• She Saw Things: Photography by Jen Downer

Portland post-jazz ensemble Blue Cranes have a fine new album titled Swim due out on June 4, and they're playing a record release show this Friday, May 24, at Mississippi Studios. Kick off your Memorial Day weekend with their songs and improvisations, some of which could be called jazz, and some of which could not. Who cares? Throw your music-genre-labeling compulsions to the wind and enjoy their passionate, adventurous, instrumental music, safe in the knowledge that music writers like me will never be able to adequately define it. (For more on this, check this week's upcoming issue of the Portland Mercury.)

Here's the best part: We're giving away a pair of tickets to Friday's Mississippi Studios show to one lucky End Hits reader (cash value = $20, musical value = $Infinity-kabillion). Local musical explorers Billygoat and Golden Retriever are also on the jam-packed bill. Since you undoubtedly want a piece of this, click over to End Hits, where all the action is.