ST. VINCENT Sat 1/20 Keller Auditorium Nedda aAfsari

Super Pick

ST. VINCENT
(Keller Auditorium, 222 SW Clay) For more than a decade, Annie Clark—AKA 23rd century guitar goddess St. Vincent—has stood at the forefront of avant-pop and -rock, her profile rising steadily all the while. Clark’s first five records (including her 2012 collaboration with likeminded oddball David Byrne) synthesize serrated guitars, fuzzy electronics, right-angled rhythms, and her unique sense for melody and drama in songs that are both busily arranged and tightly wound. No one makes wiry, animatronic funk-pop feel more approachable than Clark, and if you need proof, see her 2014 self-titled album, which landed her on the season finale of Saturday Night Live and earned her a Grammy for Best Alternative Album. It’s no surprise, of course, that the latest St. Vincent record, 2017’s Masseduction, strides confidently in a new direction: still herky-jerky and ultramodern, but now with brighter synths, bigger drum machines, more personal lyrics, and more pop-star ambition that sounds perfect for some other, cooler universe. It’s Prince and the Revolution pounding Nine Inch Nails into a wall of glass. It’s neon pink, power dynamics, leather boots, sleeping pills, and animal prints. Masseduction is every bit as strange as Clark’s previous work, but catchier and less guarded—and that’s a good thing. Most importantly, it’s reflective of an artist with outsized skills, incredible vision, and restless creativity. BEN SALMON


WEDNESDAY 1/17

SUZANNE SANTO, MAPACHE
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Clay Finch and Sam Blasucci are two non-biological brothers from Los Angeles who are doing big things under the moniker Mapache. Sonically, the duo’s 2017 self-titled debut is built out of acoustic guitars, vocal harmonies, and the occasional pedal-steel swoop or basic percussion part. Finch and Blasucci synthesize the music of their hometown, touching on traditional country, ’70s folk, sunbaked Laurel Canyon twang, psychedelic soul, and Bakersfield country. The end result is a collection of songs that sound gorgeous and feel timeless. Mapache’s Bandcamp profile touts them thusly: “Imagine the Everly Brothers wearing tie-dyed Nudie suits.” That’s a very high bar, but when you press play on the album, suddenly that bar seems within reach. BS


THURSDAY 1/18

FRANKIE SIMONE Thurs 1/18 Holocene BEN SELLON

FRANKIE SIMONE, DOUBLEPLUSGOOD, TENTS
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Start your weekend early with Frankie Simone, the Portland singer/songwriter making glittery, danceable indie pop with empowering lyrics, like her 2017 anthem “Queer.” Simone’s releasing her debut LP early this year, but tide yourself over with this Holocene show featuring local openers Doubleplusgood and Tents. CIARA DOLAN

HALEY HEYNDERICKX, SURFER ROSIE
(Parkway North at PSU, 1825 SW Broadway) See All-Ages Action!

ESHAM, KRAZY K, KNOCTURNAL, DAY DREAMER, GRINCH MOBB
(Hawthorne Theatre Lounge, 1507 SE César E. Chávez) Detroit hasn’t gotten the respect it deserves for its contributions to hip-hop, likely because the city’s most famous exports have been Eminem, Kid Rock, and Insane Clown Posse, whose influence isn’t exactly something to brag about. Though the city has also given birth to such remarkable talent as Slum Village, Black Milk, Dej Loaf, and, of course, the late, great J Dilla, when the story of Detroit hip-hop is finally told, it should begin with Esham. His classic debut LP, Boomin’ Words from Hell—released in 1989 when he was just 16—laid a foundation that would be built upon for years to come. Along with his group Natas, Esham coined the term “acid rap,” noted for its ultraviolent and graphic lyrics, which Eminem and ICP would later appropriate. Though Esham hasn’t received the fame or money of his white compatriots, he’s never let it impede his productivity; his forthcoming release, Dead of Winter, is his 17th solo album. Like the city he came up in, Esham has seen better and worse days, but his commitment to the culture is unswerving, and his place in history is indisputable. SANTI ELIJAH HOLLEY

CARPE DIEM STRING QUARTET
(Winningstad Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway) The cyclical effects of this planet orbiting around our star have always captivated humans. Tonight, music lovers have a chance to catch a pair of creations separated by centuries, yet equally inspired by seasonal joys. Based in Ohio, the Carpe Diem String Quartet is touching down in Portland to perform not only Antonio Vivaldi’s timelessly crisp Four Seasons, but also Astor Piazzolla’s utterly unique take on the matter. The Argentine composer’s Four Seasons of Buenos Aires is a beguiling work that fuses elements of tango and jazz, cooked in a classical batter that carries rich flavors of syncopation, rhythm, and surprise. With an internationally acclaimed virtuosic quartet at the ready, witnessing Piazzolla’s idiosyncratic work alongside Vivaldi’s masterpiece within the intimate confines of the Winningstad Theatre will be, quite simply, a guaranteed delight. BRIAN HORAY


FRIDAY 1/19

SCHOOL OF ROCK AND PROWUS PRESENT BEST OF PORTLAND 6: MOOREA MASA, LITHICS, SKULL DIVER, MÁSCARAS, GAYTHIEST, URAL THOMAS AND THE PAIN, JESSICA BOURDREAUX, HALEY HEYNDERICKX, NASALROD, KELLI SCHAEFER
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) Once a year, local grownup musicians join local kid musicians onstage for an incredible, heartwarming night that celebrates the best of the Portland music scene. Tonight, School of Rock students will be joined by musicians from acts like Gaytheist, Máscaras, Lithics, Ural Thomas and the Pain, and many others, for a unique show to benefit PROWUS. It’s an incredible amount of fun, and not to be missed if you give a damn about local music and education. NED LANNAMANN Also see All-Ages Action!

HUUN HUUR TU Fri 1/19 Alberta Rose Theatre RIOT ARTISTS

HUUN HUUR TU
Alberta Rose Theatre, 3000 NE Alberta) Huun Huur Tu put on one of the most breathtaking performances of last summer’s Pickathon—I remember standing on tiptoes outside the packed Lucky Barn trying (and failing) to catch a glimpse of them, but I’ll never forget the sound. The group hails from the Russian republic of Tuva, which borders Mongolia, and they’ve been introducing the region’s indigenous folk to the rest of the world for more than two decades. Huun Huur Tu’s style of throat singing uses circular breathing to produce two or three droning notes at once. It’s gorgeous, hypnotic music that’ll make you reconsider the capabilities of the human voice. CD

BØRNS, CHARLOTTE CARDIN, MIKKI EKKO
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) Singer/songwriter Børns (AKA Garrett Clark Borns) has one of those beautiful, androgynous voices that are nearly impossible to imitate. In addition to his exquisite vocals, the 26-year-old is known for his vibrant personal style that challenges traditional gender norms. He reminds me of Bowie and other glam rock icons—he’s got long, flowing hair, wears glittery makeup in his music videos, and his masculinity isn’t so fragile that he won’t rock a floral print or bare a midriff onstage. If you’ve heard anything from the psychedelic- and synth-pop rocker, it’s probably “Electric Love” or “10,000 Emerald Pools” from Dopamine, his 2015 debut. Børns recently released his highly anticipated follow-up, Blue Madonna, through Interscope Records. Based on his trippy music videos and shimmering new singles like “Sweet Dreams,” “I Don’t Want U Back,” and “God Save Our Young Blood” (featuring Lana Del Rey), I can’t wait to see what his live show has in store. JENNI MOORE


SATURDAY 1/20

J20 PARTY: SÁVILA, FUCK U PAY US, GUAYABA, BLOSSOM, DJ LUCHA, DJ MAMI MIAMI
(PICA, 15 NE Hancock) NXT LVL PDX and She Shreds magazine are hosting an all-day blowout to raise money and supplies for local organizations like Brown Girl Rise, Queer Rock Camp Portland, and Portland Menstrual Society. At noon there’s an all-ages J20 rally with speakers, a WOC marketplace, workshops, and a raffle. The evening’s party features a phenomenal lineup of all-WOC musicians and DJs: Los Angeles punk band Fuck U Pay Us, Seattle rapper Guayaba (check out her 2016 debut EP Black Trash/White House, it’s amazing), Portland’s own Sávila and Blossom, plus DJs Lucha and Mami Miama (Mercury writer Emilly Prado). CD Also read our story on NXT LVL’s J20 Party.

ST. VINCENT
(Keller Auditorium, 222 SW Clay) Read our St. Vincent super pick.

SPONTANEOUS COMBUSTION FESTIVAL: DELGANI STRING QUARTET
(The Old Church, 1422 SW 11th) Read our story on Spontaneous Combustion Festival.

LITHICS, ABRONIA, THE WOOLEN MEN, MR. WRONG
(Skyline Tavern, 8031 NW Skyline) This city’s been feeling pretty crowded lately, but fret not—the second installment of Get Outta Town is here to remind you that there are escape routes. The idea behind the concert series is to take local bands out of the metropolis to perform at a destination within an hour of central Portland. The first Get Outta Town was headlined by Divers at a farmhouse in Estacada, and this second excursion is at the rustic Skyline Tavern. It’s technically within Portland city limits, but anyone who’s bellied up to the roadhouse bar knows it feels like you’re out in the sticks. Enjoy its intimate confines with heavy hitters Mr. Wrong, Woolen Men, Abronia, and Lithics. RYAN J. PRADO

PLASTIC WEATHER, STAR CLUB, NICK NORMAL, LOST NERVES
(Black Water Bar, 835 NE Broadway) Portland’s premiere “death disco” band Plastic Weather is finally unveiling its self-titled debut EP, a four-song testament to the power of synth-pop. Add a dash of post-punk, a sprinkle of dark distortion, and a smidge of glam rock, and you’ve got the ’80s-inspired goth dance party of your dreams—the perfect spooky soundtrack for the afterlife, when we’re all ghosts partying together. Noelle Magia channels Kate Pierson of the B-52’s with her dissonant, reverb-heavy vocals against thick synth and thrashing drums. Plastic Weather’s love of the bizarre is obvious, but it’s oddly inviting, carving out a space and sound for those of us on the fringes of traditional hyper-masculine punk. DELANEY MOTTER

SALLIE FORD, MIKE COYKENDALL, HARLOWE
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Last year, Portland’s own Sallie Ford released her second solo album, Soul Sick, since parting ways with her band the Sound Outside in 2013. The retro-rock songwriter’s latest fuses all the elements that made her earlier work so popular: earnest lyrics about seasonal depression and loneliness, doo-wop harmonies, warm organ tones, and Ford’s powerful, Winehouse-esque voice. Soul Sick is a record I overlooked in 2017, but thankfully, songs like “Failure” and “Unraveling” go great with January’s grey skies. Ford’s lived in Portland for more than 10 years now, but this hometown show at Mississippi is still a bright spot on this month’s calendar. CD


SUNDAY 1/21

PSYCHOMAGIC, AAN, NUMB.ER
(Black Water Bar, 835 NE Broadway) See All-Ages Action!

CONVERGE, SUMAC, CULT LEADER
(Bossanova Ballroom, 722 E Burnside) Virtually every song in Converge’s discography forces listeners to reckon with flesh and bone and the limits of both. Just try to get lost listening to one of the hardcore veterans’ records—it’s impossible. Instead, you become hyperaware of just how sluggish your own body feels next to the dexterous intensity of a Converge song. They are master craftsmen, among the most startlingly consistent bands in the canon of extreme music, but their work constitutes an awesome athletic achievement. How does vocalist Jacob Bannon continue to shred his throat like that? How does guitarist Kurt Ballou dance across the fretboard like that? How many goddamn arms does that drummer have, anyway? To listen is to bear witness to a spectacle that seems more like sport than art, and it is a joy. CHRIS STAMM

YUNG LEAN, THAIBOY DIGITAL
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE César E. Chávez) Swedish rapper Yung Lean’s oozy, warped beats and Auto-Tuned vocals evoke an anxious comfort, like getting sleep paralysis, freaking out for a second, and then resigning to ride the wave of a waking dream. On 2017’s Stranger, Lean proves he’s more than a sad boy meme. The production is accented with lush keyboards, and his lyrics imagine a world that, while dreary and filled with heartbreak, is also full of friends and beautiful vistas in the distance (“Red Bottom Sky” and “Agony”). CAMERON CROWELL


MONDAY 1/22

SPONTANEOUS COMBUSTION FESTIVAL: ORLANDO CELA
(The Old Church, 1422 SW 11th) Read our story on Spontaneous Combustion Festival.

EXCISION, LIQUID STRANGER, DION TIMMER, MONXX
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) If you’ve ever questioned the appeal of going to a show and watching a guy stand in one spot and play electronic music, you need to check out Excision. The Canadian producer/DJ uses elaborate video effects and lighting to turn his stage into a glowing, psychedelic playground that moves and changes in coordination with his hyper-aggressive dubstep and drum and bass. Sometimes Excision performs from inside a robot kitten. Sometimes he’s in a forest filled with dinosaurs. Sometimes he’s in a futuristic, fiery red DJ stand hurtling through space. But no matter what he’s up to visually, rest assured: black-and-white words on a page cannot do Excision’s live show justice. You need to see it for yourself. Expect rat-tat-tat beats, chest-caving bass, lots of laser sounds, and an all-around feast for the senses. BS


TUESDAY 1/23

SPONTANEOUS COMBUSTION FESTIVAL: HUB NEW MUSIC
(The Old Church, 1422 SW 11th) Read our story on Spontaneous Combustion Festival.

EXCISION, LIQUID STRANGER, DION TIMMER, MONXX
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) See Monday’s preview.