THURSDAY 3/22

DAN DEACON, BLOOD BABY, COPY, RIDDENPAA, DJ RAD!

(Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) See My, What a Busy Week!, pg. 17.

THE ATARIS, BLACKPOOL LIGHTS, WAX ON RADIO

(Satyricon, 125 NW 6th) The Ataris disappeared for a long while, but they recently returned with a new album, Welcome the Night, that marks their debut as a Serious Rock Band. Maybe even a Really Serious Rock Band. We know this because band overlord Kris Roe has a beard now. Was growing it the cause of his four-year absence? Or perhaps it took that long to recruit all the players for his newly designed septet. Joining Roe & Co. for this Class of '99 emo all-stars reunion is the similarly bearded Jim Suptic (so mature!) and his band of Grown Up Kids, er, Blackpool Lights. At least intriguing openers Wax On Radio ought to excite. TRISTAN STADDON

SOUTHERLY, THE ROBOT ATE ME, TRACTOR OPERATOR, PROTEST HILL

(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) For the past four years, indie zines have been gloating about this amazingly soulful, lo-fi—yet orchestral in scope—quartet, the Robot Ate Me. With references to other obscure bands that I don't know, these reviews have been exactly the type of holier-than-now indie hype that turns me off immediately. But, a few years late, I'm in love! Like the nerdy girl whose beauty is gently obscured by a blasé demeanor and below-the-radar attitude, bandleader Ryland Bouchard's talent and voice are achingly charismatic in the way that he doesn't even seem to try. Completely relaxed, his voice, with seeming effortlessness, changes up pace and pitch, bouncing up the octaves from moaning, lovelorn alley cat to jaunty cabaret singer. Yes, I'm in love! PHIL BUSSE

FROM AUTUMN TO ASHES, HASTE THE DAY, THE SLEEPING, MAYLENE & THE SONS OF DISASTER, ALESANA

(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE 39th) Last December, From Autumn to Ashes co-vocalist Ben Perri (the chubby screamer guy) admitted that he hadn't written any lyrics (oops!) for the album FATA was supposed to track later that day (oh, that) and how, really, he felt it better to just leave the band altogether, having lost "the fire that kept me going for all these years." Huge douche move, right? Totally. But let's be real here for a minute, people. Would you have done any differently if your day job required you to sing in From Autumn to Ashes? We thought not. Anyway, former kitman Francis Mark gets his Phil Collins fix on all over their new Holding a Wolf by the Ears. It might be their best disc yet. Of course, one should probably listen to it before saying for sure. And who knows whether anyone still cares enough to go that far. TS

CASIOTONE FOR THE PAINFULLY ALONE, OSCILLATING INNARDS, PRIVACY, OVEN MITTS

(Towne Lounge, 714 SW 20th Pl) Conflict of interest alert! Years back, Casiotone's Owen Ashworth was an intern here at the Mercury, for like about 20 minutes, then he quit. Of all the dozens of Casiotone shows I attended—from tours with the Rapture to watching him hunched over the low-hanging basement pipes in Fast Forward—I never cared for his music back then. As always, I was wrong. His latest on Tomlab, Etiquette, expands his once quaint—if not downright twee—sound to expose a rich undercurrent of musical texture that has been played to the point of melting my iPod due to excessive spins. Sorry Owen, I was wrong. EZRA ACE CARAEFF

ROLLERBALL, AU, FRONT MACHINE

(Someday Lounge, 125 NW 5th) Rollerball are the definition of "hard to define." Controlled musicianship weaves and builds, tossing jazz licks amid mood-heavy chords. Vocals evocative of Patti Smith lay down with swelling horns, satellite-uplink synthesizers, and nimbly caressed bass. The feeling Rollerball music leaves you with is heady and significant. Like some kind of monk-brewed herbal elixir, the taste can take some getting used to—but once you do, you're hooked. LANCE CHESS

PETEY PABLO, TWISTED INSANE, COOL NUTZ

(Berbati's Pan, 10 SW 3rd) Petey Pablo was born on the exact same day as Rufus Wainwright. Might they have been separated at birth? Answering life's big questions: It's what we're here for. Consider the following couplets: Artist A: "Throw all the dirt you want, it's no use/You still won't have a pin-up in a fabulous room." Artist B: "An old whore's diet gets me going in the morning/Ain't nothing like it." Ha! Nothing in common. Exercise successful. Pablo is the mystery Artist A! Didn't see that coming, did you, pimp juice? Dude's third album, Proper Procedures: The New Entries, is due later this year, whenever his label decides that making a gazillion dollars off a couple of zeitgeist-shaming singles is savvy business and quits delaying it. Meantime, expect plenty of fiery crunk beats, Tar Heels shout-outs, and freaky leaky durrty talk. TS

FRIDAY 3/23

TV ON THE RADIO, SUBTLE

(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) See My, What a Busy Week!, pg. 17

THE ONLINE ROMANCE, PER SE, EXPLORATION TEAM

(Acme, 1305 SE 8th) There's just something so endearing about indierock bands un-ironically covering pop songs. Ted Leo does it. Yo La Tengo does it. Greg Dulli does it. And now added to that list: the Online Romance. Their cover of Madonna's "Borderline" is damn near perfect. And sure, everyone does covers, but like the great acts listed above, the Online Romance fail to get overshadowed by the songs they are covering. They manage to throw enough melody and harmony into their twee-inspired indie-pop that it threatens to melt even the coldest of hearts. Now if only someone would indulge me with some Debbie Gibson covers. Anyone? Anyone? ROB SIMONSEN

THE BUGS, RUSH-N-DISCO, DJ NIKKI C

(Tube, 18 NW 3rd) The word "garage" in garage punk does not do the Bugs any justice. The garage is for old paint cans, a Nerf basketball hoop, and your eventual suicide by a running car's fumes. Instead, the Bugs are a basement band and there is no end to how sloppy and delightful they are on ...the Bugs, the release of which they are celebrating tonight. "You say you want to kill the president/Yeah, fuckin' know what you mean/but you can't afford the dynamite and still pay the rent/Yeah, fuckin' know what you mean." Amen to that. EAC

DEAD MEADOW, SPINDRIFT, PLANTS, WHITE RAINBOW

(Berbati's Pan, 10 SW 3rd) Most of my friends don't consider Dead Meadow "tough" enough to make the grade as True Stoner Rock. True though it may be, Dead Meadow's legacy lies nearer the foggy peat bogs and the pop-goes-dour lushness of early '90s acts like Lush and the Stone Roses than it does to Motor City thunder. Which is fine, since a stern bone rattling is the last thing I need when stoned out of my shaggy mane. Smartly precluding Dead Meadow, Plants' ancient tree folk will be the icy maiden escorting you to the equinox at the Mersey. LC

LAURA VEIRS, MIKE DUMOVICH

(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Veirs is something of a contemporary female version of John Denver—in that category of "rock" that is more a combination of folk, country, and washboard rockabilly. And, like Denver, she is simultaneously down to earth and a bit flighty in her sensibilities. (While most musicians point to other musicians as influences, Veirs claims that her influences are "the sky—stars, meteors, galaxies—and a lot of stuff from the sea.") PB

THE NICE BOYS, TIME FLYS, ELECTRIC SHADOWS, THE NEAT

(Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) The Electric Shadows seem to have broken into some magic '70s-glam dressing room. They stole David Johansen's best belly shirt, Mark Bolan's last can of Aquanet, and the Faces' songbook while they were at it. It's gritty and glammy, but their substance outweighs their style, and these kids got chops. Feathered hair and chops. What else do you need? EAC

SATURDAY 3/24

OOIOO, SMALL SAILS, RIDDENPAA

(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) See My, What a Busy Week!, pg. 17.

THE PLACES, PSEUDOSIX, ZAK RILES

(Towne Lounge, 714 SW 20th Pl) See Once More with Feeling, pg. 41.

GOSLING, GLISS, THE PHARMACY, PART MAN PART HORSE, CAFETERIA DANCE FEVER

(Slabtown, 925 NW 19th) Long before Gosling moved to Los Angeles and traded in their radio-driven, faux-Mötley Crüe, corporate rock vibe for an updated, radio-driven, faux-Beatles shtick, they were from Tri-Cities, Washington, and called themselves Loudermilk. Having grown up in Tacoma I remember Loudermilk making the rounds, and can't help but hate them a little for packing up and leaving their roots and relocating to California. How dare them! What, all of a sudden it's adios to everything just because there are "more opportunities" in LA? That's weak. Oh, you're going to change your name too? Nice. What a bunch of bitch-ass sellouts! Screw those guys! (Wait a minute...Fuck! I moved to Portland, didn't I? Because of the opportunities. Shit! That makes me a bitch-ass sellout. Scratch all that.) Gosling kicks ass. I swear. They're bigger than Jesus. MATT DRISCOLL

THE WHIGS, THE UPSIDEDOWN

(Roseland Grill, 8 NW 6th) For all of their emerging success and name recognition, the Whigs seem to suffer (more than the average band) from comparisons to other, better-known bands. Most commonplace is likening them to My Morning Jacket, presumably for their jangling punk-esque jams. And they are, of course, inevitably compared to that other Athens, Georgia band, REM. Not to be outdone, let me throw in my own comparison: For my money, the Whigs are best compared to the Replacements; yes, for their nasally toned vocals, but more because they are still a band that is much better live than downloaded. PB

SUNDAY 3/25

BADLY DRAWN BOY, ADEM, LISSIE

(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) See Music, pg. 23.

SONDRE LERCHE, WILLY MASON, THOMAS DYBDAHL

(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) See My, What a Busy Week!, pg. 17.

KILLSWITCH ENGAGE, DRAGON FORCE, CHIMAIRA, HE IS LEGEND

(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) Dude. Dragon Force. Dragon. Fucking. Force. It's like five dudes fucking shredding on the top of Mt. Doom and they're like, you know, rocking in Sauron's evil eye or something—just fucking rocking! It's like an eagle with a Viking sword blowing up the moon. Yeah, so what if they're inspired by music from videogames and have a kinda lame name? So fucking what? Can you play guitar like that? I didn't think so. ANDREW R. TONRY

MONDAY 3/26

APPLES IN STEREO, SAME OLD DRAG, PLEASE

(Berbati's Pan, 10 SW 3rd) See My, What a Busy Week!, pg. 17.

HEADLIGHTS, PAGE FRANCE, LAURA GIBSON

(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) See Music, pg. 21.

RATATAT, 120 DAYS, DESPOT

(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) See My, What a Busy Week!, pg. 17.

THE EARLY NOVEMBER, THE ROCKET SUMMER, MELEE, NOTHING EVER STAYS

(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) The Rocket Summer's music has all the sincerity and depth of a hastily scrawled high school yearbook entry. The mindless emo-pop group is fronted by Bryce Avary, who resembles the long-lost fourth member of Hanson, the one their cruel showbiz parents chained to the radiator while the rest of the boys were out on "MMMBop Tour '97." Now Avary takes his revenge on the masses with another useless effort to embed a predictable chorus in your head and maybe move some previous units and climb them charts. Stay sweet, dude. EAC

KIIIIIII, MISE EN ABYME, THE BEAUTY

(Towne Lounge, 714 SW 20th Pl) Kiiiiiii should be the winners of this week's Most Unfortunate Band Name, yet somehow their name is entirely fitting. Somewhere between shitty performance art and musical genius, these two Japanese ladies are more well versed in American pop culture than most—covering songs by everyone from Michael Jackson to the Wiggles—and they even throw in some Nickelodeon theme songs to boot. Loosely centered around drums, yelps delivered in broken English, and handclaps (LOTS of handclaps), their songs are musically childish but aesthetically mature. It's like being in on a joke with an intelligent fourth grader and having it be more rewarding than being in on one with an unintelligent adult. RS

TUESDAY 3/27

GOLDENBOY, SARAH SHANNON

(Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) If I were to sit down right now and try to name my favorite 100 songs of all time, chances are Sarah Shannon would make that list twice: once for Velocity Girl's "Crazy Town" and once for Styrofoam's remix of "I Found Love" (originally performed by the Free Design). Her new solo album is a little too retro cocktail pop for me, toeing the adult-contemporary line ever so closely. But still, two out of 100 is a pretty damn impressive track record, and one that will make me support her in any endeavor. So what if I feel over 40 in doing so? RS

PAOLO NUTINI, ANNIE STELA

(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) The Fir is billing Paolo Nutini as a "narrative soul Scottish wunderkind," but the sole kind of wonder he's inspiring in me is how in the hell my favorite venue in Portland thought that a show with this guy was a good idea. I mean, I understand that vanilla-white-dude soccer-mom acoustic rock has been paying the bills for a lucky few (hello, Jack Johnson?) at least since Sting went solo, but seriously, DF, say it ain't so. "Picking up the pieces of the wreck you went and left," indeed. JIM WITHINGTON

THE EXTRAORDINAIRES, LUX PERPETUA

(Towne Lounge, 714 SW 20th Pl) Seems like the world has been sleeping on the Extraordinaires. How can a band that brings the grand splendor of Neutral Milk Hotel and the book smarts of our Decemberists fly so far under the radar? Wake up people, their hyper-literate-themed CD, Ribbons of War, was packaged as a book and is the motivation for an upcoming graphic novel. The marriage between music and the printed word has never been better. EAC

WEDNESDAY 3/28

LILY ALLEN

(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) See Music, pg. 19.

MARIA TAYLOR, FOUREVERYOUNG, DAY OF LIONS

(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) See Music, pg. 19.

MASTODON, PRIESTESS, MOUTH OF THE ARCHITECT

(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE 39th) See My, What a Busy Week!, pg. 17.

SON VOLT, MAGNOLIA ELECTRIC CO.

(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) The fact that Jay Farrar toured in 2005 as "Son Volt," despite an entirely new lineup, was pretty weak. Then new material started rolling in, and brand-new album The Search shows some surprisingly great moments. There's a fresh-for-him sound on some tracks (awesome made-for-late-night-TV horn sound on "The Picture"), some real clunker political-statements-as-satire ("Had a thought that consumer goods were bad"), and even the good old, country-tinged quiet (album closer "Phosphate Skin") we've come to expect. It's tough to compare Farrar's new Son Volt output to classic Uncle Tupelo, or even early Son Volt, so don't—just enjoy! JW

THE TRAGICALLY HIP, THE SADIES

(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) Tonight, the bacon is round. It's Maple Leaf Appreciation Night as the Tragically Hip and the Sadies invade our country, flaunting their universal healthcare, superior maple syrup, and frosty cans of Molson Dry. The Sadies, who often back faux-Canuck Neko Case (she was born in Virginia. She's ours, dammit!), are touring in support of their live album, which sports the baffling title of Live in Concert Volume One. EAC