Wine 'n' women
Portland's folk-rock-popsters The Winebirds feature great harmonizing male-female vocals, sing discernible, intelligent lyrics and display tasteful arrangements on their debut album 'Séance Hill.' The band's music is deceptively simple, easy-on-the-ears and designed to help you chill out from all the madness.
The Winebirds with We All Have Hooks For Hands and Brian Free, 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 11, Someday Lounge, 125 N.W. Fifth Ave. $7. Info: 503-248-1030, www.somedaylounge.com, myspace.com/thewinebirds, myspace.com/weallhavehooksforhands.
Twang 'n' bang
If The Strange Tones had been around at the same time Creedence Clearwater Revival had been at the top of the pops, they could have given The Fogerty brothers and company a run for their money. That's because this Portland band is quite simply one of America's best ever rock 'n' roll groups, period. Not to mention the cute go-go girls who always seem to show up at their shows. Combining blues, country, rockabilly and surf with a touch of Latin music, the Tones are boogie central whenever they hit the stage.
The Strange Tones, 9:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 11, Duff's Garage, 1635 S.E. Seventh Ave. $7. Info: 503-234-BEER (2337), www.duffsgarage.com, www.strangetones.com.
Dec. 11, 12
Hop 'n' shop
If you're jonesin' for hip-hop - but you like to hear it with a live band - you are ordered to go to Slabtown where the Thorn City Improv show will feature the spontaneous wordplay of Sleep, Illmaculate, Destro, Tope, L Pro, IAMe, as well as musicians Andy B, Beau Brian, A.G., Big Verb and your host, the ever-funky Tony Ozier. The evening will also feature the Portland video premier of Sleep's 'Orchestra of Strangers.'
Then, Slabtown will feature its annual Rock 'n' Shop featuring such acts as the Mean Jeans and No Go Know as well as more than a score of regional record labels and other industry folk. It's a flea market for you record collectors and an ideal place to get your underground music stocking stuffers. Music on hand will include Americana, indie rock, folk, classical, hip-hop, punk, metal, Latin, prog rock and electronica.
Thorn City Improv, 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 11, Slabtown, 1033 N.W. 16th Ave. $7. Rock 'n' Shop, 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12. Admission free for 21 and older. Info: 503-223-0099, www.slabtownbar.net.
Love 'n' lyrics
Pianist-vocalist Naomi LaViolette is a lyrical musician who knows how to string together the perfect run of notes, just enough to show you she's got chops, on the keys or in her voice, but not so many that she overwhelms the beauty of a melody. She fronts Rising Violet, a sophisticated jazz-acoustic-classical group, which writes its own tunes and also performs jazz standards and classical melodies. If you're planning to pop the question, this is the band you want playing when you do so.
Rising Violet, The Heathman Hotel Jazz Lounge, 1001 S.W. Broadway, 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12. Free. Info: www.heath manhotel.com, www.risingviolet.com.
Rock 'n' soles
As you descend the well-worn stairs of psychedelia to the murky velvet underground cave of jangle-rock, local shoegazers Soft Tags can be found veering from slow ballads of a sort to manic rockers of another sort. They'll be sharing the cave at Rotture this Thursday with the slightly more aggressive Massive Moth, from Salem, which combines progressive rock with power-pop and even tip their hats to metal every 128 beats or so. Joining the Tags and the Moth on stage will be electro-synth-rock experimentalists Portland-Salem trio symmetry/symmetry, whose latest slightly demented Christmas offerings sound like a Catholic Mass orchestrated by The Beatles if Yoko instead of Billy Preston guested on keys.
Soft Tags, Massive Moth and symmetry/symmetry, 9 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 17, Rotture, 315 S.E. Third Ave. $5. Info: 503-234-5683, www.rotture.com, myspace.com/softtags, myspace.com/ massivemothsalem, myspace.com/symmetrysymmetry.