Not many bands make you think of jangle rock, art rock, progressive rock, English folk and 1960s psychedelia in the same song, but Portland's Simple does just that. Musically, it's a path fraught with danger - you can get so twisty and turning that no one but a music theorist would love you. However, Simple manages to pull off this approach several times on their new album 'The Least We Can Do' by exploring the logical rhythmic and harmonic directions a melody can take. You can catch them with wonderfully insane and witty Irish pop rocker So Cow as well as Portland's brassy psychedelic reggae pop stars Pink Widower.
So Cow, Simple, Pink Widower, 9 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 7, Mississippi Studios, 3939 N. Mississippi St. $8 in advance, $8 day of show. Info: 503-288-3895, mississippistudios.com.
These birds you'll never change
Portland's Charming Birds feature Will Johnson on guitar and vocals, Steve Browning on bass and vocals, Josh Patrice on guitar and pedals, Greg Montplaisir on Moog and percussion, and Sam Johnson on drums and 'gyrating pelvic maneuvers.' The group serves up a crunchy, distorted mess of good time rock 'n' roll meat slathered in punk sauce and sprinkled with spices of integrity. This is beer rock, not mixed drink rock, so leave the umbrellas out of your glasses. They share the stage with veteran Dutch indie rockers Bettie Serveert. If you haven't heard Carol van Dyk interpret a song live, do yourself a favor, turn the YouTube off and come hear her for yourself, you won't be disappointed.
Bettie Serveert, Charming Birds, 8:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 10, Dante's, 350 W. Burnside St. $12 in advance, $15 at the door. Info: 503-226-6630, danteslive.com.
Unlike a certain U.S. president, we know that Ontario rapper Shadrach Kabango, better known as Shad or Shad K, was, in fact, born in Kenya to Rwandan parents. Shad eschews boasting and deprecates himself while he tackles big issues like the Rwandan genocide of the 1990s or the biblical patriarch Abraham almost sacrificing Isaac. A self-taught guitarist with an upbeat attitude, he's a fast-on-his-feet lyricist with diction as clear as a cloudless sky. He shares the stage with equally energetic and positive joyful rap-reggae-rock rebel k-os.
k-os, Shad, Astronautalis + Animal Farm, DJ Spark of Sandpeople, 8 p.m. Monday, Oct. 11, Berbati's Pan, 231 Ankeny St. All ages. $13 in advance, $15 day of show. Info: 503-248-4579, berbati.com.
To get an idea of what the hardcore-metal-thrash bands in the Independent Metal Showcase sound like, just shout Genocide! Erick Anarchy! Vengeance! Blood to Dust! Betrayed by Weakness (what an awesome name!)! Kingdom Under Fire! Endless Rage! All these bands are looking to be voted the next Independent Metal Project featured artist, which will get them a record and some cool gear and stuff. As usual, these bands, like so many metal groups, generally display incredible, almost classically trained musical competence while making you wonder why they just can't relax and enjoy the impending collapse of western civilization the way the rest of us are doing by dancing to Lady Gaga.
Independent Metal Showcase, 7 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 12, Tonic Lounge, 3100 N.E. Sandy Blvd. $10. Info: 503-238-0543, myspace.com/thetoniclounge.
Chunka, chunka burnin' luv
Superchunk, Chapel Hill, N.C.'s post-punk rock 'n' rollers stood out from the 1990s pack of alterna-rockers for their sheer confidence without cockiness and attitude without aloofness. By gosh, kids, they were FUN. And SMART. And EPIC! YOU MUST SEE THEM! By the way, their new album 'Majesty Shredding' is a virtual tutorial in how to merge pop, rock and punk. Oh yeah, and power-pop monsters Teenage Fanclub - YOU BETTER SEE THEM - along with catchy folky pop rockers Telekinesis share the bill.
Superchunk, 3 p.m. Friday, Oct. 15, free in-store at Jackpot Records, 203 S.W. Ninth Ave. All ages. Info: 503-222-0990. Superchunk, Teenage Fanclub, Telekinesis, 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 15, Wonder Ballroom, 128 N.E. Russell St. $20 advance. $22 day of show. 21 and older. Info: 503-284-8686, wonderballroom.com.