(Star Theater, 13 NW 6th) Since the beautifully timid bedroom assembly of 2003's Catalpa, Jolie Holland has proven herself an exceptional, genre-spanning songwriter with a unique voice, her words often scrawled and fluttering across the tracks in a hard drawl. Holland's latest release, Pint of Blood, provides a measurable assessment of her departure from those creakier low-fidelity days, yet it feels more well worn and earthbound than 2008's tautly produced alt-country foray, The Living and the Dead. The album is littered with candid moments, like in the sweeping classic rock number "Gold and Yellow," where Holland nearly trails off altogether as she closes out the tune, singing, "I come unraveled/you come unfastened/and we take hold." Pint of Blood even features a reimagined, improvisational jazz rendition of "The Littlest Birds" (now titled "Little Birds"), a particularly precious song from Catalpa. If nothing else, it's good to see Holland reemerging in familiar territory. RAQUEL NASSER
TWIN SHADOW, DIAMOND RINGS
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) The music of Twin Shadow (George Lewis Jr.) resembles Junior Boys' sensitive-guy bedroomtronica, which has roots in Depeche Mode, New Order, and Soft Cell's most introspective material. He's also something of a romantic crooner in the vein of Bryan Ferry and Morrissey, but without those icons' more sweeping dramatic range. With Twin Shadow's 2010 album Forget (produced by Grizzly Bear's Chris Taylor), we're in the familiar territory of semi-danceable, '80s synth-pop revivalism, but done with heartfelt sincerity instead of neon-Ray-Ban'd irony. Lewis is obviously a scrupulous songwriter, hyper aware of the sonic signifiers that trigger nostalgic pangs in synthesizer fetishists with a weakness for fey-male-centric tunesmithery and understatedly glittery production techniques. DAVE SEGAL
400 BLOWS, LORD DYING, DJ STARBIRD
(Tube, 18 NW 3rd) Lord Dying's debut 7-inch is two glorious blasts of evilly chugging metal designed to explode your eardrums with doomy furor. Released on the Powerblaster label, the single's A-side tells you everything you need to know about its contents: "In a Frightful State of Gnawed Dismemberment." But if you snag the digital version (via their Bandcamp page) there's three more songs in it for you, including the similarly awesomely titled "Greed Is Your Horse." Lord Dying has been championed by local icons like Red Fang, but soon their propulsive, ferocious sound will need no introduction, as the quartet is on their way to becoming one of the most galvanizing (and beloved) bands in town. Seeing them in the tiny confines of Tube will probably kill you. NED LANNAMANN
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