PDX POP NOW! (Refuge, 116 SE Yamhill) It's time for the funnest, rootin'-tootin'est all-ages music fest in town. PDX Pop Now! makes its annual sunny appearance with more than 40 Portland bands, like Radiation City, Youthbitch, and Sons of Huns, playing their hearts out for you for three straight days. For free! This is what Portland summers are all about. Now show your love. COURTNEY FERGUSON Also read our article on PDX Pop Now!
YOUTH LAGOON, FATHER JOHN MISTY, AVA LUNA (Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) Finally, FINALLY Youth Lagoon is playing a headlining show in Portland—thank you, god. It's been almost a year since Trevor Powers' released his textured dream-pop debut The Year of Hibernation and, after a cancelled show in January, Boise's pride will finally throw us a bone. ZIBBY PILLOTE
PORTLAND QUEER MUSIC FESTIVAL (Backspace, 115 NW 5th & Someday Lounge, 125 NW 5th) A successful inaugural festival in 2011 has meant a bigger, bolder, and dare we say queerer Portland Queer Music Festival in its sophomore run. Taking over both Backspace (all ages) and Someday Lounge (21 and over) all day long, organizers have managed to this year include the below-drinking-age set, and also compile an impressive list of LGBTQ and allied artists, most impressively with the quirky alt-rock of San Francisco's Imperial Teen. Local reps include the goth-electro musings of Mattachine Social, the moody, crude rap of Damon Boucher, and the decadent pop-punk of queer-fronted quartet Kiss Kill, among 20-plus other crazily monikered, glittery, fabulous acts. RYAN J. PRADO
SPOEK MATHAMBO (Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) I don't quite know how to describe Spoek Mathambo. Hell, I don't even know how to pronounce it. But since it's in my job description to attach clumsy, inexact words to something that's already a complete expression in and of itself, I will elect to cram a bunch of unrelated terms together into what I hope will be a somewhat illuminating phrase: day-glo garage Afro-fusion funk-pop. Sigh. Since that's totally unhelpful, I should mention that Spoek Mathambo's set at SXSW was one of the most inventive, invigorating performances I caught in that whole weeklong mess. By infusing the bizarrely arty with compulsive rhythms and ear-candy timbres, Spoek Mathambo—the alter ego of Nthato Mokgata of Johannesburg, South Africa—makes something as unforgettable as it is indefinable. NED LANNAMANN
FLORENCE AND THE MACHINE, THE WALKMEN (Edgefield, 2126 SW Halsey, Troutdale) The Walkmen have somehow, relatively quietly, finagled an important role in the spectrum of guitar-driven garage-pop. Despite their obvious successes, they're hardly a household name; despite their penchant for blowing away their headliners on tour after tour, they're mired in a perpetual opening slot for up-and-comers. Fair, schmair, we suppose—but the group could do worse than christening a gig at the sprawling outdoor oasis of Edgefield for so uplifting a pop squad as Florence and the Machine. That British group, led by the oddly entrancing Florence Welch, ignited a powerful following in a very short time in the US after the success of their second LP Ceremonials, as well as a memorable stateside TV appearance on SNL, which prompted myriad imitations of Welch's unique, vibrant delivery. This is a pretty devastating one-two punch. RYAN J. PRADO
RELIENT K, HELLOGOODBYE, WILLIAM BECKETT, HOUSE OF HEROES (Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) In terms of lyrical ghastliness, even Nickelback doesn't hold a candle to Relient K: "We should get jerseys, because we make a good team/But yours would look better than mine, because you're out of my league," the opening lyrics to the band's execrable 2007 smash hit "Must Have Done Something Right," contend for some of the most nauseatingly banal couplets ever penned. And let's not forget those insidious religious implications and the band's questionably titled, collectively authored dating book The Complex Infrastructure Known as the Female Mind—this is horrid, hollow, faux-profound high-school horseshit. Plenty of people (even within the "punk" community) are much too kind to this band, and it isn't just. They are next-level bad. MORGAN TROPER