OF MONTREAL, JANELLE MONAE
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) Of Montreal's live shows are exuberant, horrifying, delightful things, with their catchy, weird-ass pop serving as the soundtrack for a production that looks like a school play on acid. Even better? Janelle Monae is opening, turning the Roseland into a sci-fi wonderland with her spacey, bass-y epics. ERIK HENRIKSEN
BEST COAST, SONNY AND THE SUNSETS, THE RESERVATIONS
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) It might be clichÉ to compare Best Coast's debut LP Crazy for You to Tiger Trap, but a fuzzy female-led indie pop band suggests few other comparisons. There are serious similarities: charged female vocals, washed-out guitars, and unabashed "I-like-you-but-I'm-not-sure-these-feelings-are-mutual" lyrics. But the sound is lazier than the Trap's and the music is almost defiantly immature and lo-fi as well. Crazy for You's standout track, "Boyfriend"—which is actually sort of melodically reminiscent of the chorus to the Rubinoos song "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend" and Avril Lavigne's so-similar-she-got-sued "Girlfriend"—is a reminder that tasteful simplicity and directness are often more effective than lyrical complexity. So yeah, Best Coast's Bethany Cosentino may not use many tier-three words, but who cares when the tunes are so damn infectious? MORGAN TROPER
SUPER XX MAN, KEEP YOUR FORK THERE'S PIE, MIKE COYKENDALL
(The Woods, 6637 SE Milwaukie) The latest installment from Super XX Man—actually one Scott Garred, who's been recording as Super XX Man since 1995—is named Vol. XIII White Bed and serves as a touching farewell to Mr. XX Senior. Garred's father succumbed to cancer in 2008, and that loss is all over White Bed, a generous, heartfelt, and uplifting tribute that showcases Garred's nimble skill with a tune and a lyric. That's not the only goodbye on White Bed, either; "Peter and Paul" is about a "high torque super pooch named Harriet" who is no longer with us. It's a testament to Garred's songwriting skill that, despite these goodbyes, White Bed isn't a bleak, forlorn listen. Rather, it's an excellent record, an affecting and even joyful one that never gets bogged down in sentimentality. NED LANNAMANN
Allo Darlin', Wow and Flutter, Deerhunter, Joe Pug, Mississippi Man, and Cynthia Nelson, as well as a link to the complete show listings, after the jump!
IOA, ALLO DARLIN', BRIGHT ARCHER
WOW AND FLUTTER, LOOKBOOK, YELTSIN
DEERHUNTER, REAL ESTATE, CASINO VS. JAPAN
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) Deerhunter has perfected its "ambient punk" over the course of four full-lengths and a pair of EPs; there probably hasn't been a band since Radiohead to seamlessly marry modern technology with flesh-and-blood rock and roll this well. Bradford Cox—the consummate music geek and mastermind—takes the lo-fi bedroom noise of his Atlas Sound project and works it into some of the best garage pop of the last five years. Deerhunter's latest Halcyon Digest is chock-full of pop hooks and ambient bleeps—sounds that would seem out of place in the hands of anyone else. But Cox shouldn't get all of the credit; guitarist-vocalist Lockett Pundt delivers the album's best six minutes with "Desire Lines." Live, the band is always a force to be reckoned with. MARK LORE
JOE PUG AND THE HUNDRED MILE BAND, NICK FREITAS, LEONARD MYNX
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) At this point, our love of Joe Pug is a poorly kept secret. And while the Chicago troubadour's first full-length album, Messenger, is among this year's finest straight-up singer/songwriter records, it's nothing compared to his captivating live show. Armed with a guitar and a slender but riveting collection of songs, Pug imprints himself in both your brain and your heart, and this time around his Hundred Mile Band will be backing him up. Meanwhile, Nick Freitas is a fine songwriter in his own right—2008's unforgettable Sun Down album sounded like the best Paul Simon album since the mid-'80s—and his stints with Conor Oberst's Mystic Valley Band show that certain heavyweights are paying attention. The title track from his latest, the Center of the World EP, finds him stretching his excellent songcraft over a cheese-synth framework, and effectively so. NED LANNAMANN
MISSISSIPPI MAN, THE HEAD AND THE HEART, THE SHIVAS, NORMAN
(Berbati's Pan, 10 SW 3rd) To judge solely by their name, Mississippi Man are yet another California band reappropriating Southern rock. But while Creedence Clearwater Revival ended up finding their own route through the bayou, Mississippi Man mainly end up sounding a lot like their peers from all over the country—if you don't think of Philly's Dr. Dog or San Diego's Delta Spirit when listening to Mississippi Man's first full-length record, A-OK, then you probably haven't heard either Dr. Dog or Delta Spirit. Not that these are bad bands to be compared to, but neither of them could be accused of reinventing the wheel. Meanwhile, Seattle band the Head and the Heart recently won a fan in the form of jam-meister Dave Matthews, who was spotted at a recent show. Can a signing to ATO Records be far behind? NED LANNAMANN
CYNTHIA NELSON BAND
(Mississippi Pizza, 3552 N Mississippi) Before there was Tara Jane O'Neil the solo artist, there was Retsin. One of the great—yet overlooked—indie acts of yore, Retsin was the collaboration between O'Neil and partner Cynthia Nelson. Split for nearly a decade, Retsin gave way to a pair of solo careers; Nelson is already on her third LP, In a Lab, which is due out tonight. Piano-heavy with haunting melodies—Mary Timony fans will adore this—In a Lab trots out a series of respected Portland musicians to lend a hand (from Katy Davidson of Dear Nora to members of Evolutionary Jass Band), but ultimately it's the music of the sweet-voiced Nelson that is on display here. EZRA ACE CARAEFF
Complete show listings can be viewed here.
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