STEELY DAN, MICHAEL McDONALD
(Clark County Amphitheater, 17200 NE Delfel, Ridgefield, WA) Youngsters tend to lump Steely Dan into a ghetto of slick FM rock. No arguments here. But delve beneath the surface and you'll find Donald Fagen's lyrics deliver a bleak world view, which inspired cyberpunk author William Gibson. Fagen's sarcasm and dark wit conjures images of voodoo and Big Brother. Back in the '70s when they began dominating the airwaves, they didn't even perform live due to guitarist Walter Becker's crippling stage fright. Luckily he made himself essential with an original jazz/rock style (with the slightest aftertaste of Beefheart). Catch them live now that years of therapy and a whole new generation of studio musicians are making this tour possible. Nothing could make ex-Doobie Brother Michael McDonald any cooler, plus interest in his smooth rock should be slightly elevated thanks to the fantastic online parody show Yacht Rock. YouTube it now. NATHAN CARSON
NIRE, THE DAYS, EASTERLY
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) See the Scene Report, pg. 37.
SAY HI TO YOUR MOM, IMMACULATE MACHINE, DIRTY ON PURPOSE
(Towne Lounge, 714 SW 20th Pl) If this were, say, 1999, a band with a name like "Say Hi to Your Mom" would be part of the blink-182 novelty pop-punk scene. Instead, this is 2006 when bad (read: flippant) band names show up all over the indie music gamut. Brooklyn's Say Hi to Your Mom makes dark, semi-creepy electro-pop that fits somewhere between Now It's Overhead and locals Boy Eats Drum Machine. The group's new record, Impeccable Blahs, not only keeps up the who-cares-really outsider aesthetic, but goes deeper into the lush and fractured world inside. JASON PEARSON
THE AUGHT-THREES, JASMINE ASH
(Fez Ballroom, 316 SW 11th) There is an older country feel to the Aught-Threes' new CD, Bystanders Often Do Nothing. Older, not old. It's country twang as seen in old school Wilco, the Jayhawks, or even the Old 97s. It's acoustic guitars chiming low in the mix, floating harmonies, and Low-style ambience. Add to that some ultra-modern electronic stuff and elements of Plains States indierock (Rilo Kiley, Lifted-era Bright Eyes) and you've got a band that feels older, acts new, sings fresh, and comes across exciting, fun, and serious. Add to that gorgeous DIY production that rolls with the big leaguers, and you've got a kick-ass album. I've heard they're pretty amazing live too. JP
BLUE CHEER, GOBLIN COCK, KALAS
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) Lots of folks will show up early to catch Kalas (formerly known as Scum Angel) simply because High on Fire's Matt Pike is their vocalist. The rest of the guys have done time in Cruevo and Econochrist; clearly an assault of crusty sludge will be delivered. Goblin Cock is the ironic metal outing that Rob Crow from Pinback has been thoughtless enough to bring to Portland. Yes, metal can be quite funny, but is it worth all this effort just to get to play heavy without losing your indie cred, Rob? NC See My, What a Busy Week!, pg. 27.
COPY, NATALIE PORTMAN'S SHAVED HEAD, HOTT PINK
(Food Hole, 20 NW 3rd) Natalie Portman's Shaved Head... the name says it all: careless, reckless fun. Lots of "less"es for reals, but not "less" in the wit department. These boys are as witty as they are trashy. Battle rap/nursery rhyme flows about fruit snacks and facial hair erupt over electro beats and hockey-arena organ. Dudes are super new but they've already been compared to early Cex and Unicorns—the former I don't get (Cex is his own reckless beast), the latter of which they totally slay and slap down like the Hulkster. If I had to toss down some freestyle comparisons, I'd say they're like Scream Club's little bros. But, actually, rapper/keyboardist Shaun Libman is the brother of Marius from Copy. Family talent, yo! GRANT MORRIS
LKN, MARLA HOOCH, ROME PLOWS, SWALLOWS
(Ninth Ave. Public House, 938 SE 9th) LKN, back in action, yo! So, like, remember a couple months ago when Lauren K. Newman got all Humpty Dumpty and had a great fall and broke her crown? Shit was terrible, tragic, but you can't keep a good girl down. Lauren is up and movin' again and tonight promises a few hours of her inspired indierock haphazarding. Welcome back, Lauren. GM
SIX ORGANS OF ADMITTANCE, SILVERSUN PICKUPS, HOLY SONS
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) See Music, pg. 31.
BLACK ELK, SCARY BEAR, RYE WOLVES, RED FANG
(Food Hole, 20 NW 3rd) Lions and tigers and bears and wolves and, uh, elk? Heavy metal has always contained a menagerie of different colored goats, snakes, sloths, maggots, and other evil animals. But it's 2006 and most of the best ones have been taken. Regardless, this will be a hell of a show when local party grungers Red Fang bring their swinging stoner metal to the first venue they've probably ever played that doesn't serve liquor. Scary Bear is from Seattle and features members of Sean. Rye Wolves' drummer Gabe Morley played on the first two YOB records. His new band is a mathy instrumental act that recalls the proggy side of emo-metal à la Cave In and Red Sparowes. Black Elk may not have the toughest name in the bunch, but they do have the heaviest sound. Oh my! NC
THE BUZZCOCKS, THE ADORED, THE STRAYS
(Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) Aging gracefully can be hard to do, especially for punks. Maybe they miss the crowd or the road or the sex. Maybe they want to show today's kids a thing or two. Maybe... but most likely they're broke. Regardless, there's a point when you just have to say no. No to a New York Dolls reunion without Johnny Thunders, no to the MC5 without Rob Tyner, and no to a new Stooges album (put your shirt back on, pops). It's over. Get used to it. None of this is true, however, for Pete Shelley and his Buzzcocks. In the late '70s Shelley and co. were the Beach Boys of early punk, ever outdoing themselves in the addictive search for the perfect pop song. And having released six albums since '93, it seems Shelley's still addicted. But unlike so many of their contemporaries, the Buzzcocks have aged with both grace and respect. They're legends that care little about legacy. What they seek is more elusive: pop perfection. ANDREW R. TONRY
PHASE TWO: A JUBILEE OF INNOVATION W/METAL, MICHAEL MARTONE, SUSAN STEINBERG
(Valentine's, 232 SW Ankeny) Phase Two brings together an impressive handful of today's more avant-garde fiction writers with local P-town musicians. The three-night mini-festival opens at Valentine's with Metal's hushy, elegant ambient sounds, the offbeat Midwestern recollections of Michael Martone (The Blue Guide to Indiana) and Susan Steinberg's (The End of Free Love) erotically charged explosions of poetry prose. Evening number two goes down at Ash Street Saloon and features arguably the highlight of the fest as renowned experimentalist R.M Berry hopefully explains just what the hell is going on in his metaphysical clusterhump of a Frankenstein rehash, Frank. The award-winning author's speech concludes with the music of self-described "freestyle fictionalist" Mick Daily's fiction rock band O'Grady. Night three stars Lidia Yuknavitch's brilliantly harsh short stories and experimental-renaissance man Lance Olsen at Towne Lounge. Unproven experimental writing can be like dragging your nards on sandpaper, but hopefully the opening lineup will have you salivating for a little more literature a few extra steps off the beaten path. NOAH SANDERS
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) Good rap songs are easier to catch than genital warts in Tijuana. Good rap albums are another story altogether. Most of them are two singles wrapped in 74 minutes of skits and Paul Wall guest spots. E-40's My Ghetto Report Card, though—that's a different story. Solid through and through, Report Card's one of the rare contemporary hiphop albums that you can listen to in its entirety again and again. And yes, this is 40 Water's third Portland show since May, but it's the first honest-to-goodness concert that wasn't tacked on the end of a huge showcase or at halftime of an And1 show. And if you've never seen his hyphy dancers with their little Ninja Turtle backpacks on before, it's a sight you shouldn't miss. CHAS BOWIE
SCARD, CATHARTECH, NKONDI, FAWN, COMA, TWO OBOES, QKCOFSE, GEYSER, ERARITJARITJAKA
(Weapons of Mass Compassion, 323 NW 6th) Eugene's Eraritjaritjaka sounds like machines left on until their motors start to heat up and burn out. It's a cruel sound, a big and nasty blender of nonmusical music. If you can dissect this and find who's playing what you're a better man than me. But just the same, too much analytical delving can ruin a beautiful thing. Eraritjaritjaka and its noise dreamquest is a beautiful thing, a murky chaos that nonetheless sounds like the brutal grind of life leading to death, the feeling of being dropped into the food chain, of mortality realized, and nightmares that toss you around like a thin, old sock. Show up early for this. Book-ended by ScarD's scorched, grilling death sounds, this is one hell of a Weapons of Mass Compassion show. ADAM GNADE
SHEARING PINX, DRUGS, IKEBANA, ME CON
(Food Hole, 20 NW 3rd) I'm changing Vancouver to Vancouger because Washingtonians Shearing Pinx prowl like big fucking cats. Theirs is a gnarled-up, skin-shredding doom trash that drowns you in noise, runs you over with a dump truck, and then shoots you twice for good measure. When they chill out, everything slows to a meaty crawl and the drums start sounding like war tom-toms while the guitars and bass crinkle up and honk and sound like they're made out of tin cans and silverware. The slower moments are when things get really trippy, when all your beloved psychedelic bands start sounding hokey and stiff in comparison. This is one of my favorite punk bands on Earth. With locals Me Con, Ikebana, and DRUGS on the bill, this'll be one of the best nights out this week. AG
PDX POP NOW! 2006, DAY TWO
(Loveland, 320 SE 2nd) See Music, pg. 29.
THE SHEE BEE GEES, MONACLE
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Before disco took a big runny doodoo all over the world, the Bee Gees were makin' some pop music magic. Whether you blame Travolta, songs co-opted in ads, or cocaine for Barry, Robin, and Maurice being pigeonholed forever as discoteers, there is one shining light out there attempting to keep the golden oldie days alive. Shee Bee Gees are four Portland ladies who know the pre-disco Bee Gees catalog inside and out and pay loving tribute to it onstage. This is so incredibly rad! GM
PHASE TWO: A JUBLIEE OF INNOVATION W/R.M. BERRY, MIKE DAILY/O'GRADY
(Ash Street Saloon, 225 SW Ash) See Friday's Phase Two Up and Coming.
AGALLOCH, WALDTEUFEL, WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM, GIANT SQUID
(Sabala's, 4811 SE Hawthorne) From the wretched suburbs of Portland, Agalloch have been molding their epic, icy-cold, folk-tinged, shoegazing black metal for about a decade, only poking their heads from their burrows on the very rare occasion. Their new album, Ashes Against the Grain, is a gnarled treasure map of rolling ambient keyboard swells, jangling bright guitar that shines like a glimmer of hope before descending into a drone-fuzzy pit of despair. Vocals alternate between agonizing wicked gasps of air screaming and matter-of-fact fantasy storytelling. In these seriously bleak times, escape from reality is not just a good time, it's self-preservation. JAMES SQUEAKY
PHASE TWO: A JUBILEE OF INNOVATION W/LANCE OLSEN, LIDIA YUKNAVITCH, ADAM GNADE AND BAND
(Towne Lounge, 714 SW 20th Pl) See Saturday's Phase Two Up and Coming.
COBRA NOIR, NUX VOMICA
(Food Hole, 20 NW 3rd) Cobra Noir are set to release a new one this fall. Expect growling jaws of death. Expect wolverine grunts and guitars set on "liquefy." Expect punk gone metal gone punk again (and dizzy as hell in the meantime.) The record will be called Barricades, though unlike the kind the cops set up, this one's not the big fun stopper. Fun continues. Fun FLOURISHES. AG
PDX POP NOW! 2006, DAY THREE
(Loveland, 320 SE 2nd) See Music, pg. 29.
2 LIVE CREW, J-KRONIC, LIL FATS, BUDAGEE, BANKROLE RECORDS ARTISTS, PWT
(Rock n Roll Pizza, 11140 SE Powell) Don't be fooled, this isn't the 2 Live Crew that were nasty and horny as fug back in the '80s. Says Mercury Arts Editor Chas Bowie, "As far as we know, the current touring incarnation of 2 Live Crew consists solely of Fresh Kid Ice—that one member with the little baby arm." Tell me that doesn't sound 80 times better than the "real" 2 Live Crew. AG
(Tube, 18 NW 3rd) Athens, Ohio's Skeletonwitch are pure thrash gnash. It's fast, mean, but there's also a shit-ton of melody—not even subtle melody. I'm talkin' pop melody applied to metal destruction, the kind that could be all over the radio—if radio had any balls, heart, or soul. Singer Chance Garnette is a gem too, a gem that's bad-ass, surly, tough, and eviler than any evil wizard I've ever met. His voice is a strangled bird's death croak, a raspy, thin hiss that is guaranteed to have downtown pissing itself in fear. (The rest of us will be laughing, loving life, and taking shots at the bar. See you there.) AG
MAGNOLIA ELECTRIC CO., LADYHAWK, BLITZEN TRAPPER
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) It's completely unbelievable that a bar band playing blues rock could sound this good in 2006, but Jason Molina and co. are proof that it can be done. That's because the big Stratocaster, blues-scale beer drinker look is just the cocoon wrapped around Molina's nearly perfect lyrics. Of course, it doesn't hurt that all the rockers share an undeniable chemistry, or that Molina's Neil Young-meets-Will Oldham jams are so raucous. What am I trying to say? That's easy. See this band. Reaffirm your faith in rock 'n' roll. Howl at the moon. Jason Molina is God. CB See My, What a Busy Week!, pg. 27.
THE COUP, BOOM BAP PROJECT, T-KASH, ISELYFE, COMMON MARKET
(Berbati's, 10 SW 3rd) See Music, pg. 31.
FEROCIOUS EAGLE, SHOTGUN MONDAY
(Food Hole, 20 NW 3rd) The sweet-as-sweet-can-be Ferocious Eagle is Eric Jensen of the sweet-as-sweet-is-afraid-to-be Tractor Operator on drums with Jon Andersen and Greg Dalbey singing and playing guitar. Just as vicious and mighty as their awesome band name, the trio of dudes busts out some thunderbolt-deadly hard rock. Are you afraid to rock? I think you might be. Never fear, little lamb, these bros are on your side. GM
DANIEL HIGGS, CLOACA CLOCK, ARRINGTON DE DIONYSO, ILYAS AHMED
(Towne Lounge, 714 SW 20th Pl) Dan Higgs is best known, or more accurately, deeply underknown, for his role as frontman of Baltimore's power-treasure band, Lungfish. The only non-DC based band ever signed to Dischord, the group has issued 12 records in 17 years and rarely plays live. Some early fans bailed after the first few records, citing that all the songs sounded the same; the rest of the fans stayed on deck for that reason and formed a dedicated legion that is more like a secret society than a fanbase, trading stories about Higgs' mysterious ways: One blog report I read claims to have seen Higgs eat a ballpoint pen on stage mid-set. Higgs' solo album from 2004, Magic Alphabet, features none of his trademark caterwauling or mystic vision—rather 17 tracks of him playing jaw harp. A recent unannounced show in Chicago saw him playing guitar, other rumors are that he's playing guitar and singing, others he's just singing. No matter what his trip, expect it to be mindbreaking. JESSICA HOPPER