HAYDEN Doug Fir, 3/21
Vanessa Heins

WEDNESDAY 3/20

DJANGO DJANGO, NIGHT MOVES
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) See My, What a Busy Week!

AND AND AND, THE WE SHARED MILK, MINDEN, THE ECSTATICS
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) See My, What a Busy Week!

FUN., FAMILY OF THE YEAR
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) If Fun.'s singer Nate Ruess hasn't killed more A&R careers than filesharing, it's certainly been close. Long before the music business sausage factory desperately churned out glossy Fun. singles in search of a hit—which they found in spades with last year's Some Nights—Ruess was at the helm of the Format, another band beloved (and heavily bankrolled) by the industry, yet never quite appreciated by the wide-eyed masses. Ruess' current success has been assembled like a modern-day music industry ship in a bottle: deliberate, painstaking, and with a generous incubation period that most artists would kill for. It's allowed the NYC-via-Arizona frontman to cultivate his style of bellowing every single lyric like IT'S THE MOST IMPORTANT WORD EVER. How the charismatic Ruess has sidestepped the churn-and-burn nature of modern big-budget recording remains a mystery, but kudos to him, and long may he continue to (over) sing each and every song like a small child in an audition for the role of Simba in The Lion King. EZRA ACE CARAEFF

JAPANTHER, FRENCH HORN REBELLION, THE CRY, DESTROY NATE ALLEN, BRAKEMOUTH, DUMPSTER BURGER
(Mt. Tabor Theater, 4811 SE Hawthorne) Japanther—not to be confused with the also-terrific-but-not-nearly-as-prolific Japandroids, or British post-punk harbingers Japan—have been completely underground and lovin' it since their inception over 10 years ago, despite a few notable brushes with mainstream popularity (their song "Radical Businessman," which sort of sounds like MC5's "Kick Out the Jams" played in reverse and features the indisputably anthemic chorus "1,2,3,4/Fuck the cops," was featured prominently in Grand Theft Auto IV, so that's something). Their insistent self-definition as an "art project" as opposed to something more descriptive is probably part NYC-art-school pretension, but generally the band's too all over the place to fit in a specific category. For every questionable noise jam, there's an effortless twee-pop vignette like "She's the One." Japanther are proof that a complete lack of ambition is occasionally the most creatively liberating thing there is for a band. MORGAN TROPER

GENDERS, STILL CAVES, KIM BAXTER
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) It's hard to pinpoint exactly what makes Genders so great. Sure, they've got a richly textured summertime pop vibe. And yeah, Maggie Morris' vocals are a smooth sheen on top of the band's otherwise ramshackle rock. Then there's the quartet's general deftness through which they articulate their sonic assaults, most markedly on their 2012 self-titled debut EP. Now that attention is off the band's former incarnation as Youth, new focus can be applied to the band's new 7-inch (being released tonight at Mississippi Studios), as well as the band's first-ever tour, up and down the West Coast. Genders are also opening for Built to Spill at this year's Treefort Music Festival, which means the jig is up, people. See them now. RYAN J. PRADO

THURSDAY 3/21

THE MEAN JEANS, THERAPISTS, YOUTHBITCH, MIDDLE AGES
(Club 21, 2035 NE Glisan) See My, What a Busy Week!

WAXAHATCHEE
(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) Katie Crutchfield, formerly of the Birmingham-based bands the Ackleys and P.S. Eliot (both with her twin sister Alison), is on a new page. At age 24, she has been making and performing music for 10 years, but this project is a little different than the punk roots from which she came. Her second album as Waxahatchee, Cerulean Salt, is immediately striking. Like the first, its bleeding honesty pulls you in, like finding the key to someone's diary—but Cerulean Salt has a more polished, collected sound. Crutchfield's storytelling vocals are reminiscent of Mirah or Cat Power, and on this record, a bassist and drummer accompany her gently roaring guitar. Cerulean hits the nail on the head with straightforward melodies and heart-on-sleeve lyrics. RACHEL MILBAUER

HAYDEN, LOU CANON
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Long before Bon Iver was birthed in a sadness cabin deep within the melancholy forest and nursed with his mother's forlorn tears (all true, read it on Wikipedia), there was Hayden. For close to two decades the Canadian singer/songwriter—born Paul Hayden Desser—has developed from an asphalt-throated troubadour to his current, and more appropriate, style of heartbroken bedroom balladeer. A newborn in arms and a five-year absence from recording seemed like ominous signs of his musical demise, but Hayden has resurfaced with one of his finest offerings to date, Us Alone. There is little joy in opener "Motel," and that's perfectly fine, as Hayden attempts to reignite a past romance—be it with music or otherwise—as he sings, "I can't go on pretending this song is about young lovers born to run/When it's so clearly about you and me." Coupled with "Blurry Nights," the swirlingly sweet ballad with Lou Canon (tonight's opening act as well) and the upbeat single "Rainy Saturday," Us Alone makes sadness sound so wonderful. EAC

JOSH RITTER, LAKE STREET DIVE
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) Lake Street Dive blends the technicality of a jazz-string band, the melodic sensibilities of a pop group, and all the soul anyone could handle, together in one potent cocktail. Vocalist Rachael Price can't help but be center stage as she brings all the virtuosic runs of a jazz singer and the sassy power of a pop-rock star to the band's fun covers of tunes like Jackson 5's classic "I Want You Back," Hall and Oates' "Rich Girl," and the McCartney chestnut "Let Me Roll It." The band is classically trained, but Lake Street Dive sounds less like a stuffy symphony and more like a rootsier version of the Roots; they were a surprise highlight of 2012's Pickathon. Here's hoping the band just moves here already so we can see them every week. RJP

MAGIC FADES, BRUXA, INTERIORS
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Interiors' music is like an intense dream: a moving and maybe startling experience on its own, but when you wake up, you want to share it with other people. The songs can hardly contain their buzzing frenetic energy, as each intricate change in tone is layered with electronic beats. The result is both cerebral and edgy, an intriguing combination that belies extreme deliberateness. Portlander Thomas Thorson, the man behind Interiors, has been pushing the boundaries of this sound since 2006, and his experimenting is evident on his recent EP, Deep Cave, which lingers in the otherworldly. Magic Fades headlines the evening with their lust-groove, slick R&B-style jams—a perfect lineup for the truly dance-thirsty crowd. RM

FRIDAY 3/22

CHELSEA LIGHT MOVING, GRASS WIDOW
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) See My, What a Busy Week!

GEORGE CLINTON AND PARLIAMENT FUNKADELIC, DOO DOO FUNK ALL-STARS
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) See My, What a Busy Week!

THE WOOLEN MEN, STAY CALM, SAD HORSE
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Read our article on the Woolen Men.

IRIS DEMENT
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) In 1992, I was working at a bookstore owned and primarily staffed by lesbians, nearly all of whom loved good contemporary folk music. So when Nanci Griffith toured in '92, nearly all my coworkers went, and every single one of them came raving about the opening act, a woman who stood alone on stage with just a guitar and a humongous voice and the most beautiful songs you'd ever heard. The performer, of course, was Iris Dement, who'd just released her debut album and was winning fans everywhere she opened her mouth. Two decades later, Dement is touring in support of Sing the Delta, her first album of all-new material in 16 years. No one who appreciates good old-fashioned country-folk should miss it. DAVID SCHMADER

SATURDAY 3/23

DANAVA, OCCULTATION, BORROWED TIME, DJ DENNIS DREAD
(Dante's, 350 W Burnside) See My, What a Busy Week!

LEMOLO, SARA JACKSON-HOLMAN, CABIN PROJECT
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) If Lemolo aren't already on your list of favorite Northwest bands, it's only a matter of time. The Seattle-area duo makes a uniquely yearning kind of pop that places you right at the waterline: When the music isn't gently rolling over you like a slow current rinses through undulating underwater plants, it's crashing down on you like heavy surf, dashing you against the rocks. Meagan Grandall's piano, guitar, and voice steer the craft, while Kendra Cox's drums and synths are the engine, the two working in tandem through both calm seas and intense squalls. Sorry about all these water metaphors. Apparently Grandall and Cox met as kayak instructors on Liberty Bay (they're named after Poulsbo's Lemolo Shore Drive) so perhaps it's inevitable their music evokes the association. Lemolo's 2012 debut The Kaleidoscope has no shortage of gasp-worthy moments, but they're even better in person. NED LANNAMANN

ICEAGE, BELLICOSE MINDS, STILL CAVES, SEWERS OF PARIS
(Star Theater, 13 NW 6th) The temporal-vein bursting anger that runs through Iceage's music is nothing to be taken lightly—no one's captured that pure invincible recklessness in recent years quite like the Danish punk quartet. Iceage raged against their own machine before catching the ears of disenfranchised kids and critics here in America with their 2011 debut New Brigade. That doesn't appear to be changing anytime soon. This year's release of You're Nothing shows these kids are still plenty pissed and looking to raise some fists. Of course, there's a shelf life for this kind of intensity. If Iceage is still burning this hot in 10 years, you'll have to wonder about its sincerity. Probably best to experience it now while it's still bottled up and pure. MARK LORE

TED LEO, DEATHFIX, TIANAMEN BEAR
(Backspace, 115 NW 5th) Have you ever had an extremely intense relationship with someone that ultimately, and maybe inexplicably, didn't last very long? That's sort of how I think about Ted Leo—specifically, his 2004 effort with his band the Pharmacists, Shake the Sheets. For a brief, concentrated period of time, this was the only record that mattered to me. Although I can intellectually recognize how much it impacted me in hindsight, I've never been able to revisit it in quite the same way on an emotional level, but it's easy to see how I became initially hooked. Leo's music—even on record—has that eerie, "right in the room with you" quality that makes even his sweeter and more subdued compositions uncomfortably intense. It's a unique and immensely alluring characteristic. His latest release, 2010's The Brutalist Bricks, might not be as roundly exceptional as Sheets, but it's still a goddamned Ted Leo album. Tonight he performs solo on a bill with Deathfix, the band of Fugazi's Brendan Canty. MT

NILE, CEREMONIAL CASTINGS, WORLD OF LIES, HEATHEN SHRINE, SEASON OF SUFFERING
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE César E. Chávez) After 20 years of grinding out uncompromising, skull-crushing, Egyptian-themed (yet they call North Carolina home) death metal, it's safe to say we know what to expect from a Nile show: blast beats, double-necked guitars, skullets, seven-minute songs about mummies, pharaohs, and kings, sweatpants, and last but not least, a whole lot of brutality. Rip thy bong. Bang thy head. Repeat. KEVIN DIERS

VERONICA FALLS, BRILLIANT COLORS, GOLDEN GRRRLS
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) A name like Golden Grrrls might immediately send the ol' cutesy detector into high gear. But the Glaswegian trio's self-titled debut is on Slumberland, where preciousness is almost a prerequisite. Their songs embody just that—plenty of boy-girl vocals bopping over jangly, slightly off guitars. If pop in the spirit of Black Tambourine and Flying Nun Records is your thing, then Golden Grrrls is your band. Labelmates Veronica Falls are probably just as fucking twee, but the residue of their songs tends to stick around longer. I don't know if the Doug Fir can withstand the high levels of cuteness sure to be unleashed tonight. But it's definitely the place to be if you want to get your yé-yés out. ML

SUNDAY 3/24

FOXYGEN, PURE X
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Read our article on Foxygen.

FEDERATION X, RABBITS, GAYTHEIST, NASALROD
(Ash Street Saloon, 225 SW Ash) Read our article on Federation X.

DUCKTAILS, WIDOWSPEAK, MARK MCGUIRE
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Read our article on Ducktails.

DAVID DONDERO, KORY QUINN
(Al's Den, 303 SW 12th) Traveling songsmith David Dondero is apparently just going by his surname for this batch of gigs, a weeklong residency in the basement of McMenamins' Crystal Hotel featuring a special guest each night. Still, Dondero is the reason to go—as evidenced by brilliant albums like South of the South, Simple Love, and #Zero with a Bullet, Dondero is a heartbreaker of the most expert and devastating sort. Each of Dondero's songs are like open wounds, raw and pulsing with life but extraordinarily painful to stare into for long periods of time. Still, tunes like "Pornographic Love Song" and "Rothko Chapel" are masterpieces, the work of one of America's best living songwriters. He's playing for free all week long. You owe it to yourself to catch a show. Or seven. NL

THE MALLARD, THE HOODED HAGS, FEEL YOUNG
(Record Room, 8 NE Killingsworth) The Mallard are quickly becoming one of the more recognizable groups hailing from the Bay Area's fertile psych-garage set. Originally the solo project of Greer McGettrick, the Mallard's first recordings were selfless slabs of fuzzy punk set to warbly, thin percussion. The band has beefed up since then from trio to quartet, and their 2012 Castle Face Records debut Yes on Blood showcases both McGettrick's patience for the craft of the lo-fi recording process as well as a knack for hiding hooks under lots of squealing ax work. Forget for a second that the band has been more or less weaned from the(e) Oh Sees teat; the Mallard are a solid band deserving of autonomy, and you'd do well to catch them while you can. RJP

MONDAY 3/25

DAVID DONDERO, TYLER FORTIER
(Al's Den, 303 SW 12th) See Sunday's listing.

TREEFORT FEST AFTERPARTY: ANIMAL EYES, ASH REITER, PONY VILLAGE, COUCHES, TALKATIVE
(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) Boise's Treefort Music Fest is trickling West. Animal Eyes is the lone act not to have made an appearance at Treefort, having just come off a nationwide tour. Masters, if not inventors, of the power accordion and the boisterous lounge chorus, they front a lineup of good-time, easy-to-like pop music from Alaska and Oregon. Former Oakland schoolteacher Ash Reiter and her eponymous band create a cocoon of ooh-la-las and tambourine-inflected choruses on their enjoyable album Hola. Evoking girl groups as much as Nancy Sinatra torch songs, their airy harmonies and affable sunniness transcend decades. Couches, also from the Bay Area, specialize in sarcasm-infused indie pop, the perfect foil for the über-sincere Pony Village, an Oregon quintet whose country-tinged harmonies evoke the rustier parts of the Oregon Coast. Talkative are an experimental noise band originally from Eugene whose barrage of lyrics is buried under strata of echoes and guitar jangle. REBECCA WILSON

DOLDRUMS, SEAN NICHOLAS SAVAGE, STRATEGY
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Doldrums is 23-year-old Canadian Airick Woodhead, who just dropped the album Lesser Evil on Arbutus Records. The songs skew toward the cute and hazy end of the electronic-pop spectrum. Sometimes Doldrums dips into bass music's trunk-rattling low-end pummel; sometimes he tilts into Mouse on Mars' wonderfully wobbly songcraft embellished with animalistic gurgles, birdsong twittering, and insectoid chittering; sometimes he achieves a weird keyboard drone that hovers between those made famous by Soft Machine and This Heat. Vocally, dude sounds like a lady, but he can sing better and with more sweet emotion than most one-man electro projects. Woodhead reportedly sometimes has two drummers accompanying him live; let's hope they appear tonight to augment Doldrums' intricately wonky beat programming. DAVE SEGAL 

THE JOY FORMIDABLE, GUARDS, FORT LEAN
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) The Joy Formidable is a small band that plays big songs. Well, I say big—but let's go with gargantuan. Their arena-made dynamics cause nonstop comparisons to Muse, especially after their run opening for the Operatic Ones. That seems unfair, though, because the Joy Formidable has never once caused me to roll my eyes. Their second album, Wolf's Law, captures the essence of big UK rock (they're Welsh) with the propulsive, molar-jarring depth of My Bloody Valentine and guitar riffs that evoke Zeppelin at their nerdiest. The occasional dreamy shoegaze moment keeps things from getting too exhausting. Ritzy Bryan is the real deal—a rock 'n'roll frontwoman who sucks you close with her breathy voice, which somehow never gets lost beneath the wail of guitars. RW

TUESDAY 3/26

DAVID DONDERO, LEWI LONGMIRE
(Al's Den, 303 SW 12th) See Sunday's listing.

MATT COSTA, CARLY RITTER, SAM OUTLAW
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) See My, What a Busy Week!

MIRACLES OF MODERN SCIENCE, SAMA DAMS, CATHERINE FEENY
(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) What a tangled web Sama Dams weaves, and what an enjoyable one to get caught in. The Portland group—named after their clarion-voiced frontman, with the space moved one letter over to avoid confusion with our former mayor—release their new full-length, No Vengeance, at tonight's show. It's a challenging, mathy step forward for the local trio, embracing the technical intricacies of bands like Dirty Projectors and Slint and shrugging off the band's cozier, folkier sound of the past. It's also a phenomenally impressive piece of work, demonstrating a fearless exploratory spirit as opposed to trying to be willfully obscure. While I haven't yet found anything on No Vengeance that hits me on a gut level like their splendid 2011 EP Draw This Bitter Blood, I'm gonna keep listening—no matter what level of accessibility they're working on, Sama Dams is one of Portland's most interesting, and best, bands. NL

K. FLAY, SISTAFIST, SCORPION WARRIOR, DRALA
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) There's something I immediately like about Kristine Flaherty, AKA K. Flay, and it's not just because she's a female rapper. Her songs are electronic and hiphoppy, but have more substance than most hiphop, and more structure than most electronica. I'd imagine having a conversation with her at a bar would be much like her lyrics: slightly offbeat, but very dark and sexy. Her flow hits the notes of Die Antwoord if they were produced by Kid Cudi. The sound of an electro/indie/hiphop act would normally make me dubious, but K. Flay manages to intertwine these genres into something undeniably unique. ROSE FINN

THE SPECIALS, LITTLE HURRICANE
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) This is probably a facile and at least partially idiotic comparison, but something just occurred to me: Ska and emo both started out as unwaveringly authentic punk subgenres and then went to hell in sorta similar ways. Each aesthetic was appropriated by mall-rat posers and both genres are now unanimously associated with the Vans Warped Tour. Pioneers of either genre are by and large buried under the mountain of ersatz manure that ensued. Still, if ska suffers from this sort of generalized dismissal by hacks disguised as tastemakers, anybody who isn't a complete dork surely knows how great and relevant the first Specials record was and still is. It was produced by Elvis Costello, for god's sake. MT

FOL CHEN, ROYAL CANOE, BILLYGOAT
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Fol Chen's third LP, The False Alarms, is a sinewy and sparkly affair, thanks in part to Sinosa Loa, the new full-time vocalist. Loa's voice seduces as much as it keeps you at arm's length, the aural equivalent of a striptease. The new streamlined sound is cool, but it misses the amateur zaniness that was such a source of Fol Chen's charm on the first two albums. Still, unlike most trendy LA bands, they never sound the least bit out of the box. Indeed, their not-always-successful experiments suggest that Samuel Bing and Julian Wass, the producers at Fol Chen's core, are more interested in twiddling and tweaking than catering to fashion. Billmates Royal Canoe are a maximalist dance band whose total lack of inhibitions are reflected as much in their stage presence as by their propensity to embrace eight different genres, sometimes in the same song. RW