Ascetic Junkies 

This Cage Has No Bottom

If you play her a song in C or D or E, Kali Giaritta will sing along. "But don't," she warns her listener, "play in a minor key, / 'Cause I won't sing along. / I want to be happy. / I don't want to be sad." This is what she tells us, anyhow, on "(i will sing along)" from This Cage Has No Bottom, the latest album from the Portland quintet Ascetic Junkies, with whom she sings and plays keys and strums what sounds like a ukulele. Which is just to say, the Ascetic Junkies don't mope around, showing off all of their allegedly authentic sadness like so many of their indie rock brethren. They play pop music and they're cheerful and they don't apologize for it. Their songs often start off slow and quiet and folky before bursting into the sound of a full band gleefully playing hard and singing along together—singing things like "Reno, your children are cooler than you." As with bands such as The Head and the Heart, there's some vague Americana influence lurking in the background of the Ascetic Junkies' sound, but don't worry: it's been purged of the minor chords and the blues. Kali can be happy, and maybe so can you.

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Ascetic Junkies plays the Palace Saturday, Feb. 11, at 9 PM with Casey Neill and the Norway Rats. $7.

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