SUNDOWN AT ECOTRUST: HOLCOMBE WALLER, SARA JACKSON-HOLMAN
(Ecotrust, 721 NW 9th) This is the warm, beautiful night you'll fantasize about in rainy January: A free show from folk-pop great Holcombe Waller outside just before sunset, surrounded by a crowd of beautiful dudes in tank tops and jean shorts, eating delicious food from booths right next to the stage. SARAH MIRK
AWAKENINGS: DESERT DWELLERS, KALYA SCINTILLA, AMANI FRIEND, TREAVOR MOONTRIBE, RARA AVIS, DRUMSPYDER, BLUE SPECTRAL MONKEY
(Refuge, 116 SE Yamhill) Read our article on Kalya Scintilla.
AESOP ROCK, ROB SONIC, DJ BIG WIZ, EDISON, DARK TIME SUNSHINE
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) Aesop Rock has been a major player in the indie hiphop scene for well over the past 10 years. After a brief hiatus he is back at it, touring for his new album Skelethon. If you've been listening to Aesop since back in the day, and you think you've seen it all—just wait, there's more. Ever been at a show, thinking the only thing that could make it better would be if your favorite emcee called you on stage and started shaving your head during your favorite song? No? Well, they're doing it anyway. Also, Seattle-based Dark Time Sunshine are about to put out their fourth and strongest project yet. Producer Zavala brings bubbly yet intense, completely danceable beats and emcee Onry Ozzborn (Grayskul) creates catchy hooks and throws in the local NW music references. Their highly anticipated LP ANX is slated for release July 24. ROCHELLE HUNTER
SHEARWATER, HUSKY, GOLD LEAVES
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Legend has it that Jonathan Meiburg founded Shearwater in 1999 as a quieter alternative to his other band, Okkervil River. Possibly the only ironic thing about Animal Joy, Shearwater's seventh studio album, is how loud it is. Liberated from even the most oblique references to folk, Animal Joy relies instead on a sweeping, beautiful bombast. In most hands, this would come across as overblown, as if some record producers were really intent on forcing you to feel some feelings. Instead, it sounds like the natural progression from 2008's quiet, tender Rook—a perfectly conceived story arc in which we've now reached all the exciting parts. In both singing and songwriting, Meiburg—a method actor of a vocalist if ever there was one—manages theatricality with the most affecting sincerity. Husky (low-key indie by way of Australia) and Seattle's gorgeous Gold Leaves are opening. REBECCA WILSON
BIG BLACK CLOUD, PRIZEHOG, BILLIONS AND BILLIONS
(The Know, 2026 NE Alberta) Like the Portland bands with whom they share this bill, Prizehog exist in total defiance of convention or verse-chorus-verse formula. For more than five years, the San Francisco trio has been making music that reaches to the depths and limits of sonic expression. Their recorded tracks build powerfully upon meditative conglomerations of instrumentation—one of their latest, "Swayback," begins with lilting harmonica before undergoing heavy assault from drums and guitar. The riffs then soften with a ringing sense of hollowness before descending into more thunderous, trudging territory, along with primal vocal howls and synthetic swirls from the keyboard. The result is music that reflects, with unsettling tangibility, on what it feels like to be human. This evening, acquire their latest vinyl EP A Talking To and participate in a unique show that could likely alter your composition, if allowed. MARANDA BISH
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