THURSDAY, AUG. 25
Digable Planets, Camp Lo
[JAZZ RAP LEGENDS] In 1993, after scoring a crossover hit, selling a half million records and winning a Grammy, trio Digable Planets was dubbed by some as the next big thing in hip-hop. Two years later, it no longer existed. Read about their return to the hip-hop orbit here. Crystal Ballroom. 8 pm. $25.
Todd Barry, Bryan Cook, Joann Schinderle
[COMEDY] Barry, a veteran standup with a soft delivery, can read loan documents and make them sound hilarious. Dante's. 9 pm. $15.
FRIDAY, AUG. 26
Dr. Martens Project Pabst Kickoff Party: Vince Staples, Mean Jeans
[RAP REALISM PLUS PARTY PUNK] Each year for the last few years, Dr. Martens has hosted a free kickoff party for MusicfestNW the night before the official start of the festival. Past performers have included Killer Mike, Ted Leo, Mariachi El Bronx and Typhoon, which are all awesome. But for the inaugural version of MFNWpPP—MusicfestNW presents Project Pabst for long—they've really gone above and beyond, with a double bill of Long Beach rapper Vince Staples and Portland party punks Mean Jeans. Read our five favorite Vince Staples quotes here. Downtown Dr. Martens Store Parking Lot, 2 NW 10th Ave. 5 pm. Sold out.
Y La Bamba, Orquestra Pacifico Tropical, Haley Heynderickx
[LATIN FOLK] For some, September will mark the end of a vanishing act. Portland's much-admired Latin-folk act Y La Bamba will release its first full-length in more than four years—a deeply personal record called Ojos del Sol. It's music to the patient ears of frontwoman Luz Elena Mendoza's many fans. But in terms of the evolution that took place within that window, it's really a flash in time. Read more here. Revolution Hall. 8 pm. $15.
Busdriver, Deantoni Parks, Blossom
[NEW OLD SCHOOL] Busdriver's been around for a while now—it's been 15 years since the release of the L.A. rapper's first album—but that doesn't mean he's run out of ways to get weird. He's still got a highly distinct, arty diction, and on the two mixtapes he's put out last year, he mixes everything from syncopated synthesizers to coffee-shop acoustic guitars. Portland's Blossom isn't afraid to layer on the unexpected, either. She's at her most powerful when she keeps things slow, and matches her smooth voice with spacey, almost psychedelic production. Both Busdriver and Blossom have the rare ability to appease rap and R&B traditionalist while still pushing the boundaries of their respective genres, making this an ideal pairing. SHANNON GORMLEY. Mississippi Studios. 9 pm. $12 advance, $14 day of show.
Real Estate, Potty Mouth, Divers
[INDIE POP] Real Estate can rightfully be described as both pleasant and harmless, but in a good way. Inoffensive melodies have their place even in this ugly world, and who better to bring them to your ears than Real Estate? Drawing from groups like the Feelies and the Clean, the band is often accused of being an indie rock band. Don't let that tag freak you out, though: They're pure pop, if a little on the lo-fi side. They emerged from the fey morass of the late-aughts indie scene, toured with Girls (from whom they poached their keyboard player) and Kurt Vile, and while those bands may have faded from prominence, Real Estate haven't lost their touch. BRACE BELDEN. Lola's Room at Crystal Ballroom. 9 pm. $18.
Candace, Talkative, Adventure Galley, Pony Village
[DREAMPOP] Fresh off the road and in cracking form from touring their excellent New Futures LP, Portland's favorite shoegazers celebrate a career stretching nearly a decade. Anyone whose indelible high school milestones were soundtracked by the likes of Juliana Hatfield, Belly or The Breeders will find something to trigger their nostalgia in the pop hooks of these Minneapolis transplants. CRIS LANKENAU. Kelly's Olympian. 8 pm. $5.
Pinkish Black, Hot Victory, Motrik, Demon Familiar
[PSYCHED OUT] For a metal-adjacent synth, keyboard and drum duo from Fort Worth, Pinkish Black have a lot more to do with Finnish psychedelia than with their swampy Relapse Records labelmates. Pinkish Black's music, a languid wash of low-end bass growls swirled over by synths and Daron Beck's moody croons, specifically evokes the sound of bands like Circle of Ouroborus and Oranssi Pazuzu, who weave synth weirdness into a black metal shell—but minus the black metal. 2015's Bottom of the Morning was an overlooked gem whose primal rumblings will suit a space like the Ash Street Saloon well. WALKER MACMURDO. Ash St. Saloon. 8pm. $10.
SATURDAY, AUG. 27
Guided By Voices, Summer Cannibals
[BOOZE ROCK] The club never really closes for Robert Pollard. Part genius, part madman workaholic and full-on lush, the leader of indie-rock institution Guided By Voices has released something like 400 albums under the moniker (OK, it's actually closer 23) plus countless records and EPs under various other weird names. Pollard has written some of the best rock songs of all-time, full stop—"Game of Pricks," " A Salty Salute," I could go on—and some total clunkers, but what you really need to know is that GBV are power-pop gods and also a ridiculously fun live band. This new version features old MFNW favorite Bobby Bare Jr. on guitar, but ultimately it doesn't really matter who is playing with Pollard as long as he's clutching that bottle of Jose Cuervo and you're slamming a few cold ones (PBR this year!) and shouting "GBV! GBV!" at the top of your lungs. MICHAEL MANNHEIMER. Crystal Ballroom. 9:30 pm. $25 advance, $30 day of show.
David Bazan, Michael Nau
[DARK WAVE] Former Pedro the Lion mastermind David Bazan has always been a conflicted theologian. Though initially outspoken about his faith, he evolved into a much more interesting artist when he suffered a crisis of said faith. On both LPs under his Christian name, Curse Your Branches and Strange Negotiations, Bazan reimagines the dark, dangerous themes he previously set to morose, guitar-driven indie rock with a sinister electronic aesthetic reminiscent of Ben Gibbard's Postal Service, if Gibbard's beat-maker were Trent Reznor. His lyrical approach is less narrative than Pedro's concept albums, but it still induces an ennui deep enough for listeners to consider a higher power. CRIS LANKENAU. Mississippi Studios. 9 pm. $20.
And And And, Souvenir Driver, Rilla, Grand Lake Islands
[NW ROCK] Portland lifers And And And crafted one of the best local records of 2015 in the ironically-named The Failure, a bracing blend of fist-clenching percussion and searing guitar work. The quintet borrows from a lot of regional greats, from Built to Spill to Aan. The songs are sobering, and there's the slightest countrified bend in sound just to keep your ears interested. MARK STOCK. Kelly's Olympian. 9 pm. $5.
Bell Witch, Muscle and Marrow, Zirakzigil, John Haughm
[MAXIMUM DOOM] Holy fuck, this is going to be a heavy show. Each Bell Witch song is an endless odyssey through often gratingly minimalistic metal—both good things, in case you weren't sure. Muscle and Marrow isn't afraid to plunge into some seriously dark and dirge-y depths, either. Love, the duo's sophomore album, is an ambient yet intense record on which the band blends ieverything from synthesizer loops to creepy chanting into their sound. Their respective approaches may be very different, but both bands prove that, done right, the most minimal setups can produce the heaviest music. SHANNON GORMLEY. Ash Street Saloon. 9 pm. $10.
Hillstomp, Underwhelming Favorites, Pretty Gritty
[THE O-KEYS] Even though the local duo may look like another pared-down guitar-percussive pairing, the snarling blues riffs of Hillstomp's Henry Hill Kammerer and double (triple? quadruple?) barreled assault of John "Lord Buckets" Johnson's ramshackle drum kit approximate the shitkicker maelstrom of a packed roadhouse set to flames. On albums like 2014's fifth full-length Portland, Oregon, Hillstomp expands its sonic framework somewhat—lowering tempos on newfangled murder ballads to better exploit traditionalist vocals steeped in a keening Appalachiania—but these live shows remain hell-for-leather hootenannies far more than the sum of their parts. JAY HORTON. Doug Fir Lounge. 9 pm. $12 advance, $15 day of show.
SUNDAY, AUG. 28
Peter Bjorn and John, Bayonne, Jay Som
[AUDACIOUS SWEDES] Peter Bjorn and John will probably always be remembered as the band that released "that one whistling song"—aka "Young Folks"—in the summer of '06. The trio has spent the last four albums chasing that acclaim without replicating the sound, and it's been successful, to a degree. With their latest, Breakin' Point, they enlisted a host of decorated producers for an LP as polished and hook-tastic as anything in the ABBA discography, though it comes off as a collection of lovelorn singles than a singular statement. They have the prowess, yet they've lost some of their urgency in their attempt to chart against today's mainstream pop. Call it Writer's Block,, if you will. BRANDON WIDDER. Revolution Hall. 9 pm. $20.
Shy Girls, The Last Artful, Dodgr, My Body
[NOT-SO-HIDDEN GEM] It's not uncommon for the headliner to be a safe bet instead of the most compelling artist, and that's case here. The Last Artful Dodgr has been leading the Portland hip-hop scene with her melodic raps and a voice that's both chameleonic and distinct. She can transform from nasally and soulful to hard-hitting and aggro in a matter of seconds. That's not to dismiss Shy Girls, though. Producer Dan Vidmar makes some seriously smooth bedroom pop, and his recent single "I Am Only A Man" is a lesson in anthemic yet atmospheric songwriting. SHANNON GORMLEY. Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison St. 8:30 pm. $5 advance, $10 day of show.
All shows ticketed separately. All shows 21+.
Ice Cube: Original Gangster, Unconventional Activist b/w Portland Rappers' Favorite Cube Lyrics | Portland's Most Hardcore Duran Duran Fans b/w Rare Duran Duran Memorabilia | Tame Impala Weed Strains | The Cult of Ween | The Myth of Drive Like Jehu | Ask Andrew W.K. | Five Facts About A$AP Ferg | Five Facts About Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats | Tenement | The Coathangers | Liv Warfield | Parquet Courts | Hop Along | STRFKR | Unknown Mortal Orchestra | Sheer Mag | Diarrhea Planet | Kyle Craft | Awesome Things at Project Pabst That Aren't Music | Project Pabst Night Shows