THURSDAY 3/2

BEN LEE, LEONA NAESS, SHURMAN

(Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) I'm a big fan of Ben Lee's latest album, Awake is the New Asleep; on a drive down to Idaho last summer, I think it rotated, pretty exclusively, in my CD player with my Willie Nelson Super Hits disc—high praise indeed. Lee's songs are, by turns, delicate and soaring, goodhearted and hopeful, melancholy and wistful, and Lee's voice, too, is youthful and warm, the sort of voice you wish you had. And all that really made it suck was when, upon arrival in Boise's North End, my friend Erin pointed out that Lee's lyrics fucking blow. Which, upon closer examination, they do—they can be cheesy and simple and clichéd and self-conscious and flat-out lame. But it says something fairly significant about Lee that his sound remains so effortlessly likeable—that, even with the cringe-worthy lyrics, I'm still a fan of his latest album. ERIK HENRIKSEN

DIOS MALOS, TOOTHFAIRY, PROTEST HILL

(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) The way I explain Toothfairy to friends who haven't heard them is that they're a low-tech Postal Service (or minimal Depeche Mode, I tell my parents) covering Kinks songs. Which doesn't do the music justice, but it's a start. What I leave for later, after the bottles have been sucked dry and we're all sitting around as the sun comes up, feeling raw and creaky and slackjawed, is singer Chad Crouch essentially wrote the Great Portland Novel (or more so, the Great Tigard Novel) with Toothfairy's album Formative, in which he tells all the funny, dirty, true-life details of growing up in highway-spliced suburbia. It's a dance party, but in Crouch's sing-talked narrative there's some big feeling and iron-tough substance below the cheapo beats. If Crouch ever novelizes his kiddyhood, I'll buy a copy for everyone I love. But until then, I'm playing Formative like I'm stuck in a damn loop. Which—with words and beats as hot as this—is BY FAR not the worst place to be. ADAM GNADE

KORN, MUDVAYNE, 10 YEARS

(Rose Garden, One Center Court) At what point will Korn become an ironic fascination, like Mötley Crüe, Def Leppard, et al., was by the late '90s? Will they have to first become utterly irrelevant to even their fans—become complete nobodies? Will someone have to come along and totally rewrite the rules of popular music so that all of the Korn-influenced bands get sent back to Bakersfield? And then, maybe after a few years, we'll all start thinking it's hysterical to listen to them? Or are they just too goddamn tedious and embarrassing to ever be enjoyable on any level? Only time will tell. SCOTT MOORE

SUPER XX MAN, LEEROY STAGGER, RUN ON SENTENCE

(White Eagle, 836 N Russell) Super XX Man's 10th recording, X, is a beautiful and charming core sample of modesty and thoughtfulness from Scott Garred and company. With lyrics grounded in details that suggest real experiences rather than coffee shop pontifications, and instrumentation (guitar, brushed drum, accordion, flute) that serves no agenda except to bolster the individual songs, X is the kind of CD you can have a beautiful, personal conversation with when nobody else has anything interesting to say. CHAS BOWIE

FRIDAY 3/3

MINUS THE BEAR, THE APPLESEED CAST, ROCKY VOTOLATO, CRYSTAL SKULLS

(Loveland, 320 SE 2nd) For almost 10 years, the Appleseed Cast has been creating emotion-laden rock that hinges between hopeful and heartbreaking. And more recently, they've started incorporating layers of electronic sounds, adding an interesting vibe to their already complex and pretty structures. A new record, Peregrine, is set to come out this month on the Militia Group, and the added depth will surely enhance the Appleseed Cast's sound and probably become a highlight of their already impressive discography. MEGAN SELING

KELLER WILLIAMS

(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) Tired of good songs? Sick of well-written lyrics and structured songwriting? Want more gooey jam-band experimentation and wasted time in your life? Well, buddy, have I got the MAN FOR YOU!!! Tonight, Keller Williams brings his shitty multi-instrumentation and utter lack of focus right to YOUR FRONT DOOR!!!! If you can't stand the excitement and are raring to be bored to tears, do what other Keller Williams fans do! Get real stoned, take out a pair of toenail clippers, and trim off the ends of YOUR FRONT TEETH!!!!! It's not quite as excruciating as an evening with Keller, but it's damn close! BART SCHANEMAN

ANIMAL COLLECTIVE, FIRST NATION, BARR

(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) On BARR's new record, Beyond Reinforced Jewelcase, we see a man and his mic (and a couple machines) making squawking, jerky songs that are half comedy routine, half social commentary. It's spoken vocals, dance-noise aesthetic, and a pulsing, thumping experimental music. And it's a tough sound to define, which speaks well of its originality and constantly switching stylistic directions. Perfect, then, to open for the great Animal Collective. AG

SATURDAY 3/4

I CAN LICK ANY SOB IN THE HOUSE, TWO COW GARAGE, PINE BOX BOYS, ELVIS, NEUTRAL BOY

(Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) I Can Lick Any SOB in the House's new CD, Live at Dante's, which is being released tonight (live, at Dante's, no less), opens with frontman Mike D loudly asking the audience, "How the fuck y'all doing tonight," which tells you most of what you need to know about the band. The "y'all" suggests a Southern familiarity and a tip that we're not in for anything formal. Affected or not, the "y'all" lets you know it's not a night at the opera. The "fuck," of course, is the swagger in the salutation. In the land of "y'alls," you have only two choices: fall on the side of the savior, or fall on the side of the sinner. The "fuck" clears that one up for us right away. So without hearing a lick of music, we can deduce that we're in for something Southern-fried, informal, swaggering, and sinful. Enjoy the fuck out of it, y'all. CB

MATT POND PA, YOUTH GROUP, PARKS & RECREATION

(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) When a friend and I were swapping iPod tracks a few months back, I noticed she had Matt Pond PA's The Nature of Maps; as I'm inexplicably, bewilderingly inclined to at least try out any (usually crappy) band with a geographically related name—Kansas, America, Toronto, Alabama, Europe, Chicago, Hiroshima, motherfucking Boston—I asked what it was as I swapped it. "Just kinda indie stuff," she said, a statement that soon revealed itself to be pretty much exactly right—complete with an O.C. credit and all, MP PA is about as contentedly stereotypically indie as you can get, with a vibe of about 50 percent Guster, 40 percent Shins, and 10 percent cello. But those aren't bad percentages—I find myself enjoying the band even as I marvel about how a mere four words, tossed off in a quick, halfhearted description, can sum them up so perfectly. EH

DOC MARTIN, BRAD VACHAL

(Pala, 105 NW 3rd) My raver friends have been talking up house DJ Doc Martin for years. One time they dragged me out to see him at some dingy illegal party in California and I was impressed (it wasn't anything shockingly creative, but it definitely stuck out among the mindless happy hardcore and fuckwit trance everyone else was spinning.) The man is still at the top of his game and my raver friends still sing his praises (though now sorta sapped out, hollow praise-singing after that 450th E.) Pretty decent for a guy who's named after a shoe. AG

GRAILS, DARK FORCE, PORTALS

(Towne Lounge, 714 SW 20th Pl) The Grails consist of only five men—Alex Hall, Zak Riles, William Slater, Timothy Horner, and Emil Amos. But the Grails' sound, subtle in its genius, is far more expansive than one might predict to come from a quintet. Moods are created and played with via expert compositions. While one song, "Stray Dogs," is a quiet piece woven together with evocative layers of strings, others like "Master Builder," explode into a surprising wall of sound after minutes of eerie and smooth sonic waves. For the Grails, complicated is an understatement. So is striking. MEGAN SELING

SUNDAY 3/5

THEY SHOOT HORSES DON'T THEY, MIKAELA'S FIEND, WE QUIT

(Food Hole, 20 NW 3rd) Fans of the first Liars album or anything Numbers have done should find another oft-played record in They Shoot Horses Don't They's Boo Hoo Hoo Boo. The obvious single, "Empty Head," features sparse but taut snare strafing, disorienting instrumental and electronic melodies, and nonchalant calls to arms. Their music's like an amalgamation of the aforementioned reference points, only slowed down to an invasion-of-personal-space display. I haven't seen them live yet, but I sense that much of the audience will be leaving with tired dancing muscles and strong buzzes. GRANT BRISSEY

BON JOVI

(Rose Garden, One Center Court) BEST BAND EVER, A THREE-PART ANALYSIS. ACT ONE: Last weekend over beers, I tried to convince some friends that more good things come out of New Jersey than New York. The list began with Springsteen, hit its middle mark with former heavyweight champ Jim Braddock and then ended—suddenly—when I said Bon Jovi and got laughed off the couch. ACT TWO: "Tommy used to work on the docks." If there's any first line to a song that brings me back to childhood and innocence faster than that I can't remember it. Bon Jovi probably sucks huge now—I haven't heard a new song in over a decade—but their rise to stardom, kicking ass all through the '80s, will forever be linked to my past. There's no denying that. (As far as I knew, Jon Bon Jovi died somewhere out in the cosmos the first time I heard Kurt Cobain.) But songs like "Livin' On a Prayer," "Bad Medicine," hell, the ENTIRE New Jersey album, will always remind me of Gotcha T-shirts, Ocean Pacific windbreakers, and neon pink-striped spandex shorts. And I'm all right with that. ACT THREE: I remember walking out of Young Guns II feeling like such a badass. AG, BS, CB

STEREOLAB, HOT CHIP

(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) See Music, pg. 19.

MONDAY 3/6

JENNY LEWIS & THE WATSON TWINS, WILLY MASON, WHISPERTOWN 2000

(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) See Music, pg. 21.

LOW, LAVENDER DIAMOND

(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Lavender Diamond, a Los Angeles-based quartet, has been on hot lists since their performance last year at the Arthur Magazine freak-jamz fest, and are being embraced as part of the folk revival. People are citing obscure British oldsters as their influence, but singer and band showpiece Becky Stark really sounds like early '70s earth mama, Judy Collins, backed by a Ladies of the Canyon studio-cats band. Their MP3 hit "You Broke My Heart" is a proud number, Becky's voice clarion, band tremulous and austere where all the other nouveau hippies and hipsters are shambling, muddled, and way tripping. Not a band to miss. JESSICA HOPPER

TUESDAY 3/7

P.O.S., DJ TURBO NEMESIS, MAC LETHAL, SIMS

(Loveland, 320 SE 2nd) How rad is it that there's killer hiphop coming out of Minneapolis? Thanks in part to Atmosphere's Slug starting up the Rhymesayers label (which, among others, boasts Atmosphere, MF Doom, Grayskul, Boom Bap Project, and Eyedea & Abilities) there's been a weird non-coastal surge in lyrically focused hiphop. The latest from Rhymesayers, and P.O.S's second album, is Audition, a disc whose sound varies so much from track to track that it's hard to offer a concise summation of P.O.S.'s style. Some tracks'll boast punkish guitars, some have woofer-thumping bass, others have violins/cellos, some have Aaliyah-esque R&B choruses, one has the Hold Steady's Craig Finn rapping about walking out of Schwarzenegger's Predator. Likewise, P.O.S himself is all over the map, sometimes laying down a relaxed flow, at others spitting lines with a vitriol apparently borrowed from Eminem. In fact, if there's one thing that I can't quite grasp about Audition, it's how to even start getting a grip on it—even after repeated listens, its density and diversity seem simultaneously daunting and—especially in the midst of predictable mainstream hiphop—more than promising. EH

SCOUT NIBLETT, TALKDEMONIC, LKN

(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Let's call this one Meet Your Neighbors: Scout Niblett, UK born, is now a Portlander and we should all be damn excited about it. The woman makes intelligent but primal deconstructed pop music with big moments of silence, sparse tinny guitars, and ghostly tom toms rumbling off in the distance like war drums. Her voice has that real, almost-raw, crackling sincerity that makes you think of Cat Power back when she still made spindly dark genius folk music. But then here come the warm jets! Huge, crushing, jet-plane guitar comes barfing up out of nowhere and turns folk to rock and rock to pure, vibrant, living ecstasy. (That may sound like hyperbole, but I'm just being honest. Good music SHOULD make you talk big.) It's with this unpredictable forward motion that Scout rolls through her songs. For Meet Your Neighbors part II, check out last year's Kidnapped by Neptune out on the Too Pure label. Scout's best. AG

WEDNESDAY 3/8

PDX POP TOMORROW!: STUART VALENTINE, THE MOTHER LAUNCHERS, PLEASE STEP OUT OF THE VEHICLE

(Acme, 1305 SE 8th) Stuart Valentine of the Out Crowd and Richmond Fontaine is gradually making his way as a solo artist, having released an album produced by Dandy Warhols-affiliate Brian Coates. His website reads, "a good melody is a beautiful thing to me," and I can't really fault him for that, especially having listened to some of his tracks, which marry bubblegum pop with smart, introspective lyrics. Meanwhile, the fun-loving party band, Please Step Out of the Vehicle, will make you glad you took drugs before coming to the show. Support local music, and this time we mean it. JUSTIN W. SANDERS

PINK MOUNTAINTOPS, APE SHAPE, NARWHAL

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

DENGUE FEVER

(Towne Lounge, 714 SW 20th Pl) Dengue Fever the disease is transmitted by mosquitoes and causes high fever, severe headaches, retro-orbital (behind the eye) pain, severe joint and muscle pain, nausea, vomiting, and rashes. If you're really lucky, you can also get marked damage to blood and lymph vessels; bleeding from the nose, gums, or under the skin, causing purplish bruises; fluids leaking outside of blood vessels; massive bleeding; and shock. Dengue Fever the band is from Silver Lake, CA, plays Cambodian psychedelic rock from the '60s, and features a cute-as-a-button Cambodian singer who actually sings in her native language. SM

CONTROLLER.CONTROLLER, YOU SAY PARTY WE SAY DIE

(Lola's Room, 1332 W Burnside) Toronto's Controller.Controller move with a confident swagger. Their new record, X-Amounts, is a combination of the Gossip's blues-influenced punk and Pretty Girls Make Graves' low-key sexiness, with synthesizers and handclaps thrown in to complete the dance party. The energy level never really reaches beyond a smooth and cool vibe, but it'll get your ass shaking nonetheless. MS