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Live Music

June 19

Highbrow hootenany

by: COURTESY OF SAM COOPER - The distinctively comfortable voice of Sam Cooper (middle) moves like the ocean, and he and friends will play June 19 at Mississippi Studios. Formerly known as The Ascetic Junkies, married couple Kali Giaritta and Matt Harmon are now going by the moniker There is No Mountain. Although lumped into the Americana category, the couple is far more experimental than your average roots rockers, changing tempos and chord patterns with the abandon of prog rockers. Just listen to “Owl City,” which sounds like something Sixpence None the Richer would have concocted while fiddling around with various window fans. Their overall upbeat sound sounds positive Carribean at time, at other times squarely in the world of English folk. Meanwhile, Siren & the Sea is comprised of Cristina Cano on guitars, keys and ukulele, and percussionist Stephanie Woods. Dreamy, moody meditative folk well suited to reading by candlelight late at night. Finally, Sam Cooper, formerly of Horse Feathers and Jared Mees & the Grown Children), released his first solo album “Long Lost Love” late last year. Multi-tracking his own voice, he also backed himself on guitar, piano, violin, accordion, banjo, bass, glockenspiel, mandolin and the charango (a kind of Andean lute). He’ll have a full live band backing him on his poetic, well-arranged folk tunes. This is one of those classy folk shows Portland does almost better than any other town.

There is No Mountain, Siren & the Sea, Sam Cooper & Friends, Mississippi Studios, 8 p.m. Wednesday, June 19, 3939 N. Mississippi Ave. $6 in advance $8 at the door. Info: 503-288-3895, www.mississippistudios.com.

June 21

Almost famous

Portland’s System and Station is one of the best bands you may never had heard of — well, now we know the National Security Agency has heard of them. Comprised of RFK Heise on vocals, keys and guitars, Adam Schultz on bass, Bryan Fairfield on drums and keys, and Josh Vasby on guitar and keys, they’re one of those bands that give indie rock a good name, blending math rock, hints of metal and even Southern rock, garage rock — well, let’s just put it plainly, they RAWK! In their 15-year career, they’ve played more than 1,000 gigs, opened for the requisite big names (Alex Chilton, Built to Spill, The Meat Puppets) and have written some downright classic rock ‘n’ roll tunes. With this show, the band celebrates the release of its seventh, self-titled LP, which tackles everything from the Occupy movement to predatory relationships. You can get a taste of it on YouTube, look for the grungey metallic glammish “The Crown that Fits,” which glorifies video game heroes as it sort of freaks you out with its authoritarian atmosphere.

System and Station, Animal R&R, Northern, 9 p.m. Friday, June 21, Kenton Club, 2025 N. Kilpatrick St. Info: 503-285-3718, www.kentonclub.com.

Rockerati

If Ulysses S. Grant had been a singer, he might have sounded like John Grant, who not only shares the famed Civil War general-turned-president’s surname but also sort of looks like him in a way — got to be descended from him or something. Anyway, Grant the bass-baritone singer was never a general, but he was a Czar, releasing six albums with alterna-rockers The Czars before embarking on a solo career. His latest effort, “Pale Green Ghosts,” is full of hard-hitting lyrics, intelligent without being too esoteric, coming off like a techno-friendly John Prine at times. At the end of the day, Grant is basically a crooning folk-pop lounge singer with techno sheen and may be one of our finest contemporary tunesmiths, more than capable of writing a gorgeous melody.

John Grant, 9 p.m. Friday, June 21, Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E. Burnside St. $12 in advance, $14 at the door. Info: 503-231-9663, www.dougfirlounge.com.

‘Round town

• The PDX POP NOW! Compilation release party features Sapient, Summer Cannibals, Sean Flinn & The Royal We and Wishyunu at 8 p.m. Friday, June 14, in Backspace, 115 N.W. Fifth Ave. $5 gets you a digital download of the record, $8 gets you a two-disc CD. All ages. Info: 503-248-2900, www.backspace.bz.

• Mixing hip-hop beats and pop, classical and folkish arrangements, Emily Wells will bring her act to town, with Portland’s ever-interesting duo 1939 Ensemble sharing the stage. 9 p.m. Thursday, June 20, Doug Fir Lounge. $12 in advance, $14 at the door. Info: 503-231-9663, www.dougfirlounge.com.