Oct. 17

Killing us softly

by: COURTESY OF SARAH LAW - There isn't much flowery and feel-good about Vandaveers lyrics on its recent album, but the group excels at what it does, and it plays the Doug Fir Lounge, Oct. 17.Those 19th-century folkies knew how to write a good murder ballad. In fact, after listening to ones like “Pretty Polly” or “The Railroad Boy,” as recorded by alt-folkie act Vandaveer, you’ll be tempted to giggle uncontrollably at any allegedly frightening contemporary gangsta rap or hardcore rock. It will just sound so timid compared to the kind of stoic yet heartfelt mountain music that stares damnation in the face and says, “I deserve this for what I done.”

Vandaveer — singer-guitarist Mark Heidinger and vocalist Rose Guerin — does play some happier stuff at times and has released a fistful of albums since 2006, but they went strictly the traditional killing song cover route on their latest record, “Oh, Willie, Please.” They share a bill with equally forceful folkie Joe Pug for what promises to be one of the most intense nights of music this week.

Joe Pug, Vandaveer, 9 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 17, Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E. Burnside St. $12 in advance, $14 day of show. Info: 503-231-9663,

Oct. 18, 25, Nov. 1

Reggae without limits

The Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 S.E. 39th Ave., hosts “Mellow Mood Fridays” through Nov. 1, featuring reggae music, both live and recorded. Here’s the lineup — all shows are 21 and older:

Oct. 18: Deejays Instigatah & Snackmaster DJ Fanta + Roots Train Sound. Free in the lounge. Capleton & The Prophecy Band, Ras Attitude, Lil Ras & Young Shanty, Yahshuwa w/T.R.B.T., DJ Ital Vibes in the theater. $25 in advance, $35 at the door. Oct. 25: Jah Polo & The Long Beach Liberators, Loveness Wesa with The Bantus Band. $10. Nov. 1: Aima Moses with Babylon Star Destroyer, Roots Renewal System. $10. Info: 503-233-7100,

Oct. 19

Not your typical bar music

Former Portland resident Rauelsson now lives back home in his native Spain, but it’s clear our proximity to the Pacific helped inspire his latest neoclassical work, “Vora.” Straddling the line between New Age and old (European) soul, Rauelsson combines guitar, synthesizer, percussion and organ in a wet and wavy, meditative record that can’t help but soothe the most savage of beasts to the point where she purrs like a kitten who’s discovered the comfortable lap of the goddess to knead just after she scores her first saucer of sweet milk.

Our beatific feline can’t articulate why she feels so beautifully happy, she just does.

Dustin Wong and Takako Minekawa, Jason Urick, Rauelsson, 9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19, Mississippi Studios, 3939 N. Mississippi St. $8 in advance, $10 day of show. Info: 503-288-3895,

Oct. 25

Shiny happy people

If you could refract the rock ‘n’ roll of Leagues through a prism, it would definitely disperse as the brighter colors of the spectrum. This is a band that’s all about the high-end — vocally and guitar-wise. Even on tunes like “Walking Backwards,” which starts out with a low-end rhythm guitar, you just know the band is going to burst into colors at any moment — and it does. Comprising singer Thad Cockrell, guitarist Tyler Burkum (of Audio Adrenaline) and drummer Jeremy Lutito, this seasoned bunch of cats just want you to dance, and that’s that.

Leagues, Kye Kye, 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 25, Bunk Bar, 1028 S.E. Water Ave. Info: 503-894-9708,

‘Round town

• Michigan transplants who now call Portland home, Copper & Coal, are the lovely sounding and oh so tall Leslie Beia and Carra Stasney — one redhead and one brunette — who can hold their own with Patsy Kline and Dolly Parton as swingin’ honky-tonkin’ country singers. You can catch them debut their new CD at 9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19, in Alberta Street Pub, 1036 N.E. Alberta St. $10. Info: 503-284-7665, www.albertastreet

• George Harrison once remarked that John Lennon would write songs with all kinds of interesting tempo changes and not even realize it. You might say the same for Manchester, U.K., band Rook and the Ravens, who combine folk, pop, rock and just a tiny hint of jazz sensibility to create a sound both fresh yet familiar. You can catch them with Portland punkish rockers The Autonomics, at the Alhambra Theatre, 4811 S.E. Hawthorne Blvd., at 8 p.m. Monday, Oct. 21. $5. Info: 503-360-1450,

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