NICK CAVE AND THE BAD SEEDS Wed 6/21 Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall KERRY BROWN

SUPER PICKS

NICK CAVE AND THE BAD SEEDS
(Wednesday 6/21 at Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway) Throughout his four-decade career as a songwriter, poet, and novelist, Nick Cave has conjured up a long litany of fictitious serial killers, thieves, madmen, demons, ghosts, and ghouls. But none of these make-believe horrors could rival the very real and unimaginable terror that visited him on July 14, 2015, when his 15-year-old son Arthur fell to his death from a cliff near Brighton, England, after experimenting with LSD. Cave and his band had already begun recording a new album, so he was confronted with two options: abandon the record or continue working, using the exercise as an outlet for his grief. Skeleton Tree, the 16th studio album from Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, continues the bleak minimalism of 2013’s Push the Sky Away, with Cave not singing so much as intoning and lamenting over Warren Ellis & Co.’s ambient dirges. It’s as though the band stripped these songs down to the bone, and then poured bleach over the bones. The 2016 documentary One More Time with Feeling follows the album’s recording process, and shows Cave as vulnerable, doubtful, and self-conscious about everything from his hair to his motivation to continue as a performing artist. After being worshiped for years as the Prince of Darkness, Cave reveals that he is but a mere mortal like the rest of us, susceptible to the same hurt and loss, but burdened perhaps with a greater responsibility to keep the show going, for us just as much as for himself. Because, as he says toward the end of the film, “Someone’s got to sing the stars, and someone’s got to sing the rain, and someone’s got to sing the blood, and someone’s got to sing the pain.” SANTI ELIJAH HOLLEY

JAPANESE BREAKFAST, (SANDY) ALEX G, CENDE
(Thursday 6/22 at Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Last year, Philadelphia-based musician Michelle Zauner released her debut LP under the moniker Japanese Breakfast: Psychopomp, nine glittering pop songs that pass like an electric storm, with blinding flashes of nostalgia, grief, and momentary joy. In 2014 Zauner’s mother was diagnosed with cancer, so she moved home to rural Oregon. Written in the wake of her death, it’s the product of all kinds of emptiness—the void her mother left, the strangeness of returning to your hometown, the people who let you down—but Zauner processes the pain freely, and lets light poke holes through the grayness. On opening track “In Heaven” she sings, “I came here for the long haul/Now I leave here as an empty fucking hole,” but she’s surrounded by gorgeous, crystalline swirls of twinkling piano and strings. This contrast between hollow anguish and striking beauty is what makes Psychopomp so great: It’s Zauner’s self-portrait from life’s darkest moments, but even there, she finds hope. Next month she’s releasing another Japanese Breakfast record, Soft Sounds from Another Planet. True to the name, the new album sounds like it was recorded in outer space, with heavy synth and electro-pop beats. Zauner commands its gigantic, wildly expansive tracks with grace and power—just see the “Boyish,” an orchestral ode to romantic suffering and unrequited desire. “I can’t get you off my mind,” she croons, “I can’t get you off in general/So here we are, we’re just two losers/I want you and you want something more beautiful.” It’s shocking, that this mini-masterpiece fits into just three-and-a-half minutes. But that’s Soft Sounds from Another Planet—Zauner unfolds an entire universe, and for 12 songs, we get to visit. CIARA DOLAN


WEDNESDAY 6/21

THE SHINS, PURE BATHING CULTURE
(Edgefield, 2126 SW Halsey, Troutdale) We simply cannot talk about the Shins without mentioning Garden State. The 2004 film’s soundtrack features the songs “New Slang” and “Caring Is Creepy” from the band’s 2001 debut, Oh, Inverted World. And while it’d be a disservice to reduce the Shins to this cinematic connection—they are, after all, independently good—their music does align nicely with its themes (although it does conjure unfortunate connections to Zach Braff, an unequivocally annoying dude). Garden State is The Graduate of the 21st century, an inward-gazing, youthful search for purpose and deeper meaning. The Shins’ verbose and sometimes twee lyrics tackle everything, from death to romance, with head-spinning intellectualism. The group—originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico, and currently based right here in Portland—plays the kind of pop music that the Beach Boys might’ve created if their beach were the craggy Oregon coast, with its sun deprivation, wild surf, and tree-lined cliffs. They’ve since released four more full-lengths, most recently March’s Heartworms. It’s less instantly intoxicating, but the down-tempo Americana of “Mildenhall” and the title track’s return to their heart-melting pop form makes the album worth your while. Perhaps it’s too soon to be the boy who cries “throwback,” but more than 15 years after releasing their first album, the Shins’ continuing okay-ness (and periodical greatness) merits some wistful retrospection. CIARA DOLAN

SEU JORGE
(Oregon Zoo, 4001 SW Canyon) Imagine a romantic evening at the Oregon Zoo, its beautiful environs vibrating with music enthusiasts basking in the glow of heightened anticipation. Just as the sun descends into the horizon, a striking Brazilian man strolls onto a gently lit stage with an acoustic guitar. He plays a set of intrinsically familiar songs written by one of the greatest pop geniuses of our time, sung in perhaps the most sublimely constructed language in all of humanity. I bet you’d say that night would be damn near perfect! Seu Jorge’s gorgeous Portuguese renditions of David Bowie’s most beloved songs have only sweetened since the iconic superstar’s death in 2016, and the concoction has seemingly unlocked a whole new level of appreciation for the material’s magic. By isolating the soul inside of Bowie’s classic work, Jorge reveals its universal power, even when stripped of monumental rock instrumentation and recognizable lyrics. CHRIS SUTTON

LAYPERSON, SURFER ROSIE, CLOVVER
(The Know, 3728 NE Sandy) This lineup features three of Portland’s best and brightest bands: Layperson, the solo project of Julian Morris (Little Star, Post Moves), who uses indie-pop as a channel to express the inner workings of his mind. Surfer Rosie’s members are the new kids on the block, but the recent Good Cheer Records signees are soon-to-be rising stars. With their debut single, “Worms,” the band effortlessly brings together early ’90s shoegaze and grunge. They’re set to release their first EP later this summer, but this show should tide you over ’til then. Clovver is the Portland underground scene’s hidden gem—composed of members of Two Moons, Naked Hour, Fire Nuns, and Helens, they’re essentially a supergroup. They haven’t released any recorded material, but they’ll blow you away live. DELANEY MOTTER

WHITE REAPER, RON GALLO
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Is titling your album The World’s Best American Rock Band an undeniable publicity stunt? Sure. White Reaper’s motivation for the naming of their new album seems to stem from the kind of genuine irony that’s stuck in the wink-nudge feedback loop of modern internet culture. In a period of indie rock that’s dominated by minimalist bedroom-pop, the Louisville, Kentucky, four-piece is somewhat anachronistic—they play songs that’re aesthetically adjacent to arena rock, with big hair and big guitar solos. Songs like “Judy French,” “Party Next Door,” and “Daisies” could easily blend into the soundtrack of a Linklater period piece, and I probably wouldn’t bat an eyelash. They seem to simultaneously celebrate the songwriting and mock the self-indulgence of bands like the Rolling Stones, Thin Lizzy, and Bruce Springsteen. And though irony could be viewed as its own form of self-indulgence, it’s also a critique of the seemingly self-evident—like a culture of music writing that hates unabashed publicity stunts from celebrities, but needs them to survive. CAMERON CROWELL

JURASSIC 5
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) When Jurassic 5 formed in 1993, groups dominated the hip-hop scene—it was an era when A Tribe was Called Quest, and the Wu Tang Clan wasn’t nothing to fuck with. As fans know, Jurassic 5 pioneered a style that moves beyond garden variety hip-hop; they artfully employ melody and hard-hitting lyrics to appeal to a wide variety of music lovers. The group hasn’t released a record since 2006, and took a hiatus until 2013. The Darth Vader-voiced Jurassic 5 member Chali 2na has said that touring is their specialty, and that they’d rather engage an audience than focus on being prolific. However, a new album might be in the works—they recently dropped the single “Customer Service,” which still offers their signature funky, chunky grooves. ROSE FINN

THURSDAY 6/22

(SANDY) ALEX G, JAPANESE BREAKFAST, CENDE
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Philadelphia musician Alex Giannascoli—AKA (Sandy) Alex G—is the mysterious creator of songs that hit emotional nerves with unexpected force. Giannascoli’s experimental guitar pop roams in and out of neighboring genres like goats leaving the pasture, and his excellent new album, Rocket, sprawls across rootsy, Lucinda Williams-inspired folk. CIARA DOLAN Also read our story on (Sandy) Alex G.

DAVE DEPPER, CARDIOID, RITCHIE YOUNG
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Death Cab for Cutie member Dave Depper recently released his solo full-length debut Emotional Freedom Technique, and it’s been received quite favorably. The grayscale synth-pop record was written in the aftermath of Depper’s divorce, and during his beginnings as a touring member of Death Cab, but the lonely record has several sparkling gems—from opening track “Do You Want Love?” to “Lonely with You,” and “Your Voice On the Radio.” And for the low price of $5 you can hear ’em live! JENNI MOORE Read our story on Dave Depper.

FRIDAY 6/23

FEMME TOP: MAARQUII, DJ TROUBLED YOUTH, PRETTY AND CUTE, NASTY TASHA
(Paris Theatre, 6 SW 3rd) As part of Portland Black Pride weekend, Femme Top is a party and safe space for Black femmes and their allies to celebrate the contributions of Black LGBTQ people, and get sweaty dancing about it. The show will see beloved host Chanticleer Tru (AKA Chanti Darling), sickening headliner and Portland femme rapper Maarquii, and a handful of WOC DJs. Proceeds will benefit Sankofa Collective Northwest, an organization that promotes the health and well-being of specifically Black queer people. JENNI MOORE

HEMINGWAY, LONGCLAW, PHANTOM FAMILY, RILED, PLANET DAMN
(American Legion Post 134, 2104 NE Alberta) Tonight Hemingway celebrates the release of their long-awaited sophomore record, You Will Never Be Happy. The new album takes a step away from the pop-punk sound first established on the local emo band’s 2014 debut, Pretend to Care, but Hemingway’s latest displays their collective growth and development. Longclaw, Phantom Family, Chain, and Planet Damn—four of Portland’s most criminally underrated underground indie bands—will come above ground to join Hemingway for the release show at Post 134, one of the few remaining all-ages venues in town. A testament to the bountiful talent in Portland’s independent music community right now, this lineup is guaranteed to satisfy. DELANEY MOTTER

GARY SUPPLY, RUINED IT, SIMPL3JACK, MORALITY, PEST CONTROL
(SMART Collective, 6923 SE Foster) See All-Ages Action!

NUGGETS NIGHT: THE PANDORAS, THE SHADOWS OF KNIGHT, PARADISE, THE LOVESORES, THE SELLWOODS, THE MEAN REDS, THE STRANGE EFFECTS, THEE NASTEES, FIRE NUNS, LAGOON SQUAD, MAGIC WANDAS, THE FOOLISH PRIDE
(Star Theater, 13 NW 6th) Transplants from the Mile High City might be disappointed to learn that the Star Theater’s Nuggets Night is not dedicated to the Denver Nuggets. The two-night event brings together a dizzying number of Portland bands in celebration of obscure, majestic garage and psych gems from the heavy-lidded ’60s, and all for a great cause. Benefitting the Jeremy Wilson Foundation (headed by the former Dharma Bums vocalist to support musicians with healthcare costs), the mini-festival’s first night features a host of paisley-costumed bards bringing the jangle and groove. Its headliners include legendary Hollywood crew the Pandoras, along with Chicago garage OGs the Shadows of Night, who scored a Top 10 hit with their version of Them’s “Gloria” in 1965. The second night is just as stacked, with Portland’s the Pynnacles and the High Violets taking aim before headliners the Woggles bring it all back home. RYAN J. PRADO

JOHN PRINE
(Oregon Zoo, 4001 SW Canyon) Tonight the legendary singer/songwriter John Prine arrives in Portland to serenade our city’s zoo animals (and probably some people, too). Prine is beloved for making simple, but magnificent folk songs, which revolve around his acoustic guitar and inimitable drawl. Though his early work gets a lot of attention—particularly songs like “Sam Stone” and “Angel from Montgomery” from his 1971 self-titled debut—2005’s Fair & Square is perhaps Prine’s best record. He recorded the Grammy-winning album after undergoing throat surgery for squamous cell cancer, which deepened his voice into a low, gravelly rumble. Last year Prine released For Better, or Worse, an outstanding collection of duets with country stars like Iris DeMent and Kacey Musgraves. This all-ages, outdoor concert is completely sold out, so if you’ve got tickets, expect the Oregon Zoo to be packed. CD

SATURDAY 6/24

DOLLY PARTON HOOT NIGHT: LENORE, MAMA COAL, GERLE HAGGARD, HEY LORETTA!, JENNY SIZZLER, KARA HARRIS, MARILEE HORD, NIKOLE POTULKSY, THE CABIN PROJECT, WEEZY FORD, KATIE ROSE AND MATTY CHARLES
(Alberta Rose Theatre, 3000 NE Alberta) Dolly Parton is humanity’s crown jewel. Her voice is made from honey and bourbon. Her hair deserves statehood, ’cause it’s bigger than Texas. She is simply the best. A dozen Portland singers will gather Saturday at twilight for this year’s worshipping ritual—I mean, the 12th annual Dolly Parton Hoot Night. CIARA DOLAN

LONGCLAW, HUSKY BOYS, NICK NORMAL, FLIM FLAM, TOM GHOULIE, VANITY PROJECT
(SMART Collective, 6923 SE Foster) See All-Ages Action!

NUGGETS NIGHT: THE WOGGLES, THE LOONS, THE PYNNACLES, DARTGUN AND THE VIGNETTES, SILVER SHIPS, THE SHRIEKERS, THE HIGH VIOLETS, CIGARETTE MCQUEEN, PAPER CAMERAS, RAF MOD BAND, TEN MILLION LIGHTS, SALAMANDER ISLAND
(Star Theater, 13 NW 6th) See Friday’s preview.

PICKWICK, CATALDO, GORDI
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) For several years, Pickwick has felt like a band on the verge of a big breakthrough. The Seattle combo built considerable buzz in the early 2010s with a series of 7-inches that showcased their modern take on soul music, featuring a little bit of grit and a whole bunch of frontman Galen Disston’s killer voice. A self-released full-length followed in 2013, and now it’s time for LP 2, LoveJoys, which finds Pickwick exploring a funkier, more polished sound without sacrificing its natural swagger. Could LoveJoys be the album that pushes Pickwick to the next level? It could, if they get the kind of break they deserve. Tonight at the Doug Fir, they’ll celebrate the new album with Seattle indie-pop act Cataldo, whose new album Keepers sounds like dance music for wallflowers wearing Death Cab for Cutie T-shirts. BEN SALMON

SUNDAY 6/25

ABRONIA, BLACKWATER HOLYLIGHT
(Rontoms, 600 E Burnside) Read our review of Abronia’s full-length debut, Obsidian Visions/Shadowed Lands.

ROGER WATERS
(Moda Center, 1 N Center Ct) Read our story on Roger Waters.

MONDAY 6/26

CORKY LAING’S MOUNTAIN
(Dante’s, 350 W Burnside) The songs played on classic rock radio stations are like a thimble of water taken from a vast ocean—they tell you very little about the golden era of rock ’n’ roll that will likely never be replicated. According to the FM dial, timeless bands like Mountain only have one or two songs worthy of airplay, when in fact they have several albums with multiple cuts that are way better than what’s popularly played. Mountain is by far the most glazed over, because “Mississippi Queen” is all you get. Granted, “Mississippi Queen” does give you a solid idea of the hard rock stylings Leslie West, Felix Pappalardi, and Corky Laing were capable of during their heyday, but it’s far from the complete picture. It doesn’t inform you of the piano jangle of “The Animal Trainer and the Toad,” the heavy strut of “Never in My Life,” or the gentle, romantic vibe of “The Laird.” When a show like Corky Laing’s Mountain comes to town, any fan of this bygone era should attend if they wanna get the whole story. ARIS HUNTER WALES

Love Mercury Music Coverage?

!!!, MASTER BEDROOM
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Although the danceable punk tunes of !!! (pronounced “Chk Chk Chk”) clearly draw inspiration from 1970s disco, the band sticks to the 21st century, aligning themselves closer to fellow purveyors of nostalgia like LCD Soundsystem. !!! grooves with slightly less tact than their contemporaries, but groove they do nonetheless. Their brand-new album, Shake the Shudder, returns to their remix-able past. It’s been a few years since !!!’s mid-2000s heyday, but regardless, listening continues to be a fun experience. The beats are timeless, and lead singer Nic Offer’s snarling vocals seem more nuanced and flexible than on prior albums. EMMA BURKE

TUESDAY 6/27

SCOUT NIBLETT, SAM COOMES
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) If you’ve never heard Scout Niblett’s music, based on the name you might assume that you were about to listen to something whimsical and twee. However, Niblett’s spellbinding stature only belies the power of her electric witchcraft. To behold her music is to be engulfed inside a monolithic demonstration of aural dark matter where the sonic void is as loud and impactful as any distortion pedal, mystical poeticism, or thundering drum roll. In one of the more impressive performances I have ever seen, Niblett, performing with a set-up of guitar and drums, breezily switched between instruments while conjuring unbeholden forces with each intensely riveting incantation. Songs that presented themselves as viscerally isolated cries or tender nothings submerged in grunge darkness became beacons of emotion that were so pure, further instrumentation would’ve only muddied the desired effectiveness like oceanic radar signals disturbing the clarion calls of migrating dolphins. CS

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