Do you think it's disgusting that every aging, irrelevant lard-ass in Motley Crüe probably hasn't played Dr. Feelgood with anything less than Playmate-caliber tail since high school? Please. That's rock 'n fuckin' roll at its finest. Yet when Liz Phair vamps in tank tops and panties and enlists Avril Lavigne co-conspirators the Matrix to transform herself into a power-pop starlet, well, she has a vagina, so we've been conditioned to think it's crass and desperate. If memory serves, Phair is also quite the brainy, progressive feminist icon; we're all just sore because she's responsible for Exile in Guyville, whereas the Crüe are merely dicks with ears. Would this fourth LP be among the worst reviewed discs of the year without the rookie of the year laurels and sexy M.I.L.F. glossies? Of course not. But at the end of the day, it's quite the handful of rancid, post-Lilith Fair pop poopy anyway. Yeah, Liz, sex is fun. Banging the brain-dead white hat of "Rock Me" whose "record collection don't exist" must rule. And the advent of the tryst in "Why Can't I" where "we haven't fucked yet, but my head's spinning" is, shit, good times. But Phair no longer cares to examine the endless complications and neuroses behind doin' it that make itand made herso fascinating in the first place. In "Favorite," she actually employs an extended simile comparing a boy to her favoritegulpused panties. By Avril standards, this is an A+. By Liz's, well, she gets a dunce hat and scarlet letterbut not a burka. Liz Phair plays the Showbox at 8 p.m. Wed., July 23. $18 adv./$20. ANDREW BONAZELLI
PAnother month, another few new Willie Nelson albums. Or most recently, reissues: Four on Columbia/Legacy, including the Ray Price collaboration San Antonio Rose, which isn't including 21 compilations and reissues listed on All Music Guide for 2003 alone. Not to mention the new Live and Kickin' and Run That By Me One More Time, a collaboration withwell, what do you know?Ray Price. None of which you need to know to have an incredibly good time seeing Willie in the flesh. He will play all your favorites. He will play favorites you didn't know you had. He will pull every vernacular of American music out of his ancient guitar. And he will do it all without seeming to blink an eye. Marymoor Park. $49.50-$79.50. 6 p.m. Sun., July 28. M.M.
THE MICROPHONES, MOUNT EERIE, P:ANO
PPhil Evrum, the man behind Olympia's Microphones, consistently dishes up little slices of lo-fi heaveninspired bedroom symphonies, dissonant folk psychedelia, and strange, cinematic soundscapes tied together by nearly invisible emotional filaments. Not the base elements of musical consistency, trueand some insist Neutral Milk Hotel will always do it betterbut we'll have our Milk and still keep the ragged, starry bliss of the Phones, thank you; it's just what six-CD changers were made for. Vera Project. $7 with club card/$8. 8 p.m. Sat. July 26. LEAH GREENBLATT