EAR CANDY: BOAT, THE COMETTES
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) It's the Mercury's super fun (and FREE) music night Ear Candy—and it's gonna get even super funner with two good-time bands from Seattle! You'll flip over BOAT's balls-out goof pop (which reminds me of the Cure having a very good day), and the Comettes, whose cockles-warming rock reminds me of the Velvet Underground... also having a very good day. WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY
BLACK PRAIRIE, TIBURONES
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) When Black Prairie began in 2007, they were the all-instrumental counterpart to the Decemberists, but the band's steady evolution and emerging autonomy is exciting to see unfold. While the band's debut, Feast of the Hunter's Moon, was largely a bluegrass affair, Black Prairie's lushly orchestrated Americana-pop on their fantastic new LP, Fortune, makes for an immediately likeable listen, with vocalist Annalisa Tornfelt's crisp voice slicing through hay-bale ditties like the feel-good "Kiss of Fate." The band's malleability is delivered through diverse instrumentation (dobro, accordion, mandolin, and more), and the band has the ability to shapeshift into driving rock 'n' roll hybrids relatively comfortably, as heard on the big boom of "Let It Out." Simply put, this could be Black Prairie's big breakout. RYAN J. PRADO
MODEST MOUSE, SURVIVAL KNIFE
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) Modest Mouse at the Crystal Ballroom is becoming one of the longer-running and more dependable musical traditions in Portland. Something about it just works; obviously the band is comfortable there, and the room offers some intimacy for a group that regularly plays much bigger venues. I remember seeing them there back in January of 2000. They were a bit different then, sure—a four-piece with no number-one records and only a single drummer (the rolling, inimitable Jeremiah Green). That leaner lineup allowed tempos room to ebb and flow and launch exuberant improvisations. Even in recent years, though, with their more arena-ready ensemble, Modest Mouse's sets engage longtime fans, constantly shuffling the deep deck of their catalog. Speaking of which, the band's last album came out way back in 2007. They've been hard at work on the follow-up. So the question is: In their hometown, will they share some of the new stuff? ANDREW R TONRY
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