Kele; Does It Offend You, Yeah?
(Chop Suey) Kele Okereke's old band Bloc Party fizzled out on rather a bum note, abandoning the tense new new wave of their early-aughts output for the misfired electro pop of 2008's Intimacy and then going on hiatus. Kele's solo debut, The Boxer, begins unpromisingly with an "I don't know what you been told" boot-camp cadence, but the track's hand-clap beat and buzz-saw synths just barely save it. If Kele's electro ambitions clashed with his old band, he finds a more suitable match here in producer XXXChange. The best songs on The Boxer are straight-up dance-pop tracks—purple strobe-lit, hands-in-the-air, peak hour at the rave type stuff, and Kele's singing—alternately diva falsetto and soulful, emotive low—is a good fit. Recommended: Fred Falke's typically, ridiculously lush remix of "Everything You Wanted," which makes explicit the gay disco anthem contained in the euphoric-yet-pained original. ERIC GRANDY
Verellen Amps Showcase: Helms Alee, Akimbo, Narrows, the Dark
(Neumos) I am completely confident in saying tonight's show will be among my top 10 of the year. Narrows blew my mind when they played El Corazón back in January. It was incredible to see Dave Verellen (formerly of Botch) singing again, and even though one member of Narrows lives in California and another lives in Europe, they sounded like they've spent their entire lives playing their heavy and thrashy music together. It'll be exciting to see the Dark, too. They're the latest incarnation of ex–Schoolyard Heroes project Blood Cells (with Jonah Bergman on vocals, instead of Ryann Donnelly), and this is one of their first shows. To top it off, you can take a piece of the heavy home with you—Verellen Amplifiers will be raffling off a custom distortion pedal with all the proceeds benefiting the Vera Project. MEGAN SELING
Stranger Genius Awards: Shabazz Palaces, Emerald City Soul Club, Trouble Dicso
Debacle Fest: Chrome Wings, Stag Hare, Megabats, others
(Josephine) See Data Breaker.
Screeching Weasel, the Cute Lepers, Thee Sgt. Major III
(Showbox at the Market) See Underage.
YOB, Lesbian, Witch Mountain
(Highline) For over a decade, the Roadburn Festival in Tilburg, Netherlands, has served as a mecca for fans of underground metal. The strength of its lineups and the rabid dedication of the doom demographic make the festival an international conference on all things heavy and brooding. This year's event featured such esteemed artists as Enslaved, Goatsnake, and Eyehategod, but the general consensus was that the finest performance came by way of Eugene, Oregon's newly re-formed YOB. While certainly not the biggest name on the bill, the trio's lurching riffs towered over more reputable acts' meager rumbles. Tonight, your pilgrimage doesn't require a plane ticket to Europe. You need only to travel as far as Broadway and John. BRIAN COOK
Grass Widow, Coasting, Broken Water
(Healthy Times Fun Club) The couple reviews of Grass Widows' Kill Rock Stars debut, Past Time, that I found in a quick search both made a point of how incomparable the band is, or at least how inadequate comparisons are at describing its sound. Fair point on the latter, but before I found those reviews, I found myself going through old Au Pairs and Electrelane tracks trying to decide which one this San Francisco trio more resembled. Hard to say. There's some soft, oddly synched bass-and-drum funk here, but then there are also guitars that go from nimble melodies to great, propulsive surges and vocals that flicker from beguiling monotone to wispy three-part harmonies. And where are those accents coming from, anyway? Broadcast's update of British folk? So, see, comparisons can help. Kind of. Not really. Just go to this show, okay? ERIC GRANDY
Efterklang, Buke and Gass, Anomie Belle
(Chop Suey) One really wants to like Copenhagen, Denmark's Efterklang more than one does—especially if one moves in highbrow circles. Unfortunately, the Danish group's fussy, sometimes bombastic orchestral maneuvers—a sincere but stultifying compromise between classical and pop—come off as more stodgy and dull than elevating and enriching. There's something about Efterklang's compositions that hits you like a pitcher of warm milk and leaves you glassy-eyed and ready to snooze—even on the new, more vibrantly accessible 4AD full-length, Magic Chairs. It's quality, well-played music, but all of the ensemble's considerable effort only amounts to a refined bore. However, it's quite possible that hundreds of thousands of NPR listeners can't be wrong... DAVE SEGAL
Debacle Fest: John Wiese, Rene Hell, others
(Black Lodge) See Data Breaker.
White Hills, the Night Beats
(Sunset) See Stranger Suggests.
Cloud Cult, Mimicking Birds
(Showbox at the Market) My first encounter with Minneapolis's Cloud Cult came via 2005's Advice from the Happy Hippopotamus. Its mishmash of shaggy indie rock, underground hiphop, and orchestral pop glowed with a winning whimsy. I kind of lost track of Cloud Cult (the musical plaything of singer/songwriter/guitarist Craig Minowa) until this year's Light Chasers. It appears that the septet has matured into a more serious proposition and taken on some layers of somberness that recall the heavy post-rock thinkers at Constellation Records. Cloud Cult have shed some of their funkiness (and fun), but they've retained their knack for affecting melodies while inflating their sound to a richer symphonic grandeur. In this way, Cloud Cult have followed in the career trajectory of bands like the Flaming Lips, Mercury Rev, and Dirty Projectors. Which probably explains why they're headlining the Showbox now. DAVE SEGAL
The Vibrators, the Greatest Hits, Public Perverts, Thankless Dogs
(Funhouse) "Mmm, you're so pretty/Not to talk to you would be a crime/Aah, let me put my arms around you/Just wanna use up a little of your time/And I go/Baby baby baby/Baby baby baby/Baby baby baby/Won't you be my girl." Any self-respecting rocker has heard "Baby Baby" probably, oh, what, 352 times? It's a classic, as are the Vibrators. Some people think the Sex Pistols invented punk, but a gentleman named Ian "Knox" Carnochan (after he cut his long hair) was RIGHT THERE alongside Rotten and company. He was there at the 100 Club Punk Festival in 1976. He was there, headlining the Roxy in '77. I'm not sure what the Vibrators have been doing for the past three decades, but missing "Baby Baby" live, well, it would be a crime. KELLY O
Whalebones, Big Sur, Case Studies
(Columbia City Theater) Let's say today you returned to the city from a nice late-summer camping trip, but you're not ready to go home just yet. Your unshaven face is flecked with dirt, which also coats your jeans; your flannel shirt smells of burned logs from the campfire; you yearn to hear acoustic folk songs. You wouldn't feel out of place at Columbia City Theater tonight, where Case Studies, the new side project of the Dutchess and the Duke's Jesse Lortz, make their debut performance tonight. The Dutchess and the Duke's partnered, traveling folk gets a slight variation in Case Studies, who are more on the haggard, lonesome vagabond tip. Even with a three-piece backing band, which includes Coconut Coolouts' Pete Capponi, Lortz says the five or six songs they'll play on the floor tonight are "going to be pretty quiet." They'll open up for Bellingham's country folksters Big Sur and the fantastic, Crazy Horse–inflicted Whalebones. Wear your stinky flannel! TRAVIS RITTER
D.R.I., Bristle, Toe Tag, Throne of Bone
(El Corazón) Texas-bred thrash legends D.R.I. are responsible for more than just a few solid records. Their 1987 album Crossover gave a name to a sound too snotty to call metal and too epic to call punk. Their last album, Full Speed Ahead, was released 15 years back, but that hasn't kept the Dirty Rotten Imbeciles from igniting fierce-as-fuck circle pits nationwide since. While aging punk rockers cash in left and right with sloppy renditions of their teenage anthems, D.R.I. have stayed relevant by keeping up with the speed of an entire new generation of crossover. KEVIN DIERS
Debacle Festival: Du Hexen Hase, Marlo Eggplant, Kristian Garrard, others
(Josephine) See Data Breaker.
The Head Cat
(El Corazón) The Head Cat is Motörhead's Lemmy Kilmister's psychobilly tromp through the realms of real-deal throwback rock 'n' roll. Lemmy's mangy, graveled howl parades and careens through Americana with Stray Cats' Slim Jim Phantom on drums. For the Head Cat, the "Ace of Spades" changes suits. It's more like the "King of Spades," with Lemmy's whiskey'd intake valve sounding off Johnny Cash odes. To the people who are going to see Train tonight at Marymoor Park, this just in: When Lemmy gets into town, he will find Train singer Pat Monahan and liquefy him in a blender. Then Lemmy will drink him in a Jack Daniel's smoothie. TRENT MOORMAN
Daniel Higgs, Levi Fuller
(Black Lodge) You may know Daniel Higgs from his incantatory songifying with beloved mantra-rock band Lungfish, the crown jewel of Dischord Records. Higgs established himself as a poet of romance ("Love Will Ruin Your Mind" is the truth) and mysticism over 11 albums with that band and then embarked on a solo career that veered down stranger paths. On albums for the Holy Mountain and Thrill Jockey labels (Metempsychotic Melodies on the former gets the highest recommendation), Higgs stakes out a severe, intense, itinerant-loner brand of folk troubadourism and cracked-preacher testifying that carries a mesmerizing authority. Even when he goes on (and on) about God (see the new banjo- and harmonium-heavy Say God), Higgs is riveting. Plus, he can play a mean Jew's harp—and draw a wicked tattoo, should the occasion arise. DAVE SEGAL
Nothing happens today.
The Cult, the Black Ryder
(Showbox Sodo) Any book that covers the history of hiphop is incomplete if does not include several pages on the Cult's third and defining album, Electric. The Cult are from the UK, make American rock, and had their moment in the sun in the second half of the 1980s. The reason why the band deserves a serious place in the history of hiphop is because Electric was produced by one of the two founders of Def Jam, Rick Rubin. Rubin played a central role in marrying rock with hiphop. Indeed, he did to hiphop what Chris Blackwell of Island Records did to Bob Marley—brought the new music to an established and lucrative rock market. Rubin did not just make hiphop rock but also made just rock, and Electric is the record that first fully revealed/expressed this other side of his inimitable genius.CHARLES MUDEDE
Decibel Festival Ghostly International Showcase: Pantha Du Prince, Mux Mool, Gold Panda, Lusine
(Neumos) See preview.
Vampire Weekend, the Head and the Heart
(Paramount) So, yes, Vampire Weekend canceled their recent concert at Marymoor Park about 90 minutes after the opening act by sending some poor guy onstage to apologize on their behalf (Ezra Koenig apparently had emergency-level inflamed vocal cords). It was a tacky move, especially from such seemingly well-mannered young men. But you have to hand it to them: They solidified the make-up dates right quick, arranging a two-night stand at the Paramount which begins tonight (tickets from the canceled show can be exchanged for the new dates, or you can get a refund at your point of purchase). Regardless of all this, Vampire Weekend have one of the year's finest indie-rock/pop records in Contra, which elaborates and largely improves upon everything that made their debut such a delight: It's witty and referential, catchy and heartfelt. And it's worth forgiving the band a sudden sick day. ERIC GRANDY
Perfume Genius, Diamond Rings, Shenandoah Davis
(Crocodile) The Stranger has spilled plenty of enthusiastic ink on the charms of local Matador-signed sad-sack piano act Perfume Genius (Google it, bitches), so instead of rehashing all that, let's just ask singer-songwriter Mike Hadreas for some highlights from their recent European tour before they head back there in October. "Michael Stipe was at the Berlin show," says Hadreas, via IM. "But just to eat at the connecting restaurant by coincidence. He asked me and Alan [Wyffels, keyboards] out for drinks, but I said no, because I don't drink anymore and I was very tired. I stayed on the Hostel Boat, which is exactly what it sounds like. Where we played in London, the guy who works there said that a long time ago a little girl fell off the balcony and died, and I was instantly 50 percent less nervous to perform for some reason; I actually said, 'Oh, thank god' after he told me. I ate tartare in France and started sweating after five bites, but I didn't say anything because I wanted to be cool and it was a business lunch." ERIC GRANDY