the shit out of booty-shaking, dirty, bluesy rock 'n' roll. In short, you're probably going to want to catch these seminal musical monsters. COURTNEY FERGUSON

RETOX, LASERS FOR EYES, DARK COUNTRY
(Tube, 18 NW 3rd) Before you shed a single tear into your collectable Locust coke mirror, you'll want to have a listen to Ugly Animals. The debut LP from Retox keeps things both brief and brutal, 11 scorch-the-earth songs in a tidy 13 minutes, courtesy of an unmasked Gabe Serbian and Justin Pearson (ex-the Locust) and pals. Strip it of its prolonged feedback intro and the barbarous "Boredome IS Counter-Revolutionary" crams a staggering amount of material into 40-some odd seconds of pure yelped aggression, jagged guitar notes, and ferocious drumming—basically everything you'd expect from these true pioneers of San Diego noise. EAC

FRIDAY 8/19

THE PARSON RED HEADS, DOLOREAN, JEREMY BENSON
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) See our article on the Parson Red Heads.

RICHARD BUCKNER, DAVID KILGOUR
(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) If fans of Kiwi pop progenitors the Clean aren't already familiar with co-founder David Kilgour's solo work, they've got some catching up to do. Now eight solo albums deep, Kilgour (and backing band the Heavy Eights) offer all the shambling good nature and mercurial humor Kilgour brought to the Clean while indulging his left-field curiosities. Each record has extrapolated upon these impulses in a special way, but new LP Left by Soft is more than just a fresh paint job. It's Kilgour's take on, of all things, Americana. All the better when you consider he's co-headlining the bill with alt-country balladeer Richard Buckner, whose stubborn analepsis will close the night with an invigorating sense of purpose. CHRIS CANTINO

JOHN CRAIG AND THE WEEKEND, TANGO ALPHA TANGO, LEAVES RUSSELL, NICOLE BERKE
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) John Craig and the Weekend's Numbers is billed as an "eclectic electro-pop odyssey concept record," which is a lot to digest for a single press blurb. The electro-pop I get: It's a well-stylized collection of warm pop with a tinge of vintage nostalgia, somewhere along the lines of My Favorite or Portland chart toppers Hockey. Not quite an odyssey—it's more an excursion—Numbers fails to tread on fresh soil, although Craig's soulful delivery is enough to carry the album, even during its weaker moments ("We Are Whatever" and "Out All Night"). As for the "concept record" claim, I have no clue. It's not about a street kid named Rael—or that deaf, dumb, and blind Tommy—so perhaps Numbers is only a concept album in concept. EAC

ROYAL BATHS, BROKEN WATER, HORNET LEG
(East End, 203 SE Grand) With the rest of the new breed of San Fran garage-psych bands overdosing on oversized lollipops and weekend "trips" to the Redwoods, it's a wonder the urban vampirism of Royal Baths hasn't slipped through the cracks. Or perhaps it has, in a more literal sense. The band's brooding psychedelia drones with a nocturnal echo so distant and void that it sounds as though they have been amplified from the bottom of the abyss. Think the repetitive nihilism of "Venus in Furs" injected with just the right amount of that Jesus and Mary Chain pill-swagger. When dealing with sedatives this powerful, just be sure to keep hydrated. And stop burning yourself with cigarettes. CC

THE SUICIDE NOTES, SI SI SI, GUANTANAMO BAYWATCH
(The Know, 2026 NE Alberta) Plenty of leather-clad punkers have tried to combine the gooey choruses of the girl-group acts of yore with the energetic pogo of punk rock, yet not all can claim to be Ronnie and Joey. Enter the Suicide Notes, the so-new-they-have-yet-to-play-a-show supergroup consisting of Patrick Foss (Pure Country Gold), Tim Connolly (Epoxies), Howie Doodat (Mean Jeans), and a trio of female singers. While their past screams punk, their future coos pop, and the result is a delectable and bouncy sound that harkens back to the glory days of Lookout! Records. Tonight marks their first performance to date, but if their effortless marriage between Spector pop and vintage punk is any indication, we'll be fortunate to hear a lot from the Suicide Notes in the very near future. EAC

SATURDAY 8/20

PLAZM 20TH ANNIVERSARY PARTY AND MAGAZINE RELEASE: STRENGTH, ATOLE, WOOLLY MAMMOTH COMES TO DINNER, DR. AMAZON, DJ YETI, MIRACLES CLUB
(Disjecta, 8371 N Interstate) See My, What a Busy Week!

OBITS, DISAPPEARS, BROOMSTICKS
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) See our article on Obits.

AIMEE MANN, THE WEEPIES
(Oregon Zoo, 4001 SW Canyon) Much like a clown with two broken arms, there is incredible tragedy and humor in the work of Aimee Mann. The carrying voice of 'Til Tuesday and current solo artist, Mann pals around with comedians (here is the obligatory mention of her Portlandia appearance), poets (she was just part of the White House's Poetry Night), and all sorts of musicians (she recently shared a stage with Herbie Hancock and Chaka Khan), giving her a wide array of influences to pick and choose from. Currently writing both a musical and solo album number eight, Mann will put away the pen to serenade the well-behaved crowd strewn across the zoo's lawn. EAC

SUNDAY 8/21

OUTDOOR SCHOOL PROGRAMS BENEFIT: KYLE MORTON, YOUR RIVAL, PROFCAL, THE SHADES
(Backspace, 115 NW 5th) See My, What a Busy Week!

THE ETTES, HANS CONDOR, MY GOODNESS
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) It's easy to compare the voice of Coco Hames to the liberated sass of Nancy Sinatra, or the rainy-day huskiness of Dusty Springfield, or the kittenish growl of Wanda Jackson. But it's not really necessary: Hames' band the Ettes—all they need is a suffix for a name—makes vintage soul-punk that stands its own ground without any reference points required. The Ettes' latest album, Wicked Will, is a livewire of American-style rock and roll, with glimmers of rockabilly, proto-punk, girl group, and an acidic tint of nascent psychedelia. It's also well worth tracking down the record Hames made last year with Reigning Sound's Greg Cartwright under the name the Parting Gifts: Strychnine Dandelion is a marvelous platter of upbeat garage pop, including an obscure Stones cover and a jangly classic in the form of opening track "Keep Walking." NL

MONDAY 8/22

SHANNON & THE CLAMS, WHITE MYSTERY, THE MEN, MILK MUSIC, HURRY UP
(East End, 203 SE Grand) See My, What a Busy Week!

TUESDAY 8/23

ESPERANZA SPALDING
(Gerding Theater at the Armory, 128 NW 11th) See My, What a Busy Week!

CRAFT SPELLS, HAUSU, PRESCRIPTION PILLS
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Craft Spells is not just an alchemist's skill attribute; it's also the moniker of '80s pop revivalist Justin Vallesteros. Craft Spells began unassumingly in Vallesteros' Stockton bedroom two years ago but took off when his penchant for New Romanticism and affected baritone vocals generated enough blog buzz to earn him a contract with the like-minded revivalists at Captured Tracks. Vallesteros then put together a band, moved to Seattle, and released Craft Spells' well-received debut Idle Labor. But while Craft Spells excels at cogently mining the benchmarks of '80s new wave (especially New Order and Echo & the Bunnymen), the band is more than just another derivative. Replete with complex arrangements, an arsenal of perfectly dialed-in synth tones, and a lucid sensibility, Craft Spells is magical, indeed. CC

MALAIKAT DAN SINGA, JOEY CASIO, FRED THOMAS
(Valentine's, 232 SW Ankeny) In the past Fred Thomas might have been a part-time Portlander, but the man has always been a full-time popsmith. No matter his locale (Detroit, Brooklyn, right down the block) or project name (Lovesick, Saturday Looks Good to Me, City Center), Thomas' work has been plentiful and prolific, an introspective sound that effortlessly blooms and wilts along with its author's dour voice. The remnants of pop music have been picked over, but Thomas has always managed to find fresh ways of revisiting familiar sounds, from the melodic (and sorely underappreciated) Saturday Looks Good to Me, to Night Times, his most recent reflective solo recording to date. EAC

WEDNESDAY 8/24

NICK JAINA, DOVEKINS, RUN ON SENTENCE
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) See My, What a Busy Week!

MATTRESS, RELIGIOUS GIRLS, THE CROW, JIZZ WISARD
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Lonely Souls, the new six-song cassette from Mattress, has been released in a limited edition of 100 by Field Hymns, and it's a fine, weird iteration of Rex Marshall's lounge-singing apocalyptic preacher. His deep baritone effortlessly sidles through both balmy Blade Runner synths and disquieting glitchwork quilts, with the result sounding like Suicide decided their sound was too commercial and they wanted to make something truly strange, with Johnny Cash on vocals to boot. For whatever claustrophobic unease Mattress on record invokes—and it's a substantial amount—Marshall remains a riveting performer in the live setting, weaving and bobbing over his seasick sounds with the confidence of a seasoned tour guide. It's tough not to feel drawn in. Tonight also marks the vinyl re-release of Mattress' 2006 debut Eldorado via Malt Duck Records. NL

TAPES 'N TAPES, THE CHAIN GANG OF 1974
(Doug Firr, 830 E Burnside) Minneapolis outfit Tapes 'n Tapes return to Portland for the second time since the January release of their third album, Outside. Credit must be given to the band for not collapsing under the scrutiny the band won when they became blog-critics' darlings after releasing their 2005 debut The Loon, or the backlash that came when their unsurprisingly-not-as-good sophomore effort Walk It Off came out in 2008. From this vantage point, Outside contains most of the same qualities that made Tapes 'n Tapes sound neat six years ago, minus a few curveballs and a noticeable lack of freshness. Meanwhile, Denver's the Chain Gang of 1974 are (name notwithstanding) '80s fetishists right down to the Rick Astley white-soul vocals. Again, the letter-perfect shtick might've seemed nifty if these tracks were circulating on blogs five years ago, but Chain Gang's Wayward Fire is like sitting through a rerun. NL