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This Week's Music Previews

SHARON VAN ETTEN BAND Aladdin Theater, 8/8

SHARON VAN ETTEN BAND Aladdin Theater, 8/8

THURSDAY 8/2

STAY CALM, NEAL MORGAN, SAD HORSE, MARISA ANDERSON
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Read our article on Stay Calm.

SCOUT NIBLETT, 1939 ENSEMBLE, GENDERS
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Judging from the preview provided by a recent local performance, the next album we hear from Scout Niblett stands to blow things apart. Her last release, 2010's The Calcination of Scout Niblett, demonstrated the level of finesse the prodigious Brit-turned-Portlander has achieved after years of releasing grunge-inspired, guitar-based meditations, and her newest songs, as seen in live performance, take it to the next level. Niblett is known for her beseeching, falsetto-reaching warble as well as furious prowess on the electric six-string, but from what I recently witnessed, the combination of her singular guitar style, her utterly livid lyrics, and her siren-call delivery are preparing to reach their zenith. Make sure you are listening. MARANDA BISH

NIGHT BIRDS, THE ESTRANGED, FREEDOM CLUB
(The Know, 2026 NE Alberta) All bands on this bill share the core characteristics of punk that feel like natural by-products of the human condition: vocals with grit, linear guitar strumming, and tinges of disappointment across the lyrical board. ("Idiot Overload", for example, titles a track from Freedom Club's Rather Be Blind EP.) Night Birds and Freedom Club are definitely contenders, but the Estranged distinguish themselves from the others by aiming for Britpop shine over '77 thrust. They noticeably place emphasis on the melodic value of their guitar work, with the end result slightly nodding toward the Smiths or an aggressive take on the Smithereens. Overall it's a night of throwback to punk's milestones, but in no way does the lack of innovation make this show any less desirable to attend. JONATHAN MAGDALENO

JESSE SYKES AND PHIL WANDSCHER, RUBY FEATHERS
(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) What seems to be missing from much of the current revival of Americana-inspired music is a sense of familial unity that originally defined the genre. Happily, local group Ruby Feathers harkens to that essential tenet in their joyful country-tinged ditties. Spearheaded by frontwoman Lindsie Feathers, the Ruby Feathers are six instrumentalists who make stringband music that is emotionally evocative as well as a joy to hear. While their first album is in the works and can be expected before the year is through, the band continues to delight audiences with a live show that glows. They open for Jesse Sykes, performing as a duo with her Sweet Hereafter partner-in-crime Phil Wandscher. MB

FRIDAY 8/3

PICKATHON: HEARTLESS BASTARDS, THE CAVE SINGERS, TYPHOON, WHITE DENIM, THE BARR BROTHERS, TODD SNIDER, A.A. BONDY, LAURA GIBSON, SIERRA LEONE'S REFUGEE ALL STARS & MORE
(Pendarvis Farm, 16581 SE Hagen) Read our feature on Pickathon.

SMMR BMMR: KEPI GHOULIE WITH THE MEAN JEANS, PERSONAL AND THE PIZZAS, YOUTHBITCH, THE BUGS, TERRY MALTS, THE MEMORIES & MORE
(Plan B, 1305 SE 8th) See My, What a Busy Week!

JAY BRANNAN, CHRIS PUREKA
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Unlike the vast majority of American singer/songwriters, Chris Pureka's heart-on-sleeve sentiments need not be backed exclusively by lap-steel whispers and chugga-drum dreams. Pureka proved as much on 2010's How I Learned to See in the Dark, a more experimental take on the swirling alt-country found on critically acclaimed albums Driving North and Dryland. The self-released, Merrill Garbus-produced LP utilized the kind of no-limits recording treats that have made Garbus' Tune-Yards so fun—percussive substitutes include jars full of nails and other random bangs of tinny detritus. Pureka is no stranger to Portland, having toured through on the heels of How I Learned to See... several times; but after two years of marinating, the songwriter is readying a new EP for the fall, and is also opening East Coast dates for Y La Bamba. RYAN J. PRADO

MICKY AND THE MOTORCARS, FLASH FLOOD AND THE DIKES
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Alt-country never caught on the way late-'90s record execs hoped it would, but that doesn't mean it went away. Texas five-piece Micky and the Motorcars carry on in the tradition of Whiskeytown and Uncle Tupelo, who carried on in the tradition of Gram Parsons, who carried on in the... you get the picture. Micky and the Motorcars stick to traditional subject matter—women, boozing, the open road—with a finish that's more glossy than dusty. Portland's Flash Flood and the Dikes dig a little deeper, blending country with more far-out sounds. The only thing glossy about these lads and lassies are their eyes. That is to say: Come out early for the Dikes. MARK LORE

SATURDAY 8/4

PICKATHON: DR. DOG, THEE SATISFACTION, KITTY DAISY AND LEWIS, BOMBINO, LANGHORNE SLIM, PHOSPHORESCENT, THEE OH SEES, THE MYNABIRDS, SONNY AND THE SUNSETS, CASS MCCOMBS & MORE
(Pendarvis Farm, 16581 SE Hagen) Read our feature on Pickathon.

SMMR BMMR: THERAPISTS, SHANNON & THE CLAMS, MEAN JEANS, GUANTANAMO BAYWATCH, WHITE WIRES & MORE
(Plan B, 1305 SE 8th) See My, What a Busy Week!

FANG ISLAND, ZECHS MARQUISE, THE HUGS
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE 39th) Butt rock is a dying breed, but I'm not sure why—everybody loves it, from suburban moms to patched-denim heshers to the tenderest tweenyboppers. Which is why Fang Island's latest, Major, is such a dopily heartwarming listen: It brings the rawk straight back to where it belongs—your butt—by evoking Journey and Boston and AC/DC and Billy Squier and all the crappy FM rock-block jams that have become part of your DNA. Crunchy, squealy guitars and needlessly speedy riffs ornament melodies that are as sweet and gloppy as a two-pack of Twinkies, with some 21st century advances for good measure (reedy indie-guy vocals, post-emo guitar symphonics). It's impossible not to be cheered up by Fang Island, who are wholly unpretentious about delivering massive, gilt-edged, anthemic rock. To your butt. NED LANNAMANN

GAZA, EAGLE TWIN, ELITIST
(Backspace, 115 NW 5th) The author of All Music's review for Eagle Twin's LP, The Unkindness of Crows, actually refers to the record as an "innovative experiment." Seriously? I'm on Billy Joel's side with this one: It's still rock and roll to me. More precisely, it's that faintly proggy, psychedelic offshoot referred to as doom metal, that at one point was nerdy as shit but is cool again. (Slayer and dreadlocks also seem to be undergoing a renaissance.) It's still innocuous, wholesome "rock" music nonetheless—which is not to say I can't shake my ass to "Birds of Black Hot Fire." I can, and will. The bravest thing about this band is their flamboyant name—perhaps an allusion to the fact that they're a duo?—but at the end of the day, it's just "Highway Star" in A standard at a funereal pace. Which is awesome, I suppose. MORGAN TROPER

COUVFEST NW: RAGS AND RIBBONS, THE SINDICATE, TRAVIS PETERSEN BAND, OUTER SPACE HEATERS & MORE
(Turtle Place Park, 7th & Main, Vancouver) It's been scientifically verified through copious case studies, on-the-ground data collection, and myriad test subject intimidation that Vancouver is definitely not Portland. But that doesn't mean our sister city to the north doesn't have taste, or that their thirst for live outdoor music is any easier slaked. Submitted as evidence is the return of the annual CouvFest NW, featuring local Vancouverite artists all day at Turtle Place Park for absolutely free. We'll ignore that Rags and Ribbons rep themselves as Portlanders, because when it really comes down to it, who gives a shit? The band's densely grained, guitar-heavy, pianos 'n' harmonies prog epicness, as found on most recent LP The Glass Masses, is big enough for both cities. RJP

KASEY CHAMBERS
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) You know how some music doesn't exactly age well? I saw Kasey Chambers' name on the list of upcoming shows, had a moment of recognition because I certainly listened to her album Barricades & Brickwalls in the early '00s, and had a fond association. I like her voice, but blergh. Sorry! I would say this is definitely a show to go to if you have a soft spot for Australian country music, if you are me 10 years ago, if you're not pretty enough, if you're heart's too broken, if you cry too much, if you're too outspoken. C'mon, I can see right through you. ANNA MINARD

SUNDAY 8/5

PICKATHON: NEKO CASE, BLITZEN TRAPPER, THE WAR ON DRUGS, LOST BAYOU RAMBLERS, ALELA DIANE, MIDTOWN DICKENS, SHOVELS AND ROPE, LONNIE WALKER & MORE
(Pendarvis Farm, 16581 SE Hagen) Read our feature on Pickathon.

PICKIN' ON SUNDAYS: DOLOREAN, HOUNDSTOOTH
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) See My, What a Busy Week!

VANS WARPED TOUR
(Rose Quarter Waterfront at the Rose Garden) This year, the Vans Warped Tour is occurring a little too close for comfort—right across from the Rose Garden. That pretty much renders that entire section of Portland a no-fly zone for August 5, unless you really like abominable pop/punk or are unlucky enough to work somewhere around there on Sundays. Are there any redeeming aspects of this year's festival? Well, I guess Rise Against have had their moments—but a skim of this year's lineup reveals that the Warped Tour is just a pallid and unconvincing imitation of what it once was, news probably that isn't revelatory to anybody. MT

PETOSKEY, ALAMEDA, RYAN SOLLEE
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) If Woody Allen (or, more likely, the Duplass Brothers) ever decide to set a quirky romcom in the Pacific Northwest, have I ever got the soundtrack. In fact, with a little tinkering, Petoskey's album Bombs Away could be the backbone for an indie musical comedy, a mumblecore Everyone Says I Love You set on the banks of the Willamette. Like a folk-tinged music box, Petoskey's music is sweet and glimmering and a little bit hopeful. What keeps them from being another ho-hum entry among Portland's legion of chamber-pop bands is singer Angie Kuzma. She's a great vocalist, but down-to-earth enough to never let her impressive vocal gymnastics get in the way of the stories she's telling. Kuzma fronts seven or eight musicians, and the preponderance of strings and woodwinds is really what makes the music sound so cinema-ready. REBECCA WILSON

DEEP TIME, LANDLINES, HORNET LEG, ORCHID
(Valentine's, 232 SW Ankeny) Deep Time are one of my new favorite bands! I can't believe I waited so long to listen to them. Their self-titled album is the official summer soundtrack for me dancing around my house with a guinea pig in each hand. Mixing just the right amount of pop melody with weird, succinct rhythms, this Austin duo (Jennifer Moore and Adam Jones) makes extremely catchy music that seems familiar, yet doesn't really sound like anything else. This whole album got lodged in my head on repeat after one listen—a welcome exchange for the Justin Bieber song that has been stuck in there, against my will, for what has seemed like an eternity. EMILY NOKES

DOUBLE PLATINUM LATINUM: DJ PAPI, DJ BLVD NIGHTS, ORQUESTRA PACIFICO TROPICAL, MICHAEL BRUCE, DJ SAM HUMANS
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) I can't think of a better way to wrap up an action-packed weekend than with a set from a 10-piece cumbia band smack dab in the middle of a Latin-themed dance party. The potentially magnificent Orquestra Pacifico Tropical shall be unleashed upon the world in their debut performance; the group features all the members from dance-party kings O Bruxo, plus a bunch of local talent from bands like Deer or the Doe, Team Evil, Magic Johnson, Gallons, and too many others to mention. Ringleader Papi Fimbres co-hosts the night with DJ Blvd Nights, and they'll be spinning only Central and South American music on vinyl after OPT's inaugural set. This is gonna be a hot one; Monday morning can wait. NL

MONDAY 8/6

TOTALLY ENORMOUS EXTINCT DINOSAURS
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Orlando Higginbottom, out of Oxford, has been releasing songs and remixes under his Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs moniker for a few years, but Trouble is his first album. Though he reportedly chose his name because it has no potential to ever become remotely cool, he has nevertheless made an extremely cool album. There's no denying that Trouble features incredible production, and Higginbottom seems to be an excellent singer. But even though it sounds confident and innovative, there's nothing particularly warm or inviting here; it's music for nightclubs not where people dance, but where they sip futuristic martinis and avoid making eye contact. Which may account for some of his angst. According to his lyrics, he doesn't have much luck with the ladies, and not for lack of trying. On "Household Goods," my favorite song, he offers up a misguided plea: "Forgive me if I'm wrong/But you look shit/All alone/So give me another shot." RW Also see My, What a Busy Week!

DAX RIGGS
(Star Bar, 13 NW 6th) Rising from the eerie swamps of Louisiana, Dax Riggs began making a name for himself over a decade ago as frontman for seminal black/doom metal band Acid Bath. His drawing from many different styles over time—including psychedelia, hardcore punk, and his own self-described "folk metal"—has generated a prismatic evolution for the accompaniment of his hauntingly dark and powerful voice, which has been front and center on his last three solo albums. The symmetry of his dynamic song arrangements and his tormented, thrashing guitar has cultivated a fertile playground for Rigg's gritty blues rock. CHRISTINA BROUSSARD

BILLIONS AND BILLIONS
(Tube 18 NW 3rd) Sonically, Billions and Billions take the wiry blues of ZZ Top and crank it up to 13—it sounds like they're playing their instruments with sledgehammers. Riffs are otherworldly. Drums are caveman. "Grass Snake" is one of the spaciest and heaviest things I've experienced live. The Portland power quartet has managed to capture the experience on their recordings, too—if you listen with headphones accompanied by a bag of grass, you're guaranteed to see Carl Sagan dancing with pink elephants. Billions and Billions just might be the missing link. ML

TUESDAY 8/7

THE HAGUE, SOFT SKILLS, GALLONS, BLACK PUSSY
(Plan B, 1305 SE 8th) Read our article on the Hague.

FANNO CREEK, JOHN HEART JACKIE, JOCIE ADAMS
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) John Heart Jackie (AKA Jennie Wayne and Peter Murray) play music that brings tears to your eyes—kind of like another boy-girl duo, the Weepies out of Boston. JHJ have prettier voices and their music is custom-tailored to our peculiar West Coast variety of heartache; we obviously need creaky acoustic guitars and an occasional country twang to truly express our angst. Nearly two years old, their introspective full-length album We Are Gold Mounds is best experienced at times of personal emotional intensity. This is not to say that the songs are overblown or melodramatic—they most definitely aren't—just that they're sad. My favorite thing they've done is an extraordinary cover of Prince's "When You Were Mine" (available for free on their Bandcamp site). They transform the up-tempo synth confection into a tragic, possibly creepy ballad in which the bass is the most important instrument—after Wayne's voice, of course. RW

WEDNESDAY 8/8

REGINA SPEKTOR, ONLY SON
(Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway) See My, What a Busy Week!

SHARON VAN ETTEN, TENNIS
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) An impressively large number of the most personally thrilling musical moments I've experienced over the past couple years have been due to Sharon Van Etten. The New York songwriter just gets it right: Her music is wholly, rewardingly moving without being cloying. Her songs—like those on her newest album, Tramp—skillfully explore the raw, dangerous edges of those battered-heart and frayed-nerve emotional landscapes you'll find in most pop songs. But in the end, Van Etten finds hope and catharsis inside those familiar chords. She's also a masterful live performer, fully in command of her gifts but never precious about them. Sharon Van Etten possesses the kind of talent that leaves me awestruck, dumbfounded—other than to say, simply: Go. Go see this show. NL Also see My, What a Busy Week!

RIGSKETBALL AFTERPARTY: MONARQUES, GENDERS, MY AUTUMN'S DONE COME
(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) Rigsketball—the citywide basketball tourney in which local bands compete for victory on the hoop attached to And And And's tour van—comes to a close this evening, with this year's champs determined in the rounds leading up to tonight. But what's a good tournament without a great afterparty? Three solid local bands play tonight's free show at Bunk Bar, in which the winners bask in glory and the losers taste bitter defeat. (It tastes like whiskey, so hey, it's a win after all.) The night is capped off by Monarques, who emerged from hiatus last month to play a phenomenal record release show at the Doug Fir. The newly re-solidified group is at the height of their showmanship, and they're sounding as fun and energetic as they ever have. NL

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