YO LA TENGO
(Sat 6/2 & Sun 6/3 at Wonder Ballroom 128 NE Russell) For as long as I’ve been conscious of the changing seasons, the beginning of June has marked the beginning of summer. Astronomical purists may swear by the solstice, but once April’s showers have passed and May’s flowers are gasping for water, I relinquish myself to the coming months of sweaty days and peaceful evenings. Soundtracking the former can take shape in any number of ways: A Tribe Called Quest albums on repeat, making yet another chillwave playlist, acquiring every Burger Records release available. When it comes to hushed summer nights, however, nothing feels quite as fitting as Hoboken, New Jersey, indie rock lifers Yo La Tengo—who, in some heatstroke of luck, will be playing back-to-back nights at the Wonder the first weekend of June. Out of the band’s vast discography, it’s 2000’s And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out—not the often underrated Summer Sun—that finds the trio at the height of their power in this regard. (The cover’s depiction of a suburb at dusk suggests their awareness of that fact.) From whispered lyrics recounting first love to the masterful sparsity of Georgia Hubley’s drumming, the record is an ode to summer’s most cherished minutiae. In their 30-plus years of existence, however, Yo La Tengo have also offered their share of “Autumn Sweater”s and “Winter a Go-Go”s—in other words, assurances that they aren’t a band to box themselves in by sound or season. The two shows’ setlists are sure to span everything from Ira Kaplan’s roaring guitar epics (“And the Glitter Is Gone,” “The Story of Yo La Tango”) to the ambient leanings of their latest album There’s a Riot Going On. Beyond that, it’s hard to say what to expect; Yo La Tengo have always hated the habitual. BEN WEINSTEIN
PLASTIC CACTUS, SOUVENIR DRIVER, HAVANIA WHAAL
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) In case you weren’t already headed to Holocene for your first boozy slushy of the summer, get moving—tonight’s bill is a triple threat, starting with the brood-gaze of Havania Whaal, whose live performances are something of local legend (think bubbles and giant papier-mâché heads). Next up is Souvenir Driver, masters of daydream shoegaze (if you need proof, look to last year’s self-titled LP). Plastic Cactus will close out the night with songs from their 2017 debut EP Pricks, a collection of dusty, hallucinatory surf rock songs that sound equally inspired by the Gun Club and Ennio Morricone’s spaghetti western soundtracks. CIARA DOLAN
MIC CHECK: RAQUEL DIVAR, SLEEP, JXJURY
(White Eagle, 836 N Russell) If you love hip-hop, don’t snooze on one of the city’s best monthly nights for checking out our exploding local scene. It’s Mic Check, where you can find established names in Portland hip-hop alongside the most exciting up-and-comers. Tonight’s blockbuster lineup includes the electronica-tinged rapid-fire rap of Raquel Divar, the dynamic yet easy flow of JxJURY, and Sleep (Chris Tafoya of the Oldominion crew) who’ll bring his usual blend of deep lyricism and rhythmic agility to an evening where you’ll get all you need and more. WSH
FRANKIE SIMONE, REVA DEVITO, THE SESHEN
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Portland’s queer Puerto Rican pop powerhouse Frankie Simone is back after dropping a sizzling new song, “War Paint,” from her upcoming album Love//Warrior. Simone weaves unapologetic, empowering messages through sexy, bubblegum beats—think rhythmic clapping meets pop-n-lock. She’ll join Portland-based R&B artist Reva DeVito and California electropop group the Seshen for a perfect Pride Month pump-up show. AZ Also read our review of Frankie Simone’s debut EP Love//Warrior.
DAMIEN JURADO, NAOMI WACHIRA
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Raise your hand if you thought Damien Jurado’s best albums were behind him. That’d be understandable, and it wouldn’t be an insult, because the supremely skilled Washington singer/songwriter has released a whole bunch of terrific records over the past couple of decades. But somehow, Jurado’s new album The Horizon Just Laughed might be his best yet. It’s also his first-ever self-produced album, and it’s a downcast travelogue of sorts, packed with hazy recollections of people, places, and feelings. (Eight of the 11 songs have names in their titles.) Sonically, Horizon takes Jurado’s easygoing, melodic folk and dresses it up ever so slightly with pretty strings, warm horns, gleaming keys, occasional samba beats, and old soul. Jurado has always been one of the best craftsmen going; to hear him pull it all together yet again is very welcome and utterly inspiring. BEN SALMON
GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR, KGD
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) Since emerging from an indefinite hiatus that saw Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s members focusing on their side projects, the colossal post-rock outfit—named after a Japanese biker gang—has released three albums: 2012’s ’Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!, 2015’s Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress, and 2017’s Luciferian Towers. Despite themes of tragedy and class inequality that recall last summer’s Grenfell Tower fire in London, Luciferian Towers contains some of the experimental Canadian group’s most uplifting melodies to date. In Constellation Records’ press materials about the album, Godspeed provides a list of “grand demands,” which range from “an end to borders” to “the expert fuckers who broke this world never get to speak again.” Although Luciferian Towers includes much less droning doom-and-gloom, it’s proof that Godspeed You! Black Emperor is still ruminating on humanity’s ills and searching for a way out. CERVANTE POPE
DAMIEN JURADO, NAOMI WACHIRA
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) See Thursday’s preview.
GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR, DANIEL MENCHE
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) See Thursday’s preview.
NUGGETS NIGHT: HURRY UP, THE LOVESORES, THE BUGS, FIRE NUNS, THE FURIES, BLACK FRUIT, THE VON HOWLERS, SACRED TREES, THE HAUER THINGS, THE MEAN REDS, THE SHRIEKERS, DJ STONEBUNNY, DJ DOUBLE A, DJ CECELIA
(Mission Theater, 1624 NW Glisan) The 11th annual Nuggets Night returns this weekend to pay homage to 1960s garage rock with two evenings of jangly sing-alongs. Friday’s bill includes Portland heavy-hitters Hurry Up, the Lovesores, and the Bugs amping up the reverb and dialing up the paisley, along with the triple threat of DJs Stonebunny, Double A, and Cecelia. Assuming you survive the first night, Saturday ups the ante with the Pynnacles, the Reverberations, and Verner Pantons opening for Love Revisited, featuring original Love guitarist Johnny Echols along with Baby Lemonade, Arthur Lee’s touring band from 1996 to 2005. Love Revisited will play Love’s classic 1967 record Forever Changes in its entirety, so you’d better save some lung power. This year’s Nuggets Night(s) will benefit Queer Rock Camp Portland, the local summer camp seeking to engage LGBTQ youth in musical self-expression. RYAN J. PRADO
YO LA TENGO
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) Read our Yo La Tengo super pick.
NUGGETS NIGHT: LOVE REVISITED, THE REVERBERATIONS, THE PYNNACLES, VERNER PANTONS, THE SEE YOU NEXT TUESDAYS, LITTLE HEXES, LIQUIDLIGHT, DJ AM GOLD, DJ REMA REMA, DJ HWY 7
(Mission Theater, 1624 NW Glisan) See Friday’s preview.
DOLLY PARTON HOOT NIGHT: THE WAYSIDERS, KRIS DEELANE, GERLE HAGGARD, WEEZY FORD, HOOK AND ANCHOR, KATHRYN CLAIRE, ASHLEIGH FLYNN, ALEXA WILEY, HEY LORETTA, MALACHI GRAHAM, LESLIE CHRISTINE BEIA, NIKOLE POTULSKY
(Alberta Rose Theatre, 3000 NE Alberta) Dolly Parton is the reigning queen of Earth, and as her minions, it’s our duty—nay, our privilege—to celebrate her existence regularly. Thankfully, the 14th annual Dolly Parton Hoot Night provides the perfect opportunity to hear local singers cover the Backwoods Barbie’s greatest hits while raising funds for the Siren Nation Women’s Music and Arts Festival. CD
COLD CAVE, BLACK MARBLE, CHOIR BOY
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE César E. Chávez) At its worst, Wesley Eisold’s work as Cold Cave rips the embarrassing high school poetry and outlandish synth-pop from Music for the Masses-era Depeche Mode to fashion a joyless nostalgia trip rife with gimcrack nihilism and melodramatic self-absorption. At its best, Eisold’s work as Cold Cave rips the embarrassing high school poetry and outlandish synth-pop from Music for the Masses-era Depeche Mode to fashion an ecstatic and thrilling nostalgia trip rife with gimcrack nihilism and melodramatic self-absorption. The latter brand of trip reached shimmering heights on 2011’s Cherish the Light Years, a brash blast of dark energy evoking graveyard dance parties and malevolent underground rituals. It is a loud and silly and truly pretty album. The singles Eisold has released since then have tended toward the wan and ponderous end of Cold Cave’s black spectrum, as if the life-loathing goth shtick has finally swallowed him whole. It still makes for pretty great wallpaper for wallowing, though. CHRIS STAMM
TODD RUNDGREN’S UTOPIA
(Revolution Hall, 1300 SE Stark) Todd Rundgren’s talent as a producer, songwriter, and musician cannot be overstated, but it’s hard to tell when he really means it. Like David Bowie and other artists cut from a similar chameleonic cloth, Rundgren skates the fine line between creative mutability and dilettantism. Even his masterstroke, the 1972 double LP Something/Anything?, is essentially a 90-minute riff on pop- song sentimentality and the popular musical idioms of its day, making it something of a weird, distant uncle to the Magnetic Fields’ 69 Love Songs. Rundgren found the perfect vehicle for his peacocking when he formed the progressive rock band Utopia in 1974, whose debut, Todd Rundgren’s Utopia, proved that he could write hits and shred. But viewed through a contemporary lens, Utopia’s most entertaining album is 1980’s Deface the Music, an homage to Mersey Beat that might be the last truly earnest thing Rundgren’s done. MORGAN TROPER
KING TUFF, CUT WORMS, SASAMI
(Star Theater, 13 NW 6th) Though he’s become beloved for his blistering guitar solos and anthems about wild desire, demons from hell, and breaking all the rules, garage freak King Tuff debuted a new side to his personality earlier this year with The Other, an album of existential psychedelic rock that contemplates life on this “Psycho Star.” CD Also read our story on King Tuff.
YO LA TENGO
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) Read our Yo La Tengo super pick.
UFOMAMMUT, WHITE HILLS, USNEA
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Italian trio Ufomammut have been laying waste to regions around the world for nearly two decades, seamlessly combining doom, space rock, and a work ethic that should be the envy of all bands. To illustrate the group’s airtight velocity, they’ve performed the basic tracks of their 2017 record 8 with only synth and vocals overdubbed. It’s no surprise that tonight’s bill includes a couple of fellow space travelers: White Hills deliver controlled chaos on a silver platter (with a side of ’shrooms), offering plenty of otherworldly thrills and heavy psych that’s actually psychedelic. Portland’s own Usnea plays thinking person’s doom, combining elements of punk rock with lyrics that nod to the almighty Carl Sagan (hail Sagan!). There are plenty of dynamic twists and turns to pull Usnea out of the doom sludge—it’s no wonder they’ve toured with Ufomammut all over the country and in Europe. MARK LORE
JOJO, MALIA CIVETZ
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) In support of Mad Love, her first studio album in a decade, JoJo recently came to Portland in 2017. Now she’s back for her “Leaks, Covers and Mixtapes” tour, meaning her set list will pull from the experimental projects she independently released while her career was being stalled by a shady contract. Buckle up for various covers of soul and R&B, and live renditions of songs from 2010’s Can’t Take That Away from Me, and 2012’s excellent Agáp. If her previous show at the Wonder was any indication, JoJo is one of those vocalists who can sing the phonebook and induce chills. JM
STEELY DAN, THE DOOBIE BROTHERS
(Moda Center, 1 N Center Ct) Few bands from the early 1970s are as polarizing as Steely Dan. Optimizing the collaborative songwriting quirks of multi-instrumentalist Walter Becker and the enigmatic Donald Fagen, the group attained the pinnacle of commercial success with swirling jazz and progressive pop songs that often defied genre. Becker passed away in September 2017, and Fagen countersued Becker’s estate (who believed his widow should get 50 percent) for full ownership of the band name and related rights, which sounds like a dick move, even if it was so Fagan could continue to embark on huge arena tours like this, the “Summer of Living Dangerously” tour with the Doobie Brothers. It’s an unfortunate side effect of being such a massive musical entity. Hopefully none of that bullshit matters when Fagen starts crooning “Do It Again” from Steely Dan’s monster debut Can’t Buy a Thrill. RJP
JAMES TAYLOR & HIS ALL-STAR BAND, BONNIE RAITT
(Moda Center, 1 N Center Ct) No, you are not just seeing things; James Taylor and His All Star Band really are coming to town! If you’re like me and were raised by a white single mom who would blast Taylor’s gentle folk rock and blues while she did domestic tasks, you probably also get nostalgic whenever you hear “Fire and Rain,” “Carolina in My Mind,” “Country Road,” or “Steamroller.” Get some tickets for your parents, and go see the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer’s guitar-forward set celebrating his 50-year career. JM
BRONCHO, THE PARANOYDS, VALEN
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Broncho plays bright, danceable post-punk meant to be blasted through car speakers on summer road trips or through the earbuds of a suburban parent who’s training to prepare for a half-marathon. The Oklahoma band clearly loves guitar-driven new wave and ’90s college rock. On their biggest hit to date, the 2014 single “Class Historian,” Ryan Lindsey’s shimmering guitar tones and oddly intoxicating voice (which sounds like the musical equivalent of a jiggling Jell-O mold) are more akin to Modern English than Joy Division. Broncho’s been quiet since releasing their moodier 2016 album Double Vanity, but teased their return to catchy guitar pop with last summer’s single “Get in My Car.” CAMERON CROWELL