Portland's Mnemonic Sounds' debut album 'Muscle Memories' is a meticulously crafted and highly listenable combo of electro-pop, rock, techno, Brit Invasion melodies and cocktail sounds. With its male-female voices, the CD sounds like two shy computer programmers or baristas falling in love, or at least becoming close in a respectful yet clearly best friends type of way. Its understated gentle harmonic vocal approach holds together tunes melodically beautiful, lyrically intelligent and short enough to keep from getting repetitive. Band members Megan Ouchida (lead singer, guitar, electronic beats, electronic instruments), Peter Suk (co-lead singer, synths, keys, electronic beats, electronic instruments, guitar) Patrick Hughes (drummer) and Michael Blake (guitar) will share the stage with electro-pop rockers Climber and dreamy indie artists Charmparticles.
Mnemonic Sounds, Climber, Charmparticles, 9 p.m. Thursday, July 22, Doug Fir, 830 E. Burnside St. $8 in advance, $10 day of show. Info: 503-231-WOOD, www.dougfirlounge.com.
Big Head Todd and The Monsters are touring to support their latest album, 'Rocksteady,' on which the new wave blues rockers stir a slightly different stew than what they've ladled out before, throwing in reggae, soul and punk rock ingredients. Todd Park Mohr, as fine a guitarist as many of his better known peers, always sings a bit like John Hiatt and fronts one of America's more epic meat 'n' potatoes rock bands.
Big Head Todd and The Monsters, Truth and Salvage Company, 9 p.m. Thursday, July 22, Crystal Ballroom, 1332 West Burnside St. $24 in advance, $27 day of the show. 21 and over. Info: 503-225-0047, www.mcmenamins.com.
If you're looking to celebrate Peruvian Independence Day, you can do no better than to check out Seattle's DeCajón Project featuring Peruvian national dance champion and percussionist Monica Rojas. The six-piece group plays Afro-Peruvian music (their name derives from cajón, a box drum), and Rojas has an insanely long resume of cultural and artistic achievements, serving as choreographer, cultural consultant, dance and music instructor, and guest artist in Peru with the Francisco Congo Black Movement and the Center of Music and Dance of the Catholic University of Peru. Her credits also include the University of Oregon Dance Department and the African ConeXion Project. If this isn't enough to get you out of the house, you can eat a three-course Peruvian dinner while you enjoy the show.
Monica Rojas and DeCajón Project, 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 28, Andina Restaurant, 1314 N.W. Glisan St. $65 for dinner and performance. Info: 503-228-9535, www.andinarestaurant.com.
Last of the rockin' hit makers
Quintessential 1990s modern rockers Toad the Wet Sprocket combined folk and rock in irresistible hits such as 'All I Want' and 'Something's Always Wrong.' They were sort of one part R.E.M., one part John Cougar Mellencamp, one part Hootie and The Blowfish and one part themselves. They hearkened back to the salad days of rock, when it was OK for a band to gain a mass audience without getting labeled sellouts, when writing a decent rock 'n' roll single that didn't insult listeners or give them a headache was considered an honorable trade.
Toad the Wet Sprocket, Hey Marseilles, 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 28, Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W. Burnside St. $23 in advance, $25 day of show. 503-225-0047, www.mcmenamins.com.
Become the night
Sounding a bit like a younger Ricki Lee Jones or a more blue-eyed Billie Holiday, Portland neo-soul singer Reva DeVito is releasing her CD 'The Catnip Collective,' five tracks of slow jams, funky dance tunes and sultry groove. Music for when the children have gone to sleep, and you and your spouse are feeling amorous. Better yet, send the toddlers to grandma's.
Reva DeVito, The Excellent Gentlemen, DJ Joe Nasty, 9:30 p.m. Thursday, July 29, The Crown Room, 205 N.W. Fourth Ave. Info: 503-222-6655, www.thecrownroom.net.
Northwest Oregon Conference