BOSNIAN RAINBOWS, CRYPTS
(Star Theater, 13 NW 6th) Read our article on Bosnian Rainbows.
SPOOKIES, DEATH SONGS
(The Know, 2026 NE Alberta) I don't know much about Death Songs' new album except its title (Sung Inside a House) and where you can hear it (go to post-consumer.com posthaste, where it is streaming in full). I don't know when it is coming out, or what physical format it will take, or if it will even have a physical release; I don't know when you'll be able to download it, or if there will be a record release show, or a tour to support it. Here's what I do know: Sung Inside a House is a marvelous collection of breezy, folky, rocky pop that slips on like that perfect pair of shoes, and clear evidence of the songwriting skill of frontman Nick Delffs, who's been doing great work with Death Songs since moving on from his previous band, the Shaky Hands. Live, Death Songs are capable of capturing lightning in a bottle, turning ramshackle major chords and Delffs' woolly, cracked voice into something that thumps along in time with your pulse. It's sweaty-palmed, lean-forward-on-your-tiptoes rock 'n' roll. Let's hope Death Songs and Post-Consumer make the record available outside of the intertubes soon. (Sidenote: Two weeks ago Delffs reunited with his ex-Shaky Hands bandmates who now play in Spookies; tonight's bill touts a secret/special guest alongside Death Songs and Spookies. You have now been presented with all the information....) NED LANNAMANN
HOWLIN RAIN, ASSEMBLED HEAD IN SUNBURST SOUND
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Before Rick Rubin manhandled Howlin Rain into a slightly brawnier Black Crowes (so unnecessary!) on 2012's The Russian Wilds, the San Francisco quintet harnessed an oft-feral breed of acid-y country rock that blew back your hair and pinned back your ears with Hollywoodish drama. Howlin Rain still make big, sprawling rock, only now they're trying to squash their natural tendency to fly into the sun with freaky abandon into songs with accessible choruses and "pretty" vocals. Nevertheless, those tunes from the self-titled album and Magnificent Fiend should still sound storming. DAVE SEGAL
BARRY BRUSSEAU, JON RANSOM, CAIT OLDS
(The Secret Society, 116 NE Russell) Veteran Barry Brusseau has done time in punk and metal bands, but his second solo album, The Royal Violent Birds, continues his exploration of a much more intimate vein. With acoustic guitars, brushed drums, bowed strings, and Brusseau's hushed baritone (and his just-as-hushed falsetto), these watercolor tunes communicate in delicate, naturalistic patterns. It's a beautiful record, and the packaging is just as sumptuous: 12-inch vinyl in a custom-made canvas bag in a super-limited edition of 25. (A further 275 will be issued without the special packaging.) It's released on Brusseau's Gorbie International label, following up the label's first release from earlier this year, Jon Ransom's overlooked and lovely On a Lark. Also on the young boutique label is Cait Olds' winning debut, Prison City, and the Portland songwriter also performs at tonight's record release show. NL
NEIL HALSTEAD, ALINA HARDIN
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) I'd rather be bummed out by Neil Halstead than just about anybody else. His first band, Slowdive, were shoegaze pioneers, and their 1993 album Souvlaki is still what I put on to force a case of the weepies. On Halstead's new, third solo album, Palindrome Hunches, Halstead is just as melancholy, though about 75 percent more minimalist than his shoegaze roots or even than his highly folk-driven second band, Mojave 3. It's impossible to talk about Palindrome Hunches without mentioning Nick Drake—the gorgeously affecting vocals, the acoustic guitar—but as melancholy as it is, there's none of Drake's hopelessness. Part of this is thanks to Halstead's brilliant harmonies, as well as to a judicious sprinkling of catchy hooks, best shown on "Bad Drug and Minor Chords." And while the album sounds sparse, violins provide warmth and companionship at times. The song "Hey Daydreamer" is positively upbeat! REBECCA WILSON
THE HAGUE, SPECIAL EXPLOSION, SUN VALLEY GUN CLUB, HOLY TENTACLES
(East End, 203 SE Grand) Weird, potential conflict-of-interest disclosure here: Earlier this year my band competed against the Seattle-based Special Explosion in a battle of the bands. They stomped us. But they were gracious and humble, and even invited us out to eat with them afterward. I couldn't be happier that my once-adversaries have found the time to head south to play Portland—their eponymous EP is one of my favorite Northwest releases of this year so far. "Lifeguard" and "Every Shade of Green" are examples of '90s indie-rock fetishism at its finest and most intense. But it's the "Jack and Jill" vocals provided by siblings Lizzy and Andy Costello that give the group's music a truly distinct flavor all its own. Hopefully they'll keep this momentum going—one day they'll be unstoppable. MORGAN TROPER
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