Empress Of (pictured with Perfume Genius) Quinn Wilson

THURS FEB 28

Weeed, Dreamdecay, Sea Moss
You Are the Sky, the new album from Portland quintet Weeed, is a legitimate psychedelic trip built from zigs and zags. Just when you think you’re listening to an experimental noise act, they launch into a high-flying classic-rock riff. Settle into Weeed’s wide-eyed wandering and they’ll lock into a motorik groove. “Open Door” rumbles like demonic electronica trapped in a roiling cauldron of fuzz, while the title track edges close to stoner rock. That label gets placed on Weeed a lot, and it’s understandable. But it’s not quite right. They’re freer spirits than the term “stoner rock” implies, with a freaky sound all their own. (Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi, 9 pm, $10-12) BEN SALMON


FRI MARCH 1

The Lavender Flu, Gen Pop, Mope Grooves
Olympia’s Vexx swept through the middle of this decade with the high and holy force of a tornado, and their raw power could rearrange a sweaty collection of bodies into a tangle of wild joy. They didn’t stick around nearly long enough, but two Vexx vets continue to spread the frenzied gospel with Gen Pop, whose tightly wound compositions unite classic American hardcore with the cold menace of Australian post-punks like Ausmuteants and Total Control. The lesson here is an old one that’s worth relearning again and again: Punk is constantly dying, but it is also always being reborn. (The Fixin’ To, 8218 N Lombard, 9 pm, $8) CHRIS STAMM

Old Light, Accumulated Mass, Neptune's Chargers
It’s time to turn the light back on. For several years, Old Light made all manner of psychedelic rock, from compact, trippy pop nuggets to extended space-canyon mega-jams and everything in between. After burning brightly on the Portland music scene (they were prolific, too—their O.L.V. cassette box set collects five albums they recorded in 2013 alone), Old Light decided to take time off after parting ways with their bassist when his behavior, in the band’s words, “crossed the line of what is acceptable.” Last year, a reconstituted Old Light hinted online at the possibility of new music. And now, this show. Although the band’s trajectory was sadly interrupted, their stylistic diversity has ensured their position as one of the city’s most consistently fascinating bands. It’s great to have them back. (Turn! Turn! Turn!, 8 NE Killingsworth, 8 pm, $5 suggested donation) NED LANNAMANN


SAT MARCH 2

Conan, Eight Bells, Sixes
Conan are wonderfully ridiculous, and they know it. They’re called Conan. They play songs with titles like “Foehammer” and “Paincantation” and “Wrath Gauntlet,” and those songs sound like Camaros made out of bones and skin, weed-powered vehicles rolling through the moonlit forests and ivy-choked castles of a metal kid’s wildest dreams. Their riffs are molasses, and their lyrics are rife with axes. Deadpan jesters sailing a sea of fake blood, Conan know you’ve always wondered what Altered Beast: The Band might sound like, and they are in no mood to disappoint. So grab your sword and let’s go. (High Water Mark, 6800 NE MLK, 9 pm, sold out) CHRIS STAMM

Albert Hammond Jr., In the Valley Below
Strokes guitarist Albert Hammond Jr.’s solo work has been the most consistent of the band’s side projects. He’s released four albums of effortlessly cool rock ’n’ roll, most recently last year’s Francis Trouble. It’s a record that buzzes with the kind of timeless energy that satisfies cravings for melody and measures its worth on earnest songs like “Far Away Truths” and first-wave reverb rockers like “ScreaMER.” It’s a fitting addition to Hammond Jr.’s discography, which began with his fantastic 2006 solo debut, Yours to Keep. More than a decade into his side hustle, Hammond Jr. shows few signs of waning. (Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell, 9 pm, $20-22, all ages) RYAN J. PRADO


SUN MARCH 3

Princess, E*Rock, Notel
If you’ve never seen one of Alexis Gideon’s Video Musics projects, they’re wild—hip-hop animated operas that also function as performance art and are influenced by mythology and literature. The former Portlander’s current project is Princess, the reunion of a pop duo Gideon formed with Michael O’Neill (of JD Samson and MEN), and tonight they perform Out There, a “live narrative video album.” Featuring an electronic music soundtrack that ranges from dance-friendly to jagged goth, Princess tells a science-fiction story about the parallels between misogyny and dystopia as the duo leaves Earth in search of a world that recognizes the power of the divine feminine. If that sounds strange, rest assured it will be, in the most intriguing possible way. (Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison, 8 pm, $10-12) NED LANNAMANN


WED MARCH 6

CRITIC’S PICK: Empress Of, Salt Cathedral
Before seeing her infectiously energetic opening set for Blood Orange’s Portland show last fall, I was unfamiliar with the greatness of Empress Of (AKA Lorely Rodriguez). That meant I had a lot of catching up to do: In 2015, the Honduran-American singer and multi-instrumentalist released her debut album, Me, in which her acrobatic voice soars over odd, skittering beats and bubbly melodies that walk the line between R&B and electro-pop. It’s a gorgeous record that sounds like nothing else I’ve heard, and I’m embarrassed to be so late to the game—especially since I could’ve (and would’ve) spent the past three years listening to “Standard” on repeat. Although Rodriguez’s 2018 sophomore album Us is more conventionally poppy than Me, it’s no less engrossing, from the synth breakdown on “I Don’t Even Smoke Weed” to the restrained rhythms of “Just the Same.” Rodriguez alternates between singing in English and Spanish on tracks like “Trust Me Baby” and “When I’m with Him,” my personal favorite. Its lovestruck lyrics are generic, but the song communicates a universal feeling, which is kind of the beauty and purpose of pop music. Empress Of rules this realm of positive energy and catharsis, and even though I showed up late, I won’t be leaving anytime soon. (Star Theater, 13 NW 6th, Wed March 6, 9 pm, $15) CIARA DOLAN

The Monochrome Set, The Prids
For the first time ever, London-based underground lifers the Monochrome Set are touring the West Coast, including a stop in Portland. It’s exciting news, but it’s positively stunning when you pair it with the fact that the band celebrated its 40th anniversary last year. This isn’t some up-and-coming combo that’s just getting around to playing our side of the continent. This is one of the most influential alternative bands of the early ’80s! They’re a band that spikes its post-punk glower with disparate sounds such as rockabilly, new wave, jangle-pop, surf-rock, and even weird funk. They’re like the Smiths for people who recognize that life doesn’t have to be a bummer all the time. If that’s you, make this one a priority, because who knows if they’ll ever be back. (Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside, 9 pm, $20) BEN SALMON


THURS MARCH 7

Sidney Gish, The Shivas
With songs titles like “I’m Filled with Steak, and Cannot Dance,” it’s hard not to be charmed by Sidney Gish. A couple of years ago, the Boston-based college student’s life changed in the kind of mystical way that’s usually reserved for the movies when one of her self-released tracks landed on Spotify’s New Music Friday playlist. After that, she released her album No Dogs Allowed and toured the East Coast opening for Mitski. Gish’s music bears some undeniable similarities to that of Frankie Cosmos—she even quotes that band’s frontwoman Greta Kline on “I Eat Salads Now”—but her jazzy guitar riffs, self-deprecating lyrics about her “Imposter Syndrome,” and intricately assembled layers of percussion are completely unique and devastatingly pretty (especially on standout track “Persephone”). (Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi, 9 pm, $10-12) CIARA DOLAN


The Chills Alexander Hallag

FRI MARCH 8

CRITIC’S PICK: The Chills, Cotillon
Plotting the history of the Chills is a task that requires a conspiracy theorist’s level of obsession and attention to detail. Since the band’s formation in 1980, dozens of musicians have joined and departed the ranks of this New Zealand pop group, including Luna bassist Justin Harwood, former XTC guitarist Dave Gregory, and Martin Kean, who also spent a brief spell in Stereolab. What makes this remarkable is how consistent the Chills have been during this nearly four-decade stretch. That has everything to do with Martin Phillipps, the singer/songwriter who is the only permanent member of the band. All the while, he has maintained a clear vision for this project, one that draws from the jangling looseness of the Byrds and the seamy force of the Velvet Underground. That was laid bare as early as 1984, when the Chills released an early 7-inch that paired “Pink Frost,” a dark yet stunningly melodic tune where Phillipps imagines waking up next to a woman he had just murdered, with “Purple Girl,” a bumbling instrumental punctuated by a honking sax solo. Phillipps’ life has followed a similar path, with some tremendous peaks—with singles (like the sheer wonder that is “Heavenly Pop Hit”) that were huge in his home country and scratched the bottom reaches of the charts here, and some crumbling lows, mostly related to health issues stemming from his battles with drug addiction. The last few years, though, have been good to Phillipps and the Chills. The band has a seemingly firm lineup and has released a pair of albums, including 2018’s marvelous Snow Bound, that are as tuneful and bold as ever. And the band is in a good enough place to embark on a US tour that includes their first Northwest dates in nearly two decades. Heavenly, indeed. (Dante’s, 350 W Burnside, Fri March 8, 9 pm, $20) ROBERT HAM


FRI MARCH 8

Alex Zhang Hungtai, Visible Cloaks
Though he’s best known for the records he released as Dirty Beaches—which conjured the distorted daydreams of Suicide and the eternally lonesome croon of Roy Orbison—Alex Zhang Hungtai retired that moniker in 2014. Since then, Zhang has appeared on the Twin Peaks revival (to play the Roadhouse, naturally) and radically shifted his focus toward the experimental, abandoning retro rock ’n’ roll in favor of free jazz and ambient soundscapes. Zhang’s droning, orchestral 2018 album Divine Weight builds off of his “failed” saxophone recordings to explore “the uncharted labyrinth of the personal subconscious.” (Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi, 9 pm, $15-17) CIARA DOLAN


SAT MARCH 9-MON MARCH 11

Sarah Kwak, Oregon Symphony
Saturday through Monday, the Oregon Symphony will perform the world premiere of a piece called Drum Circles by Christopher Theofanidis. This dynamic 25-minute composition is created for a full orchestra accompanied by four guest percussion soloists, each tasked with playing an expansive instrumental panoply that includes maracas, congas, glockenspiels, cowbells, and a typewriter. Ralph Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending, one of the most beloved musical gems to ever take flight, is also on the program, showcasing our magical concertmaster Sarah Kwak with her brilliant violin work. An overture by Wagner and Mendelssohn’s “Italian” Symphony No. 4 round out the setlist. (Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway, $31-125, all ages) BRIAN HORAY


MON MARCH 11

Conan Gray
The ground that Conan Gray explores—the politics and horror of high school—may have been trod upon many times before, but this 19-year-old brings a fresh eye and lots of pessimistic heart to the discussion. Minimalistic and haunting, Gray’s voice soars and swoons on Sunset Season, an EP about life after graduation in a small Texas community (“Idle Town”), merciless bullying (“Greek God”), and the bitterness of everyone finding love—except you, of course (“Crush Culture”). A prolific singer who, like many of his contemporaries, is finding immense popularity on YouTube, Gray has a particular talent: mining his own feelings to reflect those of his particular demographic. And it works. (Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell, 8 pm, sold out, all ages) WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY

Adia Victoria, Dick Stusso
“There’s these particular, peculiar truths to the South that are terrifying for people to grapple with that have just been completely wallpapered over,” Adia Victoria said in an interview with She Shreds magazine following the release of her 2016 debut, Beyond the Bloodhounds­—an innovative, haunting modern blues record that tears off the wallpaper to reveal those hidden truths, no matter how ugly they might be. Victoria just released her sophomore album, Silences, and it’s already a contender for one of my favorites of the year. “The City” includes a sample of “Lady Sings the Blues,” with Billie Holiday’s voice hovering over her like a guardian angel, while standout track “Different Kind of Love” is made great by the interplay between woozy horns and eerie electric guitar riffs. Throughout Silences, Victoria explores the oppression she’s faced as a Black woman living in the South, her religious upbringing, and the personal demons with which she’s still reckoning. (Doug Fir, 830 W Burnside, 9 pm, $13-15) CIARA DOLAN


WED MARCH 13

Noname, Elton.
Last year Chicago rapper/poet Noname followed up her universally acclaimed mixtape, Telephone, with her significantly more mature debut album, Room 25. The self-released full-length gets its name from the artist’s previous Los Angeles lifestyle: She lived in and out of hotel rooms that year and also lost her virginity at the age of 25. The album’s consistent with her usual jazz-rap sound, which always makes for a pleasant and easeful listening experience. Judging from her NPR Tiny Desk concert from 2017, her show at the Crystal will be delightful. (Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside, 8 pm, sold out, all ages) JENNI MOORE