THOMAS IGNATIUS

SUPER PICK

KINO KIMINO, WAVVES
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE Cesar E. Chavez) Ultra-feminine, avant-garde indie rock appears to be making a comeback, as new artists like Crying, Kero Kero Bonito, and Katie Dey explore the experimental byways first paved by legends like Björk and Kim Gordon. With her 2016 debut as Kino Kimino, Bait Is for Sissies, Kim Talon (Eagle and Talon, JAN, Deerhoof) subverts cuteness. Talon sings in a high register, but her lyrical non sequiturs create a compelling juxtaposition between sweet and surreal—on opening track “Passion,” she coos “passion is a mashed potato/And my love is a mashed potato” with such gusto, you can almost relate. The music video for “Caste Out” illustrates this use of disconnect as an aesthetic: Talon and her friends goof around on the subway and an ice skating rink, drinking chocolate milk and looking despondent. The song itself sounds like ’90s garage rock, which makes sense, considering the album was recorded in Sonic Youth’s studio with drums and guitar provided by the band’s former members Lee Ranaldo and Steve Shelley. At times Kino Kimino sounds like a genre-hopping hodgepodge, but Talon’s whimsical charisma shines through the songs that get lost on the rock spectrum. EMMA BURKE


WEDNESDAY 5/31

ROSELIT BONE, THE JACKALOPE SAINTS, CHUCK WESTMORELAND
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Read our story on Roselit Bone.

JUSTIN TOWNES EARLE, THE SADIES
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) Though they’ve collaborated with famous musicians like Neko Case, Jon Langford, John Doe, and Kurt Vile, the Sadies have spent most of their 20 years of existence under the radar. The Canadian band plays surf rock and country western, and their new album, Northern Passages, falls into the latter category. They’ve aged into a comfortable alt-country vibe—mellow and pretty, the Sadies still have their signature rockabilly guitars, but this time with an easygoing composure. Given how much the band’s sound has evolved since their 1998 debut, Precious Moments, it’s clear they’ve got steady momentum. EMMA BURKE

CHRISTOPHER BROWN QUARTET
(The 1905, 830 N Shaver) The closure of Jimmy Mak’s dealt a powerful blow to Portland’s jazz music community. However, promising new haunts might just fill the void. At the forefront of this tidal shift is the 1905, a pizza shop and bar that formerly housed Equinox on North Shaver. Seven nights a week, the establishment hosts free live jazz from all corners and generations of the city’s strong pool of players. Tonight, virtuosic drummer Chris Brown leads his quartet in a rousing menagerie of splashy jazz wormholes and studies in improvisational prowess. Brown is no stranger to jazz heads all over the world, so it’s extra special to experience his multiple talents in such an intimate setting. Grab a slice and a pint, and be sure to tip the hell out of the musicians. RYAN J. PRADO

RVIVR, PAPER THIN YOUTH, ALIEN BOY
(The Know, 3728 NE Sandy) Nearly a decade of relentless touring has brought Olmpia punks RVIVR through undergrounds the world over, from South America to Australia. Over the course of two full-length albums and a handful of EPs, they’ve slowly refined a brand of punk that’s all power chord swagger, fist-pumping urgency, and shout-along dual vocals from Mattie Jo Canino and Erica Freas. Thankfully, there’s none of the vapid macho posturing that plagues the genre, all flailing limbs with no beating heart. Canino and Freas’ songs examine issues of sexuality and gender equality, topics that still require some urgency. The band’s “femmes to the front” mentality and advocacy for safety at their shows has brought them some controversy in the past, but hearing RVIVR play leaves no doubt: They know they’re right, and they’re sticking to it. NATHAN TUCKER

THURSDAY 6/1

THE THESIS: FOUNTAINE, LISA VAZQUEZ, DRE C, VYTELL, VERBZ
(Kelly’s Olympian, 426 SW Washington) In honor of her birthday, this month’s installation of the Thesis was curated by official Thesis photographer Renée Lopez. So it’s no surprise that June boasts a balanced and diverse lineup of Portland talent: Rapper/producer Fountaine headlines, with emcee/loop peddler Lisa Vazquez backing up the bill. Fittingly, June’s show also includes fresh summer vibes from singer/rapper Vytell. I can already tell this function is going to be packed and poppin’ so get there early if you want to actually get in. JENNI MOORE

COOL AMERICAN, POST MOVES, RILED, DRUNKEN PALMS
(Black Water Bar, 835 NE Broadway) On Cool American’s new album, Inifinite Hiatus, it’s worth noting how much better the band sounds than on 2016’s excellent You Can Win a Few. Where the first felt a tad woozy and hesitant, Infinite Hiatus is warm, full, and punchy, a real solid rock record from a real solid rock band. This only serves to enhance the songwriting of Nathan Tucker (who, full disclosure, occasionally contributes to the Mercury), which skillfully bridges the gaps between reflective craftsman, indie-rock nonchalant, and side-eyed punk. Tucker’s voice is stronger than it was on You Can Win a Few, his tunes are snappier, and his band backs them with considerably more muscle. Add it all up and you’ve got—as clichéd as it may sound—a sizable step forward for Cool American. Tonight, they celebrate the release of Infinite Hiatus through local killer-music juggernaut Good Cheer Records. BEN SALMON

COOL SCHMOOL, MERINGUE, VEXATIONS
(Dante’s, 350 W Burnside) Adding Thomas Mabus to any project means an exponential increase in artistic chutzpah. With sideman stints in Snowblind Traveler and Wampire, Mabus’s chops and vigor are put on impressive, though somewhat muted display. Now captaining the post-disco sextet Vexations, Mabus’s talents are more focused. Joined by an ensemble of notable local players from the likes of the Fur Coats, the Gossip, and Cat Hoch, Vexations plays venomous trash-pop that’s similar to a young Kevin Barnes at his most sensual and cerebral. Mabus’s compositional shape-shifting is most affecting on Bearsville-like fusions of ’50s rock and Hunky Dory homages, as heard on “Leather Ballet.” Replete with tasteful saxophone, liquid keys, and plunky bass, Vexations’ danceable, grimy decadence is already a recipe for nocturnal mischief without Mabus’s vocals. Add those in, though, and the band is downright intoxicating. RYAN J. PRADO

FRIDAY 6/2

PRINCESS
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) <SNL legend Maya Rudolph fronts this Prince cover band along with jazz-vocalist and songwriter Gretchen Lieberum, who was a college friend of Rudolph’s. The band was born out of their mutual adoration and devotion to Prince, but started as a joke. Now, however, they take it very seriously, and it shows. Princess has even been approved by the legendary Prince himself, so you know they’re the real deal. CLAIRE HOLLEY

QUEER AS IN FUCK YOU, AN ALL-AGES PUNK PRIDE FESTIVAL: MAGIC MANSION, SASHAY, COCKEYE, MEAT THE BABY, WAY WORSE, DJ GERTRUDE FINE, FREDDIE SAYS RELAX
(Black Water Bar, 835 NE Broadway) The Pacific Northwest is one of the most accepting and sexually free places in the country—a region defined by its gorgeous green terrain and the nonconforming existences of its residents. Seeing as June is Pride month, Portland’s kicking off the festivities with a two-day festival open to even the youngest of queer audiences. The all-ages Queer as in Fuck You Fest will see Black Water swarmed by those seeking the best in Pacific Northwest queercore. Look forward to sets from funk punks Way Worse, Chicanx feminists Cockeye, and local metal super-group Magic Mansion on night one. Things cool off for the second night, as pop trio Planet Damn shares the stage with queer youth group Kids’ Table and headliners Creature to Creature. The last set doesn’t mean the party is over, though—both Friday and Saturday will continue with DJs spinning the best in post-punk and new wave for a late-night Pride dance party. Come early, stay late, and feel supported in telling anyone who disagrees to fuck off. CERVANTE POPE

SATURDAY 6/3

POPTONE, POW!
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) Read our story on Poptone.

QUEER AS IN FUCK YOU, AN ALL-AGES PUNK PRIDE FESTIVAL: CREATURE TO CREATURE, THE BEDROOMS, MAN REPELLANT, PLANET DAMN, KIDS’ TABLE, DJ WIENERSLAV, LEZCATMOM420
(Black Water Bar, 835 NE Broadway) See Friday’s preview.

VALERIE JUNE, LYNN CARDONA
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) It’s nearly impossible to talk about Valerie June without mentioning her striking presence, particularly her long dreadlocks, as thick and sinuous as the roots of a tree. But what’s even more striking about June is her voice. Somewhere between the purr of a jazz singer and the high lonesome sound of Appalachia, June’s voice is soulful, twangy, and haunting, like Dolly Parton possessed by the ghost of Billie Holiday. After years of obscurity in Memphis, June caught her big break in 2013, with her Dan Auerbach-produced album, Pushin’ Against a Stone. The Black Keys frontman helped to expand her sound, and introduced her to a worldwide audience, but couldn’t help leaving his fingerprints all over the songs. Though Auerbach isn’t on her follow-up, this year’s The Order of Time, June’s music remains grounded in blues, bluegrass, and country, while also incorporating the occasional cosmic element, most impressively on “Astral Plane,” which she’d originally written for UK trip-hop band Massive Attack. June may form a nontraditional image of American folk music, but her roots go deep. SANTI ELIJAH HOLLEY

SIR MIX-A-LOT
(Tom McCall Waterfront Park, 1020 SW Naito Pkwy.) With the resurrection of Becky-related disses, it’s high time we pay homage to the artistic ingenuity that birthed the beloved adage. Exactly 25 years ago, hip-hop royalty Sir Mix-A-Lot made Becky a household name when he dropped the classic hit “Baby Got Back”—an ode to big booties everywhere. The track opens with a white girl scoffing at the bodacious bod of a Black woman in true Becky form. Sir Mix-A-Lot has laid low in the quarter of a century since the slang was cemented into our lexicons, but he reentered the world of radio last year with his fire programming, “Explicitly Old School,” which you can hear weekdays at noon on 107.5 in Portland. His last release came out about a decade ago, and we’re still waiting on the comeback album he promised in 2010. Luckily, keeping up with the Mix-A-Lot is cake, whether you choose to catch him on the airwaves or at the Waterfront Rose Festival for the third year in a row. EMILLY PRADO

SUNDAY 6/4

POPTONE, POW!
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) See Saturday's preview.

THE MOUNTAIN GOATS, HOLY SONS
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) I first learned of the empathetic genius of John Darnielle as high school kid going to my local chapter of Food Not Bombs—an international collective I discovered by Googling “secular soup kitchen” for a service project. My first month prepping food and serving the tasty vegan community meals, I felt like a total dweeb. The punks around me were talking about full-communism, Howard Zinn, and listening to anarchist hardcore while I wore a Reel Big Fish T-shirt. Some of the regulars thought I was an undercover plant, but an older guy who dressed more like Mark Zuckerberg recommended leftist literature and bands. One day during prep, he got the aux-cord and played the Mountain Goats’ “Dance Music” as we cut onions, and to my surprise the punks sang along. The next day, I went to Tower Records after school and bought their album Transcendental Youth. That summer I played “Cry for Judas,” “Harlem Roulette,” and “Amy aka Spent Gladiator 1” on repeat. I kept going to Food Not Bombs, and eventually even the most hardcore of punks came to realize I wasn’t a narc, just a young nerd who listened to folk punk. It was the coolest I ever felt as a teen. CAMERON CROWELL

JARED MEES, THE DOMESTICS, NEW MOVE
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) A new release from Tender Loving Empire co-founder and Portland indie impresario Jared Mees is a cause for celebration. Mees’ last record was 2011’s Only Good Thoughts Can Stay, a dense folk-pop album centered on self-encouragement in the face of life’s foreordained shittiness. His new album—the pithily-titled Life Is Long, which was recorded with a backing band comprising members of Typhoon, Radiation City, the Domestics, Yeah Great Fine and New Move—can be interpreted as that album’s more introspective counterpart, as reflected by its cover: a doctored photo of a senile Mees. On Life Is Long—which is, ironically, the songwriter’s shortest LP—musings on life and death are expressed in earth tones instead of primary colors, and the clap-your-hands-and-stomp-your-feet refulgence of older Mees staples like “Strong Black Coffee” and “Shake” is in limited supply. Despite its all-star roster of musicians, Life Is Long opts for sparser arrangements, more solemn performances, and the occasional dabbling into unfamiliar musical territory for Mees (see the chilly electro-pop detour “Mystic Isle”). Life Is Long is Jared Mees’ darkest record to date; it could also very well be his best. MORGAN TROPER

MONDAY 6/5

CHON, TERA MELOS, COVET, LITTLE TYBEE
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE César E. Chávez) The effect Tera Melos’ transformation from discordant instrumental math rock band into Brian Wilson-worshipping math rock band had on the scene was palpable. 2010’s Patagonian Rats injected ardor and emotion into a genre with an overwhelmingly cerebral canon, making pop hooks cool in the rarefied world of highly technical electric guitar music. (Tera Melos’ metamorphosis should have come as little surprise: In 2009, the group released a pitch-perfect, face-melting mashup of Polaris’ “Hey Sandy” and “God Only Knows.”)  Tera Melos doubled down on their follow-up, 2013’s X’ed Out. The songs got consistently shorter, their structures became nearly coherent, and guitarist Nick Reinhart’s crystalline, multi-tracked vocals started to eclipse the signature shred-offs. But Tera Melos’ defining artistic statement remains Patagonian Rats—a Frankenstein monster of a pop-rock album that manages to be both achingly indelible and completely inscrutable. MT

TUESDAY 6/6

BOYZ II MEN, PAULA ABDUL, NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK
(Moda Center, 1 N Center Ct) I could make a lot of jokes here about how unnecessary boy band reunion tours are, and could certainly poke at Paula Abdul’s unwarranted presence on American Idol, let alone on this “Total Package Tour” stage. But to be totally frank, I’m so happy tours like these exist; they give the most loyal (and oldest) fans a chance to see childhood faves for a reasonable price! And any show that includes the heartfelt R&B harmonies of Boyz II Men on its lineup will be money well spent as far as I’m concerned. JENNI MOORE

Love Mercury Music Coverage?

WAVVES, KINO KIMINO
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE César E. Chávez) Read our Kino Kimino super pick.

BRANDY CLARK, CHARLIE WORSHAM
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Charlie Worsham’s been kicking around Nashville for a decade or so, writing songs for other people, playing great gigs, and generally wowing folks, but never quite breaking through as a solo artist. His new album Beginning of Things ought to do it. It’s an ambitious and inventive take on modern country that finds Worsham incorporating blues, classic pop, soul, and psychedelic sounds much more naturally than most of his contemporaries. And he does it all in a way that feels airy, vibrant, and fun. He’s like Brad Paisley without a bunch of employees’ paychecks to worry about. Or the Sturgill Simpson who’s willing to play ball. Or the guy who’s going to bust up bro-country’s reign. He’s great, and now you know why Worsham is Nashville’s next great (male) hope. He comes to Portland with one of the many women who’ve already pushed Nashville toward a richer artistic future, Brandy Clark. BS

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In person at the Clinton St. Theater 10/29 & 10/30