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Up & Coming
(WaMu Theater) Liars' new self-titled album finds the band balancing their obtuse, bad-trip drones with muscular, full-frontal rock. Whether freaking out on a single, sampled noise loop or thrashing through fuel-intensive prog punk, Liars are an electrifying live band. Vocalist/guitarist Angus Andrew hulks around the stage like a monster while Aaron Hemphill hangs then shreds sonic scenery and Julian Gross beats the shit out of his poor drum kit. It's terrifying. Interpol, on the other hand, are one of the most boring live bands on the planet, even when they don't have such a tough act to follow. ERIC GRANDY
Tullycraft, Math and Physics Club, Patience Please
(Crocodile) If you're not ashamed to have a soft spot for Berkley's witty pop punkers the Mr. T Experience, the Mates of State at their most ridiculously adorable moments, or LOLcats, then you'll no doubt rearrange the little pieces of your heart to make some room for Tullycraft and their new album, Every Scene Needs a Center. The album starts with a quick burst of cuteness with the first song "The Punks Are Writing Love Songs," the sonic equivalent of two kittens licking each other and asking "Scuze me, you haz flavor?" The band continue to shower feel-good vibes, throwing their sharp, steady beat and melodic bass lines in your face while Jenny Mears's gleeful vocals unapologetically balance on the edge of being too upbeat. MEGAN SELING
(Chop Suey) See Stranger Suggests, page 35.
Akron/Family, the Dodos
(Crocodile) See preview, page 63.
Benga & Hatcha
(Contour) First, much respect to DJ Struggle and the nascent dubstep scenes at Nectar and the Baltic Room. It's hard to draw interest to something that is very far from the official cultural radar as dubstep, a haunting amalgamation of two-step and dub. The sound of this new music is an abstraction of the two-step beat that's immersed in a haunting sea or city of echoes. Benga and DJ Hatcha are two of the leading producers of this music, which has its place of birth in London and date of birth in 2004. This show will be the first major dubstep event in Seattle. CHARLES MUDEDE See Bug in the Bassbin, page 85.
(Sunset) It's a heavy-ass dance fuckin' FREAKOUT at the Sunset—and I for one am very excited. The sound and energy of all four of these crews inspire straight frenzy on their own, but on one bill? Yo, if the Sunset had a chandelier, I would take that motherfucker down immediately. The Knights' joyous clap-along roadhouse rap + the Valley's sweaty psych-stomp + the Whore Moans' heralded break-your-neck garage punk + Dyme Def's immaculate, chest-caving swagger = Light Your Ass On Fire. LARRY MIZELL JR.
(Showbox at the Market) For a lot of reasons, most groups that try hiphop with a live band fail; this is why there's only one Roots. But here we have a combination that just might work: future-funkers Galactic fronted by veteran MCs Chali 2Na (of Jurassic 5) and Boots Riley (of the Coup). For the past few years, Galactic have been diligently tightening up their over-noodly tendencies—2003's Ruckus, produced by Dan the Automator, was hard-wired electro-pop, and on their latest, From the Corner to the Block, they've pared down even further, playing the breakbeat-slinging backing band to a roster of rappers, including the pair playing with them tonight. It works surprisingly well as genuine hiphop, and so should tonight's show. JONATHAN ZWICKEL
Matthew Dear's Big Hands, Mobius Band
(Crocodile) The first single from Mobius Band's just-released Heaven, "Friends Like These" is the thematic flipside to LCD Soundsytem's "All My Friends." Where LCD's James Murphy waxes sentimental about growing out of good times past, Mobius Band's Peter Sax scoffs at the phony intimates he's happy to leave behind. The song is quintessential Mobius—a perfectly polished, synth-heavy gem that matches hooks and beats in a subtle and uncanny composition. For a while, the Brooklyn-based electro-pop trio was, along with Skeletons, one of only two bands on experimental electronica label Ghostly International; they've jumped to the more organic-leaning Misra Records to release Heaven. That they're a natural fit in either camp says a lot about just how smart their stuff is. JONATHAN ZWICKEL
These Arms Are Snakes, Kane Hodder, Destruction Island, Return of the Bison
(Hell's Kitchen) These Arms Are Snakes dive and scramble all over the stage. They climb things, kick things, spit, and scream. The show is a siege. They are described as hard/mathcore. That's calculus and long division. So bring your Texas Instruments calculator, your flak jacket, and your no. 2 pencil to the show—there's going to be a word problem: Singer Steve Snere is on a train heading east at 63 mph. He spits off the train at 4 mph, right at you. You are standing still and there is a westward breeze of 7 mph. How fast is the spit traveling when it hits you in the face? TRENT MOORMAN
(Central Saloon) With the end of the year only a few calendar pages away, you might think your inevitable year-end lists are coming together. Two and a half months to go—hardly enough time for anything so mind-blowing that it could remove one of your beloved choices from its deserved position, right? Maybe. Before you get out the stone-carving tools, remember there's a slew of Seattle talent still vying for a spot on your coveted top 10 local artists lists. And while they're still a little too green to push the Pleasureboaters or the Whore Moans off my personal list, Seattle duo Priests and Paramedics have definitely made some headway towards the top with their aching part-singer/songwriter, part–dramatic shoegaze experimental indie. If they can pull it off live, which can be decided tonight in Pioneer Square, they might give my current number 9 or 10 the boot. MEGAN SELING
Final Fantasy, Cadence Weapon, Welcome
(Nectar) See preview, page 57.
Pinback, Frightened Rabbit
(Showbox at the Market) See Stranger Suggests, page 35.
(Chop Suey) While Justice and crew soak up the spotlight for their brand of rock-infused techno, Digitalism are busy blowing out speakers and overheating synths in the dark. Their remixes and originals are instantly gratifying, full of clipped beats, mangled synths, and robotic grooves. Their debut, Idealism, is one of the year's criminally overlooked dance albums. If they only had Pedro Winter's Rolodex and sample-clearance budget, they'd no doubt be rave-rocking stadiums. But Digitalism's relative obscurity is your gain, as their live show should be every bit as damaged and deafening as Justice's but with probably more room to get down. ERIC GRANDY
Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, Quasi, the Intelligence
(Neumo's) See Stranger Suggests, page 35.
Thurston Moore, Scorces
(Neumo's) Seriously, I don't get why everybody seems to be using words such as "poppy" and "melodic" as if this is some huge departure for Thurston Moore. Sure, his new solo record has Samara Lubelski's violin all over it, the album's guitars are occasionally acoustic, and Thurston himself even plays piano on a few cuts. But the set is no sudden moral shift to accessibility, as moments on Trees Outside the Academy are every bit as noisy, abrasive, and haunting as, say, "The Sprawl," "Dirty Boots," or any number of cuts from his catalogue with Sonic Youth. Likewise, SY have been melodic since, like, "Expressway to Yr. Skull." Sure, Trees is hardly the squealing dissonance-fest of some of Moore's other one-offs like Mirror/Dash (or his band's SYR series of the late '90s). But we can be thankful for that, and appreciate this as a collection of music that fits right in with the stirring, thoughtful work Sonic Youth have produced of late. JOHN VETTESE
(Tractor) In my younger alt-country days, I thought I was hot alt-shit. Western-cut shirts and Too Far to Care—take that, grunge upbringing! Eventually, a real country musician will bust any young fan's city-slickin' cherry, and the man who undid my pearl snaps was Oklahoma's Junior Brown. Sun Records–era influences, rockabilly hellfire, a throat like Skoal: He's got those. But it's Brown's onstage showmanship that puts him in a higher country echelon. Watch him wind his fused guitar/lap-steel apparatus out of tune for kicks, only to immediately wind it back and pick himself into a frenzy. Hear him re-create the tones from Close Encounters on lap steel. Feel the simultaneous pop of the crowd's snaps. SAM MACHKOVECH