FITZ AND THE TANTRUMS, HUNTER HUNTED, THE COLOURIST
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) Yup, Fitz and the Tantrums was just in Portland back in May, helping headline the Rose Festival's RoZone performances. But while the Los Angeles neo-soul group has more than enough energy to rock the music festival scene, you want to see them in a smaller venue— and the Wonder will do nicely. Pro tip: Just watch co-vocalist/badass tambourinist Noelle Scaggs the entire time. DIRK VANDERHART
BALMORHEA, BENOIT PIOULARD
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Balmorhea's recent album Stranger might confuse its listeners into thinking that Broken Social Scene got lost somewhere in Texas, lost their voices, and accidentally put out an album. Heavy with loops, fades, and drama, Balmorhea leaves that distant, bittersweet aftertaste in your mouth that so defines this meandering, instrumental journey genre. With six members, ranging from banjo to cello to violin, Balmorhea's unique instrumentation and melodies sustain attention-captivating songs without the need for vocals. Their performance won't inspire any mosh pits, but will certainly get you excited about music again. ROSE FINN
ALEX BLEEKER AND THE FREAKS, THE MEMORIES
(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) In 2011, the New Jersey band Real Estate released Days, an album of gentle jangle-pop that was impeccably crafted: terrific songs, superb performances, steady vibe. Now, Real Estate bassist Alex Bleeker is touring behind How Far Away, his second album with his other band, the Freaks, and it is the bizarro Days. Don't misunderstand: Bleeker's sophomore effort isn't bad. It's cozy and charming and hummable. But it's a short, shambling sketchbook of songs that meander from punchy indie-pop to spacey synth jams to lo-fi, navel-gazing twang. Sonic adventures aside, Bleeker is so lovelorn here that he doesn't bother hiding behind clever lyrics: "I hope I never feel that you don't love me too/But lately you don't say that you do," he sings on "All My Songs." And in case that's not clear enough, here's the chorus: "I know it's obvious my songs are all for you/Every song I've written, babe, it's true." In the end, How Far Away stays so sweetly and resolutely on message, it's impossible not to like its protagonist. BEN SALMON
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