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Lose your two-story-high robot every night this week!
Decibel Festival: Kimbra, the Stepkids
(Showbox at the Market) See Underage.
Decibel Festival: Clark, Jimmy Edgar, Machine Drum, Jimi Jaxon
(Crocodile) See preview.
Decibel Festival: Monolake, bvdub, Cyanwave, Tarik Barri
(Neumos) See preview.
Decibel Festival: Beat Prodigies, Dabrye, Keyboard Kid, Katie Kate
(Barboza) See Data Breaker.
Garbage, Screaming Females
(Showbox Sodo) I didn't appreciate Shirley Manson as much as I should have in my teen years. Sure, I liked Garbage's hits—"Stupid Girl" and "Only Happy When It Rains"—when they came on the radio, but it wasn't until the band went on "indefinite hiatus" that I realized what a strong frontwoman Manson is. She didn't take shit from anyone, she didn't flaunt the fact that she was a woman in a man's world—she just did what she did really well and let her talent and badassery do the talking. The band never did break up (so don't call this a comeback), but seeing as how Rolling Stone still finds it necessary to have a "Women in Rock" issue (in 2012!), it's nice to see the strong women who've been doing this for decades step back into the spotlight to remind people that a female in a rock band isn't a goddamn novelty. MEGAN SELING See also Underage.
Dead Prez, Project Lionheart, Fatal Lucciauno
(Nectar) The NYC rappers stic.man and M-1 are Dead Prez, the last politically conscious, openly pro-black hiphop act to reach the mainstream (this happened in 2000 with the album Let's Get Free). In the '80s, we had Public Enemy. In the '90s, we had Jeru the Damaja. In the '00s, it was Dead Prez. After them, nothing—political hiphop was banished to the underground. If you wanted to rap about the importance of eating healthy food, caring for the black body or black children, fighting for economic power and the redistribution of wealth, and the lack of police accountability, you were not allowed to leave the underground. When you watch the talented Dead Prez onstage, you are watching the terminal point of hiphop's democratic moment. In countries with dictators, political activists are locked in; in the "free" USA, they are locked out. CHARLES MUDEDE See also My Philosophy.
Colleen Green, Plateaus, So Pitted
(Comet) Colleen Green plays very simple, very catchy, very fuzzy music. Delivered in a deadpan manner, usually by way of an electric guitar backed by a drum machine, Green's music is a bitchin' mix of old punk covers and her own pleasing bedroom jams. The best part is her sugary-cool vocals, offsetting the punchiness of the drum machine and the distortedness of the guitar. Part Tuesday Addams and part Joey Ramone (with a Shirelle thrown in for good measure), Ms. Green keeps it short and extra sweet. EMILY NOKES
Decibel Festival: Orbital, Paul Chambers
(Paramount) See Sound Check.
Decibel Festival: Cut Hands, Miles (MLZ), Andy Stott, Demdike Stare
(Melrose Market Studios) See preview.
Decibel Festival: Julianna Barwick, Maria Minerva, Anenon, Lulacruza, Christina Vantzou, lissom
(Triple Door) See preview.
Decibel Festival: Balam Acab, Devonwho, Natash Kmeto, DJAO
(Barboza) Balam Acab, aka Pennsylvania indie-blog darling and "bedroom producer" Alec Koone, is the headliner for this showcase, but the openers are not to be overlooked. San Francisco-via-Portland's Devonwho has a few plodding, slow-tempo jams similar to Acab's 65-bpm style, but he mixes it up with quicker, more bass-heavy hiphop/funk influences. Northwest label/collective Dropping Gems artists Natasha Kmeto (Portland) and DJAO (Seattle) are ideal complements to the bill—Kmeto's soulful voice is a welcome bonus to her deep, textured grooves, and DJAO's fearless sonic exploration of the further reaches of electronic music stays light years ahead of the curve in a genre becoming increasingly full of trend-chasers. MIKE RAMOS See also Data Breaker.
Decibel Festival: Star Slinger, Baths, Shlohmo
(Neumos) This showcase features one of the more hipster-approved bills of Decibel Festival, but this is no bad thing. Manchester's Star Slinger chops samples and adds hard-hitting programmed drums—and don't call it "trap" just because he uses those Southern rap presets—to create original beats and hyped-up remixes of everything from Drake to the Cocteau Twins. LA's Baths freaks his more abstract samples into glitchy bursts of melody that add warmth to his often off-kilter drum patterns. Shlohmo, also from LA, has established his own signature "night bus"–style sound with his down-tempo blend of fluid atmospherics and clicking, thumping, multilayered percussion. MIKE RAMOS
Rusty Willoughby, Barton Carroll, Whiting Tennis
(Royal Room) Dear everyone who loves the sound of guys with guitars and lovely voices performing melodies that will make you swoon: Proceed directly to the Royal Room for tonight's triple bill. Rusty Willoughby is the former Flop man who's reigned as Seattle's living answer to Elliott Smith since 1999 when he released his gorgeous solo debut. Barton Carroll is the singer/songwriter/musician who's logged time with Eric Bachmann and Crooked Fingers in between making his own beautiful music. (Prime example: "The Poor Boy Can't Dance," readily available on YouTube and showcasing Carroll's glorious voice perfectly.) Whiting Tennis is the acclaimed visual artist who moonlights as a guy with a guitar singing songs. Tonight, they all appear on one stage. DAVID SCHMADER
Unnatural Helpers, Wimps, Survival Knife, Stickers
(Funhouse) See preview.
Deerhoof, Buke and Gase, Raleigh Moncrief
(Vera) See Underage.
Decibel Festival: Actress, Gulls, Teengirl Fantasy, Ghosts on Tape
(Baltic Room) See preview.
Decibel Festival: Byetone, Kangding Ray, Emptyset
(Melrose Market Studios) See preview.
Decibel Festival: Carl Craig (69), Octave One, Jerry Abstract
(Showbox at the Market) See preview.
The Bushwick Book Club: Music inspired by George Orwell's 1984
(Columbia City Theater) I love Bushwick Book Club, but I don't call it out here every month. This particular show, however, is a confluence of a great venue and a book with astounding promise for musical interpretation. I cannot wait to see what people have to say/sing about 1984. The possibility for a great night is high for these simple reasons: Bushwick is always better when (a) you've read the book—and who among us hasn't picked up 1984 at some point?—and (b) it's a book that inspires a wide spectrum of intense emotions and reactions, which this one should do nicely. Love, lust, language, fear, betrayal, politics, technology, and maybe even high-school English class... What else do you need for inspiration? ANNA MINARD
Decibel Festival: Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti, Dâm-Funk, Bodyguard
(Crocodile) Ariel Pink is something else. This time-traveling era-bender has made an excessive amount of music in his 34 years—creating and producing everything himself—the most popular being Mature Themes from the Haunted Graffiti series. Upon first (and second, and third) listen, you might mistake him for a 1960s fella, or a fella from any other country than this one (he's an LA native). His techniques range from lowest of the lo-fi, easy-listening classic pop to spazzy multi-instrumental incoherence. EMILY NOKES
Midday Veil, Rose Windows, Low Hums
(Rendezvous) The many raves for Midday Veil and Rose Windows that have appeared in these pages and on Line Out should by now have accumulated in your mind like a lexical mood-elevator. They are among Seattle's most reliable manifesters of extraordinary psychedelic music. Their respective new, yet-to-be-issued albums should break them out to much larger audiences. Local quintet Low Hums hew a bit closer to earth with their songs, which evoke nighttime desert breezes and loner journeys into the deep Southwest—akin to a 206 version of California's Spindrift. DAVE SEGAL
Noise-A-Tron, the Family Curse, Death by Stars, Circuit Vine
(Highline) Close your eyes. Wait. Don't close them, because then you can't read this. Close one eye. Imagine a two-story-high robot constructed of big, heavy metal pieces. Some are shiny, some dull, some rusted. They're fixed together with nuts and bolts and gears. But in an industrial way, not in a steampunk way. God no, not in a steampunk way. Drums surround this robot. Its long, heavy, metal arms flail to beat the drums. They're huge, deep, bellowing drums. Other arms (picture more than two arms!) pound against guitars. Giant guitars. Spitting noise from even bigger amplifiers, buzzing, shaking the ground. Its eyes glow red. Its mouth, with shrapnel for teeth, can spit fire. It is Noise-A-Tron. MEGAN SELING
Decibel Festival: Matthew Dear, Tycho, Lusine
(Showbox at the Market) See Data Breaker.
Decibel Festival Afterhours: Bruno Pronsato, Jeff Samuel, Matt Tolfrey
(Re-bar) See Data Breaker.
Decibel Festival: Max Cooper, Roman Flügel, Matt Tolfrey
(Neumos) See preview.
Eternal Tapestry, Terminal Fuzz Terror, Stenskogen, Baby Guns
(Funhouse) One can get blasé about yet another Seattle gig by Portland trippers Eternal Tapestry. However! The band's new album, A World Out of Time, is their best yet. They've channeled the mantric, churning boogie of Terry Riley and John Cale's Church of Anthrax, the fuzz-toned girth of krautrock gods Faust at their most transcendental, and the rambling beauty of Swedish prog-rock giants Älgarnas Trädgård. It kills me that I'm going to miss this show because of Decibel Festival. Maybe you can tell me about it. Stenskogen—a crucial side-project/supergroup composed of Midday Veil's David Golightly, A Story of Rats/Dull Knife's Garek Druss, and Portable Shrines' Aubrey Nehring—are gifted gurus of the drone. They lay out a bounty of spiritual sound that can nourish you for weeks. DAVE SEGAL
(Paramount) In less than two years, 22-year-old Torontonian Abel Tesfaye, aka the Weeknd, has proceeded from anonymous YouTube poster to recipient of press accolades including "songbird of his generation" and "best musical talent since Michael Jackson" (MTV's John Norris). The variant of R&B employed by him and his ilk has been referred to as "PBR&B," "R-Neg-B," and "hipster R&B" by people who are likely tiresome to converse with. Ignoring such nonsense, it's possible to verify that Tesfaye indeed possesses a truly marvelous tenor, which he can stretch to great range, and that his productions are often even more interesting in their deconstruction and backward reassembly of traditional R&B templates. GRANT BRISSEY
Arrival: The Music of ABBA
(Triple Door) Boasting four Swedish '70s babes, two marriages, thousands of sequin jumpers, and all those disco-pop hits, ABBA were one of the most successful groups in the history of pop music. The marriages and the band dissolved, leaving an ABBA-shaped hole in the hearts of millions. So what now? Where can you turn when merely listening to an ABBA album has lost its sparkle? Take a cha, take a cha, take a chicka, chan chance on Arrival: The Music of ABBA! Arrival are said to be the best ABBA tribute band around. They have a long résumé of ABBAccomplishments, but I was sold by this single sentence from their website: "Arrival is the only group who has the exclusive right to copy ABBA's original outfits." EMILY NOKES
(Benaroya Hall) Have you seen the video for Rufus Wainwright's new album, Out of the Game, the one with Helena Bonham Carter and a library and cross-dressing and desperation and people clawing at one another and a dripping flask? Yeah. Catch it on Vimeo. Then go see Rufus, just Rufus and a piano alone, onstage at Benaroya. JEN GRAVES
Dirty Three, Scout Niblett
(Neumos) Australian instrumental-rock trio Dirty Three keep on truckin' in their own lane, changing little over the last 20 years while maintaining high quality. They have two songs that I think tower over all of their others: "Indian Love Song" and "Furnace Skies." The former is a gorgeous, ragged waltz marked by Warren Ellis's relentless, melismatic violin motifs and Mick Turner's excoriating guitar flares. The latter, from their latest album, Toward the Low Sun, roils and rumbles like a free-jazz storm inside of a gypsy-music lament, augmented by Turner's madly cyclical bass riff and a surging, Alice Coltrane–esque organ. Of course, Dirty Three have many more fine songs, but these two lift them into the pantheon. Go for the riveting music, stay for Ellis's absurdist between-song banter (assuming he still does this...). DAVE SEGAL
Mono, Chris Brokaw
(Crocodile) In the past five or so years, the term "post rock" has been popping up everywhere, with bands such as Pelican, Explosions in the Sky, and Red Sparowes gaining worldwide success for their slightly ambient yet driving brands of soundtrack-esque gorgeousness. If said bands are your bag, make sure you don't sleep on this show, as Japanese instrumental post-rock quartet Mono put on a soaring, killer live show that displays their beautifully constructed, jaw-droppingly epic soundscapes perfectly. Local underground superstar Chris Brokaw will be opening the show, sharing his distinctive brand of stripped-down singer-songwriter awesomeness. KEVIN DIERS