various artists

At The Dive '99-'02

(Dirty River Records)

Of all genres, punk music is probably the least suited for studio recording. Pinning down to vinyl the screamingly angry lyrics and bellowing feedback is like trying to bridle a wild, unbroken horse--it's possible, but in the process, a good deal of the intrinsic character is destroyed. Recognizing those limitations, the producers of At The Dive, a sampler of 12 local punk bands, wisely try to recreate a sense of bootlegs. The result? The collection pokes a defiant finger in the eye of anyone claiming that Portland's punk scene has atrophied. Each band provides two tracks. With bawdy and determined guitars, the Neins evoke seminal garage bands like the Troggs. Linda Niksich of Ms. 45's sweet-pitched voice is a fun contrast to the band's dizzying drumming. Both individual and as a compilation, the bands are rambunctiously entertaining. As well as showing off 12 talented local punk bands, this debut album from Dirty River Records also puts on display a new group of producers' well-tuned sensibilities. PHIL DOT BUSSE

suba

Tributo

(Ziriguiboom/Six Degrees)

Suba sat poised to stake Brazil's claim on the electronic music scene when he died in a studio fire in November of 1999. His death came days after the release of his first solo record, Sao Paulo Confessions, and just before finishing the production of Bebel Gilberto's border-hopping breakout, Tanto Tempo. Tributo is a collection of live recordings, remixes, and posthumous reworkings of Suba's songs by his friends in the Brazilian electronic music scene. The feel that spans the record is sophisticated chill-out, along the lines of Thievery Corporation or Kruder and Dorfmeister, spiced up with Latin rhythms and sultry South American vocals courtesy of Cibelle and Taciana. Suba's artistry, eclectic musical training, and the creative community he shared in shine through on this collection and one is left wondering what other great music might have come out of this scene had its rising star not died. JOSH HOOTEN

wet confetti

Policia de la Educacion

(Self-Released)

Stupid band names are a major hindrance for a band. Wet Confetti: what does it mean? The party is over, the confetti is wet; how very sad and gothy. Anyway, Modest Mouse is the dumbest band name ever, so obviously it's a weakness you can overcome. WC has potential; their songs are attractively gloomy, laced with unexpected shrieking guitar crescendos, and campy keyboards that give the music a psychotic quality. The singer annoys me because he does that cutesy little boy voice, like, "I'm so vulnerable, but actually I'm a big faker." I hate baby voices and the singing makes me want to punch him in the face. The guitar work is good, though, and evokes some dark emotions, so there's that. KATIE SHIMER