PLANKTON WAT, PLANETS AROUND THE SUN, GRAPEFRUIT
(Valentine's, 232 SW Ankeny) Read our article on Plankton Wat.
FALL INTO DARKNESS: NIK TURNER'S HAWKWIND, WHITE MANNA, BILLIONS AND BILLIONS, HEDERSLEBEN
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) As one of the original passengers on the otherworldly space-rock unit Hawkwind, Nik Turner has every right to use the band's name. So does guitarist Dave Brock. It's a classic case of two versions of the band floating around the stratosphere. But with Hawkwind—a band that has mutated its skronky, hippie, acid-bath space blues over the past 45 years—this isn't a bad thing. Turner, who's toured and recorded mostly under the Space Ritual moniker—headlines the opening night of this year's Fall Into Darkness, which has become one of the best heavy-rock fests in the Pacific Northwest. (Brock's version of Hawkwind, meanwhile, just postponed their US tour, citing Brock's health issues—get well, Dave!) Turner's Hawkwind will perform some choice cuts from the past, as well as selections from Turner's 2013 rock odyssey Space Gypsy. Mississippi Studios transforms into the mothership tonight. You don't want to get left behind. MARK LORE Also see My, What a Busy Week!
THE WATERBOYS, FREDDIE STEVENSON
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) Formed three decades ago in Edinburgh, Scotland, the Waterboys were as much a product of punk rock as they were folk music and Springsteen. Over the course of their first three records, frontman Mike Scott perfected what would become known as "The Big Music"—full of big sound and big ideas. Since then, Scott has dabbled in stripped-down Celtic folk, dropped the Waterboys name, picked it back up, and released heaps of records that continue to embrace his vision. The band's latest, 2011's An Appointment with Mr. Yeats, marries the big music with the big words of Irish poet William Butler Yeats—a bold move, but no less bold than the sounds the Waterboys were making in 1983 that went on to influence the likes of The Joshua Tree-era U2 and Arcade Fire. ML
TIM KASHER, LAURA STEVENSON, YOU ARE PLURAL
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Tim Kasher, in his prime, at least, was a more honest and captivating songwriter than his friend, collaborator, and label-mate Conor Oberst has ever been. Even Oberst's best songs are emotionally intricate plaints masquerading as cold-blooded pop ditties—and sometimes the hooks are great, but man is he full of shit (he's sort of like an indie Billy Joel). Tim Kasher, on the other hand, actually sounds like he means it: His masterpiece is Cursive's 2000 record Domestica, a chilling concept album that ambiguously correlates to his own divorce—it's a raw and unflinchingly personal statement, and an all-time high watermark of the emo genre. Kasher's output since has been largely spotty; subsequent Cursive albums range from passable to abhorrent, although all four Good Life (Kasher's other project) albums—in addition to his solo effort from 2010, The Game of Monogamy—are well worth your time and, potentially, money. MORGAN TROPER
LUMERIANS, TJUTJUNA, SWAHILI
(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) The Oakland, California, space-rock quartet Lumerians has cut to the chase with the title of its new album, The High Frontier. You can talk about the group's lysergic lope, perfect for putting your hands in your pockets and head-nodding the night away. You can point out its post-punk predilections or its steady krautrock wanderings or its occasional stoney drones. But The High Frontier is also the title coined by physicist and writer Gerard K. O'Neill for his illustrated 1976 book about human colonization of space, and Lumerians essentially aim to create a soundtrack for travels to and life on such a colony. This is space rock, and the six songs on The High Frontier are interstellar jams of the highest order, only 33 minutes long but seemingly stretching into eternity. Turn on, tune in, blast off. BEN SALMON
GUITAR WOLF, THE COATHANGERS, COWARD, NO TOMORROW BOYS
(Dante's, 350 W Burnside) Over the years, Japanese garage-rock legends Guitar Wolf have built a reputation for their frantic and relentless live show. The band has even starred as heroes in the sci-fi zombie flick Wild Zero. And with the four women that make up the Coathangers having already taken on Ramones-style surnames in the same vein as Guitar Wolf, could a movie featuring the Atlanta punk-rock band be far off? Even without any extra frills tacked on, the tale of the Coathangers works great in an Our Band Could Be Your Life sort of way. Started as a half joke at a party back in 2006, the group has since toured high and low and released some excellent music along the way. It might not be saving the world from zombies, but it's just as inspiring to see a band develop their talent and become this great out of next to nothing. CHIPP TERWILLIGER