Many critics loved erudite New York indie-rock band the Walkmen, but not this one. Sonically speaking, they struck me as one of the blandest acts of the ’00s. I saw them perform once in Orange County, and it felt like being politely force-fed mayonnaise on white Wonder® Bread sandwiches. Peter Matthew Bauer played bass for the Walkmen, so he shares some of the blame for their offenses. But his debut solo album, Liberation!, while not a bastion of innovation by any means, contains more flavor pe... more » $10/$12.
When it’s done right, shoegaze rock can elevate you to some of the loftiest, most blissful mind states to which humans have access. Philadelphia group A Sunny Day in Glasgow frequently have achieved such soaring peaks during their eight-year existence: “So Bloody, So Tight” from their Nitetime Rainbows EP is a nice place to start exploring. Beyond that, 2009’s Ashes Grammar is one of the better specimens of flowery shoegaze rock from the last decade, a worthy competitor with Lush and Drop Ninet... more » $10.
High & Tight aren't the most prolific promotional crew in the city, but they may be the most consistent with high-caliber bookings. H&T score another coup with Detroit techno DJ/producer Claude Young. Back in 1996, Young laid down one of the greatest mixes in the renowned DJ-Kicks series with a string of hard-hitting and heady underground techno heaters. Among Detroit's second wave of techno artists, Young ranks with the elite cadre of Carl Craig, Underground Resistance, Dan Bell, and Jeff Mills... more »
There's a cover of a Lecherous Gaze 7-inch that features a line drawing of a man being punched in the face. And that simple, overused metaphor is an apt way to describe the band's straightforward, raging punk. There's nothing subtle about this group of Oakland longhairs who play snarling, riff-heavy rock that obviously worships both Black Flag and Black Sabbath. And they do it well—with a manic urgency and magnetic raw power that's sure to get elbows flying in the pit. Balancing out the bill ar... more »
San Francisco’s Fresh & Onlys have been long tied to the garage-rock revival, but singer/guitarist Tim Cohen (also the mastermind behind Magic Trick) writes songs in such a light-handed, airy way that it manages to stay high-energy while still leaving space to breathe. The Fresh & Onlys have managed to release a record annually since 2008, and while their music tends toward the hard-edged garage vein, its shredding actually aspires to more originality and subtlety than typical modern garage-roc... more » $10/$12.
Vancouver’s Nervous Operator makes itchy, staticky, hissing ambient noisescapes that twitch and tiptoe around in the dark. Slashed Tires, the ongoing experimental project of golden former Stranger intern Kenneth Piekarski, waves a beautiful freak flag of many textures and emotions—tropical synth meltdowns, manic funk, tangled bass, and bare-bones pop honesty—but since this is a noise show, expect something a little different. Montreal’s Blankets make slightly cinematic, sinister drone tracks; B... more » $7.
Olympia's Chrome Windows (aka multimedia artist Jean Nagai) produces vast alienscapes ranging from gritty minimalist techno to confrontational industrial noise. These otherworldly electronic transmissions will likely scare off brotastic, neon-wearing EDM die-hards, but that's probably for the best. With Seattle freak-wavers Male/Female and Giancarlo Cateriano's experimental beats. BRITTNIE FULLER$7.