THURSDAY 1/18

THE KURTZ PROJECT, NO BAD THINGS, ROGER NUSIC, THE X-RAY VISIONS MOVIE

(Berbati's) Get nostalgic for the Portland of old. I know, most of us transplants can't be too nostalgic, because five years ago Portland wasn't much more to us than a mention in the movie Singles, or a place where all our college hippie friends ran off to. But now man, it's our Mecca, our lifeblood, the forcefield that keeps us safe from the millions of rednecks that blanket the rest of the state. We love that new restaurant XV, and look forward to the Light Rail to the airport. So let's do Portland a favor and check out the raging scene we never got to see. Tres Shannon won't be filling the water jugs at Berbati's tonight; he'll be playing with his old bandmates in The Kurtz Project, belting out some tangy vocals. Indie poppers No Bad Things might remind you of their old selves New Bad Things--but then again, maybe that New to No has brought about a transformation. After all that ol' town Portland getting down, check out scenes from the extinct X-Ray Café. Play a drinking game with your friends and take five swigs every time you see Tres--it's almost as fun as drinking every time you see boobs in Revenge of the Nerds. KATIE SHIMER

DEADBOLT, AL FOUL & THE SHAKES

(Crystal Ballroom) The members bill this band as the scariest in the world, but unless you're the Church Lady or just deathly allergic to four guys in black playing revved-up rock and roll, there's nothing to fear about a Deadbolt show. They may not be terribly original, but these four San Diegans know how to entertain--and they're one hell of a lot less frightening than bland, middle of the road dreck like Vertical Horizon, pious, recycled schmaltz like Creed, or any one of the ninth-generation rap-metal outfits who make Korn look like the most original band on the planet. Live a little. BARBARA MITCHELL

TRACKER, SAUVIE ISLAND MOON ROCKET FACTORY, HELSINKI, BOTTOM FEEDER

(Medicine Hat) Tracker's minimalist emo ballads blend a touch of southwestern Telecaster twang with a patient, captivating waltz beat. They bring together the best elements of Pedro the Lion and Death Cab, and their pensive, supple songs are hypnotic. Sauvie Island Moon Rocket Factory will lend a touch of irony to the evening. Its nitrous-influenced, mock '60s rock is chock full of lightheaded slide guitar bends, doo wop bass lines, and spaced out vocal melodies. RORY CARROLL

THE DICKEL BROTHERS, THE HONORABLE ORDINARIES

(Meow Meow) Think back to the time of the Depression and the beginnings of the Wobblies, when the music on the radio was intimate and crackling and warm. Listening to the radio almost made the fact that you'd only eaten a potato in the past week seem OK, because the musicians were probably in the same spot as you--singing for their supper and brewing moonshine swill in their backyards. Bully for the Dickel Brothers, then, Portland's own old-timey, bluegrassy, harmonizin' group of good time boys that bring us back to the days when everybody was poor, but hell, they had spirit. Hey--that's kind of like now! They haven't played in what seems like 70 years, and this show will be like the first legitimate drop of sweet cognac after Prohibition--satisfying and a damned load of fun. JS

DISTANCE FORMULA, PAN TOURISMOS, THIRD AND FAILING, TRY AND STEP ON HER

(Satyricon) Johnne Eschleman's Distance Formula project transcends typical guitar-driven sound; with the incorporation of a collage of manipulated film footage projected here and there, it's an interactive multi-media treat. The film he'll perform with tonight, the eponymous The Distance Formula, is a beautiful, atmospheric mess, a 40-minute mix of dreamy '50s and '60s Technicolor scraps of rockets, trains, parades, and kids. Eschleman provides a live soundtrack to the film, his music enhancing and improvising over the hand-scratched and painted frames he's painstakingly created. This live show has also been road-tested. Eschleman took his Travelling Cinema, a portable venue he designed & built himself, on a cross-country tour last year, looping his films and projecting them while he played. Look for Distance Formula CDs, recorded with drummer Andrew Dickson, for sale, too; Eschleman makes each cover by hand, drawing and collaging so no two are alike. See Music pg 15 SUSAN BEAL


FRIDAY 1/19

RED76 FILM SCORING SERIES STARRING UNTET, THE DECEMBERISTS, THE LETTERIST

(Medicine Hat) The last Red76 Film Scoring Series had Hochenkeit lending a spooky musical saw to a Russian abstract film and 31 Knots playing a hilarious metal-polka to a Buster Keaton short. Needless to say, it was a brilliant success--some of the city's greatest musicians making an improv score to the soundless racket of early and abstract film. You won't want to miss this one, either. Untet includes Old Time Relijun's talented and possibly insane leader, Arrington de Dionysio, and will certainly have some skewed take on the 1915 horror Der Golem, about a mad clay statue brought to life to save the Jews of Prague and then used as a slave in the 20th Century. The Decemberists will score a series of shorts by Georges Melies, the guy who basically invented special effects back in the early 1900s. The Letterist boasts an all-star lineup (including musicians from Jackie-O Motherfucker, Hochenkeit, Big Spider Tribe, Gone Orchestra, A John Henry Memorial, and Red76 curator Sam Gould) and will score the 1960 film Monkey's Teeth, about mental patients, monkeys, and an evil dentist--of course! JS

THE KURTZ PROJECT, ROGER NUSIC, NO BAD THINGS, THE X-RAY VISIONS MOVIE

(Meow Meow) If you've gone to a Matthew-Hattie-Hein-aka-the-cutest-boy-in-Portland show recently, you'll know that it is suspiciously like seeing the New Bad Things--he's got Luke Hollywood and Christine Denk playing with him, plus a couple of joyous and quirky musicians helping out on bass and drums. (As a side note, the song Mr. Hein plays about Hamlet is actually written by Rodgers & Hammerstein, as per a letter he sent the Mercury a few months ago that went unprinted due to space constraints.) So the No Bad Things is reportedly just Hollywood and Hein, and if you are not familiar with the stop-and-smell-the-roses creativity and great, languid humor that was/is the music of the New Bad Things, let me tell you, honey, you gots to get out in the world and do some experiencin' right now! Their stage presence is that of a squeaky clean marching band gone woozy with whiskey and the promise of true love. It's music for English Majors: intelligent, literate, and metaphorical, though not dry and heavy-handed (like David Foster Wallace as compared to Thomas Pynchon). And good god, if everybody had half the charm and charisma of these cats, we'd all be living in Sodom or a Broadway musical. Wouldn't that be perfect? JS


SATURDAY 1/20

RED76 FILM SCORING SERIES STARRING THE SENSUALISTS, A JOHN HENRY MEMORIAL, SUPERSPRITE

(Medicine Hat) The Red 76 Collective is at it again with their second Silent Film Scoring Series, a homage to the silents of old with live orchestral accompaniment. Supersprite (featuring Josh Blanchard of Momeraths and Eric Mast of Audio Dregs Recordings) will provide French-influenced electronic pop for the buggy Microcosmos; The Sensualists are slated to contribute loopy, spacey elegance to Philip Cooper's hand-painted manipulated short Swamp Thing; and Robot Steakhouse favorites A John Henry Memorial will add their experimental tonal and percussive sounds to Andy Warhol's Kiss. Films start at 9 pm--don't be late! SB

THE PRIDS CD RELEASE PARTY, THE VISIT, STEREO CRUSH

(Meow Meow) At the Prids' last CD release party, Demetri Kassapakis (bassist from Pan Tourismos and, musically, nothing to shake a stick at, himself) leaned toward me and whispered, "They have the most refined and beautiful sound in Portland." Far be it from me to argue with that statement. The Prids just keep getting better, playing their elastic, shattering, all-access new wave with the utmost honesty and theatrical beauty--their sound is all-encompassing in its volume and panache. It's gothic, but it's not about weeping or being dreary; it's charged and life-affirming music that taps the deepest energy inside your heart. Plus, bassist Mistina Keith is a babe. JS

HIM, ROLLERBALL, VI FOOT SLOTH

(Satyricon) I am not a dancin' man but I swear to you, the last time that Him came through town, I tripped the light fantastic. Doug Scharin (June of 44, Rex) and his notable music colleagues put together a strong set of songs (that, from what I understand, were based off of a collection of Scharin's solo drum tracks) that steadily clatter and groove along, leaving room for some fantastic improvisation. Rollerball, toting some theoretical onedownsmanship, will surely fetch the title of "Portland band with biggest balls" (even if two of the members are female). Be punctual so you don't miss VI Foot Sloth as well. Go--yes, go. JOE FAUSTIN KELLY


SUNDAY 1/21

R.L. BURNSIDE, ROBERT BELFOUR

(Crystal) The quintessential Delta juke joint blues of septuagenarian R.L. Burnside is unmatched in its spare guitar stomp and grizzled growling vocals. On his latest Fat Possum Records release, Wish I Was In Heaven Sitting Down, Burnside's rawness is augmented by beats and DJ scratching that are more intrusive than artistic. Sadly, this has been the case with his last three albums since 1996's A Ass Pocket of Whiskey, on which the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion backed him with their ironic Ivy League take on electro-blues freakout. Live is still the best opportunity to experience Burnside in his unmitigated glory, however, offering the sweaty grit and mass hypnosis of hard-lived wisdom that he has been testifying to since the 1950s. He is sure to play from across his career and his life with the conviction and simplicity that are his hallmark. NATE LIPPENS

CRYSTAL BALLROOM'S 87th BIRTHDAY STARRING HELIO SEQUENCE, THE STANDARD, COSMOS GROUP

(Lola's, 1 pm, free) Some bands struggle endlessly just to gain just the slightest bit of attention, frequenting Satyricon's new band night from junior high till retirement. And then there is the Helio Sequence. Signed to Cavity Search after just a handful of shows, the Windows 2000-rock that made Brandon and Benjamin instant critical darlings has recently landed them in a major label bidding war. While only halfway through recording their sophomore album, they will be making their second trip to SXSW in March, no doubt to even more hordes of drooling A and R people. Some guys have all the luck. RC


MONDAY 1/22

GALACTIC, COL. LES CLAYPOOL'S FEARLESS FLYING FROG BRIGADE, LAKE TROUT

(Roseland) The hyperactive Primus frontman returns with yet another side project, this one including former Primus drummer Jay Lane and guitarist Todd Huth, multi-genre keys man Jeff Chimenti, and saxophonist Skerik of Critters Buggin'. Whatever this bunch has come up with, it's bound to be unique. Touring with New Orleans jazz-funk ensemble Galactic, and Baltimore strange-jazz group Lake Trout, Claypool continues to satisfy his yen for giving things weird names, by dubbing this the SnoCore Icicle Ball Tour. Despite what these descriptions may lead you to believe, all of these bands have a good beat you can dance to. GENEVIEVE WILLIAMS


WEDNESDAY 1/24

POSTCARDS FROM SINGAPORE, ROOM 101, CAROL'S CHUMP

(Berbati's Pan) Postcards from Singapore have an appropriate name. Their music, thanks to massive amounts of echo and and other vocal effects, sounds like it is drifting at you from the far end of an exotic wind tunnel. This phenomenon can sometimes create great beauty (think some of the more rainy tracks on The Cure's Disintegration) and sometimes gets a little weird (especially on the song where the female vocalist sounds like the singer from Metallica). Mostly, though, she really belts the shit out, and is complimented by a huge guitar and bass sound (not to mention a drum set that is the largest I have ever seen--he could even throw down with the lady from Plaid Sheep). It all ends up sounding pretty interesting, but I can't help wondering what it would sound like if they pared down the effects. Add Room 101 to the ever-increasing "Sounds Like Radiohead" leger--something I find highly annoying; I mean, if I wanted to hear Thom Yorke sing I would buy Kid A--but their one or two songs that don't try to sound like Radiohead are actually good. JS

THE CAUSEY WAY, CAPTURED BY ROBOTS, THE PRIDS

(Medicine Hat) So let's pretend it's the '80s again and that The Causey Way, Captured by Robots and The Prids are some new bands that we're going to check out. I'll wear my purple leg warmers over tight jeans, and my off-the-shoulder sweatshirt. You wear your skinny tie, tight pants and checked blazer with shoulder pads. God, you look a lot like Duckie, but don't worry, I find that attractive. OK, it's 1987 and we're at the show, and boy are we jammin'. It's like "omigod," The Causey Way is totally rocking my world. They're sorta like the Violent Femmes with their wacky vocals, but the synth is way obvious, and it's totally skillful and awesome. Only, they're like this CULT! That is so grody. Captured by Robots is fun, jokey butt rock, which is cool. Their riffs aren't too complex, but I forgive them--because the shit actually sounds good, instead of like a sloppy shit pile. The Prids, my lord, are absolutely fabu, with their booming, outer space keyboard rock. Let's go do some cocaine and breakin' later, and make this evening our own personal "date with Jake Ryan." KS

JAY FARRAR

(Roseland) Since Uncle Tupelo's 1994 break-up, Jay Farrar has hewn closely to Tupelo's overall sound, while giving it his own stamp. With Son Volt's 1995 debut Trace, Farrar set out to attain the high marks of the traditional country songwriting he admired and marry it to a psychically intense, rock-informed, rural music. The result has been a balanced palette of country and rock that never gets too doctrinaire. With his expressive, husky voice, Farrar brings the many varieties of sadness and ache home with weariness and wisdom. The archaic and the immediate, the sentimental and the mordant--all co-exist and illuminate each other in his beautiful songs. This solo show is a great opportunity to see a true believer who makes music that is timeless and beholden only to the formidable tradition of its own creator. NATE LIPPENS


GOING TO SEATTLE?

Thurs 1/18: Damien Jurado, Aaron Sprinkle (Seattle Art Museum)

Fri 1/19: Voyager One, Kinski, High Violets, Julian & Friends (Crocodile)

Sat 1/20: Thee Heathen, Laura Veirs (Sunset Tavern)

Mon 1/22: Galactic, Col. Les Claypool's Fearless Flying Frog Brigade, Lake Trout (Paramount Theatre)

Tues 1/23: Him, FCS North, Aveo (Graceland)

Wed 1/24: Fairgrove, Peter Parker, Polecat (I-Spy)

For more info, visit www.thestranger.com