PHOX, TRAILS AND WAYS, JOSEPH
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Read our article on Phox.


CLIPPING, COPY, OPEN MIKE EAGLE, SIGNOR BENEDICK THE MOOR
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Read our article on Clipping.


NICK CAVE AND THE BAD SEEDS, MARK LANEGAN
(Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway) I asked Sharon Van Etten (also in town this week) if she ever got any great advice from an artist she admired. She told me a story about Nick Cave. First, a little background: Van Etten accepted a tour with Cave after she'd promised to spend the time off to be with her boyfriend. He took the news poorly. Now, Sharon, take it away: "[My boyfriend] called me every day just to make me cry before every show, every single day. Nick finally came up to me toward the end of the tour and said, 'What the hell is going on?' He took me and my drummer out to dinner and sat me down and asked me what was going on. And I said, 'Well, you fight with your wife, right? You work a lot. You tour. You write. But you must fight all the time?' He put his hand on my shoulder and he said, 'We fight all the time, but never about my work.' And that really stuck with me, you know? I mean, that's the voice of reason right there." ANDREW R TONRY Also see My, What a Busy Week!


EAST END BLOCK PARTY: WAMPIRE, LITANIC MASK, BILLIONS AND BILLIONS, WE MISS THE EARTH, & MORE
(East End, 203 SE Grand) East End's annual block party always knows how to bend your hair back, and this year's no exception, with two days of beer-crushing volume from bands like Hirax, Cryptic Slaughter, Litanic Mask, Wampire, and Cleveland's legendary "first African American metal band" Black Death. MARJORIE SKINNER


KOOL STUFF KATIE, CHUMS, DAMN GLAD TO MEET YOU
(Ash Street Saloon, 225 SW Ash) The band's lineup (dude singer/guitarist, lady drummer/vocalist), the chunky red guitar that frontman Shane Blem wields, and the sturdy minimalist sound of Kool Stuff Katie brings to mind the White Stripes. But the deeper you delve into KSK's work, the analogy makes less and less sense. The Portland-based duo's self-titled debut is much looser and has more swing in its step than anything Jack White has dared record. And drummer Saren Oliver is hardly a Meg White type. She's a better percussionist, for one, but also, her voice and ebullient spirit are evident throughout, keeping even the most muscular tunes feeling light and engaging. ROBERT HAM


MEGA BOG, SHEER AGONY, HALF SHADOW, PHULL COLLUMS
(Laughing Horse Books, 12 NE 10th) Playing a version of garage pop that incorporates brooding jazz chords and unconventional song structures, Seattle's Mega Bog is a band uniquely its own. Their albums are reverb-drenched affairs that extend from sunny pop to looming darkness, but always hold a unifying aesthetic or idea. Mega Bog's music purposefully pushes and pulls, battling between quiet solitude and collaborative celebration. This battle can be most dramatic live, with shows that are sometimes simple set-ups for understated variations on their songs, but can also be full-band arrangements, with thick bass lines and saxophone solos that whirl around singer/bandleader Erin Birgy's hauntingly infectious voice as it travels from siren howls to sultry torch-song depths. JOSHUA JAMES AMBERSON


SPIDER AND THE WEBS, VEXX, PMS 84
(Red & Black Café, 400 SE 12th) If you missed Olympia's Spider and the Webs at the She Shreds magazine fundraiser a couple of weeks back, you can catch them this time when they celebrate the seventh year of local Portland label M'Lady's Records. Spider and the Webs are fronted by Bikini Kill's Tobi Vail, with Hornet Leg's Chris Sutton and James Maeda of November Witch rounding out the trio. They play a blend of post-punk that crosses the line between hazy and urgent, finding a charming, melodic middle ground within the stripped-down sound. Tonight they're joined by fellow Olympian punks Vexx, a band I became aware of through Vail's long running zine-turned-blog, Jigsaw. Vexx have a remastered version of their self-titled EP coming this summer on M'Lady's, and it's a straight-up thrill ride, full of sprawling guitar and aggressive vocals that seem ready to fly off-track at any moment. CHIPP TERWILLIGER


OLD KINGDOM, GHOST IDOLS, SWAMP DEVIL, NICK PORTER
(Katie O'Brien's, 2809 NE Sandy) Thanks to flagships like Lord Dying, Red Fang, and purveyors like Eolian Records, Portland is becoming a mecca for heavy vibes. Old Kingdom is another band poised to up the ante and get more necks craning in our direction with the release of their lumbering, fuzzy self-titled debut this month. Not unlike other weighty Portland bands, Old Kingdom has a very thin slice of accessibility that won't offend the purist's ears, but opens their sound to a wider audience. It's a twinkle of undeniable charm that goes well with their stomping rhythms and proggy energy. But just when you think they're the sweet boys next door who play their music a little too loud, Old Kingdom drops mean lyrics like "Wear your leather tight/Rev up your bike/Make dark love to the night." That's when you realize all bets are off. ARIS WALES