WHAT IS "INDIE"? You've probably heard about it—either from the minxy barista at your favorite Starbucks, or from that churlish valet on NW 21st Avenue, or from that child of yours during your last conversation six months ago. It's called "indie," and it's the coolest new thing in music since Christopher Cross. Indie is actually short for "independent," and it's truly on the cutting edge, offering up a no-holds-barred twist on the rock 'n' roll you dimly remember from your early 30s. Buckle up, because this is gonna be one wild ride!

1. Everclear
That's right, this band named itself after a high-proof alcohol! And that's exactly what you're gonna get: The longtime Portland band situates their party-time anthems just on the south side of crazy. Bring earplugs, 'cause these guys know how to rock.

2. The Decemberists
Look, we'll be honest: These folks might be a little too "out there" for most of you; for Pete's sake, they named an album Picaresque, which isn't even a real word. The Decemberists play songs about murder, war, ghosts, and giant man-eating whales, and they even released a death-metal concept album, 2009's The Hazards of Love. Extreme thrill-seekers (read: that bearded fellow with all the tattoos you sometimes drive past at the bus stop) should love 'em; everyone else will be rightly terrified. Tread cautiously, and bring earplugs.

3. Coldplay
Okay, okay, they're not from Portland. You got us! But they're just so gosh-darn good, we had to include 'em! (Bring earplugs.)

4. Oregon Symphony
We know what you're thinking: the orchestra? But get this: The Oregon Symphony sometimes lets down their hair and performs all sorts of wild, wacky stuff. This season alone includes works by heavy rockers like Billy Joel, the Indigo Girls, Johnny Mathis, and...

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