My first visit to the new Portland location of Venue Bar & Grille will be Wednesday night to see — and I say this with extreme excitement — Tracy Bonham. Her fourth full-length CD, “Masts of Manhatta,” was just released three weeks ago.

Bonham, you may recall, came on the scene with guns blazing in 1996 with her double-edged rock tune “Mother Mother,” the red-hot single from her debut “Burdens of Being Upright.” Since then, she’s had three more full-length records and some EPs. She also sang on the Blue Man Group album “Complex,” and was part of their touring group in 2003.

“Blink the Brightest,” from 2005, is still one of my favorite albums with songs like “Something Beautiful” and “Whether You Fall.” Now “Masts of Manhatta” is officially under my skin, and that’s because Bonham continues to be such a fantastic songwriter.

From “When You Laugh the World Laughs with You”: “Your wedding ring’s at the bottom of a swimming hole on George Sickle road/ But I don’t mind, no I don’t mind/ I know your love is everywhere in airport bars in exit stairs/ Like June and Johnny, like June and Johnny for all our lives.”

I dare say, she is also the only songwriter to ever use the word “anthropomorphise” in a song, and she pulls it off so well during “In the Moonlight.”

Bonham also has one of my favorite singing voices of the past 15 years. Really. I mean it. She plays guitar, violin, piano and, on “Masts of Manhatta,” even a spaghetti pot and cardboard box. If ever there was someone who should be entirely better known than they are, it’s Bonham.

P.S.: It doesn’t hurt that “Masts” was mastered by Adam Ayan at Gateway Mastering right here in Portland.

Tracy Bonham. 9 p.m. Wednesday. Venue Bar & Grille, 865 Forest Ave., Portland. All ages. $10 in advance; $12 at the door. 865-1780; 

I know I am gonna catch some heat for this, but I am cheering for Bjork all the way. It’s not just because she’s brilliant (and I’m sure whoever sings her songs Tuesday will be fantastic); it’s also because, well, I don’t like Beck. There, it’s out there. I feel free. This doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate his artistry and creativity, but I just have never been a fan other than the rogue radio song. And don’t get all “well you should listen to all his stuff before you say you don’t like him” on me. I don’t have time; I’m too busy listening to “Life’s Too Good” and “Homogenic” to bother with Beck. Tuesday night will, however, be a scintillating evening, so enjoy. And that, my friends, is where it’s at.

Clash of the Titans: Beck vs. Bjork 10 p.m. Tuesday. Empire Dine & Dance, 575 Congress St., Portland. Ages 21 and older. $6. 

Maps & Atlases is a Chicago-based quartet on the road in support of its debut album, “Perch Patchwork.” “Solid Ground” is the first single, and I gave a listen at Dave Davison has a rather distinct voice that kind of reminds of me Van Morrison, but is more mellow. I heard flute, the rattle of handheld percussion, keyboards, sprinkled-in electric guitar and a rising tide of other sounds. Nicely done. “Pigeon” has a cool repetitive guitar thing happening with horns that suddenly come in, then leave again. And I think I heard a glockenspiel. Very nicely done.

Opening the show is Laura Stevenson and The Cans from Brooklyn. Pay Laura and Co. a visit at “Holy Ghost” and “Nervous Rex” are certainly worth a combined seven minutes of your time. Post-Stevenson and pre-Maps & Atlases is The Cults, a San Diego-born New York duo whose spell I fell under upon hearing the dreamy, fuzzy “Go Outside.” I fell deeper down The Cults well with “The Curse” and “Most Wanted.” Get there via

Maps & Atlases with Laura Stevenson and The Cans, also The Cults. 9 p.m. Tuesday. Space Gallery, 538 Congress St., Portland. Ages 18 and older. $8; tickets at Bull Moose locations or 

Aimsel Ponti is a Portland freelance writer. Contact her at [email protected]