(Meow Meow) The Softies, aka Rose Melberg and Portland's very own Jen Sbragia, were destined to sing together: Rose's voice, a little higher and breathier, and Jen's voice, more clearly enunciated, sound like purring angels with offerings of chamomile tea--constant lyrical lament; impeccably mannered, undistorted guitars; charming lyrics. Holiday in Rhode Island, their newest album, is a step above Winter Pageant (though, for me, still doesn't approach the beauty of It's Love). Prepare for a sleepy, dreamy show, and bring someone whose hand you can hold. JULIANNE SHEPHERD


(Music Millennium) See Music Bio pg 18



(Meow Meow) It is hard to write about Bright Eyes in the same way it is hard to talk about a painful experience with a stranger. It is embedded so deeply inside, nourished by aching and maybe losing innocence a bit too early, that to articulate it properly, you must have lots of time, a dictionary's worth of words, and guaranteed empathy. Bright Eyes is the project of Conor Oberst, a heartbreakingly tiny 20-year-old with the most translucent skin and devastating eyes. It's his voice and words, crackling on some of the notes, trembling on most of the others, singing about love and death and loss like the ghost of Nick Drake, with more urgency. The last time Bright Eyes came through Portland, they played EJ's. Barring those yappers at the bar (the frustrating curse of every soft gig in town), I'd be surprised if anyone was not weeping after their intense show. Is that enough? I can't tell you all my secrets. Just know that if you believe the origin of music should come from the most uncharted, untapped emotion inside, then you would be doing yourself a disservice if you missed this show. Bright Eyes has been remixed by the wonderful one-man electro-unit Her Space Holiday. If Danny Elfman wasn't already composing the same song for all the good fairy tale movies, Her Space Holiday would probably have steady jobs doing the scores for screen adaptations of Francesca Lia Block books. His computer symphonics capture every subtlety of the magically melancholy, cascades of dance beats that do not reach any modicum of cliché. You really must attend. See Music pg 17 JS


(Medicine Hat) It's full-on art school flashback for music and film lovers alike in this debut of the Red76 Film Scoring Series. Tonight, it's John Fahey, playing a live improv score to the silent film The Thief of Bagdad. Fahey's stalactite, slide guitar should be quite dramatic paired with the decadent 1924 Douglas Fairbanks classic. Mome Raths take a different angle, their music always somewhat improvisational, with electronic sound effects and sparse rhythmic bass to Luc Besson's Atlantis. This should

be an interesting, unique night, and whatever music occurs cannot be reproduced. JS


(Mad Hatter Lounge) I'll meet you at six pm at the Mad Hatter before the Bright Eyes show. We'll share a plate of sweet potato fries, and inhale the subtly restrained, breathy voice of Ms. Amy Annelle, who's kicking off three Fridays in a row here. With The Places, she's a sultry belle singing quiet sentiment to concentrated slides, a slight twang, soft and strong concurrently. The controlled voice of one of Portland's foremost musicians is just the primer to the little bit of sorrow we'll be experiencing later. JS


(Aladdin Theater) When Billy Bragg sings "All You Fascists Are Bound To Lose," he sounds like a man on a mission. That mission, at least for the past couple of years, is to spread the gospel of Woody Guthrie. Bragg takes Guthrie's lyrics and adds a blend of pub rock, folk, punk, and whatever else comes to mind to create a populist stew of sounds and ideas. With alt-country mavens Wilco, he has made two albums of Guthrie songs that sound the way one would expect them to--folk/country/rock records, tailor-made for the 25-35 crowd. When Bragg plays with The Blokes, however, the music becomes more raucous. Arrangements that appeared on the albums become twisted and distorted so that they feel uninhibited--dangerous, even; as if at any given moment, the entire thing is going to fall apart and the stew will be just a bunch of components with no sense to them. And if they can do THAT, surely they can ensure that all of the Fascists are going to lose. MURRAY CIZON


(White Eagle) Bar bands get a bad rap. So much, in fact, that most bar bands call themselves "roots rock" to avoid negative connotations. I don't know how the X-Angels themselves would feel about this, but I'm of the opinion that they are an excellent bar band. When you see the X-Angels live, pretension runs screaming out the door. You raise your High Life to the gods, feel the crush of cigarette smoke in your lungs, and let the music increase your chances for permanent hearing damage. If you're old enough, you may recall that even the E-Street Band started in a sweaty bar. The Replacements played this high wire act every Friday night. The X-Angels continue this tradition with music that reminds you it's okay to just have fun every once in a while. This is rock 'n' roll, blues, country, folk, and punk. This is "roots rock" without the baggage. MC


(Pine St Theater) Long before Green Day or Blink-182, there were the Descendents. Reigning mavens of potty humor, the Descendents were smashing political correctness before it was even a term in our vocabulary. Then the Descendants became All, and All have carried on the tradition of setting the standards by which people can judge their own failure to ever grow up. Perpetual adolescence (dare I say pre-pubescence) is a science in these guys' hands. Three-chord punk at its finest and most essential. Angry political-punk grandfathers Agnostic Front headline. NATE LEVIN



(Meow Meow) I don't know if it's true or not, but Statch and the Rapes claim to have been banned from The Paris Theater, Stage 4 and 17 Nautical Miles for bringing an air of violence (or a throng of cops) to the shows. I suspect they will be no less frenzied at this upcoming show, with the triple-punk action and the usual ornery Saturday night crowd. If you are a punk fan, I recommend going because all of these guys are old-school punk rockers, with decent voices and a remarkable amount of actual musical talent. I guess All Out has been around since the '70s, "punk legends of sorts," unless some younger band has just adopted their name and also decided to be a punk band, in which case they should be beaten and throttled. KATIE SHIMER


(Mount Tabor Pub) I've just seen the English National Theatre version of Hamlet. Thought I'd mention that here because (a) I wanted to impress upon you my cultural knowledge, and (b) ol' Ham himself would have been impressed by the bawdy, alcohol-tinged melancholy of Slobberbone's music, if that scene in the graveyard was anything to go by. Okay, so the 'Bone aren't histrionic nor particularly traumatized--preferring instead to infuse their Texan new-country songs with an almost punk rock confessional style of storytelling, but they've sure got class. And with over 250 shows a year, you just know these pedal steel-boasting boys are gonna be tighter than Ophelia's ass. EVERETT TRUE


(Berbati's) Had I known that leaving San Francisco for graduate school in Eugene, Oregon, would be the cultural equivalent of wandering a barren desert for three years with few watering holes and even fewer moments of relief from mind-numbing emptiness, I probably would've stayed home. Trust me: the tapestries, entry-level pottery, and twirling dancers of Saturday Market were not a satisfying replacement for SFMoMA. But in that cultural wasteland to the south, there was one solitary oasis: Good Times, a tightly packed nightclub that had impeccable taste in music. One of the regulars was--and still is--Rubberneck. Jazzy, funky, and at times, silly, Rubberneck is head and shoulders above the normal fun-loving, run-of-the-mill, college-town bands. They have studied James Brown get-down-on-the-up-beat riffs and know how to shake a tail feather. Even as much as I hate to admit it, something good does come from Eugene. PHIL BUSSE


(Medicine Hat) Okay, I know you, like me, have spent a Saturday night or two watching The Wizard of Oz while listening to Dark Side of the Moon, shotgunning Schlitz, and being like, "Whoa, that's so tripped out!" every time something coincidental happens. A new version of that once-glorious pastime has been reinvented for those of us who still like to have the TV on while we listen to tunes. A more refined version, of course, so we can all convince ourselves that we really are maturing, despite our continuing obsession with the James Bond video game and our never-ceasing need to get stumbling drunk. Hochenkeit will certainly refine the sport of TV-tunage, with their dark, moody sound effects and seemingly subconscious wanderings. 31 Knots will then snap us out of our self-reflective trance, and, with Magnum P.I. speed, send us into an energetic wonderland, with their soundtrack to the silent film Dog Star Man. Whoa, dude--trippy. KS


(Pine Street Theatre) The East Bay punk-lite trio is a mirror of its time--whatever time it may be. Started (and named) in 1986, the band picks up the trend of the moment and memorializes its triteness. Had they started a few years earlier, they probably would have had songs about Rubik's Cubes or Pet Rocks. Certainly not in the driver's seat of cultural importance, Mr. T Experience does play like an amusing and obnoxious cut-up in the passenger seat. Fun for the moment, loud, and always, always chattering, "I'm like yeah but she's all no and I'm all come on baby let's go and she's like I don't think so and I'm going. . ." A decade-and-a-half old, Mr. T Experience still manages to hold onto a strange balance between goofy and hard-knocking punk. PB



(Meow Meow) Le Tigre is comprised of three lady revolutionaries: musician/zinemaker Johanna Fateman, videomaker Sadie Benning, and Kathleen Hanna, the interminably passionate voice behind Julie Ruin, Bikini Kill, and about forty-five generations of apocalyptic girls-on-the-rise. Expect music art video a cavalcade of energy and what is it about Kathleen Hanna that inspires a lack of punctuation? Perhaps it's the breathlessness her music provokes; some crazy fire burning up from the inside--perhaps it's because she's a constant reminder that doing some things yourself is the only option, and that we have control over our own fucking minds and actions. At any rate, Le Tigre is the best of Julie Ruin ("valley girl intelligentsia"--new wave/punk-influenced spasticism) mixed with electronics. And, oh-oh-oh-uh-yeah, it fucking rules. Bangs come from the Joan Jett School of Rock, and they're excellent live, tight and crass. Tracy and the Plastics is the pinnacle of modern techies--it's Tracy and her two friends, better known to you and me as those contraptions called televisions. Do not miss the explosion. The secret is YES. JS


(Pine Street Theater) Four years ago, Nada Surf achieved mild fame for their self-pitying "Popular," a ditty that railed against trendy and, well, popular kids. More for its cheap sentiment than actual musical talent, the song gained a foothold on the so-called alternative radio waves. Then, the band fell into a sort of nether zone when their record label, Elektra, wrangled with them over the marketing and distribution of their second album, The Proximity Effect (which was released two years after its production by indie label Great Utopia). During the time between their first hit and their current tour, Nada Surf have grown up and filled out some of their musical talents. What had been perky guitar riffs have hardened on the edges into a more serious style; the trio's voices have gained a deeper maturity and now venture into more self-reflective lyrics. While too many overnight-fame bands stumble on their second album, Nada Surf has stepped up, gaining a strong grasp of their talents and artistic merit. The time off and their struggle with their record label seem to have had a good payoff. Come watch the evolution. PB



(Berbati's) Needless to say, it's not too hard to make a hit movie soundtrack; just copy the guitar riffs from six months ago, get your blond cousin who's kinda cute and good at lip syncing to wear a white T-shirt, stuff some socks in his pants, and take a picture of him climbing a tree or smoking his first cigarette for the cover. Then get some label with a few million to blow on putting your single into every 11-year-old's Happy Meal. Piece of cake, right? Get this: Tonic couldn't even follow the formula! In the Scream 2 soundtrack, they tried to make it big with "Eyes of Sand," a cheese-a-licious single that was much worse than the movie itself. It played something like twice on the radio before even the 11-year-olds figured out it was bad. Oh...Tonic. Take some lessons from Britney next time. KD


Zzzzzzz...whinny whinny...Zzzzzz...whinny whinny



(Billy Ray's Neighborhood Dive) Lecturer and full-time student Cliff "Spooky Mulder" Sullivan hosts these weekly (and sometimes nightly) talks and video screenings, that touch on anything from UFOs to the Philadelphia Experiment to covert government. His motto: "Knowledge is power. Arm yourself." If you're a mole or a member of the worldwide No Such Agency (NSA) conspiracy, however, I hear there's a Sasquatch roaming somewhere near the coast--nothin' to see here, no sir. JS


Thurs 9/28: Mount Analog, Climax Golden Twins, Disjunkt, Intonarumori, Bill Horist (OK Hotel)

Fri 9/29: Sodajerk, Carmine, Jack the Hotrod (Central Saloon); Emmylou Harris (Benaroya Hall)

Sat 9/30: The Gits, Gas Huffer, Hafacat, The Pinkos (Elysian); Lo-Fidelity Allstars (I-Spy)

Mon 10/2: The The, P.J. Olsson (Showbox)

Wed 10/4: Bad Religion, The Promise Ring, Ignite (Moore Theatre)