THRILL JOCKEY RECORDS 20TH ANNIVERSARY SHOW: TRANS AM, LITURGY, ETERNAL TAPESTRY, BARN OWL, MIKE SCHEIDT, GOLDEN RETRIEVER, JASON URICK
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Read our article on Thrill Jockey Records.
MARK EITZEL, PETER BUCK
(Star Theater, 13 NW 6th) Mark Eitzel has a long history of spinning sad drunken barroom songs. But people grow up. So the heralded singer/songwriter, who spent a fair amount of his time at the helm of American Music Club singing about getting drunk bellied up at the bar, is now focusing more of his great storytelling abilities on tales of dinner parties and guests who bring terrible bottles of wine. This laidback approach to partying suits the folksy songs of Eitzel, as shown on his new solo album Don't Be a Stranger. His Americana-rich voice has all the lonely yearning of the past, with his trademark funny and smart and self-deprecating lyrics, like in album highlight "Oh Mercy," where he sings, "Please, please invite me to your party... I haven't talked to anyone in days/but look I brought all this imported beer." Then he gets all drunk and sloppy in the kitchen after enchanting everyone with erudite conversation. I guess some things don't change—you can count on Eitzel's well-crafted songs and lost weekends. With longtime collaborator R.E.M.'s Peter Buck on the same bill, this should be a grown-up evening of slow-sipping songs. COURTNEY FERGUSON
SIREN NATION FESTIVAL: ALELA DIANE, JESSE SYKES, ANTJE DUVEKOT
(Alberta Rose Theatre, 3000 NE Alberta) This year's Siren Nation Festival—empowering women of all ages to create their own art, and highlighting the many achievements of women in the arts—is a many splendored thing. With performances across the city for five days straight, your show-going docket ought to be filled. Alela Diane's unwavering tribal folk is practically an institution. Diane spent the early part of this year scaling back her bulging live band (of which her father is a member), and instead revisited her roots as a solo performer after splitting from Rough Trade Records. Her upcoming album, likely to be released by someone early next year, is tentatively titled About Farewell, and according to Diane is "basically a public recitation of my diary." That sound you just heard is everyone in Portland sighing in joy at the same time. RYAN J. PRADO
JEFFREY LEWIS AND THE JUNKYARD, FELSEN, NEW MEXICAN REVOLUTION
(Backspace, 115 NW 5th) I regret enlisting a laughably trite opening line like this, but how come Jeffrey Lewis isn't huge? There's no doubt that he's one of the best lyricists currently producing music—easily right up there with John Darnielle—but how many more fucking records does this guy have to make (including various collaborations, he's released over 20) until he achieves anything that even remotely resembles a break? Why isn't he selling out arenas or making national television appearances or gaining recognition as one of the greatest songwriters of his generation? It seems like Lewis occupies somewhat of a blind spot: too "creepy" and emphatic and genuinely nerdy (not like Rivers Cuomo or Michael Cera adorable-nerdy) to appeal to any facet of the mainstream, while the parochial pitchfork-wielding critics have consistently accused him of mere Richman imitating. Those people don't know what love is and are bad at listening to music. "Don't Be Upset" is a perfect mid-autumn jam, and several others come close. MORGAN TROPER