SALLIE FORD AND THE SOUND OUTSIDE, OLD LIGHT
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside have been on the road a lot lately, including a French tour earlier this summer that was largely sold out, and more recently a cross-country tour that brought their juke-joint swing to many an intimate American venue. The band's debut, Dirty Radio, was digitally reissued in late August with two previously unreleased tracks chosen by fan vote. One of those tracks is the smoky, sexy "Like a Drug," which trades Ford's barbs at cultural homogenization (as in opener "I Swear") for a swaggering, slow-jam shuffle and diamond-sharp vocals that Jessica Rabbit would envy. Ford & Co. may still wear their Asheville hearts on their sleeves, but Portland has never beamed brighter for some transplants gone large. See why at this homecoming show. RYAN J. PRADO
THE RAVEONETTES, MELODY'S ECHO CHAMBER, THE UPSIDEDOWN
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE 39th) The Raveonettes' latest, Observator, doesn't break far from their established mentholated sound: sweet, dark pop with hat tips to girl-group bouffants, the Velvet Underground's black-turtleneck cool, the Jesus and Mary Chain's overdriven clang, and electric-tape goth glamour. Main songwriter Sune Rose Wagner wrote a very candid account of the record's inception—it involved a trip to LA and a lot of drugs and alcohol. Perhaps due to his difficulties, his emotional state is a little hard to pin down on Observator (bandmate Sharin Foo tackles lead vocals on a number of tracks), but the record contains some of their most heartfelt work, alongside some of their most sleek and misdirectional. Six albums in, the Raveonettes have developed one of the most consistent bodies of work in the past decade, and if critics dismiss them as too repetitive, fans recognize the depth and subtlety of their catalog. Let's hope Wagner's troubles are behind him and there are many more Raveonettes albums to come. NED LANNAMANN
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