EMILY WELLS, TIMMY STRAW
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Occasional Portlander Emily Wells delivered one of the year's finest albums in Mama, a dizzying array of classical, hiphop, pop, and beyond. Outside of the studio, Wells is an arresting performer, using loops and her formidable multi-instrumentalist skills to combine beats and string-laden atmosphere that'll move your body and your mind. NED LANNAMANN
AND AND AND, THE WE SHARED MILK, PICTORIALS
(Tonic Lounge, 3100 NE Sandy) While all your friends are out of town for the holidays and the social calendar looks bleak, And And And will welcome you in with their shared passion for Pavement-esque rock and their summertime pursuit of the fine sport of Rigsketball (it involves a van and a basketball hoop)! So chin up: You do have friends, and their name is And And And. MARJORIE SKINNER
PETUNIA AND THE VIPERS, WHAT HEARTS
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) It's two days after Christmas, and you've eaten enough candy canes to ensure psychedelic spit and sugar bumps through at least the end of the year. Everybody blew it and neglected to remember you're vegan, so your holiday dinner consisted of mashed potatoes and bread. And your parents were being assholes about the whole "unemployment" thing. It's officially time to get out of the holiday malaise, and it's tough to imagine a more swingin' way to brush off the blues than with Vancouver, BC's Petunia and the Vipers. Petunia's Jimmie Rodgers croon, pedal-steel soul, and easy-does-it cowboy tunes recall shooting-star nights sitting around the campfire on the range. The band's excellent self-titled debut switches gears from track to track, proffering juke-joint scorchers like "Maybe Baby Amy" against smoldering, yodel-led retro-western tunes like album opener "The Cricket Song." Best paired with good whiskey and a 10-gallon hat. RYAN J. PRADO
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) I'd be merely speculating if I said Beats Antique are the faces and the soundtrack to Burning Man, although a quick check shows the Bay Area collective has played the desert festival the past three years. The group's music brings an old-world, Middle Eastern influence to modern-day hiphop and electronic music. You'd think the music would be more interesting. It does serve a purpose for member Zoe Jakes' onstage belly dancing, and the awful dancing their mostly white audience undoubtedly takes part in at Beats Antique's performances. It's more about spectacle than anything else. And you know what you're getting into. Bring your art car/Zipcar and enjoy the ride. MARK LORE
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