THE DECEMBERISTS, OKKERVIL RIVER (Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) If you're going to hear the Decemberists, make sure to arrive early enough to catch Austin, TX ensemble Okkervil River. Their new album, Black Sheep Boy (on Secretly Canadian), uses a cover of '60s folk-singer Tim Hardin's song of the same name as a jumping-off point for originals inspired by its themes and sentiments. It's another stellar offering from Will Sheff and his platoon of cohorts, who bear antiquated arms including vibraphone, pump organ, Wurlitzer, and strings aplenty. KURT B. REIGHLEY See Music, pg 19

JUCIFER, BURIED INSIDE, QUARRY TO THE WAR (Ash Street, 225 SW Ash) There are few louder loves in this world than the one between Jucifer duo Amber Valentine and Ed Livengood. For 10 years, they've blasted their bigger-than-shit amalgam of metal sludge and atmospherics through Marshall Full Stacks to the delight of ecstatically brooding crowds. Jucifer's been testing out new material from their upcoming full-length (no release date for that'n yet) on this tour, and word is that it's as guitar-snarly and lush as 2002's I Name You Destroyer, but with more delicate departures. It's really Valentine & Livengood's ability to balance passionate, weighty balls-rock with innovatively arranged moments of lucid quiet that has kept the duo's dynamic malleable and interesting. And dude, are they ever fun to watch. JOAN HILLER

ME FIRST & THE GIMME GIMMES, CHIXDIGGIT (Bossanova, 722 E Burnside) Tonight's headliners are less Me First and the Gimmick Gimmick (although they don't put any effort into hiding their schtick) and more the $2 beer drinkers' good-time party band. For nearly a decade now they've taken the wilting concept of playing in a cover band and altered it to a covers band--where everything from Led Zeppelin to show tunes to old white dudes like Dylan and the Beach Boys are given a speedy pop-punk (and sometimes pop-punk-polka) makeover. The all-star band comprises members of the Swingin' Utters, Lagwagon, and the Foo Fighters, as well as Bay Area record-label icon Fat Mike. Their latest CD, Ruin Jonny's Bar Mitzvah, contains the same punchlines the band's been tossing around since 1997--with funny skits about a 13-year-old's birthday party thrown in between songs--but if it ain't broke, the xed formula can still lead to a grand old time. JENNIFER MAERZ

THE PRIDS, PATERENI, DJ GREGARIOUS (Berbati's Pan, 10 SW 3rd) There is not a more remarkable band in Portland than the Prids. After nearly seven years together, these native Nebraskans are leaving town to play a series of high profile summer residencies in New York City, counting Matador's golden goths, Interpol, among their most ardent devotees. But unlike the Armani-clad gloom rockers who, in their overwrought austerity and smoothed over production, often fail to take the necessary risks to make a significant emotional impact, the Prids, with their tattered hearts on their, albeit black, sleeves, gracefully execute an uncompromising and powerful statement of purpose. Theirs is the sound of love and loss, sorrow and redemption. With a fiercely DIY ethic and an inspiring commitment to their music and each other, they are a band that stands for all that is still good about rock'n'roll. KIP BERMAN

SWAN ISLAND, FACT OR FICTION (Egyptian Club, 3701 SE Division) From the very capable amp of former Half-Seas-Over guitarist Aubree Bernier-Clarke (along with former members of Menagerie and Shemo) comes estro-centric prog-pop quintet Swan Island--a band whose name is either totally brilliant or just totally lazy. I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. Tonight marks the kick off of a brief West Coast jaunt to celebrate the release of their debut record--a gala only complimented by the company of Fact Or Fiction, featuring former Need shread-stress Radio Sloan. ZAC PENNINGTON


SIREN'S ECHO, THE BLACK NOTES, SISTERZ OF THE UNDERGROUND, LIV WARFIELD, MS. SU'AD, DJ BEYONDA (Conan's Pub, SE 39th & Hawthorne) The exciting local duo Siren's Echo continue to play all over town on the strength of their new album Psalms of the Sirens. Tonight they're joined by many friends, ALL of whom are female; so if you dig hiphop and you dig ladies, this is probably the event for you. JUSTIN WESCOAT SANDERS

SMASH TV, DAMIAN LAZARUS, DEREK FISHER, RECESS, THE PERFECTCYN, MC ANTON BOMB (Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) British DJ Damian Lazarus (Crosstown Rebels, City Rockers) has found a congenial way to commingle techno, electro, and house on his Rebel Futurism--Session Two mix disc. Featuring tracks by Steve Bug, Anthony Rother, Superpitcher (remixed by Michael Mayer), and DJ Koze, Rebel Futurism stokes parties with subtle insistence rather than with raging bangers. Lazarus' style is ideally suited for spinning long sets that gradually build euphoria. Ellen Allien collaborator Smash TV, who recently issued the eccentrically excellent Bits for Breakfast (BPitch Control), explores the more camp and libidinous areas of techno and electro. Smash TV (Holger Zilske) has the thrilling ability to lace weird textures and tones into rhythmic patterns that cause people to move in spazzy yet ebullient ways. This makes him a perfect fit for the Shameless promoters' aesthetic, where fun and adventurous styles are fused at the hip. DAVE SEGAL

TOMASZ STANKO QUARTET (Blue Monk, 3341 SE Belmont) Polish trumpeter Tomasz Stanko rose to prominence in the mid-'60s as a member of Kryzsztof Komeda's group. That ensemble made ripples throughout Europe's avant-garde and turned highly evolved American jazz heads, too. In the early '70s, Stanko worked with jazz illuminati such as Cecil Taylor, Gary Peacock, and Michael Urbaniak. Stanko's music is marked by a midnight-blue soulfulness that recalls Miles and Chet's starkly beautiful tones. On the Stanko Quartet's latest release, Suspended Night (ECM), the master and his young cohorts Marcin Wasilewski (piano), Slawomir Kurkiewicz (double bass), and Michal Miskiewicz (drums) amble elegantly through a twilight haze, with each member showing utmost delicacy, restraint, and sensitivity for his instrument. DS

VENDETTA RED, BUMPISS AKA 36, CORK PENGUINS, LEFT LANE ENDS, LAST DAYS TO LIVE (Paris Theater, 6 SW 3rd) Epic Records wants Vendetta Red to be your new favorite band. Desperately. Reason I know this is they've been bombarding me and my peeps in the music press with tons of copies (six per month?) of the band's Between the Never and Now, along with singles, press releases, and more hype-mail than the Merc gets hatemail. (If I had more Martha Stewart in me, I could make a nice back wall decoupage for the den with nothing but Vendetta Red promo CDs.) Is their persistence working? Totally. Warped dates, messageboard mania, spots on Carson and MTV. Does that make them anything more than low-rent screamo with awful Omar/Cedric hair? Nope. ADAM GNADE


GIFT OF GAB, LATEEF THE TRUTH SPEAKER, LIGHTHEADED, DJ BEYONDA (Berbati's Pan, 10 SW 3rd) Anytime I meet someone who swears that they'd never get into hiphop, instead of writing them off, I sit 'em down and make them listen to "Alphabet Aerobics" off of Blackalicious' A2G EP. Like Billy Dee Williams says, "works every time." Gift's lung-stretching stanzas, impeccable cadences, and sheer lyrical bombast are enough to make anybody rise up off that bullshit. 4th Dimensional Rocketships Going Up was the album to beat last year, but y'all knew that. Lateef is well known from the work he's put in as one half of the unfuckwittable Latyrx, or from his Maroons album (with Blackalicious' Chief X-Cel). Look, am I speaking Chinese up here? Go to the show, motherfucker! LARRY MIZELL JR. See also Music, Pg 21


ME CON, TUNNELS, BATTLESHIP (4126 N. Commercial Ave) Battleship is the modern day, quintessential West Coast Punk experience. Like a cross between Black Flag and Gang of Four, this extra raw music pervades despite all obvious chaos, held together with tight, rambunctious beats. If their last performance in Portland was any indication, you'll find yourself amidst a large audience, with crazed eyes, unleashing their inner tigers. These shows are sexy, mini riots, so come prepared, and bring your own. AMY VECCHIONE

THE HUNCHES, TURPENTINE BROTHERS, THE HUSBANDS, THE INVISIBLE EYES, DJ HIGHWAY 7 (Berbati's Pan, 10 SW 3rd) There may be no god willing to bless The Hunches. Stabs of white noise, black noise, love noise, and fed up feedback swim in dropped drinks, sweet melody, and dripping sweat and tears. Please God, bless the Hunches. Bless their hearts. KB

METAL SUNDAYS FEATURING DEBRIS, CHURCH OF HATE, MINDSTAIN, SEVERUS (Sabala's Mt Tabor, 4811 SE Hawthorne) Tacoma's Church of Hate loves pissed-off parishioners. Some object to its explicit sado-Satanic imagery (vaginally inserted crucifix? Check!), while others are incensed about the way its carelessly sprayed stage blood ruined their new outfits. Either way, the furious flock grows with each show, especially at gigs such as this one where Church of Hate is a warm-up act and some spectators have no idea what they're about to witness. Easily offended metal mavens could close their eyes and enjoy the music, which sounds like punked-up Pantera, but that wouldn't eliminate the aggressively blasphemous between-song banter. Besides, it's never a good idea to close your eyes around these guys. ANDREW MILLER

CHRISTOPHER WILLITS, STRATEGY, TUNNELS, DJ EKUL B (Dunes, 1905 NE MLK) If the disparate proper nouns that pack out his bio are any indication (read: Matmos, Taylor Deupree, Ghostly International, Hella's Zach Hill, Kid 606, Mill's College, The Wire, etc), Bay Area sound designer and frequent collaborator Christopher Willits might just be the glue that holds the universe together. And if that's not enough to motivate you, peep this as an added bonus: local Kranky Records rep Strategy is stacking the deck with an all-too-rare set. ZP

WRITTEN IN ASHES, GUILT BY ASSOCIATION (Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) Written in Ashes sets black hearts aflutter with its industrial-clatter riffs, throbbing synth-smothered pulse and sensual baritone vocals. On its self-titled 2004 release, the Portland-based band's third full-length but its first with its latest lineup, WIA resembles Ministry or Skinny Puppy, had those acts pursued forbidden seduction instead of alerting listeners about assorted evils. Kevyn Hay's non-apocalyptic lyrics let fans dance to the dark-wave grooves without the usual incongruity that comes with using baroque tidings of their imminent grotesque demise as a choreography catalyst. AM


BIG HEAD TODD & THE MONSTERS, CARBON LEAF (Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) Did you know that BHT put out a new record last year on Sanctuary called Crimes of Passion? According to fans, Crimes of Passion is their most "ambitious" effort to date. That's what Steely Dan devotees said about Two Against Nature, and what 'Tallica fans said about St. Anger, and what R.E.M. fans said about Around The Sun. "Ambitious"? Perhaps. "Quality"? Not so much. If you're down for a good old-fashioned long-haired funky jam sesh, however, BHT's new stuff is right up your hackeysack khaki slacks, to quote MC Paul Barman. JH

KISSING TIGERS, POLAR BEARS, THE SHOW IS THE RAINBOW (Ash Street, 225 SW Ash) My family in Slovenia has a saying: "You kiss tiger. Tiger bite face." Which doesn't make much sense when you hear Kissing Tigers' friendly new rec, Pleasure of Resistance. It's heavy dance stuff, youthful vocals, zippy Killers riffs and slippery keyboard juice that's more Zelda than Castlevania. Even songs as doomy-sounding as "I Died in a Mall" are still dancefloor gumdrops, with nothing to kill your buzz or harsh that mellow just beats, bass, and beats and beats. And after all's said and done, you're totally okay, face intact. Which is good, 'cuz you're damn cute. AG


GRAHAM COXON (Roseland, 8 NW 6th) Ten years ago, Graham Coxon was the lead guitarist in the biggest mainstream rock band in England. On the backs of twin masterpieces Modern Life Is Rubbish and Parklife, Blur sparked a pop moment--Britpop--that cemented their cultural and artistic influence across Europe, and even, to a certain degree, in America (where you can still become famous for being famous elsewhere). He also appeared to hate every second of it. While Blur sold millions of records and his bandmates soaked up the glory, Coxon was famously miserable, glowering (handsomely) in photos, crashing cars, and drinking himself into oblivion. But unlike certain other variations on the depressed rockstar story, Graham Coxon's version has a happy ending, or at least a happy middle. Three years ago, shortly after a month of rehab, he left Blur while the band was making Think Tank. Then, two years ago, he recorded Happiness in Magazines, a ferociously lively album that restored Coxon's rocking credentials. Now, Magazines has finally been released in the U.S., and Coxon is touring here for the first time as a solo artist. SEAN NELSON

REALLY INTO PARTYING FEATURING MILITANT CHILDREN'S HOUR, MOTHBALLS (Dunes, 1905 NE MLK) DJs Dawn and Sarah, who are Really Into Partying, showcase a hair metal one-man "Miniature Rock" ensemble as part of their themed weekly at Dunes. Dubbed Militant Children's Hour, this guy allegedly enjoys making sweet, fake love to an art-damaged mannequin on stage. His vocals waver with falsetto like he just inhaled a helium balloon, then spoke through beautifully warp-zoned octave pedals. AV


ATREYU, UNEARTH, NORMA JEAN, SCARS OF TOMORROW (Loveland, 320 SE 2nd Ave) Norma Jean love the Lord, and unlike many of their haloed hardcore peers, they demonstrate their devout faith with jarringly violent lyrics. The band prefers a PG-rated Passion, in which blades are "gently inserted" and narrators are "stabbed by grace." On their divinely inspired recent release O God, the Aftermath, Norma Jean experiment with making two words into oneword. (The song titles are all Scrabble cheats such as "Murderotica" and "Absentimental.") Similarly, they stuff two tracks' worth of signature shifts, scorched-larynx shrieks, and surgical-scalpel-sharp riffs into every tune. While most hardcore groups follow a format that's as predictable as an Old Testament lineage passage ( …and the verse about betrayal begat the shout-along chorus, which begat the breakdown), Norma Jean twists and tangles its inscrutable compositions until they become revelatory. AM

THE ILLEGAL GUARDIANS (Voodoo Doughnuts, 22 SW 3rd) Music can't get any better than this. Marissa Anderson, member of The Dolly Ranchers, specializes in various guitarings: country twang, and '40s and '50s old style rock and roll. Her son Rhythm, the lead singer of The Illegal Guardians, gets to stay up past his bedtime fronting a punk band at the coolest donut shop in the world. Main influences are The Ramones and Sham 69, but with songs about zombies, pterodactyls, and burritos. Sure to blow your over-sugared minds. AV

LOW, PEDRO THE LION (Bossanova, 722 E Burnside) See "Music," Pg 21

CAROLYN MARK, CLAMPITT, GADDIS AND BUCK, LUTHER WRIGHT (Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E Burnside) Canadian country-tinged singer/songwriter Carolyn Mark might be best known in America as the other Sister--her partner in the duo Corn Sisters was Neko Case. While Case's solo work tends toward tear-stained torch songs, Mark writes upbeat tunes that showcase her witty wordplay and sharp storytelling voice (she gives up cheating after meeting her married boyfriend's second mistress in "Not Another Other Woman"). A charismatic, commanding live performer, she entertains audiences with her often-hilarious song introductions, then enraptures them with her rich, twangy tones. AM

ROD STEWART (Rose Garden, 1 Winning Way) "But he was in the Small Faces," is no longer an excuse. ZP

WOW & FLUTTER, PORTLAND VAMPIRES, THIS IS THE PROCESS OF A STILL LIFE, WESAFARI (Berbati's Pan, 10 SW 3rd) Wesafari is a band from Seattle using an immensely eclectic arsenal of instruments, fashioning their music into a busy, yet sculptural presence that feels strangely cold. Perhaps it's the suggestiveness of their debut album Alaska's name and song titles like "Whale Boy," "From Glacier to Sea," and "Wintersong" that pervade that impression. But the band themselves describe their sound as "space tundra." A complex if sometimes benign concoction of folky, gentle electro, and harmony happy pop influences, their mellow, cinematic cubes of songs might serve as respite for our mysteriously heated turbo-Spring. MS