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Portland-area live music shows
by: ©2007 ROBBIE FRY, Ireland’s Damien Rice aims to send shivers down the spine at Thursday’s Roseland show.

SONGWRITER

Regina Spektor

Regina Spektor is one of the most distinctive voices to emerge from the underground in ages. This Russian-born, New York-based chanteuse balances ultramodern, off-kilter sensibilities with grandiose, almost showtune tendencies.

The result is an occasionally Björk-ian, borderline baroque, occasionally beat-driven and utterly engaging blend all her own. Kind of kooky without being too bizarre to connect with the rest of us, Spektor is making some of the most exciting music out there (and sometimes 'out there').

9 p.m. Tuesday, April 24, Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W. Burnside St., 503-225-0047, $20 (sold out), all ages

Damien Rice

Irish singer-songwriter Damien Rice has quietly amassed an ever-growing fan base with his intimate, yearning and occasionally cinematic folk. If you love his albums, particularly last year's '9,' don't miss the chance to catch this talented up-and-comer live.

Rice and his band understand the fine art of dynamics, adding even more tension and release to the material in their performances - and occasionally sending shivers down audience members' spines.

It's a rare performer who can make a musical experience feel a bit like a religious one, in the best and most enchanting way possible. Rice is that guy.

8 p.m. Thursday, April 26, Roseland Theater, 10 N.W. Sixth Ave., 503-224-2038, $37, all ages

ALTERNATIVE

Kaiser Chiefs

Occasionally, bands will miraculously hit the zeitgeist - somehow managing to break through the avalanche of new records with a sound that's as fresh as it is familiar.

The Kaiser Chiefs are among those rare groups who manage to achieve just that. Their super-infectious, anthemic, electro-post-punk-pop sucks you in effortlessly, inviting even the most hardened and cynical fans to pogo along to gigantic, hooky choruses that might require years of support groups to remove from consciousness.

Think a more enduring Franz Ferdinand, or a more bouncy Bloc Party - or just enjoy the Kaiser Chiefs for the brilliance they've achieved with their second album, 'Yours Truly, Angry Mob.'

9 p.m. Thursday, April 26, Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W. Burnside St., 503-225-0047, $19-$20, all ages

- Barbara Mitchell