Portland area live music shows
Secretly Canadian recording artist Richard Swift (who also happens to be a quietly nondescript Portlander) comes out of his shell tonight to perform songs from his excellent new album, 'Dressed Up for the Letdown.'
Swift reveals himself as a pop purist whose indie leanings take a back seat to his talent for dashing off effortless, lo-fi ditties that would make Ben Folds blush in envy.
He appears tonight with labelmate - and fellow indie-pop icon - David Vandervelde. Get there early and stay late.
9 p.m. Tuesday, April 3, Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E. Burnside St., 503-231-9663, $8
British spitfire Lily Allen might be the Gossip's newest cheerleader, but you should definitely acquaint yourself with this Portland-based trio posthaste.
Frontwoman Beth Ditto may be the most powerful, soulful voice in rock since Blondie's Debbie Harry or maybe even Janis Joplin.
Her rich, clear vocals, which entreat that 'I don't want the world/I only want what I deserve,' are enough to make fans of unbelievers, but her backing arsenal puts the excitement back into rock 'n' roll.
Edgy, angular and compelling, the Gossip should be your new favorite band.
8 p.m. Wednesday, April 4, Wonder Ballroom, 128 N.E. Russell St., 503-284-8686, $10, service charges apply, all ages
Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter
'Alt-country' doesn't really do justice to the mesmerizing music created by Seattle chanteuse Jesse Sykes and her Sweet Hereafter.
On 'Like, Love, Lust and the Open Halls of the Soul,' Sykes, ex-Whiskeytown guitarist Phil Wandscher and band bring a little Crazy Horse to this formerly pastoral setting.
Sykes' voice - as always - is spellbinding, and the band feels considerably more energized and electric behind her. Fans of her previous, more spectral work will still get their fill, but it's exciting to watch a talented artist and her band stretch themselves in new directions.
9 p.m. Thursday, April 5, Dante's, 1 S.W. Third Ave, 503-226-6630, $5
- Barbara Mitchell