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Louis XIV: The Sun King's Music
(Christ Episcopal Church) We are talking arcana par excellence: This concert is embedded with secrets known only by those who sat at the bedside of the French king Louis XIV and serenaded him as the 17th century waned. Yeah. The players are Jeffrey Cohan (baroque flute—including a three-piece copy of a flute made by the composer Jacques Hotteterre in about 1700, which plays more than two half steps below modern pitch and which may never before have been heard in a complete chamber-music performance in the Pacific Northwest), Joanna Blendulf (one of the world's specialists on the rarely heard pardessus de viole, a soprano member of the viola da gamba family that is played upright in the lap), and John Lenti (baroque guitar and theorbo). A time warp may open up; say good-bye to loved ones before you escape to this. JEN GRAVES
Gabriel Teodros, Meklit Hadero, OC Notes, Spyc-E, WD4D, EarDr.Umz
Shaprece, Reva DeVito, Zach Bruce, hosted by Malice & Mario Sweet
(Crocodile) See Sound Check.
Serius Jones, Mic Phenom, Wizdom, Kalligraphy
(Nectar) See My Philosophy.
Youth Lagoon, Pure Bathing Culture
(Neumos) Youth Lagoon, the lo-fi musical project of 22-year-old Idahoan Trevor Powers, has been gaining exposure steadily thanks to the strength of his debut, The Year of Hibernation. As the title suggests, it's some warm-and-fuzzy bedroom pop that owes as much to its moods and textures as it does to the melodic songwriting and home-movie-retrospective lyrics. It's definitely not the most innovative sound to hit the internet in the last several years, but Powers's seemingly natural knack for melodies, catchy hooks, and buildups that burst in just the right spots makes it seem worthy of the heavy buzz. MIKE RAMOS
Magnog, Blue Light Curtain, the Midget
(Comet) Edmonds-based Magnog's self-titled 1996 debut album for Kranky Records remains a gripping example of pitiless, Tangerine Dream/Ash Ra Tempel–style space rock. They regrouped after about a 13-year hiatus, but in the couple of recent shows I've seen, they've not recaptured their mid-'90s magic, leaning instead toward more conventional songcraft with vocals. Seattle's Blue Light Curtain just completed a new album, Clouds in Our Hair, at Gravelvoice Studios with the excellent Scott Colburn. The sound's lush and gauzy, but there's still robust rhythmic propulsion bolstering the shoegazey tunes. A windswept grandeur courses through the album's 10 tracks, as keyboardist Laura Bratton and guitarist Paul Groth's dual vocals converge to add a rich layer to the dramatic, anglophiliac rock action here. DAVE SEGAL
(Edmonds Center for the Arts) In March of 2006, Jake Shimabukuro was a respected ukulele player who toured around Hawaii and played the occasional Hawaiian music festival in California or Japan. In late April of that year, he video-recorded a shockingly virtuosic ukulele version of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" while sitting in Central Park. The video hit YouTube, and Shimabukuro became one of the first viral-video internet sensations. Phone calls started pouring in and, since then, Shimabukuro has played with Yo-Yo Ma, Ziggy Marley, Béla Fleck, Jimmy Buffett, Cyndi Lauper, and many others. Recently, he accompanied Bette Midler in a performance for Queen Elizabeth. Whether he's playing traditional Hawaiian music, covers of pop songs, or his own compositions, Shimabukuro almost single-handedly has taught the world to respect the ukulele. BRENDAN KILEY
DROP 1st Anniversary Party: Kid Hops, Michael Manahan, Contents, Manos, J-Sun, Rhines, Kadeejah Streets, Night Train
(Lo-Fi) See Data Breaker.
Sol, Shad, Brothers from Another, DJ Supreme
(Neumos) A Canadian rapper named Shad might give you visions of Asher Roth's douchey northern cousin, but stop there: Shad is Shadrach Kabango, a Nigerian-born, UK-bred hiphop artist whose award-winning 2010 release, TSOL, is a gorgeous continuation of the soul-soaked, conscious-hiphop lineage that runs from Native Tongues to pre-Kanye Common and beyond. Give him a listen and you will love him: He's pro-woman, pro-beauty, self-deprecating, and attracted to beats that will make you swoon. Joining Canadian Shad are the Seattle hiphop talents Sol, Brothers from Another, and DJ Supreme. DAVID SCHMADER See also My Philosophy and Underage.
Larkin Grimm, Arrington de Dionyso, Hair and Space Museum
(Cairo) Larkin Grimm's brand of folk music would rather snuff out the campfire and wander the forest alone than engage in contrived bonhomie. On 2008's Parplar, Grimm's vocal style is intimate, with hints of both vulnerability and sinister intent, and her lyrics delve into some blunt explorations of sexuality. Her new Tony Visconti–produced album, Soul Retrieval, bears more orchestral embellishment and more conventionally "pretty" and refined songwriting. Arrington de Dionyso is a wise wild man who blends Indonesian garage rock, free-jazz sax, and throat singing into galvanizing sound art. Hair and Space Museum (Midday Veil's Emily Pothast and David Golightly) conjure aural double rainbows in curved air with the former's earthily ethereal vocals and the latter's demonically angelic synth emissions. You'll feel like you're in a planetarium, not a tiny clothes/crafts shop. DAVE SEGAL See also Underage.
Ravenna Woods, A Lull, Deleted Scenes
(Comet) Ravenna Woods are an anti-folk folk-rock band. Sure, they have some great harmonies, really impressive acoustic guitar skills, and plenty of hand claps, shakers, tambourines, and other such sounds often experienced while sitting around a campfire with a bunch of hippies, but instead of singing words about the snow and birds and shit, the lyrics in their tightly structured tunes evoke darker images of things like headless men and the desire to shoot someone in the face. MEGAN SELING See also Data Breaker.
Girl Trouble, the Pynnacles, Sir Coyler & His Asthmatic Band
(Funhouse) Back in 2010, Tacoma rock band Girl Trouble were hit with a $25,000 defamation lawsuit because their drummer, Bon Von Wheelie, created a website called Neverpaytoplay.com where she (rightfully) criticized the music industry's pay-to-play schemes. One of the companies mentioned on the site, Gorilla Productions, didn't like what Von Wheelie had to say, so it sued for "defamation, invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress," and more. Here's the update: Girl Trouble won the lawsuit! The judge dismissed the complaint. As Girl Trouble lawyer Wade Neal (of Seaweed fame!) says, "This is a very important victory for musicians, bloggers, and other people who want to discuss booking companies like Gorilla Productions online. The decision shows that lawsuits that attempt to suppress constitutionally protected opinion may not be allowed to move forward even beyond the threshold question of jurisdiction." Congrats, Girl Trouble. There's definitely a reason to celebrate tonight. MEGAN SELING
Fitz and the Tantrums, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., American Tomahawk
(Showbox at the Market) Fitz and the Tantrums have played across late-night TV, and tomorrow's show (also at the Showbox) is sold out, but if you don't know 'em: They are a soul-ish pop band that'll likely succeed in making you move back and forth. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. often play in NASCAR outfits and sound like listening to the oldies station in the summer with a popsicle you just snagged after chasing the ice cream truck. American Tomahawk are named after a brand of ax (not the kind with strings), which kinda freaks me out. No one's breaking new ground here, but if you're looking for a medium-to-great booty-shaking time, you'll be very satisfied. ANNA MINARD
Cornish Music Series: Mara Gearman and Friends
(Poncho Concert Hall) Violists never get their due! Well, this time one will: Cornish faculty violist Mara Gearman is featured on a program with pieces by Mozart (from 1788), Hindemith (from 1919), and Morton Feldman (from 1970). Joining her are Seattle Symphony principals Elisa Barston (violin) and Efe Baltacigil (cello, and he's brand-new to Seattle!), plus five other players of note, including flutist Paul Taub and percussionist/conductor Eric Garcia. JEN GRAVES
Rose Windows, Jeffertiti's Nile, Diminished Men, DJ Mamma Casserole
(Comet) See Stranger Suggests.
Dreamtone: DJAO, Jon François, Al Nightlong, Ozma Otacava
(Vermillion) See Data Breaker.
Mark McGuire, Spencer Clark, USF, Secret Colors
(Cairo) Emeralds guitarist Mark McGuire recently moved from Cleveland to Portland, and his new proximity will benefit Seattleites who dig spacious instrumentals of pastoral bliss and astral tempestuousness. McGuire's latest album for Austrian label Editions Mego, Get Lost, is a few shades lighter and a bit more concise than his usual inclination for epic, brooding meditations (he also adds flat vocals, to middling effect). Let's hope he and billmate Spencer Clark link up for a set of material from their recent Inner Tube collab, wherein they reimagine songs from the soundtrack to cult Australian surf movie Storm Riders. Old wave, anybody? DAVE SEGAL See also preview, page 33.
Helms Alee, Black Elk, Nether Regions, Princess
(Funhouse) If you consider yourself to be a fan of music that may cause injury due to repetitive headbanging, be sure to check out Princess's The Grim Energy EP at www.princess.bandcamp.com. While listening to the first track, "Harsh Magic," you might think, "This sounds like Seattle, before grunge was called grunge!" That's because it was recorded by Conrad Uno at Egg Studios, where Gas Huffer, Mudhoney, Mono Men, Zeke, and others have laid tape. The Seattle band also flirts with early Metallica and some sludgy stoner-rock vibes, but my favorite track is "Remember to Breathe," which is a two-and-a-half-minute blast of brutal hardcore tinged with metal guitar. If your hair isn't whipping back and forth by the time the breakdown hits at the one-minute mark, you should check your pulse. MEGAN SELING
The Pack A.D., Hobosexual, Watch It Sparkle
(Tractor) The Pack A.D.—a guitar-and-drums duo from Vancouver—follow the golden rule of pop: Keep it simple. They milk uncomplicated guitar riffs for maximum potential on 2011's vigorous Unpersons, and everything here comes across loud, adept, and relentless, plus frontwoman Becky Black belts out lyrics like "Well I just drank two bottles of wine/And I threw up and felt just fine/I was only thinking of you/And then I thought of you and forgot again." Supporting are Hobosexual, another guitar-and-drums duo who make optimal use of the simplicity and volume, unless you count guitar player Ben Harwood's seriously complicated effects-pedal board. GRANT BRISSEY
Roach Gigz, Berner, Clyde Carson
(Nectar) See My Philosophy.
Nipsey Hussle, Avatar Young Blaze, Eighty4 Fly, Bonaphied
(Neumos) Avatar Young Blaze is one of the most intriguing characters in Seattle's rap climate today, not only because of his music—Araabmuzik-produced street bangers laced with his signature snarling drawl of a flow and bars like "2.5 grams of Bubba in the Swisher Sweet/Ezell's Chicken, Philly Fevre, that's all I eat"—but because of his overall persona. A skinny Russian dude with heavy Deuce 8 ties who can be seen posted up in front of that closed-down Jackson Street Grocery Store with an imposing crew of thugs in his latest video for "Fly High," Young Blaze commands, and more importantly, deserves your attention this year. MIKE RAMOS See also My Philosophy, page 37.
Michael Shrieve's Spellbinder
(White Rabbit) As Santana's drummer during their peak years, 1969–1974, Michael Shrieve attained dizzying heights of acclaim—and played Woodstock as a 19-year-old. He mastered the popular group's mercurial Latin-rock machinations as well as the nimble mystical-trip excursions in which Carlos Devadip dabbled, and also busted out some killer Afrobeats in Santana's cover of Babatunde Olatunji's "Jingo." Further badassitude: He also played with Stomu Yamash'ta's Go and Klaus Schulze. Now Shrieve and his band Spellbinder hold down Mondays at White Rabbit; their fluid jazz-fusion jams and phenomenal chops certainly won't disappoint hardcore Santana fans. DAVE SEGAL
NOFX, Poison Idea, Old Man Markley, Rat City Ruckus
(King Cat Theater) See Stranger Suggests.
Nightmare Fortress, Eyes and Teeth
(Pony) Nightmare Fortress—Alicia Amiri (Lovesick Empire), Cassidy Gonzales (Sleepy Eyes of Death), Colin Roper (Cobra High), and Blair Field—compose dour, synth-laced dirges (no, I will not call it darkwave) that sound at once futuristic and homesick. Amiri says they've just finished recording a five-song EP and hope to release it on vinyl with Sweating Tapes (which says it is "firmly a West Coast label, with feet solidly planted in Portland and Los Angeles, we're straddling the Bay, and reaching northward into Vancouver, BC"). Supporting are Eyes and Teeth, who still obviously have THE BEST BAND NAME EVER and are composed of Al Lendrick (Weirdlords) and Kelly Payne (See Me River, Weirdlords, a million other bands). If you've never been to a show at Pony, tonight would be a good time to start. GRANT BRISSEY
Dip Dip: Chocolate Chuck
(Faire) I hope this will be the year the city gives the producer/DJ Chocolate Chuck (Charles Harris-White) more of its attention. (His sister, Catherine Harris-White, is certainly getting lots of it as one half of THEESatisfaction.) Chocolate Chuck makes what can only be described as experimental hiphop. Indeed, it's so out there that it's useless for the purposes of rapping or making the cash register sing. A regular hiphop beat draws attention to the rapper; Chocolate's Chuck's hiphop draws attention to itself. In short, his beats (he has released three EPs) are about beats, about paying close attention to rhythmic patterns, strange loops, and spacey distortions. Yet, and here lies the greatness of Chuck's work, his beats are catchy. Yes, they are not going to get your back up off the wall, but your ears will be seduced in the way incense smoke seduces the nose. CHARLES MUDEDE