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THE TURN-ONS, THE DIVORCE, THE COPS, CHARM PARTICLES
(Neumo's) See Stranger Suggests, page 23.
LOVE AS LAUGHTER, AWESOMEOLOGISTS, RADIO BERLIN, JOSH REYNOLDS
(Crocodile) Definitely high on my list for show picks this week is Love as Laughter, an ex-Seattle act led by ex-Seattleite Sam Jayne. The band's most recent offering was Sea to Shining Sea, a Sub Pop record that still gives me shivers because it's so damn great. Like Les Savy Fav, Love as Laugher barely contain the urgency in their spiky melodies and distorted indie rock riffs, which are paced at an overdriven, triple-time run for most of the record. It's an engaging, enthusiastic album, even as the lyrics underpin the shiny cacophony with more serious matters. (Slow burner "Miss Direction" is a Replacements-ish heartbreaker.) Jayne will also play Kincora's fourth Hoot Summer Jam on Sunday, August 22. The Hoot offers intimate performances from a number of musicians, and goes from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. JENNIFER MAERZ
(Triple Door) See Drunk by Noon, page 49.
THE RUBY DOE, PRIS, BENCH GRINDER, AMERICAN SCHOOL OF WARSAW
(Graceland) See All Ages Action, page 41.
CEX, KANE HODDER, IDIOT PILOT
(Paradox) See Data Breaker, page 55.
THE COURT AND SPARK, DOLOREAN, CALL AND RESPONSE
(Sunset) San Franciscans the Court and Spark keep getting better and more interesting with each new record they release. The latest one, Witch Season, finds them moving into a realm where their obvious country elements merge with classic orchestral pop. The horns lead you to feel like the group might have abandoned the twang altogether, until Tom Heyman's trademark steel guitar rolls in. Live, the band is astoundingly pro and super entertaining, with dynamic range that makes your average rock club feel like a ship at sea, lurching on the waves. SEAN NELSON
ROY, EL CAPITAN, GLADSTONE, ISA
(Old Fire House) You'd never know that Ryan Henry, the frontman for San Francisco's El Capitan, doubles as an editor at Thrasher. There's nothing flip about the alt-country band, whose amber melodies, ebullient harmonies, and soothing aesthetic place their music more on open ranges than city sidewalks. Their 2004 release, Atwater KNEC, moves at the pace of a desert sunset, with Henry's slightly graveled vocals accented by the softer sounds of piano, lap steel, strings, banjo, and even spoons. JENNIFER MAERZ
(Mantra Lounge) See Data Breaker, page 55.
THE CURIOSA FESTIVAL 2004: THE CURE, INTERPOL, THE RAPTURE, MOGWAI, MANY MORE
As of press time, this show has been rescheduled. The Cure will play
solo on Tuesday, August 31 at the Everett Event Center at 8pm.
WHEEDLE'S GROOVE: THE GOLDEN ERA OF FUNK & SOUL W/BLACK ON WHITE AFFAIR, OVERTON BERRY, BROHAM, RON BUFORD, COOKIN' BAG
(Chop Suey) See preview, page 33.
SHOPLIFTING, THE PEPPERMINTS, THIS SONG IS A MESS BUT SO AM I, BLACK: JAPAN, MIKAELA'S FIEND
(S. S. Marie Antoinette) Hallelujah, the wait is over! After months of anticipation, Shoplifting, the quartet born from the wreckage of Chromatics/Soiled Doves, have unleashed their debut 7-inch (on Kill Rock Stars). The A-side, "Hegemony Enemy," offers up tuneful, funky no wave, reminiscent (but not unduly derivative) of '80s groundbreakers the Raincoats, LiLiPUT, or Essential Logic, featuring political lyrics delivered with a refreshing attention to dynamics, i.e., singing and chanting trump full-throttle yelling. The flip, "Talk of the Town," bristles with a more abrasive, jagged character, yet once again, not at the expense of melody. You'll wear out the grooves on this 45, so make sure to snag a spare copy, pronto, because neither of these killer cuts appears on the excellent eponymous four-song EP (featuring "Contrapuntal Prancing," which tangles skeins of taut guitar with interwoven vocal parts and deftly executed tempo shifts) scheduled for release on KRS later this fall. KURT B. REIGHLEY
CLASH COVER NIGHT
(Crocodile) Tonight's Clash cover night isn't just a tribute to one of the best political punk rock bands to ever grace the earth, but it's also a benefit for local organization No Vote Left Behind, which is dedicated to regime change in 2004 (meaning, it aims to get ol' George Dubya out). The group is hosting events all over the city, including tonight's, with a superstar lineup consisting of local heavy-hitters like Pris, Ms. Led, Glorious, and Robb Benson. But besides the usual mix of rock shows and happy hours, NVLB has gotten a bit creative in its fundraising, and Sunday it will also host the Rock Star Garage Sale (again at the Croc, from noon to 4:00 p.m.); local luminaries like Ben Gibbard and Mark Arm have donated items to the cause. MEGAN SELING
THE ZODIAC KILLERS, THE FLIP TOPS, THE REPEAT OFFENDERS
(Comet) Serial-killer chic never goes out of style, and it doesn't get much more retarded than the Zodiac Killers. Rip Off Records kingpin Greg Lowery heads up this goon squad of bad taste and familiar riffs. Snotty vocals, monosyllabic guitar solos, and songs like "Nazi Interrogation" and "Genetic Mutation" are exactly what punk purists of a certain stripe swallow whole. Killed by Death-style noise is common enough, but the Zodiac Killers push the attitude to cartoonish degrees of aggression. Is it cool to do a record-cover photo shoot at an authentic Zodiac slaying location? Or to distribute bullet-pierced posters shot with the same ammo the real killer used? If one says yes, then one will call it rock 'n' roll. Live, the band is a ghoulish, sloppy spectacle, but it's punk as hell and their outfits (complete with Zodiac symbol armbands) are pretty sharp. FRED BELDIN
(Marymoor Park) Ten years ago, Natalie Merchant abandoned the band that made her famous, 10,000 Maniacs, and went solo. Musically, her independent venture has had more downs than ups. Her image, however, has been consistently fascinating. Ophelia, her solo debut, transformed the Merchant we knew (a sensitive college chick who gives advice to dead writers--"Hey Jack Kerouac, think of your mother") into a femme fatale on a shell-shaped, sin-full couch. But nothing in the world could have prepared the public for the cover of Motherland (2001), which pictures Merchant as a ripe woman in the mood to make a big family with a man whose sperm is as heavy as the mountains and as hungry as the country. It is springtime, and she is sitting under a tree with a basket of fruit by her oval knees. Merchant's breasts are overwhelming there--ready to satisfy your pressing manhood and, later, feed your growing brood. CHARLES MUDEDE
THE CATHETERS, AKIMBO, THE LAST GREAT LIAR, DOOMSDAY 1999
(Paradox) The untimely demise of Teen Cthulhu sprouted a two-headed beast of new local metal talent. On the one hand, Book of Black Earth, who erect impenetrable walls of grinding riffs, growling vocals, and grizzly synth melodies. On the other, you have the equally feral Doomsday 1999, where non-Cthulhu Zack Carlson's vocals howl like a storm gale through giant towers of triumphant metal with unpredictably grinding rhythms. Plus, Doomsday's cover of "All I Need" is, like, totally unstoppable. Expect a new release from this trio, Maniac on the Floor, soon. The record's so sharp it'll scalp ya. Also look for a new album from Akimbo in the next couple months. And the Catheters released more material for Sub Pop earlier this year, seamlessly melding their catchy classic rock sensibilities with their garage punk roots. JENNIFER MAERZ
HEMPFEST BALL w/JAH WORKS, JAH LEVI, LAKSHMI DEVI, LOS MARIJUANOS
(Showbox) Jah Works' music is virtual roots reggae. The band, which has been together for a decade, is from Baltimore and composed of white members. The realities that informed the practices and aesthetics of reggae are far from the forces that shaped the lives of the Jah Works members. Their ancestors were not African slaves; their parents are not colonial subjects, and the ghost of Marcus Garvey would fail to recognize them were it to suddenly appear at one of their numerous shows. For Jah Works, reggae is an art form that they can convincingly reproduce. To hear them is like seeing on a stage a hologram of an island in the sun. CHARLES MUDEDE
BLACK DICE, ANIMAL COLLECTIVE, CLIMAX GOLDEN TWINS
(Neumo's) See preview, page 41, and Stranger Suggests, page 23.
Rock star garage sale
(Crocodile) See Stranger Suggests, page 23.
THE DRESDEN DOLLS, VEDA HILL, SAETA
(Crocodile) While the self-described "Brechtian Punk Cabaret" that is their live act sounds like it will be holding more than a bit of the audience's attention at this show, make sure to keep your ears as open as your eyes or you'll be missing the true brilliance of Boston duo the Dresden Dolls. Singer/pianist Amanda Palmer's expertly crafted pop-damaged anthems are of that rare breed of song that wears its broken heart sincerely on its sleeve while planting its tongue so firmly in its teeth as to draw blood, with lyrics that, when at their best, call to mind the snarling, sensual rage of PJ Harvey, tempered and focused by Elvis Costello's sulfuric wit and devastating way with a couplet. Now, add that into a live show obsessed with Weimar-era theatrical debauchery and you've got a perfect combination of flash and substance you'd be a fool to miss. BILL BULLOCK
"UNITED BEATS OF PEACE"--BT, CHRIS BERRY & PANJEA, DAN THE AUTOMATOR, PARTICLE
(Premier) Hoping for the sweet-sweet government-questioning credibility of dance protests like Britain's Reclaim the Streets or the Berlin Love Parade, Earthdance has put together the first "United Beats of Peace" tour, a green-brushed package of electronic names and vague register-now political action. Nice? Not so nice when you remember how BT was responsible for much of trance's Lilith Fair-like bland-spiral of tune-numbing female vocalists (beyond repair!), and L.A.'s Particle come across like classic rock sunburnt by computer beeps, even if Dan the Automator (Gorillaz, Handsome Boy Modeling School) is also on the bill and the intentions are good. GUY FAWKES
STEVE MILLER BAND
(Marymoor Park) When was the last time you reached down into the murky depths of your CD collection, down into the cracked jewel cases and scratched discs that you've had since high school, the ones you keep in the secret nook where none of your hipster friends can see them when they come over for warm beer and crank parties after Graceland closes? Well, the last time I did that, I found Steve Miller's Greatest Hits, 1974-1978 and remembered that it is one of the best albums of all time. Every song is an evergreen classic, and if you pretend otherwise, you are lost. This album has never gone out of print, never been sold at a reduced price, and never existed in any form but the compact disc. There's a reason for that: It's essential. SEAN NELSON
PRIS, SPYPLANE, BRAZILIAN GIRLS, MINMAE
(Chop Suey) See All Ages Action, page 41.
ROGUE WAVE, THE VELLS, LUKE TEMPLE
(Crocodile) See preview, page 43.
DOLOUR, THE BLESSED LIGHT, MARLO, ARGO, TENNIS PRO
(Graceland) See All Ages Action, page 41.
TOMMY STINSON, ALIEN CRIME SYNDICATE, THE CHARMING SNAKES
(Chop Suey) During the band's prime, Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson were the main faces of the Replacements. As the spiky-haired bassist of the seminal Minneapolis band, Stinson has retained the rock star image long after the band he played in throughout the '80s went kaput. Since the Replacements' 1991 breakup, Stinson has worked with both his own projects (Bash & Pop, Perfect) and the dwindling dregs of others' (Guns N' Roses). He's now touring on the release of his first solo album under his own moniker, Village Gorilla Head, a soft-edged, slightly twangy indie rock record that lyrically examines emotional scars with lines like "When you kiss and tell you leave a mark," and takes the confessional route for topics ranging from relationships to the record industry. Backing Stinson on this tour is Seattle's own Alien Crime Syndicate. JENNIFER MAERZ