Anyone who thinks Portland's music scene is nothing but sad indie dudes and warbling ukulele players needs to spend some time at PDX Pop Now, which brings together a broad sample platter of the best local sounds—from punk to jazz, folk to hip-hop, metal to EDM—all under one bridge. It's a place to discover the best local bands you never knew existed. Here are the five most likely to shock this year's audience.
Maarquii (Saturday, 11:35 pm)
Maarquii is the singing, rapping alter-ego of Chanti Darling dancer Marquise Dickerson, though really, there doesn't seem to be much "altering" going on. While Dickerson's drag background gives the project a performative flair, the lyrics are often all-too-real, drawing from an unabashedly black, defiantly queer point of view—just the perspective Portland needs more of.
Turtlenecked (Friday, 9:20 pm)
It's possible Harrison Smith has already broken out—Pitchfork reviewed his new album, Vulture —but the bedroom-pop auteur feels like a Next Big Thing (or at least a Best New Band) waiting to happen.
Cool Schmool (Saturday, 2 pm)
Seattle's punk scene may have the market cornered on lacerating feminist ennui, but Cool Schmool impresses with the sheer depth of their slackerism, which seems coded into the songwriting process itself. Every harmony drips with sarcasm, which makes the fact that they stumble upon some great ones even more impressive.
Public Eye (Sunday, 4:40 pm)
Like Parquet Courts on cheap speed rather than dirt weed, Public Eye's post-punk rant-rock maintains the velocity, volume and melodic snottiness of their previous configuration as Autistic Youth, only now with sharper lyrical bite and deeper grooves.
Amenta Abioto (Saturday, 3:20 pm)
A one-woman wonder in the vein of Like a Villain, Abioto has floated under the local radar for a few years now, probably because the ephemeral nature of her music—improvised mostly from loops of her own voice—means that unless you experience it in the moment, it's hard to know it exists. No one should benefit from the built-in PDX Pop Now audience more.
SEE IT: PDX Pop Now is at AudioCinema, 226 SE Madison St., on Friday-Sunday, July 21-23. Free. All ages. See pdxpopnow.com for complete scheduled.