Sept. 19

Wren is it

She’s been a Montessori teacher by day, and apparently a torch singer by night. She’s Portland’s Jeni Wren, who kicks off a monthly residency at Secret Society Ballroom with this party to celebrate the release of her blue-eyed neo-soul album “North Star.” The single “Release” would sit nicely next to any number of slow jams on an urban radio station’s playlist, and Wren — a member of the popular band Shy Girls — plans to deliver her new single as well as other songs by taking the stage with an 11-piece horn-flavored band.

Jeni Wren, Ancient Heat, Chance Hayden, Ian James, 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 19, Secret Society Ballroom, 116 N.E. Russell St. $10 in advance, $15 day of show. Info: 503-493-3600,

Sept. 20

Son of Anarchy

Guitarist-singer Matt Drenik, a former member of the hard rock band Lions, moved to Portland from Austin in 2010, and now leads Battleme, which includes Eric J on bass and Zach R on drums (surnames unknown). Inspired by everyone from Elliott Smith and Jeff Tweedy to David Bowie and Zeppelin, Drenik is carving a name out in the indie rock world, getting his fine folk song “Burn this Town” placed on the soundtrack of the TV show “Sons of Anarchy” (which also has featured other Battleme tunes as well as a cover of Neil Young’s “Hey Hey, My My”). Meanwhile check out his video for the falsetto-flavored midtempo rocker “Touch” on — dang if Drenik doesn’t look like an early 1970s Pete Townsend!

Battleme, The Grizzled Might, Miracle Falls, 9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20, Bunk Bar, 1028 S.E. Water Ave. $10. Info: 503-894-9708,

Sept. 21

Seven deadly dins

The Burgerama Caravan of Stars Tour features a number of cinematic post-punk rockers that we will try to sum up by noting the single they sent us and how it sounds:

• The Growlers: “One Million Lovers” — countrified garage rock meets “Barbarella.”

• The Cosmonauts: “Shaker” — chiming psychedelic garage rock meets “The Basketball Diaries.”

• Gap Dream: “Chill Spot” — That bored guy selling pretzels in the mall kiosk invents dance steps on the escalator during his break while he listens to Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” as sung by Gary Numan.

• Together Pangea: “River” — the opening song for a cult documentary on the Violent Femmes.

The other three bands were too blissed out to send us singles, but we think they sound like this:

• La Luz: Every cool early 1960s girl group surfing on rainbow-colored waves of joy.

• White Fang: A less gritty Creedence Clearwater Revival but a more grungy Buddy Holly had he owned a head shop.

• Colleen Green: That shy girl who sat next to you in math class. You knew she was really cool but never quite fit in at school till senior year when she played her upbeat laptop pop-rock at the talent show and everyone went wild. It was then you kicked yourself for never asking her out because you knew then it was too late.

Burgerama Caravan of Stars Tour, 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, Wonder Ballroom, 128 N.E. Russell St. $15 in advance, $18 day of show. All ages. Info: 503-284-8686,

Sept. 22

Out to sea

Originally from Montreal, L.A. pop-art-rock band Islands has featured a rotating cast of characters since they formed in 2005, with principal songwriter Nick Thornburn the constant force, dabbling in everything from dancehall and song hall to electro-pop and orchestral rock. You can hear Squeeze, Split Enz, Ben Folds and Arcade Fire in this fine outfit, which respects your intelligence, but clearly likes having fun. The band’s latest record “Ski Mask” features the infectious Caribbean-flavored single “Waveforms” that could have been pulled off a mid-’70s Paul McCartney record.

Islands, Bear Mountain, 9 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 22, Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E. Burnside St. $14, $15. Info: 503-231-9663,

by: COURTESY OF DUSDIN CONDREN  - Alabama native Matthew Houck, who plays under moniker Phosphorescent, brings his unique indie rock to Hawthorne Theatre, Sept. 26.

Sept. 26

Glowing reviews

Alabama native Matthew Houck performs with his band under the moniker Phosphorescent. Considered by some to be a latter-day Gram Parsons, he’s also clearly in debt to Willie Nelson (for whom he recorded a tribute album) as well as U2, although Bono’s voice never trembled as nicely as this good ole boy’s.

Like a lot of indie folk rockers these days, Houck uses sound effects and technology to get in touch with all these things for which there are no free apps, like heart and soul. Armed with compelling tunes like “Wolves” and “Song for Zula,” Houck is staking out his own place in the great American songbook.

Phosphorescent, Indians, 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 26, Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 S.E. 39th Ave. $16 in advance, $20 day of show. All ages. Info: 503-233-7100,

Contract Publishing

Go to top
Template by JoomlaShine