EMILY WELLS, 1939 ENSEMBLE
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Read our article on Emily Wells.
JD McPHERSON, SARAH GWEN
(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) The rockabilly sound of JD McPherson sounds beamed straight outta 1955, but he's no retro throwback. The Oklahoma native's music is alive with raw heat, flirting with danger by wriggling like a snake and buzzing like a firecracker. This is gonna be one hep, hot dance party that'll wear down the soles of your blue suede shoes. NED LANNAMANN
CRYSTAL FIGHTERS, IS TROPICAL, TYLER TASTEMAKER
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) Read our article on Crystal Fighters.
(Branx, 320 SE 2nd) Known for his powerful punchy lyrics, Illmaculate (of Portland rap supergroup Sandpeople) is a talented rhymesmith who can not only lay it down a capella but also drive a beat home. After building his name and honing his skills as a battle emcee, the World Rap Champion (he held the actual title) has hooked up with some of the Northwest's finest producers (Sapient, G_Force, Trox, DJ FlipFlop) and added some guest vocals by J-Rome and even Tech N9ne to create his latest album. After hyping this album for the last two years—even before The Green Tape was conceptualized—Ill has finally given it to us, and all the hype paid off, because it bangs. Tonight's album release party, put off until tonight, acts as more of a celebration of a successful album. ROCHELLE HUNTER
LAKE, GENDERS, JASON TRAEGER
(Backspace, 115 NW 5th) If you've seen the cartoon Adventure Time, you've heard LAKE without even necessarily realizing it—their wonderful song "Christmas Island," which is sort of like "Wouldn't It Be Nice" stripped of its tacit pessimism, accompanies the show's closing credits. But the semi-deep cut "Heaven" off of LAKE's LP Oh, the Places We'll Go is one of the best pop jams of the '00s, "indie" or otherwise. It's one of those magical songs where every musical component coalesces perfectly to form two minutes and 40 seconds of effortless aural bliss. And while that record, and "Heaven" in particular, without a doubt represent LAKE's artistic apex (so far), their two subsequent albums—the vaguely conceptual "Let's Build a Roof" and last year's "Giving and Receiving"—contain plenty of gems, too. LAKE are at once sophisticated and innocent, a simultaneity that pretty much sums up that whole indie pop thing. MORGAN TROPER