May 30

Take the hipsters bowling

Combining pop, ska, punk rock, folk and country, Camper Van Beethoven has evolved since their formation in the early 1980s from snot-nosed California brats who needed a good spanking into a great rock ‘n’ roll band, writing lyrically tight pieces bordering on poetry (check out “It Was Like That When We Got Here” off their new album “El Camino Real” for verification).

This is the band that spawned Cracker, Monks of Doom and made underground hero Eugene Chadbourne craft his challenging tunes into something the drunken masses could understand. They probably don’t even realize it, but CVB could be a great country band if they wanted to, albeit one that Lou Reed and Warren Zevon might form as opposed to Roy Clark and Buck Owens.

Camper Van Beethoven, Casey Neill & The Norway Rats, 7 p.m. Friday, May 30, The Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 S.E. 39th Ave. $18 in advance, $20 at the door. 21 and older. Info: 503-233-7100,

May 31

For your amusement

Speaking of ‘80s bands that only got better as they got older, next up to bat is Throwing Muses, with Kristin Hersh, Bernard Georges and David Narcizio promoting a new 32-track album and photo-heavy book both titled “Purgatory and Paradise.”

The new album might be called “alterna-prog” as it touches on everything from hard-hitting psychedelic post-punk to twee folk pieces. Opener and original Muses co-member Tanya Donnelly, Hersh’s stepsister and pop foil to Hersh’s edgy self, also co-founded the Breeders and had some success with Belly. So we know this lady can write the ultimate alterna-pop-rocker with the best of them. If you’re wondering how the contemporary rock scene got its sound, this show will be a sonic introduction to some of its most important pioneers.

Throwing Muses, Tanya Donnelly, 8 p.m. Saturday, May 31, Aladdin Theater, 3017 S.E. Milwaukie Ave. $30. Parent/guardian must accompany minors. Info: 503-234-9694,

June 2

Sibling sounds

For more than three decades, The Holmes Brothers have blended blues, gospel, old school R&B, Americana and country, in the process winning multiple awards and jamming with and/or opening for Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Bruce Springsteen, Patti Smith, Joan Osborne, Willie Nelson, Lou Reed, Peter Gabriel and others.

Promoting their new CD “Brotherhood,” guitarist/vocalist Wendell Holmes (who plays a bit like Buddy Guy if he was a little more folkie), bassist/songwriter/vocalist Sherman Holmes, and drummer/vocalist and “brother-in-spirit” Popsy Dixon head here with their three-part church harmonies soaring over their sweet blues. Their new record includes eight originals, as well as tunes by Ike Turner, Ted Hawkins, Booker T. Jones and William Bell. Keep an ear out for their rendition of “Amazing Grace” — you just know there’s going to be a tough guy in the corner of the bar fighting back a tear or two.

The Holmes Brothers, 7:30 p.m. Monday, June 2, Mississippi Studios, 3939 N. Mississippi St. $18 in advance, $20 at the door. Info: 503-288-3895,

June 4

They slithered from Motown

The Detroit Cobras make music like their once vibrant hometown — filled with lost promises and retro longings, yet still chugging along hoping someone will bring the good times back. Singer Rachel Nagy sounds like a diner waitress whose buddies kept telling her to stop humming between taking orders and start singing for real.

One day, in our imaginary narrative, she threw down her apron, poured once last cup of coffee, gathered her tips and split for her home where she barely dragged a brush through her hair before setting out for an open mic at a bluesy garage rock club. There she met guitarist Mary Ramirez, who may have been out on parole for having stabbed an ex-lover under possibly, possibly-not, justifiable circumstances. Or maybe that’s a story she just told to keep the creeps at the bar from slobbering all over her guitar. This is rootsy rock ‘n’ roll for those who know they are as lost as Detroit, but still yearn for salvation in the Bible of boogie.

Detroit Cobras, 9 p.m. Wednesday, June 4, Star Theater, 13 N.W. Sixth Ave. $13. Info: 503-248-4700,

Quick hits

• Red Bull Sound Select Presents, a series of low-cost shows, has been featuring various Portland-based acts. Next up are art-dance-popsters YACHT, electro-dance rockers Wampire and singer-songwriter Snowblind Traveler. 9 p.m. Tuesday, June 3, Mississippi Studios, 3939 N. Mississippi St. $3 if you RSVP at, $12 at the door. Info: 503-288-3895,

• Ray Tarantino, a fine Americana singer-songwriter who sounds like The Band’s opening act mid-1970s, will be releasing a new album “Good Things Will Happen” later this year. He continues his residency this week with various guests at Al’s Den at the Crystal Hotel, 1332 W. Burnside St. Portland. Free. Info: 503-225-0047,

Contract Publishing

Go to top
Template by JoomlaShine