The Thrasholes, Dungeon Science, Prism Tats, the Balloons
(Crocodile) Prism Tats is the delightfully lo-fi solo project of ex–Koko and the Sweetmeats frontman G. Vandercrimp (whose name may sound like an English oil tycoon, but he's actually a Seattleite by way of South Africa and probably not a billionaire yet). Prism Tats' first batch of songs is fuzzy and catchy, featuring Vandercrimp's sweet singing voice floating over layers of reverb. The music's less bluesy than Koko's, and I think the more minimal sound suits my ear better and seems more... intimate. Is that weird? I feel like I just pulled an unsolicited first-date hand-holding move by typing that word. Also playing are the Thrasholes (Gig Harbor garage pop), Dungeon Science (Tacoma soul rock), and the Balloons (a duo whose Bandcamp tags include '60s, rock, country, jumanji, and pop). EMILY NOKES
Planet, So Pitted, Charms, Sam Cooley Band
(Comet) Two artists come to mind as I listen to So Pitted's EP S O—the Pixies and Calvin Johnson. The strident guitar is jarring, the vocals are baritone (not as baritone as Mr. Johnson, but then again nothing really is). Even though the recording is super lo-fi and unbalanced—there's hardly any deep bass and the treble is up high enough to almost hurt my ears—I still listen to those three songs over and over again. They're good songs recorded poorly. How it'll work out live, I can't say. So Pitted could be either a glorious weirdo rock experience or an unwatchable mess, and there's only one way to find out which it'll be. MEGAN SELING
Seapony, Jay Arner, Cadet
(Chop Suey) I owe the discovery of transplanted Midwest indie band Seapony to a bar/cafe in Manhattan. I forgot the name of the place and its location, but do recall the exact moment (8:30 p.m., October 13, 2011) and what I was doing (watching from a window a movie, Dark Passage, that was projected from the bar/cafe to a brick wall across a parking lot) when the tune "Blue Star" appeared on the surrounding speakers. Bogart was holding Bacall with all his life as the singer on the tune, Jen Weidl, sang with great ease and pop prettiness about something that was almost of no importance. I bought Seapony's album Go with Me a day or so later and played it regularly for about three months. I did not fall in love with the record; I had, instead, an affair with it. Instead of giving all my attention to heavy and challenging records, I found myself spending a lot of time with Seapony's light, breezy, and even summery rock tunes. CHARLES MUDEDE
Pleasureboaters, Mass Games, Absolute Monarchs
Unstoppable Death Machines, Mtns, Haunted Horses, Weed
(Black Lodge) See Underage.
J. Phlip, Astronomar, Recess, Jack Rainwater
(See Sound Lounge) See Data Breaker.
Loudon Wainwright III & Dar Williams
(Benaroya) The musical family of which Loudon Wainwright is the patriarch is vast and complicated (and possessed of spooky, startling talent), and papa is a legend for good reason. Tonight he shares the stage with Dar Williams, and their combined wit and storytelling and tendency to overshare onstage should make for a diverting evening for folk enthusiasts young and old (given the venue, probably mostly old). Is that a little too short and sweet? Sorry. If you like this style of honesty-squared old-timey indie folk, you know and love these two more than life itself and are already biodieseling up the bumper-stickered Subaru. If you don't know these folks, it's because this ain't your bag, anyway. ANNA MINARD
Atemporal: Vance Galloway, Charles Stanyan
(Chapel Performance Space) Being billionaire Paul Allen's audio guru and Decibel Festival's technical coordinator for many years guarantees Vance Galloway entry into the Seattle sonic wizard hall of fame—which can be found in a tiny break room in a forlorn corner of EMP. When he's not troubleshooting sound issues under pressure, Galloway plays guitar in unconventional ways in order to create wonderfully abstruse drone-based minimalism that tantalizes on a microscopic level. According to Galloway and fellow experimentalist Charles Stanyan, the music for tonight's show will derive from "field recordings, electronic and acoustic guitar, radio interference, and signals from long deceased stars [that] serve as sources for extensive mixing and signal processing." This will likely be the least mundane event of the week. DAVE SEGAL
Kool and the Gang
(Snoqualmie Casino) Kool and the Gang returned to people's consciousness last year when Van Halen surprisingly tapped them to open for the hard-rock veterans' tour. Curiously, some observers thought they upstaged the headliners. There's no doubting the large funk/soul ensemble's technical proficiency, but clips of recent live performances show a troubling tendency for cheesy crowd interaction and emphasis on their frothier material (who doesn't grimace after hearing "Celebration" for the millionth time?). But in their 1970s prime, Kool and the Gang cut some of the filthiest and sweetest funk to ever maximize a gluteus. If they fill at least half their set with burners like "Jungle Jazz," "Hollywood Swinging," "Funky Stuff," and "Love the Life You Live," this will be worth the trip to Snoqualmie. DAVE SEGAL
School of Rock Presents: The Beatles
(Crocodile) See Stranger Suggests.
Mount Eerie, Ashley Eriksson, Thousands
(Heartland) See Underage.
(Foundation) See Data Breaker.
Loudon Wainwright III, Dar Williams
(Benaroya) See Friday.
Champagne Champagne, Dyme Def, Vox Mod
(Nectar) The first album I'm excited for in 2013 (I'm still alive!) is Vox Mod's SYN-ÆSTHETIC, which drops in April. For those who do not know, Vox Mod is a local producer who makes sometimes fiery, sometimes beautiful, sometimes strange electronic beats. SYN-ÆSTHETIC has an excellent list of guest artists, none of whom I can mention. I'm sworn to secrecy. I know it's going to be great, but I can't say exactly why. All I can do is recommend visiting YouTube and checking out the one-minute preview of the album. I know, it's not enough, but that's best I can do for now. A promise is a promise. CHARLES MUDEDE
Low Hums, Midday Veil, Diminished Men
(Columbia City Theater) Diminished Men have stealthily become one of Seattle's most interesting bands. Mainstays of the city's underground scene, they've released six gripping albums of sublime, mercurial music, to not enough fanfare. The trio's intriguing new album on Alan Bishop's Abduction label, Capnomancy (the title means divination through the examination of smoke), further refines their steely fusion of spy jazz, surf noir, Morricone-esque spaghetti-western gestures, and avant-noise rock. The stormy and chilling leadoff track, "Oblong Trance," is already a contender for song of the year. Live, these guys—drummer Dave Abramson, guitarist Steve Schmitt, and guitarist/bassist/keyboardist Simon Henneman—possess a telepathic facility that's thrilling to watch and hear. DAVE SEGAL
Clorox Girls, Smokejumper, Loud Eyes, Night Nurse
(High Dive) Roughly a decade ago, the Clorox Girls were a Portland band (from Oakland) that played '70s-style punk hits about babes, more babes, and popping codeine. After a taking a break for a few years, the Girls (who are boys) reunited in 2010-ish and are back in the California. The last time I saw them play was at a glorious LA backyard barbecue show, and it felt like the sun had seeped into their tunes more than ever—with a little extra surf in their step, the summery back-up vocals lit up their classic sound. With Seattle's Loud Eyes (Ramones-inspired rock), Smokejumper (super-tight pop punk), and Night Nurse (brand-new band alert). EMILY NOKES
Nice Nate, DJAO, Dil Withers
(Lo-Fi) See Data Breaker.
Death by Steamship
(Comet) I'm not sure what you're doing on Sunday, but after a leisurely brunch at St. John's Bar and Eatery (719 E Pike Street)—where I recommend the Bulgarian scramble, with a Bello Diavlo on the side—I plan to walk two blocks over to the Comet for the 4 p.m. matinee set by Seattle post-hardcore band Death by Steamship. Often compared to Fugazi, Murder City Devils, and/or late-'90s Touch and Go/Dischord-style punk, DBS rock the boat! I have no idea why they're playing so early in the afternoon, but damn, I can see them and still make it to the laundromat afterward. KELLY O
Monster Planet: Pezzner, Kads Baker, Blake Peterson
(Can Can) See Data Breaker.
Lady Gaga, Madeon, Lady Starlight
(Tacoma Dome) As much as anything else, Lady Gaga's skyrocket of a career has been fueled by impeccable, almost visionary timing. After compressing a decade's worth of diva shape-shifting into the creation and promotion of her first album, she hit the road with her debut stadium tour, whose set list was bolstered by the brilliant Fame Monster EP, and which served as a veritable victory lap for a driven young woman who'd made an amazing ascent to the heights of pop stardom. Now it's 2013, and Lady Gaga is returning to the Tacoma Dome with her Born This Way Ball. Remember Born This Way? Came out in May 2011 and was really good? Hasn't been followed by anything except an ignorable remix LP? Apparently, impeccable timing doesn't last forever, and the line between the future and nostalgia is razor thin. DAVID SCHMADER See also interview.
Chelsea Wolfe, King Dude
(Triple Door) This is the third date on a new, two-month, acoustic-only US tour that perfectly pairs doom-crooners Chelsea Wolfe of Los Angeles, and Seattle's own King Dude. Anyone who's ever loved the gorgeous angst of early PJ Harvey and/or currently swoons to icy-cold epics by the Knife or Zola Jesus will instantly fall in love with Wolfe's dark heartbreakers from her new album, Unknown Rooms: A Collection of Acoustic Songs. King Dude will go on to tour Europe afterward, promoting his new album, Burning Daylight. Both are going to burn brighter than ever in 2013, so catch them in the excellent intimacy of the Triple Door while you still can. KELLY O
New Lungs, Dear Mister Manager, Postmadonna
(Comet) Stay late for Seattle band New Lungs, who recently released their new EP, Lanterns. They, sound like a blast from the not-so-distant past, with a little Gatbsys American Dream or Time to Fly vibe, but slowed down a bit, like they took an Ambien before going into the studio and think they're playing in the clouds. Seeing as how Time to Fly just played a reunion show a few weeks ago (which I missed—regretfully), you might still be riding that wave of nostalgia. If that's the case, give New Lungs a listen. MEGAN SELING