PICKIN' ON SUNDAYS: THE TUMBLERS, JASON DODSON
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) The Doug Fir's summer patio series of free shows kicks off this afternoon with sets from the Tumblers and Jason Dodson of the Maldives. With food and drink specials, good music, and plenty of sunshine, there's nothing not to love about Pickin' on Sundays. NED LANNAMANN
THE ROYALTY, INFANTREE, DE LA WARR
(Lola's Room, 1332 W Burnside) El Paso's the Royalty has a winner with their debut album, Lovers (and their press materials make no secret of the fact that the New York Times agrees). It's a loud, brash pop album with everything cranked dizzily into the red. Sure, their powerhouse lead singer Nicole Boudreau has a tendency to oversing, but with a voice like hers, it totally works, particularly with skipping fuzz-pop tunes like "I Want You" and album highlight "Bottle Breaker," which marries a forlorn, heartsick melody to a rocketing production. The Royalty's best tunes evoke those of the long-lost Sundays (where art thou, Harriet Wheeler?), and there is no shortage of hooky confection on Lovers. This nascent band already feels much bigger than they actually are; expect the size of the Royalty's audience to grow accordingly. NL
VALIENT THORR, HOLY GRAIL, ROYAL THUNDER, THE KICKASS
(Star Theater, 13 NW 6th) For reasons I don't understand, grunge seems to have become a four-letter word these days. While turning their nose up at the grunge movement, did anyone stop to consider present popular rock? Who would you rather listen to: Nickelback and Five Finger Death Punch, or Soundgarden and Alice in Chains? On their new full-length, CVI, Royal Thunder does some channeling of the heavier side of '90s rock. The band taps the formerly mentioned Seattle upstarts, while bass player/vocalist Mlny Parsonz puts some L7 vibes into the mix for good measure. The result is sensual, mid-tempo, morose rock with a nice, flannel sheen. Most tastemakers are going to lump Royal Thunder into the doom movement, but I say they could've emerged from the Emerald City 20 years ago. ARIS WALES
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