* The Thermals unleashed a new video for “The Sunset” on the website Noisey.Vice.com. The song is on the Portland band’s latest album Desperate Ground, which came out earlier this year on locally-based Saddle Creek Records. The video,  co-directed by Portland filmmaker Jeffrey Rowles and The Thermals, stars bassist Kathy Foster as a boxer in a series of training scenes and then in the ring. The video comes out hot on the heels of the band’s recent show at the Slowdown, 729 North 14th St. earlier this month. That set encapsulated the band’s quirky, energetic style as they ripped through songs new and old. Both singer Hutch Harris and drummer Westin Glass got the crowd into a frenzy by jumping off stage and riling up both their Saddle Creek friends and their fans. It turned into one of the best Slowdown front room shows I have ever seen.

* John Klemmensen (Landing on the Moon, John Klemmensen and the Party) is launching a unique subversion of the typical songwriter open-mic night. Dubbed the Songwriter Death Battle, more than 30 songwriters will take the stage at the Waiting Room Lounge, 6212 Maple St. on Tuesday, May 28th and every single one of them will pick up the same guitar — Klemmensen’s. “One guitar, one microphone, one song at a time. That’s my idea. It’s not a battle, everyone will be safe,” Klemmensen is quoted as saying on the event’s Facebook page. Sounds like a pretty killer idea to me.  Greg Loftis, Sarah Benck Tardy, Bret Vovk, Scott Severin, Tara Vaughan, Jessica Errett, Reagan Roeder, Justin Lamoureux, Doug Kabourek, Matt Cox, Rebecca Lowry, Brad Hoshaw, Matt Whipkey, Landon Hedges and Sara Bertuldo are among the songwriters signed up for this event. To top the night off, John Klemmensen and the Party will unveil Songs I’ll Never Play, a band new album, at the event.

* Omaha band We Be Lions are bringing together more than the music scene with their now-ongoing Pandora’s Box show series. The second installment will take place Friday, May 24th at the Waiting Room Lounge. The show features the band performing alongside performances of spoken word, poetry and stand-up comedy. Local bands the Zero Sum, Nuisance and Break Maiden will play, as will Omaha Street Percussion. The event will also feature an exhibit of work by local visual artists.

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