THURSDAY 5/12

OPEN HAND, IDIOT PILOT, EMBERGHOST, OCEANA (Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) See "My, What a Busy Week!, pg 21

PINK MARTINI, SCOTT FISHER BAND (Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) Because I hate their name so much and because lots of my peers scoff at them, and also, I think, because they have 12 members (I'm suspicious of large bands; not sure why), I've always assumed Pink Martini sucked. But this week, I tried something novel: I actually listened to their albums, Sympathique and the newest, Hang on Little Tomato… and they weren't so bad. Some nice little Cuban drumming fused with 1930s Parisian-era club melody and old-fashioned smoky vocals. Would I put these albums in my iPod? Probably not. Would I pay $18 to go to this show and dance around a bit? No, but if someone offered me a free ticket I might consider it. JUSTIN WESCOAT SANDERS

PORTLAND PUBLIC SCHOOLS (Towne Lounge, 714 SW 20th Pl) See "My, What a Busy Week!, pg 21

JOHN RENBOURN, JACQUI MCSHEE, THE STRAWBS (Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) Somewhat disregarded by today's "scene" are the '60s folk/folk-rock/prog NINJAS of England. UK Folk, like all folk music, is about local tradition, so it's arguable them UK folkies generally held tradition so close that our Dylan/James Taylor folk-i-fried ears found it to be a bit...off. Anyways, John Renbourn spent his life proving how adept he is at inventing new ways of playing stringed instruments while reinventing traditional English folk... pre and post Renaissance. And he's touring again with former bandmate from the obscenely important Pentangle, Jacqui McShee. Along for the ride are the Strawbs, who are/were a prog band, er, or folk-rock... actually, they ceded to all of it (folk/prog/rock). But this is not their normal show, it's an acoustic outing which, by the way, has been highly lauded as "STUNNING"! "Stunning"? Yeah, that sounds about right. MIKE NIPPER

FRIDAY 5/13

AUDIOSLAVE, JONNY POLONSKY (Roseland, 8 NW 6th) Goddamn you Chris Cornell! I have wanted to screw your goddamn brains out since I was a teen--but that of course, was when you had long hair, screamed a lot, and generally rocked. Now you look like that cheese ball Dave Navarro and you've single handedly wrecked two bands I spent much of my formative years adoring, Soundgarden and Rage Against the Machine. KATIE SHIMER

EVOLUTION CONTROL COMMITTEE, GRADUAL MELTDOWN, DJ BEYONDA, M.C.F. (Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) San Francisco-based culture jammers Evolution Control Committee (ECC) collage together pop cultural elements from hit singles to Dan Rather clips (their Rather collage, "Rocked By Rape" garnered them the swipe of a legal threat by CBS, although they now appear to have backed off). Smart, quirky, and often danceable, they're into all sorts of weird shit like the "The Thimbletron," which is essentially a pair of gloves with thimbles on each finger, then electronically rigged to sample music using "Thimbletronium" and…oh never mind. MARJORIE SKINNER

FOOD NOT BOMBS FUNDRAISER FEATURING THE FORMLESS, THE VULTURINES, EVEN IN PARADISE, THE PASTIES, THE EYEBALLS (Liberty Hall, 311 N Ivy) Enjoy an unconventional evening in an atypical rock venue with bands who delve into the bizarre. The Formless are a drum/guitar duo playing dark, surreal musical art pieces. The Vulturines play rather simple, sweeping guitar with vocals that are cute as a baby chick. The Eyeballs, well shit, I dunno, but they sound rather fascinating. KS

LENNY KRAVITZ, NIKKA COSTA (Arlene Schnitzer Hall, 1037 SW Broadway) For a guy who's made a career out of his obsession with mind-numbing mediocrity, Lenny Kravitz still manages to stupefy even in the year 2005. Take, for example, "Lady" from this year's Baptism--you know, the one that dude is pimping in that Gap ad with the girl from Square Pegs. Sample lyrics: "I'm crazy for this little lady/I'm freaking for my little baby"; "I know she's a super lady… I'm crazy for that lady/She's chic but she's not shady yeah/Sophisticated lady/And she makes me feel good/She's so fine/"; "Yeah/Don't you know she blows my mind/All the time/And she makes me feel good/Like a real woman should/Yeah/All the time/Yeah/Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah." Bro says the word "lady" 13 times. THIRTEEN. I mean, jesus--it sounds like a bad Saturday Night Live sketch. But damn if he ain't sexy, right? ZAC PENNINGTON

THE PONYS, GRIS GRIS, THE HUNCHES, PLASTIC CRIMEWAVE SOUND (Berbati's Pan, 10 SW 3rd) See "CD Review," pg 23

SLEEPYTIME GORILLA MUSEUM, FAUN FABLES, THE BAD THINGS (Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) See "Music," pg 24

ZION I, OPIO, LIBRETTO (Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E Burnside) See "Music," pg 24

SATURDAY 5/14

AESOP ROCK, DJ BIG WIZ, SA SMASH, HANGER 18, ROB SONIC (Roseland, 8 NW 6th) See "My, What a Busy Week," pg 21

THE BOOKS, MIA DOI TODD, Y.A.C.H.T. (Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) See "Music," pg 23

THE EPOXIES, TELEPHONE, THE OBSERVERS (Sabala's Mt Tabor, 4811 SE Hawthorne) Hey Portland, get ready to see another one of your own go mega-huge. After The Epoxies' new rec, Stop The Future, drops on Tuesday, Gwen Stefani will be asking them to open for her, MTV (or at least its slutty cousin "2") will come calling, and all sorts of Orange County dickwads will be sizing them up for TV show soundtracks. This isn't a good or bad thing; it's just inevitable. Lead by wide-eyed singer Roxy Epoxy--who's eternally wrapped in multicolored Technicolor caution tape, cartwheeling across the nation's stages like a punk Betty Boop--The Epoxies have made a great, exciting new record. (Think Devo, only cuter.) With popstar heart and indierock brains, Stop is the kind of thing mainstream audiences are gonna lose their collective caca over and real fast. Prepare for the deluge! ADAM GNADE

IVY, ROBBERS ON HIGH STREET, ASTAIRE (Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E Burnside) Ivy are one of those bands who've made consistently solid, enjoyable records since becoming critical darlings in the early '90s, but who have yet to achieve the broader success they deserve because they haven't made, y'know, a really GREAT, mind-blowing full-length yet. You probably have at least one or two Ivy records on your shelf. They're probably spun about as sparsely and with about as much reverence as your Ash or James records, which you also wish you liked more. But that's not such a bad thing, especially since Ivy are now armed with a poppier, more cultured full-length and a new label (Nettwerk). On their latest, In the Clear, chanteuse Dominique Durand kicks it up a notch in the sultry-sophisticate department (different than the junior-miss department), and it's to the band's benefit. Ivy are better-poised to expose themselves to a bunch of new, super-psyched fans than they've been in years. JOAN HILLER

MELT-BANANA, DAS OATH, DARK FORCES (Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) Now in their 10th-plus year, Tokyo's Melt-Banana continue spending every second exploding genre constructs and testing intervals of attention. Renowned for pushing thrash tempos into a fusion-like heat that drags in a whole history of deconstructed rock, the band's live show unsettles even the most staid crowd. While the phrase "calculated chaos" is an oxymoron to be sure, it remains an apt description of the band's method of choice. It should also be noted that listening to 2000's Teeny Shiny, Melt-Banana's 25-minute LP, while driving late at night has been known to succeed where all other stimulants have failed in keeping the driver alert--bringing passengers safely to their destinations. SCOTT GOODWIN

SIX ORGANS OF ADMITTANCE, SIR RICHARD BISHOP, HOLYSONS (Berbati's Pan, 10 SW 3rd) Sir Richard Bishop earned his honor with guitar playing that combines facility with feeling better than most extant plectrum-wielders. The Sun City Girls mesmerizer waxes mystical with soul-lifting ragas, free-folk rambles, and Middle Eastern-inected fantasias that make John Fahey's passing much easier to bear. If you haven't already, check out Bishop's essential solo discs Salvador Kali (Revenant) and Improvika (Locust). DAVE SEGAL

SUNDAY 5/15

CONNECT_ICUT, FROZEN RABBIT, ORBIT SERVICE (Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E Burnside) Connect_icut--Sam Macklin--takes inordinate care to transform minute sonic fragments into hallucinatory pieces you might hear if you scrambled the Residents and Nurse with Wound's back catalogs in Reaktor--or so it seems to my feverish sensorium. Forgive my glibness; actually, Connect_icut's CD Moss (Dehausset Records) boasts some extremely interesting tonal morphogenesis that recalls Mille Plateaux's heyday and the wonderstruck miniaturism of Neina and Tetsuo Inoue. Frozen Rabbit's 26,000 (Dehausset) recalls the sound of halcyonic early-'90s chill-out rooms often found at raves--except FR (Skinny Puppy/Download/Plateau members Phil Western and Tim Hill) inject much more darkness into the ambient equation than any E'd-up raver could handle. They harsh mellows with ominous arpeggios, motorific drones, Spectrum-like desolation, and eerie Ligeti-esque ghost choirs. Makes me happy, though. DAVE SEGAL

LKN, POLAR BEARS (Porky's Pub, 835 N Lombard) The incredible and gorgeous Lauren K. Newman windmills around Porky's with the power and magic of The Who's dead members. Never standing still, long hair swinging round, she manages to hit all the notes like a superwoman. Live, LKN is joined by chaos wielding drummer Caitlin Love and bassist Donna Dresch--a strong team of women who take their venue by storm and shake it up like a disease. Polar Bears, hailing from Petaluma, are known to make their audiences wilt with sheer intensity. Bring earplugs. AMY VECCHIONE

MAGNOLIA THUNDERPUSSY, DAREDIABLO, KIESKAGATO (Berbati's Pan, 10 SW 3rd) Formed in 1984 by a bunch of SoCal teens, Magnolia Thunderpussy rolled casually with the SST crew through their brief two-year career--a window of time that allowed the band to spend roughly three total hours in a recording studio. The 11-song demo that their single recording session birthed eventually found its way into the hands of SST label head/Black Flag guitarist Greg Ginn, who offered to put out the band's proper full-length as soon as they could muster new material. Feeling the strains of college and writer's block, the band caved before they could record their debut, and quickly fell into California punk obscurity. Fast-forward about 20 years, and the band's touring again to promote the first official release of Starin' Down the Sun, a CD version of the band's demo. The disc is vintage SST--particularly the Minutemen/Meat Puppets corners of the label's catalog--and comes complete with a 13-track live boot of a beach show that ends in a police bust. Hard-fucking-core. ZP

PHOBIA, ROTTEN SOUND, FALL OF THE BASTARDS, LORD GORE (Sabala's Mt Tabor, 4811 SE Hawthorne) Local favorites Fall of the Bastards thrash out epic power metal. They can gallop like 'Maiden and grind like Carcass. We don't deserve them. Highlights of their shows include incessant double bass drumming, dueling guitar leads, and Jason Voorhees' many demonic voices. Raise your hand towards the band like you're holding an invisible chalice--they'll reciprocate. These guys continue to deliver one of the best metal shows in town. Over the last year their music has become more melodic and accessible without losing the brutality necessary for it to remain credible. Orange County's grindcore godfathers Phobia have been at it for 15 years and bring their political hardcore vision to focus on latest albums Get Up and Kill and Grind Your Fucking Head In. NATHAN CARSON

THE SHINS, THE BRUNETTES (Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) Getting a healthy American kick-back in the form of an opening spot for the Shins, New Zealand's Brunettes rock a blend of indie pop that's becoming pretty familiar: boy-girl twee with vague orchestral flourishes, Spectorian leanings, and four-track sensibilities (see: Saturday Looks Good To Me, Architecture In Helsinki, Aisler's Set, et al.). Nothing necessarily to write home about, but the band does have a pretty good grip on their idiom of choice. Couple that with a growing relationship with Sub Pop (the label is distributing the band's recently released EP), and pretty soon they're sure to have the sweatered and meek set by the proverbial throat. ZP

MONDAY 5/16

DEGENERATE ART ENSEMBLE, ANUBIAN LIGHTS (Berbati's Pan, 10 SW 3rd) See "My, What a Busy Week!" pg 21

TUESDAY 5/17

THE BETTER TO SEE YOU WITH, EL CERDO, GIRTH, BONES OF GIANTS (Berbati's Pan, 10 SW 3rd) Instrumental guitar/drums duo Girth are part of the undersung underground Seattle metal scene that includes Akimbo, Wormwood, The Abodox, and Golgothan Sunrise. A lot of artistic, non-commercial extreme sounds are being forged up there. Girth's music is cultivated post-modern math-rock virtuosity (this used to be called prog), infused with early '90s Midwest noise rock throwback--and a quiver full of Slayer riffs. Somehow a bit of Northwest lumberjack metal creeps its way into the mix, too. All their tunes blaze, but some sound like they would have an improved attack if another instrument was added somewhere. Portland's The Better To See You With bring a whole trio (that's a big band these days) to the task of deconstructing hardcore to subatomic bits and smashing them. They are very good at it. NATHAN CARSON

SHARON JONES & THE DAP-KINGS, DJ DAN BLAKER (Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E Burnside) See "Music," pg 23

WEDNESDAY 5/18

A-FRAMES (Towne Lounge, 714 SW 20th Pl) See "My, What a Busy Week!" pg 21

THE MATTOID, STEREO OBSCURA (Dunes, 1905 NE MLK) Scandinavian anomaly the Mattoid maintains a rather straightforward groundwork of American Rock traditionalism--4/4 time, driving, jangly guitars, etc--a groundwork set off base by his mountain of cluttery quirk. Alternating between dopey baritone and Cookie Monster roar, it's a goofy assemblage, but not completely without its charms. ZP

MILLENCOLIN, BOYS NIGHT OUT, A THORN FOR EVERY HEART, ROSES ARE RED (Roseland, 8 NW 6th) It's funny to be writing about Millencolin in 2005. The last time I thought about this Swedish pop-punk outfit was back in 1997, when I would drive to high school in my Op Ivy-stickered '92 Ford Tempo, blasting their then-latest release, For Monkeys. That was back when I would only listen to No Use For a Name, Ten Foot Pole, and various other Fat Wreck Chords and Epitaph pop-punk bands. Back when Warped Tour was less about eye make-up and more about skateboarding. And funnily enough, after all these years, Millencolin are still doing the same exact thing they were back then. They've grown up, their fans have too, but whether or not anyone cares, they're still churning out goofy pop punk. There will always be high-school kids with Op Ivy stickers looking for something to jump around to, after all, and Millencolin seem to exist just for them. MEGAN SELING

PREFUSE 73, BATTLES, BEANS (Berbati's Pan, 10 SW 3rd) Just when you expect him to start sucking, Prefuse 73 drops his most interesting album. Surrounded by Silence looks like Prefuse's big-budget sell-out move. But despite all the high-voltage guest MCs and collaborators, Silence excitingly mutates hiphop's DNA and further hones Prefuse's lightning edits and designer glitchery. Now three releases old, Beans' solo career is at least as illustrious as that of his old crew Antipop Consortium. His heady, horndog linguistics flare allusively over riveting productions that evoke Mantronix as much as they do Autechre and Can. DS

LOUDON WAINWRIGHT III, SUNMAY (Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) Father of Rufus, Loudon Wainwright III is another folky singer-songwriter from way back who was able to ride the Bob Dylan train to marginal success in America and abroad. Wainwright has some good songs under his belt, but his latent silliness has kept him from being a household name. Still, your parents probably know about him, and might even like him. JWS