RAFAEL VIGILANTICS White Owl Social Club, 6/2

WEDNESDAY 5/29

FOALS, SURFER BLOOD, BLONDFIRE
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) It's been over a year since domestic battery charges were leveled against Surfer Blood vocalist/songwriter John Paul Pitts (charges that have since been dropped, I suppose it is worth mentioning), and the band—although no doubt having experienced a permanent and potentially deserved blow to its reputation—appear to have trudged through the resultant backlash unaffected, musically. The group's forthcoming LP, Python (which contains more than a few, eerie lyrical allusions to the aforementioned situation) is sonically no less sunny than its predecessor, 2010's Astro Coast. Actually, it's even sunnier: Sickeningly melodic opener "Demon Dance" sounds approximately like a Jeff Lynne-produced Pixies track, with its indelible chorus and thick, slick, AM-gold sheen. Python might be the least cool record you hear this year. It could also end up being one of the best. MORGAN TROPER Also see My, What a Busy Week!

WILLY MOON, MAGIC MOUTH
(Dante's, 350 W Burnside) Here's something original: Updating '50s rock 'n' roll to the modern age. Okay, maybe it's more novelty than anything else, but New Zealander Willy Moon has a little sumpin' for everyone. His reinterpretation of the past through hiphop beats and sleek, club-ready production might come off as a little arbitrary, but it works... some of the time. You can at least see the potential in this lanky Kiwi, who already has a song on an iTunes commercial and has appeared on The Tonight Show, for whatever that's worth. Tonight this pretty boy braves the dark environs of Dante's, which might be worth the price of admission alone. MARK LORE

ANCIENT HEAT, FOREIGN ORANGE, PHONE CALL, 1980SPRINCE
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Disco, apparently, is no longer a four-letter word, so to speak. Or maybe it is and Ancient Heat just doesn't care. In either case, the great big Portland group is releasing the first in a series of covers EPs, intended to pay homage to the halcyon days of yesteryear's large-collared, bare-chested rug-cutting. Under the Covers opens with the Loose Joints' jam "Is It All Over My Face?" which is performed admirably and with an obvious nod to the once-reviled genre's groovy-sexy core. There's also a kooky nod to camp with a cover of "Theme from Zombi 2," as well as Shirley Brown's addictive "Where, When, and What Time?" The band has 100 limited-edition cassette copies of the new EP, which will be available at their release at Holocene tonight. RYAN J. PRADO

ZIRAKZIGIL
(The Lovecraft, 421 SE Grand) Is "Tolkien metal" a genre? It is now. From the foot of the fires of Mt. Hood, from the hallowed battlefield where men and goblins and half-elves fought the Great Fluoride War of '13—from Portland, Oregon, comes Zirakzigil, a doomy new three-piece whose song titles are cribbed straight out of John Ronald Reuel's darkest nightmares. The group's roaring, white-wizardly sounds are smelted into 15-minute epics of mithril-hard metal. Nod your head to the never-ending heights of "The Endless Stair"; flee in terror from the fire-whip crack of "Durin's Bane." (Don't pretend you don't know what I'm talking about.) And if that's not enough nerdery for you, Zirakzigil's debut cassette, Battle of the Peak—whose release on local label Anthem Records is celebrated at tonight's show—is designed to look exactly like a Super Nintendo game cartridge. NED LANNAMANN

MINDEN, SISTAFIST, IBQT
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Kansas City may have the fastest internet in the world, but it's lucky for Portland that it wasn't enough to keep Minden there. Since they relocated to Portland, the art-pop outfit released their excellent debut, Exotic Cakes, last September. The video for "Gold Standard," with its surprisingly high production value and an aesthetic reminiscent of Physical-era Olivia Newton-John, is indicative of the band's uncanny balance between highly creative arrangements and uninhibited melodies. But as far as inhibitions go, nobody has fewer than SistaFist. The synth-and-rap trio of ladies have embraced hiphop's aggressively sexual tropes and turned them on their heads. Meanwhile, not even a year old, Portland-based IBQT is a boy band's boy band whose repertoire is centered mostly on make-up sex, marijuana, and themselves. But the music is so beautiful that it makes my heart thump every time I hear it. REBECCA WILSON

DIVERS, BIG EYES, YOUR RIVAL
(The Know, 2026 NE Alberta) Just in time for summer comes Big Eyes' new LP, Almost Famous, a hot slab of big, shiny power pop that puts good-time hooks above everything else. The record is unabashedly hi-fi and the playing is spotless, which might make this the coolest uncool punk-rock record of the year. The Seattle power trio ups the power in their power pop from 2011's equally catchy Hard Life. Former Cheeky member and native New Yorker Kate Eldridge channels Joan Jett and Cheap Trick for a rock 'n' roll experience with no pretensions—which, if memory serves, is what rock 'n' roll is all about. MARK LORE

THURSDAY 5/30

PORTLAND MUSIC VIDEO FESTIVAL
(Hollywood Theatre, 4122 NE Sandy) See My, What a Busy Week!

HALO REFUSER, MELTING POT SOUNDSYSTEM, ASHER FULERO
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Liminal Rites, the second release by Portland pianist Asher Fulero, is full of the sort of sweeping improvisation that ignores traditional technique. That's to be taken somewhat literally; each piece was recorded in one take, without revisiting, re-editing, or any post-production band-aids whatsoever. The result is a fresh and vital-sounding collection of deeply meditative compositions, pitch-perfect for the contemplative soundtrack to the alternately dreary and dreamy days of a rainy spring. This evening's record release also includes a set by Fulero's electro alter ego, Halo Refuser. RJP

FRIDAY 5/31

QUIET MUSIC FESTIVAL: LORI GOLDSTON, MONEY MARK, HEIDI ALEXANDER, TARA JANE O'NEIL, DRAGGING AN OX THROUGH WATER, MICHAEL HENRICKSON
(Disjecta, 8371 N Interstate) See My, What a Busy Week!

PATTERSON HOOD, SANTI ELIJAH HOLLEY
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) See My, What a Busy Week!

BLITZEN TRAPPER, DENVER
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) The label "alternative country" is similar to "intelligent hiphop"—they're both stupid and judgmental, dangerously implying an ironic fetish for populist, "unsophisticated" genres. Garth Brooks might be a staple of the overhead speakers at Walmart, but "What She's Doing Now" is 100 times more heartbreaking than anything Rhett Miller ever produced. Ahem. Blitzen Trapper, though—those cats are all right. I'd even go so far as to say that 2008's Furr has plenty of truly transcendent moments worthy of rock 'n' roll's upper echelon, in particular the title track (which sounds like an Alex Chilton original with lyrics by Neil Peart) and the Hollies-as-hell "Sleepytime in the Western World." Tonight's sold-out show celebrates the group's 10th anniversary. MT

BIG K.R.I.T., SMOKE DZA
(Refuge, 116 SE Yamhill) Mississippi rapper Big K.R.I.T. appears torn. He relishes country's warm and calloused embrace while longing for creature comforts and city lights. His subjects are consequential, although a few cocktails from "conscious"—evocative but hardly "emo." And though he is no pitchman, K.R.I.T. fetishizes stacking cash while simultaneously shining light on poverty's wicked pulsations (not to mention wealth's ultimate impermanence). But such existential limbo is often sensationalized or imposed by critics. Like most, K.R.I.T. simply seems to be making things up as he goes along. Sometimes it's not where you aim, it's where you land. And with a bit of luck the rapper and producer will shed the oddly derisive label of "rap purist" and simply emerge pure. ANDREW R TONRY

SATURDAY 6/1

QUIET MUSIC FESTIVAL: WHITE MAGIC, VOLUNTEERS PARK, MEG BAIRD, PEGGY HONEYWELL, SUN FOOT, MICHAEL HENRICKSON
(Disjecta, 8371 N Interstate) See My, What a Busy Week!

TYPHOON, WILD ONES, DJ RFRC
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Typhoon recently announced their forthcoming album, White Lighter, will be out in August, and tonight they play their first Portland show of the year (they played Boise's Treefort Fest in March). Anticipation is obviously already running high, as tonight's "Cancer Sucks!" benefit—which is raising funds to help band pal Cristine Bowman fight cancer—is super sold out. Also on the bill are Wild Ones, who have their own 2013 album on the way; Keep It Safe comes out on July 9 as the inaugural release of new local label Party Damage Records. Expect great things. NL

MY GOODNESS, TANGO ALPHA TANGO
(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) On their 2011 self-titled debut, Seattle-based My Goodness offered a welcome injection of aggressive rock 'n' roll that was totally free of both macho posturing and precious flourishes. The songs are thick and no-nonsense, with impressive guitar riffs and flashes of '70s garage rock. Since then, guitar player and singer Joel Schneider and drummer Andy Lum have shed their more obvious influences, developing a distinct sound of their own: heavier and darker and more robust. On certain songs, Schneider's wail reminds me pleasantly of Vancouver, BC's Black Mountain. Tango Alpha Tango aren't quite as loud or dark, but they excel at a particularly grimy variety of folk rock. Or maybe it's a glam version of blues. It doesn't really matter—their sonic fluctuations are as entertaining as all get out. RW

SUNDAY 6/2

JUNIP, ON AN ON, BARBAROSSA
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) See My, What a Busy Week!

RAFAEL VIGILANTICS, B. DOLAN, GRAYSKUL, DAS LEUNE, DOC ADAM
(White Owl Social Club, 1305 SE 8th) Rap-rock has always tilted precariously toward the rock end of that equation, resulting in lots of awful music from what can really only be characterized as rock bands, despite the frat-boy flow and the presence of a "DJ" somewhere over on stage left. Rafael Vigilantics, on the other hand, is unmistakably an emcee, and he's unquestionably making hiphop, despite the razor-sharp guitars and melodic underpinnings of his new, third album, The Spade Tapes. Thankfully, the result is nothing at all like what we think of as rap-rock, whose unfortunate trajectory during the '90s went from Rage Against the Machine to rage against your girlfriend. Instead, Vigilantics makes hiphop—which he dubs "search-and-destroy hiphop"—that doesn't rely on the genre's oft-imitated tropes. The result is something original made out of familiar ingredients, and it's also really good; The Spade Tapes' "New Thing" in particular sounds like a gigantic hit in the making. NL

MICE PARADE, ALAMEDA
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Early Mice Parade albums like Ramda, The True Meaning of Boodleybaye, and Mokoondi featured an interesting array of tracks that blended minimalist IDM, neo-exotica, and downtempo post-rock. Over the last dozen or so years, Mice Parade leader and dexterous percussionist Adam Pierce has gravitated toward a more precious, cutely melodic sound that seems to be merging with that of the Icelandic group Múm (whose Gunnar Örn Tynes now plays with Mice Parade). The new full-length, Candela, finds Pierce & Co. keeping the rhythms bustling and the guitar surprisingly bristling while Gisellse Saad Assi adds delicate vocal embroidery. These new songs rock harder than much of Mice Parade's dozy '00s output; unexpected positive development! DAVE SEGAL

BATH PARTY, COOL GHOULS, CHARTS
(The Know, 2026 NE Alberta) There's a warm, yellowed, '60s-rock meets marijuana meets the echo-effect-on-vocals that washes over San Francisco four-piece Cool Ghouls' jangledelic rock 'n' roll. Their best songs mix scuzzy guitar and rambling harmonies with blaring horns and piano sprinklings, keeping things joyful and even a little classy, in a "bowtie at the bar fight" sort of way. EMILY NOKES

JUICY J, A$AP FERG
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) Cloaked beneath a cloud of weed, Xanax, and codeine cough syrup are glimpses of two distinct rappers—one being re-born, the other hoping to be christened. Invigorated by last year's "Bands a Make Her Dance," a strip-club anthem that twerks alongside the very best, Juicy J is once again riding high—super high, like totally twisted. After scoring an Academy Award with Three 6 Mafia for Best Song in 2005 ("It's Hard Out There for a Pimp," from Hustle and Flow), Juicy J was suddenly set for life. But the party of those old songs never stopped. Ever since, J's been smoking, leaning, rapping, and tweeting (check @therealjuicyj for occasional bits of intoxicated Zen, or the song "Juicy J Can't," a catalog of similar exploits). Balancing the old pro is A$AP Ferg, a member of NYC's aspiringly ascendant crew, whose namesake has failed to demonstrate much real value. If nothing else, Ferg ought to be hungry—especially while supporting the established vet in Juicy J. Ferg should be ready to prove, as a cadre of East Coast journalists have been so often suggesting, that the A$AP crew, as well as much contemporary New York rap, are worthy of attention outside the boroughs. ART

MONDAY 6/3

K POP VIDEOS AND DISCUSSION PANEL
(Hollywood Theatre, 4122 NE Sandy) See My, What a Busy Week!

!!!, WHITE ARROWS
(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) Multi-pronounceable dance-punks !!! ("chk chk chk" being the most widely used verbal rendering) have returned with a new album, and a refined vision of where they're willing to guide their addictive musical hybrid. Thr!!!er, the Sacramento-based group's fifth studio album, digs hard house grooves and disco-tinged bangers alongside its melding of new wave and pop, making for a surprisingly familiar listen. Lyrically, especially, the album is lacking, but does anyone care? Louden Up Now it is not, but you'll probably find fans of all stripes getting really loud within the confines of Bunk Bar. File under: They don't ever play venues this small, so go! RJP

ROBYN HITCHCOCK AND THE VENUS THREE, PETER BUCK
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Bedroom albums are all the rage among Brooklyn teenagers with synths and tape recorders, but the genre takes on an entirely different meaning when a 59-year-old Londoner undertakes it. That was Robyn Hitchcock's self-imposed constraint for his latest album, Love from London, released on March 5, just before his 60th birthday. Hitchcock spends a lot of time in the Northwest these days with the Venus Three (Peter Buck, Scott McCaughey, and Bill Rieflin), but the album sounds entirely British—lilting psych-pop and charming melodies suffused with warmth. It's altogether more robust than 2010's austere Propellor Time. The Venus Three are also the band on Peter Buck's solo debut (released only on limited-edition vinyl). Sharing the same core band and released in November, it provides a dark and dirty contrast to Love from London—if you can get your hands on it. RW

TUESDAY 6/4

SAM AMIDON, ALESSI'S ARK, BARNA HOWARD
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) See My, What a Busy Week!

THE PARSON RED HEADS, DESERT NOISES, SAID THE WHALE
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) See My, What a Busy Week!

TIGERS JAW, PIANOS BECOME THE TEETH, SAINTHOOD REPS, LEE COREY OSWALD
(Backspace, 115 NW 5th) Read our article on Tigers Jaw.