North by Northwest Music & New Media Conference (NXNW)-- it's like Portland's older sister who smoked a lot of dope in high school, but has since landed a job at a dot com and bought a new Volkswagen (Beetle, of course). It might be super-slick, but the sheen of good poster design cannot obscure the overwhelming stench of more crap than roses.

Still, there are plenty of roses out there, and our highly-trained team of Mercury research engineers and new wave vandals have constructed a fool-proof schedule of our absolute favorites, listed here, so you can avoid the zeroes and get with the heroes.

First: If you want to see ALL these bands, your best bet is to buy a wristband ($30, as of press time, via Music Millennium, Ozone, and, if you can stand the smell, the Willamette Week offices. Predictably, if you go through Fastixx, you'll have to pay a service charge). Covers for individual shows range from $5 (pretty average for Portland) to $15 (Ouch--that's seven dollars more than the last Sleater-Kinney gig at the Crystal, folks).

Second: Get a jet-pack propulsion system, so you can blast back and forth between the faraway gigs. If this is not easily obtainable, you might want to procure a motorized bicycle with a large horn, so you can honk at the hordes of people on the sidewalk to get the hell outta your damn way, cuz you gotsta rock! A skateboard will work, too. If you are walking, beware of renegade bikers. Driving is painful, and not recommended under any circumstance. JULIANNE SHEPHERD



Jenny Toomey (Meow Meow)--The DC music writer/ingenue whose past bands include Geek, Slack, Liquorice, Grenadine, and Tsunami (not to mention a spearhead behind now-defunct, seminal indie label Simple Machines). Her voice alone is likely worth the entirety of NXNW. JS

Franklin Bruno (Meow Meow)--Man-child savant from the band Nothing Painted Blue. Indie pop elder statesman, in the tradition of Jonathan Richman. MURRAY CIZON

Kinski (Jasmine Tree)--Quietly dramatic swell of noise. Tons of power and startling changes make them one of the best bands in Seattle. STEVEN LANKENAU

Source of Labor with Micranots (Seges)--Yes, indeed, I will boldly state they're the only true hip-hop in the whole Northwest. If not the only, then simply the best. TED THIEMAN

Tristeza (Meow Meow)--The new sound of instrumental composition. It's either pretty in an intellectual way, or nature sounds for music geeks. JS

Gogogo Airheart (Meow Meow)--Take this Buzzcock and shove it! Art punk and the new new wave expanded limitlessly with the true fucking passion of youth. Another best bet. Creepy, big-label A&R people, you never read this. JS

Not your cup of tea? Then try these lovely selections:

Bucolic (Ohm)--Start the night off dancing to the deep Bucolic beat. It'll knock your head just off center and get you ready for the noisy onslaught to come. JAMIE S. RICH

Miss Murgatroid (Fez)--Local accordion avant-musician who plays far too little in her hometown. MC

Rollerball (Fez)--Art-rock and electronica, ambient and noisy, tight song structure and experimental improvisation--what in lesser hands would be a muddled mess, Rollerball pull off with elan. ROLF SEMPREBON

Hochenkeit (Fez)--Using unconventional instruments, this Portland group soars deep into the stratospheres of mind-expansion. A lot of bands dabble in spacerock, but they take it beyond the next level. RS

Sound Secretion (Ohm)--If you gotta tweak, do it the first night when your body still has the energy, and let Sound Secretion's sonic science be your substance of choice. Dub be good to you. JSR


Little Champions (Satyricon)--Jazzy, harmonic pop with lots of class and a great amount of energy. Female vocalist belts it out from the inside. JS

John Vanderslice (Satyricon)--Songwriting phenom like Billy Joel or Paul McCartney, but less pretentiously self-referential. Electronic effects, intriguing piano, and rich vocals. SL

Wow & Flutter (Beulahland)--Wow & Flutter might be aliens; they remind me of a UFO landing I once saw in Texas during a snowstorm. Beware--they strum their guitars patiently and sing like nymphs, but evil may lurk beneath. KATIE SHIMER

Fairgrove (Fez)--Although he'll be on crutches, singer/keyboardist Jay Harrison usually jumps around like a dramatic fish. Their bombastic emo presentation approximates enough passion to hold any audience members' attention, while gaining them a good deal of notoriety. SL

Experimental Aircraft (Satyricon)--Intense soundscaping meets cutting-edge aerodynamics. Like when they mixed speed and acid to come up with ecstasy. JS

No? OKthen perhaps you'll enjoy:

bees are black (Fez)--These Chicago queens of dissonance play with slow friction and dark changes, all compressed by muted, alliterative vocals. JS

Pal Shazar (Jimmy Mak's)--Thank her for bringing back the days of sultry woman lounge singers baring their breasts and leaning close to lonely barflies drinking scotch on the rocks--or thank her for the image. KS

John Fahey Trio (Green Onion)--Quite possibly the most relevant musician living in Oregon today. Experimental folk-punk. MC

Mandarin (Cobalt)--Give yourself over to big riffs and sensitive rock--the perfect peak for a Friday night buzz. JSR

C-Average (Meow Meow)--Makes Karp, Godheadsilo, and the Thrones look like pussies. MC


Corrina Repp (Jasmine Tree)--P-Town's most sultry singer-songwriter delivers cigarette-stained odes to the foibles of those of us silly enough to fall in love. JSR

Yuji Oniki (Tonic)--Pleasantly crafted melancholia, sort of dabbling in ye olde Elliott Smith Land, only less maudlin. JS

Kaitlin ni Donovan (Jasmine Tree)--The world's best-kept secret. Beautiful songwriting, poetic lyrics, and a voice like a dove in flight. Can't go wrong here. JS

Tracker (Ash Street)--The Portland band you likely haven't seen, but should. Pensive, country-tinged lo-fi with an organic blend of studio meddling and an old-time, downtrodden aesthetic. JS

Captain vs. Crew (Jasmine Tree)--Excellent way to round out the festival. Energy times five, rock-punk veneer, neat guitar solos and always-on bass lines. SL

No good, huh? Well, hey, there's always

Jeff London (Jasmine Tree)--Sweet local crooner with a voice made of love and thick cream. Sometimes doubles as craggy Long Island comedian Buddy Pants. SL

Bering Sea (Fez)--Portland duo makes sounds like a dam about to burst by a rush of water. Lush distortion. SL

Vue (Berbati's)--Hot Bay Area Sub Pop rockers whose music suggests there's still a dirty underground left in San Francisco. Ooh, if only. JS

The CUF (Seges)--Honest lyrics with primary feelings ("Fuck this Job")--super in their simplicity. Stripped-down, lazy beats with lyrics that are deceivingly chill. KATIA DUNN

Call & Response (Fez)--Latest addition to Kindercore Records roster promises to evoke a little dance in you. This pop comes complete with organs! JS

My Regrets (Blue Note)--Pretty Portland boys get naked and play dirty rock 'n' roll. Be sure to shield your eyes, lest they're damaged by stray erect nipples. JSR


Good luck, have fun, and keep your nose clean. Also, if you drink too much (and we know you will), there are several conveniently placed trash cans along the sidewalks downtown that are dying to receive your unfettered vomit. Plus, if any of these times/venues change, it's totally not our fault; take it up with the NXNW corporation. JS



Ash Street Saloon 225 SW Ash

Berbati's Pan 231 SW Ankeny

Beulahland 118 NE 28th Ave

Blue Note 503 W Burnside

Cobalt Lounge 32 NW 3rd

Fez 316 SE 11th (Above Ozone Records)

Green Onion 15 SW 2nd

Jasmine Tree 401 SW Harrison

Jimmy Mak's 300 NW 10th

Meow Meow 527 SE Pine

Ohm 31 NW 1st

Satyricon 128 NW 6th

Tonic Lounge 3100 NE Sandy

Seges 818 SW 1st