Ryan Adams
Universal/Lost Highway
At the Aladdin Theater last Valentine's Day, the new tunes blew through Ryan Adams' lips and fingertips nearly as fast as the pack-and-a-half he chain-smoked on stage. He told the crowd his new label had consented to release his next album as a double-CD, "because they're idiots," and that he'd be calling it "Commercial Suicide." In the months since, it seems the Heartbreaker kid has had a change of heart, and instead has brought us this double-LP-length but single-disc release (the initial run includes a five-song bonus disc) with a title predicting quite a different outcome: Gold. Granted, that title supposedly refers not to record sales but to the glow of California sunshine that suffuses these songs. It's appropriate enough--this surely is an L.A. album to the same extent that Heartbreaker was, at its core, a Nashville one. Instead of another cycle of tortured laments, it's a crazy-quilt pastiche of '70s pop and rock, like an alternate soundtrack to Almost Famous. And though there's a coat of gloss on the gloom, the emotion in his vocals is undoubtedly sincere. If he's hiding anything here, it's certainly not his heart. But what is missing may be something he's still hiding from himself: a deeper understanding that comes after heartaches heal. So one looks to the future for a more reflective, mature artist who can come from the head as much as the heart. Gold confirms Adams has the raw talent to get there, and it will be a thrill to watch the ride. (JR)

Ryan Adams plays Tuesday, Nov. 13, at the Roseland Theater, 8 NW 6th Ave., 224-2038. 8 pm. $14.

The Lost Kids
Belle Isle Is on Fire
Gold Standard Laboratories
The Lost Kids sound like they practice in a shattered hall of mirrors buried deep in the Stooges' Funhouse LP. It's not that they're ripping shtick, they just know the space within which they want to work. And they work. But it doesn't come easy. On their Belle Isle Is on Fire four-song CD EP, dancing electric guitar flames lick up out of a solid rhythmic fire pit. It's hard to get past the initial impression that singer Dante White, formerly of the Starlite Desperation, is an Ian Astbury caricature, but White finally sells his vocal melodrama on the second--OK, maybe the third--listen. Hang with it. When you finally allow yourself to settle in with the darker recesses of their sound, the occasional flourish of shaken bells, the hidden, persistent tambourine, it hits you. This works. Back in that busted-up midway practice space, the Lost Kids have cracked and distorted the sounds from scores of significant (lost?) rock bands, and in the process stared down their own shattered, cartoonish reflections. (SDS)

snap judgments

The Culottes/The Dimes
Split CD
Tin Can Sound/It Sounded Good at the Time
Two lovably ramshackle slices of lo-fi pop recorded at the Portland Robot Steakhouse (location: TOP SECRET!). The Dimes wax cheerful on the subject of troubled love, bright keyboards and chiming guitar equally buoyant. The Culottes' rattling snare drum and organ strike a slightly more introspective tone. (ZD)

Enrique Iglesias
It's hard to hate a man whose nipples look like Hershey's kisses, but there's something about Enrique Iglesias that's all wrong. Escape pairs the lothario whispers of pappy Julio to Bon Jovi-meets-Backstreet beats. Although "One Night Stand" gives li'l Ricky a shake in the bon-bon department, overall I'd rather see him naked than hear him sing. The Latin Donny Osmond? (BB)

Groove Armada
Goodbye Country
(Hello Nightclub)
Compared to their 1999 debut Vertigo, Groove Armada's latest is a disappointment, lacking its predecessor's catty attitude and luscious groove. Still, this smart electronica outfit fuses soul, reggae, eclectic samples and dense sound textures into a nimble dance record many of its peers would love to take credit for. (BL)

Tenacious D.
Tenacious D.
It may possibly blow your mind, but "the greatest band in history" is back. This fiery fondue is mostly intended to pleasure the ladies, though male listeners should prepare for a vigorous workout of "cock push-ups." (Do only one.) Also check out the cartoon video for "F**ck Her Gently." True to their Mr. Show days and raw as ever...can Portland handle it? (BW)