(Liquid Lounge at EMP) I went to the Liquid Lounge for the first time the other day and try as I might, I can't imagine Marc Olsen playing his ruined heart out in this post-modern, neon-ridden hangout. Nonetheless, I'm sure that Olsen's brand of emotive guitar and lyrics that always get me to sway sadly in the dark while I clutch my bourbon on the rocks (no beers will soften the kind of pain he feels and plays) will work their magic here, too. His rough but melodic voice (kind of like Mark Lanegan's, only smoother) will break through the glitz of the room to lull the audience into a stupor and take us on a ride down the most lonesome desert highway imaginable. CHARLES REDELL

FRIDAY 11/17

(I-Spy) I-Spy debuts their newest weekly, which they claim caters to eclectic tastes. That may be so, but the kickoff bill sounds like it's got a bottom-line fever for the funk. NYC-based headliners Groove Collective, a vibey, soulful acid-jazz outfit who grew out of the famed Giant Step, go all the way live, throwing horns, hiphop, and Latin grooves into their capital-F Funky jam sessions. Locals K.O. (of K Records pomo cuties IQU) and Free lay down what they call "Solid Gold Soul," and yes, funk from the '60s and '70s. Even opener DJ Atlee's got a thing for the F-word too, along with hiphop, jazz, and soul. Rhythmless booties, beware. LEAH GREENBLATT

(Sit & Spin) Let's get one thing straight--the end of the fraternal feuding between the Brothers Gallagher (and subsequent boring albums and declining sales) absolutely did NOT mark the death of Britpop. Fortunately, there are plenty of bands who continue to live for (and create) stylish, guitar-driven pop tunes with massive hooks. Even more fortunately, we're blessed with one right in our own backyard. Portland's Man of the Year have delivered a fine debut, The Future Is Not Now, with a single ("Silver Dollar") so good you instantly have to know who Man of the Year are. If there's any justice in this life, people won't be asking who they are much longer. Catch them now, while you can. BARBARA MITCHELL


(Crocodile) Even though Neko Case figures prominently in the vocals, and a boatload of members and contributors are featured, the New Pornographers are essentially Zumpano frontman Carl Newman's thing. By that I mean his mark is all over the band--songwriting style, retro pop sensibilities, and vocal harmonies, including his gloriously unabashed lisp. If you liked Zumpano, you'll probably like the New Pornographers. I LOVED Zumpano, and I'm coming around to lovin' the New Pornographers. KATHLEEN WILSON

(Breakroom) The thing about Yellow Machine Gun is that when they aren't playing, they look so, well, normal. But this trio of young women from Osaka are anything but conventional; their music is loud, fast, aggressive hardcore that'll shake your teeth out. That's if they haven't already been rattled by the equally loud Vulgar Pigeons, with whom they are on tour, and the melodic punk of Short Fuses from Minneapolis. Our own Blöödhag should fit right in with this bunch--pack your earplugs and count your fillings afterward. GENEVIEVE WILLIAMS

(EMP) To call the Fastbacks a pop-punk institution is a no-brainer; over the course of 20 years and dozens of releases (and nearly as many drummers) they have carved out a small devoted following and created an exciting and enduring body of work. The veteran quartet released The Day That Didn't Exist last year on SpinArt Records. It was a career highlight, demonstrating the sly, offhanded genius of songwriter/guitarist Kurt Bloch. Aided and abetted by the delicious and raucous vocal harmonies of bassist Kim Warnick and guitarist Lulu Gargiulo, and the stick-wielding talents of Mike Musburger, The Day That Didn't Exist found the band effortlessly creating three-minute, sugary punk gems. Live, they are a powerhouse of raw clamoring fun with lead singer Warnick conveying an unjaded cool that most rock stars could only dream of. NATE LIPPENS

(Elysian) Although most folks rightfully associate Good-Ink Records with former Goodness members Carrie Akre and Garth Reeves, the label has another partner, Deanna Knudsen, who is literally making her voice heard with the release of her first solo effort, Mayfair Days. The six-song EP showcases Knudsen's wonderfully sweet voice with a collection of bittersweet tunes of heartbreaks past, present, and in the making. She celebrates the release of her album this evening by sharing the stage with both her label partners, Akre and Reeves' post-Goodness project, Blue Spark. BARBARA MITCHELL

SUNDAY 11/19

(Showbox) There was a time when the Misfits meant something. Forming in New Jersey in '77, they fused New York punk rock with underground pop-culture imagery (and even a bit of Motown songwriting sensibility) to produce some of the catchiest and most aggressive two-minute sing-alongs ever pressed on wax. Even after their demise in '83, their legacy continued to inspire the growing movements of hardcore and speed metal, and they ascended to patron-saint status for pissed-off gutterpunks everywhere. The Misfits 2000 are another story, however. With only one original member (bassist Jerry Only), the band have put out a couple albums of moderately catchy but ultimately pointless pop-punk, and continue touring. "Teenagers from Mars" no more, the dark imagery and snotty attitude that worked for a bunch of punk-ass Jersey kids just out of high school comes across as tired and contrived 20 years later. Hell, a friend told me that at their last performance here, current singer Michale Graves was so uninspired he appeared in a fucking baseball cap. Die, die, my darling. DAN PAULUS

(Baltic Room) Lazy Dog, imported from the bohemian swank of London's Notting Hill neighborhood, has become one of that city's most popular low-key weekend wrap-ups for the beautiful people, beginning in late afternoon and finishing up at a relatively respectable hour. As one-half of Everything But the Girl (the long-standing U.K. duo who finally found real success in the mid-'90s when they added pulsing electronic rhythms to their emotionally resonant pop compositions), Ben Watt has carved out a comfy place for himself in the dance music pantheon. Now, along with Lazy Dog partner Jay Hannan, he spins a lovely, somewhat regressive mix of acid jazz, deep house, and downbeat on his EBTG off-time, and together the two have created a welcome respite from that much-dreaded, doldrum-y seventh-day feeling. Thankfully, local bookers have stayed faithful to the original Sunday time slot, and the Baltic Room should substitute adequately enough for more chic London climes, being perhaps about as close as Seattle gets to cosmopolitan. LEAH GREENBLATT

(DV8) These elder statesmen of techno cut their teeth together in London's acid-house underground during the early '90s, but their sounds could not be more disparate. While the Orb's Alex Paterson practically invented the chilly vibe of ambient house, Juno Reactor's Ben Watkins rode the wave of hyper-kinetic trance that emerged from the Goa region of India. Watkins certainly didn't invent trance, but he's pushed the formula further than his peers. Juno Reactor's latest album, Shango, is a multi-cultural collision of aboriginal rhythms and hypnotic, electronic atmospherics. Paterson himself contributed the mind-bending ambient track "Nitrogen Part 1" to his friend's album. But live, these two chums are also opposites. Paterson mesmerizes with his downtempo tunes and psychedelic light show. Watkins counter punches with the amazing live drums of South African tribal percussionists Amampondo, a group whose energetic rhythms complement Juno Reactor's set of hard, tranced-out techno. It'll be interesting to see who's left standing at the end of the night. DAVID SLATTON

MONDAY 11/20

There's nothing happening today.


(Sunset Tavern) Chicago roots singer-songwriter Chris Mills may be familiar to fans of intelligent indie country as the touring guitarist with the solo act of the Mekons' Sally Timms. With Timms, Mills was more than an accomplished sideman; he was the perfect foil to her hilarious between-song banter. On his own, Mills proves to have his own wicked sense of humor. It is a darkly self-lacerating humor that runs through his excellent new album, Kiss It Goodbye, on Sugar Free Records. Like his 1998 album Every Night Fight for Your Life, Kiss It Goodbye's songs perform an autopsy on love. With a blend of insurgent country and Motown soul that jangles and distorts, Mills paints a startlingly clear picture of the ways life and love disappoint. The album features a lineup of Chicago alt-stars like Mekon and Waco Brother Jon Langford, Pinetop Seven, and the Blacks. Live, Mills' acidic wit and strong songcraft are sure to captivate. NATE LIPPENS

(Showbox) With enough bells and whistles, almost anyone can disguise a lack of talent (or actual songs). The true test of an artist comes when the artifice is stripped away. Peter Murphy has often surrounded himself with ornamentation, but an all-too-brief acoustic show at this year's Convergence Festival showed that Murphy is more than capable of standing on his own two feet. With only his resonant voice and acoustic guitar accompaniment to get by on, Murphy commanded complete attention as he delivered new renditions of old favorites. In fact, in some ways, stripped to the bare minimum, the songs were even more powerful, beautiful, and intense. For this show, Murphy is traveling in a three-piece ensemble, including violin, and he will be performing a wealth of material, old and new--and no, Murphy will be doing no Bauhaus. BARBARA MITCHELL

(Crocodile) Ba da da da da da da da da da da da da... "Put a lid on it/What's that you say?/Put a lid on it/No man, no way/Put a lid down on it... ba da da da da da da da da da...." Horns blow. It's all real uptown and swanky. You're dumb, pretentious, and you love to shake that dumb fuckin' booty, so do it. YAWN. JEFF DeROCHE

(Jazz Alley through Nov 25) The name of blues guitarist Tab Benoit's latest album was These Blues Are All Mine, but blues-guitar pioneers like Taj Mahal might beg to differ. For almost four decades, Taj Mahal set about playing everything from ossified forms of delta blues to more modern Benoit-style electric R&B, with an uncanny eye for blues' historical big picture. In so doing, he proved that the disparate branches of the blues are all a part of the same phenomenon, old or young, black or white, north or south, east or west. But more important than that history is he'll be giving a good show, and it will be at the Jazz Alley, where people may tell you to hush, but they'll never puke on your shoes. NATHAN THORNBURGH


(Showbox) Okay, so jungle is no longer the fresh young thing it was four years ago, back when little baby 360bpm's first skittering, bass-heavy cry echoed throughout the microbrew-soaked clubs of our rock-centric city. Still, while a thousand local bands grabbed for glory and eventually, inevitably, stumbled, the perpetual trooper 360bpm soldiered on, slowly but surely growing into quite a big strong boy indeed. A consistently packed Tuesday night residency at the Baltic Room and clockwork appearances on seemingly every major one-off lineup in town is business as usual; tonight's all-ages blowout promises a little something extra. From premier U.K. crew Metalheadz, prepare for the dubby, textured d 'n' b of Digital, along with MC Rage, and special guest DJ Rinse from BASS Kru SF. Plus, of course, the guys who make it happen: DJs Zacharia, Nitsuj, Wyle, Demo, and Slantooth. LEAH GREENBLATT

(Sit & Spin) God bless the Living Daylights, who prove concert by concert that you can be a musically adept group and still play things that people want to hear. Without naming names, I'll just say that there are plenty of instrumental groups in this town that use technical proficiency on their instruments as a weapon against listeners, bleating in and out of recognizable melody and harmony until the only people left in the room are those who are pretentious enough to believe that willful obscurity is jazz's main goal. Living Daylights, on the other hand, are led by the accessible sax playing of Jessica Lurie, and they always challenge, but never offend. NATHAN THORNBURGH