PAPERCUTS, EDJ, RITCHIE YOUNG
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) The gorgeously ornamented songs of Jason Quever have littered six fine Papercuts albums to date, and the newest one, Life Among the Savages, marks the San Francisco musician's transition to the newly established Easy Sound label. Beyond that, the differences between the new album and older Papercuts might be hard to pinpoint—which is absolutely fine, as Quever's brand of breathy, candlelit pop is still stop-in-your-tracks good. "New Body" and "Staring at the Bright Lights," in particular, are lovely spine-tinglers. Quever & Co. will be joined by EDJ—AKA Eric D. Johnson, who also made the leap from Sub Pop to Easy Sound in the wake of putting his longtime band Fruit Bats on ice. EDJ's first song released under his new solo moniker, the great "Lose It All, All the Time," marks a turn for Johnson's songwriting toward the melancholy, perhaps, but its kaleidoscopically keening backdrop and tumbling drum fills suggest a broader sonic scope in store for the upcoming EDJ album, due out in August. NED LANNAMANN
BLACK FLAG, CINEMA CINEMA, THE LOSS, CLACKAMAS BABY KILLERS
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE César E. Chávez) Founding guitarist Greg Ginn—AKA the George Lucas of Punk—and classic-era singer Ron Reyes controversially resuscitated the Black Flag band/brand last year, and the results so far haven't exactly been stellar. Actually, they've been movingly underwhelming: Band manager Mike Vallely replaced Reyes last November, effectively making this a reunion in nothing more than name—a name which Ginn is notoriously proprietary of, having taken pretty much all of his ex-bandmates to court at one point or another for alleged trademark infringement. Furthermore, the group's latest record, What the..., occasionally sounds like a Weird Al parody of hardcore. Still, the enormous ego and totally un-punk obsession with legal semantics aside, Ginn is a living legend, and Black Flag is probably the best Black Flag tribute band you'll ever see. MORGAN TROPER Also see My, What a Busy Week!
PIGEON JOHN, GRAYSKUL, CHICHARONES, BAD TENANTS, THE RUNDOWN
(Star Theater, 13 NW 6th) The list of hiphop stars that have paraded through Portland in recent weeks is as diverse as it is impressive, from the neo-gang-stas (Freddie Gibbs, YG) and weedheads (Devin the Dude) to the marketing wizards (Riff Raff, Tyler the Creator) and loveable oddballs (Danny Brown, Tech N9ne). Given the state of rap music in 2014, where personality is prized, you'd think there'd be room for Pigeon John to rise. Sprung from LA's legendary Project Blowed scene, John has, for more than a decade, been making positive, playful hiphop that owes as much to pop as it does to rap. His breakthrough, so far, is "The Bomb," a song that soundtracked a Volkswagen ad and climbed the charts in Europe, but John has always deserved more stateside success. His new album, Encino Man, may or may not make that happen, but at least the current climate is such that it has a chance. BEN SALMON
WHITEHORSE, ATRIARCH, SCARD
(The Know, 2026 NE Alberta) The Aussies in Whitehorse just released Raised into Darkness this past April, an ugly and claustrophobic masterwork of death/doom and noise. It's only their third full-length since 2007, but their catalog is otherwise littered with split releases, including one in 2011 with the soon-to-be Portlanders in the Body. Beyond splitting sides of a record, both bands also share a fixation on atmosphere and look for new ways to fill the negative spaces in their crushing riffs. Also on the bill is local heavy death-rock shape-shifters Atriarch, who are set to hit the studio this summer to record their third full-length, and first for new label home Relapse Records. MATTHEW W. SULLIVAN
MONNONE ALONE, ANDREW KAFFER
(Red & Black Café, 400 SE 12th) The Lucksmiths' Mark Monnone's solo project is gorgeous power pop from Australia. Monnone Alone's latest LP, Together at Last, is a heavenly synthesis of the Smiths, Jens Lekman, and the Lemonheads. MT
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