STAY CALM, NEAL MORGAN, SAD HORSE, MARISA ANDERSON
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Read our article on Stay Calm.
SCOUT NIBLETT, 1939 ENSEMBLE, GENDERS
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Judging from the preview provided by a recent local performance, the next album we hear from Scout Niblett stands to blow things apart. Her last release, 2010's The Calcination of Scout Niblett, demonstrated the level of finesse the prodigious Brit-turned-Portlander has achieved after years of releasing grunge-inspired, guitar-based meditations, and her newest songs, as seen in live performance, take it to the next level. Niblett is known for her beseeching, falsetto-reaching warble as well as furious prowess on the electric six-string, but from what I recently witnessed, the combination of her singular guitar style, her utterly livid lyrics, and her siren-call delivery are preparing to reach their zenith. Make sure you are listening. MARANDA BISH
NIGHT BIRDS, THE ESTRANGED, FREEDOM CLUB
(The Know, 2026 NE Alberta) All bands on this bill share the core characteristics of punk that feel like natural by-products of the human condition: vocals with grit, linear guitar strumming, and tinges of disappointment across the lyrical board. ("Idiot Overload", for example, titles a track from Freedom Club's Rather Be Blind EP.) Night Birds and Freedom Club are definitely contenders, but the Estranged distinguish themselves from the others by aiming for Britpop shine over '77 thrust. They noticeably place emphasis on the melodic value of their guitar work, with the end result slightly nodding toward the Smiths or an aggressive take on the Smithereens. Overall it's a night of throwback to punk's milestones, but in no way does the lack of innovation make this show any less desirable to attend. JONATHAN MAGDALENO
JESSE SYKES AND PHIL WANDSCHER, RUBY FEATHERS
(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) What seems to be missing from much of the current revival of Americana-inspired music is a sense of familial unity that originally defined the genre. Happily, local group Ruby Feathers harkens to that essential tenet in their joyful country-tinged ditties. Spearheaded by frontwoman Lindsie Feathers, the Ruby Feathers are six instrumentalists who make stringband music that is emotionally evocative as well as a joy to hear. While their first album is in the works and can be expected before the year is through, the band continues to delight audiences with a live show that glows. They open for Jesse Sykes, performing as a duo with her Sweet Hereafter partner-in-crime Phil Wandscher. MB
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