You don't have to run 500 miles to catch winsome Scottish twins Craig and Charlie Reed and their bandmates - they're performing their catchy, hook-laden pop at the Aladdin Theater. With a new album, 'Notes and Rhymes,' released this summer, these talented lads are once again proving that they're much more than one-hit wonders. If you enjoy smart, emotionally poignant pop delivered with a keen wit, you probably don't need any prodding.
8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 23, Aladdin Theater, 3017 S.E. Milwaukie Ave., 503-234-9694, all ages
Sometimes success can be a double-edge sword. Rocker Billy Squier enjoyed a string of hits at the dawn of the MTV era with a radio-friendly combination of hard rock and ear-pleasing pop hooks. Like peers Def Leppard and Bon Jovi, he fell out of fashion when grunge hit like a hurricane - but years later, his songs stand up remarkably well. On this tour, he's trotting out songs from his entire catalog, proving that he is a vital artist rather than a one-trick pony. The video era may have peaked, but Squier soldiers on.
8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 18, Aladdin Theater, 3017 S.E. Milwaukie Ave., 503-234-9694
Sunny Day Real Estate
There are plenty of highlights at this year's Musicfest, but none so anticipated as the performance from the recently reunited Sunny Day Real Estate. The band's heart-stopping combination of plaintive, soaring melodies and dynamic music helped launch the emo movement, although no one has ever managed to duplicate the raw power and beauty of the original. If you can't make the show, pick up the band's remastered and re-released Sub Pop albums, which still sound as fresh and beautiful today as they did when they first came out.
8:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 18, Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W. Burnside St., 503-225-0047, free with MusicfestNW wristband or $20 advance, all ages
The Meat Puppets, who are headlining the show, may have been one of Kurt Cobain's favorite bands - but if he were alive today, odds are great that he would have been equally taken by Dead Confederate. Heavy, spacey, melodic, dynamic and utterly arresting, these Georgia boys are quickly earning a well-deserved following as well as a reputation as a fantastic live act. While it seems contradictory for a band to be both pummeling and soothing, Dead Confederate are both.
8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 22, Wonder Ballroom, 128 N.E. Russell St., 503-284-8686, $17
Seattle's Grand Archives are releasing their sophomore album, the mesmerizing 'Keep In Mind Frankenstein.' Frontman Mat Brooke used to be in Band Of Horses, and he's kept that band's wide-screen, slo-mo atmospheric quality, while adding a sun-dappled dose of Laurel Canyon ambience to the mix. The result is a mellow, panoramic sonic vista that pulls you close and whispers bold secrets into your ear, while promising the earth and the moon. You'll be happy to fall under its spell.
9 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 23, Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E. Burnside St., 503-231-9663, $12
Hope Sandoval and The Warm Inventions
Former Mazzy Star vocalist Hope Sandoval is the perfect come-down soundtrack for Musicfest - mellow and dreamy, her blurry vocals take the edge off of life's harder or more hectic circumstances, enveloping everything in a candlelit glow. She and The Warm Inventions are gearing up to release a second album, 'Through The Devil Softly,' at the end of the month. In the meantime, you can catch their wonderfully atmospheric music and show at the Doug Fir.
9 p.m. Monday, Sept. 21, Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E. Burnside St., 503-231-9663, $23