THURSDAY 6/21

SHEARWATER, JAMIE STEWART, MINUS STORY, THE BUILDERS AND THE BUTCHERS

(Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) See My, What a Busy Week!, pg. 15.

AU, AH HOLLY FAM'LY, SHELLEY SHORT, OHIOAN

(32 N Cook) See Our Town Could Be Your Life, pg. 24.

COVER YOUR ASS: A BENEFIT FOR ETHOS MUSIC CENTER: NEVERLAND, SEXY PANTS, DO N DUDES, THE BANG (ETHOS MUSIC CENTER KIDS), ALAN SINGLEY, PURE COUNTRY GOLD, PORTLAND CELLO PROJECT, BRAILLE, MERCURY ALL-STAR BAND

(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) Here at the Mercury, we're celebrating our seventh year of polluting young Portland minds with journalistic filth by having a little shindig to benefit the kids at the music nonprofit Ethos. For a mere $5 donation (or you can trade in an old musical instrument at the door), you can witness the wonderfulness that is a night of amazing cover song performances. What can you expect from tonight's entertainment? Sexy Pants will get rowdy and play some Mötley Crüe tunes; Neverland is the world's greatest tribute to (the early days of) The King of Pop; Do N Dudes (featuring electro whiz-kid Copy) takes on the divas; Burt Bacharach would be proud of Alan Singley as he fronts BacharachAttack; the Mercury All-Star band glams it up with a set of Sweet; Pure Country Gold pays homage to Elvis Costello; Braille brings the beats and rhymes with a set of Beastie Boys covers; the Portland Cello Project will surprise us all with their top-secret set and, of course, the Ethos kids get involved with a selection of '70s rock gems. Each act will perform a brief three-song set, and the fun kicks off at 8 pm. Sounds amazing, right? Well, it will be, and the entire evening is for a good cause. You have no excuse—don't miss this show for the world. EZRA ACE CARAEFF

MARNIE STERN, FLEXIONS, ROMANCING, THE LAST REGIMENT OF SYNCOPATED DRUMMERS

(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Marnie Stern's songs are as personal as CAT scans and often as complex, but she'd like you to understand them. At the end of her debut, In Advance of the Broken Arm, she narrates sound-pictures ("There's the diamond ceiling... this is what it sounds like") with the intensity of a kid explaining her finger paintings—except these aren't sloppy stick figures, but guitar tempests hammered into tunes. The tumult's never too dense or arcane because Stern's a cheerful melodist, in love with super-complicated solos and girlish vocals but hobbled by the preciousness of neither, and listening to her play induces the kind of joy you don't quite know what to do with. I once found a friend curled under a table, listening to this album at a volume he'll someday regret. You might have to stay above the tables at Holocene, but you should go anyway. THEON WEBER

BLUE SCHOLARS, GARDEN ENTERTAINMENT, DJ FLIP FLOP

(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) As much as I wanted to really love Blue Scholars' 2004 self-titled debut, I just couldn't understand where the hype was coming from. At the time the record was the only hiphop representation in heavy rotation on KEXP, but given that the Scholars call the Emerald City home, I just assumed it was a local quota thing. Regardless, Bayani—the duo's new album, and first for controversial label Rawkus—is worlds ahead of their older material, which lacked the tasteful production sheen and range of the new record. The Scholars lay intelligent rhymes over soulful beats, and much like our very own Lifesavas, they aren't afraid to stop the party and hit the streets. The best example of this is the album's single, "Back Home," with its anti-war lyrics of "Next time you see recruiters in your school or your crib/Tell them 'thank you' for the offer, but you'd rather you live." EAC

FRIDAY 6/22

SAGE FRANCIS, BUCK 65, BUDDY WAKEFIELD, ALIAS

(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) See My, What a Busy Week!, pg. 15.

THE NEW YEAR, DAVID BAZAN, ARISTEIA

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

A SUNNY DAY IN GLASGOW, MY TEENAGE STRIDE, GINGERBREAD PATRIOTS

(Towne Lounge, 714 SW 20th Pl) See Music, pg. 19.

GOREGON MASSACRE FEST II: FKU, DEKAPITATOR, ENGORGED, SPRING BREAK, EX DEMENTIA, DISSECTOR, EXHAUSTED PRAYER, SUPERBAD

(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE 39th) The Goregon Massacre Festival, two long days of endless ultra gore-grind music, is slated for one brutal weekend. Hopefully no one from the Parents Music Resource Center will be keeping tabs on the festival, as the gore-grind genre is based on nothing intellectual or wholesome—just blinding thrash riffs, relentless double-bass drumming, and tongue-in-cheek lyrics about some of the most disgusting subjects imaginable. With acts on the Goregon Massacre Fest coming from as far away as Japan—and tickets nearly sold out in advance—it's strongly advised to pick up a pass prior to the show. Heed promoter Josey Kinnaman's words, "Most of the bands on the bill rarely come to Portland, if ever. So it will really be a unique experience." NATHAN CARSON 

DAN DEACON, VIDEOHIPPOS, SHOW ME THE PINK, DJ BEYONDA

(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Dan Deacon is currently the ruler of the "outsider" music scene, constantly garnering comparisons to the late Wesley Willis. Deacon wears sweatpants in public and used to duct tape his glasses (not any longer, it turns out duct tape is, in his words, "like, really, really toxic"), but the man exudes charm, is endlessly enthusiastic, and writes some killer songs to boot. Granted, his antics can be bizarre—from sampling Woody Woodpecker to his spastic cover of "Splish Splash"—but Deacon never comes off as anything less than genuine. ROB SIMONSEN

THE HIGH VIOLETS, BLUE SKIES FOR BLACK HEARTS, FAST COMPUTERS

(Berbati's Pan, 10 SW 3rd) One of this year's best local releases is Heart Geometry, the debut long-player from Fast Computers. It only takes one song, the fascinating opener "Sweden Hasn't Changed, You Have," to see that this trio is not messing around. Balancing human warmth with icicle-cold keyboards is a tricky act, and Fast Computers pull it off with the greatest of ease. Much like the Prids' Until the World Is Beautiful, Heart Geometry props itself up not with the easy nostalgia of quaint new-wave revivalists, but instead by delicately spacing each song with tempered vocals and open-ended instrumentation. The result is an absolutely gorgeous record, which is celebrated with tonight's CD release show. EAC

SATURDAY 6/23

RED FANG, DEATH VALLEY, DRAGGED BY HORSES

(Tonic Lounge, 3100 NE Sandy) See My, What a Busy Week!, pg. 15.

RIDEON BENEFIT SHOW: THE MAYBE HAPPENING, THE MORALS, SPRINKLES, FEROCIOUS EAGLE, DJ MATTO

(Slabtown, 1033 NW 16th) See Once More with Feeling, pg. 27.

GOREGON MASSACRE FEST II: NUNSLAUGHTER, BUTCHER ABC, GHOUL, BLACK MARKET FETUS, FUNEROT, BOOK OF BLACK EARTH, REEKER, KILL THE CLIENT, WARCORPSER

(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE 39th) See Friday's Up & Coming.

THE CAVE SINGERS, LIGHTNING DUST

(Dunes, 1905 NE MLK) Lightning Dust is yet another (and the latest) offshoot of Canadian psyche-rockers Black Mountain, composed of members Joshua Wells and Amber Webber. However, those looking for anything resembling rock 'n' roll are in for a surprise because this duo, although formerly known for their rock, neither rock nor roll. Following the path laid out by Mazzy Star and newcomers Beach House (read: less is more), Lightning Dust play a reverb-heavy brand of mellow psychedelic-smoothness, relying heavily on the organ as their backbone. Also including acoustic guitar, piano, and a nice blend of male and female vocals, they are perfect for Sunday mornings—soft, mellow, and bittersweet, without a hint of sadness. RS

THE LOVETONES, QUARTER AFTER

(Kelly's Olympian, 426 SW Washington) The Lovetones do the Brian Jonestown thing quite nicely. It's no shock, as Lovetones frontman Matthew J. Tow was once a member of the Massacre, and a contributor to one of the band's finer records, ...And This Is Our Music. Now with his own outfit, Tow continues to pump out chiming '60s psyche-pop in the same vein. Cut loose from the volatile, occasionally clever, often narcissistic soap opera that is Anton Newcombe, Tow and the Lovetones are free to let their sweet, spacey, melodic songs stand on their own. And shit, the boys have come all the way from Australia, which is just about as far away from home as any tour could ever take you. That is, until Paul Allen starts throwing Jimi Hendrix tribute shows on the moon. ANDREW R. TONRY

RICHMOND FONTAINE, LOCH LOMOND, LAURA GIBSON

(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) There's enough misery and whiskey in a single Richmond Fontaine album to send you careening down the highway at high speeds on a rainy night. The band seems to be obsessed with failure, lost love, addiction, and demise. It's actually kind of exhilarating to go down with them, swirling in this whirlpool of steel guitar, liquor, and despair as singer Willy Vlautin tells weary, elliptical stories that move from heartbreak to despondency. Fontaine's newest album, Thirteen Cities, continues their travels through the outskirts of forgotten towns, populated by the dispossessed and lost. For a true cocktail of wretchedness, buy the album, go to the show, and then curl up in bed with Vlautin's novel, The Motel Life. You may not make it through the night. CHRIS McCANN

LOOKER, THE NEWSPAPERS, THE MELLO OUTS

(Towne Lounge, 714 SW 20th Pl) NYC-based rock band Looker somehow makes the sing-along chorus "Gregory, Gregory, Gregory! We should have been ma-a-a-rried," into an unlikely earworm, showing that, like most above-average punk rockers, they can make complexity seem deceptively easy to pull off. Looker is at their best when Nicole Greco and AJ Lambert add close harmonies to songs that can't quite decide if they want to be scrappy, or polished. For a band that can go straight from raucous punk to quiet tambourine-based numbers, Looker's songs do oddly start to blend together after a while, but they are certainly going places. JIM WITHINGTON

SUNDAY 6/24

GREAT LAKE SWIMMERS, ELENI MANDELL, MUSEE MECANIQUE

(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) See My, What a Busy Week!, pg. 15.

ALISON WESLEY, SUPER XX MAN, JACK ELDER

(Alberta Street Public House, 1036 NE Alberta) While her earliest material was stark and suited for the waning hours of an open mic coffeehouse session, Alison Wesley's excellent new album, All Things (My Two Fish), glistens with the playful pop sheen of a youthful Regina Spektor. Her lively songs and innocent voice, especially on the drum machine-backed "Blah Blah," propel her far beyond the rigid world of solo singer/songwriters. Her record is out today, so line Wesley's pockets with some cash, as it's the best purchase you'll make in a while. EAC

MONDAY 6/25

TORTOISE, GEORGIA ANN MULDROW, DUDLEY PERKINS

(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) See My, What a Busy Week!, pg. 15.

FEIST, GRIZZLY BEAR

(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) See Music, pg. 17.

LKN, STICKITIN, DJ NATE C

(Tube, 18 NW 3rd) If you missed the CD release of Laura K. Newman's (LKN) Postulate II earlier this month, tonight will be your chance to do some catch up. Newman is a rare breed, and one that this town should be thankful to have, as wildly creative guitar-shredding frontwomen like her don't come around too often. At a time when rock music has never been safer, give LKN a shot—she'll show you the raw-nerved side of the genre that has been missing for far too long. Plus when you put an explosive performer like Newman in a small space like Tube, someone will surely be wiping footprints off the ceiling come tomorrow morning. EAC

TUESDAY 6/26

THE VEILS, THE COMAS

(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) See Music, pg. 17.

SEA WOLF, EULOGIES

(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Before I could unleash a pack of "wolf band name" jokes upon Sea Wolf—as in, why are there suddenly dozens of band names with "wolf" in them—the Los Angeles band beat me to the punch. In fact, their MySpace page does a very commendable job of listing every single band name with the word "wolf" in it. Well played, Sea Wolf. So instead, guess I'm resigned to talk about their wonderful music, a very pleasant SoCal dream-pop, similar to Grandaddy, but without the love affair for drunken robots. You might have seen the band opening for Silversun Pickups a few months back, so tonight catch them without the crowd. But no wolf jokes, okay? EAC

JOE PRESTON'S MANCAMPUS: JACKIE-O MOTHERFUCKER, MARISSA NADLER

(Rotture, 315 SE 3rd) Here's a triple threat that makes it worth leaving the house on a Tuesday night. Joe "Thrones" Preston hosts one of the more entertaining and eclectic DJ nights in town at the always-excellent Rotture. Joe spins ultra-doom like Burning Witch, and Christmas songs sung by dogs, back to back without breaking a sweat. Equally eclectic and rewarding are the live acts on this bill. The constantly shifting lineup and sounds of local post-psyche princes Jackie-O Motherfucker make them worth catching every time for that elusive "on" night. Marissa Nadler brings only a haunting solo voice and guitar. Probably the least noisy artist ever to come from Providence, RI, Nadler takes the energy of early Nico and Mazzy Star and produces songs that would fit seamlessly into an episode of Twin Peaks. Catch her special quiet darkness, or get obsessive and see her do an in-store at Music Millennium that same afternoon. NC

AS TALL AS LIONS, ARMY OF ME

(Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) New Yorkers As Tall As Lions are really a worst-case scenario. Nursed by an emo scene that is spent on creativity and should really know better, the band's generic light-rock Coldplay steez borders on unlistenable. It's a soulless beast, spawned by a gasping music scene desperate to move some units—or at least land a car commercial licensing deal for this garbage. Their limp soul single, "Love, Love, Love...," sounds like a Taylor Hicks B-side; it's as if a bunch of emo kids from the 'burbs traded Snow Patrol for the Soul Patrol. Either way, no one wins. Meanwhile, openers Army of Me are the worst thing to happen to Björk's legacy since Volta. Ouch. EAC

WEDNESDAY 6/27

ALELA DIANE, MARIEE SIOUX, LEE BOB WATSON, AARON ROSS, BENJAMIN OAK GOODMAN

(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) See My, What a Busy Week!, pg. 15.

NEW YORK RIFLES, THE WANTEDS, CHRIS TSEFALAS

(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Tommy Harrington's project won't be a one-man band any longer, as the Wanteds will debut their expanded three-member lineup at this free show. A glance at Tommy's related band blog is all you'll need to understand that he's coming from that "music saved me" place, and thank god it did. No doubt the lineup expansion will prompt some new tunes, while also putting a fresh take on the tracks Tommy's been playing since the Wanteds' debut was released in 2004. The solid acoustic-backed-by-computers tracks in question are full of redemption, fear, and loneliness, pushing away direct catharsis by feeling upbeat, hopeful, and downright catchy. JW

BRAILLE, CHECK'D, DLUX, ANDY STACK

(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE 39th) Portland may arguably be the current indierock capital of the US, but with all the coverage the scene receives it feels like other genres are unjustly underappreciated. For example: hiphop. Braille, a Portland native and one-third of the criminally underrated Lightheaded, is, for my money, one of the best emcees around, and deserves to be spoken in the same breath as other PDX heavyweights like the Decemberists and Modest Mouse. Yes, his influence and scope are not on that level, but they should be, because really, he's that good. Seattle is in the midst of a hiphop renaissance, and I can only hope we're not far behind. Hell, we already have our poster boy. RS