PARENTHETICAL GIRLS, PWRHAUS, STAY CALM
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Tonight, local pop favorites/mad scientists/delicate weirdos Parenthetical Girls kick off their nationwide tour in support of their excellent latest, Privilege, out on Marriage Records. Expect rich, soaring melodrama, reliably creepy/sexy showmanship from frontman Zac Pennington, and so many emotions. ERIK HENRIKSEN
CASPIAN, NATIVE, THIS PATCH OF SKY
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) For those days when you need to be left the fuck alone, nothing does it quite like a wordless (or nearly wordless) post-rock composition. Albums by Mogwai, Earth, and Emeralds are ecstatically beautiful, but they don't foist feelings on you. And neither does Caspian. Music like this is seriously beautiful—and also straight-up serious. Caspian have been around since 2003, and their third album, Waking Season, came out in September. Lavish piles of sound—from heavy guitars to angelic synths—layer over each other, and just when you think there can't possibly be one more layer, they heap on 10 more. It's a perfectly realized meditation of the splendid and weighty, like watching a volcano erupt. At over 10 minutes long, "Gone in Bloom and Bough" is a genre-bender, but it doesn't meander so much as lead you on a journey through light and dark, loud and soft. REBECCA WILSON
WOOLEN MEN, PONY TIME, STICKERS
(Record Room, 8 NE Killingsworth) Seattle garage-punk duo Pony Time have just as much in common with the erstwhile tones of groups like the Urinals as they do with the contemporary garage revival. On the band's latest LP, Go Find Your Own, the band doesn't shy away from exposing its allegiances to pop culture fun, and includes odes to LGBTQ rights ("Lesbian Mayor"), Kathleen Hanna, and a memorable romp with possibly the best track name of the last 15 years, "First Thing in the Morning, You and Me (Hard and Heavy)." All of this playfulness, though, belies a strong power-pop presence underneath that fuzzy, fun noise. While you're at it, go ahead and support the crud out of Record Room by stocking up on vinyl, cassettes, and laserdiscs! RYAN J. PRADO
WL, SOFT SHADOWS
(Slabtown, 1033 NW 16th) WL are easily the best active shoegaze band in Portland (assuming Anne has officially kicked the bucket) and their debut 7-inch Impermanent, released last summer, occasionally approaches the level of brilliance exhibited by the genre's early '90s forebears such as Slowdive, Ride, and the Telescopes. Even on this meager two-song release, WL pretty much have every dream-pop trope on lock: the otherworldly female vocals, the wobbly, pressure-drop chord progressions, the chafing production and excellent songwriting—and it's all infused with an inhumanly hip aesthetic (for the kids). WL might just become that next band the entire city can agree on, as soon as we all figure out how to pronounce their name correctly. (Our vote's for "well.") MORGAN TROPER
NATHANIEL TALBOT QUARTET, SWANSEA
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Despite the austere name, the Nathaniel Talbot Quartet doesn't make lounge-y jazz or string-driven classical music. Rather, the band—fronted by a former Portlander-turned-organic farmer now located on Washington's Whidbey Island—makes chamber folk with decided pop overtones. Talbot's Portland-based band is subtle and restrained, and the songs lope along amiably, but Talbot's nimble fingerpicking and plummy voice evoke the smooth, overripe quality of James Taylor, which is more than enough to set this listener on edge. Tonight the quartet celebrates the release of Here in the Fields, an album that's mellow to the point of being wispy. Opening band Swansea includes members of Blue Cranes; their inventive 2012 album Old Blood showcases delightfully chopped-up rock alongside enjoyably fluid atmospherics. NED LANNAMANN
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