W.C. BECK AND THE PORTLAND COUNTRY UNDERGROUND, BARNA HOWARD
(Alberta Street Public House, 1036 NE Alberta) As one of the featured players in Portland Country Underground—the ballyhooed rotating ensemble of country purists who usually grace the LaurelThirst stage every Monday night—W.C. Beck represents the contemporary avenues by which classic country can move forward. Utilizing relatable songwriting, and, often, a mandolin, Beck's gritty compositions and twangy vocals hearken to outlaw country's heyday. On Quivira, the brand-new LP Beck's releasing tonight, he's backed by PCU, who really are just one of the best ramshackle groups of rambling maestros in town. As such, the album lives and breathes in the pocket, pulsing with smart leads, crisp harp, ululating pedal steel (as found on "Good Enough Ain't Good Enough"), and fantastic harmonies throughout. It also serves as Beck's farewell show before he moves to Paris. RYAN J. PRADO
EVAN CAMINITI, VESTALS, GOLDEN RETRIEVER, NAMES
(Disjecta, 8371 N Interstate) As half of the San Francisco band Barn Owl, Evan Caminiti is no stranger to sculpting soundscapes out of a guitar and synth, but his solo ventures haven't just been more of the same. Take last year's Dreamless Sleep, for example: While Caminiti and co-conspirator Jon Porras often take Barn Owl's desert rock into dark and foreboding territory, Dreamless Sleep offers blissed-out ambient forays and warm, meditative excursions—less dirt and grime, more clouds and stars. It's not unlike a lot of the nouveau new age found in certain corners of experimental music, but it's worlds away from the by-the-numbers drone that crowds them. MATT SULLIVAN
THE DOUBLECLICKS, SARAH DONNER
(Secret Society, 116 NE Russell) Earlier this week, the Doubleclicks released their video for "Nothing to Prove." It's a remarkable thing, and it'll make "Nothing to Prove" the standout track on their latest, Lasers and Feelings. An impressive feat, given that the album contains some of the geeky Portland duo's best songs yet, like "Can't You See the World Is Ending," an anthem that wouldn't be out of place on Buffy Summers' iPod, and "The Mystery's Gone," an all-too-accurate reflection on the disappointment of actually meeting, in real life, the people you like on the internet. The "Nothing to Prove" video features women and girls holding up handwritten signs ("My Transformers played with my Cabbage Patch Kids"; "That look of surprise when I talk about Star Trek? It gets old"; "Why are you surprised I want to be an astronaut when I grow up?") that earnestly, cleverly destroy the toxic "fake geek girl" myth. Like the best Doubleclicks stuff, it's funny, heartfelt, and heartening; expect more of that tonight, when they share a stage with delightful local comedians Bri Pruett and Barbara "Also Has a Blogtown Column!" Holm. ERIK HENRIKSEN Also see My, What a Busy Week!
THIS CHARMING BAND, FOR THE MASSES, THE XPLODING BOYS
(Wonder Ballroom 128 NE Russell) Grab your cloves, a bouquet of gladioli, and your bummed-out heart for this evening of covers of the Smiths, Depeche Mode, and the Cure. Tribute bands This Charming Band, For the Masses, and the Xploding Boys are guaranteed to make you joyfully dance through every awkward teenage moment you cringed through the first time—don't forget to wear black on the outside! COURTNEY FERGUSON
(Oregon Zoo, 4001 SW Canyon) There are precious few songwriters more consistent and well rounded than Randy Newman. Nevertheless, I have to justify my love of Newman to virtually everyone I ever discuss him with, including self-identitfied "music snobs." It's downright ridiculous. Were people seriously that susceptible to those MADtv sketches? Is the Toy Story association really that significant? For every "You've Got a Friend in Me," there's a song like "I Think It's Going to Rain Today"—arguably one of the best songs ever written. For every toothless and goofy vignette like "Short People" there's a song like the show-stopping "Political Science," perhaps the most effective critique of bellicose cowboy culture in the form of a song. If you still don't like it, don't worry. You'll grow into it. MORGAN TROPER
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