Tickets and official site: musicfestnw.com
[JOY POP] Portland's AgesandAges made an imprint in 2011 with its cheerful, quirky and harmony-filled debut, Alright You Restless. Combining infectious vocals with catchy hand claps and pumping guitars, the band, led by songwriter Tim Perry, plays the kind of music that fills the listener with a buoyant sense of joy. (President Obama even included the group's track, "No Nostalgia," among the playlist for his re-election campaign.) Rumor is, there's a new album coming soon, too. (EB) Star Theater, 10 pm.
[DANCE POP] This Vancouver, B.C., quartet folds the mirror ball-dappled intoxication of electronic dance music into an R&B-informed take on modern pop. By the sound of the group's debut album, XO, Bear Mountain has come up with something downright delicious as a result. Bust through the hard candy shell of slow-building jams like "Faded" and "Congo" and enjoy the rich, gooey goodness inside. (RH) Doug Fir Lounge, 9 pm.
Bonnie Prince Billy
[FOLK] See profile here. Aladdin Theater, 10 pm.
[DEEP HOUSE] Today is the day you learn that Olympia has a deep house scene, and that Braxton/Palmer is a part of it, sampling pitch-shifted D'Angelo over classic 808 beats and lacing in short riffs from TLC's "Creep," simultaneously a nostalgic shout-out and justification for the album's name: Creepers. (ML) Holocene, 9:15 pm.
[COMEDY] See profile here. White Owl Social Club, 10 pm.
[SOUL] On Landing on a Hundred, his first album in a decade, Cody Chesnutt sounds like a changed man. In 2002, he released The Headphone Masterpiece, a 36-track burst of unfiltered creative madness that was, at turns, raunchy and righteous. His latest documents Chesnutt's period of spiritual "cleansing," with songs chastising himself for past misogyny and celebrating the birth of his son, against a backdrop of bright, classic soul. (MPS) Doug Fir Lounge, midnight.
[BEACHSIDE HONKY-TONK] Brooklyn power duo Frank Hoier and Moselle Spiller pack a sonic wallop both thick and lean. The couple formerly known as Boom Chick's debut full-length, Want to Give, is a lo-fi onslaught of surf-garage riffs and classic blues. Tracks like "Shake Can Well" crunch with early rock-'n'-roll energy, while full-throttle chomper "Sharkbite" sounds like the gnarly love child of Dick Dale and the White Stripes. (AS) Doug Fir Lounge, 11 pm.
[PSYCHEDELIC ELECTRONICA] Dan Deacon has never been one to shy away from the light, be it with his animated electronic music or penchant for zany live appearances featuring light-up skulls and other various touch lights. The Baltimore psychedelic popsmith's shows combine skittering iPods for backing tracks and synchronized shouts about Harry Potter from the crowd, but that doesn't mean his music should be taken, ahem, lightly: His last album, America, dealt intelligently with the positive and negative fibers that weave the country together. (NMC) Pioneer Courthouse Square, 7 pm.
[SKATE PUNK] Not many folks would name "TV Party" their favorite Black Flag song, but for the proud young wastrels in L.A.'s FIDLAR, it clearly resonated as a call to arms. The band's shouty, adolescent punk is only song-title deep—examples from its 2013 debut include "Cheap Beer," "Wake Bake Skate" and "Cocaine"—but a little juvenile verve goes a long way, and these dudes leak it from their pores. (MPS) Backspace, 11 pm.
[ELECTRO HIP-HOP] Australian beatmaker Flume is not like other electronic dance producers, even when he occasionally resembles them. Sure, his self-appointed genre, "Flume-step," owes a lot to the jerky beats of Flying Lotus, and his opiate-addled synths and Chipmunk-ified vocals are a clear tip of the flat-brimmed cap to Scotland's king of wonky, Hudson Mohawke. But unlike those guys, the 21-year-old otherwise known as Harley Streten is at his best when keeping things simple.
On his self-titled 2012 album, only a handful of elements—a low kick drum, hand claps, two or three synths, a background rhythm that evokes heavy breathing—are used to create beautiful songs other producers would have drowned in effects. That's not to mention that he's a half-generation younger than both FlyLo and HudMo, and grew up thousands of miles away from either.
His rise to prominence has been similarly unique. After all, how many other EDM stars can claim to have discovered electronic music via a freebie CD-ROM program hidden inside a cereal box? In 2010, as an utterly unknown 19-year-old, he signed to Sydney-based Future Classic and released a pair of well-received singles, "Sleepless" and "I Met You," a sunny pop-house collaboration with producer Anna Lunoe. Then, last November, his debut LP beat out One Direction to claim the top spot on the Australian iTunes charts, sending the country's Twittersphere into a tizzy.
If he can beat the boy bands in Australia, beat the odds for success as a very young producer and still keep his beats perfectly off-kilter, Flume might just be unbeatable. MITCH LILLIE. Wonder Ballroom, midnight.
[OLD-TIMEY FOLK] Frank Fairfield was not made for this time. A spry 27-year-old, the central California native plucks, picks and hollers with the vigor of a freight train and raw, reedy drawl of pre-Civil War Americana. His albums are an acoustic smorgasbord of traditional and original tunes, laced with bow and fiddle but bred of fire-and-brimstone tales reminiscent of a bygone era he knows only from the musty 78s on his shelf. (BW) Bunk Bar, midnight.
[EXPERIMENTAL DRONE] The only mainstay in the world of Gate over the past 25 years has been Michael Morley. As such, the project has followed whatever whims the erstwhile member of New Zealand freak-noise group the Dead C wishes to explore. That could mean turning an off-center loop of a Rolling Stones song into a wobbly anthem, or quietly warbling over a shuffling electronic rhythm and drawn-out keyboard melodies. (RH) Roseland Theater, 9 pm.
The Great Mundane
[ELECTRONICA] Bridging the gap between electronica and hip-hop is no easy task, but the Great Mundane does it well. Sharing vibes, fans and remixes with fellow Portlander Emancipator, the Great Mundane brings less natural elements to the table, but he's got the same deep soul. Many of his tracks keep the beat running with African-styled clicks and thumps. It's enough to make you wonder what's so mundane about this guy's music. (ML) Holocene, 10:15 pm.
Godspeed You! Black Emperor
[POST-ROCK] See profile here. Roseland Theater, 10 pm.
[ELECTRO-POP] It's odd to classify a band as "'80s-sounding" when many of the decade's hallmarks have shown longevity beyond the Top Gun era. The double dose of singles off Haerts' forthcoming debut EP, Hemiplegia, though, proffers electro-pop gusto all the same. The atmospheric synths and spacey guitar lay the groundwork, but it's vocalist Nini Fabi's sentimental warble that gives the Brooklyn-based band its New Wave shimmer. (BW) Pioneer Courthouse Square, 6 pm.
[INDIE POP] Holiday Friends' 2012 debut, Chicks, mixes an array of energetic beats, upbeat synthesizers and multipart harmonies into an all-around infectious indie-pop sound. Following the release of its LP, the Astoria-based group traveled the West Coast in support of Blind Pilot, making for a fitting pair of melody-driven pop acts. (EB) Star Theater, 8 pm.
[EMO AGIT-PUNK] If New Found Glory and the Promise Ring bore a love child with ADHD and a leftist political agenda, Hostage Calm is what you'd get. Driving power pop with one-two drumbeats turn on a dime and lock up with lightly plucked guitar arpeggios, allowing the best songs on 2012's Please Remain Calm to cruise along with a steady thrust that's urgent yet never pushy. (PC) Hawthorne Theatre, 8:30 pm.
Hurray for the Riff Raff
[SOULFUL FOLK] Dusty New Orleans folk outfit Hurray for the Riff Raff plays the kind of rambling tunes you'd expect to hear alongside an unlocked guitar case with a few crumpled dollar bills tossed inside. The band's songs sound lived-in and worn, like each was born from a wandering, world-weary escapade.
Indeed, that's where many of them come from: Twenty-six-year-old leader Alynda Segarra ran away from her aunt and uncle's home in the Bronx when she was 17, spending a couple of years hopping freight trains and playing washboard with traveling bands before landing in the swamps of Louisiana, where she started writing her own songs about the experiences and stories that inspire her.
Segarra formed Hurray for the Riff Raff. Drawing equally from folk, country and '60s pop, 2012's Look Out Mama finds a balance between foot-tapping, fiddle-driven tunes and stripped-down singer-songwriter ballads.
Segarra's magnetic, smoky voice, is the most dominant force in the Riff Raff repertoire, a magnificent instrument full of soul, grit and unwavering wanderlust. Her vocals register as those of an impassioned messenger. Hers is the kind of music that really comes alive when witnessed up close, be it on a stage, a porch or a street corner. EMILEE BOOHER. Bunk Bar, 11 pm.
Into it. Over it.
[POP PUNK] The market for earnest emo pop remains flooded a decade after the fact, but we can't fault Evan Thomas Weiss, Into It Over It's sole proprietor, for being late to the game. Proper, from 2011, is packed with urgency and hooks, qualifying it as required listening for fans of Relient K, Cartel and any of the hundred other identical bands that landed record deals in the time since I typed this sentence. (PC) Hawthorne Theatre, 9:30 pm.
Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas
[POP SOUL] Jessica Hernandez could kick your ass and make you enjoy every second of it. Her songs let the world know she isn't going to put up with any crap, but the raw, sensual power and beauty of her vocals against the Deltas' bluesy, soulful playing suggests that, if you treat her right, she'll make the beat down worth your time. (BP) Doug Fir Lounge, 10 pm.
[NORTHWEST BEACH MUSIC] La Luz is a study in contrast. The Seattle quartet melds '60s girl-group harmonies with boys-club surf guitar, and the band's buzz-garnering debut 2012 EP, Damp Face, would feel equally appropriate as the soundtrack to a Quentin Tarantino movie as well as a Frankie and Annette beach romp. The album is a hooky lo-fi gem, featuring assured psychedelic textures and retro riffs awash in swooning, reverb-soaked vocals, with each member taking a turn on the mic. (AS) Dante's, 9 pm.
[NEW SOUL] The opening track on Larry g(EE)'s debut EP, "Yo Mamma," is no joke—though the playful bridge referencing Kelis' "Milkshake" might say otherwise. The Texas native's Weekends struts a kind of soulful gait that's neither purist nor modern. With the brass on high, rolling piano on low and g(EE)'s new-pop magnetism at the helm, the music has its roots in Motown and funk, while delivering lyrics about smart phones and contemporary heartbreak. (BW) Mississippi Studios, 9 pm.
[AVANT-RAP] As ghettoizing a term as "queer rap" is, there's no denying that hip-hop has, little by little, inched its way out of the closet recently, and New York's Le1f has helped pry the door open. Originally gaining his rep making beats for Das Racist, the elastic-voiced MC dropped a pair of stunning mixtapes in the past year, spitting once-unfathomable lyrics like "I am whatever you say I am/Stop worrying about how gay I am" over cloudy, nearly avant-garde production that's equally as captivating. (MPS) Mississippi Studios, 11 pm.
The Lonesome Billies
[DARK COUNTRY] Portland's Lonesome Billies take their cues from the likes of Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings, but I'm pretty sure neither of those two ever entered a jingle contest sponsored for a shot at $10,000. Regardless, the Hazel Dell, Wash.-bred outfit delivers dark, twanged-out country tunes—sung with throaty despondency by lead vocalist Billy McCune—that are far from uplifting but well-suited for a night of drinking the pain away. (BW) Bunk Bar, 10 pm.
[POP PUNK] A Screeching Weasel for our time and place, Portland pop-punk savants Mean Jeans are totally serious about being totally dumb. Initially establishing itself as this city's premier party band via its fast and silly Ramones-style punk, the band slowed down and refined its sound on last year's Mean Jeans on Mars. It is still haunted by the ghosts of Joey and Johnny, but it owes more to the spacious Pleasant Dreams than the Ramones' buzz-sawing early work. (CS) Backspace, 10 pm.
[GARAGE ROCK] After experimenting with numerous different band members, Sic Alps has called it quits, but that's OK, because the one who kept the band afloat, Mike Donovan, is still around—going it solo this time. Donovan's debut solo album, Wot, is set to release Oct. 15, and if it sounds anything like his former band, expect gritty garage rock with brash guitar that roughs up Donovan's mellow voice. (HM) Dante's, 11 pm.
[COUNTRY DARKNESS] Mount Eerie's 2009 effort, Wind's Poem, attracted songwriter and sole static member Phil Elverum a new level of attention. Inspired by black metal and the coastal Washington landscape, it raised expectations for Elverum's follow-up. In many ways, last year's Clear Moon (the first part of a two-album set, the second of which, Pre-Human Ideas, drops in the fall) exceeds those expectations: It's a gentle, masterfully constructed album that is mesmerizing where it's not downright trance-inducing. (CJ) Aladdin Theater, 9 pm.
[UN-GRUNGE] They're from Washington, their guitars sound dragged through wet waste, and they don't give a fuck about their Internet presence. "Grunge" might be an apt way to describe Naomi Punk, but it leaves a lot of the band's corners unlit. Last year's full-length, The Feeling, bolstered its punk cred, but the vocals have a schoolyard-chant quality, like a broken Kate Bush record. This is not a group that fits easily into any box. (ML) Crystal Ballroom, 8:30 pm.
[ELECTRO R&B] Natasha Kmeto can't get no satisfaction, and it's killing her. On her previous EPs, the Portland future soul singer-producer humanized the glitched-out rhythms and Richter-shifting bass of modern EDM by cutting them with vocal hooks straight off an Aaliyah greatest-hits set. But her recently released second album is called Crisis for a reason. It doesn't writhe in ecstasy so much as in the ache of being deprived of it, with beats that feel hollowed out and infused with black-light moodiness. (MPS) Holocene, 11:15 pm.
[PERCUSSIVE POP] In the Yard is Neal Morgan's second record made exclusively with drums and vocals. Upon listening, though, one rarely notices the limitations. Sometimes, Morgan's sharp, engaging singing voice tumbles over itself to create an orchestra of voices backed by tribal percussion; on other tracks, he speak-sings descriptive passages from tour journals. The tapestry of sound created by Morgan—who is Bill Callahan's touring drummer—seems limitless. (CJ) The Old Church, 8:30 pm
[ECLECTIC ROCKAGE] Portland's Old Light started as a series of autoharp-intensive recordings frontman Garth Klippert played for passengers in his cab. That spawned a band that initially sounded like an aggressive hybrid of My Morning Jacket, the Beach Boys and Black Sabbath, but has since delivered songs steeped in acid jazz, psychedelic Zeppelinisms and spooky shape-shifting atmospherics. You never really know where Klippert and company are going next, and that's precisely what makes them great. (APK) Dante's, 10 pm.
[GLITCH-HOP] Prefuse 73 sounded like nobody else in 2001. With hip-hop snippets and hand claps hiccupping into clipped rhythms under a warm blanket of jazz organ, its sound tapped into the essence of summer in the city. In the intervening years, mastermind Guillermo Scott Herren has taken so many excursions—from freak folk to chillwave to Flaming Lips collabs—he sounds nothing like himself anymore. But then you hear the new track—all transcendental backward strings and skittery click beats—and bam! It's summer again. (MK) Holocene, 12:30 am.
Saves The Day
[CLASSIC EMO] When Saves the Day titled its 1998 debut Can't Slow Down, it's safe to assume longevity was not a priority for the New Jersey-based emo standard-bearers. Still at it 15 years later, it's remarkable the band's digression into chilled-out adults is already behind them. After a flaccid attempt at straightforward rock with 2003's In Reverie, Chris Conley and company recalled their reckless days of yore and resumed churning out bangers made for restless teens with nothing to rebel against. (PC) Hawthorne Theatre, 10:30 pm.
Shlohmo (DJ Set)
[ABSTRACT ELECTRONICS] An L.A. native, Shlohmo (aka Henry Laufer) came of age under the influence of Flying Lotus and DJ Shadow, icons that have added psychedelia, jazz and the avant-garde into the bass-heavy swing of hip-hop. Laufer has taken that same path but found detours galore that have taken him further into the woods for some seriously spooky and troubling lowbrow funk. (RH) Wonder Ballroom, 10:30 pm.
[SMOOTH R&B] Soprano-sax solos, earnest pillow-talk vocals and a production style best described as "dentist-office funk" aren't exactly de rigueur, but that's the appeal of Shy Girls. Voted Portland's reigning Best New Band, its music invokes memories of walking through a mall or riding in an elevator circa 1991. "Blue-eyed soul" is the hipper nomenclature, but if you were to use the term "easy listening" to describe it, the band wouldn't take offense. (MPS) Mississippi Studios, 10 pm.
Sons of Huns
[METAL] Sons of Huns have risen quickly to the upper echelons of Portland's hardest-rocking bands, built on a solid foundation of balls-to-the-wall beats, huge guitar solos and blistering live shows. Somewhere between Fu Manchu and Black Sabbath, the trio combines the psych-y riffing and freewheeling energy of the former with the shout-along vocals and dramatic sensibilities of the latter. (RB) White Owl Social Club, 9 pm.
[POWER PUNK] Superchunk is never going to surprise you, and that's among its better qualities. Over 23 years, the North Carolina stalwarts have squeezed a lot of life from just a few energetic power chords, strained-larynx hooks and a lot of punkish soul. Tenth album I Hate Music is every bit as vital as their 1990 debut, except frontman Mac McCaughan now uses his aggro-elfin whinny to ruminate on death, aging and the joys of staying at home. (MPS) Crystal Ballroom, 10:30 pm.
[INDIE SURF ROCK] Rising from the ashes of a chance conversation at an after party for Miami's Ultra Music Festival—and a shared distaste for dance music—Surfer Blood has quickly ascended the indie-rock circuit with hooky surf-rock anthems chock-full of marauding melodies. Still in its infancy, the West Palm Beachers have scored international tour dates, pop-critic reverence and high-level anticipation for second LP Pythons, released in June. (GS) Star Theater, 11 pm.
[ANTHEMIC PUNK] Once a punk band successfully records a concept album about a Civil War battleship, its ambitions are bound to recede. Local Business, New Jersey history buffs Titus Andronicus' follow-up to their lofty 2010 breakthrough, The Monitor, finds the group returning to its scraggly, beery-eyed roots, ripping from rousing Springsteen-isms to shambling New York Dolls trash blues to Replacements-style emotional bloodletting. (MPS). Crystal Ballroom, 9:30 pm.
[ORCHESTRAL POP] Since moving up to Portland from Salem in the early aughts, Typhoon has won the hearts of the local music scene with its emotive, richly layered orchestral pop. But now the band—which, with its 12 active members, resembles an actual orchestra—is making a beefed-up bid for national fame.
Key in that quest? A new full-length album, White Lighter, released Aug. 20. The band recorded it last summer at Pendarvis Farm in Happy Valley, then spent the next year making sure every plink of the piano and pull of the strings was in the right place. The resulting sound is big, mighty, three-dimensional—and an indication that Typhoon no longer fits in the average Portland basement.
The ballads are lush and sing-along-friendly, the instrumental strata—bombastic drums boom against military-style horns and joyous strings, with whistles and bells and chimes percolating throughout—lavish. Triumphant bursts collide with moments of haunting spareness. The subject matter, too, is recognizably dark. Lyrical themes of guilt, aging and physical vulnerability often clash with the music's stirring, sunny crescendos. Kyle Morton's slightly breathy voice, vulnerable yet urgent, acts as an anchor, ensuring that the bold, busy tracks never erupt into unhinged chaos. REBECCA JACOBSON. The Old Church, 9:30 pm.
[GARAGE ROCK] A Southern California kid raised on Black Flag, Ty Segall was not the obvious choice to lead the garage-rock revival. But the multi-instrumentalist and songwriter has become one of the most active around, putting out three releases via three different bands in 2012 alone. His latest solo effort, Sleeper, proves he can do dark acoustic introspection as well as loud, unhinged fuzz rock. (MAS) Dante's, midnight.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra
[PSYCH FUNK] As guitar gods go, Unknown Mortal Orchestra's Ruban Nielson is pretty low-key. It's only in concert that one realizes the extent of the New Zealand-bred frontman's labyrinthine licks. UMO's sophomore effort, II, makes more obvious use of Nielson's hands than its predecessor, but it's his singing and songwriting that feel fully evolved. The funky cut-and-paste sound experiments of its debut have been replaced by seven-minute stoner jams and tricky pop songs that could almost pass as latter-day Beatles B-sides. (CJ) Branx, 11 pm.
[POST GLO-FI] South Carolina's Ernest Greene is as much to blame for Portland's national branding as Fred and Carrie: His bliss-drunk 2009 single, "Feel It All Around," opens Portlandia. But the onetime chillwave leader didn't just pack up his laptop after the fad faded and let the royalty checks roll in: Newly released second album Paracosm is equally gauzy and lightheaded, though also warmer and more organic. (MPS) Mississippi Studios, midnight.
The We Shared Milk
[PSYCH POP] The self-described "party boys" in the We Shared Milk refer to their music as "moron rock," which isn't to say the Portland quartet dumbs down its woozy brand of psych pop. It just prefers to keep things simple. On Lame Sunset, the band's second album in less than a year, the group interweaves remnants of its previous work—distorted guitar that glints and glides above syncopated rhythms—with a hazy shade of melancholia, its dazed crawl anchored by a newfound mix of keyboards. (BW) Branx, 9 pm.
[ELECTRO DREAM POP] There's nothing all that wild about Wild Ones. Keep It Safe, the title of the quartet's debut album, is a better indicator of what to expect from the 3-year-old Portland group's romantic, richly detailed electro-acoustic pop. Golden-glow synths flutter with crystalline grace around subtly employed guitars and light dance beats, like Beach House shaken out of its love-buzzed haze. (MPS) Star Theater, 9 pm.
Wooden Indian Burial Ground
[PSYCHEDELIC GARAGE ROCK] Originally a mellow guitar-and-drums duo, Portland's Wooden Indian Burial Ground underwent a few changes last year, expanding its lineup into a four-piece and returning frontman Justin Fowler to his heavily distorted roots. Its self-titled debut is a blizzard of in-the-red guitars, squealing Farfisa organ and cranium-collapsing feedback, all swirling around in a whirlpool of hallucinogenic reverb. (MPS) Branx, 10 pm.
[POP PUNK] The 11 blasts of bracing pop punk on 2012's Don't Fuck This Up! should transform Youthbitch's terrible name into a household one, at least in circles wont to worship noisy joy. Chief songwriters Nico Esparrago and Stevie Sensitive make like Lennon and McCartney, trading lead vocals and lifting each other to great pop peaks merely hinted at by the band's debut. The album's title suggests the musicians knew they were on the verge of something great, and they were right. And they did not fuck it up, even a little bit. (CS) Backspace, 9 pm.
CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Emilee Booher, Ruth Brown, Nathan Carson, Pete Cottell, Joe Donovan, Jonathan Frochtzwajg, Robert Ham, Jay Horton, Reed Jackson, Matthew Korfhage, AP Kryza, Mitch Lillie, Haley Martin, Brian Palmer, Jeff Rosenberg, Amanda Schurr, Matthew P. Singer, Grace Stainback, Chris Stamm, Mark A. Stock, Brandon Widder.