THURSDAY 4/30

MAKE IT POP!: JAMES MERCER, BRANDON SUMMERS, MARTY MARQUIS, RYANSOLLEE, LOCH LOMOND, DANTRONIX

(The Cleaners at the Ace Hotel, 1022 SW Stark) See My, What a Busy Week!.

GHOST, SIX ORGANS OF ADMITTANCE

(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) See Music.

TARA JANE O'NEIL

(Fontanelle Gallery, 205 SW Pine) See Our Town Could Be Your Life.

FALLING UP, RUTH, ARCHEOLOGY,DOWNHILL TO COAST, PICTURE ATLANTIC

(Satyricon, 125 NW 6th) Living very much in the Inverted World created by the Shins, the local boys in Archeology handle their pop music with great care and purpose. Currently two EPs into an ambitious five-part series that covers a ridiculous range of topics ("everything from the voyage of Christopher Columbus to the homeless of our hometown, Portland, Oregon"), the one unifying factor for Archeology is their commitment to weaving bouncy melodies into a template of uncomplicated acoustic songs. Not sure about the captain of the Santa María, but the city of Portland is the lyrical focus for their Change of Address EP, a well-balanced selection of songs rooted in twee, yet with an expansive scope of pop stylings to offer the listener. If tonight's Make it Pop! benefit is sold out, or the $35 price tag for tickets to the Shins at the Crystal is too intimidating for you, you can get your pop fix from Archeology with plenty of cash to spare. EZRA ACE CARAEFF

PANDA, THE OVULATORS, ALPHA DAHLIA, THE INTERLOPERS

(Ash Street Saloon, 225 SW Ash) Panda certainly knows their way around a pop song. With speedy backbeats and guitar riffs that snort to life like lawnmowers, their garage rock has a sugary sheen that matches the power pop of Big Star or the Flamin' Groovies. Most of the songs on their self-titled debut sound like sides from a forgotten beat band that graces the pages of Ugly Things. "Sometimes" could be a hit from 1965, if it weren't for the fuzzed-out bass line and singer Andrew Baldwin's deep, goth-tinged baritone. "I Am" has a wiry guitar lick and chopping piano chords, and "Started Easy" has rapid-fire schoolyard lyrics. With elements of '60s garage, '70s glam, and '80s new wave, the local band has already proven itself a champion aggregator of sounds of bygone days, but the solid songwriting keeps it from being a mere retro dip in the past. NED LANNAMANN

COPY, ATOLE, WHITE FANG, MEGA*CHURCH, DJ LINOLEUM

(Backspace, 115 NW 5th) "All-Ages Dance Party Tour Benefit." Well, you had me up until "benefit." While there is far more killer than filler on this lineup of local talent, raising money for Atole to make a brief tour down the coast is not worthy of a benefit. Since when does that word equal a full tank of gasoline and a "smothered" pile of carbs at the Waffle House? This town has plenty of worthy musicians who are victims of cancer, overturned touring vehicles, or lack of health insurance with a mountain of medical bills weighing down upon them. I don't want to harsh Atole's mellow too much, but going on tour is far more of a privilege than it is a right. Keep pumping out those basement party jams, but please stay away from the word "benefit," unless you really mean it. EAC

FRIDAY 5/1

LADYTRON, THE FAINT, CROCODILES

(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) Ladytron and the Faint are touring together behind what are arguably the weakest albums of each band's career, Velocifero and Fasciinatiion, respectively (for some reason, I always start the Faint's career at Blank-Wave Arcade rather than Media). But each band's high points—Ladytron's run of 604 and Light & Magic, the Faint's Arcade and Danse Macabre—are classic enough to allow them some missteps. Both at their best make smart, stylish, and sexy electro, dark and deathly in the case of the Faint, cold and coy for Ladytron. Still, they're a hell of a double bill, and anyway, Ladytron's new one boasts a few songs nearly as good as anything they've done, especially the appropriately haunting sing-song of "Ghost." ERIC GRANDY Also see My, What a Busy Week!, pg. 13.

REVERSE DOTTY & THE CANDY CANE SHIVS, MASSIVE MOTH, BLOOD, DJ LINOLEUM, DJ BOBBY LILY

(Rotture, 315 SE 3rd) The first song off Licorice Whips, the new album by Reverse Dotty and the Candy Cane Shivs, ends with singer Melody Wilbrecht wondering, "I want to fuck you in the... face?" But the rest of Licorice Whips is much more certain of itself, and songs like "Fuck Juice No. 9" and "The Snake Man" focus on the interplay between needle-sharp post-punk guitar and bleepy synthesizer. Wilbrecht AKA Dotty navigates the sleaze with a ringmaster's aplomb, and the disco beats are suitably drugged out—it's the aural equivalent of the witch's gingerbread house. You'll be lured in by the gumdrops and sweetmeats, but you'll end up in the basement with a ball-gag and nipple clamps. Hey, that's just the way Dotty and the Shivs roll. Don't pretend you don't like it. NL

THAO WITH THE GET DOWN STAY DOWN,SAMANTHA CRAIN (7 PM); THAO WITH THE GET DOWN STAY DOWN, SISTER SUVI (10 PM)

(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) The enthralling Thao Nguyen—and her trusty backing band, the Get Down Stay Down—have been playing the role of Portlanders as of late. If you were one of the many who had a "Thao sighting" recently, it's because she was in town to record a follow-up full-length to last year's lovely We Brave Bee Stings and All, which should be out later this year. Until that record sees the light of day, cherish this double dose of Thao and twice the wondrous pop music that'll floor you like a blow from a swinging "Bag of Hammers." EAC

SATURDAY 5/2

MT. EERIE

(White Stag Building's Main Events Room, 70 NW Couch) See Music.

STARFUCKER, DEELAY CEELAY, MATTRESS, JOE VON APPEN

(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Less than a year after their debut full-length drew a line in the generational sand of Portland music, Starfucker continue their dominance as ringleaders of the next crop of top-tiered local musicians with Jupiter. An electronic odds-and-ends release that falls somewhere in between a stopgap EP and proper LP—a few new songs, a Cyndi Lauper cover about girls, and a lone remix—Jupiter doesn't necessarily signal a shift in direction for the band, but it does capture the loose charm of their raucous live performances. "Boy Toy" might be the best Starfucker song you've yet to hear, an absolutely buoyant electro-pop gem that brings to mind early New Order, complete with a bubblegum chorus that is nearly impossible to shake free from your head. The rest of Jupiter follows in step, proving that even this band's scraps might trump anything else you've heard in quite some time. EAC Also see Music.

COFFINS, STORMCROW, THRONES,ALDEBARAN

(Satyricon, 125 NW 6th) The almighty doom metal as once perpetuated by the blessed Black Sabbath and Trouble lineups bears little resemblance to the gnarled, corpse-digging plod of Japan's Coffins. The basic funeral march is still there—bang your head, stomp your leg, whatever—but above the slow-burn rhythm lives a quivering, crusty knot of carcinogenic death, hanging off live staples "The Unspeakable Pain" and "Warhead" (a Venom cover) like pieces of bloodied navel skin at a pagan grave. It's a grotesque metal hybrid entirely unlike romantic death/doom players My Dying Bride, et al. No, tonight is not for lovers. The closest tuned-to-the-knees contemporaries might be the nearly indescribable Zeni Geva and Trees. Yes, sickfucks: Tonight is yours. MIKE MEYER

THE GROUCH, ELIGH, AFRO CLASSICS

(Berbati's Pan, 10 SW 3rd) Los Angeles underground hiphop group Afro Classics (Very and Scarub) have the usual concerns about what Foucault calls "care of the self," eating well and cultivating life-positive habits. These health (or brobo) concerns come with the standard worship of hiphop virtues (collecting records, finding rare samples, spitting knowledge) and beats that are retro-futuristic. In short, nothing in Afro Classics' work stands out or seems to move forward. It's just underground hiphop with no real dialects, nothing to work against, to challenge or reverse. When innovation becomes innovation for its own sake, what you get is the enervated music of Afro Classics. CHARLES MUDEDE

BRYAN FREE, LEIGH MARBLE, JOHN VECCHIARELLI

(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) I bet most people reading these words haven't yet heard Bryan Free, or his new album Each Other. Therefore, most people haven't had a chance to be moved by the local musician's incredible songs, which are as complex and assured as anything you've heard. Most of you haven't played on repeat the anthemic "Rally" or the piano-led ballad "One Hundred," which is one of the finest songs in recent months, local or otherwise. And only a small percentage of you have taken the time to appreciate his melodramatic pop, which showcases his incredible range and prolific songwriting. I'd like to urge you to change these statistics and make the effort to check out Free's music—because it's really, truly good, and unlike almost anything else on the local music front. NL

THE BELLRAYS, THE FAMILY GUN, THEE HEADLINERS

(Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) Hard Sweet and Sticky is not only the title of the latest long-player from the BellRays, it's also the easiest way to describe their sweltering rock/blues/soul revisionist sound. The 'Rays might release plenty of recordings—don't forget the countless singles and compilation appearances, too—but they'll forever be known as a kickass live band, pure and simple. Chalk that up to the enigmatic force that is frontwoman Lisa Kekaula, a scorching stage presence best known for belting out songs at a level that transcends the need for a microphone. Get ready to sweat. EAC

ETERNAL TAPESTRY, PURPLE RHINESTONE EAGLE, DRAGGING AN OX THROUGH WATER

(The Artistery, 4315 SE Division) Let us seek to explore the ways in which Portland's Eternal Tapestry live up to their name. Most obvious is the image of a tapestry, with all the rhythmic patterns, vibrant colors, and microcosmic details that are mirrored in the band's rollicking riffs and instrumental crescendos. As for eternity: Well, you can easily get the feeling that eternity is precisely how long each new jam this band churns out will last. (I mean that in a good way.) In sum, if eternity and/or tapestries are your thing, this is the show for you, with dirty-psych female counterparts Purple Rhinestone Eagle helping the E.T. boys get their West Coast tour started right. MARANDA BISH

SUNDAY 5/3

POLAR BEAR CLUB, LIVING WITH LIONS, ANCHOR DOWN, NO SECRETS BETWEEN SAILORS

(Satyricon, 125 NW 6th) Polar Bear Club might hail from the contentious hive of American hardcore—Syracuse, New York (you'd be floor punching, too, if you lived there)—and they're on the roster of tough-guy label Bridge Nine, but if you expect finger pointing and circle pits, you'll be sorely disappointed. The quintet's re-released Sometimes Things Just Disappear is a melodic dose of vulnerable punk rock, and it makes for a nice extension to the model previously set forth by a cross-country selection of bands: American Steel (West Coast), Hot Water Music (East Coast), and Small Brown Bike (Midwest). Like their peers in the aforementioned acts, the Polar Bear Club bark out vocals in thick layers of gruff yelps, each overlapping the last, which makes for great sing-alongs (even if you don't know the words, it doesn't really matter). EAC

MONDAY 5/4

NURSES, WHITE HINTERLAND, TUNNELS

(Valentine's, 232 SW Ankeny) See My, What a Busy Week!.

BEN LEE, LOW VS. DIAMOND, DAWES

(Berbati's Pan, 10 SW 3rd) One won't ever accuse Australian singer/songwriter Ben Lee of rocking too hard. It's not that his soft rock is too soft, or that being soft is bad in and of itself, but even the mellowest music needs to have some sort of edge to be worthwhile. Lee's music, however, is overly chewy and limp, like the music from a commercial for bland, ostensibly healthy breakfast cereal that's been sitting in milk a bit too long. For a little bit more spike, you might actually have to look to Low vs. Diamond, that omnipresent, middle-of-the-road rock band who kind of sound like the Killers. Their penchant for widescreen drama is used to best effect on "Don't Forget Sister," their best song by far, and one that will probably crop up on a movie soundtrack in the year 2029—when this present era becomes fodder for a retro coming-of-age summer comedy in which the nice, nerdy boy falls for a quirky girl over Twitter, only to suffer a nasty bout of swine flu. NL

TUESDAY 5/5

NAPALM DEATH, KATAKLYSM, TOXIC HOLOCAUST, COLISEUM, TRAP THEM

(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE 39th) What a difference three decades makes. In the case of Birmingham, England's Napalm Death, who took anarcho-punk to its grindcore extreme in the 1980s—with barking, speed, and flick-of-the-switch song lengths—the years have been mixed. So mixed, in fact, that no original members remain. Their discography sampled by the decade: (a) Scum, 1987: punk and free jazz unite in death by rush-hour traffic; (b) In Tongues We Speak, 1997: emosphere split with Coalesce breaks down into midtempo metalcore; (c) Smear Campaign, 2006: concept album offers punkish light speed (Danny Herrera blasts with one pedal while mirroring an Anaal Nathrakh drum machine) and progressive collision (two tracks manage soft operatic overtones). A return to form? Impossible, but it's at least good. MM

BOB LOG III, WILLEM MAKER, PURE COUNTRY GOLD

(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) The other day, a female friend asked me to consider attending the upcoming Bob Log III show, in order to take part in a time-honored ritual surrounding the one-man-band's beloved song "Boob Scotch." Naturally intrigued, I explored the matter further and discovered that the song is only one of the several in which Mr. Log requires a girl from the audience to sit on his lap, and in this particular instance, graciously allow her boob to mix with Mr. Log's scotch. It is the bane of said friend's existence that she does not have a rack sizable enough to participate in this hallowed event, so someone else is going to have to take this one for the team. You've got to hand it to a guy who can not only pull this off, but also win fans for it. Ladies? Anyone? Gentlemen, I know you won't miss this. MB

WEDNESDAY 5/6

THE SHINS, THE DELTA SPIRIT

(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) The Shins have been awfully quiet lately. Following 2007's fair but not life-changing (sorry) Wincing the Night Away, the band split with Sub Pop and announced vague plans to self-release a fourth album. Since then, not a peep. So, who knows? Tonight might see the band unleashing a slew of untested new material, or it might just see them leaning on their considerable catalog of impeccable indie pop. Either way, expect the band's live set to be relatively quiet as well, as the Shins tend to fade waaay back onstage and let their songs speak for themselves. Or, less charitably: They're kind of a ho-hum live act. Fortunately, their fainting pop songs are still perfectly, painfully eloquent. EG