mickey avalon

Thursday 10/29

Diminished Men, Corespondents

(Poggie Tavern) See preview.

Propagandhi, MDC, the Rebel Spell

(Neumos) Most bands get soft with age. But Winnipeg's premier anarchist punk band Propagandhi lost their poppier and more personable attributes with the departure of bassist John Samson after their sophomore album, Less Talk, More Rock. Samson went on to front the bookish and heartfelt Weakerthans, while Propagandhi recruited hardcore veteran Todd Kowalski to take his place. The result was a pronounced departure from the band's earlier blend of SoCal punk and premillennial emo to a more ferocious metal-influenced take on melodic hardcore. While the first couple of albums will always have their devotees, it's reassuring to watch a punk band grow angrier and grittier over time. BRIAN COOK

Lucero, Jack Oblivian, John Paul Keith & the One Four Fives

(Crocodile) Jack Yarber (aka Jack O and Jack Oblivian) is an underground hero—a well-respected, longtime member of garage rock's top royal family. The Memphis-based singer/songwriter/guitarist has been around since the early '80s, playing with Mississippi punks Johnny Vomit and the Dry Heaves, Memphis new wavers the End, garage rockers the Compulsive Gamblers, and, of course, the influential Oblivians. Yarber continually reinvents himself, mashing all his influences—a lil' bit country, a lil' bit Southern soul, and a whole lot gritty rock—into something all his own. His new album with the Tennessee Tearjerkers, Disco Outlaw on Goner Records, is an A-plus, rock-solid collection of songs. Maybe this unsung Memphis heavy will finally get some props on this side of the Mississippi. KELLY O

Soulico Crew, WD4D, DJ Collage

(Chop Suey) Tel Aviv hiphop quartet Soulico Crew are not revolutionary. The crew's blending of Jewish, Arabic, Jamaican, and black-American popular music has no real surprises. It's been done before; it will be done again. The value of Soulico's work, and why it's worth recommending, is not in the number and variety of musical forms they bring together, but in the skill with which they fuse these forms into a whole. While listening to this or that tune, one starts to feel and be impressed by the seamless unity of the music. None of the different parts feels out of place; each form fits perfectly with other forms—on one track, the Dirty South style of rapping is perfectly set to klezmer horns. True, nothing is new with this crew, but they do know how to do what they do. CHARLES MUDEDE

Midday Veil, Cursillistas, Paintings for Animals

(Josephine) Cursillistas—Matt Lajoie and Dawn Marna—trek from Portland, Maine, to play their stoned strain of ooze-on-down-the-road sigh-chedelia. As always with music of this stripe, some will find it tediously dawdling while others will revel in the liquid blissfulness of it all. Overall, though, Cursillistas conjure an eerie, rural vibe that will cause folks to freak—very gradually and naturally. Seattle's Midday Veil have become one of the city's most reliable sorcerers of slow-building psychedelia, with one fashionable boot in beauteous songcraft and a bare foot dangling in deep, krautward-bound jam space. I recently described Paintings for Animals' music as "a weird party soundtrack at the microcosmic level or a score to your most mystical, baffling dreams." I'm sticking with that story until further notice. DAVE SEGAL

Friday 10/30

Julietta, Miss Shelrawka, DJ Shift, Jonny Romero, Ctrl_Alt_Dlt

(Electric Tea Garden) See Data Breaker.

Kawabata Makoto, ?Alos, Aerial Rain

(Dissonant Plane) Kawabata Makoto leads prolific psych-rock behemoths Acid Mothers Temple, but on his own he often opts for beatific guitar emanations that suggest a strict regimen of Zen Buddhist meditation rather than AMT's grandiloquent jamming and sonic holocausts. You could say the man loves his extremes. The INUI series of albums Kawabata's recorded for VHF Records—as well as I'm in Your Inner Most and Hosanna Mantra—stands as a beautiful, solemn monument to his mellower inclinations, but you should probably bring earplugs, just in case the Japanese ax master gets into one of his ornery moods. Bonus: Dissonant Plane will give you a limited-edition poster to commemorate this event with any Kawabata/Acid Mothers–related purchase or any $20-plus purchase of merchandise. DAVE SEGAL

Tyvek, Western Hymn, Atomic Bride

(Funhouse) Tyvek are masters of the simple, and in this case that's not a bad thing at all. Their brand of dry punk rock comes off like a meeting of Minutemen and the Lights, and while there's nothing groundbreaking about the sound, Tyvek twist it in distinctive ways. And when frontman Kevin Boyer belts out words like "I saw her standing on the infrastructure" or "She can drive a Honda like I can drive a Honda," it's clear that's exactly what he should be yelling at that point. Any other approach would just seem dishonest. GRANT BRISSEY

The Heavy, Thee Emergency

(Crocodile) "I've been a bad, bad, bad, bad man," the Heavy's Swaby slurs in the song "How You Like Me Now," a few seconds before hissing the title over and over (you'll note the question lacks a question mark; that's because you can tell by his vocal swagger that Swaby already knows the answer). The Heavy could make a good living as a Sonics cover band, but they're not content to just sit on the soulful vocals and bitch-slap rhythms; they're also a really great reggae band, with riddims that suggest they've been making reggae music for years. And then they break out the old-school funk and it sounds more authentic than any three-quarters honky group should be able to make; the Heavy are three great bands for the price of one. PAUL CONSTANT

The Tripwires, Llama, the Small Change

(Sunset) Seattle quartet the Tripwires write well-crafted pop/rock songs that suggest they've spent many studious hours with the brilliant catalogs of the Byrds, Nick Lowe, Squeeze, Gram Parsons, and other composers whose brainchildren have gone on to the stand the test of time with impressively erect postures. The Tripwires—seasoned scene fixtures John Ramberg, Jim Sangster, Johnny Sangster, and Mark Pickerel—understand the importance in their particular niche of memorable hooks, interesting dynamics, varied guitar tones, and passionate vocalizing. They proudly and staunchly uphold the verities of this traditional approach to music-making on their new album, House to House (Spark & Shine Records), whose public emergence tonight's show celebrates. DAVE SEGAL

irr. app. (ext.)

(Wall of Sound) irr. app. (ext.) is the cryptic moniker for San Francisco's Matthew Waldron, one of the few earthlings qualified to collaborate with sonically omnivorous equilibrium-wreckers Nurse with Wound and apocalyptic goth folkies Current 93. irr. app. (ext.)'s 1998 CD An uncertain animal, ruptured; tissue expanding in conversation struck me as one of the weirdest albums ever—and I've heard thousands of 'em. Waldron has moved from that disc's ruptured, abstract miniatures to the rarefied air (and water) of drone-based composition, into which he often injects field recordings of nature and civilization. The effect of this MO on albums like Cosmic Superimposition, Ozeanische Gefühl, and Kreiselwelle is less jarring and more subtly disorienting than on previous efforts. Expect a serious immersion into surreptitiously unsettling tone poetry (free-verse style). DAVE SEGAL

Saturday 10/31

Broadcast, Atlas Sound, Selmanaires

(Neumos) See Stranger Suggests, and preview.

irr. app. (ext.), Blue Sabbath Black Cheer, Special Ops, Yokai No Uta

(Josephine) See Friday and preview.

Thrones, Amber Asylum, Kawabata Makoto, ?Alos, Sugar Skulls

(Rendezvous) Rendezvous offers a weirdly mixed bag of tricks and treats for your Halloween festivities. Thrones (Salem, Oregon's Joe Preston) ranks among the highest practitioners of low-end aural punishment. An early member of Earth, Preston also has throttled his bass for Melvins, Men's Recovery Project, Sunn O))), and other avant-metallers; he's honed his glowering, overcast steez until it seems as if his very tones have grown unruly fur and fangs. Acid Mothers Temple shaman Kawabata Makoto communicates with otherworldly deities through his eloquent guitar in alternately boisterous and dewy tones. San Francisco's Amber Asylum straddle romantic goth folk and dark ambient realms with grace, black lace, and eyeliner. They brood elegantly amid bruised-purple string parts and descending chord progressions while Kris Force flexes operatic skills on the mic. Sugar Skulls, by contrast, spaz out on the frenetic prog-rock tip while Italy's ?Alos earn their question mark with intense, tonally peculiar post-rock festooned with Yoko Ono–esque trills. DAVE SEGAL

U.S.E, WonFu

(Vera) One year, when I was a kid growing up on the Eastside, my parents took us trick-or-treating in Bellevue Square. You would go from shop to shop, and the shops that weren't total dicks would give you fun-size candy bars. It was all really brightly lit and wholesome and kind of sterile and not at all spooky like walking around your neighborhood in the dark could be (you might get egged, you can scare yourself into thinking you might even get something worse). I'm sure the Vera Project won't be as bright or wholesome as Bell Square for Halloween, but they would have to really overhaul the place to make it seem even the least bit scary, especially with invincibly ebullient electro-pop brigade U.S.E running the show. I bet their costumes will be kickass, though. ERIC GRANDY

Mountain Kids Fantasy, M. Bison, the Riffbrokers, Helen Chance, the Mangles, High Divide, Radiolake, Julia Massey

(Skylark) For the past three years, the Skylark has hosted the Come as You Aren't! Halloween battle of the bands, in which local groups are judged on their ability to impersonate famous musicians. Each band dons the appropriate costumes and plays quick 20-minute sets—the point is to get in, entertain the fuck out of people, and get out. And this year's lineup should be full of surprises, as bands like Radiolake, the Mangles, the Riffbrokers, M. Bison, and Mountain Kids Fantasy will, for one night only, summon the musical prowess of beloved artists such as Frank Sinatra, Black Sabbath, David Bowie, Devo, and X. MEGAN SELING

Sunday 11/1

Day of the Dead: the Seattle Pianist Collective, Rafael Anton Irisarri, Don Larson, the Michael Owcharuk Trio

(Seattle Asian Art Museum) See The Score.

Blues Control, Little Claw, Brother Raven

(Funhouse) See Stranger Suggests.

The Chinese Stars, All Leather, Past Lives, District of Evolution

(Black Lodge) I once watched a pair of heterosexual male musicians drunkenly make out with each other while trying to grab the asses of random guys on the street outside of CBGB. Were they trying to be funny? Controversial? I wasn't sure. As a bona fide fag, I merely found it annoying. All Leather feature three straight boys (including the Locust's Justin Pearson) playing delightfully grating no wave with a faux-gay, anti-assimilation aesthetic. The songs are awesome. The shtick, however, occasionally reminds me of those two clowns on the Lower East Side. The Chinese Stars, on the other hand, share All Leather's combination of lascivious lyrics, dance beats, and squalling guitars, yet their vignettes of heterosexual perversion are more deliciously subversive in their honesty. BRIAN COOK

Monday 11/2

Art Brut, Princeton

(Neumos) At this point in Art Brut's career, with three solid-to-stupendous albums under their belts, you've probably already made your mind up about the band's brand of winking, winning, hyperenthusiastic pop rock 'n' roll. But just in case you haven't, a crash course: Their debut, Bang Bang Rock & Roll, is as explosive a mission statement ("Formed a Band," the title track) as any band has crafted since Nation of Ulysses's 13-Point Program to Destroy America. Follow-up It's a Bit Complicated found the band stretching out and settling into more quotidian concerns (messy flats, missed trains, making mixtapes) with no less pleasantly nagging guitar riffs. Latest effort Art Brut vs. Satan breaks no new ground, really, but it reiterates the band's themes—prole anthems like "Summer Job," music-geek fests like "The Replacements"—with typical good humor and flair. They're a right wild rumpus live. ERIC GRANDY

Mickey Avalon, Beardo, Ke$ha

(Showbox at the Market) Dear Mickey Avalon: I've always loved your skanky, sleazeball party raps; your ridiculously oversexualized, druggy-scuzzy lyrics; and your lazy, nasally delivery. I love how you always sound like you have a nose full of cocaine and a belly full of OxyContin. I've been with you since the beginning, man, since the first time I heard "Waiting to Die." Now you have two new tracks: "Stroke Me," an X-rated Billy Squier ode, and "What Do You Say," a catchy Lil Jon–produced track. I'd really like to come see you perform these. Problem is, your shows are overrun with screaming teenage girls wearing teeny-tiny American Apparel skirts and T-shirts that say "Fuck Me Mickey." Where did all these girls come from? Why does it have to be like that? Love, KELLY O

Tuesday 11/3

Regina Spektor

(Paramount) Remember four years ago, when Regina Spektor fans spent every waking moment insisting that Spektor wasn't some sort of Tori Amos–like, fairy-tale-quaint bullshitter? It's a pleasure to not be in that place anymore: Spektor's obviously more on the cool, Leonard Cohen end of the spectrum than the slavering, overemotional Amos. Spektor's newest album, Far, relies more on emotional impact than does her earlier work; the most important instrument on one song, "Eet," is Spektor's tongue tapping the back of her front teeth, and it's a fraught, tense sound. "Blue Lips" has a stuttering beat that makes the song sound like it could fall apart into silence at any moment. It's the good kind of drama, and Spektor is still firmly on the good side of the spectrum. PAUL CONSTANT

Múm, Sin Fang Bous

(Showbox at the Market) Múm's brand of quiet, weird intensity doesn't make them a novelty act. They're not miniaturists—"Marmalade Fires" is restrained, but it also soars in the way a symphony orchestra soars. The title track on the Icelandic group's most recent album, Sing Along to Songs You Don't Know, seems to build into something that could become a raucous explosion, but it just keeps ascending, like an ornate marble staircase that you keep climbing, only to find it leads to a dead-end wall, but on that wall is maybe the most moody, gorgeous painting you've ever seen in your whole life. PAUL CONSTANT

Wednesday 11/4

Dirty Projectors, Little Wings

(Neumos) See Stranger Suggests.

Elton John, Billy Joel

(KeyArena) Easy as it is to make fun of these dinosaurs for any number of reasons (duff lyrics, come-on-already cultural ubiquity, fake hair, bad plastic surgery), it's also kind of nice to see anyone of such stature not just willing but eager to put camaraderie before superstar ego. Granted, Elton and Billy have been doing this pretty consistently since 1994, so attending this is an exercise in nostalgia in more ways than one. But both of these venerable pop classicists have more than enough catalog by themselves for an enjoyable evening's entertainment, and sometimes two really is better than one. MICHAELANGELO MATOS

Mark Matos & Os Beaches, the

Beautiful Confusion, Yuni in Taxco

(Comet) According his band's bio, Mark Matos was raised in a large Portuguese immigrant community in the SF Bay Area, where his father and grandfather founded a marching band. After high school, high on beat literature, Matos hit the road and spent a decade "washing dishes in Alaska, cold in Boston drunk tanks, amongst slack key players in Hawaii, and crashing countless couches in Seattle's Capital Hill [sic]." He formed a band in Tucson, but decided to move back to the Bay after "doses of LSD were administered" while on tour. As one might expect from all that, Mark Matos & Os Beaches' music is ambling, easygoing, acoustic folk rock, not much prone to psychedelia, but with a little bit of the frayed, faded weariness of one who's returned from some long, strange trips. ERIC GRANDY