URAL THOMAS AND THE PAIN, PWRHAUS
(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) In the style of Sharon Jones, Charles Bradley, and all of the luscious fruits that fall from the Daptone tree, Ural Thomas is ready to regale you with a new wave of old-school soul. A native (dare I say it) Portlandian, Thomas grew up singing doo-wop on street corners, later opening for such soul staples as Otis Redding and Stevie Wonder. Through a series of unfortunate events, Thomas never attained the worldwide fame that his talent could have easily earned him. Luckily for us, this Portland gem is coming out of the woodwork, starting to play frequent shows with his excellent new band, the Pain. Thomas retains the same sense of power he's always had, offering a gospel-and-fire performance that only a son of a minister and arbiter of soul could. ROSE FINN
JACKSON SCOTT, THE WE SHARED MILK, A HAPPY DEATH
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) In interviews, Jackson Scott touts his love of Nirvana, Weezer, and Pink Floyd's original mastermind, Syd Barrett. So for a young guy who (apparently) wasn't raised on lo-fi, late-'90s indie rock, Scott sure does have the lo-fi, late-'90s indie rock sound down. The Asheville, North Carolina, resident's new album Melbourne is a likeably languid exercise in homemade dream-pop that recalls an embryonic Elephant 6 collective (specifically, the Apples' Fun Trick Noisemaker) or early Elliott Smith without the obvious preternatural genius. And Scott's affinity for woozy, tape-warped warble brings to mind another Southern bedroom wunderkind, Deerhunter's Bradford Cox. Melbourne isn't perfect—it can feel a bit rudderless and half-baked in places—but it is a promising debut from a guy with a knack for melody and an experimental streak. BEN SALMON
WILD BELLE, SAINT RICH
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) For months I didn't know who sang the song "Keep You," which was featured in the film Pitch Perfect and played here and there on the radio. I assumed it was Lana Del Rey contemplating why, despite a pretty face and a nice dress, her guy would keep straying. I was wrong. The slightly whiny, psych-plus-reggae-inspired track is by Wild Belle, a brother-and-sister duo from Chicago who serve up their music with about as much passion as a chef would hand over a slice of Velveeta cheese on a paper plate. While singer Natalie Bergman does have a lovely voice, she sounds bored by her own words. Her brother's baritone sax solos come with a matching lack of energy. Sax solos should never lack energy! It sounds nice, but so, so tired at the same time, giving me no reason at all to presume their live show would be more stimulating than staying home and watching their record spin in circles. MEGAN SELING
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