The shows rolling towards Portland right now are massive, and Mercury Music Picks is abristlin' with excitement to tell you about them. We've got picks kicking off as soon as tomorrow and a jaw-dropping reunion you'll need to ticket-stalk for fall. Let's hit the cream cheese.


Blood Brothers reunite for US tour

I'm screaming like Johnny Whitney over here because Seattle hardcore band the Blood Brothers announced this week that they're reuniting for a US tour to support a reissue of their 2004 Crimes. It's been a solid decade since Blood Brothers briefly reunited for LA's FYF Fest in 2014, and the group hasn't toured properly since 2007. If Portlanders still recall those wild and sweaty, strangely wholesome, technically wonderful shows of yore, this show is going to sell out FAST. (Actually the presale sold out in less than an hour, so now we wait for 10 am Friday, when general tickets drop.) We're willing to manage expectations about how many emo punks the band's other vocalist Jordan Billie can lift out of the audience (as they duet scream lyrics into his microphone) this time around. (Revolution Hall, 1300 SE Stark, Tues Nov 12, 8 pm, $36, tickets here, 21+ on the main floor, all ages in the balcony)

Pickathon's second line-up 

Portland's favorite farm-situated music festival dropped a second crop of confirmed bands slated to grace its magical collection of stages this summer. In March, Mercury music columnist Jenni Moore wrote "we are particularly stoked to see is French Canadian neo-soul singer/bassist Adi Oasis... Other must-see acts to catch at the festival include indie rock singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett, deeply improvised and experimental free-jazz quintet Irreversible Entanglements, soul, funk, and hip-hop fusionists the Soul Rebels." On Wednesday, Pickathon revealed "notable new additions to the 2024 lineup are Pitchfork’s Best New Music winner Kara Jackson, Seattle’s jazz drumming phenom Kassa Overall, and Portland’s folk favorite, Anna Tivel." Read the whole list here. (Pickathon, 16581 SE Hagen, Happy Valley, Aug 1-4, $180 - $375, tickets here, all ages) 

Laraaji

Laraaji has opened for Solange, performed with plants at South by Southwest, and created hazy albums with fellow experimenters Sun Araw and Blues Control. Make no mistake: he's “out there,” but also a true New Yorker grounded in his vision, creating everything from guided meditation and reiki albums to force-of-nature instrumentals that have helped shape the New Age and ambient music landscapes for decades. His process is compact and portable. Using modified autoharps, electrified kalimbas, an array of pedals, and improvisational trance states, Laraaji channels an ambrosial, lilting sound that’s positioned him as something of a do-good sonic alchemist in musical history. Curated and presented by Age of Reflections, an immersive event series for sound, light, and space, Laraaji and the Sea and Cake's Sam Prekop will perform as a duo for this Solar Reunion Tour. Read more about Laraaji (and his frog puppet, Dr. Love) in this Stranger interview. (First Congregational Church, 1126 SW Park, Fri May 17, 7 pm, $58.71, tickets here, all ages, w/ Sam Prekop) LINDSAY COSTELLO

Parenthetical Girls

Depending on how long you've read the Mercury, you may remember—and be overwhelmed with fury towards—the paper's former music editor: clever, morose, Christmas-music-loving weirdo Zac Pennington. The former leader of Parenthetical Girls (the sort of band some Portland music scene person would miss their turn at the crosswalk describing; then abruptly add: "It's like musical music? But pop."), Pennington moved to LA in 2014 where he and Prudence Rees-Lee formed the utterly unsearchable Popular Music. He hasn't played Portland in a while, and he's terrified—at least according to this profile by Melissa Locker. (Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison, Fri May 17, 6 pm, $10, tickets here, 21+ w/ Twingle) 

Stardew Valley: Festival of Seasons

Stardew Valley is many things: It's a farm simulation video game that rejects the soul-crushing grind of city life. It's an inclusive story told through oddball (but thoughtfully-crafted) video game characters. It's a place where a workaholic can finally unwind by making her little teal-haired avatar complete chores for 20 hours of the in-game day. And it's a game where the soundtrack slaps. Stardew debuted months before Stranger Things in 2016, but "Winter (The Wind Can Be Still)" will give you all the quiet synth awe of that show's soundtrack, and "Mines (Crystal Bells)" is essentially a stripped back Nine Inch Nails instrumental—though all the game's music was composed by its creator Eric Barone AKA ConcernedApe. In keeping with the style of the times, a chamber orchestra has taken Barone's score on tour and will perform a "Festival of Seasons" for two shows in Portland. I haven't been interested in the cultural gimmick that is video game score as orchestral piece before now, but if I wanted to hear any song adapted as such, it's probably "Fall (Ghost Synth)." (Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie, Sat May 18, 5 pm & 8 pm, $49 - $75, tickets here, all ages) 

Lake

In my memory, Lake is an enormous band—with something like ten members—and they surround their audience at shows, using woodwind instruments to pipe their sweet, atmospheric sophisti-pop into our hearts. In reality, LAKE is a regular-size band and they play conventional instruments as well as fanciful ones, but they sometimes tour with friends and collaborators—ending up someplace between big band ensemble and stripped-down folkpop. Much of the world knows Lake—whether they realize it or not—from "Christmas Island," the credits song of Pendleton Ward's fantasy cartoon Adventure Time. However, in the Pacific Northwest, Lake has been with us for two decades, after kicking off their enduring, timeless vibe in Olympia Washington. Last month, K Records released a remastered LP of the 2009 album Let’s Build a Roof, the group's most popular album, so Lake is doing the good-natured thing and taking those songs (and others) on the road for a short West Coast tour. (Turn! Turn! Turn! 8 NE Killingsworth, Sat May 25, 8 pm, $15 suggested, $10-20 sliding scale, 21+ w/ New Issue, Jason Traeger)

Babehoven

Regardless if you recognize the gift of Maya Bon's songwriting, it's undeniable that Babehoven are blissful ballers live. When we saw them with Indigo De Souza in December, they threatened to steal the show, as they enveloped the crowd in warm melody. Ryan Albert played guitar with vigor, whipping his axe like a hula hoop, while their touring bassist Cole Brossus appeared comically opposite, unmoving in a black turtleneck. Now based out of Hudson, New York, Bon used to once call Portland home, and local indie label Good Cheer released Bon's 2018 EP, Sleep. Mercury music critic Ben Salmon saw the potential therein, writing: "Maya Bon knows her way around a beautiful melody. Several of them, actually... Babehoven's potential is sky high." Last month's brand new Water's Here in You builds on 2022's Light Moving Time, proving Babehoven is only getting better. This North America tour offers the chance to see them headline to support the new album. (Polaris Hall, 635 N Killingsworth Court, Wed June 12, $18, tickets here, 21+ w/ Stephen Steinbrink)