YOUR RIVAL, LEVON'S HELMET
(Rontoms, 600 E Burnside) The thunderously melodic power-pop of Your Rival is one of Portland's best sugary delights, with a knack for earworms and knife-sharp songwriting from Mo Troper (who contributes to the Merc from time to time). Their upcoming EP, Your Rival USA, contains four of your future favorite songs, but you'll get a taste tonight, as well as the just-as-power-poppy Levon's Helmet. NED LANNAMANN
TUMMY, AH GOD, MISTER TANG
(Habesha, 801 NE Broadway) Aside from having the most delightful band name of all time, Seattle's Tummy makes spazoid, raucous surf rock that will fill up your belly with bubbly good cheer. The group—which stars Martin Selasco, Joshua Krautwurst, and Lilly Morlock of the Webs—runs through happy, loud, bopping punk rock with the urgency of a klezmer band, plus all the attendant yelps and thumps and buzzes you could ask for. "Ghost Planet," which kicks off their charming Flamingo Lightning cassette EP, is about as perfect as pop songs come, and "Jellyfish" features an extended wurble solo ("wurble" is a word I just made up to describe the sound a jellyfish makes). With madman carnival organ, heartwarming female/male vocals, stop/start-on-a-dime arrangements, and song titles like "Fire Goblins," there is literally nothing not to love about Tummy. NL
DELETED SCENES, BOYS BEACH
(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) Since 2005, Washington, DC-based art-rock quartet Deleted Scenes have been creating pop music that brings a fractured and warped approach to some raw and direct themes. Following in the footsteps of DC post-punk acts like the Dismemberment Plan and Q and not U, the group combs through shards and debris to work splintered moments into accessible and danceable grooves. For the band's latest album, Lithium Burn, the group recruited Dustin Diamond—AKA Saved by the Bell's Screech—to play himself in the video for the aptly named single "Stutter." The video follows a busted-up Diamond as he wanders in search of an audition, as singer/guitarist Daniel Scheuerman chomps his way through some jarring and aggressive vocals. The song takes on a full-on spasmodic form, and by way of its bleak lyrics, effectively conveys poor Screech's emotional breakdown. CHIPP TERWILLIGER
DUCK, LITTLE BROTHER, DUCK!, SPECIAL EXPLOSION, LEATHERDADDY, HEAVY PETTING
(Laughing Horse Books, 12 NE 10th) Since forming four years ago, virtually everything has gone right for Seattle's Special Explosion. The group—whose average age is 20—released a spectacular eponymous EP in the beginning of 2012 to significant local praise, and placed second in EMP's annual Sound Off! Battle of the Bands. After a follow-up 7-inch and a few brief tours, the group inked a deal with Boston-based emo label Topshelf, which recently released their woozy, spectacular quasi-LP, The Art of Mothering—an impossibly sublime synthesis of Keep It Like a Secret-era Built to Spill, Rilo Kiley, and Kind of Like Spitting. Dreams do come true! MORGAN TROPER
FEDERALE, DAYDREAM MACHINE
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) The basement brainchild of the Upsidedown's Jason Adams, Daydream Machine's lineage makes them a Northwest supergroup of sorts, including formal connections with Hawkeye, Music for Headphones, the Whole Wide World, Spindrift, and the Brian Jonestown Massacre, among others. Fresh off of the release of their debut full-length, Twin Idols, the band arrives amid swirling guitar rave-ups and an inviting dark pop sensibility that recalls the heyday of acts like the Jesus and Mary Chain, Love and Rockets, and even certain incarnations of the Go-Betweens. This particular outing finds Daydream Machine opening the 10th anniversary show for spaghetti-western gunslingers Federale—maybe not the most obvious musical pairing, but the two bands do share contributions from Federale's Collin Hegna, not to mention a certain widescreen, cinematic quality. JEREMY PETERSEN Also see My, What a Busy Week!
GRISWOLD, BEACH PARTY, HEMINGWAY
(The Know, 2026 NE Alberta) It's unusual that a band comes out of virtually nowhere and drops an impeccable LP, but local emo upstarts Hemingway—perhaps the most archetypically perfect name for an emo band—have done just that with their debut, Pretend to Care. The group has managed to mine the best aspects of early Weezer and Dear You-era Jawbreaker while cultivating an entirely unique identity. Nonetheless, first track "Constellations" may as well be a crash course in crunchy, well-constructed, heartfelt power-pop, and the crude, teenage-like verse is often as unflinchingly vulnerable and affecting as that of their idol Blake Schwarzenbach. Pretend to Care is also one of the best-sounding rock records to come out of Portland in years, probably because it wasn't recorded in Portland (the group recorded with preeminent punk producer Jack Shirley at his Bay Area studio, the Atomic Garden—he gets it). MT
YOU WHO!: URAL THOMAS AND THE PAIN
(Kennedy School, 5736 NE 33rd) A true godsend in recent years for those who happen to be both parents of young children and fans of live music, the self-described children's variety rock show You Who! returns with its first installment in over a year, making good on their weather-postponed Valentine's Day show from earlier this year. The semi-regular matinee has established itself with a formula that includes arts and crafts, animation, skits, giant barn owls, and most notably, music, in the past hosting the likes of the Decemberists, My Morning Jacket, the Shins, Quasi, Laura Veirs, and more. This go-around features Ural Thomas and the Pain, the newly-minted act fronted by 73-year-old soul singer (and Portland native) Ural Thomas. Most of the parents who'll be at the show weren't even born when Thomas enjoyed his first success as a performer, yet here they'll be, escorting their brood to see what just might be the best live band in town circa 2014. JP
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