[ROCK] From Pond to the Decemberists, expertly recorded smart-guy fare has long been a PDX music specialty. But a good argument can be made that our city's greatest and most enduring audio export happens to be a 20-year-old garage band from Clackamas, a band that's had records rejected from pressing plants due to poor sound quality. Which is fine, because bleeding garbage rock is exactly the sound Dead Moon wants—and the release of a recent compilation proves that many other Portland rockers want that, as well.

For 30 Seconds Over Portland, brothers Tim and Mark Janchar of Hovercraft Productions (now a Pearl District art gallery AND rock-'n'-roll label) culled 22 local bands who specialize in just that: thin recordings prone to distortion and low-volume drop-outs. Many of the comp's tracks do not sound terribly 'lo-fi'—a phenomena achieved by four (if that) -track bedroom recording that arguably played itself out in the mid-to-late '90s. But they do achieve a certain unpolished, financially stricken recording grade that, at worst, possesses the raw, immediate appeal of a demo tape (see 'Mi Ciudad Natal' by the Clorox Girls) and, at best, erupts with the unclean, distorted genius attainable in only the best cases of accidental noise rock (see the Meat Sweats' 'Ich On My Back,' a track worth the purchase of this collection alone). In any case, this is not the music brought up in popular discussions of PDX indie rock.

'A lot of the press spotlight shows in Portland now seem to focus on more mellow 'indie' bands,' says Tim. 'However, there is a great scene of more lo-fi garage type music going on here, and [we] wanted to share that with people.' That drive to share is the strength of 30 Second, a collection that does a more than credible job of documenting the style-spanning breadth of the lo-fi aesthetic. Bands range from the smooth, organ-driven tones of Lost Dimension to Pelican Ossman's angular dissonance to the clipped pop swing of the Bugs.

Ear-rattling distortion does appear (and doesn't hurt) on the opener 'I've Had It,' a scuzzed-out blast of garage-punk by the Silverkings (and easily the disc's crudest-sounding track), but following that with Hey Lover's 'Hey TB,' a rousing rock shouter far more balanced in sound, makes the case that 'lo-fi' doesn't have to mean 'unlistenable.' As 30 Seconds Over Portland's liner notes read: 'This is a love letter, but not of the usual kind.' Far from usual, indeed.

Hovercraft Productions celebrates the release of 30 Seconds Over Portland Friday, Dec. 1, with the Silverkings, Cafeteria Dance Fever and Reptilian Civilian at Acme. 10 pm. $5. 21+.