OK--I'm Sorry

That bloody snout on the cover of his latest Bloodshot release could indicate that perhaps Bobby Bare Jr.'s perpetually expressive, smart-assed disposition finally rubbed someone the wrong way. Or, better yet, it serves notice that the shake and stir of last year's solo debut, Young Criminals' Starvation League, has lifted the 36-year-old Nashvillean to nosebleed elevations. The son of '60s pop-country chart crosser Bobby Bare, Junior crosses his old man's American storytelling with Charlie Rich soul, Roky Erickson space cowboy-ness, Tom T. Hall wit and that George Jones penchant for destruction. Culled from live performances at radio stations, clubs and big stages, as well as studio renditions, Bare's enhanced EP OK--I'm Sorry, which includes some live versions of songs from YCSL, shows his diversity: organic, sarcastic, charming, guiltless, intellectual, biting, enthusiastic...and just plain strange. These eight songs feature Shel Silverstein's kiddy favorite "True Story," a newfangled version of "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing" (a.k.a. "The Coke Song"), and "Pinky (Someday My Prince Will Come)," an elegantly folksy boy-girl duet written and sung with Nashville pal Tywanna Jo Baskette. Even when a Seattle DJ inadvertently interrupts near the end of the reggae-splashed live track "Mother Ucker," the band just keeps right on playing. And that's vintage Bare. (Scott Holter)

Plastic Girls

The Minds are smart. They have to be: Portland's a tough town for a New Wave band. Not that the Minds are New Wave per se. Lord, no. But for months now, this group of pop-leaning street punks has laced charging guitars with one-note keyboard lines in a snappy, turn-of-the-'70s fashion similar to the likes of costume queens the Epoxies and eternal bubble-gum sweethearts the Exploding Hearts--good and challenging company all around. Then the Minds stepped up to go head-to-head with their homies by agreeing to release their full-length CD on Dirtnap, label to both the Epoxies and Hearts. Now, while we shouldn't make too much out of what at most is/was a friendly rivalry--if there was any real rivalry at all--we've gotta assume the Minds were well aware that if they were going to stand out from the pack, they were going to have to deliver something that combined songwriting brains with energized brawn. As a result, the band comes out swinging and never lets up on Plastic Girls, a surprisingly dynamic, varied and powerful debut. This will go down as one of the most rousing Portland records of 2003, a steel glove of melody-touched punk with the power to punch and the Minds to touch. This band has done its homework. What have you learned today? (Sam Dodge Soule)

Bobby Bare Jr. plays Thursday, Nov. 13, at Berbati's Pan, 231 SW Ankeny St., 248-4579. 9 pm. Cover. 21+.

The Minds play with the Buttfrenchers on Friday, Nov. 14, at the Dunes, 1909 NE Martin Luther King Blvd., 493-8637. 21+.