THE WIMPS, HURRY UP, WOOLEN MEN
(Record Room, 8 NE Killingsworth) The Rule of Three is in play tonight when these tight and scrappy three-pieces share a stacked bill. When the Thermals are not out touring the world, you might be able to find them around Northeast Portland starting slow-motion mosh pits and giving each other piggy-back rides at Woolen Men shows. You can also find two-thirds of the band playing with their other group, Hurry Up. Tonight you have the perfect opportunity to witness both. Hurry Up is a must-see, only partly because the band has yet to release any recorded music. On the other hand, the Woolen Men have a handful of cassettes and a self-titled album out on the Woodsist label. But the easiest gateway has to be their unparalleled barn-burner of a live show. Seattle's the Wimps round things out with some straight-shooting and easy-to-love punk bursts. CHIPP TERWILLIGER
JAIL WEDDINGS, THANKS, WOODWINDS
(East End, 203 SE Grand) Jail Weddings' music has a grandiose, theatrical feel—part Little Shop of Horrors, part Hedwig and the Angry Inch, sprinkled with vocals that conjure up a young Bruce Springsteen. Their new record, Meltdown: A Declaration of Unpopular Emotion (out August 27), is an explosion of dramatic tension—if this music were a television show, it would be a soap opera. High-energy vocals and back-up harmonies are accompanied by eruptive brass, strings, and keys to build songs that are aggressive, intense, and impossible to disengage with. They're joined by local band Thanks, who have been holed up recording their new record, and their punchy, sexy soul-rock will round out the evening perfectly. RACHEL MILBAUER
DIVERS, NATO COLE AND THE BLUE DIAMOND BAND, PAGERIPPERS
(Club 21, 2035 NE Glisan) It's Saturday night, and you've blown through another crappy week. Your best shot for transcendence is cramming into a crowded, sweaty bar, soaking yourself with booze, and blasting your ears with the finest, grittiest, heart-on-sleeve, hoarse-throated rock Portland has to offer. Thank god for Divers, who'll give you exactly that. NED LANNAMANN
NAIVE MELODIES, LESSER BANGS
(The Goodfoot, 2845 SE Stark) I should turn in my music-critic badge because of how long it took me to get the pun in Lesser Bangs' name (to get one of these badges, just say "Nickelback sucks" five times, and Steve Albini will emerge from the mirror and carefully pin it onto your Neu! T-shirt). I don't know if Lester Bangs would rave and drool over Alamo Basement, the warm, furry debut album from the Portland quartet, but I'm definitely on board. Lesser Bangs' particular brand of updated classic rock lands somewhere in between Wolf Parade and the Moondoggies, with the piano of Adam King at the front of that shaggy-sounding pack. The rest of the band makes a rock-solid backdrop that's equal parts light and shade. Alamo Basement's highlights are many, including the fragile but triumphant chorus of "Zocalo" and the involving narrative of "Catfish Hunter." NL
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