RUN THE JEWELS, THE GASLAMP KILLER, GANGSTA BOO, NICK HOOK, CUZ
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) Most rappers’ careers aren’t supposed to be peaking in their late 30s/early 40s—the hip-hop industry is, by and large, a young person’s game. This makes the nonstop bullet train of success that Run the Jewels, the fearsome duo of El-P and Killer Mike, such a wonderful exception to the rule. It certainly helps that the pair have achieved a great deal of crossover success as regulars on the US festival circuit, but what truly fuels El-P and Killer Mike’s ongoing rise has been the potency and fury of their work together. The three albums they’ve made thus far tap into a main vein of righteous indignation, leftist politics, and some of the wittiest bars ever spit. They’ve been through the music industry wringer a few times over—Mike scrambled for whatever guest spot scraps his buddies Jay Z and OutKast doled out, and El helped foment an indie hip-hop revolution with his group Company Flow and his label Definitive Jux before both dissolved—so they’re not leaving anything up to chance. The energy they pour into Run the Jewels continues to be exhilarating and damning. The culmination is the recently released RTJ3, which dropped digitally right before Christmas as both a gift and a middle finger to a certain shitbag then-President Elect. It opens on a note of gratitude, and looks back at the trapping and poverty that nearly brought an end to their careers. From there, buoyed by El’s pugilistic production, they lay waste to all comers, finding delirious new connections between mile-high boasts and political jeremiads. Run the Jewels have the sound and spirit we all need in 2017. Do your best to keep up with them. ROBERT HAM
(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) As the birthplace of jazz, Louisiana has produced enough influential artists to fill Lake Pontchartrain, most recently the Seratones. Lead singer AJ Haynes sculpted her righteous pipes at age six at Brownsville Baptist Church in Columbia, Louisiana. The band’s four members found each other a few years ago after playing in various Shreveport punk outfits. Upon signing with the Black Keys’ label, Fat Possum Records, the Seratones slathered a hearty handful of swampy blues rock all over their full-length debut, Get Gone, recorded at Dial Back Studios in Mississippi. Between Haynes’ Karen O-inspired vocals, dirty guitar licks with a hint of melancholy, and constant nods to old school soul, it’s safe to say the Seratones aren’t stuck in any genre. ROSE FINN
YOUNG THE GIANT, LEWIS DEL MAR
(Roseland Theater, 8 NW 6th) Usually when a band plays two consecutive nights in the same city, the critical question to consider is... which is going to be more lit? You don’t have to hedge your bets with Young the Giant. Over the years, the sunny California five-piece have amassed a large following that’s put them on multiple big festival lineups and late-night TV spots. On their third release, last year’s Home of the Strange, Young the Giant continues to deliver the indie rock sounds we loved so much on their 2010 self-titled debut. Though the writing’s more complex and the story’s slightly more political, lead singer Sameer Gadhia still knows how to help you get all the ohs and whoas out of your system. GUADALUPE TRIANA
SAROON, POINT JUNCTURE WA
(The Fixin’ To, 8218 N Lombard) Last month’s wintry weather wreaked all kinds of havoc on Portland: impassable streets, interrupted transit, snow days for school kids, and the Wall Street Journal made fun of us! But perhaps no snow-related casualty was more devastating than the postponement of Saroon’s January 12 show to celebrate the release of the band’s new album, In the Garden of Cities Built from More. If that shit bummed you out, take heart: Tonight at the Fixin’ To, the band will try again. And if the new record is any indication, it will be a wonderful evening of elegant indie rock ’n’ soul that’ll warm you from your toes to your earholes. Across six tracks, the quartet’s sound unfolds unhurriedly, using arpeggiated chords, dreamy studio effects, soft horn parts, honeyed backing vocals, and elongated melodies to build a comforting sound world. Imagine the Long Winters’ John Roderick fronting a drowsy baroque-pop band, and you’re in the right ballpark. BEN SALMON
SAM COOMES, DR. AMAZON, GALAXY RESEARCH
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) The first time I ever saw Sam Coomes play, it was with Quasi around the 1999 release of their LP Field Studies. I remember Janet Weiss’ thunderous thrashing meeting Coomes’ overwhelming organ/vocal attack at center stage in a swirl of colorful and explosive interplay. On Coomes’ solo debut, Bugger Me, the signature keyboard manifestations are accompanied only by a lonely drum machine in a wholly stripped-down and mechanical soundscape that exposes the intricacies of his creative depth. This minimalist deconstruction of rock ’n’ roll is reminiscent of artists like Quintron, Timmy Thomas, and Korla Pandit—geniuses known for streaming vibrations around dusty metronomes like a comet around the sun. What separates Coomes from this list, however, is his flexibility in experimental, terrestrial, or space-age dominions while consistently stretching the possibilities of both instrument and songwriting. CHRIS SUTTON
THE THESIS: BOCHA, DEAD PHONE DUMMIEZ, FODAY, DJ VERBZ
(Kelly’s Olympian, 426 SW Washington) While the rest of the world grows bleaker by the minute, the Thesis just keeps getting better and better. The monthly hip-hop-and-beyond showcase is a crucible of diverse Portland talent, and tonight’s installment is no exception, featuring up-and-comers Bocha, Dead Phone Dummiez, and Foday, not to mention regular spinner/host Verbz on the decks. Plus tonight features a secret guest who, rumor has it, is gonna blow minds. Don’t sleep on this one. NED LANNAMANN
NAOMI PUNK, PSYCHOMAGIC, WAVE ACTION
(The Liquor Store, 3341 SE Belmont) If James Hurley from Twin Peaks unspiked his dumb hair and suddenly wasn’t such a shitty musician, he’d probably sound like Naomi Punk. The Olympia three-piece makes gritty guitar-punk that reflects the terrible beauty and unique claustrophobia of a Pacific Northwest winter, when the grey sky hangs dangerously low overhead and humanity is inescapably drenched in l’eau de mildew. CIARA DOLAN
YOUNG THE GIANT, LEWIS DEL MAR
(Roseland Theater, 8 NW 6th) See Wednesday’s preview.
THE LEMON TWIGS, SAVOY MOTEL
(Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E Burnside) Whether you like the Lemon Twigs’ music or not, give them credit for this: They are unafraid of setting their own bar very high. Check out this blurb on the 4AD record label’s website: “Once or twice every generation, Long Island introduces the world to artists of such singular originality that they change the very nature of their art: Lou Reed; Jim Brown; Robert Mapplethorpe; Andy Kaufman. With their debut album for 4AD, Do Hollywood, the Lemon Twigs have earned themselves a spot on that list.” Okay, then! The Lemon Twigs are helmed by two teenaged brothers named Brian and Michael D’Addario who write songs reminiscent of ’70s post-Beatles pop giants like Sparks, Big Star, and Todd Rundgren. And Do Hollywood is a breezy, kaleidoscopic collection with just the right amount of vintage vibe. The Lemon Twigs don’t belong on that 4AD list yet, but they certainly seem to have the talent to get there, and that’s pretty rare. BS
SABERTOOTH MICRO FEST: THEE OH SEES, MOON DUO, SKULL DIVER
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) If you missed out on catching psych-rock juggernauts Thee Oh Sees when they leveled Revolution Hall back in November, the Sabertooth Micro Fest is giving you another chance. Frontman John Dwyer and his ever-evolving band will hoist the freak flag high in honor of the Crystal Ballroom’s psychedelic celebration, and they’ll do so with help from a pair of Portland's own cosmic voyagers in Moon Duo and Skull Diver. CHIPP TERWILLIGER
RO JAMES, CANDICE BOYD
(Star Theater, 13 NW 6th) The Merc can get behind any R&B singer whose biggest song, drizzled in a voice of solicitous honey, is all about seeking verbal consent from a prospective romantic partner. And while Ro James’ hit track “Permission” will certainly be on display as he kicks off a tour in Portland this evening, there’s plenty more where that came from. DIRK VANDERHART Read our story on Ro James.
ALCEST, THE BODY, CREEPERS
(Dante’s, 350 W Burnside) Let’s start by defining the word “blackgaze.” It might sound like an awkward portmanteau—because it is—but it’s also a really succinct and accurate way to describe the music of Alcest. For more than 15 years, the French band has been on the bleeding edge of blending harsh black metal (“black-”) and dreamy shoegaze (“-gaze”) into one gorgeous, soaring sound. Alcest’s early days were pretty balanced between the two styles, but 2012’s Les Voyages de l’Âme seemed to signal a shift, with lighter sounds all but squeezing the dark out of the frame. And 2014’s Shelter took that shift to its logical conclusion, delivering 45 minutes of pure, pillowy dream-pop and essentially leaving metal behind. Which brings us to Alcest’s outstanding 2016 album Kodama, which finds the band circling back to its blackened roots by including some hissing howls here and there. Wherever their focus lies at any given time, Alcest is one of the best heavy guitar bands on the planet, and their visit to Portland is not to be missed. BS
THE PRIDS, DAYDREAM MACHINE, THE SECRET LIGHT
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) The Prids might be one of Portland’s longest-running bands, having overcome a number of setbacks throughout their two-decade tenure that would’ve had lesser groups calling it a day. That tenacity carries into the band’s music, as they continue to defy trends in a city and music scene that continues to change. The Prids occupy a corner of music where heartbreak and sadness exist under the hue of sunlight breaking through gray clouds. Do I Look Like I’m in Love?, the band’s first full-length since 2010’s Chronosynclastic, is another batch of bleak yet hopeful songs that reflect the Prids’ long and winding path. “English Treasure” is hazy, with guitars and synths washing over a sturdy bass line and ghostly vocals. The entire record feels dreamlike, and when listened to in this current political nightmare scenario, it feels even more surreal. I’m not sure if that’s what the band was going for, but I can say it might be exactly what we need. MARK LORE
YGB PRESENTS ONE: LAMAR LEROY, FRITZWA, SSL, SOUL TRIGGER, RASHEED JAMAL
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) After a short time off, YGB is back! The Young Gifted and Black party provides some of the most consistently dope soul-infused dance nights in town, and it’s staying true to its identity: an inclusive space for joyful movement, free Tarot readings, community-building, incense-burning, and a variety of sound-providers. In addition to resident DJ Lamar LeRoy, Soul Trigger will be in the house with unscripted tap routines incorporating live drumming and DJing. The vibe will be further elevated by the stellar and succinct rhymes from Rasheed Jamal. Saturday is just the first of several YGB-produced events; Sunday there’s a semi-closed “healing vibrations” brunch that you can request an invite by emailing email@example.com. JENNI MOORE
SABERTOOTH MICRO FEST: THE BLACK LIPS, BOOGARINS, EZRA FURMAN, MÁSCARAS
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) Ezra Furman seems to relish in every faction of the broad “rock” genre. Listeners can hear everything from doo-wop to glam to blues to country twang in his music, sometimes even in the same song. Furman pairs this genre-crossing energy with an endearing croon that sounds like he’s an over-caffeinated Warren Zevon. Brazil’s Boogarins play stuff that’s pleasant without being passive, bathing audiences in sunlight, tropicalismo, and soft guitar shredding. EMMA BURKE
YEFIM BRONFMAN, OREGON SYMPHONY
(Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway) With its unusually subtle entrance and heartbreaking middle chapter, Beethoven’s most emo piano concerto is his Number 4—a work that Rip City’s biggest band performs tonight through Monday with legendary pianist Yefim Bronfman providing virtuosic command of the Schnitzer’s concert grand. Antonín Dvoák’s magnificent Symphony No. 9 (another work in heavy rotation around the world’s concert halls) also appears on music director Carlos Kalmar’s set list tonight, making this program an ideal choice for folks who want to witness two perennial masterworks for the price of one. But it’s not all old school: The show kicks off with Sebastian Currier’s intriguing 1997 composition Microsymph, which cleverly compresses a large-scale five-movement symphony into the space of 10 minutes. BRIAN HORAY
MAYHEM, INQUISITION, BLACK ANVIL
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE César E. Chávez) The career of Norway’s legendary black metal band Mayhem can be divided into two parts: the primal beginnings, embroidered with the frighteningly visceral lo-fi recordings that initiated a global phenomenon, and the turn of the century rebirth, highlighted by an inventive brutality that seeks to challenge the genre’s limits. A tumultuous history decorated with macabre stage names (Necrobutcher, Dead, Blasphemer, Euronymous, etc.), legitimate connections to church burnings, and actual murders/suicides solidifies the group’s status as the truest disciples of death, which any one of the seething legions of fanatics who cover themselves in “corpse paint” and absorb every facet of their Until the Light Takes Us DVD with biblical infatuation will attest. This deification will turn Mayhem’s notorious live shows into a punishing form of anti-church, where masterfully harsh ablutions are blasted into an adoring hesher congregation. CS
KULULULU, LOVEBOYS, TOOTHBONE
(Turn! Turn! Turn!, 8 NE Killingsworth) Portland’s Loveboys have generated notable momentum since their 2016 inception. The trio of grunge punks has enjoyed a steady diet of live dates, as well as the December release of two songs from an EP that’ll come out early this summer. The third song, “Racecar,” comes swimming in the reverb-heavy clang of guitarist Adam Fight’s six-string wranglings. The song’s anti-consumerism explosion folds into the four-on-the-floor rhythmic barrage of drummer Elly Swope (Focus! Focus!) and bassist Victoria Valenz-uela. Loveboys’ grungier foundations are best exemplified in the sneering “Tender Branson,” a tune that unabashedly waves a flag for the Pacific Northwest of the past. “Sew” ushers in the kind of head-banging nuance of Bleach-era Nirvana or Suicide Invoice-era Hot Snakes. If that doesn’t compel you to shower this band with every ounce of your adoration, chances are you voted a turd into office. RYAN J. PRADO
HALEY HEYNDERICKX, LOLA KIRKE, WYNDHAM, JOHANNA WARREN
(Turn! Turn! Turn!, 8 NE Killingsworth) You might know Lola Kirke from her role as an oboist on the Amazon series Mozart in the Jungle, or the 2017 Golden Globes, where she famously sported a magnificent pink pin that read “Fuck Paul Ryan.” But she’s also a real-life musician, and a dang good one at that—her self-titled debut EP is four tracks of dreamy Americana that kicks off with a delightful song called “Baby Butt.” CIARA DOLAN Read our story on Lola Kirke.
YEFIM BRONFMAN, OREGON SYMPHONY
(Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway) See Saturday’s preview.
YEFIM BRONFMAN, OREGON SYMPHONY
(Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway) See Saturday’s preview.
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) The casual observer might assume that a band from Pinback’s era and milieu playing the Doug Fir in 2017 is just one stop on another unnecessary reunion tour—“nostalgic” if you’re being generous, a cash-grab if you’re feeling cynical. But Pinback have always worked at a pace that indicates they’re unaware of the passage of time; their 2004 breakthrough album Summer in Abaddon was lauded as a long-awaited creative peak. Since then they’ve managed just two similarly solid records of confidently controlled indie rock as slow-burning as their creative process appears to be. Nostalgic piano figures, polished guitar riffs, and drum-machine figures enter and exit the fray with precision, everything suspiciously right in its place. Consistency is, ironically, a mixed bag: The first night of this double header promises Abaddon’s follow-up, Autumn of the Seraphs, in full, and you’d be forgiven for forgetting which one that is. NATHAN TUCKER
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) In an era when feigned lo-fi dominates the zeitgeist and “bedroom pop” has supplanted “indie” as the most spurious and meaningless genre descriptor, listening to Rufus Wainwright is refreshing. The son of Kate McGarrigle and Loudon Wainwright III—two incredibly accomplished musicians in their own right—Rufus was never one to shun his showy predilections. His self-titled 1998 debut, which spent two years in gestation and cost nearly $1 million to record, established Wainwright’s trademark of entwining operatic bombast with Tin Pan Alley tradition. His newer records are also great—in particular, 2012’s Out of the Game, which cheekily acknowledges and revels in its irrelevance. MORGAN TROPER
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) See Monday’s preview.
FUZZY LOGIC: CENTRIKAL, MR PROJECTILE, TODD ARMSTRONG, PROQXIS, BRANDY GRAY
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Fuzzy Logic is Portland’s newest electronic music monthly concert series for fans of thoughtful, up-tempo eclecticism, with live video art backed by a DJ or live act. This installment features local techno artist Centrikal (the stage name of Patrick Frye), whose practiced hand and refined taste in dance music has been cultivated by years of dedication to the art of production. Renowned video artist Brandy Gray will provide visuals for the evening, mixing cinematic trip sauce that’ll pull you deeper into the eye of the spiral. The night is topped off by the choice selections of Fuzzy Logic residents Proqxis and Todd Armstrong, and a live hardware performance by legendary IDM artist Mr. Projectile. CHRISTINA BROUSSARD
TOVE LO, PHOEBE RYAN
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) Feminist artist/philosopher Audrey Wollen recently proposed what she calls “Sad Girl Theory,” which views female sadness as political activism. Wollen cites female celebrities like Judy Garland and Brittany Murphy as examples of women exemplifying tragedy as protest. Many contemporary pop stars could probably land on that list, including Swedish Top 40 maven Tove Lo. Turning the exhaustion of emotional labor into a concept album is itself an act of resistance that we’ve seen before in the feminist pop culture sphere (Liz Phair’s Exile in Guyville and Lana Del Rey’s entire artistic existence). Tove Lo first joined the ranks with her multi-dimensional party girl cry for help, “Habits (Stay High),” where she describes the pain of lacking the societal tools to handle rejection. “Cool Girl” (from 2016’s Lady Wood) finds her addressing the fear that if she doesn’t stifle her emotions, her lover will view her as clingy. In true Sad Girl fashion, Tove Lo uses her ability to write catchy, radio-ready fodder to articulate symptoms of a patriarchal society. EMMA BURKE