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Lose your grade-A bro music every night this week!
Darkside, High Water, Nordic Soul
(Neumos) See Data Breaker.
Disappears, Dreamsalon, Gang Cult
(Chop Suey) Kranky Records is respected as a bastion of high-minded drone and ambient music and challenging post-rock, so to say that Disappears are the label's most conventional act isn't necessarily a diss. The Chicago quartet makes stoic, burly rock that chugs with a steely determination reminiscent of prime art-brut-ish Wire and krautrock immortals Neu! and Faust. Seattle's Dreamsalon—a supergroup consisting of members and ex-members of A Frames, Factums, the Intelligence, the Lights, LoveTan, and others—create frayed-nerve, catchy garage rock filtered through the filthy lens of British post-punk to fill the Rough Trade Records–shaped hole in your heart. Fellow locals Gang Cult plow a similar but more sinister path of bullshit-free garage punk. DAVE SEGAL
Mutual Benefit, Julie Byrne
(Barboza) In the wake of Mercury Rev's 1998 album Deserter's Songs, a steady stream of intimate-yet-expansive, soft-focus rock has issued forth—an airbrushed sound that Bon Iver have taken to the bank. Count Mutual Benefit's 2013 full-length Love's Crushing Diamond as one more recording at least partially indebted to that beloved work; vocalist/creative force Jordan Lee is a dead ringer for the Rev's Jonathan Donahue. Solemn, meticulously polished songs predominate. It's a very pretty collection, and critics have embraced it to the tune of a lofty 84 on Metacritic.com. If you enjoy twinkly, cozy folkiness liberally sprinkled with stardust and NPR respectability, Mutual Benefit will gently transport you to your happy place. DAVE SEGAL
Ryan Hemsworth, Shy Girls, Keyboard Kid
(Neumos) After blowing up the music-nerd blogosphere with lush remixes of tracks by the likes of Frank Ocean, Lana Del Rey, and Grimes, Canadian beatsmith Ryan Hemsworth finally got around to releasing his debut LP late last year. As someone who made his name remixing others, Hemsworth somewhat predictably struggled to find his own unique sound on Guilt Trips, despite uniformly stellar production and a well-curated roster of guest vocalists. Nonetheless, he remains one of the more consistently intriguing electronic musicians, combining woozy down-tuned synths, hypnotic vocal samples, and trap-leaning low end into heady concoctions of narcotized rump-shakers. If nothing else, his live material may provide a clue to where the chameleonic producer is headed next. KYLE FLECK
DTCV, Tangerine, Charms
(Chop Suey) DTCV (formerly Détective, currently pronounced "detective") are James Greer (ex–Guided by Voices), Guylaine Vivarat, and Chris Dunn. They've had a very productive last couple years, releasing two EPs (Very Fallen World and Basket of Masks) and a full-length Burger cassette (However Strange) in 2012, plus a big ol' 26-track double album called Hilarious Heaven: a blend of shadowy post-punk dotted with loose sketches/sound snippets and ambitious detours ranging from spacey free jazz to chilled bedroom pop to a flute-heavy cover of the Monks' "Shut Up." Think '90s-alternative-style "indie," from its earlier, more respectable days as an adjective. EMILY NOKES
MTNS, Stickers, Universe People
(Lo-Fi) Local experimental-noise outfit MTNS make some of the most distinctive-sounding music in the city, and their live sets are often just as awesomely spastic and aggressively out-there. The high-decibel ferocity of their shifting, dynamic rock freak-outs are somehow matched by their wild-eyed performance-art-style shows—something that words can't really do justice and can only be experienced firsthand, like a Northwest version of Lightning Bolt. Also-local Stickers stick (ha) to a more straightforward no-wave punk formula than MTNS do, but rival their performances in terms of pure energy and volume (two of the most important aspects of any live show). There's no way you can go wrong with this one, which goes down at the forever-underrated Lo-Fi. MIKE RAMOS
Krar Collective, Gabriel Teodros
(Town Hall) See Stranger Suggests.
Levon Vincent, Anthony Parasole, Tyler Morrison
(Re-bar) See Data Breaker.
Excision, Dirtyphonics, Ill Gates
(Paramount) This is a lineup of grade-A bro music right here—the kind best enjoyed while fist-pumping with one hand and pounding a Red Bull with the other. But while Dirtyphonics fit neatly into that category, and do indeed make first-rate fist-pumping music, they bring a little bit more to the beer pong table than many of their stadium-dubstep counterparts. Sure, their songs still basically sound like robots having sex/being murdered, but they also regularly include things like actual human singers, electric guitar, and metal-worthy double bass drums. It's electronic music you can headbang to. If that is a thought that doesn't make you want to kill yourself, go and watch them try their best to tear down the classy Paramount with dangerous levels of bass. KATIE ALLISON
Patterson Hood, Michael Stegner and Keith Lowe
(Crocodile) As Patterson Hood (cofounder of the Drive-By Truckers and great American songwriter) tells it, the songs on his latest record were originally intended to complement a book he was writing—"basically a half-assed fictionalization of [a] very turbulent period of my life," he says. At first, the chapters poured out along with the songs, then the sentences stopped and the songs kept coming. The result: 2012's Heat Lightning Rumbles in the Distance, an album its creator describes as "the most personal album I've ever made." Fresh off a monthlong residency at Portland's Doug Fir Lounge, Hood delivers a solo set from the stage of the Crocodile. Opening the show: Michael Stegner and Keith Lowe, two well-known fixtures of Seattle's music scene, who'll perform tonight as a duo. DAVID SCHMADER
Deadkill, Dust Moth, Rookery, Into Violence
(Chop Suey) Black Flag is a reference point that gets thrown around a lot in press coverage for Deadkill's new album No, Never!. It's not unjustified—there's certainly no shortage of unmitigated Rollins-style fury in Bryan Krieger's vocals and no lack of Damaged-era anthemic nihilism in their songwriting. Hell, the backing vocals on "Hoof Polish" even sound sneakily similar to the shout-along on "Six Pack." But a big part of Black Flag's sonic identity was Greg Ginn's jazz-fueled faith in wrong notes. Where Black Flag's plan of attack involved forays into counterintuitive chord progressions and absurdly random leads, Deadkill are propelled by streamlined, no-bullshit four-chord riffs. And that disparity is a good thing, especially considering what Black Flag became in 2013. Keep your copy of Slip It In, but consider getting your modern fix of aggression from No, Never! BRIAN COOK
DJ Quik, Raz Simone, Gifted Gab, DJ Swervewon
(Crocodile) Compton rapper/producer legend DJ Quik's debut, Quik Is the Name, came out in 1991—a full 20 years before his most recent full-length, The Book of David—but the quality of his output has barely (if at all) faltered in that time span. He's still producing all of his own classic Way-2-Fonky West Coast beats and still running circles around suckers with his effortless flow and rapid-fire, smooth-yet-sharp rhyme patterns. Quik's refusal to let his game slip has rewarded him the kind of career longevity that very few rap veterans get to enjoy. Expect his live set to include nothing but hits and very few signs of aging. Local standouts Raz Simone and Gifted Gab are able and worthy openers worth showing up early for. MIKE RAMOS See also Sound Check and My Philosophy.
(Neumos) Guitars, bass, drums. Choruses that often consist of nothing but lines like "I can't get this feeling off my mind" or "trying to make it through the wall." A constant fuzz of distortion clouding angst-ridden adolescent lyrics. All signs point to UK-based Yuck as just another yawn-worthy indie revival act, worshipping past greats without adding much of their own. And yet the guitars' squall bites just a little harder, the bass is just a little catchier, the sneering vocals snarl just a little more believably. Despite losing lead vocalist Daniel Blumberg, Yuck soldiered on with 2013's Glow & Behold, a slight step down from their self-titled debut, but a solid set nonetheless. Ideal music for the Northwest, birthplace of so many indie-rock giants, Yuck somehow manage to get '90s nostalgia right. Time to bust out the flannel. KYLE FLECK See also preview.
Jeff Samuel, James Flavour, Gato Negro
(Re-bar) See Data Breaker.
Matthew Shipp with Michael Bisio
(Chapel Performance Space) Listening to the brilliant jazz pianist Matthew Shipp is much like reading the heavy works of Hegel or even Aristotle. The thing that the philosophers do with words and grammar is similar to what Shipp does on the piano. Like the philosophers, he is not elegant, poetic, or enchanting. His work (which often experiments with hiphop and electronica) is instead deeply intellectual, about making sense of an idea rather than selling it or making it seductive. The Frankfurt School theorist Adorno once described the coughing fits that would disrupt Hegel's lectures on world history. This coughing did not, however, stop the completion of the idea. One could easily imagine coughing fits disrupting Shipp's performance without ruining the completion of the idea he was trying express. CHARLES MUDEDE
Eyehategod, Graves at Sea
(Highline) I first heard sludge-metal deities Eyehategod at my pot dealer's house in East Detroit a gazillion years ago. It was 1996's Dopesick. Man, that album is HEAVVV-YY! Dealer dude always made me sit a while, so there wasn't obvious traffic at his place. He was a pit-bull breeder, and it was terrifying to watch him fist-pump, shirtless, to Eyehategod while I sat, petting one of his gigantic monster-dogs. 2013 marked the band's 25th anniversary. It was also the year they lost their drummer, Joey LaCaze, at age 42. The New Orleans natives have been through a lot in two decades—including death, drug addictions, and Hurricane Katrina. But is it slowing them down? "We don't know how to give up," singer Mike Williams told NPR in a recent interview. "That's been the story of our entire career, our lives, even without the band. We just don't know when to quit." KELLY O
Posse, Koda Sequoia, Swamp Meat, Neighbors
(Blue Moon Tavern) Posse have been MIA around town for the last few months, so I'm excited to see that they are back on the local circuit after a little recording break. If you missed seeing the lovable rock trio live, the band is a perfectly noisy mix of punky party pop and '90s college-radio rock. Dually fronted by guitarists Sacha Maxim and Paul Wittmann-Todd, who have a delightful back-and-forth style as vocalists, Posse play infectious Pixies-/Breeders-influenced pop. And it looks like they might be airing some new jams in light of having just announced the release of a forthcoming album on Beating a Dead Horse Records in March. Joining them on the bill are the experimental psych rock of Swamp Meat, the Elephant 6 collective–ish pop of Koda Sequoia, and the pleasantly ramshackle rock of Neighbors. Welcome back, Posse! BREE MCKENNA
Hounds of Hate, White Wards, Wet
(Black Lodge) See Underage.
Ying Yang Twins, Dan Valdes, D Menace
(Nectar) Atlanta's Ying Yang Twins are best known for their platinum early-'00s work with two huge ATL tastemakers: iconic crunk choirmaster Lil Jon and the man who brought the world Soulja Boy, Mr. Collipark (aka DJ Smurf). While "Get Low" and "Salt Shaker" are C-word classics, it's the snap/"intimate club" landmark "The Whisper Song" that's endured far better (it even got bitten by David Banner's "Play" within months of release). You would agree if you've ever seen a group of classy ladies dance in a club, rapturously chanting "beat the pussy up" and "wait'll you see my dick." While a bunch of dudes in jerseys and headbands "throwing 'bows" and drinking Red Bull and tequila (aka "crunk juice") out of gas cans is cool, I'ma go with the other scenario. I guess that means "snap" wins over "crunk"; either way, this show should be bonkers. LARRY MIZELL JR. See also My Philosophy.
Origami Ghosts, Absent Tiger, Crystal Fuzz
(Sunset) Origami Ghosts are the seashell-folk/gentle-indie project of Seattle's J.P. Scesniak—you know, one of those bands where one person holds it down, but reserves the right to be joined by a few or a lot of friends. OG's songs are intricate, with layers of strings, guitar, and accordion (tasteful accordion) coming together at the corner of "peaceful nature hike" and "busker beach bonfire." The earnest lyrics and airy vocals remind me of Little Wings, with the shy melancholy of Carissa's Wierd, and a maybe a touch of stripped-down Pinback. Origami Ghosts are joined tonight by Absent Tiger, a pedal-fueled bedroom-synth-pop duo, and Crystal Fuzz, a band whose Facebook claims, "The group pulls heavy influence from bands such as the Deftones, Pink Floyd, Radiohead, and Portishead." EMILY NOKES
(Jazz Alley) See Stranger Suggests.
Into It. Over It., the World Is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die, A Great Big Pile of Leaves, Special Explosion
(Vera) See Underage.
Dent May, Jack Name, Acapulco Lips
(Chop Suey) Headliner Dent May is a fey, ukulele-playing singer-songwriter from Mississippi who records for Animal Collective's Paw Tracks label. His newest album, Warm Blanket, fleshes out his sound with electronic elements and bigger beats, with May's vocals sounding like a cross between Edwyn Collins and Mayer Hawthorne. Blanket's best song, "Born Too Late," possesses a string-laden homage to John Barry's "Midnight Cowboy" theme, so my previous indifference toward May has receded a bit. The main attraction tonight, though, is Jack Name (the tour guitarist for White Fence), whose Light Show is a mind-bonking rock carnival ranging from frenzied bubblegum glam to Codeined fantasias to "Pure Terror," the most glorious psych-pop tune this side of Mercury Rev's "Car Wash Hair." And more. Read the article about Jack Name, "Run for the Shadows," in the January 22 issue. DAVE SEGAL
Zappa Plays Zappa
(Neptune) The thing about Zappa Plays Zappa—Dweezil Zappa's tirelessly touring group that pays tribute to his late father Frank's music—is that they will never run out of material, even if Dweez lives to be 100. That's because the Zappa/Mothers of Invention canon is huge, diverse, and rarely dull. For this date, ZPZ celebrate the 40th anniversary of Roxy & Elsewhere, a double live album that features some of Frank's strangest and most intricate compositions. While Dweezil won't have George Duke (RIP), Ruth Underwood, Don Preston, or Jeff Simmons in tow, he's sure to have a crack cast to execute these madly inventive songs. This should be a reverent homage to an irreverent sonic provocateur. DAVE SEGAL
Guitar in the Space Age: Bill Frisell
(Jazz Alley) The electric guitar really began to blossom as a musical phenomenon in the space age, back when mainstream America—and especially the supersonic Northwest—was giddy with the idea of a youth-friendly future that moved at the speed of electrons. Dick Dale, Chuck Berry, Speedy West, the Wrecking Crew, the Astronauts, Duane Eddy, and the rest of the gang were the sweetly naive soundtrack for that sweetly naive era. Tonight, the ever-morphing jazz-guitar experiment known as Bill Frisell will join four master collaborators (Greg Leisz on electric and pedal steel guitar, Tony Scherr on bass, Kenny Wollesen on drums) to fool around in that interstellar rock 'n' roll playground. If you've ever wanted to check out the legendary and prolific Frisell but have been intimidated by his wilder experiments, this is your golden opportunity. He'll be starting with the all-too-familiar American pop canon and, let's hope, launching it into orbit. BRENDAN KILEY
MusiCares benefit: Jayhawks vs. Uncle Tupelo with Star Anna, Massy Ferguson, Evening Bell, Annie Ford Band
(Tractor) It's common knowledge that people who make a serious go of it in the music business sometimes find themselves broke, uninsured, and especially vulnerable to the crap that can happen to any of us (earthquakes, illness, flooding, folly). This show is a benefit for MusiCares, an organization that serves as a safety net for music folks in bad situations. Tonight, a whole passel of alt-country musicians—Star Anna, the Swearengens, Barb Hunter, the Radio Nationals, Red Jacket Mine, many more—will try to outdo each other with covers of Jayhawks and Uncle Tupelo tunes. There will be good-natured competitive craziness and a raffle. Hosted by Don Slack of KEXP's country-roadhouse-twang show Swingin' Doors. BRENDAN KILEY
Guitar in the Space Age: Bill Frisell
(Jazz Alley) See Thursday.
Washed Out, Kingdom Crumbs, Kisses
(Neptune) Washed Out's endless, shimmering synth is like taking an Ambien at noon, in the summer, and then drifting down to the beach with a cooler of peach mimosas. You lie on the sand, feeling vaguely buzzed, but mostly drowsy and disoriented as layers and layers of warm dance pop wash over you. In between dehydrated naps, a blurry voice assures you: "It feels all right" and "You're far away"—at least you think that's what he's saying. A couple hours or days later, you wake up draped in seaweed and sunburned. Washed Out (aka Ernest Greene) plays tonight with LA duo Kisses, bringing you all the pastel new-wave music you can handle, and Seattle four-piece hiphop/spiritual-space-exploration unit Kingdom Crumbs. EMILY NOKES
Ultra Bidé, Two Heads Is Twice as Many Teeth
(El Corazón) When people discuss the roots of current noise-rock bands like METZ, Pissed Jeans, and Young Widows, they typically point to the 1990s rosters of Touch & Go and Amphetamine Reptile. Fair enough—Jesus Lizard, Big Black, and Killdozer certainly continue to wield their influence. But what about the Alternative Tentacles catalog? C'mon, certainly Alice Donut, Nomeansno, and Japanese dual-bass machine Ultra Bidé deserve equal credit. After all, Ultra Bidé have cranked out their low-end-heavy skuzzy no wave for longer than most of the current noiseniks have been alive. Their latest album, DNA vs DNA-c, came out after a 15-year gap between releases, but it's still as warped and abrasive as their early records. Let the old guys show the young'uns how it's done. BRIAN COOK
White Denim, Clear Plastic Masks
(Neumos) Since the late '00s, White Denim have developed their sound from a brassy, take-the-corners-wide garage/punk/noise thing to a Y2K-compliant take somewhere in the ballpark of Cream or the Allman Brothers. And while that's not the most exciting evolution under the sun of noise, the Austin four-piece does a fine job of not bumming you out with the change. It doesn't hurt that they've clearly mastered their instruments and songwriting chops in that time. Their latest, Corsicana Lemonade, which features coproduction from Wilco's Jeff Tweedy, bears at least one solid jam in "Pretty Green," and elsewhere, "Street Joy" and "Anvil Everything" off 2011's D are sleeper classics. Further discography exploration recommended. I have not seen them live. GRANT BRISSEY
The Pack A.D., the Dee Dees
(Barboza) I bet both of these bands would kick in you right in the shins if you called them "girl bands." Sure, both members of Vancouver garage-rock two-piece the Pack A.D. and the four members of Seattle's Dee Dees have "female" checked on their respective driver's licenses, but simply "girl bands" they are not. Pack A.D. singer/guitarist Becky Black and drummer/songwriter Maya Miller play loud minimalist rock, à la other loud and rowdy two-pieces like the Black Keys and the Kills. The Dee Dees are this city's premier Ramones tribute band, playing the punk classics from the '70s and beyond. Both wanna party with you and properly shake the roof of Barboza. KELLY O
(Chop Suey) Seattle's most recent big-name export, Macklemore, achieved celebrity with an unlikely combination of handsome-boy swag, positive messaging, and '90s-leaning soulful beats. Cumulus, led by songwriter Alexandra Niedzialkowski, is likely to break onto the national scene for slightly more familiar reasons: well-honed songwriting chops, professional musicianship, and an ear for the occasional unstoppable, arena-ready hook. "Do You Remember," the anthemic first cut off their debut album, I Never Meant It to Be Like This, is one indie-movie make-out montage away from going platinum. Might as well hop on the bandwagon while the getting's good. KYLE FLECK
Guitar in the Space Age: Bill Frisell
(Jazz Alley) See Thursday.
Mary Lambert, Lemolo, Pollens
(Showbox at the Market) What an effing couple of years Mary Lambert's had. After an excessively tough upbringing (featuring abuse, depression, evangelical Christianity, and Mars Hill Church), she graduated from Cornish College of the Arts and immediately began putting her degree in music composition to use. In 2012, she wrote and sang the invaluable hook for Macklemore & Ryan Lewis's "Same Love." In early 2013, she released her poetry book 500 Tips for Fat Girls, and in later 2013, she joined Macklemore for his "Same Love" juggernaut/victory lap; the sight of this gorgeous NW girl trading diva vocals with the professionally sculpted (and still plenty gorgeous) Jennifer Hudson at the VMAs was one of my favorite media moments of the year. Having just released her second EP, Welcome to the Age of My Body, Lambert lights up the stage at Showbox at the Market tonight, along with openers Lemolo and (fellow Cornish grads!) Pollens. DAVID SCHMADER
Piano Piano, NGHTBLND, Slow Bird
(Crocodile) Piano Piano? Not a name that inspires optimism—nor makes web searches particularly fruitful. Thankfully, the Seattle group's music overcomes those handicaps. Their baroque, elegant rock bears similarities to that of Explosions in the Sky, but Piano Piano mostly avoid the longueurs of that popular post-rock band. PP's four musicians excel at launching fluid, florid melodies into the night sky, sometimes in tranquil beauty, other times in artful turbulence. Their proggy ambition is damn refreshing in a world overrun with underachievers. DAVE SEGAL
Guitar in the Space Age: Bill Frisell
(Jazz Alley) See Thursday.
Mayer Hawthorne, Quadron
(Neumos) Michigan's "blue-eyed (neo) soul" singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Mayer Hawthorne is a talented dude with an earnest approach to his mighty fine retro-sounding music, and now has three solid albums to his name after last year's Where Does This Door Go. Denmark's Quadron (now living in Los Angeles) are fellow purveyors of modernized old-school sounds, and fitting openers for Hawthorne's throwback stylings. Featuring sultry-voiced Coco O on vocals and producer Robin Braun on their loungey electronic beats, their formula is simple but effective, and the end result heard on their recent Avalanche was enough to confirm that they're one of the best things happening in this genre today. MIKE RAMOS
(Capitol Cider) Newly installed at Capitol Cider, Latin jazz/soul collective EntreMundos are now busting out "diverse and groovy" jams every Monday night. Led by the silky vocal stylings of Adriana Giordano, EntreMundos' masterful musicians are equally fit for boogie-down blues, Brazilian funk, or old-fashioned torch songs. And, as EntreMundos bills itself a "jam session," expect to hear some newcomers rock the mic as well. The Hill just got that much funkier. KYLE FLECK
La Luz, Pure Bathing Culture
(Neumos) Local surf-rock quartet La Luz experienced some severe highs and lows in 2013. While they released a serious contender for Seattle album of the year with their excellent and widely celebrated It's Alive, they also suffered a severe accident on the road when their tour van slipped on a patch of black ice and was struck by an out-of-control semitruck, leaving them with bruises and broken bones, destroying their gear, and forcing them to cancel their remaining dates (opening for indie veterans of Montreal, no less). Now healed up and fully back at it thanks to donations from their supporters, the band will headline their first local show of 2014—sure to be a righteous celebration of their accomplishments and resilience, and a welcome continuation of the progress they made last year. MIKE RAMOS