LITTLE GREEN CARS Doug Fir, 4/9

WEDNESDAY 4/3

NICK JAINA, PAPER BIRD, PONY VILLAGE
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Read our article on Nick Jaina.

WILD ONES, ASH REITER, STEPKID
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Ash Reiter's melodies go a long way in the world of golden-pop sounds. Her gentle vocals are immediately compelling and distinct, with an aggressive punch thrown in here and there. Part of her charm is the unabashedly playful nature of her music; it is lighthearted and sincere, and it urges an audience to shake their hips a little. Wild Ones takes the stage next, with another jaw-dropping female lead. Danielle Sullivan's sharp and delicate vocals are mesmerizing and melodic. Their new single, "Golden Twin," is a fine example of the band's growing ability to write lucid, pretty pop songs. RACHEL MILBAUER

GRAMMIES, NICK MILLEVOI, DESERT OF HIATUS, U SCO
(Habesha, 801 NE Broadway) U Sco is an anomaly. They are sort of like those lizards born without legs in the sense that they're a manifestation of an evolutionary path whose reason might not be totally apparent. The members are definitely insane (and potentially cybernetic). This music consistently moves me and occasionally makes me feel uncomfortable. It pushes all the right buttons, including the ones I never knew existed. While aesthetically U Sco have a lot in common with post-hardcore groups such as Drive Like Jehu and !-era Dismemberment Plan, they're more reminiscent of British prog giants like Gong and King Crimson, and that's a really good thing. U Sco succeed because they seem entirely unconscious of (or at least indifferent to) the status quo, but they're also far from uncool; they merely exist apart from these parameters. U Sco is what the Mars Volta fantasizes about being when it looks at itself in the mirror. MORGAN TROPER

CRIMINAL CODE, BIG EYES, ARCTIC FLOWERS, FREEDOM CLUB
(The Know, 2026 NE Alberta) Big Eyes came to Seattle by way of the East Coast and they deliver fast and fun pop rock with a fantastic Fastbacks vibe. Singer Kate Eldridge's vocals are upbeat and bratty—and lots of fun to sing along to. And speaking of the Fastbacks, Big Eyes' "Back from the Moon" makes a cute second chapter to the Fastbacks' "Gone to the Moon." Seriously! Listen to them back to back—a song about blasting off, then a song about waiting for someone to come back. It's so perfect that I might not believe it wasn't done intentionally. MEGAN SELING

THURSDAY 4/4

THE WE SHARED MILK, AAN, YOURS
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) For a snapshot of explosive civic-mindedness, look no further than this lineup for Portland's best of-the-moment indie rockers. They have learned the secret: play whatever you like, challenge listeners all you want, but do it with friends—especially important when your music defies categorization, when it sounds like nothing any audience has ever heard. The We Shared Milk famously recorded their glam-garage History of Voyager & Legend Tripping with 10 different local bands. Nepotism isn't enough, obviously, and their eyebrow-singeing live shows have become the stuff of legend. Aan's "Mystery Life" 7-inch is an exercise in the bizarrely accessible, drawing you in with warm, beautiful vocals and wrapping you up in totally unfamiliar psychedelic fuzz. And lastly, Yours specializes in obliterating genres, with songs ranging from discordant slushes of noise to pop confections whose gorgeous guitar hooks stir you to your bones. REBECCA WILSON

FRIDAY 4/5

UNKNOWN MORTAL ORCHESTRA, WAMPIRE
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) See My, What a Busy Week!, and read our article on UMO.

LOW, THALIA ZEDEK
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Low is going on two decades now. The years have flown by for many of us, but it's been a sllooooowww ride for this band from Duluth, Minnesota. Low's association with bands like Codeine and Galaxy 500 earned them the "slowcore" tag from critics, one the band itself doesn't particularly care for. With a few exceptions (and producers), they've never veered too far from that sound. The band's latest, The Invisible Way, was produced by Jeff Tweedy, which makes perfect sense. Like Wilco, it's lush, gorgeous, slow, and inoffensive. Opening is Thalia Zedek, who's also been known to be a little mopey. But her excellent new record Via is noisy in all the right places, and will definitely make you feel good. MARK LORE

SATURDAY 4/6

LADY SINGS THE BLUES: A TRIBUTE TO BILLIE HOLIDAY
(Alberta Rose Theatre, 3000 NE Alberta) See My, What a Busy Week!

BUBBLE CATS, WOODEN INDIAN BURIAL GROUND, BILLIONS AND BILLIONS, LITHOPEDIAN
(Troubadour Studio, 1020 SE Market) Read our article on Bubble Cats.

KINSKI, MARK MCGUIRE
(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) Kinski has effectively shed the cocoon of krautrock—a tag they all but branded into their own flesh during the release of 2005's excellent Alpine Static. Known for high-energy live shows, their instrumental sets were often accented by special dips into vocalized covers by frontman Chris Martin (not that one), until finally Kinski added his voice full-time to their arsenal. The shift has been mostly seamless, ranging from the hard-edged Down Below It's Chaos, and including their new Kill Rock Stars release, Cosy Moments. The new LP is a psychedelic rock rollercoaster that utilizes open spaces, warm analog feedback swells, and riff-ready refrains in equal measure, like a less-stoned Sabbath. RYAN J. PRADO

JAMES MCCARTNEY
(White Eagle, 836 N Russell) Rock 'n' roll royalty graces the intimate White Eagle stage this evening in the form of James McCartney—son of Paul and Linda. I know it's sorta shitty to compare somebody to his dad, especially since I'm not super familiar with James' music, but it's not like James is wearing a wrestling mask, playing hardcore shitgaze-abilly, and calling himself Professor Vomit. No, the younger Macca seems to traffic in light pop ballads, not exactly a million miles away from his father's wheelhouse. But at least he's not riding his father's coattails to the big time—after all, he's playing the unpretentious White Eagle, and you probably didn't know it was happening until you read this. NED LANNAMANN

HURRY UP, PALO VERDE, TYRANTS
(Record Room, 8 NE Killingsworth) Tyrants make music that sounds like Captain Beefheart fronting a skinny-tie band. Like the late Cap'n, this music is defined by brief, inconclusive brushes with consonance and the resultant psych-outs: As soon as the rhythm starts to steady, it jumps ahead or lags behind; as quickly as a discernible, hummable melody begins to surface, it veers off into sour discordance. Seeing Tyrants live is something of an "experience." There's a lot of confusing performance art stuff involved in their live show: The drummer plays a kit consisting only of a hi-hat and a snare, and the bassist/vocalist has the mic stand adjusted at a third of his height, and as a result has to sort of crouch in order for his mouth to be level to the microphone. It would seem hokey or superfluous if the music were any different than it is, but with Tyrants it all somehow makes sense. Keep Portland weird, dudes. MT

SHOVELS AND ROPE, DENVER
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Husband-and-wife duo Shovels and Rope are perpetually on the road. That fact shakes out into their music—dusty country ditties drenched in rock 'n' roll grease. These South Carolinians keep it simple: guitars and drums, making some big sounds. For the past three years, Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent have taken on the country, dropping harmonious ballads and boot stompers onto small rooms and overflowing festivals, like last summer's Pickathon. The excellent "Birmingham" (recently performed on Late Show with David Letterman) sounds so worn-in, you might think it's a long-lost gem from the early 20th century. At the very least, it'll make you remember there once was a genre called alt-country. ML

PHEASANT, ALBATROSS, LUMINOUS THINGS
(Kelly's Olympian, 426 SW Washington) Ryan Sollee's singular vocal delivery can make distinguishing his projects difficult. At first listen, Albatross reminds one instantly of Sollee's other band, the Builders and the Butchers, or of his solo work. A discerning analysis, however, indicates that Albatross reels in the gothic undertones of Sollee's songwriting and allows an embrace of a much brighter, though no-less rollicking folk-based sound. The band—which includes former Builder and current Wooden Indian Burial Ground bassist Paul Seely on drums—is releasing an LP this summer, and this is your last chance to see them in Portland until July. RJP

SUNDAY 4/7

JEFF BRIDGES AND THE ABIDERS
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) See My, What a Busy Week!

SKY FERREIRA, HOW TO DRESS WELL, HIGH HIGHS
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Sky Ferreira's first album, I'm Not Alright, isn't out yet, but it's already easy to feel cynical about her. From her earliest days, she was schooled in the ways of pop by none other than Michael Jackson; her unwavering attitude of bummed-out sexuality seems totally put-upon. But damn, then she opens her mouth. Ferreira's "Everything Is Embarrassing" is one of those rare, perfect pop songs that catches you off guard, slithers its way into your brain, and never comes close to annoying, even after hearing it several times in a row. Not trying too hard is the source of Ferreira's cool, and How to Dress Well's Tom Krell could take a lesson here. His immoderate use of layers and textures ultimately causes him to sound so much more fragile than Ferreira. But he's a great songwriter, and the occasional glimpses of a purely soulful Krell, unmediated by the loops, are nothing short of thrilling. RW

CHARTS, WEEK OF WONDERS
(Rontoms, 600 E Burnside) Charts' new EP, Vacation, polishes the Portland trio's lo-fi murk to a surprisingly sunny new sheen. Recorded live at Troubadour Studios and mixed by Jeff Bond, the four catchy, rock-solid new tracks find the band discarding their homegrown tape-hiss vibe in favor of a reverb-laden, tropical-tinged version of chiming power-pop. It's a great sounding record, from the gallop of opening track "Settling Down" to the wanderlusting "Get on the Bus," finding room for the '50s sock-hop of "Burn Out" and the slow-dance of "I Don't Mind" along the way. Charts are dipping down to California for a handful of shows, but tonight they celebrate the excellent EP's release and a kickoff to the quick tour. NL

BRAINSTORM, HOUNDSTOOTH, HUSTLE AND DRONE
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Brainstorm's layered, call-and-response vocals and surf guitar riffs are a welcome pop pairing to the sunstroke weather we've been experiencing. Their newest single, "She Moves," is a burst of electric-fangled energy and bounce that instantaneously springs a crowd to life. Houndstooth plays second tonight, unleashing enchanting, cooing vocals and sweetly understated guitar tones. Hustle and Drone, fresh off their European tour, kick off the evening with serenades of free-flowing electronic-pop-dance tracks. If you've never seen these prominent PDX acts before, this is an excellent opportunity to catch them on one mouth-watering, all-local bill. RM

OMD, DIAMOND RINGS
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) It hasn't been 1983 for a few years now, but to listen to English Electric, OMD's 12th studio album, it might as well be. Since I first saw Molly Ringwald make her way through a roomful of mean richies in her pink prom dress to the strains of "If You Leave," I have found it impossible not to love their teenagers-at-a-slumber-party take on new wave. I'm not sure that they've gotten better in the past 30 years, but they certainly haven't gotten worse. And it's possible the themes are a bit more mature, though not as mature as the performers; Paul Humphreys and Andy McCluskey are 53 now. Happily, fashion once again values—and apes—their particular sound, and the songs are just as good for making out as they ever were. "Metroland" and "Night Café" particularly encapsulate that ineffable ache that's just as pervasive as the pleasure of their shiny synthpop. RW

MONDAY 4/8

SOUL ASYLUM, THROWBACK SUBURBIA, CELLAR DOOR
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE César E. Chávez) See My, What a Busy Week!

PHOSPHORESCENT, STRAND OF OAKS
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Read our article on Phosphorescent.

PORTLAND COUNTRY UNDERGROUND
(LaurelThirst Public House, 2958 NE Glisan) LaurelThirst is a fantastic venue for traditional tunes, grizzled twang, and wildly technical virtuosos. Joining the canon of the Kung Pao Chickens, Freak Mountain Ramblers, Jackstraws, et al, is Portland Country Underground, an impressive local supergroup of sorts, featuring Lewi Longmire, WC Beck, David Lipkind (harmonica wailer extraordinaire of I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch in the House), pedal-steel player Scott Hay and more. Their sets are barnyard sing-alongs and boot-heeled stompers, usually, if not completely, of the mildly obscure cover variety. That's when they're not playing more well-known country tunes like Dwight Yoakam's "Guitars and Cadillacs." Either way, their expert interplay and multi-talented groundwork is a goddamn hoot to behold, and it's up for grabs every week during happy hour on Mondays. RJP

TUESDAY 4/9

SPIRITUALIZED
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) See My, What a Busy Week!

LITTLE GREEN CARS, THE YOUNG EVILS
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Little Green Cars will inevitably earn some comparisons to bands like the Lumineers and Of Monsters and Men. The five Dublin 20-year-olds traffic in the same kind of gently rumpled, harmony-laden folk rock that has the potential to appeal to the masses and rankle the snobs. But there's something really exciting about Little Green Cars, something that deserves to grab the ears of those who consider themselves immune to the jaunty, Mumford-y strums of the mainstream. First of all, maybe it's because they're Irish, but Little Green Cars have a mournful, baleful quality to even their most uplifting tunes. And there's intelligence at work in the songwriting that suggests Arcade Fire potential. Lastly, there's no denying the genuine infectiousness of their sky-soaring male/female harmonies. Radio airplay, mass adulation, and headlining slots at Sasquatch! are bound to follow—so check 'em out now, before all your co-workers catch on. NL

LUCERO, LANGHORNE SLIM
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE César E. Chávez) As much as I did not care for Lucero's latest album, Women and Work (what happened to your voice, Ben Nichols!?), I still can't, in good conscience, suggest that anyone miss this show. I've seen the Tennessee-based band half a dozen times, perhaps more, and they are consistently fantastic, littering their sets with equal amounts of country-injected rock-'n'-roll numbers like "Sixteen" (with horns!) and somber, sure-to-put-a-tear-in-your-beer ballads like "Nights Like These" and "It Gets the Worst at Night." Chances are, most of the grievances I have about the new album—Nichols' voice is too polished, the songs get repetitive—won't apply to their live show anyway. MEGAN SELING