DESERT NOISES Mississippi Studios, 1/31

WEDNESDAY 1/30

WOVENHAND, 1939 ENSEMBLE
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) It's hard to say what exactly makes the lamb's share of Christian contemporary music so blandly putrescent. Though I am atheistic, I think it would be unfair to blame Jesus. After all, Bach did okay, and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir certainly has its moments. And then there's Wovenhand. Frontman David Eugene Edwards is certainly a believer, but you get the feeling that he could not care less if you are. He uses biblical symbolism not to inspire, but to consider the shadowy, confusing, broken present. Released in September, Wovenhand's sixth album, The Laughing Stalk, is its darkest yet, a work of noisy, industrial post-rock punctuated by folk and punk. José Medeles (of the Breeders) and David Coniglio are 1939 Ensemble, whose repertoire of drums-vibes-noise harnesses the untethered euphoria of the great jazz recordings to a grim confrontation with the 21st century. REBECCA WILSON

THURSDAY 1/31

DEATH SONGS, DESERT DAYS, AH GOD
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Read our article on Death Songs.

BUILT TO SPILL, FINN RIGGINS
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) See My, What a Busy Week!

MUSE, BAND OF SKULLS
(Rose Garden, 1 Center Ct) There isn't really anything wrong with Muse, just like there isn't really anything wrong with applesauce, but unless you're missing all your teeth (or have a serious case of the scoots and just can't handle the fiber), wouldn't you rather have the raw ingredients? Raw ingredients in this case being: Queen, Electric Light Orchestra, Radiohead, Genesis, Pink Floyd, Depeche Mode, any number of more inventive and interesting British bands. Still, for those who prefer their rock 'n' roll all mushed up, Muse offers some simulated videogame thrills, with a good grasp of dynamics and a truly impressive ability to find and repurpose melodic carrion. (For example, "Uprising" is a perfect blend of Gary Glitter's "Rock 'n' Roll Part 2" and Blondie's "Call Me" with a sprinkle of the "rain down" section from Radiohead's "Paranoid Android," while "Knights of Cydonia" is a shiny CGI update of Joe Meek's "Telstar.") Muse offers the jukebox-musical version of prog rock, and it all will go down easily tonight with lots of sparkly, moving lights to look at. NED LANNAMANN

BEACH PARTY, SOFT SKILLS
(Hawthorne Theater Lounge, 1507 SE César E. Chávez) Beach Party's batting average is one of the most consistent around. Their self-titled, five-song debut was easily one of the best local EPs of 2011, and their half of a recently released split single with Boston-based Dan Webb and the Spiders is equally excellent. Standout track "Useless" (from the EP) is at once reminiscent of Tim-era Replacements and crucial "premo" bands like the Promise Ring and Texas Is the Reason. Like those groups, Beach Party have managed to balance punk fervor with a classic pop sensibility, two genres that are all too often considered incompatible. Also playing are Soft Skills, a relatively new project featuring one half of eminent (math-)rock stars Duck. Little Brother, Duck! MORGAN TROPER

CRUSHED OUT, DESERT NOISES, SUMMER CANNIBALS
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Desert Noises come from the Utah Valley, and their sound reflects the sheer gorgeousness of that region's topography, using jangling guitars and Beach Boys harmonies to depict all those snowy mountaintops and silver clouds and green forest floors. 2011's Mountain Sea is a solid full-length, showcasing the band's musical pliancy and expert vocal work. Their new EP, I Won't See You, is even better, offering lush, frayed pop that works well on both small and grand scales. Recorded in part in Portland with Graeme Gibson, I Won't See You finds the band fully out of the shadows of Fleet Foxes and tackling territory of their own. Tonight they join New York's Crushed Out, the drums-and-guitar duo whose Want to Give album from last year was bluesy, bruised garage fun. NL

FRIDAY 2/1

BUILT TO SPILL, FINN RIGGINS
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) See My, What a Busy Week!

CODY CHESNUTT, RADIATION CITY
(Star Theater, 13 NW 6th) Read our article on Cody Chesnutt.

X, FIREBALLS OF FREEDOM, NO TOMORROW BOYS
(Dante's, 350 W Burnside) The announcement of X making a stop in Portland has gotten those raised on the band's monumental debut, Los Angeles, frothing and giddy, and for good reason. X were—and are—a perfect storm of Exene Cervenka, John Doe, drummer D.J. Bonebrake, and punk rock guitar wunderkind Billy Zoom, all of whom will be present and accounted for tonight. X has always been brainy and brawny, and if Los Angeles is the obvious go-to for many, records like Wild Gift and More Fun in the New World shouldn't be overlooked. If you're lucky enough to have snagged a ticket for tonight—which is also Dante's 13th anniversary—this is going to be a hot and sweaty good time. MARK LORE Also see My, What a Busy Week!

D.R.I., RENDERED USELESS, GUILLOTINE, AMERICAN ROULETTE
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE César E. Chávez) Widely credited as pioneers of melding hardcore punk with thrash metal, Houston, Texas' D.R.I. (Dirty Rotten Imbeciles, if you're nasty) have trudged along for 30 years, seven studio albums, and an impressive amount of worldwide touring. More impressive is that the band's founding members—singer Kurt Brecht and guitarist Spike Cassidy—are still at it, especially when considering Cassidy's battle with, and subsequent recovery from, colon cancer. D.R.I. has returned no worse for wear, and continues to pummel audiences over the head with breakneck thrash opuses and the kind of first-wave punk-rock attitude that makes you wanna fill your face with holes and shave your head into a mohawk. RYAN J. PRADO

AUTONOMICS, THE FONTAINE CLASSIC, THE HOLY CHILD
(East End, 203 SE Grand) Formed in Chico and now residing in Portland, the duo of singer/guitarist Tyler Mehlhaff and drummer Frank Roehr are the Fontaine Classic, and their debut full-length, Latest Faith, originally made its way to the Mercury office as a five-song EP. Now augmented by a further five tracks (both halves are available on Bandcamp separately), Latest Faith is an album proper, and one that's available on vinyl from Flipside Records. It's an appealingly skewed collection of homespun rock that evokes moss and clouds and creaking wooden floors—in other words, these Chico boys fit right in here. The Fontaine Classic's best moments are often their weirdest, like the attic jazz of "All That Space" or the super-close-up sound of lead track "Tourist," which gives the impression that Mehlhaff is singing directly into your ear. The band's newer material is reportedly more dance-oriented, which does seem a stretch from the vine-like tendrils of folk that entwine Latest Faith, but the Fontaine Classic's sense of adventure should take them far. NL

DJ FATBOY'S FOOT FETISH FANTASY BIRTHDAY BALL: COOL NUTZ, STEWART VILLAIN, MANIAC LOK, STEVO TRIPLE SB, LOAD B, AL-ONE, DANNY MERKURY
(Ted's, 231 SW Ankeny) The most famous foot fetishist in the world is Quentin Tarantino. This is known. Less known is that the runner-up, the prince of podophilia, resides in Portland. Jewells "DJ Fatboy" Pena—the man behind the decks at Kreayshawn concerts, and friend to Portland hiphop godfather Cool Nutz—might be gunning for Tarantino's crown with tonight's "Foot Fetish Fantasy Birthday Ball," where not only will you be treated to performances from Cool Nutz, Maniac Lok, Load B, Al-One and others, not only will you witness Fatboy, one of the better turntablists in PDX, perform a blistering birthday set—but that turntablist will also, if you have an extra 20 bones on hand, massage your feet. The hands that make magic on the wheels of steel will soothe your barking dogs, calm your crying corns, and send you (and him) to a state of higher elevation. BOBBY ROBERTS

THE WE SHARED MILK, SAMA DAMS, CROTCH
(Firkin Tavern, 1937 SE 11th) In the summer of 2012, the We Shared Milk got together with a troop of local bands to record 10 tracks for their album History of Voyager and Legend Tripping. The result was a diverse yet cohesive flow of songs that signified a new chapter for the band. After a few years of playing innumerable gigs around town, TWSM now embody the artistic vision of Portland musicians: making innovative music that retains its lightheartedness, with the support of the community. Their music is all over the map, conjuring up psychedelic stoner rock, dreamy blues tunes, and punk-stained melodies. This is the first in a series of the band's February residency at the Firkin, with different guests each Friday; tonight catch them with the equally dynamic Sama Dams, whose striking experimental-rock will make you wonder what continues to make Portland musicians so damn excellent. RACHEL MILBAUER

REVA DEVITO, SHY GIRLS, BROWNISH BLACK
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Soak up the sexy soul vibes before it's too late, as this could be the last show where you can call Reva DeVito one of us. She's on to bigger things and making the obvious PDX-to-LA move. I guess Portland's summer-camp romance with sultry-lady new jack will have to be put on hold. Meanwhile, indie R&B pilots Shy Girls are raising the bar with the impressively cohesive bridge between their refined recordings and immaculate live show. Unlike a lot of bands that started out as a solo recording project, Shy Girls stand out by nailing it every single time with a seven-piece ensemble. ROCHELLE HUNTER

BATH PARTY, WIRE EYES, LUNAR GRAVE
(The Know, 2026 NE Alberta) You can pretty much hurl a dart in the air at random and it'll bull's-eye a surf band. The throwback's ubiquity is as enthusiastic as it is fun, and locals like the Shivas and Guantanamo Baywatch are expanding its sonic parameters. Bath Party, however, holds truer to surf's quirky connections to rockabilly, via downright gloomy (though no-less peppy) single-note runs and extended psych-garage jams. The band's 2012 EP, To the Moon, rejects a majority of the trends in the resuscitation of surf-rock, simply by being loyal to the genre's framework, imploring anyone within earshot to give in to spasms of rock 'n' roll ecstasy. RJP

SHOT OF MERCURY, THE CONTROL FREAKS, I DIGRESS, SECOND PLAYER SCORE
(Red Room, 2530 NE 82nd) First of all, I have to give Shot of Mercury credit for their name. (Shot of Asian Reporter doesn't have quite the same ring.) Secondly, the local four-piece's new album, On the Rocks, is just plain fun, a ripping, rocking, rolling record that would have burned up the FM dial in 1981. You can tell by every note that it's purely a labor of love for the band, which makes it a refreshing change of pace from the forlorn torment that makes up many nervous debuts. Shot of Mercury includes former members of Portland bands like Stabitha, Shifft, and Treadmill, and they certainly know their way around a hooky melody and a fuzz-driven riff, not giving a fuck about genre styles or what's currently hip. Rather, they make plain old rawk that sounds good loud. Shot of Mercury aren't tortured artists, and thank goodness—they sound like a group of folks you'd love to have a few beers with. NL

SATURDAY 2/2

THE MALT BALL: RADIATION CITY, SONS OF HUNS, AND AND AND, GAYTHEIST, WOODEN INDIAN BURIAL GROUND, DIVERS, THE CALEB KLAUDER COUNTRY BAND, OLD LIGHT, HAUSU, MARTY MARQUIS, MINDEN, STREET NIGHTS
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) Holy shit! Read our feature story on the Malt Ball.

BLACK PRAIRIE, HOUNDSTOOTH
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Black Prairie and Houndstooth have both been around for a couple of years at this point, and ever since BP added lyrics to their initially instrumental lineup, both bands are fronted by ladies. That's where the similarities end. Black Prairie has always excelled at sounding timeless, but now that Annalisa Tornfelt has taken up singing duties on their second LP, A Tear in the Eye Is a Wound in the Heart, they also sound consoling and absolutely sure of themselves. If Black Prairie is the avuncular neighbor from whom you seek advice, Houndstooth is your older sister's effortlessly fashionable best friend. Katie Bernstein's laidback voice lands atop surf rock that's just lo-fi and spontaneous enough to make these veteran musicians sound like they all one day stumbled by accident into the same garage. RW

YOB, ROLLING THROUGH THE UNIVERSE, USNEA
(Branx, 320 SE 2nd) The new self-titled LP from Portland funeral doomers Usnea consists of four tracks clocking in between 10 and 17 minutes apiece. That is to say, they keep it slogging through the sludge with the dexterity of a brachiosaurus. But they're dynamic, too. "Brazen Bull of Phalaris" is a long, strange trip through dark and uncharted terrain—occasionally breathtaking, and for the most part frightening. Surely a mythical beast lurks nearby. Either that, or this is the sound of the worst acid trip imaginable. The band opens for YOB, the Oregon band that gave countless doom bands the tools to go slow or go home. Earplugs and diapers recommended. ML

PENELOPE: SHARA WORDEN, FEAR NO MUSIC
(Alberta Rose Theatre, 3000 NE Alberta) The famed fidelity of Homer's Penelope doesn't stop at the literary level. It's made its way into the equally trustworthy songwriting prowess of composer Sarah Kirkland Snider, whose song cycle Penelope is a spellbinding orchestral storybook based on The Odyssey. Performed with the distinctly acrobatic vocals of My Brightest Diamond's Shara Worden, Penelope is an audacious, sweeping soundscape, punctuated by contemporary slants on the classic epic, specifically on gorgeous tracks like "This Is What You're Like." Accompanying Worden for tonight's special event is Portland's own Fear No Music, one of the city's more ambitious musical ensembles. This will likely be totally amazing. RJP

SUNDAY 2/3

STREET NIGHTS, BEAR AND MOOSE, EIDOLONS
(Rontoms, 600 E Burnside) Dan Byers' understated, delicate vocals are striking upon your first listen to China, Eidolons' 2012 record. Melodic, spiraling garage-rock guitar riffs and catchy, quick drum rhythms come together to create music that overflows with raw energy. These buoyant songs are a balancing act—soulful, dreamy, and folk tinged, at some times reminiscent of a Wilco hit or a cooing Andrew Bird ballad. One of Eidolons' greatest strengths is their quirky ability to combine the elements of catchy rock 'n' roll with a weird, folk lullaby aesthetic. RM

MONDAY 2/4

ADAM GREEN, BINKI SHAPIRO, DUOVER
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) See My, What a Busy Week!

TUESDAY 2/5

BEN FOLDS FIVE, NATALY DAWN
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) So! Ben Folds Five are coming to town, and opening for them is one-half of Pomplamoose. [Pause.] Okay, I had to take a minute to go get in a real-life argument with someone close to me about the perils of being yourself vs. the perils of trying to play along with the Kool Kids Music Klub. It was decided that I should say the following sentence, even if it makes people think I'm a doofus: I totally don't hate Pomplamoose. I thought those videos were funny, Nataly Dawn's voice is fine, and haters can go drink Haterade or whatever. Ben Folds is a crazy genius and one time someone played me a BF song on their grandma's piano and it made me laugh-cry. The Five haven't put out an album since 19-fucking-99. I think this show will be nice. ANNA MINARD Also see My, What a Busy Week! and read our article on Ben Folds Five.

SEAPONY, ROSE MELBERG, THE HAPPENING
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Rose Melberg elicits a lot of squeals from ladies of a certain age (and all the dudes I knew in college). She is an enchantress of hushed and dulcet tones, the cutie queen of such '90s seminal wuss-rock bands as Gaze, Tiger Trap, and (deep and contented sigh) the Softies. Maybe you caught music zine chickfactor's 20th anniversary show at Bunk Bar last May? If so, you saw Melberg and Jen Sbragia of the Softies in full and epic shred... but seriously, they were as sweet and sad and lovely as they were two decades ago. Tonight's another great opportunity to catch some intimate and tender music from the storied musician who probably inspired headliner Seapony. I hear a lot of similar soft-somethings in the Seattle band's expansive, fuzzy, feminine wiles. In summation, prepare to rock out—slowly, and with a demure smile on your face. COURTNEY FERGUSON Also see My, What a Busy Week!