DENVER, RAYMOND BYRON AND THE WHITE FREIGHTER, MERIDIAN
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Eschew the company of your cat and malt liquor this Thanksgiving Eve and feel mournful in the company of strangers and pedal steel guitars. And, unless you happen to be a member of the headlining band, you will not even be the drunkest person at the Doug Fir. Capable of bridging several generation gaps in a single song, Denver is a handsome honky-tonk supergroup with a number of Portland standouts. Their self-titled LP sounds big—like it was recorded in a cathedral in Montana—and all three frontmen (Mike Elias, Tom Bevitori, Birger Olsen) sound like they're singing about heartbreaks from 20 or 30 or 40 years ago. Despite their lonesome twang, they nevertheless have a reputation for a rowdy, whiskey-fueled live show, and this'll be their last performance before drummer Sean MacNeil moves to New York City. Get there early for the Southern gothic blues narratives of Raymond Byron and the White Freighter (AKA Ray Raposa of Castanets) and the chilling country harmonies of Meridian. REBECCA WILSON
WALK THE MOON, FAMILY OF THE YEAR
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) There is a lot to like about Walk the Moon's self-titled album: synthy hooks, a predilection for new wave, cerebral lyrics, easy comparisons to Passion Pit. Adorably, their best-known song, "Anna Sun," is named after one of the band's professors at Kenyon College. These undeniably charming attributes, combined with dance-worthy beats and immaculate production, go a long way toward balancing out Walk the Moon's more toe-curling aspects: There are the occasional forays into Killers-style vocal histrionics; the video of "Anna Sun" features a throng of young white people cavorting in something uncomfortably similar to Native American garb; and frontman Nicholas Petricca has voiced his pleasure at people "fratting out" to their songs. I don't actually know what that means, but it sounds miserable. While certainly worthy of eye rolls, these are things that will probably (hopefully?) dissipate as the band grows into their excellent songwriting skills. RW
Eat, poop, love.
THE NEXT WALTZ
(Alberta Rose Theatre, 3000 NE Alberta) The Last Waltz is considered one of the greatest concert documentaries of all time, and whether or not you are a fan of the Band, it was undoubtedly a monumental musical event, with guest appearances from Neil Young, Muddy Waters, Joni Mitchell, and more. The original performance took place on Thanksgiving Day in 1976, and it will be recreated for the second year in a row over two nights by some of Portland's own rock stars, including Kevin and Anita Robinson (Viva Voce, Blue Giant), Jenny Conlee-Drizos (the Decemberists, Black Prairie), and Calico Rose (AgesandAges, Black Prairie). The night is a benefit for Oregon Food Bank and the Jeremy Wilson Foundation, which is dedicated to helping uninsured and underinsured musicians in the Northwest. With Levon Helm's passing in April, it seems even more important to keep musical collaborations like these alive. So, since you have finished stuffing yourself silly, bring some cans to donate and rediscover why every all-star concert since 1976 has ended with "I Shall Be Released." RACHEL MILBAUER
(Hollywood Theatre, 4122 NE Sandy) After blowing the roof off of Park Avenue—central Florida's hottest nightclub!—the one, the only Dragon Sound brings a new dimension to rock 'n' roll! With not one, but two lava-hot singles, the handsome boys (and sassy girl!) of Dragon Sound promise to rock Portland with their exhilarating blend of panty-melting synths, bone-shaking electronic drums, and feel-good lyrics—like in their number-one fan favorite, "Friends"! ("Friends through eternity/loyalty, honesty/we'll stick together through thick or thin/friends forever we'll be together/we're on top/'cause we play to win!") But that's not all—as their explosive smash single "Against the Ninja" suggests, the members of Dragon Sound—all of whom are, incredibly, orphans, and all of whom are also roommates—are also black belts in tae kwon do, and they use their powers to keep Miami safe from its roving bands of motorcycle-riding, cocaine-dealing ninjas. In other words? The phenomenal, deadly Dragon Sound is your new favorite band—unless you're a cocaine-dealing ninja! (And if that's the case... watch out!) SKIPPY "SKIPPER" RAMIREZ, THE MERCURY'S SPECIAL (AND SELDOM USED) MIAMI CORRESPONDENT Read more about Dragon Sound.
RABBITS, SIOUX, FLESHLAWN
(The Know, 2026 NE Alberta) Rabbits' Jekyll-and-Hyde personality only amplifies the intensity of the band's menacing soundtrack. When they're onstage, you're afraid to step within 10 feet of them; in interviews, they come across as loveable, painfully self-aware dudes that you'd buy beers for all night. Their latest LP Bites Rites is a Frankenstein's monster of heavy music, bringing forth a furious mix of styles from the past four decades. Rabbits are not metal, but they will squash you like a bug. Then they'll take you up on that beer. MARK LORE
TONY FURTADO BAND,
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Almost exactly one year ago, Tony Furtado and his band recorded their live set at Mississippi Studios, and now that live recording is out: The aptly titled Live at Mississippi Studios CD/DVD sees banjoist and slide guitarist Furtado leading a remarkably capable band through ambitious performances of American folk- and roots-influenced music. While there is definitely some extended jamming, it never feels bloated or indulgent, and Furtado—one of the city's unsung but most capable musicians—always puts the music ahead of his formidable chops, never simply allowing himself or his band to showboat. The real question is, though: Will tonight's set also be recorded? And will it see a release a year later, and will Furtado and crew then play a release show for that live recording, and will that set then also be recorded? And so on—the mind boggles. NED LANNAMANN
(Kelly's Olympian, 426 SW Washington) If the name Beejan Iranshad sounds familiar, it's likely due to his work as a music video director, as he has helmed visual projects for a diverse array of hiphop artists including Cool Nutz, Layzie Bone, and Mikey Vegaz. What you may not know is that Beejan is also an Iranian American emcee and producer from Portland who is celebrating the release of his latest self-produced EP, A Heartfelt Interlude. As the title alludes, Beejan's brand of hiphop is much more introspective and emotionally raw than that of his industry peers. Meditations on pain, love, and happiness stretch across seven tracks that culminate with "Finally Happy," a reflection on suicide, mortality, and the search for emotional wellbeing. RYAN FEIGH
COOPER, SEAN NOWLAND TRIO
(Star Theater, 13 NW 6th) I've only heard one track from Cooper's self-titled debut, but it's enough to pique my interest for more: a slow-burning, torchy soul number driven by Nichole Cooper's passionate vocals and a tight, simmering backing band. Cooper recorded the album in her current hometown of Nashville, but the Oregon native spent many years in Portland, winning the crown as Miss Multnomah County and performing at Dante's Sinferno Cabaret. Now she's a full-on soul singer, and an entirely convincing one at that. This homecoming show sees her backed by a 12-piece band, including Portlanders Ben Darwish, Farnell Newton, Sean Nowland, and others. NL
THE NEXT WALTZ
(Alberta Rose Theatre, 3000 NE Alberta) See Friday's listing.
(The Know, 2026 NE Alberta) Can Jonathan Richman do anything that isn't fluidly genuine? The man has nothing but sardonic class running through his veins. I'll write strongly about anyone who chooses to play a song called "I Was Dancing at a Lesbian Bar" for his national TV debut. Truly, to see him live at the Know can accurately be tagged with the staggeringly non-selective American pop-culture label of something you "can't miss." Not because he's been described as the godfather of punk, but because he's effortlessly tactful—almost, it seems, by accident. From the Modern Lovers to his recent productions, it's within the realm of possibility to suggest that Richman probably shows up to recording sessions with no plan and simply vocalizes whatever thought he scrounged together en route to the studio. JONATHAN MAGDALENO Also see My, What a Busy Week!
Y LA BAMBA, THE ALIALUJAH CHOIR,
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) As 2012 winds down and the familiar wave of anxiety surrounding year-end lists sets in, I see that Court the Storm, Y la Bamba's second LP, has stood me through the entirety of 2012. Luz Mendoza, an unrestrained dynamo of a singer, still sends shivers up my spine; the mariachi-tinged pop, the lavish orchestrations, and the harmonies of Mendoza's many male bandmates continue to thrill me. Earlier this year, the Alialujah Choir made their debut with another spine-tingler. The product of three ultra-earnest folk-rock veterans—Adam Shearer and Alia Farah of Weinland, and Adam Selzer of Norfolk and Western—this choir combines harmonies and quiet acoustic intricacies that you must have earphones on to truly appreciate. Shy Girls are the wildcard in this lineup. Decidedly not folk, their sexy electronic jams may not be appreciated by quite the same fanbase, though they certainly deserve to be. RW
WOODEN INDIAN BURIAL GROUND,
AU DUNES, THE CASTE, BUBBLE CATS
(East End, 203 SE Grand) At first, Wooden Indian Burial Ground might sound like a slew of psych rock bands that you've heard before. Expansive guitar riffs shriek with distortion, yelps and screams punctuate mumbled vocals, drums make your body shake to their beat. It only takes a few songs to realize that WIBG takes the genre and makes art from it. Their new self-titled album stems from synth-infused garage roots and spirals out into deep, cavernous places. Just when you think you're going to get lost in a tripped-out guitar riff, they reel you back in with a bang and remind you that this isn't just some happenstance jam. While frontman Justin Fowler has been making music under this moniker since 2007, WIBG are finally getting some cross-country recognition, most notably at CMJ this past September. Their precision and talent is something we can't let go unheard, now that we know it's there. RM
DETHKLOK, ALL THAT REMAINS,
MACHINE HEAD, BLACK DAHLIA MURDER
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) Along with This Is Spinal Tap, Metalocalypse shares the distinction of satirizing a relatively esoteric subject (metal and its entire aesthetic) while still being accessible to those who might not understand all of the references. Aside from being one of the funniest shows of the last decade, Metalocalypse has provided us with arguably the best made-for-TV band since the Partridge Family: the fictitious Dethklok, a GWAR-meets-Banana Splits metal ensemble comprised of five individuals who fucking rock but display a borderline autistic ineptitude toward functioning in everyday life—the resultant scenarios are always brilliant. Surprisingly, the music often is, too. While the "band" certainly doesn't eschew comic ridiculousness (the first track on their newest LP, Dethalbum III, is entitled "I Ejaculate Fire," for example), this could not accurately be classified as comedy music—it's too convincingly similar to what it's parodying. MORGAN TROPER
GAYTHEIST, OLD JUNIOR, BROTHERS OF THE LAST WATCH, TOAST, DJ HWY 7
(Tonic Lounge, 3100 NE Sandy) At the beginning of October, local photographer, musician, screenprinter, and jack-of-all-trades Sean Claughton fell down an elevator shaft in the Industrial Southeast building where he kept his studio, and broke his foot, arm, and back. As you might imagine, his hospital bills aren't cheap. Tonight's show will help to put a small dent in them, which is why it's vitally important for you to help out. Aside from the crucial assistance to helping a great guy get well soon, there'll be a bevy of equally great local bands—including the magnificent Old Junior and the rampaging Gaytheist—to deposit rock into your earholes. And local vendors, from the B Side Tavern to PBR to Le Pigeon, are offering a ton of items for a raffle as well. It's only seven bucks, and the cause can't be beat. NL
(Ash Street Saloon, 225 SW Ash) Nicholas Matta records indescribable, elemental work under the name Aux.78. The Sun Decays Them is Matta's new work, recorded partly in his previous home of El Paso and partly in his current home of Portland. Some of it sounds like upside-down folk performed by a prankish group of inmates (Matta's responsible for all the overdubbed weirdness therein). Other tracks sound like they're not made by man at all, but rather an invasive variety of sonic plants and vines that have taken root and steadily, insidiously grown from sun and rain and dirt. While The Sun Decays Them is a decidedly unsettling listen, Aux.78's involving depth of field is worthy of praise. This is desert-mirage music, in which shadows stretch to unreasonable, ghastly lengths, and the most frightening things out there are actually in your head. NL
WORLD PARTY, THE WINDSOR PLAYER
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Read our interview with World Party's Karl Wallinger.
WORLD'S FINEST, THE BELLBOYS, SIMON TUCKER GROUP, DK KELBEL
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) Sometimes you come across a combination that you didn't know you wanted: oysters and stout, French fries and chocolate milkshake, the Ramones and Phil Spector, Zola Jesus and David Lynch—all of those combos work splendidly. Portland genre-jumping band World's Finest and their mashup of ska and bluegrass doesn't quite work so well for me. With clucking banjo providing the offbeat "chk" rhythms, mellifluous upright bass holding down the bottom end, and a proliferation of vocal harmonies, there are elements of folk and bluegrass in their second album, 33 (which is ushered into the world tonight). But folksy accoutrements aside, this sounds pretty much like white-guy reggae to me, but if that's your bag, World's Finest has it all sewn up. NL