JHENÉ AIKO JHENÉ AIKO

SUPER PICK

JHENÉ AIKO
(w/ Willow Smith, Kodie Shane, Kitty Cash; Roseland, 8 NW 6th) Singer/songwriter Jhené Aiko is more than just the vibey vocalist who stole the spotlight on Omarion’s 2014 single “Post to Be” with that “gotta eat the booty like groceries” lyric. She’s certainly not a rookie when it comes to chart achievements and dope collaborations: 2013’s Sail Out was the best-selling EP in Def Jam history and featured the likes of Childish Gambino, Vince Staples, and Kendrick Lamar. Last September Aiko released Trip, her second full-length (not counting Twenty88, her joint album with her partner, Big Sean). It’s psychedelic R&B laced with themes of escapism in the wake of massive grief, and explores all the vivid feelings, discoveries, and drugs that Aiko experienced over the past decade, particularly while grappling with the loss of her brother, who died of cancer in 2012. Spanning 22 tracks, it’s her most beautiful and cohesive project yet. The album was introduced by a brilliant 23-minute short film written and produced by Aiko and is accompanied by her book of poems, 2Fish, that’ll be available later this month. Trip is best enjoyed front to back, but standouts include lead single “While We’re Young,” “Newer Balance (Freestyle)” (which features John Mayer on guitar), and the gospel-infused “Frequency.” There are subtle features from artists like Brandy, Mali Music, Swae Lee, and Big Sean, as well as appearances from her father (under the moniker Dr. Chill) and daughter (Namiko Love). Her “Trip” tour is likely to be just as much of an escapist dreamscape, especially since Willow Smith graces the bill. Smith also dropped her sophomore LP this fall, an alternative and guitar-focused record called The 1st that sees her channeling iconic vocalists like Alanis Morissette and Tracy Chapman. This show is sold out, but those with tickets should roll up some sativa, pile into the Roseland, and prepare to vibe-out to this stellar all-female lineup. JENNI MOORE


THURSDAY 12/7

PORTLAND, OREGON HIP-HOP FESTIVAL AND TOY DRIVE: YABOIIG, HERSCH, PACKARD BROWNE, GUTTER FAMILY, DOPEXGANG, CHAMPAGNE JAMES, MACK TRELL, YUNG MIL, TONY OZIER, FLIBOIMOE & S.LOYAL, MELLENIUM AKA KENNY MACK
(Ash Street Saloon, 225 SW Ash) This weekend marks the return of the Portland Oregon Hip-Hop Festival, after taking a few years off. The venue is only fitting, serving as a last hurrah before The Ash Street closes its doors at the end of the month. POH-Hop fest will feature performances from scene leaders like Rich Hunter, Mic Capes, and many more. There will also be a toy drive, and couple of curated panel discussions (“The Importance of Quality Content” and “The Qualities of a Bookable Artist”) designed to inform and uplift the local hip-hop community. JENNI MOORE

THE THESIS THREE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY: TY FARRIS AND TROX, KUNG FOO GRIP, COOL NUTZ, $QVTCH, SXLXMXN, VERBZ
(Kelly’s Olympian, 426 SW Washington) Look, the Mercury is one of many sponsors of monthly hip-hop showcase The Thesis, and we want it to thrive. But even if the thing were put on by our most contemptible enemy (looking at YOU, Zippity News) we’d be repping The Thesis’ third anniversary celebration. This is going to be one hell of a party. Tonight sees a headlining by Detroit wordsmith Ty Farris (with production by local standout Trox). It’s got rhymes from Seattle duo Kung Foo Grip, who are fantastic, doing such strong work keeping the golden-age vibe alive in the Emerald City. And oh, by the way? Cool Nutz is hitting the stage. Just because. It’s been impressive to see The Thesis grow over the past several years, and tonight is a sign that things are only getting better from here. (Your move, ZN.) DIRK VANDERHART

THE KILLERS, FRANZ FERDINAND
(Moda Center, 1 N Center Ct) I am here to inform you that the Killers still exist and their new album, Wonderful Wonderful, is pretty dang… wonderful. The Las Vegas rock band delivers more of what they’ve always done best: oversized anthems with emo lyrics and glitter-cannon climaxes. There’s also some unexpected Auto-Tune, plenty of religious imagery, and one tepidly political reference to fake news. Arrive early to see Franz Ferdinand if you’re really jonesing to relive 2005. CIARA DOLAN Read our story on the Killers.

FRIDAY 12/8

PORTLAND, OREGON HIP-HOP FESTIVAL AND TOY DRIVE: LUXURY JONEZ, RICH JAMES, LIQUID ANTHRAXX, FETTI MACK, DANIELSEVENTWO, DESTRO, MIGHTY, DRAE STEVES AND BINO BANDZ, XP, MIC CAPES, COOL NUTZ & MANIAC LOK
(Ash Street Saloon, 225 SW Ash) See Thursday's preview.

BLITZEN TRAPPER, LILLY HIATT
(Revolution Hall, 1300 SE Stark) Blitzen Trapper has spent most of the past couple of months touring the country in support of their ninth studio album, Wild and Reckless. It’s the recorded version of the folk-rock band’s 2016 musical of the same name, a collaboration with Portland Center Stage that centered on frontman Eric Earley’s semi-autobiographical tales of life in Old Portland. CIARA DOLAN

BILLY JOEL
(Moda Center, 1 N Center Ct) motherfucking Nazis—only one man can bring us together. That man is Billy Joel, the Prince of Long Island and the Troubadour of our Dreams. Hospice-bound geriatrics whisper “Only the Good Die Young” as they tremble and fade; fat babies, warm in the womb, squirm in amniotic fluid to the beat of “Movin' Out”; every time He does karaoke, Jesus insists on doing “We Didn't Start the Fire”; Satan's ringtone is “Uptown Girl.” And now, the Piano Man himself shall bless Portland. His show is, of course, sold out, because our love of Billy Joel is all we have left, and we shall cherish him, and he will heal us. ERIK HENRIKSEN Read our story on Billy Joel.

VALERIE JUNE, GILL LANDRY
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) The twangy new-folk music of Valerie June may first strike you as straight-up Nashville—but it runs and cuts so much deeper. With lyrics that range from working class to spiritual, and a sound that pull from so many sources—Appalachia, R&B, roots, blues, and more—June infuses her music with a visceral sense of downhome soul. And don’t be surprised when you’re lulled and pulled into her world, where you’ll find yourself simultaneously shaking that ass and stompin’ that foot. WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY Read our story on Valerie June.

MINI BLINDS, A CERTAIN SMILE, STAR CLUB, ANOTHER AFTERNOON
(The Local Celebrity, 820 N Russell) Local Celebrity is a new music venue founded by Daniel Leussler, host of the Killingsworth House concert series. Its mission is to spotlight the local celebrities of Portland’s music scene, and this bill is a prime example: Lo-fi psych pop act Another Afternoon kicks things off, followed by the fuzzy, ’90s-esque college radio rock of A Certain Smile; Star Club’s slinky, lounge glam; and headliners Mini Blinds closing out the night with tender dream-pop. It’s part of the Local Celebrity’s quarterly residency platform showcasing the best of what the city has to offer. CERVANTE POPE

SKULL DIVER, THIS PATCH OF SKY, LASAGNA PALACE
(Tonic Lounge, 3100 NE Sandy) Winter winds blow through These Small Spaces, the 2017 debut from Eugene post-rockers This Patch of Sky. Throughout Spaces, Alex Abrams’ cello carries melodies over moody arrangements that owe as much to classical composers like Gorecki or Elgar as they do to Mogwai. The album heats up on “Paper Mountains,” with Abrams’ sweet, languid, swing-lo phrasing nodding to an unlikely reference point, Gershwin’s Porgy ’n’ Bess. Abrams’ woody sound creates an atmosphere of melancholy but also sacred introspection and beatific rapture. This Patch of Sky is more a small classical ensemble than a rock band, and These Small Spaces isn’t so much a collection of songs as it is a series of musical ideas, periodically coming up for air in an icy lake. WILLIAM KENNEDY

SATURDAY 12/9

VALERIE JUNE, GILL LANDRY
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) See Friday's preview.

LORD MASTER, RLLRBLL, LUCKY TIGERS
(The Fixin’ To, 8218 N Lombard) Times like these call for rock ’n’ roll. While some people look to protest songs as a way to cope, I look for something a little less serious or literal. Lord Master scratches that itch in a swarm of satirical barbs, tasty licks, and rock ’n’ roll riffs. The four-piece has emerged from Portland’s nether regions with a new record called Jello Day, which falls somewhere between Tenacious D and the country and metal sections at your favorite record shop. There’s the paint-peeling “Total Fucking Rock” and “Action Tonight,” but you also get the all-too-real political treatises “Asshat Versus Dumbass” and the prophetic “Year of the Vagina.” This unisex rock band is made up of smart cookies and musical ass-kickers, and Saturday’s record release show will require you to use your noodle while saturating it with alcohol and drugs. My kind of party. MARK LORE

CINDY WILSON, SARAH JAFFE, MINI BLINDS, STRANGE BABES DJs
(Star Theater, 13 NW 6th) As the coolly collected counterpart to Kate Pierson’s fiery pizzazz in the B-52’s twin frontwoman attack, Cindy Wilson shared equal sonic space within the duo’s ecstatically joyful harmonies and the clouds of my teenage “Love Shack” crushworld. Post-Cosmic Thing, however, Wilson has been relatively reserved from the spotlight, and only participates in the band’s activities intermittently. That’s why the release of her new album, Change, feels like drinking a delicious glass of cold water. Whether bursting through a psychedelic discotheque (“Mystic”) or nonchalantly delivering slices of sparkling melancholy (“Brother”), Wilson’s voice oozes with her eternal strength and patented grooviness, especially when it’s filtered through modernist production. Even her punky roots bloom on the infectiously energetic “Brother.” If you’ve ever freaked out to the chorus of “52 Girls” as much as I have, you should prioritize seeing this true musical heroine. CHRIS SUTTON

METZ SAT 12/9 DOUG FIR EBRU YILDIZ

METZ, MOANING, DEATHLIST
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) If you’re unfamiliar with the Toronto trio Metz, just take a look at some of the song titles on their new album, Strange Peace, and see if they give you a feeling. There’s “Mess of Wires,” “Mr. Plague,” “Common Trash,” and “Raw Materials,” so, yeah, it all feels kinda hard-edged and grimy and a little bit dangerous, like the trash compactor scene from the first Star Wars movie. In this case, you can judge a band by its titles! Over the past few years, Metz has become one of the best noise-rock bands on the planet, and Strange Peace is their strongest work yet. The band retains all of its post-punk power and fury while injecting light and restraint into its songs. For evidence, seek out the serrated pop chorus of “Cellophane” or the gnarled and spectral melodies that shine through “Sink.” Metz still destroy, and if you go see ’em tonight, prepare to be bludgeoned in the very best way. BEN SALMON

SUNDAY 12/10

OH ROSE, BOONE HOWARD, WET DREAM
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Our love for Olympia’s Oh, Rose has been well documented within these pages, but in case you missed out when they headlined back in April or when they opened a pair of sold-out Future Islands shows in September, we’re going to triple down on the recommendation. The band’s versatile blend of haunting folk, roaring psychedelic rock, and infectious pop music is unlike anything else in the region, and you owe it to yourself to get acquainted when an opportunity like this presents itself. CHIPP TERWILLIGER

JULIEN BAKER, HALF WAIF, ADAM TORRES
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) Julien Baker’s music is, in a sense, entirely predictable. Each song on her new album, Turn Out the Lights, is spare, sweeping, and heartrending. But hearing Baker sing is never dull—her music is wholly immersive, and Turn Out the Lights offers a space to mourn or to hope, depending on your mood. Baker grew up in a Christian household in Memphis, Tennessee, and came out to her family at 17. On “Appointments,” she sings each word like a prayer: “Maybe it’s all gonna turn out all right/And I know that it’s not, but I have to believe that it is/ I have to believe that it is.” ISABEL LYNDON

SLUG CHRIST, CHXPO, DOMMY DIVINE
(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) The recent high profile death of Lil Peep has seemingly awakened the mainstream (i.e. your mom) to the concept of “emo” or “cloud” rap, a thriving genre of underground hip-hop characterized by lo-fi trap beats played at syrupy speeds, suicidal poetry, and teenagers with Xanax proclivities. While these qualities are certainly applicable to the music of Slug Christ, it’s his use of surreal nihilism rather than lethargic self-pity that separates him intellectually from the swarms of downer MCs currently flooding every corner of SoundCloud. Christ’s verses squirm creepily through blackened swamps of bent bass drums and death rattle hi-hats, dictating toxic life lessons as told through the soul of a stained and cigarette-burned flophouse sofa. You could probably listen to Slug Christ while watching Gummo with the sound off, and the psychological parallels would coagulate in your mind instantly. CS

PATTERSON HOOD
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Patterson Hood has called Portland home for several years now, and as a result, we’re privy to the intimacy of the occasional solo performance. This is a fantastic circumstance, as Hood is one of the more arresting singer/songwriters active during the last 20 years. As co-frontman of the dangerously great Drive-By Truckers, Hood has made a career out of crafting vivid workaday tunes that dig deep into both his rural and metropolitan politics. On Election Day the band released a 7-inch that includes “The Perilous Night,” a politically charged track that addresses the polarization of fascism in America, picking up where the band left off with 2016’s American Band. Hood released his most recent solo album, Heat Lightning Rumbles in the Distance, five years ago, and he’s known to pepper in Drive-By Truckers tunes into his solo sets as well. RYAN J. PRADO

MONDAY 12/11

ALEX LAHEY MON 12/11 MISSISSIPPI STUDIOS GIULIA McGAURAN

THE WAR ON DRUGS
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) The War on Drugs are confounding. Are they a gray-walled factory of reheated ’80s rock tropes for cool dads? Or do they take the reliable foundations of rock ’n’ roll and build on them in interesting and unexpected ways? I thought it was the former, but now I’m starting to think it’s the latter. Such is the growing effect of the Philly band’s latest album, A Deeper Understanding. At first blush, it’s a marathon of hazy, laidback rehashes of Dylan, Springsteen, Petty, and Dire Straits, generally running between six and 11 minutes long and punctuated with squirrelly guitar solos. But repeated listens reveal ambient textures, motorik rhythms, strange noises, indispensable feedback, and sumptuous keyboard and vocal hooks. Head drug warrior Adam Granduciel excels at making weird rock songs that feel incredibly not weird. It’s a trip, man! It’s like if Don Henley had recorded “The Boys of Summer” at the bottom of a canyon with Stereolab as his backing band. You can decide whether you think that’s good or bad. BS

ALEX LAHEY, DUDE YORK
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Australian imports have been more common over the past few years, with musicians like Courtney Barnett, Alex Cameron, and Hockey Dad repping the Down Under vibe to the rest of the world. Though the nature of that vibe is up for debate, if Alex Lahey’s 2017 debut, I Love You Like a Brother, is any indication, there’s clearly a happy, fun-time bonanza brewing. Lahey’s effortless skuzz-pop gems sizzle with hummable melodies and rapid-fire rock that sounds inspired by Joan Jett and Juliana Hatfield. Her singles radiate heat like the sunny beaches of Melbourne, as heard on bubblegum scorchers like “Every Day’s the Weekend” and “I Haven’t Been Taking Care of Myself,” but open up new, more intriguing songwriting layers on moodier tunes like “Perth Traumatic Stress Disorder.” It’s catchy, high-energy stuff, and probably the perfect antidote for a case of the Mondays. RJP

TUESDAY 12/12

AN AMY WINEHOUSE TRIBUTE: FINEHOUSE, PROM QUEEN, DJ LISTEN LADY
(Star Theater, 13 NW 6th) Before her untimely death in 2011, English singer/songwriter and five-time Grammy winner Amy Winehouse had one of the most interesting voices in the world—it was booming, gravelly, and weird, but totally hypnotic. Inspired by 1960s groups like the Ronettes (right down to her winged eyeliner and towering beehive hairdo), her music lives on in a shimmering blend of R&B, jazz, and soul. Portland’s own 10-piece band Finehouse will pay tribute to the late Winehouse by playing her last record, 2006’s Back to Black, all the way through with a full horn section and backup singers. They’ll be joined by Seattle’s Prom Queen (one of my favorite acts in the Pacific Northwest), whose new album, Doom-Wop, draws from the same toxic bubblegum reference points as Winehouse’s work. CIARA DOLAN

WEEZER TUES 12/12 CRYSTAL BALLROOM Atlantic Records

WEEZER, COURTSHIP
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) Before going out on the weekends my friends and I have a ritual of listening to 1990s alt-rock, so Weezer unavoidably comes up on the playlist. Many of their songs have not aged well: “No One Else” (from the band’s 1994 self-titled debut) is possibly one of the most socially regressive songs of the last half-century, with lyrics suggesting that frontman Rivers Cuomo’s partner is only allowed to be a person when she’s with him. Pinkerton is another prime example of infinitely catchy songs with “self-aware” sexist lyrics, from “I’m dumb, she’s a lesbian” to “Goddamn, these half-Japanese girls do it to me every time.” If you were to chart a graph of Weezer’s career, you’d likely find a positive relationship between the determinate factor “how insufferable is Rivers Cuomo is being” and the quality of music. CAMERON CROWELL