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Hitting Their Stride 

by Cortney Harding & r & It's not every day that a Portland band with one indie-label record to their name gets a major nod in a national publication. So when the Joggers turned up on Entertainment Weekly's "Top Twenty Most Anticipated Fall Records" list, many fans were shocked. But the editors at EW were onto something, because the band's brilliant new record, With a Cape and a Cane, has been garnering adulation even as their live shows have been packing venues all across the country.

That alone warrants the drive to Missoula. Hell, if you're so inclined, the Joggers might even be worth an ultra-marathon (A jog, get it?). They're the perfect band for a late-fall road trip: a straight-ahead four-piece rock outfit who have matured considerably since 2003's Solid Guild. If that's all you've heard, the new album will surprise you. While the first record was, indeed, solid, the new release blows it clean out the water. The guitars are louder and the hooks are brasher. They thrash on the sitar -- the sitar, for God's sake. The songwriting has matured from the pretty and poppy lyrics of yore to something more biting and critical. Rumors have swirled around the possible source of some newfound pain and anger. Titillating.

Live, the Joggers have only one goal: to bring you to your knees. In previous incarnations, their live shows were fun and slightly sloppy affairs, which were enjoyable and entertaining, but really no different from any other mid-level band. This time around, though, they mean business. From the first guitar lick until the last bit of feedback fades away, the Joggers are on. I know, it's a long drive and gas is expensive. But just think of how it'll pay off when the Joggers blow you sky-high. You'll be able to lord it over all your friends for years.

The Joggers and GoGoGo Airheart at Elks Lodge, Missoula, Mont., on Friday, Nov. 25. Tickets: $8. Showtime TBA. Call 406-543-7512
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