Portland-area music happenings
by: ©2006 BRIAN TAMBORELLO, Shins members (from left) James Mercer, Marty Crandall, Dave Hernandez and Jesse Sandoval take water safety as seriously as they do their music. See them Wednesday at the Crystal Ballroom.


The Shins

There are many reasons to be excited about living in Portland, but the fact that indie rock superstars the Shins call it home is certainly one of them.

Wednesday is a golden opportunity to catch a preview of the band's highly anticipated new album, 'Wincing the Night Away,' which Sub Pop releases Jan. 23.

The album is a continued refinement of the band's buoyantly melancholy brand of indie pop and manages, like few of its counterparts, to combine the band's distinctive, off-kilter sensibility with an instant and incredibly direct accessibility.

The future looks bright for these hometown heroes.

9 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 13, Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W. Burnside St., 503-225-0047, $26.50, all ages


Los Lobos

Most bands run out of steam - and things to say - three decades into their career. Not so with Los Lobos. If anything, this remarkable outfit seems to get better and more experimental with age.

The new album 'The Town and the City' is a subtle and personal exploration on the theme of immigration and moving from a known past into an uncertain future, and it's received rave reviews across the board.

And with 30-plus years of chemistry and camaraderie under its belt, the band is always a treat to see live.

8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 13, Aladdin Theater, 3017 S.E. Milwaukie Ave., 503-233-1994, $37.50-$39, all ages

Hot One

Protest music should always be this much fun.

Former Shudder to Think leader Nathan Larson has assembled a crack team of 'sexy soldiers' for his new project, Hot One. Their mission? To make rump-shakingly great, anthemic, glam-influenced rock that rages against the machines of hypocrisy and injustice.

Songs like 'Do the Coup D'Etat' and 'Snow Angel' will rock your world - particularly if you're paying attention to the whip-smart lyrics.

9 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 14, Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E. Burnside St., 503-231-9663, $8

- Barbara Mitchell

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