THURSDAY 1/27

ATOLE, PANTHER, 1999, DJ BROKEN WINDOW
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) This show should rightly have taken up prime real estate in our "My, What a Busy Week!" column. That this glowing gem languishes with the rest of you dregs back in the "Up & Coming" section was an oversight on my part, and for this I owe both Atole and Panther my sincerest of apologies; please accept this glowing preview as a pale consolation. So, what's the big hub-bub, you ask? First off, our boy Panther--Portland's human sex organ--finally celebrates the long-delayed release of his debut proper, available now from Kimosciotic Records. In addition to this near earth-shattering announcement, Panther's equally worthy psychic third cousin Atole rejoices in his the release of a new record of his own. Life has never felt so affirmed. ZAC PENNINGTON



DIRTY POWER, THE HITCH, DIESTO
(Sabala's Mt Tabor, 4811 SE Hawthorne) San Francisco's Dirty Power not only cover Ratt's "Round and Round," they keep the lighter flame for melodic heavy-metal guitar solos burning strong. The band's new EP, A Small Offering, pays homage to the days (if not the range) of the Judas Priest falsetto and the strong-armed Black Sabbath rhythm section, a no-frills package that seems to please purists of the genre. JENNIFER MAERZ



HASSAN HAKMOUN
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) If you've ever seen Moroccan music performed live, chances are it was at some cruddy junior college auditorium, played by Reed College grads in ponytails, socks, and sandals, who promptly threw in a Gaelic song, then reggae, ad nauseum. Yes, World Music, the (ironically) whitest of all genres--second only to emo. Hassan Hakmoun was actually born in Morocco, educated in the rituals of the Gnawa tribes, and plays the hash-funked HELL out of the gimbri--a North African bass that looks like a broomstick with an empty tissue box stuck on one end. Totally rad. Now about that Paula Cole duet on his new album... PEEEE U! ADAM GNADE



THE HUNCHES, ROCK N ROLL SOLDIERS, CLOROX GIRLS, TYPHOON KILLER
(Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) Joining our very own austerely hip garage trash mavens The Hunches are the Rock 'n' Roll Soldiers, a literally christened outfit of steely guitars and Jagger-y hip snapping rhythms matched by hissing wicked yeahyeahyeah vocals. Cool, fun, shallow, worth doing something special with your hair for. The Clorox Girls will blaze the trail with their infinitely more frantic Ramones rooted short songs, as well as the tight, punky, bullshit-less Typhoon Killers, who were a word association away from being the next I Am The World Trade Center. MARJORIE SKINNER



THE PLUSHIES, THE PISS SHIVERS, BUSHOLINI, DJ SLIP

(Ash Street, 225 SW Ash) Somewhere, whoever booked this show is laughing a Beavis-and-Butthead laugh. The Plushies are a "glam, metal, punk, indie, rock" hybrid. Why don't they just throw some polka in there and explore every goddamn genre on earth? And really, wasn't indie a revolt against glam metal? The Piss Shivers fascinate me. They describe themselves as "surf/ emo," and I cannot imagine what that sounds like. Are they crying because the waves aren't totally bitchin'? Did Gidget break their wounded hearts? Are they upset about the destruction of the oceans? I am dying for these burning questions to be answered. CORTNEY HARDING



SCIENCE OF YABRA, LIFE AT THESE SPEEDS, AKIMBO, THEY FOUND MY NAKED CORPSE LYING FACE DOWN IN THE SNOW
(Nocturnal, 1800 E Burnside) Akimbo's newest record, City of the Stars, falls a little short, neglecting to capture the fire and fury of the band's frazzled hardcore explosion. On stage, though, trust me, it's totally there. Singer Jon Weisnewski's face turns bright red and drips with sweat as he shreds his vocal chords to bits, spitting out lines like, "Cut the ice and drink the mountain's tears. I rule the plains with frozen fists" (from "I'm a Fucking Ice Giant" on Elephantine). Pissed off guitars fight it out with frantic drumming that makes my arms tense up and cramp just listening to it. Akimbo is an electrical storm, and they usually turn whatever crowd has gathered to witness them into a sweaty, bubbling pot of bodies. Be warned. MEGAN SELING



FRIDAY 1/28

DESERT CITY SOUNDTRACK, MATT SHEEHY, GRAVES
(Ohm, 31 NW 1st) Longstanding Portland club the Ohm seems to be experiencing a bit of a revival with a sudden upsurge in intriguing, non-booty bar rock oriented events, just as it seemed like it was finally circling the drain. And some of the acts are quintessential P-town, like the quiet, modernized folk of Greg Olin, AKA Graves, whose out of towner solo venture into the deceptively subterranean web of indie scene seems classic. MS



FIRESIGN THEATRE
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) I remember seeing this ensemble of ex-hippies with my dad when I was a wee freshman in high school, and having not one iota of a clue as to what was going on. Chances are, I still won't. In the '60s and '70s the Firesign Theatre were like the Pink Floyd of the comedy circuit; a psychedelic haze of drug references and surreal riffs on televangelists, commercials, popular films of the day, and pretty much everything else (the group has released about 20 albums). They were a huge hit on college campuses about 30-40 years ago, which means their biggest fans are 50-60 years old now. DJs and sound engineers may want to check this show, however, as TFT's layering of clips from pretty much every medium imaginable is quite masterful. Otherwise, if you didn't live through World War II, you might want to stay home for this one. JWS



MENOMENA, TALKDEMONIC, THE KINGDOM
(Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E Burnside) See Once More With Feeling



MOONSHINE HANGOVER, DEVIL DOLL, HILLSTOMP, LEW LONGMIRE BAND
(Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) Some alt-country acts just don't get it. They patronizingly parody the genre's conventions, insert self-conscious nods to anachronistic albums and don garish, gimmicky duds. On the other hand, the beer-drinkers and hell-raisers in Moonshine Hangover take their debt to authentic outlaw country seriously. This Portland quartet's turbo-twang barn-burners scorch the stage like a flaming tractor careening through crops, slapping off any sissy ironic trucker hats within a cornfield's radius. This gig marks the release of Moonshine Hangover's latest disc Thicket, which sounds surprisingly crisp given the scores of alcohol references its lyrics contain. ANDREW MILLER



PORTUGAL THE MAN, KONAMI DEFENSE SYSTEM, WE ARE WOLVES, PEACE, THE BURNING ROOM, WICKED HANDS
(Tonic Lounge, 3100 NE Sandy Blvd) Later this year, Beck will release a record that returns to his junkyard funk sound, and Portishead will end its eight-year hiatus with more shadowy, sexy spy-movie soundtrack fodder. Alaska's Portugal the Man splits the difference between these eagerly awaited albums, pairing Beck's falsetto croon and party-starting vibe with Portishead's icy electronic chill and ominous overtones. Opening act Konami Defense System's moniker pays homage to vintage gaming, but instead of covering comforting old-school bleep-and-bloop Nintendo scores, it assaults audiences with aggressive jungle beats. AM



SAINT ROUGE TSUNAMI BENEFIT FEATURING STERLING MOSS, IQU, JFLEA, AREA 54, FORTUNES VINE
(Bossanova, 722 E Burnside) See My, What a Busy Week! Pg 13



SUCKAPUNCH, THE CHOSEN, SYNDELL, ANAXAGORUS, SANTOZIN, RAMSET BROS.
(Berbati's Pan, 10 SW 3rd) Check Mic Crenshaw's booming presence and confident vocals in another glorious evening of Suckpunch's politically minded hiphop educating. Smarts, plus the live band orchestrations of the Chosen and the wicked female rhyme-drops of Syndel, and you got yourself a date. KATIE SHIMER



TSUNAMI BENEFIT FEATURING THE DANDY WARHOLS, COLIN MELOY, DURANGO PARK, THE UPSIDEDOWN, DJ DANTRONIX
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) See My, What a Busy Week!



WOLVES IN THE THRONEROOM, ALDERBARAN, NATE C
(Dunes, 1905 NE MLK) From out of Olympia's heavily cobwebbed history in the metallic arts comes the epic black metal of Wolves In the Throneroom. At once punishing and visionary, the arching grind of Wolves is at times awe-inspiring--that is, if I'm not totally confusing them with one of those other Wolf bands. Oh, wait--here's a stupid idea: 2005="Wolf" bands are the new "the" bands. Put that in your diary. ZP



SATURDAY 1/29

INVISIBLE, THE SNUGGLE UPS, THE QUIET COUNTRIES

(Ohm, 31 NW 1st) My, What a Busy Week!



HEM, DAVID MEAD
(Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E Burnside) Fearlessly folky and beautiful, Hem manages to keep the country inflections to a minimum, dodging the usual smokescreen of Cash/Williams/Parton respect that guises much of the hipper side of cheesy folk music these days. Not that it isn't there, but Hem is foremost about dreaming, softly and lovingly orchestrated loveliness, ultimately personified in the firm, feminine soprano of Sally Ellyson. David Mead is a bit less frilly, relying more on lyrical content and finger picking than a lush ensemble to convey the tumbleweeds of his folky, romantic croon. MS



NO MOTIV, PAINT BY NUMBERS, LE MEU LE PURR, DEAR WHOEVER, OLIVER, RUNAWAY BOYS, SHELTER RED, LYNDSEY POOL
(Meow Meow, 320 SE 2nd Ave) No Motiv is the least offensive band on Vagrant Records. In the label's entire catalog, which includes acts like the Get Up Kids, Saves the Day, and Audio Learning Center, there really isn't one offensive artist, and No Motiv is the safest of them all. Now I don't wanna use the words "typical" or "uninteresting," because they both come with very negative tones, but there's really nothing new with No Motiv. They're good at what they do, and what they do is Vagrant rock. MEGAN SELING



SCARUB, SLEEP, DOME CITY DUSTCRUSHERS, MS. SU'AD
(Ash Street, 225 SW Ash) Scarub is a fun emcee from the L.A. crew Living Legends. He exudes intelligent lyrics with a delivery so whimsical it can seem like he's making fun of himself. Ramsey Brothers stalwart Ms. Su'ad rounds the package out with her debut as a solo artist. JUSTIN WESCOAT SANDERS



SEX WITH GIRLS, BONUS
(Dunes, 1905 NE MLK) You may have noted that up until this point, the Mercury has written surprisingly little about Sex With Girls. And by Sex With Girls, I mean the band. I'm tempted to chalk this absence up to a fear of encouragement. Or maybe it's because we've all been too afraid to actually confront our feelings about James Squeaky and Alex Merrill's impenetrably simple art project. Maybe we still are. At any rate, I feel like I've built up enough momentum to finally confront this force head-on--running haplessly through the darkness of critical understanding--so here goes nothin': Sex With Girls sound like they are trying to play music like Half Japanese--which in itself is a contradiction in terms, as Half Japanese in their very essence are about not trying at all. In deliberately attempting to sound like a band whose entire function was to create music personally and effortlessly, Sex With Girls seem to miss the point completely. Or perhaps, they get the point exactly. This is just the first in the seemingly limitless conundrums one faces in Sex With Girls--the remainder of which I look forward to exploring with you in later editions of these pages. ZP



SUNDAY 1/30

LATEEF THE TRUTH SPEAKER, THE PERCEPTIONISTS, MR. LIF, SIREN'S ECHO
(Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E Burnside) The Perceptionists--Boston MCs Mr. Lif and Akrobatik (DJ Fakts One is sitting out this tour)--view themselves as weapons against ignorance, forces for peace and enlightenment. Basically, these responsible, intelligent rappers serve as underground hiphop's superego. Which is not to say their music lacks sensuous joys and funky fun. The group's forthcoming Def Jux debut disc, Black Dialogue, spills hundreds of thoughtful sentences delivered with authoritative verve. On the timely "Memorial Day," Akro spits the chorus, "Where are the weapons of mass destruction/We been lookin' for months and we ain't found nothin'/Please, Mr. President, tell us sumpin'/We knew from the beginnin' that your ass was bluffin'." The track's righteous orchestral funk and pointed denunciations of the Iraq war should be spinning daily in heavy rotation nationwide. "The whole concept of the Perceptionists is just being aware and conscious of what's going on in the world… and addressing it," Akrobatik told hiphopcongress.com. In today's hiphop world, that's a radical stance. DAVE SEGAL



MONDAY 1/31

JOHNNY A
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) Johnny A plays music that my pseudo-hip, grew-up-in the-'70s, pot-smokin' uncle would take me out to see. It's guitar driven "urban jazz" for the older folks who like to "get down." As head-swaggering music in a busy blues club it wouldn't be so bad, but I can't imagine sitting in a chair and having to listen to it for any period of time. I wasn't a big Stevie Ray Vaughn fan, though, and that's who Johnny A sort of reminds me of. KS



TUESDAY 2/1

THIS SONG IS A MESS BUT SO AM I, BLACK JAPAN, YUMA NORA
(Dunes, 1905 NE MLK) Though it's hardly the whole story, it may be a helpful starting place to note that L.A.'s This Song Is Mess But So Am I released a seven inch with open-wristed troubadours Xiu Xiu last year. On dark purple "goth as fuck" vinyl. Freddy Rupert, the man who makes up the "I" in the band's oppressively long name, uses showering and pummeling drum machines to straining effect--but unlike the double-X (to whom he's invariably linked), Rupert takes a considerably more straight-forward, goth-traditionalist sonic approach. All in all, the product is gut-wrenched, heavy, and difficult--and I'm sure he wouldn't have it any other way. ZP



WEDNESDAY 2/2

ATTRITION, SYNCHRONICITY, FREQUENCY, SORIAH
(Sabala's Mt Tabor, 4811 SE Hawthorne) My, What a Busy Week!



CHEVELLE, HELMET, CROSSFADE
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) In Mezocandalic--a language I invented just for this "Up & Coming"--Chevelle means "straddling the thin red line between Sunny Day Real Estate and Ozzfest." It's a band that almost feels good to like (i.e. Cursive-esque guitar dive-bombers vis-a-vis stomp-the-Muff-pedal conniptions.) Almost. Then it falls off the pier into a slimy, bubbling bog of Durstian nu-metal tomfoolery (i.e. touring with Korn, Tool worship). The band's latest record, This Type of Thinking (Could Do Us In), has found them a new audience--psuedo-goth, Maynard-loving, '90s-rock-revivaling teens. But you're probably going to this show for Helmet, anyhow. AG



TIFT MERRITT, TRES CHICAS
(Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E Burnside) Like me, sultry roots folkster Tift Merritt was born in Houston. Unlike me, the uber-hott (as in Faith Hill-haired and bassett hound-eyed) songstress was "discovered" by pompster Ryan Adams and subsequently signed by Lost Highway mogul Frank Callari in 2001. Everyone at No Depression got creamed-corn pants over her debut in '02, but nobody bought it--fortunately, commercial response to last year's Tambourine continues to build as throngs of '60s country fans recognize her inner Loretta. The woman's able to channel Silk Purse-era Linda Ronstadt vibes, but adds the kind of soulful vulnerability to torch songs like "Still Pretending" that should continue to steady her rise to fame. She would friggin' kick Shania Twain's Canadian ass in a for-reals contest. Highly recommended. JOAN HILLER



SERIES_12 FEATURING YUKO NEXUS 6, MARIKO, DANIEL MENCHE, zachary reno, DJ STEREO OBSCURA
(Dunes, 1905 NE MLK) See My, What a Busy Week!