• After a late summer renovation, BAYSIDE BOWL undertakes a seasonal reinvention this month. The Kill the Karaoke, Jerks of Grass, and Hobgoblin lounge nights are gone, and the schedule appears to be stuffed with original sounds throughout autumn. Nice times. We do appreciate the inclusion of oddball songwriter BRITTA PEJIC — she and her band LES FRENCHMEN play an adventurous, literate sort of continental folk that seems perfect for the mania of that room. They host a "French Invasion" the first Saturday of the month — trivia, French bingo, and the like — and bring GIN MILL JULEP to the fray for the inaugural session this weekend. Later in October, Bayside renews its standing as a hot rock venue, bringing off-center Portland artists BATH SALTS, IF AND IT, WELTERWEIGHT, PETE WITHAM AND THE COZMIK ZOMBIES, and MOSART212.
• Ex-Portland country-rock group ALL THE REAL GIRLS head to Seattle to record an LP with notable producer John Goodmanson (he of Death Cab, Bikini Kill, and Sleater-Kinney credits, among many others). In other words, they're going for it. This spring's self-titled LP seems designed to turn industry heads, and last year's Lost On Purpose, the film starring and soundtracked by frontman Peter Donovan, gets screened at the Hollywood Film Festival this October.
• We're kind of excited about MR. NEET. They're new, a couple of dudes playing a noisy sort of electronic pop — the listenable side of noisy — as a vessel for thoughtful lyrics from the counterculture. Too soon to tell if this is a band so much as a pet project, but we hope to learn more at their show with GLASS FINGERS, another electronic pop pioneer, at Slainte on October 20.
• Lastly, we were saddened to learn that area oboist ZEN BEN (of Hoboe) had his instrument stolen last July (at a show in Florida — Mainers would never do such a thing!). This Sunday at the Big Easy, a glut of Portland bands play a benefit show to raise money for a replacement (a supplementary IndieGoGo campaign goal of $1000 has already been hit). Ben's a Portland rock and roll staple, and imagining him oboeless is like picturing Computer at Sea without computers, Rustic without the horns, or Geno's without the pibber: Just wrong.