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by: COURTESY OF BART DANIELSON, The Unreal Gods (shown here in their heyday) have reunited after more than 20 years for what would have been late frontman Billy Rancher’s 50th birthday.

SONGWRITER

Carolyn Mark

She's been dubbed 'Ethel Merman's funnier sister,' and she's Neko Case's less famous partner in the Corn Sisters.

Carolyn Mark also is one heck of a songwriter and story-spinner and hands-down one of the most entertaining, self-deprecating performers you're likely to encounter.

With songs like 'Two Days Smug and Sober,' 'The Wine Song' and 'Hangover,' it should be obvious that Mark's not exactly one to cry in her beer - you just might want to watch yours if you get too close to the stage.

10 p.m. SATURDAY, Feb. 24, Mississippi Studios, 3939 N. Mississippi Ave., 503-288-3895, $7-$8

Alexi Murdoch, Midnight Movies

You can almost feel time slowing down while listening to Scottish singer-songwriter Alexi Murdoch.

There's a gentle, soothing quality to his dusky voice and his songs have a remarkably deep, old soul quality to them. When he gently intones, 'Don't forget to breathe,' it feels like a revelation.

Equally arresting is opener Midnight Movies, a Los Angeles four-piece that plays darkly hypnotic pop with a psychedelic twist.

9 p.m. SUNDAY, Feb. 25, Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E. Burnside St., 503-231-9663, $12

ROCK

The Unreal Gods

Twenty-five years ago, Billy Rancher and the Unreal Gods were rocking Portland and poised to take over the world.

Unfortunately, fate intervened in the form of Rancher's cancer relapse. The band's charismatic singer may have departed early, but his songs - edgy, pre-MTV rockers -live on.

The band has reunited after more than 20 years to celebrate what would have been Rancher's 50th birthday. A quarter of a century may have passed, but classics like 'Rocky Road,' 'Boom Chuck Rock' and 'Police Told Me' still teem with a timeless energy.

9 p.m. SATURDAY, Feb. 24, Duff's Garage, 1635 S.E. Seventh Ave., 503-234-2337, $7

ALTERNATIVE

Snow Patrol

Like Coldplay, the members of UK's Snow Patrol aren't afraid to wear their hearts on their sleeves.

The beautiful, larger-than-life alterna-pop practically bursts with aching romanticism and misty-eyed regret, not to mention a mountain of longing.

Snow Patrol's music is swoon-worthy in its own right, but the band's choice of opening acts - the quirky pop of lo-fi video stars OK Go and the blissfully fuzzed-out indie-rock of Silversun Pickups - should guarantee that you fall permanently in love with them.

8 p.m. Monday, Feb. 26, Memorial Coliseum 300 Winning Way, $35, all ages

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