PORTLAND CELLO PROJECT'S HOLIDAY SWEATER SPECTACULAR
(Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway) Time's ticking to eke out appropriate mileage of that box of garish holiday sweaters. Make it count this year. The Portland Cello Project's Winter Sweater Spectacular blends that irreplaceable Christmas camouflage with PCP's always-interesting take on winter-themed tunes. Fancy and festive, like you. DIRK VANDERHART
SALLIE FORD AND THE SOUND OUTSIDE, THE KIDS
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside are a blast. The Portland band puts on a sexy hootin' and hollerin' good time, filled with rambunctious rock 'n' roll and Sallie's trademark hiccupy vocals. Too bad the kids are calling it quits. Tonight and tomorrow will be their last two Portland shows—so send 'em off in style by dancing your fool faces off! COURTNEY FERGUSON
ICONA POP, K. FLAY, SIRAH
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) When Icona Pop's hit song "I Love It" first surfaced in mid-2012, its blend of big beats and flippant, post-breakup carnage was so irresistible you could close your eyes and practically see packs of twentysomethings shouting along—"I don't care! I love it!"—with blurry city lights in the background. So you can understand why the Swedish electro-pop duo's team put the Charli XCX-penned tune on one EP and two albums within a span of 13 months; when you've got a song as fun as "I Love It," you should milk it for all it's worth. But now, after a year of hearing it blasted over and over on Top 40 radio, "I Love It" has worn out its welcome. Its relentless pulse and brash point of view have finally become exhausting. That it took this long is a testament to its appeal. BEN SALMON
MICHAEL HURLEY AND THE CROAKERS
(LaurelThirst Public House, 2958 NE Glisan) Michael Hurley, once of the Holy Modal Rounders and New York's original Greenwich Village pre-punk folk scene, knows what works. Whether it's avoiding press, collaborating with revivalist artists and labels like Cass McCombs and Mississippi Records, or playing only the most down-home, community-friendly venues like Pickathon and the LaurelThirst, Hurley's comfort zone is well defined. And after 71 years, it ought to be. He's got it down. Plus, there's something about Hurley's sweet, warm, plucky, austere, reminiscing tunes that makes extra sense during the holidays. His welcome—of warts and all—is the kind we can only hope for from our own friends and family. Should you find yours lacking, well, Hurley provides a glowing example—in both grace and song. ANDREW R TONRY
ROTTIES, FASTERS, SHARKS FROM MARS, LADY PROBLEMS
(Slabtown, 1033 NW 16th) On a full platter of local garage-punk, Rotties serve up the protein. Their Pacific Northwaste demo from earlier this year features a burlier sort of garage rock, with shades of stoner metal peeking through the slash-and-burn party-punk—less pogoing, more headbanging. As far as the rest of the lineup goes, Lady Problems keep things similarly visceral, but there's plenty of the bouncier stuff elsewhere. Fasters serve up power-pop, and while the name might be a tough sell, Sharks from Mars' catchy hooks, with just the right amount of snotty sloppiness, are a lot easier to like than their name would suggest. MATTHEW W. SULLIVAN
THE LOWER 48, MINDEN, TANGO ALPHA TANGO
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) The Lower 48, led by Ben Braden and Sarah Parson, play sleek rock 'n' roll that sounds like it belongs on a jukebox in a '60s diner. Their smooth, poppy lyrics meld with upbeat harmonies to make you want to move your feet across the floor. Portland's beloved Minden makes sexy, sultry, '70s tunes that would fit perfectly into a porno soundtrack for ultrachic cool kids. The band, led by frontman Casey Burge, is known to adorn themselves in amazing spandex onesies and other costumed getups, which makes their live show that much more fun to watch. RACHEL MILBAUER
GEORGE JONES TRIBUTE: HOOK AND ANCHOR, GABE ROZZELL, BRUSH PRAIRIE, MEREDITH BROTHERS, & MORE
(Landmark Saloon, 4847 SE Division) In the eight months since the passing of country legend George Jones, the folks at Deer Lodge Records have been cobbling together a tribute album with a swarm of local country and countrified artists contributing covers of some of "the Possum"'s best tunes. The end result of their efforts—a 30-track, two-CD set—is finally available to the general public, and tonight at the Landmark Saloon, the label celebrates its release with a similarly overstuffed lineup of Portland-based talent, including classic country cover band Brush Prairie, the all-acoustic twang of Hook and Anchor, and roots rockers the Meredith Brothers. ROBERT HAM
CAMBRIAN EXPLOSION, AU DUNES, THE VERNER PANTONS
(Habesha, 801 NE Broadway) Local psychedelic space cadets Cambrian Explosion recently finished recording their debut EP, The Sun (available on cassette), in their practice space. It's good stuff, meandering just far enough from pop-song structures without getting too lost. "Black Maven" takes 1967 into the year 2025, mixing Ravi Shankar and Hawkwind, and making just the right amount of noise to keep the hippies (and androids) away. The four-piece seems to be taking things slowly, playing just a handful of shows so far, but I get the feeling things are going pick up in 2014. Hell, they might just make the word "jam" a little less frightening. MARK LORE
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