The Spits, the Cute Lepers, the Ononos
(Chop Suey) See preview.
The Maldives, North Twin, 17th Chapter
(Tractor) Like a lot of Seattle bands, the Maldives have been filming for an upcoming "reality-style" MTV web series, directed by Stranger Genius Award winner and Humpday darling Lynn Shelton, called $5 Cover (a previous $5 Cover was shot in Memphis and can be seen online now). The Maldives, along with costars (and Cosmic Panther Land Band-mates) the Moondoggies, should make fine representatives for Seattle's twangy, bearded, and beflanneled roots-rock scene. Back in real reality, tonight is the first of a three-night stand at the Tractor to celebrate the release of the Maldives' new sophomore album, Listen to the Thunder. Which, if lead single "Tequila Sunday" is any indication, will be full of country-tinged tunes as carefully composed and accented (fiddle here, steel guitar there, brass popping up unexpectedly on the chorus) as they are boozy and loose. ERIC GRANDY
Final Spins, Battle Hymns, Swig-Arts, Blood and Sunshine
(Comet) There's something instantly familiar about Battle Hymns' dark Americana. The opening chords of "For Arlene" call to mind the Jayhawks' "Take Me with You (When You Go)." "Song for Spalding" hints at Raymond Raposa's impossibly dour Castanets work or the depressed laments of the New Year. Not everything here is gloom and doom, though. "American Evenings," which name-checks Neil Young in the first line, is one of the more uplifting numbers from last year's solid Hidden Reservations, and the song's guitar lines even sound elevating by comparison, at least until the chorus hits: "Why do you worry about things you can't change/I hear heart attacks happen that way." GRANT BRISSEY
The Pretenders, Cat Power, Juliette Lewis
(Marymoor Park) Tonight, Marymoor Park hosts an onstage case study in female performance. Up first: Juliette Lewis, the Oscar-nominated actress now applying her Method-acting skills to highly theatrical rock 'n' roll. Up next: Cat Power, the gifted singer-songwriter who's proved herself willing to get messier onstage than GG Allin. Finally: the Pretenders, fronted by the steadiest woman in rock—which makes Chrissie Hynde sound so much tamer than she is. She's a survivor, weathering the loss of 50 percent of her original band to the grim reaper within the span of a year and keepin' on truckin' for the next two-and-a-half decades and counting. To those who know Hynde primarily as the purveyor of movie-soundtrack power ballads, please revisit the Pretenders' 1979 debut. You can take the girl out of the punk scene, but you can't take the punk scene out of the girl. DAVID SCHMADER
Police Teeth, IfIHadAHiFi, the Bismarck
(Funhouse) IfIHadAHiFi are a self-proclaimed bunch of "bitter, pissy assholes who play loud, unlistenable cacophony with a dance beat." They're right about the cacophony/dance-beat part, but it's hardly unlistenable. Their rock and roll is the kind you listen to really loud as you drive down the highway really fast, singing along with a carful of friends. Maybe you had a frustrating day, need a bit of release, and hell if IfIHadAHiFi won't cheer you up at least a little bit with their humor and rock onslaught by the end of two or three songs. Tonight they're perfectly matched by Police Teeth and the Bismarck, two local bands who are just as bitter, pissy, and funny. MEGAN SELING
Ramona Falls, BOAT
(Crocodile) See preview.
(Vera) See Stranger Suggests.
Herr Jazz, Strong Killings, Total Bros, Alexis Gideon, Shelley Short, See Me River, Why I Must Be Careful, Snowman Plan, the Pica Beats
(Healthy Times Fun Club) See Underage.
The Avett Brothers, Heartless Bastards
(Paramount) What we've got here is a night of country and blues for people who like indie rock. The Avett Brothers, a pair of actual brothers from North Carolina, play banjos and mandolins and sing in tight harmonies at festivals like Pickathon in Oregon. Heartless Bastards, fronted by pianist/guitarist/vocalist Erika Wennerstrom, load more blues/garage-rock chaos in their mix. They're on Fat Possum Records, along with fellow Ohioans the Black Keys. Wennerstrom's voice is thick and stretchy like saltwater taffy, and her band groove in a sultry, Midwestern-summer way. They're a nice choice for a hot August night. BRENDAN KILEY
Floater, the Lonely H, Enkrya
(Showbox at the Market) A few weeks ago, the Lonely H's guitarist Eric Whitman broke his jaw during a lighthearted postshow wrestling match with one of his bandmates. Ouch for sure, but luckily a mouth full of wires and a liquid diet won't keep him off the stage tonight. The Lonely H's guitar-driven classic rock just wouldn't survive without Whitman. On their new record, Concrete Class, the band play everything from slowed-down country ("Take Care") to cocky rock and roll ("Cold Blues") to sunny, '60s-vibed pop heavy on the harmonies ("The River"). And it's always all about the guitar. So watch the wrestling, guys. Next time you might end up breaking a hand, and then you'd really be hurting. MEGAN SELING
The Maldives, the Moondoggies, Zoe Muth and the Lost High Rollers
(Tractor) A couple months ago, I was standing outside the Far show at Neumos when a girl approached me and tentatively asked, "Are you in a band?" I am! (Who isn't?) Excited that someone recognized me for my art, I confirmed her suspicion. "Oh my god, I knew it," she exclaimed. "You're in the Moondoggies, right?" I paused for a moment, slightly dejected, but decided to enjoy the admiration anyway and responded, "Yes, my name is Justin, nice to meet you." She introduced me to her friends and told me how much she loved our record and how many times she'd seen us live. I nodded and smiled and thanked her for her support. She walked away elated, and I walked away having learned that while Moondoggies fans are very excitable and kind, they're apparently not very good at remembering the faces behind the beards. JEFF KIRBY See also Thursday.
Mad Rad, Breakfast Mountain, Chk Minus, Dash EXP
(Comet) A few months back, I stumbled onto Breakfast Mountain in their hometown of Portland, and I was completely floored. The act's two wildly energetic MCs; huge, entrancing electronic melodies; and live drums transformed the back patio at a neighborhood bar into an open-air house party. The crowd loved it, surfing all over one another and chanting along with the choruses. But Breakfast Mountain's demo, which you can download in its entirety from their website, sounds rather different. The vocal work takes a backseat to multilayered melodies and automated beats, both of which are arresting in their own right. (Check out their spin on "Fuck the Police"—it's gold.) This show is highly recommended. Get there early—it will sell out. GRANT BRISSEY
(El Corazón) If you've heard of Jucifer, you've heard the story: The husband-and-wife duo tour 12 months out of the year in their RV, performing with a wall of amps that rivals a KISS arena concert. Garnering somewhat less print space is the odd discrepancy between the nature of their recorded output and their live show. On record, Jucifer hark back to the '90s with guitar-driven, hook-laden alt-rock. But live, pop music takes second place to amplifier worship, as they abandon their breezier melodic nuances and indulge almost exclusively in colossal sludge riffs. There's no fault in either approach, but if you've only been exposed to one aspect of Jucifer, consider yourself forewarned of the group's dual nature. BRIAN COOK
(Triple Door) Let's unpack Les Nubians, a pair of Afro-centric sisters (in both senses of that word) from Paris. The duo have been around since the late '90s and, like Soul II Soul, are one of the few Euro-Afro groups to receive substantial attention from the progressive side of black America. The duo's first album, Princesses Nubiennes, has the sexiest cover of the '90s. Hélène and Célia Faussart bring new meaning and desire to the expression "ghetto flowers." The two are pictured in the slums, they are curvy and almost vulnerable; one of the sisters has a small tilted hat, the other has the glamorous hair of an African Medusa. A slum wall or dwelling stands behind them. The album's image and the album's content are not disconnected. The music is full of earthy soul, positive energy, and sexy, sexy Parisian vibes. These Nubians offer a little piece of ghetto heaven. CHARLES MUDEDE
(Crocodile) See Stranger Suggests.
The Maldives, Shim, Thee Emergency, Pickwick
(Tractor) See Thursday.
Patrol, Police Teeth, Kidcrash, Helms Alee, Partman Parthorse, Fist Fite, Weekend
(Greenhouse) See Underage.
(Sunset) Tonight, local psychedelic pop quartet the Purrs celebrate the release of their new full-length, Amused, Confused & More Bad News. If you're a fan of the Dandy Warhols, consider the Purrs your new best friends. Wah-wah'd guitar solos are in full effect on songs like the spacey "Sister" and the more jangly "Fear of Flying." Opening the show are Blood Red Dancers, who are on the other side of the spectrum. The Purrs are floating around in a drug-induced daydream, while Blood Red Dancers get down and dirty with a heavy blues sound. MEGAN SELING
Orgone, Yogoman Burning Band, Eldridge Gravy and the Court Supreme
(Neumos) Some old civic pride probably plays a hand in why I like Bellingham's Yogoman Burning Band—essentially a vehicle for drummer/vocalist/composer Jordan Rain's rock-steady/reggae interpretations. Rain used to spin old soul, R&B, and rock-steady records at Bellingham's late, great 3B Tavern, and his deep appreciation of the genres shows in YBB's music, which takes a vaguely reggae tone, complete with a horn section and a fashioned Jamaican patois. This all may sound a bit derivative, but there's something disarmingly earnest about Rain's delivery. And cuts like "You Trouble/LGBT (Got Your Back)," "If You Don't," and "Up All Night" are undeniably catchy. GRANT BRISSEY
Nickelback, Hinder, Papa Roach, Saving Abel
(Gorge Amphitheatre) A common justification for illegally downloading music is that most albums suck except for one or two songs. Yet Nickelback still garner substantial album sales. Is it because they write classic records packed fore and aft with timeless tracks? No. They've merely tapped into a lowest-common-denominator market that spreads their fan base wide and shallow, ensuring casual music consumers will buy their records. Eventually, these fans will grow irritated spending $15.99 on songs that are on the radio every 20 minutes and that grow stale after a few listens. They'll begin to view those purchases as representative of all albums and opt to acquire music in an even more casual and cost-effective manner: online. Platinum-selling bottom feeders like Nickelback aren't sustaining the music industry; they're destroying it. BRIAN COOK
Coconut Coolouts, Sex Church, Defektors, Sister Wife
(Funhouse) Have you ever seen that YouTube video where some dad is having a birthday party and a kid sprays some Silly String on him as he's blowing out the candles and, who knew, it's highly flammable and the dad's whole head catches on fire and everyone starts screaming and jumping around? That's the kind of party the Coconut Coolouts like to play. And this show with Sex Church and Defektors—both from Canada, "The Land of Milk and Party"—will turn the Funhouse into an exceptionally festive occasion. Especially if the Coolouts play that crazy new jam "I Wanna Come Back (From the World of LSD)." If they play that one, someone's definitely gonna end up in party jail. KELLY O
Whitney Ballen, 1985, Dennis Driscoll, Generifus, Blanket Truth, Dimples, Head Bangs, Grr
(Cairo) See Underage.
Autolux, Past Lives, Mini Mansions
(Neumos) There's a reason that L.A.'s Autolux, since their formation in 2000, have been praised by critics, been personally invited by Trent Reznor to tour with Nine Inch Nails, and played at both Coachella and All Tomorrow's Parties, even though they have only one full-length record to their name—they're fucking great (and residual love for their old act, Failure, probably doesn't hurt either). Their cinematic shoegaze ranges from haunted guitar-driven rock ("Audience No. 2") to aggressive electronic instrumentals ("Fat Kid"). It's all held down by the impeccable drumming of Carla Azar, who, by the way, was once told she'd probably never play drums following an accident. An experimental surgery got her back behind the kit—and hearing her play now, I'm not completely convinced that "experimental" aspect didn't involve replacing her arm with some kind of cybernetic metronome. MEGAN SELING
Busdriver, Abstract Rude, Open Mike Eagle
(Chop Suey) Busdriver was born into hiphop (his father wrote the screenplay for Krush Groove!), and now he can't make his own fast enough. Big brainy words fly from his mouth like furious bees, over beats that draw rich melodicism from all over. My favorite Busdriver track remains Fear of a Black Tangent's "Avantcore," where the man's playful logorrhea finds a home amid a beat built around Can's "Turtles Have Short Legs" (the B-side to the Tago Mago single "Halleluwah"; Busdriver is the type of rapper who makes you Google obscure Can tracks). DAVID SCHMADER
Abodox, the Sugar Skulls, Sleepy Workers
(Comet) When they're not battling deadly stray pit bulls or trying to "liberate" art from local taverns, the men of Abodox make music. Music with no web presence whatsoever. Metal? I'm going to guess metal. (Billmates the Sugar Skulls and Sleepy Workers both managed to erect MySpace pages, and they're, respectively, Zappa-inspired synth-and-violin art-core spastics and dour, bluesy post-punk with muddy and meandering instrumental passages.) Anyway, the Comet might want to keep an eye on that big red neon "C" tonight, in case those Abadox guys happen to "really appreciate" it. ERIC GRANDY
Nothing is happening today.
George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic
(Showbox Sodo) I can add nothing new to what has already been said about George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic. Well, maybe one thing, now that I think about it. What does the very popular tune "One Nation Under a Groove" mean in the age of Obama? Is it now outdated, obsolete? Recorded in 1978, the song was a call for a new and black form of nationalism, for a politics of funk, an allegiance to the groove. All of these things (black power, black anthem, black president) were in a realm that could only be visited with the help of serious psychedelics. But now that (black) Obama is in power, what is the meaning of "One Nation Under a Groove"? CHARLES MUDEDE
The Ocean Floor, Firs of Prey, Universal Studios Florida
(Josephine) It was inevitable that Animal Collective's steady rise to popular/critical acclaim would generate ripples elsewhere in the musical landscape, and not because "OMG bands are copying AnCo," but because it's just something in the current zeitgeist. You can certainly hear echoes of AC in Universal Studios Florida, the Seattle duo of Jason Baxter and Kyle Hargus, who create aqueous ambient pop using cheap, clunky keyboards, laptops, effects pedals, and other electronics. On their debut album, Ocean Sunbirds, percussive grooves and the odd, glittering synth melody bubble up out of a sea of drifting samples and smeared vocals, making for tracks that fade into the background as easily as they command your utmost attention. Live, the duo perform backed by brightly colored video projections. (And they're really more of an Excepter rip-off, anyway.) ERIC GRANDY
Canon Canyon, Themes, James Apollo
(Sunset) When I first heard Mike Cooper's old band Roy, my initial reaction was a solid "What the crap?" This was mostly because the rest of the band was composed of Ben Verellen and half of Botch, some of the heaviest dudes in the scene, yet Roy was clean-toned, no-nonsense, blue-collar folk rock. After ditching my expectations of what I thought the band were supposed to sound like, they really started to grow on me. Their songs were the perfect soundtrack to a hard, honest day's work. Though the three other members have since returned to sonically bludgeoning audiences, Cooper is still plying his folk game with Canon Canyon, whose debut EP, Sit Down and Listen, is a seamless continuation of Roy's thoughtful, timeless, straightforward Americana. JEFF KIRBY