BEN KWELLER, SLEEPER AGENT, NOAH GUNDERSEN
MY GOODNESS, BATTLEME, SECRET MUSIC
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) There's a pretty slick polish coating the outermost layer of Austin-to-Portland transplant Matt Drenik, frontman of Battleme, and his self-titled debut. The core construct of psych-influenced pop, rock, and hooky falsetto-folk receives a bit of a mainstream makeover with lots of dopey effects and triggered drums. Its otherwise seemingly mashed-up post-production compositions feature swirly slide guitars, tambourines, and a surplus of instrumentation that ends up buried. For every excellently textured party-rock cut like opener "Closer," there's a decadent dud like "Shoot the Noise, Man." But—and it's a big but—there's no denying Drenik's ability to make the most of his impressive vocal range, or his talent at melding the danceable and decorative aspects of his songwriting. There are more than enough quirky and/or unquestionably good moments on Battleme to hold your attention. RYAN J. PRADO
MARV ELLIS, SERGE SEVERE, CASSOW
(Ted's, 231 SW Ankeny) Cassow (derived from Picasso) plays tonight at Woohah, an event hosted by Northwest hiphop online media outlet We Out Here. Cassow has been making a name for himself around town with his conversational lyrics and personal content. Taking pride in rapping about more than just weed and girls—which is more than a lot of Portland rappers can say—his prerogative is to succeed, and that he will. Although his first mixtape and most recent album have caught a taste of national recognition and internet buzz, he is in that career sweet-spot where you can still say you saw him when. Right now he has the skills and confidence necessary, but has yet to develop the nearly inevitable late-onset rapper egotism, which is probably why his music is so accessible. If that's not enough, there's free champagne until 10 pm. ROCHELLE HUNTER
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