They Mayor Says Portland Is in Crisis. That Might Be a Good Thing.
Here's What You Should Know.
PORTLAND CELLO PROJECT: RADIOHEAD'S OK COMPUTER
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) This is inarguable: Radiohead's OK Computer is one of the world's perfect albums. And this: The Portland Cello Project is always entertaining, particularly when doing covers. So... Portland Cello Project performing OK Computer? Yeah. This will be great. ERIK HENRIKSEN
(Hollywood Theatre, 4122 NE Sandy) He's a slow-burner, but musician Bill Callahan is a bright ember. Director Hanly Banks will be on hand to screen Apocalypse: A Bill Callahan Tour Film—a collage of shots from the tour van—but better yet, Callahan closes out the night with one of his trademark mesmerizing sets. COURTNEY FERGUSON
THE EVAPORATORS, THE TRANZMITORS, THE BLOODTYPES, YOUTHBITCH, DJ KEN DIRTNAP
(The Know, 2026 NE Alberta) Every track I hear from the Tranzmitors—and spread out over various 7-inches and albums, there are a lot; get thee to their Bandcamp page—sounds like a goddamn classic. The Vancouver, BC, band specializes in quick, nervy gems of power pop that are powerful good. The lyrics deal bluntly with that time-honored theme of adolescent angst (in fake British accents, no less); the guitars chime and bang into one another; the drums bash at full throttle as if the band's lives depended on it; an occasional organ or guitar solo is thrown in for good measure. And what great songs! Take your pick: Latest single "Concrete Depression," for example, has echoes of Stiff Little Fingers and the Jam, but also boasts an instrumental break and a key change that turns the track into an ecstatic, controlled frenzy of the very best kind. And B-side "A Little Bit Closer" cross-pollinates Tommy James and the Shondells with the Clash, resulting in marvelous, caffeine-addled new highs. Maybe it's crazy to put the Tranzmitors alongside bands like the Kinks and the Who and Big Star and the Jam, but, yeah. I'm gonna do that. NED LANNAMANN
MATISYAHU, DIRTY HEADS, PACIFIC DUB
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) Reggae rapper Matisyahu is reliably abysmal. And while I haven't yet fully absorbed his latest LP, Spark Seeker (I'm halfway through my second listen and am experiencing a weird canker sore outbreak—concluding there's some correlation), I feel confident in my assumption that it isn't much of a grower. Even more offensive than his music is the fact that his shtick, at its foundation, can always be reduced to mere minstrelsy. This is a safe and ultimately shallow, Fisher-Price representation of Jewish culture that not-so-coincidentally bores the shit out of a ton of real Jews, yet appeals immensely to eager, politically correct gentiles, which is testament to both the artist's beguiling insincerity and the mainstream's gullibility. Don't let those self-conscious, silly Old Testament references fool you, my sons. Seriously, boycott this abhorrent shit. May God have mercy on Matisyahu's soul. MORGAN TROPER
SASSPARILLA, AND AND AND, THE JACKALOPE SAINTS
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Count yourself part of the majority if your first spin of Sassparilla's new LP Magpie was followed by a bout of confusion. The Portland six-piece's typically rootsy basics remain intact, but rather than being whisked into a frothy folk-punk batter, Magpie's tunes tread lightly. Album opener "Threadbare" is about as dangerous as a Barenaked Ladies epic, with "The Mary Celeste" sounding essentially the same. Luckily, "Two Black Hearts," though immersed in a hokey honky-tonk groove, returns to what makes Sassparilla such a great live band: lots of harmonica and heel-kickin' melody. Although their cohesiveness falters here into a hardly recognizable shell of the washboard/resonator guitar/accordion stomp they've come to be known for, Magpie does excel in provoking a somewhat haunted alternate persona—one that's listened to lots of '70s FM radio. Or a lot of Lambchop. RYAN J. PRADO