CEREMONY, SURVIVAL KNIFE (EARLY SHOW)
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Looking for a way to pump yourself up for the Naked Bike Ride? Here is an all-ages hardcore-punk matinee show in one of the best sounding rooms in town. California's Ceremony seamlessly channel different eras of hardcore and punk into something totally fresh. They blend quick and raw powerviolence tracks with classic punk rock to create an end product that is always an engaging live spectacle. Don't miss this chance to see vocalist Ross Farrar, shirt pulled over his head and mic in mouth, bounce off the cabin walls of the Doug Fir. Olympia's Survival Knife includes members Justin Trosper and Brandt Sandeno, both of the Pacific Northwest noise-rock band Unwound. They have a 7-inch out on Sub Pop, and hearing the heavy, ripping, and amazingly catchy B-side "Name That Tune" should be just the thing to take your morning coffee buzz to the next level. CHIPP TERWILLIGER
BEAR & MOOSE, OLD AGE, A HAPPY DEATH, THE WE SHARED MILK (LATE SHOW)
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) There are a lot of surprising things about Bear & Moose, but the most shocking is that there are only two people in the band. Eric Mueller, the singer and guitar player, and Simon Lucas, on drums and cell phone, manage to sound like three times that. On Inside the Eyewall, their second album, they use their robust superpowers to create some of the smartest, most expectation-thwarting music I've heard this year. At its most basic, the album is fun and noisy, thanks to big, bright Pavement-y stoner jams and tinges of psychedelic surf. "Days of the Week," one of the weirder tracks, combines a loop of frogs, a lilting guitar riff, and a vocal that sounds like a medieval chant. This kind of thing can easily be jokey at one end of the spectrum, or humorless at the other, and yet it's neither. In fact, the harmonies in the chorus are one of the vocal highlights of the album. REBECCA WILSON
THE HOT LZs, BITCH SCHOOL, THE RANSOM
(Tonic Lounge, 3100 NE Sandy) Raised on Love Gun-era KISS, every Thin Lizzy record ever, and probably a copious amount of the Stooges, Portland's Bitch School doesn't exactly break new molds as much as it completely ignores them. The ladies' new 7-inch, Get Nasty on You, is a well-worn but ruggedly wailing crossroads of barroom metal that is best enjoyed with hands white-knuckled around a cratered Rainier. With references to drinking beer, getting nasty, and basically raising all kinds of hell (sample lyric: "Your love is hotter than Mexico"), Bitch School's sneering howls are the perfect antidote to the kind of heady, often ridiculous, self-flagellating realms that hard-rock bands attempt to traverse. This is fun, fuck-you, sing-along rock 'n' roll. RYAN J. PRADO
ALKALINE TRIO, BAYSIDE, OFF WITH THEIR HEADS
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE César E. Chávez) There's something inexplicably listless about the new Alkaline Trio album, My Shame Is True. It sounds like it has a cold. It doesn't mark any sort of dramatic departure for the band, stylistically; this is mostly everything those who still expect things from Alkaline Trio have come to expect from a new Alkaline Trio record. If that's you, it's definitely not a disappointing effort. Maybe it's Matt Skiba's vocals—always more or less the focal point of the band—which sound deliberate and detached here, an approach that hardly suits his signature bleeding-heart teenage (at age 37) poetry. Alkaline Trio have always been a little too calculating for their own good; My Shame Is True, however, signifies what could very possibly be a complete emotional plateau. At least they'll probably play "Hell Yes." MORGAN TROPER
ALMOST DARK, RAINSTICK COWBELL, TIME AND THE BELL, CLASS M PLANETS
(Foggy Notion, 3416 N Lombard) When Rainstick Cowbell—AKA Scott Arbogast—finished his third album, Damage Control Damage, he promptly dropped off something like nine copies at the Mercury office. And when he followed up with an email letting us know about tonight's record release show, he attached a photo of himself nude in the bathtub, penis floating freely in the water. So yeah, it's safe to say this guy is looking for some exposure in the press. Luckily, Damage Control Damage is worth mentioning—it's a bitter, dark descent into Arbogast's interior psychology. Songs wind and meander with the mostly minimal instrumentation of voice and guitar ("Please, don't call it folk for fuck's sake," writes Arbogast). It's punk-rock nihilism of the mind, and without the release that accompanies more physical music, it's oppressive—but often fascinating. So is Rainstick Cowbell needy for attention? Yeah, probably. Is he overlooked? Definitely. But no, we're not printing that dick pic. NED LANNAMANN
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