Music

10 Shows to Check Out During Portland Music Month 2023

Luna, Jadu Heart, and More Top Picks for January
January 10, 2023
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Longtime indie rock project Luna will take over the Aladdin Theater. (Luna via Facebook)
Whether enjoyed in a personal setting or with community, music is a medium that commiserates with us, consoles us, and uplifts us. To help highlight and give back to the independent music scene, local nonprofit Music Portland is back for the second year with Portland Music Month. The festival has curated over 100 events (including concerts, music film screenings, and other performances) across 23 venues in the month of January to pull Portlanders out of our mid-winter slump. Plus, $1 from each ticket goes to support individual music artists and their professional needs. If you're feeling slightly overwhelmed by the slew of offerings, we've compiled some picks below, from local luminaries like Jim Brunberg and Alela Diane to national acts like Luna, Jadu Heart, and Tropical Fuck Storm.


Jim Brunberg: Record Release Party Add to a List     
Whether or not you know the name Jim Brunberg, you probably like something he’s done—be it the theme for the Daily, written by Wonderly (Brunberg’s project with Ben Landsverk), or one of the venues he co-owns, Mississippi Studios and Revolution Hall. Brunberg’s efforts are all over this town, but Songs of Stupid Hope is what he describes as “a small record,” about “a narrow, personal attempt to be hopeful.” The songs are deceptively simple; the production is pleasantly layered to the exact, correct amount. There’s some humor in there, but not enough to make any of the tracks joke songs—except perhaps the last, which is a live recording of a half-spoken, half-sung anxiety dream about being forced to open for Bruce Springsteen. Brunberg has produced an authentic collection of ditties that are just as fun to sing to yourself on a walk as they are to listen to live. Portland Mercury Arts & Culture Editor Suzette Smith
Mississippi Pizza Pub & Atlantis Lounge, Boise (Thurs Jan 12) 

Portland's Folk Festival Add to a List
Eight folk, Americana, blues, and bluegrass acts will set up shop at the historic theater for a three-day festival with performances from Hawaii-based blues troubadour Ron Artis II, cosmic folk artist Eddie Berman, bucket-banging rockabilly duo Hillstomp, dreamy indie folk trio Glitterfox, soulful roots ensemble the Get Ahead, hip-hop infused Americana outfit the Junebugs, folk-pop singer-songwriter Jacob Westfall, and neo-folk musician Karyn Ann. 
Crystal Ballroom, West End (Jan 13-15)

Alela Diane with Peter Broderick Add to a List
Portland-via-California songwriter Alela Diane will bring her "immaculately beautiful indie-folk songs" (Paste Magazine) to the stage in support of her sixth studio album, Looking Glass. The album employs delicately plucked guitars, haunting strings, and moving piano melodies for a cathartic journey through motherhood and other life-changing transitions. Acclaimed Oregon-based composer Peter Broderick will open. 
The Old Church, Downtown Portland (Sun Jan 15)

Gwythaints, Smokey Brights, and Laryssa Birdseye Add to a List
Named after the large, menacing birds written about in Welsh mythology, the Portland-based Gwythaints trio rose out of the ashes of the pandemic with their roaring alt-rock jams, which incorporate elements of glam rock and artpop. They will take the stage just after the release of their new single "Rising of the Sun" alongside guitar-driven indie rockers Smokey Brights and soulful pop singer-songwriter Laryssa Birdseye. 
Holocene, Buckman (Thurs Jan 19)

Luna Add to a List
Longtime indie rock project Luna, fronted by husband-and-wife duo Dean Wareham (formerly of Galaxie 500) and Britta Phillips (she voiced Jem in the original '80s cartoon!), will return to Portland supporting their recently reissued albums Penthouse and Lunafied, which feature covers like the Velvet Underground's "Ride Into The Sun," Blondie's "In the Flesh," and Serge Gainsbourg's "Bonnie and Clyde."  
Aladdin Theater, Brooklyn (Thurs Jan 19)

Gill Landry (of Old Crow Medicine Show) with Mark Lemhouse Add to a List
Former Portland Mercury writer Santi Elijah Holley once wrote, "If you only know Gill Landry from his decade-long association with Old Crow Medicine Show—or as his early alter ego, Frank Lemon, with the busking jug band, the Kitchen Syncopators—you don't really know Landry. While the darlings of Nashville have been traveling the world, winning Grammys, and being inducted into the Grand Ole Opry, Landry has been quietly writing his own subdued, pensive music, which couldn't be further from the string band sound of OCMS." He will return to Portland alongside Americana troubadour Mark Lemhouse (best known for his collaborations with Pixies frontman Black Francis). 
The Old Church, Downtown Portland (Sat Jan 21)

Tropical Fuck Storm Add to a List  
Melbourne art punks Tropical Fuck Storm aren’t just a collective driven by a provocative band name; they’re also potentially one of the more enigmatic experimental post-rock acts in the world today. Fronted by Garreth Liddiard of the Drones and rounded out by an all-star lineup of Australia’s raddest female rockers, TFS strips the four-minute rock song to its studs and refashions it as a poetic, gloomy, ofttimes beat-heavy reinvention on both their 2018 debut, A Laughing Death in Meatspace, and follow-up, Braindrops. Both are big, brooding records, absolutely gushing with strange sonic overtones, and the saccharine salve of twisted melodies churning throughout. RYAN J. PRADO 
Aladdin Theater, Brooklyn (Thurs Jan 26)

Jadu Heart with Goon Add to a List
British dream pop duo Jadu Heart pulls inspiration from bands like the Pixies, My Bloody Valentine, and Belle and Sebastian for their synth-infused shoegaze and psych-rock sound. They will support their latest EP, Freedom, after an opening set from dreamy rock band Goon. 
Doug Fir Lounge, Buckman (Fri Jan 27)

Melissa Carper with Kassi Valazza Add to a List
Fresh off the heels of her fourth album, Ramblin' Soul, Western swing queen Melissa Carper will bring her soulful vocals and homespun acoustic melodies back through Portland alongside local folk artist Kassi Valazza. 
Mississippi Studios, Boise (Fri Jan 27)

Super Diamond: The Neil Diamond Tribute Add to a List
This renowned tribute group will have you believing that Neil Diamond himself is in the house when Randy Cordeiro (aka "The Surreal Neil") leads you in a rendition of "Sweet Caroline" and other hits alongside his full band. 
Crystal Ballroom, West End (Sat Jan 28)

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