PROFILE

In Music We Trust: Four Years of High Performance

So often, humans are huge disappointments. See the man leading his four lovely daughters through the mall, a T-shirt that reads "NICE RACK" tucked into his baggy khaki shorts. Hear the man on the plane recount, for a perfect stranger, an incident in which his wife burned him with a curling iron and spat in his face, because he "had it coming." Sit in silence as the crowd at the barber shop speaks approvingly of Dr. Laura.

But then there are people like Alex Steininger--people who inspire a moment of hope. Steininger's just 21 years old, and his record label/website/rock and roll PR machine In Music We Trust celebrates its fourth anniversary with a pair of shows this weekend. In just a few short years of music obsession, Steininger has transformed himself into a dynamo of Portland's music scene, releasing albums by local supremos Luther Russell, Sean Croghan and Joe Davis.

Along with partner Ryan O'Neill--the "secret force" within IMWT--Steininger has also constructed a kick-ass webzine, jammed with reviews, interviews and general music mania. If ever there were evidence of a serious obsession, the whole rambling edifice of In Music We Trust is it.

"In high school, I was pretty much a social outcast," Steininger says. "But I could go fit in at a Hazel show. That experience gave me this overwhelming urge to expose people to music I love. Instead of just letting a friend borrow your favorite CD, this takes it to a whole new level."

So take a few hours away from the world of fools, opportunists, brigands and jackanapes this weekend and toast Alex Steininger and In Music We Trust. The man has earned it. Zach Dundas

In Music We Trust celebrates its fourth anniversary with shows Friday and Saturday night at Dante's, 1 SW 3rd Ave., 226-3360. See Music listings, page 41, for details.  

MUSIC NEWS, PLUS VICIOUS RUMORS
HISS & VINEGAR

Momma may have told you that dedicating your life to rock and roll would only get you misery, heartbreak and slavery to dope--but she was wrong! Lookie what the Devil's Music has done for The Goddamn Gentlemen, Portland dukes of greasy-yet-cultivated garage. Their new record, Sex-Caliber Horsepower, descends upon the world with a furious might come Aug. 7. Uppercut Records, which also releases Los Angeles soul controllers The BellRays, hath blessed them with its bounty, and the Gents' all-through-August tour culminates in a show with the 'Rays. They are successful men. They are artists.

* Call her Lucinda Marcos? Before entering the Crystal Ballroom for her sold-out show Monday night, songwriting heroine Lucinda Williams was spied handing her chauffeur not one, not two, not three, but four stuffed shopping bags from downtown hipster-chausserie Johnny Sole.

* Last week, the hand of law threatened to smack down on Portland Organic Wrestling, the loony-tunes rock 'n' wrestling riot held once a month at Satyricon. On July 26, the club received a fax from James Cassidy, Oregon Commissioner of Boxing and Wrestling, informing it that Portland Organic Wrestling violated a number of state statutes regarding the licensing and regulation of professional wrestling. POW, which considers itself wrestling-themed performance art, uses participants unlicensed by the commission. The commissioner initially claimed POW falls under state-licensing requirements because it promotes "extreme fighting," which is regulated under state law. POW "anti-promoter" Vinnie Cleanhands found that laughable. "This guy [Cassidy] has never seen POW. It would be ridiculous for him to shut us down after seeing Seantos and Elvis rolling around. It's all parody." Bar owner George Touhouliotis' reported reaction to the commish fax: "Whaaaaaaaat is this? Censorship to art?" Fortunately, Cleanhands and Cassidy put their heads together and came up with an agreement. Starting with tonight's POW performance, the throwdown will officially be known as The Portland Organic Wrestling Theater Troupe.

* Last Monday, Hillsboro-based digi-company CenterSpan (which devoured the file-swapping service Scour some time ago) caused a stir in the media world with the unveiling of C-Star. C-Star, a "mediated P2P platform," will apparently provide "architecture" for Napster-esque file-trading, without that icky anarchy and piracy involved in the notoriously embattled N'ster. C-Star allows companies to "broker" exchanges of copyright-controlled material between individual users. According to a company press release, "C-Star enables the entertainment industry to augment their successful bricks-and-mortar retail channel on the Internet...." All right!

* The New York Times recently ran a story on Gotham Book Mart, a New York store where tomes are stacked to the ceiling, double-shelved and basically allowed to run riot. Hiss mentions this, in a purely self-promoting way, 'cause that's exactly how some corners of WW's offices look after being struck by a tidal wave of band applications for MusicFestNW. More than 600 acts threw their stuff in the mail, hoping for slots in the two-day action eruption, Sept. 21-22. Now we just have to wait for that batch of moonshine to finish fermenting, so we can listen to all these bastards. Watch www.musicfestnw.com and/or this space for further details.

What? Snoop Dogg never showed up at Cal Sports? You've got to be kidding. Email tips to hiss@wweek.com.