SHOVELS AND ROPE, DENVER
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) Each taking turns on drums and guitar, the married couple of Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent are Shovels and Rope, and their American music has twang, kick, heart, and soul. Don't worry about what's folk, country, rock 'n' roll, or blues—the Charleston, South Carolina duo give it to you all at the same time. NED LANNAMANN
LE1F, ANTWON, LAKUTIS, MAGIC FADES DJs
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Le1f is performance art through the guise of a Tumblr explosion. The NYC rapper is an icon of a flourishing post-vogue ballroom scene, where fashion, dance, and hiphop collide as an affirmation of style and future-forward amalgams of identity. His rhymes are laced with hyperaware digs and cultural criticisms with enough attitude to tear the fake nails off Kreyshawn. Take Le1f's recent critique of Macklemore and his gay-rights "anthem" as proof for how art can uphold an unapologetic social consciousness. Tonight also features the Biggie-esque boom bap revitalism of San José-based rapper Antwon, another bit-coin rich chamillionaire risen from the internet underground. WYATT SCHAFFNER
DIVERS, PRANK WAR, PEEPLE WATCHIN
(Red & Black Café, 400 SE 12th) There's a scene in Portlandia that pretty accurately characterizes the city's relationship with loud music, in which a number of fictional, impossibly quiet groups compete in a "Battle of the Gentle Bands" to see who can rock the least. Over the last several years, the pop scene in Portland has eschewed balls-to-the-wall rock bands pretty much entirely, but Divers (who indeed fit that bill) seem like they're on the cusp of crossing over. It's not inexplicable by any means—the two compositions on the group's lone release (a self-titled 7-inch) are absolutely impeccable, and the band has managed to balance the sour with the sweet, synthesizing Paul Westerbergian, full-throated swagger with vaguely dance-y drum beats and saccharine, inescapable vocal melodies. Here's hoping they don't wait too much longer to put out another release. MORGAN TROPER
Get the best of the Mercury each week in your inbox!