MAKE IT POP!: LUZ ELENA MENDOZA, MATT SHEEHY, NEAL MORGAN, BROOKE PARROTT
(The Cleaners at the Ace Hotel, 403 SW 10th) The annual fundraiser for PDX Pop Now! is upon us, so Make It Pop! This year's benefit features performances by Y La Bamba's Luz Elena Mendoza, Lost Lander's Matt Sheehy, drummer extraordinaire Neal Morgan, and Loch Lomond's Brooke Parrott, plus OPB's Jeremy Petersen DJs as you snack on goodies from Olympic Provisions, Boke Bowl, Bakery Bar, and 50 Licks. NED LANNAMANN
FINN RIGGINS, AND AND AND, GRANDPARENTS, DJ IRON CHICKEN
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Locally, Finn Riggins is perhaps best known as that one band on the Tender Loving Empire label that's not from Portland—they're from Boise, and keyboardist Eric Gilbert was instrumental in arranging Boise's triumphant Treefort Music Fest back in March—but the group comes through so often, and has such strong ties to the scene, that they might as well be one of our own. Finn Riggins have a new EP called Benchwarmers, and while the opening title track is kind of a silly floor-mover, the rest of the EP is darker and more daring. "Arrow," in particular, takes on the trappings of an epic, and "Plural" gallops along, leaving behind a furrow of drama. NL
CHAIN AND THE GANG, GUANTANAMO BAYWATCH, REYNOSA
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Ian Svenonius once referred to traditional rock 'n' roll as a "corrupt medium" and that it was "pretty much just pap and product." He told this to Sassy magazine as he was being interviewed as an entry in the "Sassiest Boy in America." Okay, so it was 20 years ago, but he did have a point. Since then he's remained pretty true to that axiom. His most notable bands—Nation of Ulysses and the Make-Up—were fringe rock bands with a keen ear for rock's early R&B roots. His latest project Chain and the Gang is just as soulful, and just as venomous toward the establishment (or what's left of it). It's good stuff. And I'm sure in some people's eyes Svenonius will always be the Sassiest Boy in America. MARK LORE
RUSKO, SIGMA, SIDESTEP
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) We live in a time when a dubstep artist who isn't Skrillex can demand $40 ticket prices. While many OG dubstep aficionados cringe at the genre's frat-bro-propelled rise to popularity in America and its inevitable, ensuing dumbing down, this phenomenon starkly spotlights a shift in young music fans' aesthetics. For the first time in ages, rock's stranglehold on the youth demographic may be slipping. Plenty of young 'uns seemingly would rather mosh to gargantuan bass drops than to hardcore punk riffage. Which is why an English bloke like Rusko is headlining the Roseland in 2012. Progress? Debatable. Recording for Diplo's Mad Decent label, Rusko (AKA Christopher Mercer, now based in LA) isn't a lowest common denominator producer, but he's also far from the original dubstep template of subtle, ominous stealth and avoidance of crowd-pleasing vocal cameos. On his 2010 album, O.M.G.!, Rusko thrust himself to the forefront of peak-time party-enabling dubsteppers. Now he's dabbling with light-footed drum 'n' bass on 2012's Songs and working with faded West Coast hiphop legends Cypress Hill on tracks like "Roll It, Light It" (you'll never guess what they're rapping about). Digital Mystikz and Kode9 are no doubt shaking their heads in disgust. DAVE SEGAL
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