Mean Jeans w/Mope Groves, Honey Bucket; Clinton Street Theater, 2522 SE Clinton

At a Nick Hornby reading I attended last week, a member of the audience asked the author why he'd been writing so much about women lately as opposed to young men. "Women have real problems," said Hornby. "Every problem a young man ever has is entirely self-imposed."

Any connection between Hornby's comments and the Mean Jeans' music is probably a tenuous narrative construction here, no doubt informed by the fact that I listened to the group's terrific 2012 record Mean Jeans on Mars on the way home from the Powell's in Beaverton. But it made me realize that the Jeans' tendency to write so earnestly and indelibly about absolutely nothing could be a broader statement about the inherently self-absorbed and self-aggrandizing nature of artistic expression by people who don't have any legitimate problems.

The three members seem too smart and perceptive in real life to actually be this dumb in their music: "School Lunch Victim" is not a metaphor for the inequity in the world—it's about being dissatisfied with the contents of your packed lunch, and that's something they probably have more experience with. "Come Toobin'" is about fucking innertubing. These songs demand to be taken at face value, and in the process reveal just how ridiculous and outdated the model of art as an aperture into the "tortured, brilliant mind" of its creator—someone who probably isn't either of those things, anyway—really is.


Caregiver w/Robot Boy, Snow Roller, Trophy Lives, Squalor; Analog Café, 720 SE Hawthorne

Tonight, up-and-coming emo band Caregiver celebrate the release of their new EP alongside all-ages mainstays Robot Boy and Snow Roller, whose newest tape, a split with likeminded Doug Martsch fetishists Sioux Falls, cements their place on my local-artists-to-watch list.