EAR CANDY: STILL CAVES, NIGHT MECHANIC
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) It's time for the second installment of the Mercury's new Ear Candy music series! Along with the good folks at Mississippi Studios, we've picked two hot new Portland bands to play a free show just for you, and this month we've picked two terrific bands with singing drummers: the cavernous fuzz punk of Still Caves, and the jigsaw-puzzle rock of Night Mechanic! NED LANNAMANN


HURRY UP, THE GHOST EASE
(Rontoms, 600 E Burnside) Rontoms' ongoing Sunday Sessions continues its impressive streak of killer lineups with tonight's pairing: Portland's the Ghost Ease have been playing all over town since releasing an impressive self-titled debut LP this past April. Guitarist Jem Marie and bassist Fabi Reyna combine in building an intricate and edgy sense of tension to propel Marie's soft and airy vocals. When the trio unleashes, the force hits you hard and suddenly, with their drummer Nsayi's massive wind-ups and kid-in-a-candy-store grin the only thing hinting at the impending impact. They are joined tonight by fellow locals Hurry Up, a trio of the Thermals' Westin Glass and Kathy Foster joined by Bangs' Maggie Vail. Their feisty blend of punk rock should provide the perfect digestif for an evening sure to leave you jolted just in time for the week to begin. CHIPP TERWILLIGER


NORMAN, THE HUGS, OLD AGE
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) The unexceptionally named Portland band Norman has a third album out, with an exceptional title: Into the Eventyr. "Eventyr" is Norwegian for "adventure," and to keep things adventurous, the band has paired with Albany, Oregon's Calapooia Brewing to make Norman Ale. It's a crisply hoppy, enjoyable if not outrageously distinctive Northwest beer, and that's the kind of music you'll find on Eventyr. Strains of folk, pop, and, most significantly, classic rock pepper the album, echoing '70s radio mainstays like Boston and Firefall by way of their more modern counterparts: Fleet Foxes, My Morning Jacket, and Blitzen Trapper, to name a few. The band's at their best and wildest when the eventyr is highest, as on the deceptively concise epic "Golden" and the wide green pastures of "As You Please." It's a fine album for quaffing a craft beer or two—an idea that Norman is already on top of. NL


FREEDY JOHNSTON
(Al's Den, 303 SW 12th) Freedy Johnston is one of those highly skilled singer/songwriters who exists somewhere between major stardom and starving artist, where making records and touring builds a big enough fanbase to simply sustain itself. In the early 1990s, Johnston appeared to be on the verge of a breakout with his brilliant back-to-back records Can You Fly and This Perfect World. Those led to a deal with Elektra Records, which produced three albums of Johnston's likeable, gentle folk-pop featuring a disarming blend of catchy melodies and downcast stories. Since then, he's been padding his catalog, releasing demos, a live album, a collection of covers, and a collaboration with Jon Dee Graham and Susan Cowsill. Johnston's website says he's "finishing up" a new album, though that was back in January. In the meantime, he begins a weeklong residency at Al's Den. BEN SALMON


MONSTER MAGNET, ROYAL THUNDER, ANTI-MORTEM, ULTRA GOAT
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE César E. Chávez) While Monster Magnet managed to crack the MTV rotation with "Space Lord" and had a left-field hit in Powertrip, recent albums have leaned on the old lessons that Hawkwind taught in Space Rock 101. This year's Last Patrol waits exactly one song before launching into nearly 10 minutes of riff-centric sci-fi sprawl on the title track, and there's plenty of '60s-style psychedelia and garage rock. Atlanta's Royal Thunder opens, and while they came along well after MTV ever had anything resembling a music video rotation, they dabble in similarly retro heaviness, opting for bluesy proto-metal propelled by frontwoman Mlny Parsonz's mega-pipes. MATTHEW W. SULLIVAN