Hailing from Madison, Wis., Josh Harty is a North Dakota native with a smooth baritone-tenor voice and a clean, melodic guitar style. His father, both a preacher and the sheriff of his boyhood small town, was also Harty's musical mentor. "I was either going to heaven, or to jail," Harty jokes. Dad took him to churches, halls and everywhere they could sing, and you can hear years of performance in his latest Americana record "Nowhere." It's relaxed enough to make you feel comfortable, but intelligent enough to make you think.
Mister Fisk, Josh Harty, 6 p.m. Thursday, June 7, Alberta Street Pub, 1036 N.E. Alberta St. Info: 503-284-7665, www.joshharty.com.
Featuring Portland songwriter-vocalist-guitarist Steve Wilkinson, Wilkinson Blades includes Johnny Huck on bass, Jon Beyers on drums, Grant Cumpston on guitar and backing vocals, and Rich Lander on keyboards, mandolin, and backing vocals. Wilkinson spent four years putting together his newest 11-track CD "4:00 AM" which contains elements of roots, pop, blues and rock. Known for his work with Mission 5, Wilkinson assembled these songs with the help of his Mission 5/Blades buddies, as well as drummer Rob Stroup, multi-instrumentalist Rich Lander, Professor Gall's Drew Norman, and Sean Flora. The album also features songs co-written by Rob Barteletti, Nick Peets and Anthony Lambright. Wilkinson offers the kind of meat 'n' potatoes music that fills a tummy hungry for comfort food and drink when the diners are closed and the bars have yet to open.
Wilkinson Blades, Eskimo, McDougall, 9 p.m. Saturday, June 9, Secret Society Ballroom, 116 N.E. Russell St. $10, $15 includes CD. Info: 503-493-3600, www.secretsociety.net.
Vancouver, B.C., duo Japandroids sound like The Cure if they finally realized all that moping gets you nowhere and decided to rock out in order to get the crowd moving their footsies or the cops swinging their batons. Combining sonic ideas culled from classic rock, punk, hardcore and various riots throughout history, Japandroids believes in rock, and you'd be hard-pressed to not convert after hearing them. Featuring Brian King on Bob-Mould-like guitar and vocals and David Prowse on drums and vocals, they've been the critics' darling for awhile, but unlike a lot of critically acclaimed bands that actually stink because, well, critics often don't dance, Japandroids decidedly don't stink, which is why if you believe life is worth living you must see them.
Japandroids, Cadence, 9 p.m. Tuesday, June 12, Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E. Burnside St. $13 in advance, $15 day of show. Info: 503-231-WOOD, www.dougfirlounge.com.
This mortal producer
John Fryer has produced everyone from Depeche Mode and the Cocteau Twins to Nine Inch Nails and Stabbing Westward and played a hand in popularizing goth and industrial, not to mention any number of other hip musical trends. He's also created soundtracks for "Mortal Kombat" and "Resident Evil: Apocalypse," as well as music for his own group This Mortal Coil. So what's a highly accomplished Englishman to do next? Come to our fair city and perform with his latest project DarkDriveClinic, which also features Stripmall Architecture's emotive vocalist Rebecca Coseboom. If you're interested in why your contemporary world sounds the way it does, you could a lot worse than going to this show, an aural Wikipedia of the past several decades in electronic musical adventurism.
DarkDriveClinic, Wussy, 10 p.m. Thursday, June 14, Star Theater, 13 N.W. Sixth Ave. $7. Info: 503-248-4700, www.startheaterportland.com.
Admit it. You've done it. Not only when no one's looking, but sometimes right in front of people, even in crowded nightclub. That's right, you've played ... air guitar! We've all done it at least a few times, wind-milling to a Who song or strumming to a funky Prince tune as the women around us on the dance floor either recoil in horror or join in the fun. Now you can display those skills you've honed at The US Air Guitar Championships, which kicks off its 2012 season in Portland. Anyone 21 and older is eligible to compete -- all you have to do is sign up (and pay a fee) at www.usairguitar.com.
Air Guitar Championships, 9 p.m. Friday, June 15, Dante's, 350 W. Burnside St. $12 in advance, $15 at the door. Info: 503-226-6630, www.danteslive.com.