SHY GIRLS, KINGDOM CRUMBS, PORTIA
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Read our article on Shy Girls.
WIDOWSPEAK, PURE BATHING CULTURE
(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) Channeling an otherworldly sound that's both familiar and alien, Pure Bathing Culture's gleaming, retro-futuristic torch songs are luminously gorgeous, and they're playing an intimate hometown show opening for New York dream-folk purveyors Widowspeak. Drift away as PBC gently launches tunes from their debut full-length, Moon Tides, into the ether. NED LANNAMANN
OKKERVIL RIVER, MATTHEW E. WHITE
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) Okkervil River frontman Will Sheff has always told stories through song; he's affixed entire albums to various characters and their (at times less than) heroic journeys. The Silver Gymnasium, however, introduces a refreshing new protagonist: Sheff himself. The band's seventh album is directly inspired by his childhood in Meriden, New Hampshire, invoking youthful blitheness through major chords, spirited brass, and a gloriously anthemic Springsteen tribute to boot ("Down the Deep River"). To further convey the playfulness, the band even designed an eight-bit video game—scored by a chip-music version of the album—as accompanying promotional material. All in all, it's a welcome return from the depths of Okkervil River's last full-length, I Am Very Far, which at times felt like the twitching, many-limbed opus of a mad scientist. With Gymnasium, we are reunited with that smart and joyous rock band we love. RAQUEL NASSER
WOLVSERPENT, DRUDEN, TAURUS, AT THE HEAD OF THE WOODS
(Rotture, 315 SE 3rd) Wolvserpent's Perigea Antahkarana isn't the sort of thing you throw on for a quick listen. The Boise band's sometimes pretty—but more often menacing—Relapse Records debut is built on a foundation of droning doom, carrying shades of black and death metal. But the five tracks take nearly 82 minutes to unwind—and track one is an intro. The string sections, nature recordings, and sprawling ethereal passages share DNA with bands like local black metal troupe Agalloch, though the buzzsaw guitar riffs here have a bit more rumble, and the vocal delivery is a lot more guttural. Just don't jump in looking for a quick fix. MATTHEW W. SULLIVAN
LES McCANN, THE JAVON JACKSON BAND
(Jimmy Mak's, 221 NW 10th) Les McCann is a musical pioneer, the godfather of soul jazz and one of the first musicians to incorporate synthesizers and electric instruments into his unique blend of jazz, R&B, and soul. He's since been name-checked by the Beastie Boys, and his music has been sampled by countless golden-era hiphop acts including Dr. Dre, A Tribe Called Quest, and the Notorious B.I.G. McCann is touring with tenor saxophonist Javon Jackson, a Berklee College of Music graduate and member of the final incarnation of Art Blakely's Jazz Messengers. Together, the two form a dynamic cross-generational project that breathes new life into a genre of music that is increasingly haunted by its past. RYAN FEIGH
MELVILLE, OH DARLING, SPIRIT LAKE
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) On their new EP Maquette, Portland band Melville dug deep and came up with a tumultuous, soulful, country-informed collection that both cuts and heals. It opens with a gusty, guitar-drenched waltz called "The Dead." Later, "Forked Tongue" is a suspenseful, minor-key country rocker that's good enough to have been a Whiskeytown track. The outlook contained in the lyrics of frontman Ryan T. Jacobs seems like a dark one, but the band finds drama and hope in each of the six songs, concluding with the alluring mini-epic "Questions," which turns bummed-out feelings into a whiskey-soaked hymn of redemption. NL
LAURA MARLING, WILLY MASON
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Laura Marling's songs tend to build slowly, fixed upon a foundation of fluid strums and constructed by the richness of her voice and the warmth of her delivery. Then, just as you are becoming fully cognizant of your surroundings, the London-bred, LA-based folk singer lifts your whole body through a towering structure of song on a wave of instrumentation, all the way up to a turret where you can sit quietly and watch it unfold. The Brits are privy to the visceral reactions borne of her music, and thus, Marling has received multiple Mercury Prize nominations over the course of her four-album career. This year's effort, Once I Was an Eagle, best displays her penchant for expansive folk, and its songs will make for one captivated showroom. RN
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