Ethos Student Bands – Friday @ Backspace (115 NW 5th)
Ethos Music Center is a wonderful nonprofit that gives affordable music lessons, holds afterschool music programs in local elementary and high schools around the city, and does incredible work keeping music in the hearts and hands of young people. This concert is an end of the school year blowout featuring seven bands with members ranging in age from 10 to 18. They’ll be performing all original material, as well. In a word: amazing.
Shellac – Saturday/Sunday @ Berbati’s (231 SW Ankeny)
Shellac (pictured) don’t have an official webpage. They have released only four full-length albums and a handful of singles over the course of the 17 years that they have been together. And they play live even more sporadically. They are, basically, the ultimate cult band. When they do get together to perform and record, the sound is raw, precise metallic-tinged rock boiled down to its bare essentials. If you fancy yourself a fan of the indie scene, these shows are not to be missed.
Pop Art 4/Serge Gainsbourg night – Sunday @ Mississippi Pizza (3552 N Mississippi)
For some reason, the work of one of France’s most prolific songwriters and composers is getting a lot of attention here in Portland. There’s the ye-ye inspired combo Les Étrangers, who pay tribute to the late Gainsbourg’s pop songs alongside recreations of singles by Jacques Dutronc and France Gall. And there’s Todd Bishop’s group, Pop Art 4, who recently released a CD of Gainsbourg covers. It’s a beautiful tribute to that singular talent and, live, it is even more entrancing.
Oregon Painting Society – Tuesday @ Valentines (232 SW Ankeny)
This local art collective produces everything from videos to elaborate installations to forward thinking music of all stripes. No word on what this group has in store for the cozy confines of Valentine’s, but rest assured, you will not have seen anything like it before or after.
Ghislain Poirier & Daedalus – Wednesday @ Doug Fir Lounge (830 E Burnside)
Poirier is a Montreal-based DJ and producer with a bone deep intuitive sense of dancehall, hip-hop and funk. His albums manage to mash together the dark, grey of a city with the sun-baked streets of a Caribbean seaside town. His fellow member of the peerless Ninja Tune roster Daedalus hails from Los Angeles and carries that city’s relentless optimism and unyielding sunshine on the back of his gorgeously-rendered downtempo rhythms.
Femi Kuti & Positive Force – Wednesday @ Oregon Zoo (4001 SW Canyon Rd)
Femi Kuti is one of the many children of late Afrobeat superstar Fela Kuti, but is the one who is most boldly carrying the torch of his father’s sultry, bouncing sound. Femi comes to town on the heels of a controversy in his native Nigeria that saw the authorities closing down his club, Africa Shrine. The club has since been reopened but such small indignities will not dull the light and spirit of his uplifting music when his band comes to town this week.