THURSDAY 9/19CERBERUS SHOAL, HUTCH & KATHY, TRANCE AND THE ARCADE(Blackbird, 3728 NE Sandy) If you once liked the term "post-rock" but now it makes you wanna strap dynamite to your body, please know that there are still groups out there incorporating non-traditional rock instruments (horns, vibes, ummm... bongo drums) with jazz-influenced song structures that won't make you wanna hit the TNT switch. (P.S. That was NOT a Tortoise pun.) Folks such as Portland, Maine's Cerberus Shoal, for instance. Their most recent record on Temporary Residence, a two-disc party called Mr. Boy Dog, heaps chaotic jazz sounds over eerie, psych-drum rumblings, rock freakouts with glisteningly weird trumpet solos, and funky timings swiped from places like India and Africa. It's really pretty mind-blowing how well they pull it off. All I gotta say is, Art Ensemble of Chicago better watch their asses. JULIANNE SHEPHERD

ARROYO SECO, SKELETON COAST, JONNY X & THE GROADIES(1036 N Shaver, 7 pm) Johnny X are one of my favorite Portland bands to see live. Why? Their songs are short, they build to ear-piercing metal implosions, they entertain with strobe lights, jumping, and wigs, and they're great musicians. They are like the beautiful antithesis of the Portland art rockers who bore the living shit out of you (or me) by sliding their finger up one guitar string for a half-hour while someone else taps one note on the keyboard and another guy swirls his drum stick around his cymbal while looking ponderous. I'm so done with that. Arroyo Seco are on a great hardcore tape that's in my car, and Skeleton Coast is a configuration of members of The Disappearer and The Snacks. All outfits are promising. KATIE SHIMER

VOYAGER ONE, MENOMENA, NORDIC(Berbati's, 231 SW Ankeny) From Seattle, Voyager One has been described as "psychedelic groove-pop," and sounds pretty much like what you'd expect for a band described as such; spacey, guitar-driven rock, which is dreamy and blissed out. I wouldn't say they're doing something incredibly unique, but it's good for what it is. KATIA DUNN

SYLOUS GUNTHER(Mt. Tabor Acoustic, 4811 Hawthorne Blvd) The soft and well-mannered Sylous Gunther, a singer-songwriter around town, will be doing Jeff Buckley covers tonight, along with some originals. Stay tuned for the "Jeff Buckley Tribute Coffee Haus," fashioned after Central Perk; it's like singer-songwriter synagogue. JS

FRIDAY 9/20DESERT CITY SOUNDTRACK, ARROYO SECO(Red & Black, 2138 SE Division) Criminy! It's like "Portland Now America" week, what with all the bands playing this week that are releasing new records on national labels. First, there's The Decemberists, whose next full-length comes out on Olympia's bitchin' Kill Rock Stars label; then, there's The Thermals, who got scooped up by Sub Pop; and tonight, it's Desert City Soundtrack, who will debut their new EP on North Carolina-based, emo punk stalwart label Deep Elm. (That is, emo after it was "emocore," but before it became "EMO™.") Hooray! And congratulations to these awesome, utterly deserving musical groups. Now go see what's happening with DCS' pulsing dynamics, wrought vocals, and admirable rock-out drumming. JS

THEMSELVES, ALIAS(Meow Meow) When you notice that Anticon's members--Dose, Sole, Jel, and why?, to name a few--release a new project practically every six weeks, it can seem like the squishy Oakland hiphop collective is just too frigging prolific. But when you actually listen to their records, you realize these boys are compelled by some unstoppable force of art, creating tons of bent, arty hiphop that plays like a sound installation in your diary. Themselves, which features brilliant MC Doseone and producer Jel, is a lot more beat-oriented than cLOUDDEAD or Jel's solo production. It actually has some bounce--granted, it bounces in a Mills College, electro-experimental way--but it's undeniably bounce. Anticon's Alias, who declares himself "the humble godfather of goth-hop," wrecks with shockingly bare emotion. The dark feel of his production is akin to that of RJD2's Dead Ringer, and Alias declares, "I'm sure to lose but I'll be a good sport to keep it smooth and act as though I got something to prove to everyone around me." JS

NIGHT OF THE LIVING ACCORDION: THREE LEG TORSO SEXTET, MISS MURGATROID, THE DECEMBERISTS, STEVHEN IANCU(Gotham Bldg. Coffee Shop) In conjunction with those dudes at Ripe who invite you to dinner on their email list (like a Tupperware party but with food and the internet), tonight the accordion COMES ALIVE! If you really think about it, the accordion is an amazing instrument; I mean, you have to push air in and out of it, while pressing buttons and keys. Genius! And what Three Leg Torso (jiggy Eastern European vibe tunes) and Miss Murgatroid (art-gothy, amped atmospherics) do with their instruments is nothing less than T-U-F-F. The Decemberists (see Desert City Soundtrack listing) put the accordion in a more traditional context--seafaring, storytelling, pirates, and gorgeous charm. Plus, the talented and entertaining, fire-breathing Dolomite Stevhen Iancu, of "chicken-saving" fame (see pg 9). JS

PARTY TIME, STARANTULA, TELEPHONE(Satyricon) How often does a supergroup measure up to the bands lending the talent? Not that often. But those rare exceptions are quite a treat. Members of Portland's best rock units--Last of the Juanitas, Ociffer, and the Owners--use Party Time as their mantra and a chance to blow off steam in a less demanding format. This is that old-fashioned kind of grunge that the Northwest used to be known for, with dirty metal riffs, pop hooks, and anthemic choruses compliments of the alleged sexiest frontman in town. Starantula roll out their trademarked keyboard sleaze-funk, with special guest Kelly from the Fireballs of Freedom on lead guitar. Expect mayhem, spilled drinks, wet panties, and if you're lucky, they'll do Mr. Crowley. NATHAN CARSON

BELLINI, 31KNOTS, BUILDING PRESS, HALF MAN HALF WOMAN(Blackbird) Nobody does "scary" like the Italians do scary. Perhaps it's because of their chaotic social/governmental situation, but every Italian band I've ever seen has worn freaky masks (and not in the cheesy way), done genuinely frightening improv, and generally rocked the apocalypse like nobody's business, subsequently freaking the shit out of me. Bellini, which features two folks from Sicilian punkers Uzedi (and Don Caballero superstar Damon Che), promises to live up to these expectations. Their singer, Giovanna, sounds like she's channeling the souls of a thousand wrongly burned-at-the-stake witches, intermittently screeching and belching fire. It's amazing. Unfortunately, the band's new disc (Snowing Sun, on Monitor Records) suffers a bit from being too hard-hitting; more dynamics would have meant more depth. Either way, it should rock. Also, Half Man Half Woman is rumored to be Sam and Matt from Dutch Flat in drag. Yowzah. JS

SATURDAY 9/21THE BUGS RECORD RELEASE(Cal-Sports, 1033 NE 16th, 9 pm, free) The Bugs, Portland's reigning kings of hectic, basement punk rock, are famous for many reasons--their guitar/drums approach to improvised (read: fuck-all) garage, their jittery stage presence, their propensity for playing in odd places. My favorite story is when they played in the back of a truck outside Satyricon. One of the club's residential neighbors screamed at them to shut up, to which guitarist Mike Coma replied, "Fuck you, lady, we're The Bugs!" And then the truck drove away. Legendary. Tonight, they release their new-full length LP (with one-of-a-kind, velvet-painting cover art courtesy Last of the Juanitas' Lana Rebel). The Bugs barely ever play, and it's always a total party, so you better go. JS

LUNI COLEONE, MAC DRE, IROC, COOL NUTZ(Roseland) Luni Coleone, previously known as Lunaisicc, has been a part of the West Coast/Sacramento music scene since 1997, when he debuted Mr. Lunasicc and played with C-Bo. Since then, he's released a bunch of albums and has also found his way to the airwaves. While his music is certainly energetic, it falls into the category of slow and hard rapping, rather than quick and light; lots of catchy stuff and no real meat. But if that's your style, Luni's your man. He'll be playing with local DJ superstar, Mac Dre. KD

800 OCTANE, THE JIMMIES, HELLSIDE STRANGLERS, COMPACT 56(Satyricon) Someone put a little thought into this bill. It's a night of homegrown melodic punk rock: bands that make you want to jump violently around the room, AND sing along with the singalong parts. 800 Octane call their music "super-rock." I like it, but it's still too vague, given that you're going to ignore the "super" as so much self-congratulation. Although they ARE super, thanks for asking. They say, "Rock fans think it's punk. Punk fans think it's pop. Pop fans think it's rock." Of course it's all three, so let's leave it at that. Same with Longview stalwarts the Jimmies. Get amped-up, shake your legs and fists, and go whooooa-ohhhh-whoa-whoa along with the backups on the choruses, you know you want to. RC

LIFESAVAS, VITAMIN D, LIBRETTO, DECLAIME, OG ONE, MIXMASTA KD, REVEREND SHINES(Ohm) Here is a hiphop showcase not to miss. Especially noteworthy is the emcee Declaime, who is formerly of Loot Pack and Likwid Crew, and has recently released an album called andsoitisaid. Declaime has described this album as "100 percent hiphop," and I agree with him; his sound is pure and tight, but original as well. Also, the Lifesavas, one of my personal local favorites, will be playing their last show here in Portland before they start on a national tour on the Cali Comm Tour with a bunch of really famous people. Guaranteed good time! KD

MASON JONES, SAMADHI, SIKHARA, SOLIPS/SCHISM(Jasmine Tree) An experimental musician who's also the svengali of Charnel Music recordings, affiliated with Crash Worship, and goth bible Morbid Curiosity magazine, Mason Jones is a creative overachiever. It's good, for lovers of modern classical; his guitar music (both solo, under the name Trance and with SubArachnoid Space) is an atmospheric battery of freaky, creaking, sinking-ship noises similar to Gavin Bryars, but less boring than Pauline Oliveros, and with only one instrument. I would say to go if you're into that kinda stuff, except whomever sent us the package telling us about the show warned us there's going to be loads of "Burning Man, oh aren't we weird shit." So. Also playing: the improv drumming of Samadhi, Sikhara's industrial, and the prepared guitar of Solips/Schism. JS

GIRLS SAY YES, THE QUAGS, CRACK CITY ROCKERS(Mississippi, free) Girls Say Yes is the brainchild of producer, songwriter, and Paisley Pop label-meister Jim Huie. Each song truly has its own personality--and they run the gamut--but uniting it all is Huie's well-honed songwriting craft and wry outlook. The Quags... It's like Kinks songs with Stones licks! Get a scoop of ice, a shot of Britpop, half a shot of Midwestern twang, and a spritz of classic guitar-rock; serve with a garnish of smart, heartfelt lyrics. Then drink the sonofabitch and whoop it up, because above all, there's a spirit of honest, unpretentious fun here. The Crack City Rockers are a tight bundle of energy, with doggedly desperate street poetry sung by an ecstatic Iggy Pop, over a band that rocks hard but still manages to keep it bouncy and clean-cut. ROLAND COUTURE

MIKE JOHNSON, HOUSTON, MINE THIRTY-SEVEN(Blackbird) The down-tempo, minor-chord shades of Mike Johnson's solitary songwriting remain intact on his fourth release, What Would You Do, but what's dreary is never dull, thanks to his increasingly masterful sense of arrangement and mature sense of instrumentation. The album opens majestically with the almost-optimistic swell of "Arise," a gorgeously plaintive piano march draped with delicate strands of tenor sax and trumpet. Jointly produced by Johnson and an uncharacteristically light-handed Phil Ek, WWYD is Johnson's most confident collection of songs to date and so damn lovely in its execution, it will be a shame if its success is confined to indie circles. HANNAH LEVIN

SUNDAY 9/22ATMOSPHERE, MURS(Crystal Ballroom) See Music pg 19

DIAGRAM OF SUBURBAN CHAOS, PHOPLEX, DAMPKRANE, N-GRAVA(Blackbird) Even though the terms "bleep" and "bloop" have been banned by this newspaper, I simply cannot describe Diagram without saying they're filled with bleeps, and yes, bloops. Their sound is calm and ambient--perfect for some ecstasy party in one of those big blow up jumpy things that kids go in at fairs (what are those fucking things called?)... or like that moon room at the end of Revenge of the Nerds. KS

MONDAY 9/23SUPERSPRITE, E*ROCK, INKBLOT, SOLENOID(Blackbird) Three artists from one of Portland's most progressive labels, Audio Dregs, will be joined by Austin artist Inkblot to showcase some IDM music. Wait, did I just say IDM? Intelligent Dance Music? What the hell is that supposed to mean? I love to count blips and bleeps as much as the next geek, but how can you do such intelligent things while shaking your booty? I wouldn't know, but I do know that most "IDM," and the music at this latest Audio Dregs night aren't even fit for dancing. I prefer to sit back, perhaps after sampling some late-summer sticky, and listen to the atmospherics, melodies, and elusive blips and bleeps. On a good day, I find myself floating on a cloud with a giant, furry bunny. Whatever your daydreams are, the digital sounds these Audio Dregs kids create trigger the imagination. Hmm, Imaginative Electronic Music anyone? AARON MILES

JON SPENCER BLUES EXPLOSION, YEAH YEAH YEAHS, LIARS(Crystal Ballroom) As someone astutely noted in a recent issue of Heeb magazine: "Jon Spencer Blues Explosion are to the White Stripes what the New York Dolls were to... well, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion." And as for the Liars--suffice to say that they put on one of the most dynamic live shows you'll ever see, rocking the arty punk freakout without fronting like it's 1982. New ideas are très important, and these fellas got a trunk-full of 'em. JS See Music pg 17

TUESDAY 9/24ONE YEAR, ONE NIGHT: 1988(Dublin Pub) This is a pretty good idea: to have a DJ play the mainstream hits from one year only every night. But 1988? I mean, 1988. Paula Abdul. Red Hot Chili Peppers. INXS. Nostalgia works only when the thing we feel nostalgic about were long enough ago that we don't remember what was crappy about it. I was 12 years old in 1988, and even I remember the crappiness of Paula Abdul--clearly, and without fondness. JS

WEDNESDAY 9/25LYRICS BORN(Berbati's) It's too bad Lyrics Born isn't touring with his co-emcee Lateef--together, they make up the insanely great hiphop group Latyrx. But even by himself, seeing his show is worth it. Lyrics has a forceful yet matter-of-fact rapping style; it's slow and clear enough that he could easily be telling you the instructions for programming the VCR. Only, he's also smart enough that he could make you believe anything he says. KS

25 SUAVES, POINT LINE PLANE(Disjecta) Husband-and-wife team Velocity (he/guitar/ vocals) and DJ Party Girl (she/drums) have some promise with the chugging, distorted guitar that creates something like a wall-of-noise crossed with heavy metal. Their vocals are executed in such a way, however, that it comes off as the most tired, phone-it-in punk delivery ever. I'd give them a chance though, if you like your ears to ring. KS

MONEY MARK, A.I.(Dante's) Jesus, Norm Abram, Richard & Karen--all quality carpenters, sure. But none of them knows their way around a roomful of vintage keyboards quite like handyman Money Mark. You may know the backstory: The Detroit native builds the Beastie Boys' Check Your Head studio, where they find out he's as deft with the organs as he is with a hammer. He writes one of their biggest hits, "So What'cha Want," tours the world as "the fourth Beastie," collaborates with Beck, then lands a solo record deal... which brings us to his latest album, the funky and soulful Change Is Coming. But here's a few things you might not know: He was a Lakers ballboy, he was in an early incarnation of the Wallflowers, and he's an origami master who says if you make three simple folds in a $20 bill, you can see the Twin Towers and Pentagon burning (I checked, it's true). MICHAEL ALAN GOLDBERG

GOLDENBOY, DJ SHAKES

(Blackbird) It would be cool if California pop trio Goldenboy were named after the slick anime comic of the same name. Instead, the title was bestowed upon singer/songwriter Shon Sullivan by Elliott Smith--which is still sort of cool. Sullivan backs Smith and plays regularly with Spain and Neil Finn. So Goldenboy is essentially a pop trio fronted by a sideman stepping out, but unlike some backing musicians who shouldn't lead bands, Sullivan has written some beautiful songs. Goldenboy's new album, Blue Swan Orchestra, is saved from identity crisis and mediocrity by the production--mixes of guitars, drums, keys, and Sullivan's chameleon voice adapt to improve different approaches the songs take. Sounding like other artists may be a side effect of sidemen stepping out, but when all the songs come out so nice, it's forgivable. AM

New Releases Sept 24: 3LW, Ryan Adams, Beck, Cex*, Steve Earle*, Eyes Adrift, India.Arie, Lifter Puller*, Low, Snapcase, Themselves * = tall, dark, and handcuffed