THURSDAY 9/23

ALARMIST, NICE NICE, PANTHER
(Fritz, 413 NW 3rd) Who knew, right? Alarmist--once Portland's ugly little ducklings (in, um, a good way!)--went and grew up real nice like. Kicking off their impending US tour, tonight also celebrates the release of Evil Works Get Rich or Try Dying Evil Works--their debut on Frenetic Records--which, if you haven't heard, is really fucking good. The swirling dichotomy of Eva's seductive howl does much to compel this swan's glorious trajectory--though the dexterity of Alarmist's entirety is not to be under-played. Pop-fucking-gold. ZAC PENNINGTON



BR. DANIELSON, HALF HANDED CLOUD, VIVA VOCE
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) The difference between Br. Danielson's solo outing, Brother: Son, and a regular Danielson Familie disc is slighter than that between a David Cassidy LP and a Partridge Family one. Accompanied, as always, by his siblings, wife, and other kin, Br. Danielson--alias New Jersey carpenter Daniel Smith--interweaves poetic reflections on spirituality with rough hewn music, rendered on banjo, guitar, and jingle bells with equal parts indierock D.I.Y. chutzpah and old time Appalachian ingenuity. Recommended if you adore the ramshackle clamor of the Langley Schools kids, or wish the Polyphonic Spree would subvert some of their joyful poise by inviting a couple deranged Muppets into the fold. KURT B. REIGHLEY



minmae, tracy shedd, the gunshy
(Red and Black Cafe, 2138 SE Division) See Music Pg 17



MATT SHARP, GOLDENBOY, THE ZUTONS
(Ash Street, 225 SW Ash) Perhaps something about the 10th anniversary of Weezer's blue album is making its members feel pensive. Rivers Cuomo posted an acoustic cover of Nilsson's "Without You" on his MySpace site, and former bassist Matt Sharp released a sparse self-titled solo debut. Straying from the wee-ooh fun-slide keyboards of his first post-Weezer project the Rentals, Matt Sharp feels remote and hopeless, like a return-to-sender postcard from the rural Tennessee studio in which it was recorded. Given the album's somber themes and Sharp's dour expression on its cover, don't expect "Buddy Holly" unplugged, though it is an anniversary year and all. ANDREW MILLER



THE EX, ELECTRELANE, TARA JANE O'NEIL
(Berbati's, 231 SW Ankeny) Electrelane's debut disc Rock It to the Moon was entirely instrumental, so it's somewhat jarring that its follow-up effort, The Power Out, contains not only poppy vocal numbers but also one huge gospel-choir production. Initial shock aside, the all-female English group's latest release retains its most appealing elements: atmospheric experimental tangents, steady synthesized beats, and swirling guitar counter-melodies. Hearing guitarist/keyboardist Verity Susman's charmingly askew voice for the first time might surprise fans of the inaugural effort, but the real shock comes when uninitiated audiences see the group rock out like an electronically enhanced Elastica at its live shows. AM See Music Pg 15



JOHN VANDERSLICE, ROBBERS ON HIGH STREET
(Lewis & Clark College, 0615 SW Palatine Hill--Rusty Nail) After several album titles that were unquestionably clever (Time Travel is Lonely, Mass Suicide Occult Figurines), John Vanderslice unveiled Cellar Door, using a phrase that a Donnie Darko character nominates as the most euphonious in the English language. While his titles now require prerequisites for full appreciation, Vanderslice's keyboard-peppered pop songs remain easily accessible, though his wavering voice remains an acquired taste. Vanderslice often deals in concept albums, which means his songs sometimes feel out of context during his live shows. But while his gigs can lack coherence, they do provide a fascinating glimpse at his gadgetry. AM



FRIDAY 9/24

BOOKS ON TAPE, THE WANTEDS, SUPERARGO
(Satyricon, 125 NW 6th) While I try not to make a habit of it, it's sometimes difficult to totally divorce yourself from judgment based on something so insignificant as a band name. Occasionally, however, in spite of my typical infallibility, bands can be sentenced to the impenetrable nether regions of my psyche for no fault other than having a name like Books On Tape. I've even heard Books On Tape, and I can't get past their name long enough to even remember if I liked them or not. My understanding is that they're the fairly accessible laptop project of one Todd Drootin--but I'll reserve my judgment until I'm able to commit to a blind taste-test. ZP



FRANZ FERDINAND, THE DELAYS, FUTUREHEADS
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) Girls will dance to almost anything. And drunk girls will dance to ANYTHING. And it's a good thing, too, cause when Franz Ferdinand formed in Scotland, their singular mission was to make girls dance. This group that has quickly accrued massive hype, has even outpaced most typical attention in an age of quickly-accruing-massive-hype dance rock. Adding to the spectacle are the Futureheads, another "taking the world by storm" act that only compacts the essential need to see this show. So go dance with the drunk girls, already my indie-critical-brothers. Even if they are no Rapture. MANU BERELLI



FU MANCHU, ZEKE, ROLLING BLACKOUTS, YOB
(Bossanova, 722 E Burnside) Fu Manchu's bloated double-wide concert album Go For It pretty much tells the entire story of its live show, provided that listeners have access to a speaker stack that could sterilize with its sheer sonic toxicity. The nebulous term "stoner rock" has never seemed more apt than during its cover of Blue Oyster Cult's "Godzilla," an apparently unironic rendition that plods like a brontosaurus in a tar pit. But Fu Manchu is also big on trucker imagery, conjuring images of pep pills instead of lit spliffs. Its sets combine these influences, with manic solos interrupting long lazy lulls. AM



JUANITA FAMILY, PARTY FAVOURITES, CRIME SCENE UNIT, TARANTULAS
(Berbati's Pan, 10 SW 3rd) Country can be so utterly ungratifying. Especially lately, with all the bullshit Toby Keith NASCAR right-wing hooey and post 9-11 pandering. The Juanita Family provides a direct solution to this problem. Astute rock becomes twang when Lana Rebel (Last of the Juanitas and currently fronting the Juanita Family) sings the line "If you should find your way into my heart, don't forget your way back homeÉ " going on to explain "there are two different kinds of people in this world, and I am neither one of them." It really tugs on your heartstrings. Implicating the impossibility of the fruition of love can do that. The Juanita Family's debut release is homey and comfortable like an old porch couch with plenty of visceral memories built in from broken hearts to spilled beer. Lana's conviction and tone are so convincing you know this shit is lived and not just picked up as part of a Young Republicans Starter Kit at a Wal-Mart outside of Nashville. When was the last time you had a good cry? LANCE CHESS



TRACY CHAPMAN
(Aladdin, 3017 SE Milwaukie) Can you imagine what it must be like to be Tracy Chapman? Your debut record is smart and powerful--featuring one of the most brilliantly melancholy top 20 singles of all time in "Fast Car"--and before you're 25, you've completely blown your wad. For the next decade or so, you release album after album of feigned, unremarkable mope for an audience that grows ever-more bland--noticed only for your bone-headed, VH1-primed "Blues" single "Give Me One Reason." Sure, you're still fucking Tracy Chapman--you still get to hang out with Bruce Springsteen, still get to play benefit concert after endless benefit concert for causes great and small, and you still get played on the radio. But every time you tour, you have to put up with sniveling music writers around the world talking about how great some song you wrote 16 years ago is, and how great you used to be. Can you even imagine? ZAC PENNINGTON



BROOKS AND DUNN
(Clark County Amphitheater, 17200 NE Delfel Rd, Ridgefield, WA) Word around the pop-country campfire is Brooks and Dunn's big radio/CMT hit "Boot Scootin'â Boogie" is about anal sex. Let's analyze. Chorus starts "Heel toe/ do si do/ come on baby/ let's go boot scoot." Innocent enough. "Cadillac/ black jack/ baby meet me out back/ we're gonna boogie." Out back? Bad things generally do happen out back. So yeah, kinda sorta dirty. But then, "get down/ turn around/ go to town/ boot scoot boogie." Get down? Turn around? Go to town? It's butt sex by numbers! Whoa! Or not. Maybe I'm reading into this. So, G-rated ode to line dancing or a saucy, Santorum-flecked poop shoot love ballad? You decide. ADAM GNADE



LYLE LOVETT
(Schnitzer, SW Broadway & Main) See My! What a Busy Week Pg 13



PLOT TO BLOW UP THE EIFFEL TOWER, FRESHKILLS
(Solid State, 215 SE 9th) Like a combination of the spazzy kid who threw desks and chairs at teachers and the bully who pushed that same kid into lockers, Freshkills use a combination of tech-y, frantic breakdowns and relentless pummeling to get their way. Unpredictable and confrontational, the band doesn't "ask" or "compel" listeners, they demand. The same giant hands that stretched out of the amps of the MC5, Nation of Ulysses and At the Drive In have been shaking audience members to within an inch of their lives at Freshkills shows for the last year in their home of New York City. This West Coast tour with like-minded troublemakers Plot to Blow Up the Eiffel Tower ought to leave entire crowds gasping and panic stricken, and so glad for the experience. ETHAN SWAN



RILO KILEY, NOW IT'S OVERHEAD, TILLY & THE WALL
(Nocturnal, 1800 E Burnside) Being the flagship band of Connor Oberst's newly-founded Team Love label is only the first obstacle standing in the way of Tilly & the Wall's bid for critical legitimacy. Greater still is the near-insurmountable obstacle of their schtick: in place of traditional percussion, the band uses the amplified tappa-tappa-tappa of dancer Jamie Williams--forming their songs around her steps. I know, right? But guess, what? They're actually good. Sure, if you loathe the extended Saddle Creek roster as much as most claim to, Tilly & the Wall probably won't be changing your mind anytime soon--but if you keep an open mind, they might just surprise you. ZP See Music Pg 17



SATURDAY 9/25

PETER GREEN
(Aladdin, 3017 SE Milwaukie) Though it's becoming increasingly difficult to imagine, there was a time--1969, to be exact--when Fleetwood Mac was a gritty blues band. Classic rock radio still spins Fleetwood Mac's greatest hits from its co-ed pop parties in the mid '70s, but they never delve into the group's Peter Green years, when searing solos and extended jams were its trademarks. Green, who went his own way before Lindsay Buckingham took charge, still plays the slide guitar better than anyone who ever spelled "rumors" with the superfluous British "u." AM



SCISSOR SISTERS
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) My sisters from the real estate office and I are really cutting loose tonight! I'm going to wear those stunning red stilettos that have sat in my closet WAY too long. I don't know how I will ever dance in them, but after five banana daiquiris, I won't be feeling the pain until Monday at the water cooler! I mean, it's the Scissor Sisters for gosh sakes! Not since that ABBA cover band have I felt music move me like this! Hey, sisters! Shots of Red Headed Sluts are on me! Wooo! I've been waiting ALL WEEK for this! MANU BERELLI



THE GOOD LIFE, neva dinova, the '89 cubs
(Meow Meow, 320 SE 2nd Ave) The Good Life--the ever-eclipsing "side-project" of Cursive frontman Tim Kasher--return to Portland in support of their recent Saddle Creek full-length, the bafflingly titled Album of the Year. ZP



SUNDAY 9/26

LOS LOBOS, julieta vienegas
(Roseland) On a flight from San Francisco this summer I fell face first into a GREAT psychedelic song--"Rita"--on the AIRPLANE "radio." Like, what's the odds a brilliant song happened to be playing the very moment I was so bored I randomly put the head set on... and, even odder, it turned out to be Los Lobos... their rock typically ain't my roll. So I snagged the LP, The Ride, and, while not a sike LP, it WAS solid--varied, but solid. It's really the album I expected... laid back, West Coast, soulful, but not "urban," with an occasional Latin flavor... and a ton of guests. Dig: Willie G, from Thee Midniters even got a song to sing! Anyway, so they're playing, and like, I'm excited! MIKE NIPPER



MUSE, SECRET MACHINES
(Bossanova, 722 E Burnside) Muse writes profoundly bleak songs that could be slow dance themes for the soon to be damned, but it seldom plays them live. Instead, the group loads their set lists with scattered, cathartic blasts from their three stunning albums. (The songs that break up the rest of the gloom like an elderly shut-in enjoying a flashback to his vibrant childhood.) They inject enough infectious arena-rock energy into every raucous riff and falsetto wail that the morose lyrics fade in the lighter-lofting glow. AM



MONDAY 9/27

THE NATURAL HISTORY, MENDOZALINE, THE M'S
(Berbati's, 231 SW Ankeny) All the magazines say that rock and roll got saved this millennium, everyone screaming in their denim and greasy hair. But after all the sweat and hard breathing, what sounds good? The Natural History. Their songs exemplify that window from 12:30 am until about four in the morning (you could be trying to unwind, or hanging out with friends, or frustrated about the girl that wouldn't look at you) there is always a sympathetic harmony in their music. Punchy but heartfelt, catchy but fragmented, playful but forlorn; their melodies capture a moment so personal and yet universal that you will relive the dancing, pleading, laughing, and fighting of a thousand late nights all in a three minute span. ES



SLOW SIGNAL FADE, avery bell
(Twilight, 1420 SE Powell) So you've just been dumped by your too-hot-for-you lover or you're still bitter about high school and need some musical nurturing: a band that can identify with your gloomy mood and understands you completely. How about some soothing dark rock/pop packed full of familiar melodies that lift you into lush choruses but don't rip your face off? Now on their second EP, Through the Opaque Air, this band is practiced in giving a refreshingly vibrant and honest performance. The half-boy and half-girl membership produces a sound that would undoubtedly occur if Tool finally softened up and let Sinead O'Connor in on vocals (their label has been trying to get them to do it for years). JENNA ROADMAN



JIM WHITE, DEVOTCHKA
(Aladdin, 3017 SE Milwaukie) Floridian Jim White draws on his experiences as an ex-Jesus freak, drug addict, model, and surfer for his off-kilter tales related in lyrics redolent of Southern Gothic imagery and atmosphere. He released two albums--Wrong Eyed Jesus and No Such Place--that wedded Tom Waits' woebegone, whiskey-grimaced verse with trip-hop-notic production touches. White's new Drill a Hole in That Substrate and Tell Me What You See is slicker and more songwriterly than past works, but it still flickers with intelligent wordplay and god-haunted metaphors. In fact, it's an NPR programmer's wet dream of a record. DAVE SEGAL



TUESDAY 9/28

LIBERTINES, RADIO 4
(Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) Earnest, well-meaning New Yorkers whose vaguely liberal political sentiments are shouted over serviceable dance rock, Radio 4 seem equally enamored of U2's anthemic vocal/guitar dynamics and Gang of Four's anti-fascist-groove-thang bass lines. As promising as that sounds on paper, in execution it comes off as overly rote and studied. Critics have been savaging their new Stealing of a Nation (Astralwerks), but its not that awful; the band's just too transparently enthralled with its inspirations. DAVE SEGAL See also Music Pg 15



MINISTRY, MY LIFE WITH THE THRILL KILL KULT
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) Al Jourgensen, the man that is Ministry, the dark lord of industrial metal and indiscrete substance abuse, is still alive (if you'd been wondering). The malevolent man has chronically produced a full and fabulous disaster of recordings and side projects with a revolving cast of characters spanning 15+ years--including (but not limited to) the zenith Psalm 69 release in '92, through to Houses of the Mole in '03. He never fails to shock and awe the masses via an aggressive discontent within his inescapable rhythmic pummelings. An evening of grime, glam, and grandeur (or delusions thereof), My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult's along for the very bumpy ride. NES REDNAAJ



WEDNESDAY 9/29

ANBERLIN, NOISE RATCHET, BEAUTIFUL MISTAKE
(Meow Meow, 320 SE 2nd) Anberlin couldn't be more earnest if it went to camp, school, Africa, or jail. Hell, even saving Christmas couldn't make these soft-shelled hardcore crabs more cuddly. KnowhutImean? Cloying proof that gooey harmonies can turn rock riffs into bees without stingers, Anberlin croons its way through 10 teddy bear thrashers on Blueprints for the Black Market. Along the way, it turns in a tepid cover of the Cure's "Love Song" that tops 311's take on the tune, if little else. AM



MINDERS, SATURDAY LOOKS GOOD TO ME, SUNSHINE FIX, ADELAIDE
(Berbati's Pan, 10 SW 3rd) See Music Pg 15