Portland's Shoebox Letters features Dennis Winslow on guitar and vocals, David Stricker on bass, Miguel Lyons Cavazos on drums and vocals and newcomer Ashley Kaiser on (very nice) lead vocals. The band's fourth album, 'Raise a Ruckus,' sounds a tiny bit like Southern Culture on the Skids if they weren't drunk. The band plays meat 'n' potatoes Americana, and would definitely please fans of everyone from John Fogerty to Tom Petty to any decent country rocker, which is no surprise, since Winslow plied the songwriter trade in Nashville back in the 1990s. Fortunately, he seems to have avoided the hokier aspects of the town's sound while keeping the grit that originally made country music so compelling.
Shoebox Letters, 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 7, Eugenios, 3584 S.E. Division St. Free. All ages. Info: 503-233-3656, www.shoeboxlettersmusic.com.
A dum dum's guide to rock
Listen to 'Coming Down' and 'Bedroom Eyes' off Dum Dum Girls' second album 'Only in Dreams' and you're transported to a world of '90s fuzzy psychedelic rock filtered through Phil Spector's Wall of Sound when he was recording all those great female groups. Quartet leader Dee Dee (the punky Kristen Gundred) has a relaxed vocal style that blends perfectly with her BFFs, guitarist Jules, bassist Bambi and drummer Sandy. The band is on tour with Crocodiles, a Jesus and Mary Chain meets Joy Division duo that owes more than they realize to doo-wop. Sharing the stage is man-this-music-is-fun Colleen Green, who blends bubblegum, punk and psychedelia. This show may just make more than a few too-cool-to-dance hipsters finally rip their jeans for real.
Dum Dum Girls, Crocodiles, Colleen Green, DJ Mario Orduno, 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 7, Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E. Burnside St. $13 in advance, $15 day of show. Info: 503-231-9663, www.dougfirlounge.com.
They shall return
Speaking of all-girl groups, the godmothers of chick rock, Filipino sisters June and Jean Millington, started out playing ukuleles in their homeland and then electric guitars here in the good ol' U.S.A. The sisters formed a succession of all-girl bands in Sacramento, the biggest of which was Fanny, which toured internationally from 1969 to 1974, giving the boys a run for their rock 'n' roll money by fearlessly opening shows for Chicago, Dr. John and Jethro Tull. Jean's is one of those voices you hear on David Bowie's 'Fame,' and June has been a key figure in female music, playing crucial roles in the careers of Cris Williamson and Holly Near, among countless others. None of this would mean anything, however, if the Millingtons hadn't kicked, well, serious fanny, which they did, and plan to do when they come to town to promote their new album 'Play Like A Girl,' the title song of which is pure Chuck Berry in-your-face wonderfulness.
June and Jean Millington, Johanna, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8, Star Theater, 13 N.W. Sixth Ave. $21. 21 and over. Info: 503-248-4700, www.startheaterportland.com.
The Brothers of the Baladi perform music from their Grammy-nominated CD, 'Just Do What's Right,' as Portland belly dancers, Fanina and Jewels, shimmer and shake at a benefit for the 10th Annual Daniel Pearl World Music Days. The concert is part of a global network of events to promote peace and understanding through music, and are named for the journalist-musician Daniel Pearl who was murdered in Afghanistan. The always-danceable Brothers play Arabic, Turkish, Persian, Armenian, North African, reggae and Latin music, plus their own tunes. 'Pan Mediterranean World Beat-nik group' Negara will share the stage.
KINK FM Benefit for Daniel Pearl World Music Days, 8 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 9, The Woods, 6637 S.E. Milwaukie Ave., $10. 21 and older. Info: 503-890-0408, www.thewoodsportland.com.
Dark damsels and duos
Now, this is an interesting show. Starting off the night will be Portland's The Dark Backward, an adventurous group made up of Alexander Marble on bass, Adrien Warner on vocals, Jordan Daniel on guitar and vocals, Andisheh Afghan on violin and Phillip Walsh on drums. The Dark Backward, grandchildren of Oingo Boingo and maybe distant cousins of Fishbone, mixes blues, jazz, punk, pop, and electronica in a pretty energetic way, as if they're just discovering all these genres. Then, hailing from San Diego, comes the duo Magnuson, who play clever slightly progressive rock, metal-meets-grunge and alternative tunes with distortion, murky vocals and plenty o' passion and some quirky tempos. Meanwhile, Death Letters, a Dutch duo playing ferocious punk-rock with bits of blues, psychedelia, metal and melodic mayhem thrown in for good measure, should make this a pretty darn excitin' show, ladies and germs.
The Dark Backward, Magnuson, Death Letters, 9 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 11, Ash St. Saloon, 225 S.W. Ash St. $5. Info: 502-226-0430, www.ashstreetsaloon.com.