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This Week’s Music Previews

HUNGRY GHOST Bunk Bar, 6/30

HUNGRY GHOST Bunk Bar, 6/30

THURSDAY 6/28

RABBITS, SONS OF HUNS, TOWERS, TURBO PERFECTO
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) See My, What a Busy Week!

MBRASCATU, LONE MADRONE
(The Secret Society, 116 NE Russell) The first time I listened to Mbrascatu's self-titled debut, it was because I was expecting to hear music that was West-African-by-way-of-Portland. It was the combination of consonants, you see; they misled me. Because from the first notes of the first song, Mbrascatu is unmistakably Americana—acoustic guitar, fiddle, banjo—except that the lyrics, and the song titles, are all Italian. Singer/songwriter Andrea Algieri moved from Calabria, Italy, to Portland, where he joined forces with bassist Michael Doherty, also of Future Historians, and John Sabestinas, formerly of Sick Pony, who plays banjo, ukulele, electric guitar, and lap steel. The combination of vernaculars—old-timey folk and Italian crooner—has created indie folk's very own spaghetti western, with Algieri's baritone vocals playing lead heartthrob. REBECCA WILSON

LES MCCANN, JAVON JACKSON, MEL BROWN, FRANK TRIBBLE, ED BENNETT
(Jimmy Mak's, 221 NW 10th) Boasting a career that spans six decades, jazz/soul/R&B pianist Les McCann's live appearances now amount to witnessing a living legend. Even before his breakthrough 1969 Atlantic Records collaboration with Eddie Harris, Swiss Movement, McCann was laying the groundwork for experiments in combining traditional jazz with the emerging dalliances of funk and soul, culminating in the timeless anti-war composition "Compared to What," and the ballad "With These Hands" from Much Les. Though he hasn't released any new material for about a decade, and though a stroke in the mid-'90s slowed him down considerably, the strength of McCann's back catalog—as well as his noted, old school vigor—is more than enough to sustain his legacy as one of the great jazz artists of our time, and makes this a must-see event. RYAN J. PRADO

MANE OF THE CUR, NASALROD, OLD JUNIOR, HONDURAN
(Kenton Club, 2025 N Kilpatrick) Female-fronted hard rock has a certain intoxicating swagger to it. When the masculine tendencies of axe-wielding are melded with the all-powerful, siren-call qualities of the female voice, a potent amalgamation of human energy results. Local group Mane of the Cur builds on this effect masterfully with the alluring vocals of Sarah Crosley, who layers a tremulous warble of voice on top of churning bass, burrowing drums, and unique synthesizers to create satisfying, sultry meditations. Their online EP released this spring—titled Friday April 13th, 1973—captures the band's spooky, supernatural take on rock, creating an atmosphere where one might imagine classic metal being played at a rundown carnival at some heathen celebration. Their cited influences of "crappy Northwest weather and Midwest melancholy" are present in every tweak of the string and blast of the drum. MARANDA BISH

FRIDAY 6/29

SHOUT!: DJ DREW GROOVE, DJ LIBERATOR, KATRINA MARTIANI, DJ HIPPY JOE
(Eagles Lodge, 4904 SE Hawthorne) See My, What a Busy Week!

MIKE SCHEIDT, SEDAN, VRADIAZEI, AERIAL RUIN
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Read our article on Mike Scheidt.

SARA JACKSON-HOLMAN, POINT JUNCTURE WA, WHAT HEARTS
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Sara Jackson-Holman was famously discovered by Expunged president Anthony McNamer after she left a heartfelt fan post for Blind Pilot, along with a link to some of her home recordings. Having shed the cutesier post-adolescence of her first album, When You Dream, Jackson-Holman has entered a phase of world-weary heartache on her excellent second album, Cardiology. Her voice will continue to be compared to Adele's, though she no longer sounds so remarkably like Feist. Dark trip-hop beats (courtesy of Keith Schreiner of Auditory Sculpture and Dahlia) create the sophisticated cool behind some of the best songs ("Can't Take My Love"). But the huge standout here is a hot R&B number, "Break My Heart," which features a Jackson-Holman vocal that could hold its own next to Rihanna and an unforgettable chorus: "Honey, honey why you gotta be so cruel/All my love will never be enough for you." RW

SATURDAY 6/30

SABOTAGE: A BEASTIE BOYS TRIBUTE NIGHT
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) See My, What a Busy Week!

MATES OF STATE, THE STEPKIDS
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Read our article on the Stepkids.

DELICATE STEVE, ADVENTURES WITH MIGHT
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Read our article on Delicate Steve.

NOFEST
(Various locations, St. Johns) The St. Johns Nofest is now in its fifth year, luring artists, filmmakers and musicians out from the woodwork for a full day of eccentric fun in that little nook to the north. This year's lineup includes some 90 performances that span genres while giving you that much-needed vacation from the norm (you deserve it!). Some of the better-known include Sun City Girls' Sir Richard Bishop and Snow Bud and the Flower People (the longtime project of Chris Newman of Napalm Beach). Then there's the earthy ambience of Eternal Tapestry guitarist Dewey Mahood's Plankton Wat. My money's on local three-piece Lord, whose Fripp-ian fretboard shenanigans are matched only by the sheer volume. Lots to get lost in here—an afternoon in St. Johns and you'll surely see the light. MARK LORE Also see My, What a Busy Week!

EL-P, KILLER MIKE, MR. MUTHAFUCKIN' EXQUIRE, DESPOT
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE 39th) Dig out those neck braces, El-P's back with the bangers. With his history in Company Flow, starting up the successful record label Definitive Jux (host to Aesop Rock, Del the Funky Homosapien, RJD2, Murs), putting out instrumental albums, and producing for other rappers, it's hard to know what to expect from his few-and-far-between solo albums. It's rare for a seasoned artist to not have peaked after two decades in the rap game, but the Brooklyn hiphop guru has recently outdone himself. El-P's latest solo album, Cancer 4 Cure, showcases his rapping, beat making, and executive producing talents. His beats are even more innovative than before, filling out the usual hard-hitting style with booming bass, layers of industrial noise, and unexpected format twists. That, paired with his rhythmic, content-heavy, sharp-edged wordsmithing, make this album something else. ROCHELLE HUNTER Also read our article on Killer Mike.

HUTSON, VIOLET ISLE
(White Eagle, 836 N Russell) Portland rock band Hutson makes the kind of music that I'd like to invite over for dinner, by which I mean that it's polite enough to help out with the dishes, but wouldn't ever make boring table conversation—and would likely bring over plenty to drink. Hutson's debut full-length From a Transistor Radio (following up their Reland EP) is home to 12 well-honed tracks that vary from folk-flecked strum ("Black Light Serenade Part 2") to riffy amplifier hum ("Kill Your Scene"). Frontman Bryan Larson leads the trio down familiar but entirely pleasing avenues and discovers interesting twists, like the gradual, krautrock-y buildup on the epic "No One's Home," or the yearningly soaring "Ready to Run," both of which should make Portland playlists for years to come. NED LANNAMANN

GREEN TEAM, ILLMACULATE, ONLYONE, DAIN, TROX, DJ CELSIUS
(Ted's, 231 SW Ankeny) You may know G_Force as the prolific producer of some the best local hiphop releases in recent years, including Illmaculate's The Green Tape and his work with TxE. G_Force also raps under the name Calvin Valentine, and recently released the solo record Red Eye Flights. His latest project, Green Team, sees him teaming up with local producer Lawz Spoken for a Cheech and Chong-inspired ode to weed, women, and good times. Green Team Official was initially intended as an EP, but after Lawz and G locked themselves into the studio for a weekend armed with a crate of records and a bag of weed, a full album of beats emerged. Featured guests include Caitlin Cardier, Epp, and Mikey Vegaz, as well as Sandpeople's Illmaculate and OnlyOne, who perform a set of their own tonight. RYAN FEIGH

LEFTÖVER CRACK, JUICY KARKASS, HEPSI, PATRIA JODIDIA DEMOCRACIA PODRIDA
(Branx, 320 SE 2nd) Leftöver Crack, as a name, is a perfect oxymoron, 'cause as any good crack smoker knows—there ain't never no leftovers. The name is the only thing ironic about the band, though. Otherwise, they're 100 percent anarcho-ska-punks that formed in 1998 in New York City; this Portland show is part of a reunion tour. There are also rumors of a brand-new album, which would be the first full-length in more than eight years, following the legendary Fuck World Trade. That album was pure politico gold, featuring Bush, Cheney, and Giuliani gassing the towers on the cover—an image that got the album banned from chain stores like Best Buy and Walmart. The Cracks are also banned from many venues, so I high-five Branx for its bravery. KELLY O

PITY SEX, ZOOGIRL
(Laughing Horse Books, 12 NE 10th) A few weeks ago, I was up late at night with a broken heart and troubled mind and saw the footage of Mick Jagger performing with Foo Fighters on a recent episode of SNL. It made everything worse. The prophetic Lenny Kravitz was essentially right, even if he was off by 15 years—"rock and roll is finally dead," I thought. Just as I was about to give up all hope, a friend sent me Dark World, the brusque but brutal new EP from Pity Sex, a relatively new band from Michigan. It single-handedly restored my faith in music produced by guitars, bass, and drums. The excellent "When You're Around" sounds like Rival Schools meets Ride, and "Coca Cola" is a formidable summer jam—but the absolute highlight is closer "Flower Girl," whose cacophonous beauty mirrors love's own catastrophic capabilities. Remember to bring earplugs and a handkerchief. MORGAN TROPER

HUNGRY GHOST, SURVIVAL KNIFE
(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) Part of me hopes that the legion of Pacific Northwest garage-punk trios never hear Hungry Ghost's self-titled album. Because it likely would cause them to give up the dream. And that would be depressing, even though they will likely never be as good as Hungry Ghost. If they spend the next 20 years honing their chops, it's just possible they will get there—so long as they have a drummer as good as Sara Lund of the Corin Tucker Band and Olympia's wildly influential post-hardcore pioneers Unwound. Lorca Wood (the Drags) plays bass, and Andrew Price, of the experimental 1990s group Irving Klaw Trio, plays guitar with a dexterously nerdy style that belies the band's overall aesthetic of funky grime. Everybody sings, though Price takes main responsibility for the vocals. An exercise in rock economy, the nine short songs come together to form what may be my favorite album of 2012. RW

PALO VERDE, DJ ANDROJENOUS
(Foggy Notion, 3416 N Lombard) After listening to PDX duo Palo Verde's latest album Zero Hour, you'll note the crushing miasma of thrashy drums, the magma-low thud of chugging guitar, and an intuitive flair for dissonance. To say it's an accident wouldn't exactly be accurate; the flailing stoner-metal of Terrica Kleinknecht (guitar) and Lauren K. Newman (drums) is spontaneously composed, creating new fissures of ferocity literally on the spot, at every turn. That means every time they play, you're seeing something that no one else has seen before, a breath of fresh air in the sometimes stale and rehearsed arenas of heavier acts. Whether you stack it up against the freakish manipulations of post-rock propagators like Shellac, or relish Zero Hour's somehow nearly seamless execution, it's tough to escape the fact that Palo Verde are probably the rawest band in Portland. See for yourself tonight for free. RJP

SUNDAY 7/1

PICKIN' ON SUNDAYS: THE TUMBLERS, JASON DODSON
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) See My, What a Busy Week!

THE ROYALTY, INFANTREE, DE LA WARR
(Lola's Room, 1332 W Burnside) El Paso's the Royalty has a winner with their debut album, Lovers (and their press materials make no secret of the fact that the New York Times agrees). It's a loud, brash pop album with everything cranked dizzily into the red. Sure, their powerhouse lead singer Nicole Boudreau has a tendency to oversing, but with a voice like hers, it totally works, particularly with skipping fuzz-pop tunes like "I Want You" and album highlight "Bottle Breaker," which marries a forlorn, heartsick melody to a rocketing production. The Royalty's best tunes evoke those of the long-lost Sundays (where art thou, Harriet Wheeler?), and there is no shortage of hooky confection on Lovers. This nascent band already feels much bigger than they actually are; expect the size of the Royalty's audience to grow accordingly. NL

VALIENT THORR, HOLY GRAIL, ROYAL THUNDER, THE KICKASS
(Star Theater, 13 NW 6th) For reasons I don't understand, grunge seems to have become a four-letter word these days. While turning their nose up at the grunge movement, did anyone stop to consider present popular rock? Who would you rather listen to: Nickelback and Five Finger Death Punch, or Soundgarden and Alice in Chains? On their new full-length, CVI, Royal Thunder does some channeling of the heavier side of '90s rock. The band taps the formerly mentioned Seattle upstarts, while bass player/vocalist Mlny Parsonz puts some L7 vibes into the mix for good measure. The result is sensual, mid-tempo, morose rock with a nice, flannel sheen. Most tastemakers are going to lump Royal Thunder into the doom movement, but I say they could've emerged from the Emerald City 20 years ago. ARIS WALES

MONDAY 7/2

LIBYANS, WILD MOHICANS, LONG KNIFE, DJ JUST DAVE
(The Know, 2026 NE Alberta) Libyans have a sound that's instantly pleasing to fans of classic punk while also thrillingly new. Earlier this year, the Boston-based group played their city's Ladyfest festival, a celebration that originated in Olympia in 2000 and now occurs sporadically to highlight and promote the presence of women in the performing arts. Libyans sound and feel right at home in this ethos—one that is dear to us in the Northwest, along with their unapologetic DIY aesthetic. Formed in 2010 among the burgeoning underground scene in Massachussetts, the band developed around the distinctive female vocals of Liz Panella, whose classically snarling punk intonations are endearing, evocative, and strikingly melodic among breakneck, thrashing instrumentation. Their debut album A Common Place features 13 pummeling tracks that end too soon (most are about a minute). Download it on Bandcamp to provide some gas money for their journey out here; we are truly lucky to have them. MB

TUESDAY 7/3

JUSTIN TOWNES EARLE, TRISTEN
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) See My, What a Busy Week!

CORY BRANAN, AUDRA MAE
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) It's been a long time since Tennessee singer/songwriter Cory Branan had a new record, but here's Mutt, Branan's first record in more than half a decade. Like much of Branan's work, it's a prickly listen at first, bouncing from whiskey-soured folk to hoarse, caffeine-amped rock to string-laden melodrama. But also like much of Branan's work, each of his iterations is worth listening to. With such a long time between records (Branan took time off to tend to his ailing father, and Mutt spent a year in label limbo before finding a home on Bloodshot), it's likely he had too much to say for one record, resulting in the album's seeming hodgepodge. But Branan remains an excellent songwriter and a riveting performer in perfect command of his increasingly gravelly delivery. And on a track-by-track basis, Mutt ends up a reeling, intoxicating listen. NL

WEDNESDAY 7/4

SHADOWS ON STARS, STREET NIGHTS, DJ JAKE MORRIS
(Dig a Pony, 736 SE Grand) See My, What a Busy Week!

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