Jewell like her
Boise-born and Boston-based, Eilen Jewell sings like a hair-piled-to-heaven country gal, yet dresses like a Portland femme fatale (you know, the boots…), and simply rocks, rolls, sways and strolls. The 20-something has put out three albums and is one of those 'critically acclaimed' types who, more importantly, can also make you dance. She's every twangy, soul-stricken garage-band-meets-rockabilly-meets-folkie's dream, but if she's not careful, she may get arrested when she plays here for simply being too damn good.
Eilen Jewell, 9:30 p.m. Friday, June 11, Duff's Garage, 1635 S.E. Seventh Ave. Info: 503-234-BEER, duffsgarage.com.
Portland's The Fast Takers live up to their name, laying down tight, skinless garage rock that hits you like a profane tirade spewed from the mouth of a homeless beggar you just refused to give your last smoke. Singer Hernan sounds like a higher-pitched Joey Ramone, and he's backed by Adam on guitar, Eric on drums, Brian on bass and John on guitar (surnames would apparently undermine their street cred). You can celebrate the release of their new 4-song 7-inch record 'She's Goin' Crazy,' along with Lawrence, Kan., power-pop rockers Rooftop Vigilantes, as well as Doom Patrol and Olympia's punkish, melodic trio Gun Outfit.
The Fast Takers, Rooftop Vigilantes, Doom Patrol, Gun Outfit, 9 p.m. Friday, June 11, East End, 203 S.E. Grand Ave. Info: 503-232-0056, myspace.com/eastendpdx.
One of rock music's most fan-friendly acts (as long as you don't try to high-five them or wear a 1983 haircut), guitar-drum duo Local H will play an entire album picked by an audience member out of a hat when they come to town. Brian St. Clair's drumming and Scott Lucas' guitar work and vocals are continually fresh, exciting and on point, and even make your well-worn grunge lines sound novel after all these years. They share the stage with waves-a-crashing, slightly ringing rockers Left Brain Heart as well as Portland's own Element 57, a wonderfully grandiose alternative rock band.
Local H, Left Brain Heart, Element 57, 8 p.m. Saturday, June 12, Berbati's Pan, 10 S.W. Third Ave. $12 in advance, $15 at the door. All ages. Info: 503-226-2122, berbati.com.
Cage the Elephant is one of the few popular rock acts that remembers it all started when blues and country mated to create a real wild child who grew up to take over the airwaves. However, far from being stale archivists, these high-energy young'uns know how to reach their peers, as vocalist Matthew Schultz occasionally weaves hip-hop-style wordplay over irresistibly funky, foot-stompin' grooves and rockin' riffs. It all sounds sort of like that kid who sat in the last seat in class, cynically cracking jokes, yet making heartfelt observations when he let his guard down.
Cage the Elephant, 22-20s, Autovaughn, 9 p.m. Wednesday, June 16, Crystal Ballroom, 1332 West Burnside.$15. All ages. Info: 503-225-0047, mcmenamins.com.
Milky way out there
Montreal's synth-pop-rock melodicists Stars, made up of members of Broken Social Scene and fronted by straight-ahead soprano lead vocalist Amy Millan, create danceable yet loungey tunes for the space age. Their songs are dreamy bits of colorful aural candy that float in your mind ever so slightly out of reach of your cerebral tongue. That's why if you've been waiting for that right moment for your first kiss with him or her, this is the show that will let you plant one, because the Stars will be aligned with your on-the-verge-of-ecstasy mindset.
Stars, Dead Child Star, 8 p.m. Thursday, June 17, Aladdin Theater, 3017 S.E. Milwaukie Ave. $16. 503-234-9694, aladdin-theater.com.